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Spring Break Travel Mistakes to Avoid in 2024

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Holly johnson

by Holly Johnson
Last updated: 12:10 PM ET, Sat March 2, 2024

Most people who travel for spring break do so to escape the cold winter weather, and because their local school system gives kids at least a week off from school. Many families book spring break vacations to coastal destinations around the United States, including popular resort spots like Destin or Daytona Beach in Florida, Galveston, Texas or Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. However, family-friendly cruises and all-inclusive resort getaways are also common within the American market.

While spring break can be a ton of fun, there are a range of travel mistakes that come about during peak travel times. Some mistakes take place when families are booking their trip, whereas others can happen during a vacation.

If you want to have the most relaxing spring break vacation you possibly can, here’s a rundown of some of the biggest travel mistakes you should actively avoid.

Booking Last-Minute

Booking a last-minute trip can be fun and exciting, yet there are downsides that come with waiting too long. For example, available hotels, resorts, cruise cabins and vacation rentals start to dwindle the closer you get to your travel dates. If you wait until the last minute, you’ll be stuck choosing from whatever is still available.

It’s sometimes possible to get an excellent deal on last-minute travel, but the opposite can also be true during peak travel times like spring break. If you haven’t booked yet and you’re determined to fly by the seat of your pants, you could wind up paying more than you should for flights, hotels or both.

Being Inflexible 

Another mistake that can take place during the booking process is being totally inflexible on where you travel and when. This is especially true if you’re trying to get a good deal on flights, hotels or a vacation rental. After all, you’ll have a much lower chance at saving money if you’re dead set on staying in a specific place on a specific set of dates.

Our advice? Make a list of destinations, cruises and resorts you would consider, then spend some time shopping around for the best price. 

Saving money for travel

Saving money for travel (Photo Credit: Kittiphan/Adobe Stock)

Not Having a Budget

Another travel mistake is not having a budget to stick to during your trip. This is especially true if you’re taking a vacation where food, drinks and entertainment aren’t included in the upfront booking price.

Without a travel budget set up ahead of time, it’s far too easy to YOLO (you only live once) your way through vacation only to arrive home to a huge credit card bill. This is especially true if you love dining out and partying on spring break, or if you plan to go shopping during your trip.

Group Travel Without a Plan

Traveling with other people has its benefits. You can save money if you share a vacation rental with another family or friend by splitting the cost of a rental and groceries. Group travel can also give you a built-in social network on vacation, and travel with other families gives your kids someone to play with.

Unfortunately, things can go wrong quickly when you travel with a group and don’t have a plan. For example, you might assume you’re splitting costs with others but wind up footing most of the bills. Or, you could expect to have a certain bedroom in your spring break vacation rental only to arrive and be left with sleeping conditions that don’t suit your needs.

If you plan to travel in a group, you’ll have more fun and avoid nasty surprises if you set firm expectations and get everyone on the same page ahead of time.

Forgetting the Sunscreen

Wherever you choose to travel this spring break, don’t forget to bring sunscreen along. But even then, you have to regularly use it to prevent sunburns and the resulting skin damage it can cause.

Prices for sunscreen can also be insanely high if you’re traveling to a major resort area outside the United States or you’re taking a cruise. It’s not uncommon to see a single tube of sunscreen going for $35 or more in popular spring break destinations like Cancun, Mexico or Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Travel agency

Travel advisors have also used Facebook to their advantage. (Photo Credit: Courtesy AdobeStock)

Not Using a Travel Agent

Accessing the expertise and know-how of a travel agent can make booking your travel plans considerably easier. The services of most travel agents are often free as well since these professionals earn commissions from travel brokers when you book and pay for your plans.

Travel agents can be especially helpful when it comes to finding the right resort or nailing down the right cruise itinerary. They can also help you score special discounts or onboard credits you wouldn’t get if you booked on your own.

Not Buying Travel Insurance

You’ll also want to make sure you have travel insurance in place before you travel for spring break, especially if your own health insurance doesn’t apply in the destination you’re traveling to. After all, you’ll want to have coverage for emergency medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation, travel delays and lost or delayed bags at the bare minimum.

If you travel without travel insurance, you should know you’re taking a major risk. You could wind up becoming sick or injured during your trip, in which case you would be on the hook for all the medical bills you rack up. You’ll also be stuck dealing with travel delays, lost luggage and various costs that result on your own.

Expecting Good Weather

Hope for the best but plan for the worst. This piece of advice summarizes how you should plan and pack for spring break when it comes to the weather. You can hope for 80 degree temperatures and sunny skies for the duration of your trip, but you should pack as if it might be rainy, windy or cold. 

This advice is especially relevant if you’re traveling to a beach in the U.S. that isn’t too far south. After all, spring break marks the end of winter for large swaths of the United States, and warmer temperatures may not have reached your travel destination quite yet. 

As an example, the average monthly temperature in Gulf Shores, Alabama is 65 degrees in March. Meanwhile, the average high in March is 66.7 degrees. In Galveston, Texas, the average daily high is 70.4 degrees in March but temperatures have reached as high as 89 degrees.

Ignoring Safety Hazards

If you are faced with safety regulations on spring break, following them could easily save your life. This is especially true in coastal areas where rough surf and undertows can be dangerous — or even life threatening.

As just one example, the state of Florida saw 26 surf-related fatalities in the first half of 2023 alone. Many of these drownings occurred when out-of-state travelers ignored double red flag warnings and headed out into the surf. 

The bottom line: Take safety measures seriously at all times, especially when it comes to swimming in the ocean. Paying attention could mean the difference between life and death.

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