Getaway Spots for College Students

April 15, 2015 in Alive Campus, Travel

Taking weekend trips is ideal for college students looking to break free from the stress of school. There are so many different and exciting places FSU students have the option of visiting when they wish to escape from the beloved city of Tallahassee for just a few days. I personally love to travel during breaks or simply for a weekend trip when my wallet is intact. Here are a few suggestions for affordable and exciting getaways:

Universal: Universal Studios has recently expanded their attractions significantly by adding an entire new Harry Potter section, which connects via train ride from the Islands of Adventure Harry Potter side. I went recently for my spring break and was baffled by how realistic they’ve made these attractions in comparison with that of the movies, so be sure to visit! Florida residents and FSU students receive discounts on tickets, and hotels are always generally reasonably priced. If you stay at the on-site hotels, you receive express passes all day to skip the regular lines. It’s certainly worth the extra money!

Harry Potter World

Harry Potter World

Disney World: Disney is probably my favorite place in the entire world, despite all of the little kids running around screaming for Mickey and ice cream. Florida residents and FSU students often receive discounts on hotels and tickets depending on the time of year, so take advantage while you can, because those Disney prices certainly are not going down! But I promise, it’s still worth it. It’s only about a 3 and a half hour drive from Tallahassee, which calls for a long weekend getaway.

Music Festivals: I attended the Tortuga Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale this past weekend, which consisted of country bands playing all day on the sunny, sandy beach. It’s a two-day event in which singers such as Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown Band, Jake Owen take the stage. Beer and food is sold all day long, but be prepared to wait because it gets absolutely packed. Music festivals are great for the spring and summer months, especially for college students who enjoy the party scene and dressing in funky clothing.

Tortuga Music Festival

Tortuga Music Festival

Cruises: Several students will go on cruises during their spring break, usually on Carnival Cruise Line since they offer great prices and the food is all-inclusive. I have been on Royal Caribbean cruises during my spring break quite a few times and would highly recommend it to other students. The cruises usually leave out of Tampa, Miami, or Ft. Lauderdale, so you will have to drive if you choose this route for summer or spring break.

New York: I always go home to New York for winter and summer breaks. However, several students who live in Florida fly there around Christmas time to see the tree/ lights/ etc., which is always a great choice for vacation. New York City never gets old. There are two airports to fly into in NYC, making it easy to find an affordable price if you search hard enough. My suggestion is to drive to a city like Jacksonville or Orlando since the Tallahassee airport has sky-high prices.

New Orleans: While I have never personally been to New Orleans, I know several FSU students that have gone for sorority and fraternity retreats, or just for the weekend. Mardi Gras is a huge event that students will take advantage of during the month of March.

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras

Panama City Beach: This is only for those who enjoy the party scene at its best. At about a 2-hour drive from Tallahassee, students will go for either spring break or spring weekend. Spring weekend occurs in the middle of April and is basically just a weekend full of students drinking on the beach.

Transportation: FSU students are always open to carpooling in order to save gas money. There’s even a page Facebook specifically for FSU students looking for rides to south Florida for those who want to go home for the weekend or fly out of another airport. The Red Coach bus is also a convenient way of traveling to and from south Florida. It has free wifi, outlets, and tvs for entertainment during the long ride, in addition to recliner chairs. It’s a little pricey, but well worth it.

Red Coach Bus

Red Coach Bus

With a variety of options to choose from, it’s time to start planning your next getaway! Next stop: summer!

Say Hello to the Holidays!

November 28, 2014 in Alive Campus, Colleges, Travel

Let the holiday season and the abundance of delicious cuisine begin! It’s Thanksgiving break, college is out for the week, and students are scurrying back home. Say goodbye to schoolwork and the usual dining hall meals and say hello to the family and mom’s homecooked turkey, sweet potatoes, and fruit pies. Being a Southern California native, used to sporting dresses and sandals in the winter but now bundling up in layers of sweaters, scarves, and everything warm in Boston, I longed to return back home and soak up the rays of the sun. I’m very fortunate to be writing this article as I sit in my backyard sipping a cold lemonade on an 80 degree day. However, because Emerson has a high out-of-state and international student percentages, not all students had the advantage to leave, due to finance and traveling concerns.

Where do Emerson students go for the Holidays?

To be honest, Emersonians go where the food is. This sounds a bit comedic, but it’s true. Fresh, homecooked meals that aren’t associated with the dining hall is all a student needs during the break. Many students who live in New England and along the East Coast go back home for break. They reunite with family, stuff their mouths, and enjoy the coziness of their home. My roommate who is from Framingham, MA (30 minutes outside of Boston) is spending the break with her close family and friends. Although I returned back to Cali, there are very few West Coasters traveling, instead, they’re staying with relatives nearby or spending Thanksgiving with roommate(s). Emerson dorms are also open for Thanksgiving, thus some students have that option of staying in 30 degree New England weather.

Thanksgiving food is the best kind of food!

Prior to college, I was never able to wrap my head around this statement, but now in college, I find it incredibly true. College goes by so fast. It’s already Thanksgiving break, and next week marks the two week countdown for winter break. But instead of one week off, students get one month off! Because Emerson closes during winter break, a large majority of students return home for the holiday season.

