Spring Break 2k18: Epic AND Eco-Friendly

As the semester begins its final six-week crawl toward summer, it’s hard not to curl up into a ball and cry while wishing it was still spring break. For many students at the University of Utah and other universities across the country, spring break was the ultimate vacation with friends or family. From Costa Rica, Hawaii, California, New York City to Daytona Beach, cities across the U.S. and beyond were filled with college students escaping the mundaneness of university. The majority of these trips were undoubtedly epic, leaving us with good memories and some gnarly sunburns. However, your life wasn’t the only one impacted by your vacation, as a much larger life was also at stake: Earth’s.

If you were one of the students fortunate enough to escape to a tropical or distant destination this spring break then think back on your trip and consider the following:

How did you get there and back home?

What did you buy while you were there?

What did you do while you were there?

How did you get around while there?

They’re relatively simple questions, but the answers have a greater significance than one might think. For the normal college student on spring break, environmentalism is the furthest thing from their mind. Which is the exact opposite of where it should be.

WAIT! Before you click away as you don’t want another lecture on the environment, hear me out. This isn’t a rant blaming spring breakers for being terrible and environmentally destructive. This is a guide on to how your next spring break can be, not only epic, but also sustainable.

Next year’s spring break is a long way off and, yet, if you’re anything like me you’re already thinking about it. Well, keeping the previously asked questions in mind, you can already start planning a sustainably epic spring break (or fall break) for next year.

How should you get there?

We’re in college, so generally, we’re broke, which makes this the most precarious aspect of the equation as air fare is not cheap. As it stands, the cheapest way to fly somewhere is usually the longest and most counterintuitively roundabout way. However, the earlier you book, the more likely you are to find a great deal on a direct flight. So the sustainable answer: book early or if you’re driving, carpool in the most fuel efficient vehicle! Either way, you’re leaving less of an environmental footprint and still getting to go on vacation!

What do you buy while you’re there?

Everything local. Buy from local shops and vendors to support the local economy as well as spend your money sustainably. This includes eating local food such as produce from the farmer’s markets and avoiding the fast food chains and restaurants that enable our broken food justice system.

What do you do while you’re there?

Simply consider the environmental impact of your activities. Tropical vacations especially should include organic sunscreen without the benzone ingredients which are contributing to the decomposition of coral reefs. If you’re going to go scuba diving or snorkeling, make sure you’re headed out with a local program that values the health of the ecosystems you’ll be exploring. Go whale watching through nonprofit organizations that utilize the money for research and conservation of the beautiful mammals.

How should you get around while you’re there?

Local transportation. Local transit is often the most inexpensive and easiest way to get around cities, especially ones such as NYC and it’s more sustainable than getting a cab or an Uber. If you’re renting a car, request a hybrid. But honestly, the cheapest and most sustainable way of all is simply walking, not to mention you’ll burn off the calories of all the food you’ll be eating, because let’s face it, the best part of vacation is the food.

By considering these questions, by this time next year you can be curled up in a ball wishing you were still on your epic, amazing, and sustainable spring break with your friends. Until then, I recommend Aloe for that sunburn.