From ‘Sun’s Out, Guns Out’ To ‘Namaste:’ HotelPlanner Shows How Spring Break Is Rapidly Evolving

Spring Break has been a traditional rite of passage for young Americans for generations. Today, the travel options have become more diverse and varied than ever before, and Spring Break season has expanded from late February all the way through mid-April.

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While typical beach and ski trips are still popular, countless alternatives have now emerged – from wellness retreats and eco-tourism to large city tours, overseas cultural immersion, camping, and cruises. And this year’s Spring Break is going to be big given the pent-up demand we’re still seeing across all travel categories.

According to Expedia, flight searches for March and April are up 40% compared to this time last year. HotelPlanner is also seeing a similar increase in Spring Break-related hotel bookings, especially in the Group category, which is recovering nicely.

For many spring breakers, it’s still a ‘Sun’s Out, Guns Out’ or ‘Which Way’s the Beach?’ mentality, with many beach lovers booking trips to San Padre Island, TX; Panama City Beach, FL; Daytona Beach, Cocoa Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach, San Diego, and Honolulu, all of which are trending this year. Orlando is also seeing increased demand because of Disney 100 events throughout the year.

Honky Tonks, BBQ and Bourbon

Importantly, larger cities known for music, food and drink are returning in popularity as well, such as Nashvillewhere you can enjoy live honkytonk music on Broadway at bars like Robert’s, and also visit the Johnny Cash Museum and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

In Austin, you can sunbathe topless at Barton Springs Pool, a popular natural spring, enjoy world-famous Franklin’s BBQ, catch a concert at Austin City Limits, and then party on 6th St. and Rainey Ave. into the wee hours. Don’t forget to head to nearby Driftwood TX for the wineries and bourbon distilleries. Just don’t forget to ‘Keep Austin Weird’ and keep your eyes out for Mathew McConaughey.

Other Spring Breakers are heading to Europe, especially London, Rome, Paris, and even Japan because of the favorable exchange rate, as well as the relaxed Covid testing or quarantine rules.

Health & Wellness Retreats & Eco-Tourism

One of the biggest trends to emerge from the pandemic is the rapid rise in health & wellness retreats as a time for reflection and reawakening. After three years of pandemic paranoia and travel chaos, many want to use their spring break to simply rest, relax, rejuvenate, refresh, and reset. Think surfing and yoga retreats in Hawaii, spa retreats in San Diego, hiking and glamping in Joshua Tree, road trips to explore National Parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite, riverboat cruises down the Danube River, immersive cooking and wine making classes in Tuscany, and even South American psychedelic retreats with magical mushroom or ayahuasca ceremonies. If you can think of it, there is probably a unique retreat just for you.

Eco-tourism is also on the rise as many, more climate-conscious spring breakers look to incorporate environmental activism or sustainability volunteer projects as part of their vacation. This might include everything from volunteering on an organic farm to beach clean ups or other local community improvement projects.

State Department Issues Strongest Travel Warning for Parts of Mexico

Many spring breakers are still returning to popular Mexico destinations such as Cancun, Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, and Puerta Vallarta, but the State Department has recently issued its highest-level threat warnings for ‘crime and kidnapping’ in a handful of Mexican regions known for targeting American tourists. HotelPlanner strongly recommends avoiding these destinations until the State Department lifts the travel warning. And if you do go to Mexico this year, take extra safety and security precautions. HotelPlanner recommends an all-inclusive resort experience or staying at a 5-star hotel in a safe business/entertainment district with visible police presence. And consider a personal driver/guide for your entire itinerary.

The Charm of Woodstock, VT

For a more sophisticated and quaint Spring Break, perhaps with a special someone, the hamlet of Woodstock, VT is arguably one of the most charming towns in New England for people of all ages, and less than a five-hour drive from New York City and just two hours from Boston. HotelPlanner recommends the Woodstock Inn & Resort, a 4.5 star property in the heart of Woodstock for a romantic getaway. And if you want to ski, Killington is only 30 minutes away.

Whether you’re seeking surf and sun or the spa or the forest, the options are endless for this year’s Spring Break season. Regardless of where you choose to go for Spring Break, Haute Living recommends using its preferred hotel provider HotelPlanner for all your hotel booking needs throughout the year.