What are my plans for winter break? Spend time with my family during Christmas, then travel with my closest friends up to the Northern California. My friends and I have been planning a winter roadtrip for the past few months, similar to the one we did last summer. Because winter break is the second longest (summer being the first), students travel and make the most spontaneous memories as possible. Some go on family trips to Hawaii or the Carribean, others go backpacking up North and enjoy the wildnerness. Either way, winter break is always worthwhile because the semester has ended and no schoolwork is required.

How to Plan Your Breaks?

Are you looking to have a fun and memorable holiday break? Are you unsure of what to do and where to go? Are money or time keeping you from traveling or living up your life? Do you want some fun tips or suggestions on how to spend an unforgettable holiday? If you answered “yes” to any of the questions, read below!

1. Consider your budget - OK, maybe you can’t go to Hawaii or ride horses on the beaches in Mexico, but what you can do is be adventorous and discover new activities and places in your home area. If you live along the coast, consider a roadtrip. For Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington folks, you are home to some of the most bucket list worthy and scenic destinations. Consider Big Sur, Santa Cruz, Yosemite, Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rainer, and Mount Hood.

Last summer, my three friends and I went on a roadtrip from San Diego to San Francisco on a $400 budget, which was perfect. We camped along the coast in Santa Monica, Big Sur, and Santa Cruz and reserved our campsites months ahead of time, to save money and stress. We went grocery shopping days before leaving, brought a mini stove, cooked our food the entire trip, and split the costs of gas and basic necessities. If you’re a nature person, hiker, or traveler, consider this option for a holiday break. Roadtrips usually range from 3 days to several weeks. Just an idea, but a beautiful and truly rewarding one.

The sunset view from my campsite in Big Sur. Consider this breathtaking town for an aestheically pleasing trip.

2. Take advantage of your hometown - If a roadtrip isn’t practical for you, that’s OK. You can still have a memorable break while staying home. Chances are, you haven’t been EVERYWHERE or have seen EVERYTHING in your hometown. If you live in a city, explore! Go on Google Maps and type in theatre, comedy, music, cafe, film, art, museum, etc… Research activities to do and jump on them. Discover hidden gems in your backyard, take the train or subway around the city, go to a few concerts or festivals, try new food in Chinatown or Little Italy, and have a curious mindset! Remember, YOU are in control of your break, no one else.

Always explore your surroundings, dream big, and discover new possibilities.

3. Get a unique job - Don’t grown or roll your eyes. Working can be fun, depending on the uniqueness of the work. My best friend recently told me that she’s applying to work on a cruise ship this winter, and my other friends will be studying marine life in Monterey Bay and working as tour guides at Yosemite National Park. First, ask yourself what you love. Do you enjoy painting, writing, hiking, dancing, or cooking? There’s a special job calling your name in every passion. Volunteer at an art museum, become a camp counselor, attend a poetry workshop or journalism program, work at an exotic hotel or music venue, make pies or sweet treats at a french bakery! The options are endless, and you have the power to decide.

This job may seem scary at first, but being a tour guide is a fun way to earn money, to meet different people, and to gain more knowledge on the area.

Why You Should Travel During Breaks

November 20, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges, Travel

If there’s one thing a college student knows, it’s the pain and disappointment that follows viewing your bank account after a weekend out. You got a little too drunk and ordered a pizza for you and your friend and insisted on paying for the whole thing. Maybe you were trying to get lucky so you bought that girl 2 rounds of drinks, just to have her sleep at somebody else’s house. No matter how you’ve learned it, you’ve learned how hard it is to hold onto your money in college in one way or another. Once you lose money that way, don’t you feel like an idiot? Like none of it was really worth it? Maybe you wish you could have saved that money to put it toward something useful?

This is where traveling comes in. College is one of the few times where you really aren’t anchored to one place. Sure, you attend college in one particular city or town, but you only have class a few days a week. And if you have a serious job in your college career that you definitely can’t take time off from, then a) congratulations and holy shit, and b) stop reading this article/anything I write because it will not relate to you, you beautiful over-achieving bastard. Use this time in your life to explore the country. You’re going to be broke throughout your college career and well into your post-grad life, so why not do something awesome with the time you have?

Make a fund. Use your savings account to deposit a sum of money weekly from your paycheck. It doesn’t have to be the whole thing, but it has to be enough to make an impact. Spend a weekend in someplace cool you’d never have thought you’d find yourself, like Austin, TX or San Diego, CA. It’ll be weird, it’ll be crazy, but most importantly it will be life changing. Even if the one thing you take away from the trip is “I could never live there,” then the trip was a success. You tried something out, and now that city is off your list of places you might live.

Three years ago I went to New Orleans for Mardis Gras. I was 19, and looking to see some random boobies. I got what I went for. But what’s most important is that I fell in love with a city I would have never even thought I’d visit. Because of this one random trip I took, I ended up going back twice more, and am going for a 4th time this weekend. It is the most incredible city I’ve ever been to and is not even worth describing. It is a city that must be experiences to be understood and believed. Each time I return from New Orleans, my bank account is empty from the airfare and the spending I do while I’m down there, but I’m never disappointed when I look at my bank account. It was just another trip packed with awesome memories, and is one more reason for me to move there after I graduate.

