By Thatiana Diaz
March 21, 2016 07:42 PM
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It’s that time of the year: spring break. It’s a week off from responsibilities, where you get to lose the winter blues and live in a bikini top for a week. After all the trip planning, money raising and last-minute packing… you’re ready to go. But before you head off, here are a few pointers on making the best of your vacation.

Do: Invest in a hefty phone case

As they say, “if you didn’t snap it, it didn’t happen.” It’s expected that you have your phone on-hand for the picture-worthy moments that will end up on your Instagram or Snapchat. To avoid having to purchase a new phone or walking around with a cracked screen, it’s best to purchase a waterproof and crack-proof case before your vacation. It will also come in handy when you want to take unique pictures in the ocean or even underwater.

Do: Loose itinerary

Nothing makes a vacation worse than an over planned schedule. Don’t get me wrong— it’s smart to think of the activities you’re interested in doing but don’t stress it if you don’t get to do it all. You probably won’t even get to half of them with the time you spend having unplanned fun or laying on the beach. Take each day as it comes.

Do: Use sunscreen

Tans are awesome but sunburns… not so much. Be sure to pack a sunscreen and re-apply throughout the day, especially after swimming. Don’t take too much sun too quickly— if you know that you will be outside during the whole break, try to spend some time under shade or invest in some cute hats. You don’t want to be burnt or peeling (ouch!) halfway through your vacation.

Do: Budget yourself

Money could be easily spent under the influence of alcohol. We get it, money is necessary but just be smart about it. Give yourself a limit for the entire trip or better yet, a daily limit. And so you’re not sitting there trying to solve math problems in your head, only take your daily limit in cash in your wallet. Of course, emergency credit card is necessary to take with you but between you and your friends make a punishment for anyone who uses theirs. For example, anyone who spends over their daily limit has to be the official photographer for the day and anyone in the group who wants a picture taken relies on that person. Trust me, it could get annoying!

Do: Give yourself a back-to-life day

It’s important to take advantage of everyday you get off but it’s also important not to jump back into reality with a week-worthy hangover. Arrive two days before break is over to give you an entire day to rest, relax or maybe even catch up on homework. You’ll thank us later when you aren’t struggling to get through your AM class. 

Do: Have fun

The must-do is to enjoy every minute of it. You will be avoiding the craziness of Spring Break once you’re out of college and in the workplace so take advantage of it now. Avoid over-using your phones, get up early and have the time of your life.

See also: 8 signs you survived Spring Break

Don’t: Over-pack

Yes, it is a cliché to say don’t over-pack but it’s also a tip that doesn’t hurt to hear again. We all want to look cute, but do you really want to carry heavy bags throughout the airport and into the hotel? Also, fewer items mean less responsibility.  And let’s be honest, you will be a bikini top and shorts most of the time.

Don’t: Bring valuables

Please leave your expensive handbags and diamond earrings at home. Bring affordable items that won’t kill your spirits if you lose. TBH… nobody wants to hear you cry over your Tiffany earrings that fell in the water. You’ll have less to worry about and you could truly enjoy your vacation.

Don’t: Get bad attention

Spring break is famous for the crazy parties and outrageous behavior. It’s common to see videos and photos of girls stripping for the camera, drinking from the keg upside-down or even dancing on poles. Try to avoid being one of those partygoers. Whatever goes on the Internet stays on the Internet, and you would hate to have that follow you into your job-applying days.  

Don’t: Bring drama

Leave the drama at home. Having beef with one of your friends? Mom is mad at you? Boyfriend problems? Leave it all behind and worry about it once you get back. Don’t be the Debbie Downer of the group and make it all about you and your problems. If you have a boyfriend coming along in this group trip, avoid all arguments. Make a pact to talk about anything that could’ve bothered either of you once you get back home.

Don’t: Hookup with anyone in your group

As much as we’d love for the phrase “what happens in Mexico (or anywhere else), stays in Mexico” to be true— that’s not always the case. If you want to have a fun (and safe!) hookup while on vacation, make sure it’s not someone from your group unless it’s a crush and you’re finally ready to make a move. If so, good for you! However, if it’s a friend, avoid at all costs. Once you’re back to reality, it might ruin the dynamic of your group of friends or make things awkward.

Don’t: Go Clueless

Get to know the area you’re visiting before you get there. A little research could go a long way. Most, if not all, destination spots have a tourist-friendly website that will tell you of the best spots including beaches, restaurants and shops. Ask around if you know any other friends or family members who might have visited the area. It will help to know these recommendations to take away a little of trip planning stress.