You’ve worked hard – all that studying, all those papers. You deserve a break – to get away from it all and forget about everything but that great spring fling you’ve been dreaming about. Whether you’re cruising to the Bahamas, skiing the Alps, or hitting the nearest beach, personal safety is your responsibility.
Before You Leave
Secure your residence hall room or apartment.
Make sure all windows are closed and locked.
Leave a copy of your travel itinerary with someone back home.
Track your baggage and personal belongings at all times.
Keep those with whom you are traveling and someone back home informed of any changes to your itinerary.
If you travel out of the USA (that includes Canada and Mexico), make sure you have an up-to-date passport, proper visa, and know the rules and regulations for transporting perfume, food, animals, cigarettes, alcohol, and other drugs across borders.
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Traveler’s checks are always a good idea. Leave credit and ATM cards locked in a secure place.
If you are taking prescription medication, be sure to pack enough to last the length of your trip
Know the laws regarding possession of alcoholic beverages and drugs. Blood alcohol content (BAC) levels used to determine DUI (Driving Under the Influence) are set at lower readings than in the United States (fewer drinks = higher risk = arrest). Do not get involved in illegal drugs; the penalty in some countries is death.
If you are of legal drinking age and you do decide to drink – do so responsibly
98% of spring breakers injured were intoxicated.
Keep your drink in sight at all times. Leaving it unattended gives anyone the opportunity to “slip” something into your drink -- acid, “roofies,” or other dangerous substances.
DO NOT DRIVE AFTER DRINKING. Use a designated driver or choose public transportation.
Should members of your group become intoxicated, never leave them alone. If they pass out, make sure they sleep on their side to prevent choking, and if their level of consciousness is too low to get a response, call 911 or the local emergency number.
Drinking makes it easier for a person to become either the victim or the perpetrator of a sexual assault.
Sex & Violence
Studies show that few students who had sex during spring break used condoms, even if a condom was available, and among women, those with higher alcohol consumption were more likely to have been the victim of a sexual assault.
Don’t allow yourself to be taken to an isolated location.
Don’t walk alone. Use the buddy system.
Never leave with someone you just met. Know the difference between making new friends and allowing yourself to be alone with a stranger.
Watch out for “rape” drugs. Don’t leave your drink unattended. Don’t accept open drinks from strangers.
Don’t bring strangers back to your room, and don’t give out any personal information about yourself or anyone else.
If you are assaulted or raped, alert the proper authorities immediately.
Lock your door and use the peephole before opening your door.
Don’t leave valuables in your hotel; most hotels have a safe you can rent.
Know where the emergency exits are located.
DO NOT climb on balconies or sit on balcony rails. This can be fatal!
When you get to the venue, keep track of where the exits are located. In an emergency, the closest exit might not always be the best one to use.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Don’t stand near or climb on temporary structures; these could collapse and fall.
Don’t go to a crowded event alone. A helping hand in a crush can mean the difference between life and death if you’ve fallen or become injured.
Always have your ID and any special medical information, but DO NOT flash your hotel key or let strangers know where you are staying.
Always walk, talk, sit, and act with confidence. Avoid looking like you’re lost.
There’s safety in numbers. Try your best to stay around your friends.
Outside the USA, never drink local water, no matter how clean it looks.
Beware of pickpockets. Robbery and acquaintance rape top the list of crimes committed against college students on spring break.
The most important spring break safety tip is to use common sense. With these safety tips in mind, stay safe, and enjoy your sun-filled spring break….with sunscreen, of course!