Issue 2: Bonus Spring Break
Still have time to plan this one
Spring break is almost here. The excitement and anticipation for upcoming vacations feels palpable, with many of our friends and colleagues traveling just for fun for the first time since the pandemic. We will be heading to Puerto Rico in a couple of weeks, taking our first plane trip as a family since August 2019.
While it isn’t necessarily too late to plan a full-on spring break vacation, it might be a little harder to pull it off this year. The LA Times reports that domestic airfares for spring break has increased 21% as compared to the same period in 2021, while hotel rates have gone up about 30%. Road trips are more expensive too, with gasoline prices at almost unprecedented levels due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Even where cost is not a barrier, availability may be. VRBO reports an almost 50% increase in vacation home rentals as compared to this time last year, and airlines are not yet back to the same number of flight options as prior to the pandemic.
But all is not lost. If you are still looking to travel this spring, or just hoping to travel more this year, consider a bonus spring break. I think of the bonus spring break as a weekend or long weekend trip that can take the place of a more traditional week-long spring break or be an adventure to look forward to after spring break is over.
When To Go
In the U.S., the ideal time for bonus spring break is from the weekend after Easter to Memorial Day weekend (so this year between April 17-May 27). By this time, spring break will be over for most American schools while summer vacation will still be a couple of weeks away. Those with kids will also probably have a day or two off for teacher development days and the like, that can be turned into a long weekend without sacrificing school attendance. At the same time, the weather in most places around the country will be glorious, and lower crowds in the spring shoulder season will mean more space and less expense to enjoy it.
Who To Go With
Traditional spring break tends to be spent with immediate family members or your kids’ friends’ families since the vacation time aligns. Bonus spring break, though, offers an opportunity to plan a special trip with friends or family members with whom you don’t frequently travel. It’s a nice time to visit friends that live in other cities, or take a quick trip with your significant other. It’s also a great opportunity to do an atypical travel pairing, like taking a one-on-one parent-child trip or letting the grandparents take the kids for a quick adventure. Think outside the box, and consider starting the planning for this trip with who you want to be with, rather than where you’d like to go.
Where To Go
Pretty much anywhere in the U.S., except ski destinations or Alaska (Hawaii could work if you live on the west coast). I think cities have a special appeal for this format and this time of year, as many are fully reveling in spring or enjoying the last bit of perfect weather before summer humidity descends. Here are a few ideas for places to go:
Big Cities. Is there a better feeling than Chicago or New York in spring? People have finally shed the heavy coats, flowers are blooming, and outdoor dining is a pleasure once again.
Local Small City or Town. A long weekend is a great excuse to visit that nearby city or town you always meant to go to. In the DC area, my recommendations include Charlottesville, Chincoteague Island, and Richmond.
National Parks. The pandemic created a lot of new national parks fans, which is great but also kind of terrible. Late spring is probably one of the few remaining times of the year that the parks are relatively uncrowded. Personally, I’d love to fly into Vegas and visit Zion in late spring. Shenandoah, my closest national park, is also gorgeous and much less crowded than fall.
Ending this episode with my own recommendations for a couple of the destinations above. Let me know if you go, and what you would add to the suggestions below.
New York Everyone has their favorites, but some of mine are Brooklyn One to stay and Hangawi and Lucali (if you are feeling ambitious) to eat. The best thing I ever did in NYC was to spend a day walking the length of Broadway. Take the subway up to 225th Street in Marble Hill and head down.
Charlottesville Stay at the Boar’s Head, which has three outdoor pools including a heated lap pool that is open year round, an activity pool, and a baby pool. There are hiking trails on property as well, and many trails in Shenandoah are a short drive away. Visit Monticello and take a tour of Jefferson’s gardens. Grab coffee and French pastries at MarieBette Cafe before strolling UVA’s campus. Eat dinner at Public Fish & Oyster, where the waitstaff will give you A+ recommendations on everywhere else you should eat while in town.