Students taking the traditional spring break

February 25th, 2010

While others at JCU are preparing for an organized trip, some students have made plans of their own.

Senior Caitlin Gorie and a few of her friends are some of the vacationers that will be on a cruise during spring break. 

“[My friends] Bailey, Mary and I were in the Boler lab one day talking about how we were the only people not going anywhere for spring break,” she said. “We decided to fix that. We looked up trips online and found this. It was very spur of the moment.”

They are excited to soak up the warm weather, rather than go home and work. 

“I hope to absorb some heat and get some sun,” Gorie said. “When the boat docks we hope to go on some expeditions. I’m excited to see what will be offered.”

The cultural impact of the event is undeniable: an MTV show appropriately named “Spring Break,” numerous movies depicting the events, as well as an entire industry banking on students taking off to resorts and hotels. It is estimated spring break is a $1 billion business, according to

A simple Google search will present you with numerous travel sites dealing exclusively in spring break vacations. Many take a page out of the credit card company’s playbook by enticing students with attention-grabbers, such as all-inclusive week-long packages, starting at around $100.

Like many traditions in the collegiate world, the practice of spring break had humble beginnings when the 1934-35 Colgate University swim team sought to train in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., over winter break. Word of the migration spread, and soon other schools spent their winter recesses in South Florida, before the practice eventually became an annual spring pilgrimage.

The Miami suburb is no longer the exclusive “Spring Break Central” as it was just a generation ago. As many as 350,000 college students partied there in its heyday during the mid-1980s. Fort Lauderdale now hosts an average of 10,000 students every spring.

Several other southern communities, such as Panama City, Key West, and other locales in South Florida, are happy to do business with spring breakers. 

In recent years, vacationers have gone international, most notably in Cancun and Cabo San Lucas as well as on Caribbean cruises, such as Gorie this spring. 

The U.S. Department of State addresses the issue on its Web site,, simply urging vacationers to use common sense.

“Using some common sense will help travelers avoid unpleasant and dangerous situations,” they said.