Spring break season is just starting for college kids and there are tons of last-minute vacation options. But not every trip is considered safe and parent friendly. Family travel expert Kerri Zane shares a few last-minute spring break 2014 options that will please both kids and parents in her March Window Seat or Aisle Seat column.
It’s spring break season and your teens are looking forward to a fun-filled getaway of soaking up the sun all-day and partying all night. You want them to have a good time too, but you’re probably also concerned about their safety. As a single mom of two young adult daughters, I know I am. So, I sought out to find some spring break destinations that offer a great vacation for your kids, plus parental peace of mind.
Safety in Numbers
The nearby island of Bermuda is totally gearing up for college students. They’ve got their “So Much More” Spring Break vacation offer this year. To facilitate a fun, yet safe experience for spring-breakers, the island has specifically scheduled events and guided tours to promote experiencing the island as a group. These events have specific meeting points and times that are clearly listed on the student’s spring break passes, which they receive upon booking tickets. The events include an ABC Pub Crawl aka an ‘Anything But Clothes’ for games, giveaways and great drink specials. A spring break cruise on the water aboard Bermuda’s top party motor yacht complete with a complementary lunch, drink and a DJ to keep the party going all day. Party bus tour for unlimited drinks for only $20 as you tour around the island. Tom Moore’s Jungle Tour travels along forest trails to explore Bermuda’s natural beauty. A 2014 Spring Break Exclusive Event Pass includes free entry and access to all Spring Break daytime events and nightlife spots, free bus and ferry transportation, free food at all Spring Break daytime events, special discounts on island attractions, and special drink and restaurant discounts go to Orbitz now to book the trip.
Skip the Beach for the Mountains
Taos is a very laid back, inexpensive but culture rich place for college students or teens to visit, especially on a budget. For less than the cost of two round-trip airline tickets to a rowdy, drunken crowded beach destination, spring break in Taos is an attractive option with numerous activities. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, Taos Ski Valley also offers tubing, guided snowshoeing tours in the solitude of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. At Sipapu near Taos on March 15 from 9 a.m. to noon, compete to be the champion at the 11th annual Cardboard Derby. Competitors build vehicles made of cardboard and race down the mountain for a chance to win prizes. Cost: $10 per vessel. The event takes place simultaneously with Micro Beer Week, which runs from March 9 through March 15. Every afternoon during Spring Break, Sipapu will host a different microbrewery where guests can sample beers and enjoy specials. Visit sipapunm.com for more information or for a complete list of Spring Break events in Taos and around the Enchanted Circle can be found at http://taos.org/trip-ideas/spring.
A More Active Retreat
Let your teens get in touch with his or her inner cowboy/cowgirl! Horseback riding is the main attraction at Buck Valley Ranch located in the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania’s Fulton County. Because the place is small owner Nadine Fox keeps a close eye on her guests. And the secluded location is safe from unwanted visitors. Your kids will enjoy watching wildlife in a peaceful, secluded setting. Gaze at the star soaked skies from the hot tub. Stay in a four-bedroom guesthouse filled with cowboy memorabilia and antiques. They’ll be treated to healthy and hearty meals with attention to dietary needs. They can relax in the hot tub, cool off in the swimming pool or bike on the C&O Canal, canoe/kayak in the Potomac River, golf or simply walk out the front door and have access to 2000 acres of hiking.
24/7 Security at this Beach Resort
Located on a lush barrier island, minutes from downtown Charleston, Wild Dunes Resort’s natural landscape lends itself to being the ultimate playground for teens while allowing you to sleep at night. It’s a gated beachfront resort destination with 24/7 security services with 1,600 acres of charming South Caroline waterscape, 17 tennis courts, 5 resort pools, 36 holes of golf, miles of trails to bike, dining services and more. You can rest assured that your teens will stay entertained with a variety of planned activities including Bike Tour Crabbing, fly fishing, stand up paddleboarding, art classes and DIY Beach body scrubs.
Plan ahead for Summer
For the best in safety for parents and exotic adventures for student participants, how about a once-in-a-lifetime Taglit-Birthright trip to Israel! Since the program’s inception in 2000, more than 350,000 participants have embarked on this free 10-day trip. Tours operate in two sessions – summer tours run from the school year’s spring break until the end of the summer, and winter tours pick up from December through February. The excursion is an educational trip for Jewish youth to see and experience every aspect of the country. Safety is a primary concern. In addition to a 24-hour hotline trip, itineraries are approved daily with the Israel Ministry of Education, and coordinated with the I.D.F., Israel Police and other security authorities. A GPS (Global Positioning System) is carried by each group so that authorities are aware of each group’s location at all times. All trip organizers are experienced tour operators or providers and have undergone rigorous accreditation in order to run trips. Trips do not use public transportation and the tour bus companies and drivers used are subject to Taglit-Birthright Israel’s strict standards. In order to ensure a safe trip for all participants and staff,Taglit-Birthright Israel strictly enforces its no alcohol policy.
All these places are doing their best to create a fun and safe atmosphere for your children. Nevertheless, it’s still important to arm your kids with safety advice. Jarrett Arthur, self-defense and safety expert shared some of her spring break safety tips for you to pass on to your teens.
Wherever Your Spring Break May Take You, Follow these Safety Basics
- Limit new friends in your hotel room: Opt for public places to party with new friends, versus inviting groups of strangers back to your room. Combine a loosened guard with alcohol and a small room full of a lot of people and it’s easy to miss someone going through your bags or drawers.
- Watch your drinks carefully: This tip should be common sense by now, but drug facilitated sexual assaults are unfortunately not a thing of the past; they still happen with alarming frequency. Never leave your drink unattended. If someone wants to buy you a drink make sure you order it yourself and receive it yourself.
If you still feel hesitation about allowing your kids to run off to a spring break destination arm them with a Lock Locker. This is designed to prevent ANYONE from unlocking your door EVEN if they have a legitimate key. This works in cabins, hotels, vacation homes, and condos/timeshare. The peace of mind knowing that a previous renter or criminal who may have a key will not be able to access the unit is priceless. Price: $19 per door Link: www.thelocklocker.com
For more spring break information, check out:
- 4 Alternative Spring Break Volunteer Programs
- Avoid These Spring Break Mistakes
- 2014 Spring Break Travel Deals
By Kerri Zane for PeterGreenberg.com. Kerri Zane is a family travel expert and author of It Takes All 5: A Single Mom’s Guide to Finding the REAL One, on sale now. For more advice on health, parenting or Kerri’s exclusive MomEscapes, visit her at KerriZane.com.