Cancun is one of the top spring break destinations, but not necessarily the best time of year for a family-friendly visit. This travel ritual is one that US college students may experience at least once in their lives, if for anything more than to observe the craziness. As spring break lovers graduate from college, get married and start families, they may realize that they need an adult spring break.
A group of coworkers asked me to put together a long weekend getaway to Cancun in hopes of relieving a bit of stress. We took a group flight from New Orleans and as we stepped off the plane, we regressed back to our student days and acted as if we hadn’t a care in the world.
Here are a few tips from our budget ($370/person) spring break at an all-inclusive beachfront resort in Cancun:
Make Sure Your Passport is Valid: Nothing can put a wrench in your international spring break travel plans than getting to the airport and finding out your passport is too close to the expiration date to board your plane. Don’t have a passport? New travel rules require US citizens to present a passport for travel to and from Mexico.
Bring a Large Insulated Cup: Before departure, a few of us went to the local Walmart and purchased those oversized insulated plastic glasses with tops and handles. We harnessed our inner sorority girl and spent an evening painting names and little pictures all over the mugs with the words “Spring Break for Big Kids”.
Tip the Bartender: On the day of arrival, we made sure to introduce our group to the poolside bartender and gave him a big tip. This insured that we always had prompt bar service and there was no problem in filling up our insulated cups, which were 4 times the size of the little resort plastic cups.
Pack the Basics: A spring break getaway is probably the easiest to pack for. Make sure you have swimsuits, a few sundresses and sunscreen. Of course, a small makeup bag is in order, but you won’t need to wear too much war paint once the sun kisses your face.
Take an Excursion: Most hotels and tour companies work with local tour providers that offer packaged day trips. I’m all for getting off the beaten path, but with a group, I think it’s best to book with someone more equipped to cart around a large number of people. Our entire group met with the booking agent and broke off into smaller groups for excursions that satisfied various interests. The excursions included parasailing, historical tours, snorkeling, and various other activities (such as tequila tasting). A few people opted to relax at the pool and enjoy the resort facilities and unlimited domestic drinks.
Nightlife: Spring break inevitably means visiting a few nightclubs to enjoy a local libation (or two or three) and dancing. We booked spots on a party bus that included transportation and entrance to popular hotspots. We were given those infamous plastic bracelets which entitled us to a drink at each club. The downside to this? The party bus includes a ride TO the nightclubs, but inebriated travelers must find a taxi back to the resort. Be sure to tuck away enough Pesos for that return ride or you may find yourself stranded.
Safety: Be respectful of all law enforcement officials. If not, you just may find yourself in a Mexican jail. Also, when traveling during spring break, stay with people you know and don’t go off alone. Be sure to leave the jewelry and electronics at home.
Sprink break can be a great time for travelers of all ages to relax, have fun and blow off some steam. Use a little common sense and remember that you’re in a different country, with different rules. Courtesy and a smile will get you much further than a surly attitude. Be sure to bring home a few goodies for those who stayed at home – just make sure it’s all legal! Have fun and enjoy spring break 2010 in Cancun.
They say what happens in Cancun stays in Cancun, but for some people that isn’t an easy rule to follow. One couple became engaged on our trip, while another brought home a souvenir that was delivered nine months later!
Before traveling internationally, be sure to check current travel warnings issued by the US State Department.