Like most Brits, my first encounter with the American college-kid rite of passage was back in 1999 when I learned the phrase “Spring break – whoohoo!” from Friends. Like every other 10 year old who saw that, I was intrigued about what the compulsory ‘whoohoo’ actually stood for…
Cut to me, 11 years later. I’m an English exchange student in Cabo San Lucas. There are fluorescent-clad, glitter sprayed people dancing all around me. On stage there is a sound system pumping out tunes so loud that the sand vibrates, a man with a microphone and a giant sign that says ‘Wet T-Shirt Contest’….
Sounds a little bit intimidating right? The truth is, I was nowhere near prepared for the hurricane of craziness that was ‘spring break’. I came home with a headache, several injuries and an empty bank account.
It was also one of the best things I have ever done.
Here are some handy pointers for all you spring break virgins, all taken from the personal experiences of yours truly. Follow this list and I guarantee that your first time will contain maximum ‘woooo’, minimum ‘boooo’. Trust me.
1. Choose your accommodation wisely
Regardless of where your party town of choice is, it’s important to make sure your accommodation is central. Spring break is short and sweet, so you’ll be cramming a lot of activities into a short space of time – don’t waste those precious moments with a long commute back and forth from your hotel or hostel. For some great deals, check out our listings in Cancun, Miami and Cabo San Lucas.
Hostel: Generator Miami. Need we say more?
2. Invest in a student wristband
In most spring break towns, the bars and clubs sell wristband deals. In exchange for a lump sum for your wristband (you’ll need to show a student ID), you get free entry and drinks every night to participating bars and clubs for the duration of your stay. This may feel like a lot of money to spend in the beginning, but it will work out to a huge saving in the end – especially if you’re prone to overusing your bank card after a few piña coladas.
3. Beware of the body shot
Lingering near the bar is a dangerous activity during spring break season. When the shots are flowing this freely, it’s easy to overdo it. Safety should always be your first priority – stay with your friends and keep your wits about you. You’re here for a good time – don’t let it be cut short by a drunken injury!
4. Always keep your shoes on
Even at beach parties. Getting a huge wedge of glass lodged in your foot on the first day will seriously cripple your chances of enjoying future ‘whoohoo’ activities. With so many people blowing off steam around you, the incidence of broken bottles on the ground is pretty high. Commit to your shoes, and they will take care of you.
5. Booze cruise responsibly
It may sound a little tacky, but the party boat excursion is a fun choice. Cabo San Lucas has a gorgeous coastline, and the boat trip I took was a great way to explore the scenery further away from the town… okay, I may have sampled a few beverages too. I also saw one of my unsuspecting shipmates fall overboard… needless to say, when the boat is rocking don’t try and rock back!
6. The camera dilemma
Your camera is useful for documenting every minute detail of an experience where said details would normally be forgotten. This can be both a positive and a negative thing. When worn by a friend, they will do you the courtesy of filming absolutely everything that goes on during your spring break…
So when you return home with a blinding headache, and you find yourself at a loss when trying to recall the previous week, find your camera buddy. They won’t just tell you, they’ll show you. Is that a good thing? Well, it depends on how you like to spend your spring break…
7. Alcohol + tattoos = bad idea
This one speaks for itself.
8. Go for the local brew
For most people, spring break is about drinking, but drinking has a tendency to add up. A great way to protect your pennies is to explore the local beer choices, they’re always cheaper and you get more for your money. Sol was a popular choice with spring breakers in Cabo.
9. Talk to the locals
This may sound near enough impossible when you’re in a town full of tourists in the middle of party season, but you’ll find that most of the staff are locals of a similar age and just as interested in partying. The difference is, they’ve been doing it for longer wherever you are so they’ve probably got a lot of useful advice and some hilarious stories to share. Take the time to have a conversation; you might make some good friends…
10. Try something different
Let’s be honest, even on a five day party stint, you’ll need a break at some point. Take an afternoon off to explore your surroundings. An afternoon of jet skiing and souvenir shopping was one of my favourite memories from Cabo; the beaches are stunning and the seawater is crystal clear. I managed to pick up some cool presents for my friends and sampled some real Mexican tacos – up until that point ‘Taco Bell’ back in California had been my only other taco experience. I now know what a tragedy that was.