Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Spring Break Countdown

In light of the fact that January is over, February should go by quick and March will be upon us faster than we think, I have decided to begin the countdown to the infamous Spring Break. While I myself can no longer enjoy the carefree, and often careless, nature of Spring Break, I know many young college students who are eagerly planning their trips to the tropical, sandy beaches of places like Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean--just to name a few. So expect to see a few posts about popular Spring Break destinations, ways to save money on the trip and some possible alternatives to traditional Spring Break travels.

Right now, I want to bring up the sobering (pun intended) topic of Spring Break safety. Obviously, students like to use their week of freedom to blow off some steam, party with their friends, meet new people and not think about school. But with all the chaotic hoopla going on, accidents can happen and people can get hurt. It's crucial to be aware of your surroundings and be cognizant of bad situations. I received a link to a story written for, and it covers some of the top Spring Break tragedies that have occurred. I am not including this link to scare people, but rather as a warning and a reminder that things can go wrong if you're not careful. That being said, I want to provide you with a few Spring Break tips from the experts--and a couple I picked up on my own--to keep you safe, and make your trip a little more enjoyable.

If You're Taking a Road Trip

Driving is one of the easiest, most economical ways to get around these days, and many students will be opting for this transportation method for their Spring Break trip. If you plan on making it a road trip, be sure to take the necessary precautions:
  • Get your tires rotated and oil changed, as well as any other repairs that need to be done.
  • Make sure you have proper registration and insurance forms in your car, as well as a manual, road-side assistance kit, AAA card (if you are a member) and spare tire.
  • Keep a cooler of water in the car so you can stay hydrated. Also bring some light snacks, you'll need the energy.
  • Rotate drivers every couple of hours so people have a chance to sleep, eat and relax, so they're prepared for their next shift.
  • If you're driving at night, make sure someone stays awake with the driver, numerous accidents happen when drivers fall asleep at the wheel.
  • Stay focused when driving--it's perfectly fine to talk with your friends or listen to music, but concentrate on the road, stay off your cell phone and don't try to eat and drive simultaneously.
When You Arrive

Once you reach your destination, whether flying or driving, the fun can really begin. It's common for students or young adults to quickly drop off their luggage in their room and hit the beach or bar right away. However, it's a good idea to slow down and take some time setting up your hotel room.
  • If there is a safe in the room, be sure to put all your important documents (passport, extra cash, tickets, etc.) inside. It's not a good idea to leave valuables lying around the room, just in case someone breaks in. 
  • Always lock your hotel room door.
  • Inspect the room, monitoring it for cleanliness and comfort. Also make sure you have all the amenities you need. If not, call the front desk and have them drop off extra towels or glasses or toilet paper, whatever you think you'll need.  
During Your Trip

Obviously, Spring Break is meant to be a fun, exciting, and high-energy experience, but more often then not, when partying gets too crazy, things tend to go wrong. I understand the desire to drink yourself into oblivion, but it probably isn't the best idea, especially when you're in an unfamiliar place with people you don't know. Here are a couple suggestions to help keep yourself--and others--conscious of their surroundings and physical well-being.

  • Avoid all-day drinking fests if you can. If you do decide to start early, have a glass of water after one or two drinks, this will keep you hydrated and help you to stave off the liquor buzz that will inevitably turn into intoxication.
  • At the bars, keep your drink with you at all times. Do not set it down anywhere, as it becomes an easy target for predators to slip something into it. Also, keep your hand over the top of the drink as you hold it, this will prevent someone dropping something in.
  • If you meet an attractive guy or girl at the bar, do not go off alone with them. Make sure you stick with your group. Also, make sure you keep an eye on your friends so that they do not leave with someone. Always be aware of where everyone in your group is.
  • Don't bring strangers back to your room, or let your friends bring someone back.
  • If your walking around the city during the day, keep a close eye on your personal belongings. Thieves target tourists, so keep hold of your bag. If a thief tries to take your money, purse, wallet or credit cards, do not fight back, they may have a weapon.
  • If items do get stolen, report stolen credit and debit cards to your bank immediately.
The Most Important Rule

Yes, I realize this is pretty cheesy, but it is the one element of Spring Break that should never be forgotten. There's being safe and cautious, and then there's being overly careful, to the point of obsession. Spring Break is about letting loose, relaxing and having a good time. So enjoy your Spring Break trip, and just be smart.

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