As spring break looms near, college kids all over are gearing up for fun away from the watchful eyes of parents, coaches, and instructors. But kicking back doesn’t have to mean losing control. Here’s how to pull off a spring break trip that’s relaxing, memorable, and most importantly, safe.
Make a smart travel plan.
• If you are driving, plot your route carefully, sticking to major highways, using GPS where available, and filling up when you reach no less than a quarter-tank.
• Reserve enough funds for the return trip.
• If you are flying, know your itinerary and flight numbers as well as exact departure and arrival times. You should have directions and prearranged transportation between the airport and the hotel.
• Have at least a general idea of what your group plans to do each day. Walking around aimlessly signals to people (and not always the best people) that you are a tourist.
Stick to your group.
• Don’t wander. Individuals walking alone or who appear to be lost tend to stand out as potential targets.
• Set a game plan before heading out for the night. When/how will everyone get back? Where should you meet up if someone gets separated from the group? Will you need a designated driver?
Keep your phone handy.
• Carry a fully charged cell phone at all times.
• Your phone should contain the following: three or more properly labeled emergency contacts, cell phone numbers for everyone in your party, the name and number of the hotel where you’re staying, and the name and number of a local cab company.
• Use a free smartphone app, such as ICE (In Case of Emergency), to record important contacts, allergies/medical conditions, insurance numbers, and other vital info.
Don’t flash cash or credit cards.
• Alert your bank prior to leaving the state or country, and set up fraud alerts for purchases over a certain amount/outside a certain area.
• Always carry some cash for emergencies, but spend it discreetly. Keep large bills tucked beneath smaller ones.
• Use ATMs only during the daytime, and use your free hand to cover the keypad as you type your PIN.
• When signing credit card receipts, carefully review all charges and the total—especially at the end of your hotel stay.
Think before you drink.
• Drinking too much is a bad idea, period. Know your limits if you plan to imbibe.
• Never leave your drink unattended.
• Be ready to leave with your party, no matter what. Never accept a ride from someone you don’t know, even if they claim to be a local resident/know your friends/work at the club or resort/etc.
• Remember: Being drunk in public is not only illegal, but it can make you an easy target for criminal activity.