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!

Spring Break Destinations

March 6, 2015 in Alive Campus, Colleges, Events, Travel

In the spirit of spring break being this coming week (for some college students) or the following week, I have decided to write about popular destinations for spring break. Here are the top 4 places that college students must go, at least once, before graduating from college.

Spring Break 2015!

Spring Break 2015!

Miami, FL: I know that for some college students this may be an overrated place to go for spring break, but if you want to experience the feeling of a real spring break then this is a must go destination. Going to the beach, enjoying the nice weather, especially if you live in a state where it is cover with snow (I live in Boston, MA). Miami is also a place where the night life is active. If you enjoying going to the clubs, drinking (if you are 21 or older) or enjoying the music and environment then this is a great place to go. If you want to have a great time without going to the clubs then going to theme part like Islands of Adventures or Disney Downtown is a great way to spend some of your spring break.

Acapulco, Mexico: This is another popular place to go during spring break. Some may say not to go to Mexico because it has become a dangerous country, and it is true, but if you do decide to travel to Acapulco, just travel with cautious. Despite its dangerous environment, Acapulco, is a wonderful place to travel to. It has wonderful beaches and the weather is great. Since this is a popular destination for spring breakers, then there are a lot of parties and events happening during the month of March, for college students to enjoy. Acapulco is also tourist friendly, so it is okay to travel to Acapulco without speaking Spanish.

Las Vegas, Nevada: If you want to have a great time then going to Las Vegas is another must go. I know some of the people reading this might had already traveled to Las Vegas before with either their family or with other people, but going to Las Vegas for spring break is another unique experience. There are the casinos, clubs, and other activities that are fun and enjoyable to do. If you want to have a once in a life time experience then go to Las Vegas for spring break.

Puerto Rico: This is another destination to go to for spring break. Like Miami, Puerto Rico has wonderful beaches and at night, there are many clubs and activities to do that will make you wonder why you have not travel to Puerto Rico before, at least that’s what the reviews say, but like every review they can be wrong. So just go to Puerto Rico and experience it yourself!

There are many places to travel to for spring break, but deciding which one is the most fun to experience is difficult. As a college student, it is necessary to travel to one of these four destinations at least once before graduating because you will have the wonderful experience of a college spring break. 

Winter Wonderland: NYC Edition

November 28, 2014 in Alive Campus, Travel

Winter Break: Ugly Christmas Sweater Weather

Winter Break: Ugly Christmas Sweater Weather

While on a first date, I was randomly asked what my favorite season was. Without missing a beat, I responded, “The end of fall and the beginning of winter—when all of the leaves have finished falling and snowflakes have begun to fall from the skies on a near-daily basis.” Thankfully, my date wasn’t one of those guys who thought that being a Winter Wonderland enthusiast was a bad thing. Although the relationship with that one boy didn’t last very long, my relationship with the “hot cocoa and cuddling near a fireplace” season is ever lasting.

Now that Thanksgiving break is behind us, we can all start planning our Winter Break itinerary. As a Brooklyn-bred New York State student, I’m privileged enough to take a single bus ride down from upstate New York and into the Big Apple for my month long vacation away from the ‘Nell. Considering my love of the cold season, I’ve acquired quite the bucket list of wintry activities, five of which I will share:

Max Brenner's Chocolate Milkshakes

Max Brenner’s Chocolate Milkshakes

“I’m kind of craving chocolate.”
In a nutshell: Serendipity 3, Jacques Torres Chocolates, and Max Brenner Chocolatier. These three havens, as I like to call them, serve up some of the richest, creamiest, most scrumptious chocolate treats in any and all forms imaginable—frozen hot chocolate, anyone? For those with a sweet tooth, or who simply want a chance to dip strawberries in chocolate fondue and roast a marshmallow over an authentic fire, these three chocolatiers are your holiday hot spots.

“Babe, let’s hold hands as we skate the night away.”
You’ve seen all the romance films—some might even call them Chick Flicks. The two main leads are cascading across the ice rink, gloved hands intertwined as one attempts to not slip and the other laughs because their date is such a klutz. There’s a moment where one is about to slip, and when everything is calm, and the hyena laughing has died down, their eyes meet. This is the moment when they realize that they’re in love. Everyone wants to moment. When I think of places to bring my date in the hopes that he’ll almost slip and our eyes meet—hopefully we haven’t both fallen and received concussions—the Central Park ice skating rink comes to mind.

Christopher-James indulging in a Serendipity Frozen Hot Chocolate

Christopher-James indulging in a Serendipity Frozen Hot Chocolate

“Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree!”
Rockefeller Center has an annual night in which the Norway spruce tree is lit up, dazzling the crowd with a wondrous show of neon lights and snowflake shadows. The crowds go crazy with cheers, Christmas spirit, and the inevitable instagram photo-ops. There’s something otherworldly about being in that crowd the moment the tree lights up.

“3, 2, 1…Happy New Year!”
You see it on the television screen every year. In fact, you attend a party where the huge television screen plays a live feed of New York City’s Time Square New Year’s Eve celebration. One day, you actually choose to take the subway ride over to 42nd street. You arrive just in time–and by that, I mean you arrive several hours before midnight so that you can get into the center of the craziness. You fight off all of the other tourists, and continue to sweat from having to hold in all of your pee. You think this is all so stupid, when suddenly, the 60 second countdown begins. You look around, and everyone starts to yell out the numbers. You begin to do the same. When 0 hits, everyone cheers and you feel a sense of exhilaration. You are part of something huge.

