For us college kids, Spring Break is the best holiday of the semester. This week means, friends, drinks, and tan lines…all my favorite things. In the past few years I have definitely learned a thing or two about traveling in large groups and exploring the Caribbean.
When traveling with a lot of people, plans can get more complicated so it’s best to make sure everyone is on the same page. First step is figuring out where you want to go (obviously). Every year there are so many events that come around during Spring Break so I always like to check and see what people from my school are doing first. Whether its a cruise, an island, or a festival there are plenty of already organized easy trips to go on. Events like these make it easy for large groups to organize travel and hotel plans, and sometimes give discounts for larger groups. Spring break is for relaxing, so inclusive deals are definitely something I always look for. Once we know where we want to go, next step is how to get there and where we can all stay together. Hotels are usually easy to organize through certain events, but sometimes Airbnb can be a better option for more space and privacy with a large group. I definitely staying somewhere with a small kitchen so you can take your own water, alcohol, snacks and quick breakfast foods which can get pricey ESPECIALLY in Bimini and other islands. Next is making sure you have a way around because not every destination has uber, so a car (or golf cart in our case) might be necessary to get around. Once everything is all set in stone it’s just a matter of organizing who brings what and making sure everyone is accounted for.
This spring break I went to Bimini, Bahamas which hosted the STFU & Party event. This event is very helpful in helping large groups organize their trip and accommodate everyone. Although it was simple, we decided to only buy the event tickets and do the rest on our own.
Bimini is about a 4 hour boat ride away from Miami so we went in a friends boat, but there are plenty of other options if you don’t have a boat. A few years ago, my family chartered a boat with a captain and we were driven there and back with no stress at all. Another option is the cruise which takes a little bit longer, but can be booked through the event. Another option is to charter a small plane, but this is usually for groups of eight or less.
On the Island there is only one Hilton hotel, and plenty of villas and houses. Most of these are all listed on different websites like airbnb, homeaway, booking.com, and so many more. The villas and homes accommodate larger groups and are always beautifully decorated and homey. All of the colorful villas are walking distance from pretty much everywhere you need to go (pool, beach, casino etc.)
Like I said most things are walking distance, however it is much more convenient to have a golf cart to move things along faster and to be able to venture out and see more of the beautiful island.
What to do
During spring break the STFU event tickets gave us access to daily pool and beach parties throughout our stay. If you don’t go to the event, you pretty much do the same thing but it’s much more of a relaxing vibe. Drinking and partying is fun and all, but there’s a few things I can’t leave the island without doing/eating.
Buy Kalik Shirts (and beer)
Get hair braided in town
Packing made easy! Here are a few of my carry on necessities.
- Neck pillow, inflatable pillow, teddy bear, or whatever you need to be comfortable during your travels, especially the long ones. Even if you don't like sleeping on planes (I sure don't) being comfortable is SO important.
- Eye masks, that way you can sleep whenever YOU want. It's great if someone next to you has their reading light on or the windows open.
- Headphones, this ones obvious but I always end up having to buy them at the airport. I tried airpods recently and I love them!
- Melatonin, this is my favorite sleeping aid its a more natural sleeping aid that increases a natural hormone. If i'm ever feeling under the weather i'll buy Nyquil. I'll link the brand I use below.
- I always like to bring a few simple toiletries if i'm feeling gross from all the airports. Deoderant, body spray, travel tooth brush & toothpaste, travel face wash & moisturizer. This is essential for my carry on because I've had to deal with lost luggage too many times. I love buying sets that come with everything I need, that way I don't forget anything.
- Talking about lost luggage, I always like to keep extra undergarments, pajamas, and a simple outfit. The worst feeling is getting to your destination to find out your luggage is lost and you have no clothes to change into.
- Simple makeup if you have a busy day planned as soon as you land. I always like to refresh my face and put a little mascara on a few minutes before landing, that way I kill some time and I'm ready for the day. I've been loving tarte makeup sets, they're perfect for travel!
- Phone charger!! This is probably the most important. I always use so much battery at airports since everything is digital and I'm constantly looking up the status of my flights, and you never know if you'll end up spending more time than planned at the airport.
- Traveling for long hours makes my skin feel really dry, so if I'm feeling extra, I'll take a hydrating eye mast or face mask that doesn't require rinsing off.
This post is dedicated to my quick two day visit to Brussels, filled with everything I loved about the city.
Brussels is the capital of Belgium and Capital of the European Union Government (and waffles, fries, and chocolate) which happened to be right next to my hotel! Brussels is a relatively small city so it was easy to do everything in about a day and half. Walking down the streets of brussels was absolutely magical with cobblestone streets, live music everywhere we turned, and twinkling lights lighting the way.
How to Get Around
Walking - If you stay anywhere near the plaza it's a perfect place to walk down the cobblestone streets.
Uber - Yep, they have uber, and if you're traveling with more than four people they have an Uber Van option which worked out great for us!
Where to Stay
Radisson Red - We had a great experience at this hotel, it was inexpensive, close to the EU, and the decor was all comics making it feel very authentic AND the breakfast was delicious.
Hotel Sofitel Brussels - If you're looking for a more luxury hotel, this hotel is a five star hotel with the best of the best service.
Airbnb - This is always a good option to look into when traveling with groups.
What to Eat
Peck 47 - Eggs Benedict is great, but have you tried it on a waffle? This cafe is so cute and cozy perfect for a delicious brunch whether you want sweet or savory, they have it all. PS. The bloody Mary is SO good.
