Tag Archives: travel inspiration

6 Tote Bag Essentials For UT Students

Something pretty strange but really exciting happened to me the other day: I was wearing a tote bag, and another person who was passing by me as I entered the PCL had the same tote bag that I was wearing. It was funny when we complemented each other and went on about our days. After leaving the building, I started noticing more tote bags on my site; many people made their tote bags their finishing touch to the outfit. So as a tote bag user myself, I compiled the tote bag essentials, you should be carrying around campus.

Phone, keys, wallet, headphones

Laptop/iPad, notebooks, pens and pencils

Our other most important essential is necessary to complete these last few weeks of the semester. All of us tote bag enthusiasts must carry around at least one of these to finish strong in the winter. (From one UT student to another, you’ve got this!) Whether you’re hitting the books digitally or paperback, having a great color coding technique helps a lot when studying. Having some writing utensils is also essential for homework or even when we just need to write some thoughts down to alleviate the stresses of school.

Water bottle and snacks

Walking around can get tiring, and sometimes studying for a long time can be interrupted by all the grumbling you’re trying to suppress in the library. So, have your water bottle on you as well as a few substantial snacks. There have been way too many times where I’ve forgotten these and don’t have them when I need them the most, like after climbing up South Mall. So, take it from me when I say these are essential.

Pictures

Why pictures? You should always carry around pictures of people you care about and things you like seeing. Print them out, and you can look at them while you’re walking to remember the fun moments you had, which is the point of why you keep them on a plastic-coated paper, right? All joking aside, I carry around my disposable camera prints with me to look at them whenever I want to reminisce or show them off to people I’m hanging out with. It’s a good conversation among others when trying to explain what is going on in a picture even though you may not even remember what’s happening in it.

Chapstick, hand sanitizer, hair tyes

These small essentials in a zip-up bag can be a lifesaver — I cannot stress this enough. Never leave with chapped lips, keep hand sanitizer handy in case public places don’t have any and if it’s too windy in this cold weather, keep your hair out of your face with a headband or hair tie. All of these can be really convenient when life gets a little rough.

Mask, books, sunglasses

Remember to keep your masks on to end this pandemic —don’t leave without it. Books can also be essential when you have some downtime at the lawn in front of the tower or laying in the hammocks at the SAC. And when the sun is actually a little bright, or you just want to add a cool touch to your outfit along with your tote bag, bring a pair of sunglasses. Once you use them more often, you’ll realize how much more convenient they are. 

These essentials are what I, essentially, always need to carry in my tote bag when I am around campus, and I wanted to share some of them to make another student’s trips around campus a little more convenient. College students live busy and independent lives, and with a tote bag by your side, nothing can possibly come in your way. So show off your tote bag that has you prepared for being on campus and looking cute!

Featured image by Ivana Alexa Darancou

Need a Break from Spring Breakers? CHeck out these vacation destinations

The best locations in or around Texas for those who don’t want to relive a Harmony Korine film

Source: IMDb

For some, spring break is a time for booze, dancing and making new mistakes to ignore the ones made during the school year. For others, including me, it’s an opportunity to get away from those people. 

Unfortunately, the most popular places to visit for spring break are usually litter-filled beaches and party cities. Have no fear; there are some peaceful places out there. Here are some options for a tasteful spring break:

Fredericksburg, TX

Distance from Austin: 81.5 miles (approx. 1.5 hr drive)

Source: Wikipedia

Located in the Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg is home to tons of activities to do with family and friends. This little German town features winery tours and tastings, an array of shops, history museums, and several art galleries to admire. It’s usually full of middle-aged people and families so it’s a quiet escape during one of the noisiest breaks of the school year.

Big Bend National Park, TX

Distance from Austin: 440 miles (approx. 7 hr drive)

Source: NationalPark.com

Big Bend is one of the most beloved national parks in Texas. Although it is a bit of a grueling drive, the sights and hikes are well worth the miles. There are all kinds of scenic drives, hiking trails and a Fossil Discovering Exhibit. It’s a perfect opportunity to see the natural wonders of Texas while avoiding the unnatural horrors of drunk college students.

