Spring break is known for it's wild reputation: reckless drinking, late nights on the beach, and wet t-shirt contests. Whether you're opting for the full college experience or are just looking to head south for a week or so, we've rounded up a nice lil' travel safety guide for all you spring breakers out there!
Yes, yes, we know better than to tell you to stay away from the bar on spring break. Relax and have yourself a margarita (or three!) but be as responsible as you can about it! Here are a few of our best pieces of advice for boozing (the smart way) on your vacay:
- Decide how much you're going to drink and what your plan is to get home (trust us -- making these decisions and planning for them while you're sober is absolutely the way to go!)
- DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE. The laws in the country you're in could be seriously strict, not to mention the normal dangers of drinking and driving. Download Uber or Lyft, know where your hotel shuttle will stop, or opt for a designated driver.
- Pace yourself! If you don't have a ton of experience with alcohol, this is not the time to determine your drinking limit. Go slow, have a glass of water between drinks, and check in with yourself to see how you feel before ordering another round.
- ALWAYS keep an eye on your drink. Take it with you to the bathroom, don't turn away from it, and don't accept a drink from a stranger unless you've seen it prepared.
- Eat before drinking! Drinking on an empty stomach can cause the alcohol to affect you much quicker (and you're more likely to get sick). If worse comes to worse, make sure you hunt down some tacos or burritos or something to help soak up the alcohol throughout the night. Trust us -- it'll make the hangover way easier in the morning.
- Remember that alcohol literally impairs your judgment and awareness. If you're slurring your speech or stumbling in your steps, a criminal might choose to target you instead of someone who appears more sober. Keep your purse on you (or, better yet, opt for one of our SHOLDIT infinity scarves or wristlets to keep your belongings super safe).
When you plan a trip over spring break, you're looking forward forward to making memories with your family or friends, not getting mugged or making a mistake that could've been avoided. Here's a few of our suggestions for travel safety:
- If you’re leaving the country, you’ll need a passport! (You may also need a Visa depending on your destination; you can check that here.) These aren't super quick and easy documents to get, so get on it and be sure to file your application at least 6 months before going on a trip!
- Do your homework about your destination, and keep in mind that you are subject to the laws of the country you visit. (Some countries outlaw holding hands. Seriously.) You should also check here for any travel warnings or travel alerts by the US government...for example, Mexico has some pretty serious warnings right now.
- Don't carry huge wads of cash. ATMs are readily available in most countries, so you can always withdraw more if you need to.
- Have the following on you at all times: an ID, a credit card, and some cash. We suggest keeping them in the secret pocket of a SHOLDIT infinity scarf (shop them here!); that way, they're out of sight from any would-be muggers, and you aren't swinging a purse around. Bonus: you'll be hands-free!
- Always inform others of your travel plans, including hotel and contact information while you are away. Give someone back home a copy of your passport; this will help in the event you have to get a replacement passport from the US Embassy.
- If you do get mugged or robbed, remember that you are the only thing you can't replace.
- Keep your hotel info and room number to yourself. No one outside of your group of friends needs to know your exact location.
- Stay on well-traveled (and well-lit!) streets whenever possible.
- Learn the customs and traditions of your destination country before you go! Also, try to pick up a few key conversational phrases. Learn "hello," "thank you," "how much," "where is the bathroom," and those kinds of snippets in the native language to make getting around a little bit easier.
- Know who to contact (and how!) in the event of an emergency.
- Keep your phone fully charged at all times, and carry a back-up charger in your bag just in case.
When you’re on an unforgettable spring break vacation with friends, it can be easy to forget about simple safety precautions like sun care and hydration, but a nasty sunburn or sickness could ruin your whole trip! Here are some of our top health tips for spring breakers:
- Wear sunglasses and sunscreen! Seriously.
- Remember that you can get a sunburn even if it's cloudy or overcast. So, once again, seriously...apply that sunscreen!
- Keep a water bottle on you at all times, and drink it throughout the day and night. It's SUPER easy to get dehydrated, both in the hot weather and because of all the drinking.
- Rather than going out for every meal, buy some healthy food that would be easy to prepare in your room. If you know your friends are going to bring a ton of junk food, stock up on some fruit and veggies to snack on rather than indulging in chips and dip.
- Decide what you want your personal boundaries to be in regards to intimacy on this trip, then set your boundaries early and reinforce them often. Don't let anyone talk you into doing something you're not comfortable with.
- If you do choose to have sex, make sure it’s protected (note that condoms are the best way to prevent STDs -- and don’t forget, you can effortlessly keep one hidden in your secret lil’ scarf pocket!)
- Jumping into the ocean without a lifeguard is putting your own life at risk. Always swim with a buddy!
- A lot of the popular spring break destinations throughout the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Pacific Islands, and Mexico have a risk of Zika. The CDC has issued Zika travel notices with recommendations for spring breakers that are headed to destinations with this risk, so be sure to take a peek at that!
What are your spring break plans this year? Share your trips (and tips!) in the comments below. :)