Spring Break - Safety Tips
If you and your friends are planning your spring break, you’ll have lots of spring break destinations from which to choose. Because of the economy, many going on spring trips this year are choosing to stay in the United States instead of going to Mexico or the Caribbean in order to save some dough. Cheap spring break trips within the borders of the U.S. won’t require expensive flights, and many college students think that the road trips to get to their spring break destinations are just part of the overall fun. Ah…I remember those days fondly. What many college students fail to take into account in their spring break ideas, however, are safety tips. Unfortunately, some young people, including college students, are so focused on the fun of spring break that they often overlook important safety tips. Below are a few spring break safety tips that hopefully, some mature college students and a lot of parents will find helpful.
If you’re planning a road trip to get to your spring break destinations, you’ll need to use some travel tips for travel safety. First of all, don’t travel alone. This probably isn’t going to be an issue, as most college students like traveling in groups for spring break. Also, make sure the vehicle is in good repair and is dependable. Which member of the group has the most reliable vehicle? Choose that one for travel. Make sure the tires have been checked and that there’s a decent spare in case of a flat or blowout. Make sure you have a jack and a tire tool, too.
Have the vehicle checked out before you leave. The farther the spring break destinations are, the more important this is. This is probably a moot point, but someone in the car needs to have a cell phone. It’s also a good idea to have the number of the highway patrol in each state for which you’ll be traveling through. If you’re traveling at night, be sure to have a couple of flashlights along. If you’re traveling by car through cold weather, throw a couple of blankets in the car. If you break down, at least you’ll be able to stay warm until help arrives. If you’re traveling through extreme heat, take along some bottled water in the vehicle. If you freeze it solid the night before, it’ll thaw quickly in the hot car and will provide some nice cold water for you to drink.
If possible, travel in a “caravan” to your spring break destinations. Get together with some of your pals and agree to travel in a group of cars. If one car breaks down, you’ll have help. Keep the vehicles within sight of each other, and stay connected via cell phones. If a vehicle in the caravan drops out of sight, call to make sure they’re okay.
If you have a flat tire or some other type of car trouble and you need help making the necessary repairs, call emergency road repair or the state highway patrol. Remain in the locked car until proper help arrives. If you’re part of a spring break caravan, you won’t have to worry about this scenario.
When you stop for gas or snacks, try to choose places that are close to the interstate or major highways. Park in well lighted areas, and don’t go in the store alone. If everyone gets out of the vehicle, lock the doors. Females should take a pal with them to the restroom. Observe these travel tips to ensure travel safety on your spring break road trip!
Travel Safety Tips:
For many college students, spring break is a time of wild abandon, and caution is often thrown to the wind. It shouldn’t be – and I speak from experience. As teens, my three daughters all went on spring break trips. One was robbed, one’s car was vandalized, and one was raped. Please – I implore you to follow these safety tips!
Just because you’re staying in the U.S. for spring break doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be safe. Practically every U.S. city has a “bad” neighborhood or two, so you need to find out where they are and avoid them. When you find cheap spring break trips with cheap lodgings, they might very well be in an undesirable section of town. Before you book your reservations, do some research to find out exactly where the hotel or condo is located.
Other important safety tips include traveling in pairs, or even better – traveling in groups. And that includes everywhere. My daughter’s rape occurred in a hot tub that was located in the hotel where she and her friends were staying. She was in the hot tub alone – until a strange male joined her. Even when you’re doing something quick and mundane like walking to the ice machine, take a pal with you. That might seem silly, but it could save you from trouble.
When you’re out partying at night, be careful with the strangers you meet. Admittedly, 99% of them might very well be other college students who are on spring break, just like you and your pals. Even so, that doesn’t mean they’re safe. Also, in cities that are popular spring break destinations, there are always a couple of potential criminals who prey on college students. These guys are usually locals, and they often pose as college students to gain your trust. With the current unemployed rate, many people are out of work now, and some are desperate.
When you go out, always travel in groups! Lock the car doors while you’re traveling and when you exit the vehicle. Do not leave any valuables in the car. If it’s nighttime, park in a lighted space, as close as possible to the entrance to the club or restaurant. Do not leave the club alone with a stranger, no matter how charming and handsome he might be. Also, do not leave your drinks unattended. You never know when someone might want to slip something into your drink.
When you’re returning to your car, don’t do so alone. Have your entry key ready, and look into the car, especially into the back seat, before getting in the vehicle. If someone approaches the car to speak to you, don’t roll down the window enough to allow them to reach into the vehicle.