Chez Leon - If you want to dive into the culture, this restaurant is perfect. It's a family owned restaurant thats been around since 1893 and has traditional Brussels Cuisine.
Cafe Delirium - Great spot for the pregame! This place is perfect for all the beer fans, Cafe Delirium has the world record for serving the widest variety of beers (over 3000!).
Fries & Chocolate: Belgium is known for having the best fries and the best chocolate. I can't even recommend where to get them because they're all so good. MUST try.
What to Do
The Atomium - My biggest regret about this trip was not going to the Atomium. This is a breathtaking landmark in Brussels with the BEST view of the city. It's a little far from the city center
Beer tour - We learned a lot, we drank a lot.
Chocolate Museum - Quick visit to see how Belgium chocolate was made, and we got to try so many chocolates while doing it.
Statues - Brussels has statues scattered everywhere that might go unnoticed, like the cute little guy (Manneken Pis) that saved brussels when he peed on a fire??
Spirito Martini - This club is considered the "temple if the night" housed in an old Anglican Church. This place is open Friday and Saturday and can get a little pricey, but it's totally worth it.
Play Label Rooftop - Bars with a view are always a plus, specially when it's located right in the city centre but this one is only open Thursdays! Keep up with their Facebook page to learn more about special events happening while you're there!
I'm so excited to finally share my six week travel experience with you all. As you may know, I studied abroad in Valencia Spain for six weeks, and I can easily say it was the best experience of my life. Traveling is by far one of my favorite hobbies so this decision was an easy one for me. Not only was I able to get ahead in my classes over the summer but I was able to experience new cultures, new languages, and SO much new food. For my next few posts I will be sharing my travels with you on the blog. First up: Valencia!
Valencia is a beautiful city with a small town feel, even though its the third largest city in Spain. This city is rich in culture and history without feeling like a tourist trap. Whether you want to go to the beach, walk in the park, or visit some pretty awesome museums, Valencia has it all.
How to Get Around
Walk or Bike - Although Valencia is a big city, its very flat so walking can get you around most of the popular areas. Bikes are available for rent in plenty of shops or sometimes they might even come with your apartment. However if you want to use it often you may want to get a membership with Valenbisi which is a city bike share program.
Bus/Metro - Public transportation is fairly easy to use, inexpensive, and the bus passes are available in any tobacco shop. There is a variety of ticket options to choose from depending on how long you'll be there and how often you use the bus.
Taxi/Cabify - Finding a taxi in Valencia is very simple, there is no Uber here so you'll see plenty of taxis driving by. Cabify works the same way uber does through an app on your phone, however I found it much faster to go find one when I needed one. Tip: All Taxis must give you the option to pay with card. If they say no, they just want you to pay cash.
Where to Stay
My school organized the housing for all students, I stayed in an apartment complex called Bed & Bike. This building is located in the middle of El Carmen (The Old Town) which is a great location to walk around with plenty of restaurants and very close to a few historical landmarks like Torres de Serrano. Although I didn't stay in one, Airbnb has some beautiful cozy apartments around The Old Town that a few of my friends stayed at when they visited. As long as you always look through all the pictures and reviews before booking Airbnb is an easy way to find a place to stay.
Where to Eat
Cafe Lavin - I spent most of my mornings at this adorable little cafe. The service is quick when you're on the go or if you want to sit and get a nice view of the Torres de Serrano. The staff is really sweet and everything on the menu is typical Spanish food. (Best Mojitos ever)
San Tomasso - If you're in the mood for amazing Italian food, this restaurant is a must. Everyone feels the same way about this place so make sure you make a reservation or you might have to wait a long time to be seated. I highly recommend the muscles and the mushroom ravioli (YUM).
Haus - Another typical Tapas restaurant, except this one is so cute inside (for pics of course) and if you call in advance they can make a reservation for a large group which is basically like renting out the entire restaurant. Make sure you're hungry because you might want to order one of everything.
Almalibre - When you feel like you need to eat something other than carbs, this little restaurant is a must. They have amazing acai bowls with fresh toppings as well as fresh squeezed juices. If you're in the mood for a healthy meal I highly recommend the burger bowl with humus (it's vegan) for a delicious & refreshing salad.
What to Do
Don't be afraid to get lost - Walking around the Old Town with nowhere to go was one of my favorite things to do. It feels like every time I would walk in the area I would find a new shop or little cafe. This area is also the art district so don't forget to look around and appreciate that.
The Market - I would definitely recommend going on an empty stomach because there's so much to try here! You can try meats, cheeses, fruits, seafood and so much more. All the vendors are so sweet and will let you have samples before you buy. Definitely worth the experience.
City of Arts & Sciences - You don't even have to enter any of the museums to appreciate the incredible architecture in this area.
La Lonja - A hidden gem in Valencia, the silk market. I would recommend getting a little tour of this place, and admission is free on Sundays!
Mya - If you go back to the City of Arts & Sciences at night you'll find this two story club with three different music rooms and an open top level. This place has the best drinks (one included with the cover fee) and music for everyones taste.
Foxcongo - For more of a bar scene this place has great music and a young crowd, and on Tuesdays it's American night!
Espit Chupitos - A shots bar with over 600 types of shots, some with fire, some with candy, and some come with a head massage... You'll have to see for yourself!
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more travel posts.