Students traveling to Mexico and California for this spring break can expect two big things: sticker-shock gas prices topping $5 a gallon in California and COVID-19 protocols that might give you a funky facial tan line.
Rocky Point in Mexico and San Diego are two of the most popular spring break destinations for University of Arizona students, and for the second year in a row, the pandemic will beget a slightly different vacation experience.
Emma Peterson, a student studying journalism and natural resources, is one of many UA students who plan to visit Rocky Point for spring break. Peterson recalled shortened beach hours, strict mask requirements and long lines at the border when her family visited Mexico last summer.
Seven months later, face masks are still required in all public spaces including on the way to and from the beach. Most Rocky Point establishments are now back to their pre-pandemic hours of operation but restaurants, bars and nightclubs are operating at 75% capacity.
Spring breakers can also expect pocketbook pain at the pump, with prices inching to $4 a gallon in Ajo, Arizona, as you cross into Mexico and similar prices in Mexico. California’s average cost per gallon just topped $5, according to AAA, which monitors gas prices nationwide.
Abby Arnold, a junior studying creative writing and film, is traveling to California for spring break. Like many UA students, Arnold is seeking a brief escape to more tropical weather.
“It’s supposed to be in the 70s, which is really awesome,” Arnold said. “I’m most looking forward to the weather and also just getting away and spending time with my family and doing touristy things.”
Like spring breakers headed to Mexico, California visitors should be prepared to wear masks in public indoor spaces and on public transportation. The state has no social distancing requirements or capacity limits, so lines and wait times should be manageable.
Whether students spend their spring break basking on the white sand beaches of Puerto Peñasco with piña coladas in hand or surfing, swimming and sunning in California, they will need both a mask and a lot of money for gas.
*El Inde Arizona is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.
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