You’ll always need to have your photo ID, your college ID, and important contact numbers with you. Girls should keep these in their purse, and guys should keep the information in their billfold. If something happens to you and you’re rendered unconscious, at least the police will be able to identify you and contact your family. If you have any allergies or medical conditions, you’ll need to make sure that information is easily accessible to health care personnel, as well.
In all the excitement of anticipating spring break trips, many students forget the little details like sunscreen. You’ll probably be soaking up a lot of sun on your trip, and your skin will need some protection. Remember – you’ve probably been indoors for much of the winter, so just a couple of hours in the pool or on the beach could give you a serious sunburn. Your eyes will need protection, too, so don’t forget your sunglasses.
Spring Break Safety Tips:
Believe it or not, at some point on your spring break, you’ll have to stop partying long enough to eat. Don’t forget about food safety. This is especially important if you’re traveling outside the United States. As you probably know, some areas have “bad” water. The water might contain dangerous bacteria, viruses, or parasites that can make you extremely ill. In such areas, avoid any water from taps. Drink bottled water or canned drinks, instead. Leave off the ice, too.
It’s not just the drinking water you need to worry about, either. Raw foods that have been washed or rinsed in tap water can also be contaminated. Don’t eat foods from street vendors or restaurants unless the foods have been cooked and are served piping hot. In other words, avoid ordering the tossed salad and the fresh tropical fruit, no matter how tempting it might look. If you buy fresh local fruits, wash them in bottled water first and peel the fruits before eating them.
In U.S. restaurants, food safety isn’t usually a big problem. If you’re trying to save money by eating and snacking in your hotel room, however, do so responsibly. Many foods need to be kept cold. If your room doesn’t include a fridge, use a cooler filled with ice. Replenish the ice regularly. If refrigerated or cooler space is limited, save it for essentials like sandwich meats, cheeses, milk, and mayonnaise. Sandwich bread doesn’t have to be refrigerated, and neither do mustard, ketchup, peanut butter, chips, cookies, nuts, jerky, and snack cakes.
Packing for Spring Break
You’ll be super excited about spring break vacations! If this is your first one, you won’t know exactly what to expect, so always plan for every possibility that might come up. The old saying is true: It's better to have it and not need it than it is to need it and not have it. Packing for spring break should include a lot of planning. You’ll most likely be on a tight budget, so take what you can from home so that you won’t have to spend money unnecessarily once you’ve reached your destination. Some popular Spring Break destinations are very expensive in the way of groceries and pharmacy items. You’ll save a lot of money by avoiding high local prices. Below is a table of items you might need when packing for Spring Break.
Packing for Spring Break:
salt and pepper
first aid spray
canned/bottled soft drinks
motion sickness meds
cell phone charger
first aid kit
phone numbers for highway patrols
pop-top canned fruit
auto insurance card
Hotel safety is another important part of remaining safe on Spring Break. When you check into your hotel room, make yourself familiar with it. Look at the phone in the room and make sure you know how to contact the front desk. Learn your room’s relationship in regard to the hotel’s layout. Learn where the closest elevator and staircase are. Make sure you could “feel” your way to the stairs in total darkness. In extreme emergencies like fires, the electricity might go out, so there won’t be any light or working elevators. You’ll have to use the stairs. And remember those flashlights I told you to have in the car? Keep one by the bed in your hotel room.
Keep the door to your hotel room or condo locked at all times, including the use of the chain or bar. When someone knocks, look through the peephole before opening the door. If it’s a stranger, don’t open the door. If the stranger says he’s with the hotel, call the front desk to check. This is easy to do from the hotel phone in your room.
If you want to engage in a late-night visit to the pool or hot tub, don't go alone! If you find a group of drunk, extra-rowdy individuals had the same idea, leave. This is especially important if you're female and the other group is male. That might sound sexist, and if it does, I'm sorry. But when it comes to rape, it's much, much more likely for males to be the perpetrators.
I hope everyone has a great spring break. I’m not trying to scare you – I just want everyone to return home safely. As a mother and a grandmother, it’s my job to worry, and I do it well. You can still have a blast on spring break trips and employ safety tips at the same time. The vast majority of spring break destinations are safe, as are most of the breakers you’ll meet, but you don’t want to end up as a statistic. Remember – when it happens to you, it happens 100%. Please consider the safety tips, travel tips, and travel safety ideas I’ve included here, along with a big dose of common sense. To read about more spring break ideas, check out the links below.