I feel as though I lost every ounce of dignity on Spring Break. What’s worse is that I don’t regret any of it. —Someecards
Ah, Spring Break. This is that time of year when I exercise just a bit of old man indignation because there was no Spring Break for anyone not in college until after I was out of college. I’m sure I have my own generation to blame for that. We had entirely too much fun back in the early 80s and decided we needed to keep the annual tradition going despite the fact we were supposed to be gainfully employed. We kept taking vacations in March and April and as our children hit school age we insisted on taking them with us. So now, even elementary schools let out for Spring Break.
More than anything, I’m jealous. I’ve not been on a real Spring Break trip since 1984. I’m always working through this time of year, so the very concept of taking a week off to go play on a beach just doesn’t work for me and the same is true for Kat. Even if we could take the time off, we likely wouldn’t be able to take some long road trip to Florida or North Carolina. Travel is expensive and we’re on a budget.
How much does Spring Break cost now? Travel site Orbitz lists the top Spring Break destinations along with the average hotel rates. $216 a night in Orlando. $335 a night for Cancun. Fort Meyers is $236 and Miami is $228. Add in food, travel costs, and copious amounts of alcohol and sunscreen and you’re looking at $2,500 or more for the week. Who the fuck can afford that when there are bills to pay?
However, do not be disheartened. Just because we may not be able to afford an exotic Spring Break vacation, we can, at least, pretend that we are one of the cool kids and fake our way through Spring Break. Just because we’re responsible with our finances doesn’t mean we can’t give the impression that we know how to have fun, too. Here are some tips for totally faking your Spring Break.
- Find a really big sandbox and roll around in it until your clothes are all full of sand. Make sure you are wearing your shoes. That way, you can walk into work or Aldi’s complaining that you still have sand in everything as you pull sand from your pockets or brush it out of your purse.
- Walk around with sunscreen on your face. A lot of sunscreen. While the UV index isn’t very high in Indiana this time of year, it is in Jamaica and you can’t be too careful with your skin. There’s even this article for how to reapply sunscreen over a face full of makeup. You may look silly, but your skin will be safe.
- Carry travel brochures in your purse or iPad case. When co-workers see them, talk about how exhausting the trip was and say something about needing a vacation to recover from your vacation. Make sure you’ve Goggled the weather for the past week at your destination, though. There’s nothing as bad as talking about how much fun you were having on the beach when there were actually torrential rains and flooding.
- Swap houses with a friend for the week so your neighbors will think you have someone house sitting for you. In a way, this is a fairly cool vacation on its own. You get to sleep in a different bed, eat food from someone else’s pantry, and rifle through their personal belongings. Sure, they’re doing the same thing at your house, but you hid all the sex toys before leaving, didn’t you?
- Spend way too much time in a tanning bed. Now, we all know this is bad for you. Sunburns are bad for you. And most tanning salons monitor the number of visits you have in a week, so you will have to mix it up between two or three places. But you can’t pretend to go on an exotic Spring Break and come back with the same pasty skin as when you left. Go extreme. You only live once, right?
- Don’t sleep for a couple of days. While Spring Break is supposed to be refreshing, if you come back actually feeling refreshed you didn’t do it right. So, what you’ll want to do is stock up on the energy drinks and binge watch all the combined episodes of every iteration of NCIS that is on Netflix. That should guarantee your eyes look just as tired and bloodshot as though you’d been partying with the best.
- Wear a bikini under your clothes in place of a bra, because, you know, you just got into the habit while you were on the beach and this is just so much more comfortable.
- Take pictures in your swimsuit and photoshop a beach into the background. There are plenty of stock photography websites where you can get pictures of beaches from around the world. For even more fun, talk some random strangers into taking the photos with you. Do it right and everyone will think you were the life of the party!
- Talk constantly about the new “friend” you met on the “beach.” Give them a cool name and make sure they’re from a cool place. Develop a reasonable back story for them and a good reason why, even though they gave you the most wonderful nights of your life, you can never, ever see them again.
- Spend the next two weeks “recovering.” Your boss and co-workers won’t expect anything less. In fact, if you recover too quickly, they’ll know you were faking the whole thing. Complain about jet lag and how something you ate totally disagreed with your body and, god, the sunburn!
Not everyone can afford to annually revisit the locations of some of our greatest heartbreaks and biggest regrets, and I’m not sure we really want to. Sometimes it is better to just hold on to the memories of our youth and not try to recreate those college days even though we’re over 40. Way over 40. We still have the memories of those nights in Mazatlan. Maybe that’s enough.