Winter break is fast approaching, and it seems no one enjoys this extended time away from it all more than college students. Looking forward to the end of 8 a.m. classes can be an all-consuming thought, but don’t forget about planning for winter vacation.

To get in on all the hype, winter breakers should start planning now. Read on for five of the best ways to prep for winter break fun.

1. Get in Touch with Old Friends

For better or worse, winter break often means seeing high school buddies or old neighborhood friends. To set the stage like an adult, psychologists recommend touching base with friends the old-fashioned way: through face-to-face interaction. With that in mind, message them a few weeks in advance to make plans together and to keep these friendships alive. But what about those frenemies who still cling to high school drama? Ditch ‘em. No one needs that poison over the holidays.

2. Invest in the Right Apparel

Prepping for winter adventures means shopping for the right and most comfortable gear. After all, the name of the game is to stay warm while also looking your best. This year, all the kids are digging puffer jackets, since they work well for outdoor fun and indoor glam. Other items to look for this season include a trapper hat or ribbed beanie, leather gloves and shearling-lined wellies.

3. Put Away Some Fun Money

Every vacation deserves a slush fund. But, with the holiday season and winter break right around the corner, that fund is about to take a serious hit. To prepare, college students should start saving now for ski lift tickets, gifts, holiday parties and many, many happy hours.

A good way to start saving money early is to enroll in a “keep the change” savings program, offered by some banks like Bank of America. Another option is to use an app like Digit to achieve savings goals and earn a 1 percent savings bonus after three months. And if that’s not enough, gaining seasonal employment at shopping destinations like Target is always a safe bet for earning extra cash.

4. Plan Travel with Safety in Mind

Whether it’s driving or flying, winter travel can be scary. To avoid calling dad in a panic, drivers should plan for travel mishaps. A paper road map, ice scraper, portable cell phone power bank and all-season tires should do the trick for most long-distance road trips. Bringing along shelf-stable snacks, blankets and water will take it up to mom-approved safety levels.

Additionally, air travelers should take a few extra precautions, such as signing up for airline travel alerts, packing medicine and valuables in a carry-on, and checking in online to save time and ensure a reserved seat.

5. Reserve Accommodations Early

Enough with the fam. A ski trip, shopping extravaganza or traveling abroad with friends is the winter version of Friendsgiving. But reserving accommodations early is key. To get cheaper room rates, travelers should reserve hotel rooms in mid-November or even on Thanksgiving Day for discounts of up to 25 percent.

Goodbye Syllabi, Hello Winter Fun!

Get ready to put away the syllabi and shower caddy for winter break’s snowy mountain runs and midnight pizza runs. Start planning now to connect with friends, buy new winter gear, save some money, and put safety first. Winter break is right around the corner, and it’s not going to just enjoy itself.

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