“Stay in and be cozy.”
And my favorite activity, staying home, sitting next to the fireplace, dressed in my Snuggie, sipping on a cup of hot cocoa with five marshmallows floating on top of the foam.

It’s Vacation! Now What?

August 9, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Events, Travel

In my past four years of school, I did not do a lot of travelling during my breaks. It’s not that I didn’t want to, but times are different from when your parent’s when to school. Now a days students have to spend their breaks working to get that little extra bit of money in their pockets. Since freshman year I think I’ve only been to Salem, Mass and Miami, Florida. Both trips were a blast but get that party movie scene out of your head because unfortunately you will very likely not be able to experience this.

Thanksgiving is the first vacation you have after school starts and it isn’t anything special really. It’s nice to be home for a couple of days and relax but you don’t get to relax too much because you have a mountain of homework that is due when you get back. The best way to have fun during Thanksgiving Break is to hang out with your friends during the day but then do your homework in the evening. Even get ahead of your work if you can because as soon as you get back first semester finals are just around the corner and your hair will be turning grey from all the studying. Yes, that can really happen and it did happen to me! Get ahead if you dare!

Winter Break is a bit different because you have a lot more time to enjoy yourself and no assignments due when you get back. But essentially it is all about working. You need to that cash to pay for next semesters books and Christmas presents for your family. It nice though because all of your friends will be home for most of the month and of course there are presents for you! 

As you would probably guess Spring Break is one of the biggest when it comes to college vacations. Not really sure why, I mean it really is only a week! Maybe its the stir craziness of having to stay in all winter, but regardless students go crazy for it! The top most  visited college break places are…

  1. Panama City Beach, FL
  2. Santa Monica Beach, CA
  3. South Beach, FL
  4. Gulf Shores Beach, AL
  5. Port Aransas, TX
  6. Main Beach (Santa Cruz), CA
  7. Venice Beach, CA
  8. Fort Myers Beach, FL
  9. Cocoa Beach, FL
  10. Mission Beach, CA
I was lucky enough to be in South Beach this past Spring Break and I was unbelievable! Got a burn that thankfully turned into a nice tan as well as plenty of good memories. 
Summer vacation is essentially the same as winter break but you see less of your friends. Summer time is crunch time to get things done! Work as much as possible, save your money, do an internship or two, build up your resume, anything you can think of. Summer time is the time to build your resume for after college it is the most free time you have possible during the year it is a time to use it to your advantage. 
No matter what vacation it is you always have to think about transport. Normally you won’t be going too far away from home but sometimes it still i a challenge but their are plenty of options to get to where you need to go. Parent’s, carpool, bus, train, plane, whatever works for you really their is no wrong way to get to your vacation.

Vacations: Think Small, Not Big

August 7, 2014 in Alive Campus, Travel

Road Trip

Road Trip

One question I’ll ask myself again and again when I see Facebook pictures of people vacationing in London or the Bahamas is: how the hell can they afford that?

My family is probably on the lower end of the middle class. We haven’t gone on a big vacation since I was in Kindergarten, and we went to Disney World. I know how hard my parents work, and I’m content with not having any fancy vacations. In fact, some of the best vacations I’ve been on are the low budget, and closer to home ones. In middle school, I stayed in my Uncle’s cabin in Maine for a week or two with my cousins, and I’d definitely go back.

This summer, my friends and I decided to stay at my friend’s aunt’s house in South Yarmouth in Cape Cod for a few days. Only two of us could make it, but our low expectations for the weekend allowed more room for fun. My friend Michael and I had decided to drive up on Fourth of July morning. Keep in mind that there was supposed to be bad weather that weekend, and possibly a hurricane. Despite that, we got in Michael’s car and left. It started off fine, but then there were torrential downpours, relentlessly covering the windshield. I screamed at Michael to pull over, but he refused, saying people wouldn’t be able to see us, and we’d get hit. Anyhow, we went slow, the rain eventually cleared up, and we made it mostly in one piece.

“Look what the cat dragged in,” Elizabeth’s dad said as we came in, bags in hand. We laughed and greeted her family. We put our stuff down upstairs where we’d be sleeping, and drove to the beach nearby to see the sand sculptures Elizabeth had raved about.

I used to vacation on Cape Cod with my family. We’d rent a cottage with family friends, go to the beach, and eat lobster until we felt sick (no exaggeration). So, going back made me feel like a kid again, and I know Michael and Elizabeth felt the same way. We played Ladder Ball outside, hung out at the beach, went to a cookout, and oddly enough played many games of Monopoly, most of which were not played by the rules. We also went mini golfing at Pirate’s Cove, staying local and low key. The entire weekend I barely spent any money. Elizabeth’s aunt cooked for us, and we went to the cookout. I only paid for mini golfing and chipped in for gas.

A vacation like this is for the average person. Most people I know don’t have enough money or time for an elaborate one. If you don’t have time for a few days, a day trip is always an option. What was supposed to be a simple local beach trip with my friends from school, turned into a drive to Newport for the day. A friend of mine goes there often and lives nearby. She showed us around and we drove by the beautiful mansions. We even saw a few couples getting married, which we bugged out about and obviously tried to see as much as we could. We went to the beach and ended the day with much needed seafood and burgers. Again, there wasn’t a lot of spending involved.

When people think vacation, they tend to think big, but a vacation can be anywhere. Somewhere old or somewhere new. As cliché as this sounds, who you’re spending it with will really determine how much fun you have. Smaller trips can be better than bigger ones because you won’t be spending your life savings, and there is room for more than one trip. Smaller vacations come with low expectations, small budgets, and almost no itinerary. Forget blowing money on plane tickets, and map out a spontaneous road trip.