Spring break is just around the corner and we know that many college students will be found on beaches in the warm and sunny weather venues. With that relaxation being the main priority of most, many tend to forget the simple things to remember in order to keep themselves safe. Below are 10 tips to help you stay safe while on vacation during spring break:
1. Book a hotel in a central location to limit the need to drive. The closer your hotel is to the beach, downtown or other areas where you plan to spend most of your time, the less likely you'll be to get lost or to be involved in a car crash. Avoid unlicensed taxi cabs by asking your hotel, restaurant or club to summon a ride for you, and if in doubt, pass up the car and wait for another one.
2. Avoid going out and/or traveling alone at night. There really is safety in numbers, and you and your friends can watch out for each other. Walking alone or even clubbing alone can make you a vulnerable target to people whose intentions are less than pure. Even a two-minute walk can be dangerous when you're alone at night - especially if you've been drinking.
3. Never go off with a stranger. Spring break can be a great time to meet new people, but that doesn't mean you should leave your group of friends to spend time with people you don't know. Even if your new acquaintances just want to walk down the street, stick to your group or at least bring along someone you know and trust.
4. Limit alcohol consumption to a reasonable level. Overdoing it on alcoholic drinks impairs your judgment, making you more susceptible to accidents and crime. Pace yourself, and avoid drinks with high alcohol content, like shots. Not only is it safer all around, you'll feel a lot better in the morning. If you plan to drink, always designate a sober companion in your group who can make executive decisions about everyone's safety.
5. Buddy System Yes, it sounds a little like summer camp in the third grade. However having an appointed buddy while on spring break is the number one best safety precaution. Especially if you are traveling in a large group, this person should help to make sure you get from place to place and keep tabs on you at clubs and when drinking. This works both ways, so you should keep an eye out for them too.
6. Remember that sun exposure and alcohol don't mix. Spring break often involves lots of time lounging in the sun and in hot tubs, both of which can intensify the effects of alcohol in the body. Take it easy, and remember to slather up with sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, even when it's cloudy.
7. Use appropriate safety gear for sports and other recreational activities. Whether you're driving a scooter, skateboarding or just riding on a boat, protect yourself with any necessary equipment like helmets, knee pads and life jackets.
8. Don't Drink and Drive No kidding, but when you’re under the influence in a foreign place, people can make bad decisions. Best bet? Just take a cab.
9. Know what to do in an emergency. It's easy to forget that in foreign nations, the phone number for emergency response is not 9-1-1. A State Department website called Students Abroad provides a list of these numbers along with detailed tips for health emergencies, evacuations, natural disasters, crime victims and assistance to U.S. citizens arrested abroad.
10. If you're traveling abroad, sign up online for the U.S. Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). The STEP program enables the State Department to contact you in case of a family emergency, or to notify you of a crisis near your travel destination. You can also download a Smart Traveler iPhone App that provides additional tips and information.
Remember, staying safe should be the main priority of anyone. Especially those who are going on vacation or just taking a break from the same routine and heading out of town for some recharging time. Be safe everyone and have a great spring break!