Cascade Caverns, TX

Distance from Austin: 95 miles (approx. 2 hr drive)

The oldest living cave attraction in Texas is perfect for those who want to camp but don’t want to drive too far to get away. Located near San Antonio, this campsite features lots of spots for tents and RVs alike. During your stay, you can get a tour of the ancient caverns, participate in a flashlight evening tour, visit the “rock shop,” or dig up some fun at the Gem and Rock Quarry.

Dinosaur Valley State Park, TX

Distance from Austin: 162 miles (approx. 2 hr 45 min drive)

Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife

For every child who loved “Land Before Time” or “Dinosaur,” this is a dream come true. At this cherished yet lesser-known state park, you can walk in dinosaur tracks left millions of years ago, hike on the numerous trails, swim or fish in the lake, and, of course, buy lots of souvenirs at the gift shop. Be forewarned; it might be full of children but at least they’re not obnoxiously partying.

Mustang Island State Park, TX

Distance from Austin: 240 miles (approx. 3 hr 40 min drive)

Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife

Spanning over five miles of beachfront, Mustang Island is a state park akin to a quieter South Padre Island. Swim and surf on the Gulf of Mexico, build a sandcastle, camp along the shore, go fishing, watch the birds, or dare to tread the Mustang Island paddling trail. Regardless of what you do, it’ll be a wonderful day down by the sea.

Port O’Connor, TX

Distance from Austin: 175 miles (approx. 3 hr 15 min drive)

Source: texasescapes.com

Even though it’s not “technically” a city (it’s an “unincorporated community”),  Port O’Connor is one of the more peaceful coasts in Texas. Be sure to visit the Matagorda Island Wildlife Management Area for some tranquil beach camping, go fishing on any coastline you choose, kayak on the ocean, or visit one of the many quaint shops dotted around the area, including The Treasure Chest. If you’ve never been to a cozy beachfront, now’s your chance.

For those that can afford to spend a little more for the break, here are some places a little farther from home:

Amelia Island, FL

Distance from Austin: 1,066 miles (approx. 16 hr drive/2.5 hr flight)

Source: visittheusa.com

“One enchanted island”; or, at least, that’s what their website claims. Amelia Island has proudly won numerous accolades and awards, proving that they are a favored spot for travel critics and tourists alike. Located on the northeast coast of Florida, Amelia Island is home to pristine beaches, delicious cuisine, boatloads of history, incredible nature sights and even features a ghost tour! They’ll be the classiest damn ghosts you’ve ever seen.

Hilton Head Island, SC

Distance from Austin: 1,162 miles (approx. 18 hr drive/2.5 hr flight)

Source: Wikipedia

This island seems exceedingly fancy but it’s nice to dream, isn’t it? Like previous beaches, explore this island by swimming in the open ocean, biking along the shores, visiting the boutiques, or, if you’re brave enough, complete the Aerial Adventure ziplining course. While on the beach, keep an eye out for the endangered loggerhead sea turtles!

Healdsburg, CA

Distance from Austin: 1,822 miles (approx. 27 hr drive/3.5 hr flight)

Source: sonomacounty.com

Finding an idyllic small-town feel in California may feel like a daunting task but Healdsburg has got you covered. Only about an hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge, Healdsburg offers an abundance of wineries, an array of wonderful food and lots of natural wonders that lay far from the smog of Los Angeles.

Nashville, TN

Distance from Austin: 856 miles (approx. 12 hr 45 min drive/1 hr 40 min flight)

Source: departures.com

Nashville: a city that has been called home by stars such as Dolly Parton, Keith Urban and Evan Rachel Wood. There are countless things to do in the Music City, including a number of live shows and events, restaurants filled with mouth-watering food, museums, art galleries, and so much more. Hopefully, you’ll run into a celebrity or two while you’re there…