1O Tips for an Amazing Spring Break

March 7th, 2014

I love Spring Break so much that I moved to Florida so I can have Spring Break every time I step outside (except during hurricane season, of course).

But that doesn’t mean I had great Spring Breaks as a kid/teen/twenty-something! Quite the opposite.

That’s why I’m posting some tips on how to make the most of your break (assuming you’re going somewhere . . . and even if you’re not, there are still some valuable insights here). I hope after reading this you’ll avoid the mistakes that I, as a rookie Spring Breaker, made. Good luck!

Tip #1:  Make sure you’re traveling with someone who likes to wake up early so he/she can go down to the pool/beach to reserve a sunny spot for you. Preferably a place like this:

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Tip #2: Don’t waste your money on a rental car (there’s never any parking near the beach anyway). The best way to get around is by renting bikes (or walking). That way you can work off all those nachos you had last night (mmm, nachos).

If you rent scooters (like Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal in that 80s cop classic, Running Scared), take corners slowly, or you’ll end up spending your vacation with road burn in the local ER. Ew!

Tip #3: Nothing spoils a vacation faster than sunburn (except road burn), so use sunscreen! You’ll still get a tan.

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Use biodegradable sunscreen if you’re going snorkeling. SPF is good for us but not the coral reef!

Tip #4: Do creepy crawlers love you? They definitely love me (remember when I got lyme disease?).

Always check your beach chair, hat, and towel for living things that might have crawled into them while you were in the bathroom/surf/bar. Nothing’s worse than putting on your sun hat only to have a tick/snake/crab crawl out from under it and into your face (except sunburn and road burn).

Tip #5: Insects aren’t the only creepy crawlers who might try to sneak into your personal space(s)! While there’s always a chance you’ll meet your one true love on vacation, remember what Mom (and the Lifetime Movie Channel) said about strangers with candy (or PBR).

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So just like you should remember to check your sun hat for snakes before putting it on, remember never to drink from an open container that’s been out of your sight, or accept a drink from someone you don’t know well. Take it from a former assistant dorm director (yes, all those stories from the Heather Wells books are true)!

Tip #6: Leave the local wildlife where you found it so others can enjoy it after you (unless of course you have a license to kill it for food, like this guy):

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Tip #7: Whether you’re vacationing or stay-cationing it, if you’ve spent the past few months studying (or shoveling snow), you NEED to relax with a new read!

Only what?  Click here for a breakdown of the most popular books by state, according to Scribd’s e-book library. (I love that  The Princess Diaries is the most checked out Scribd library e-book in Missouri.)

Interested in reading other books based on (fictional) people’s diaries or emails? (I know I can’t resist.) Then you might enjoy:

Daddy Long Legs and Dear Enemy by Jean Webster (only $3.99 for both on the Nook!)

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Daddy Long Legs is about an orphaned girl who’s required to write monthly letters to her rich benefactor, whom she’s never met. (You can probably guess what happens from there, but it’s HOW it happens that’s so great.) Dear Enemy is the pseudo sequel.

Along that same vein, an HR rep and a corporate lawyer hate each other in my epistolary novel told entirely in letters, emails, instant message conversations, minutes from meetings, and diary entries in Boy Meets Girl.

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Did you know the Nazis occupied the Channel Islands in World War II (just outside England)? You can learn history while being uplifted and entertained at the same time with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. (I promise you there is so much humor and romance in this book that you’ll forget the  strange title, and even the Nazis.)

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Do you like re-tellings of famous stories? Epic Reads posted a great chart the other day featuring 162 retellings of fairy tales, classics, myths and more (although they skipped a few of my favorites, including one I wrote,  Avalon High, based on the myth of King Arthur).

They also didn’t include a cool new re-telling of Sleeping Beauty that I just read, While Beauty Slept, (but that’s because While Beauty Slept isn’t YA, it’s adult).

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Like any book nerd, I wondered how Elizabeth Blackwell was going to pull off a historic re-telling of Sleeping Beauty and still have “Beauty” (who is not the narrator) sleep for a hundred years. Well, she does it in an intriguing way. I just noticed People Magazine gave this book a rave review. Great as either a beach or fireside read!

One last Spring Break rec:

In honor of its 50th Anniversary, Random House is releasing a special edition of the amazing Harriet the Spy, with tributes from many authors who adore both Harriet and late author Louise Fitzhugh, including Judy Blume, myself, Lois Lowry, Rebecca Stead, and many more.  If you haven’t read Harriet in a while (or never met her), pay a visit.

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Tip # 8: Obey local laws, even if you don’t understand them.  They’re there for your safety.

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Danger! No pushing over rocks at the beach!

Tip #9: Don’t let your dentist convince you that Spring Break would be an excellent time to remove your wisdom teeth. This actually happened to me. You can read a fictionalized account of it here.

Tip #10: Island style is casual. No need to dress up . . . unless you want to!

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HWSNBNITB and I went tropical style to this year’s Oscar party

Whether you’re stay-cationing (like me) or vacationing this Spring, hope these tips help!

I also hope that all your Spring Break dreams come true, no snakes or ticks crawl out of your hat, and that you get to keep your wisdom teeth. Unless of course you don’t want them.

More later.

Much love,

Meg