You may never have the luck I had, with my first random city being the one I choose to live in after college. You may have better luck, by finding the city you love and someone to fall in love with while you’re there. But you should never say “I can’t, I’m too broke.” That’s your fault. I’ve yet to hear of a college town without work opportunities within walking distance of the campus. If you don’t have a car, take a walk and apply these places and start saving. If the only learning you do during your college years is in the classroom, you’ve done something terribly wrong, so start experiencing life.

College Breaks: What We Live For

September 19, 2014 in Alive Campus, Events, Travel

Leaving for breaks

Leaving for breaks

As a college student at a military school, college breaks, or furloughs as we call them, are what all cadets look forward to. We are constantly counting down the days until we get to leave the dreaded institute, talking about where we are going and what we will be doing. It’s the only thing we have to look forward to and keep us sane since it feels like we live in a prison. The breaks we have to look forward to include Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring, and Summer.

Thanksgiving break is the first one on the countdown and is a much needed break. Most of us are worn out already from the gruesome semester thus far and appreciate the almost week-long break. Although it may only be a week long, it is still time we don’t have to spend at the school. Most cadets go home for this break. The exception would be those of us who are not in-state students. Cadets who are not in-state and cannot afford to go home usually get an offer from a classmate who lives in Virginia and go home with them during the break. My freshman year I was lucky enough to get the chance to go to Hawaii with the band. It was an awesome experience! And my sophomore year I ended up going home with one of my classmates. There’s always some place to stay.

The next break is the wonderful Christmas break. Cadets really look forward to this break. I know I do. The reason I love this break is because I don’t have to worry about doing any homework over this break like I do during Thanksgiving. My finals are done and I can relax. Almost everyone goes home for this break, even the out-of-state cadets because it is a longer break. It averages around two-three weeks and is plenty of time to go home and spend time with family for the holidays. I go back to Missouri for Christmas break every year and I’m really glad I have that opportunity. Being away from home is hard and after four months it’s nice to return for a break. The hardest part is going back to school once the break is over.

After returning in January and getting back to the grind, it is nice when Spring break finally rolls around. It’s the de-thawing break after a long winter. This is the break where all of the beach trips occur. The break lasts a little over a week and most cadets like to head some place warm. My sophomore year I went down to Florida with my school Glee club and had a great time going to the beach and soaking up the sun. This past spring break I went to Myrtle Beach with my school pep band and had a blast. The beach was gorgeous and the night life was great. I definitely recommend any place with a beach for spring break.

Finally the last and best break of all is Summer break! This is my absolutely favorite break of all because I get to get away from the institute and go home for 3 months. Once they release us for summer furlough, cadets go wild and try to get out of town as soon as they can. It’s like a mass exodus. All cadets go home for summer break and do varying things. The out-of-state cadets all head home as well as the overseas students. Some have summer jobs, get internships or take summer classes back home. Others take classes at the institute or have military training with their respective branch if they plan on commissioning. I personally go home and take classes and work. The range is very versatile as to what cadets do with their summers. But the one thing still remains the same…we’re all just happy to be away from the institute.

College Travel Guide: What to do During Breaks

September 5, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life

map of the world

map of the world

Fall Break- Fall break is awesome because although it is short, it is a time to take a quick vacation to break up the semester.  Some students like to go home, others like to go to beach houses to relax with friends, and others like to take short trips to get away from studying.  Another fun activity to do during your fall break is to go to a concert, museum, or visit another friend who lives out of your home state.

Thanksgiving Break- Thanksgiving break is usually a time students take to spend with family.  It is usually a short break; so many students decide to go home.  But, if you like to travel, this break is a great time to possibly take a small trip.  Students can also utilize this time to do some intense “Black Friday” shopping.

Summer Break- Summer break is basically a free-for-all.  Students will do anything from an internship, a study abroad trip; take a summer class, or just work.  Also, students will take this time to go on vacations or spend time with family.  Possible summer trips could be:

Winter Break- Winter break is also a time that students can go home, study abroad for school credit, or just go on other vacations with family.  Study abroad during the winter intercession; allow students who are looking for a short study abroad experience, as well as a way to knock out some class credit during winter break.

Spring Break- Longwood University offers a program called Alternative Spring Break for students.  This program allows students to sign up for service projects, in the states and abroad.  Many students utilize this time to help others, as well as make lasting memories during their week-long break.

  • Here is a link to Longwood University’s Alternative Spring Break Page:

For me, typically I go home on spring break, or I go visit my family.  Last year, I surprised my cousin on her 21st birthday, and stayed with her to celebrate during my spring break.

Need Transportation?

Some good methods for transportation to get to and from somewhere for a break would be possibly a bus system (if you school has one), that takes you home to your local area.  You can also hitch a ride with a friend or someone else from your school that lives close to you.  Another way you can find transportation to and from school for a break would be to go onto your school’s “ride board” and post where you are going, when, and your contact information.