When I think of spring break, I think of a beach getaway. I never thought I would actually be able to organize a trip with my friends and get to Florida in my freshman year. It took hours of last-minute sifting through Airbnb and hoping flight prices wouldn’t rise while we searched. I learned that it’s really hard to estimate distances when you’re totally unfamiliar with a place, but luckily, we weren’t as far from the beach as Google Maps made it seem.
When we got to our Airbnb, we were so excited to just have a place completely to ourselves. It was cool to get to explore and see palm trees instead of snow-covered pines in New England. We had been using Uber to get around because being only 18 makes getting a rental car infeasible. This made us more cautious of places we went since every little trip came directly out of one of our bank accounts. There were plenty of little shops and restaurants within walking distance which was super helpful.
Ubering everywhere for a week was both entertaining and interesting. Our first driver had a Jeep decked out with Christmas lights and equipped with military-grade survival kits behind each seat. This guy even had a bat under the front seat which was a little scary, but at least we would be protected if we encountered any road rage. Another driver was hilarious and so fun. He was this older man with Versace sunglasses and a Cadillac. He told us jokes and about his favorite places around the area we were staying. Some drivers didn’t talk and it was a little awkward. Our last driver had some driving skills that definitely kept us on edge. There were a couple of times I was getting nervous, but he was also pretty amusing and at one point offered my friend a hairbrush when she mentioned to me that she thought she forgot hers.
We stayed near Clearwater Beach and it was absolutely beautiful. It was so clean and well maintained, with an aesthetic of hotels and store buildings wrapping around the white sand. Nearby is the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which we visited. It houses rehabilitated sea animals, most notably Winter the dolphin from the Dolphin Tale movies. It was surreal to get to look at dolphins and sea turtles, and then walk over to the beach for a day of bliss.
I was surprised by how fast my spending money went, but looking back on it, I had way too much fun to care. We went to the mall, mini golfing, got ice cream multiple times, and frequented Starbucks on every beach trip. Paying for five days worth of food also adds up pretty quickly. We did a good job of balancing cooking meals and going out to eat. The kitchen in the Airbnb was so useful, and our host had it stocked with really every cooking supply you could imagine.