My family, while I was growing up, was not much for spring breaks. As other families we know flitted about preparing for palm trees and sand, my sister and I would pout and lament to my mother that we had the worst lives on the planet because we were not going to Florida. My Mom (and I now love her for this) really didn’t care. Her basic attitude was that we had more than enough adventure in our lives so suck it up and stop whining. Call another friend who stayed home and get out of the house.
The worst, of course, were all the stories you had to suffer through that first Monday back at school. Tales of sailing or lavish resorts, beach parties and sunburns. I remember to this very day watching the kid from my Algebra class pick the peeling skin off his arms and drop it onto the floor during a lecture. Completely gross.
My Mom’s wisdom paid off. We did have plenty of adventures and never once regretted the time spent at home. Turns out most of the country indeed does not travel for spring break. In fact, most of the planet does not even know what spring break is. Gotta love how the adolescent world warps our perspective.
I finally hit what I thought was the spring break jackpot when I entered college. As a freshman, I saved up money and headed south with a pile of my gal pals. In our minds it would be like MTV”s spring break footage (which, as a parent, now completely freaks me out). Instead we ended up on a charter bus with frat boys and fast food heading to Florida where “unseasonably cold weather” made the headlines. I remember playing beach volleyball with my teeth chattering and longing for home. It was 10 years before I would dare to enter the state of Florida again.
This year I’m skipping town. My parents are celebrating 40 years of marriage and, God bless them, they think it will be fun to haul all their children and grandchildren along for the ride. I could pinch myself. And as I pack, I am reminded that while most of us on the planet don’t take a spring break, millions of Americans hop off to another destination this time of year, and I’ve got a few green tips for those who go. Just a little way to travel smarter if we can:
Share your travel stories and ideas here!
Tracey Bianchi blogs about finding a saner, greener life from the heart of the Chicago suburbs. She wrote Green Mama: The Guilt-Free Guide to Helping You and Your Kids Save the Planet  (Zondervan 2009) and blogs at traceybianchi.com.