Each year, thousands of college students make the voyage to countless national and international hotspots for Spring Break. Students deserve a break and often, a vacation is well-earned. Before heading out, however, it is important to consider safety. Below are a number of tips to consider before packing your bags!
Leaving the Country . . .
- If you’re leaving the country, you’ll need a passport. You might also need a Visa, depending on your destination. These are not quick and easy documents to attain, so file your application at least 6 months before going on a trip abroad.
- If you’re headed to a destination where the primary language is foreign, you should learn a few common phrases. Knowing how to say: “Hello,” “Thank you,” “Please,” “How Much?,” “Where is?”and so on will go a long way in making your experience a positive one.
- Learning a bit about the culture can enhance your experience as well!
On the Go…
- Make sure everyone has a valid driver’s license, and the vehicle registration and proof of insurance are in the car before driving off.
- Take turns behind the wheel. Rotating drivers will keep everyone rested and will allow for passengers to take turns playing music.
- Whoever sits shotgun should stay awake to keep the driver company. Two alert drivers are always better than one.
- Safety has a lot to do with what you pack when traveling abroad. Don’t bring flashy valuables like expensive jewelry or watches.
- Know your local equivalent to 911. Who do you call in an emergency?
- When you check in at the front desk, use discretion in saying your room number. No one outside of your group of friends needs to know your exact location.
- Make a mental note of where the nearest fire exits and stairwells are located in case you need to evacuate.
- Close your door tightly when entering or leaving your room. Some doors have a slow release and could remain open after you leave.
- Before leaving your hotel, take a card from the front desk with the name of the hotel, phone number and address just in case you need help getting back.
At the ATM…
- Try to go to the ATM in groups.
- When you approach the ATM, do a full 360 degree scan. Look to see if anyone is watching you. If someone is creeping you out, go to another ATM.
- When entering in your pin number, use your other hand to cover the keypad. Just because you don’t see someone watching you doesn’t mean that there couldn’t be a camera capturing what you type.
- Decide what your limits should be before going out.
- Eat before you drink. Drinking on an empty stomach can cause alcohol to affect you much quicker, causing sickness.
- Keep an eye on your drink.
- Don’t drink from open beverage sources like punch bowls, pitchers or tubs.
- Never drink and drive. You and your friends can always split the cost of a taxi.
In the Sun…
- Take it slow and stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. If you start feeling faint or light headed, get shade and water immediately.
- Use waterproof sunscreen at least SPF 30 and reapply often. Pay special attention to ears, nose, face and shoulders.
In the Water…
- Jumping into the ocean without a lifeguard is putting yourself at risk. Always swim with a buddy.
- In any natural body of water, be aware that you can’t always tell how deep the water is. Don’t dive if you don’t know how deep the water is. Diving into shallow water can lead to serious injuries.
Wherever you go, and whatever you do, stay safe and have fun!