Although many students go home, work or stay on campus, others travel to destinations such as Cancun, Mexico, Gatlinburg, Tenn., or Panama City, Fla.
Such trips frequently involve the combination of large crowds and alcohol, it is particularly important for students to be aware of their own safety and the safety of their friends.
Safety tips to consider
- Travel with a reputable travel agency.
- Know what kind of transportation, housing, and food and beverages are included in your travel package.
- If you don't know anything about the travel agency call the State Consumer Protection Division to find out if there are any complaints against the agency.
If you plan on drinking as part of your spring break experience, consider the following:
- Know the alcohol laws at your destination. Ask your travel agent for information on age of consumption and local laws regarding alcohol use. Some areas will ticket for open intoxicants, while others may have stiff penalties for public inebriation.
- Plan ahead on how much you plan to drink. Talk with a friend about when the friend should intervene and make a plan for how you will return to your hotel. Stay with someone who knows you when you are drinking—don't wander off alone. Make sure someone in your group is not drinking or is drinking responsibly so they can get everyone home safely.
- Don't assume that someone you've just met will look out for your best interests. Keep in mind that more people are sexually assaulted by acquaintances than by strangers.
- Only accept drinks from a licensed bartender or drinks that you pour yourself. You put yourself at risk for receiving an altered beverage if you don't know the source of the drink.
- If a friend feels sick, don't leave them alone. If you feel sick, ask someone to look out for you.
- If a member of your group passes out, turn them on their side to prevent choking and call 911 immediately.
- Don't horseplay or climb on balconies. Never sit on railings and always keep both feet on the floor at all times. Falls from balconies, even those on lower floors, can be fatal.
- Don't carry all of your credit or bank cards in your wallet or purse. Carry the minimum amount of cash that you will need, including a little backup. Traveler's checks are your best bet when on vacation. If you have extra cash, put it in the hotel safe.
- Make sure your friends and relatives know where you will be vacationing, when you will depart, and when you expect to return. Call friends or family members to let then know that you have arrived and returned safely.
- If you are robbed, don't resist—give up any money, jewelry, or other valuables. You can always replace material things. Call 911 as soon as you can.
All travelers must show proof of identity and citizenship when entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and other countries of the Caribbean by land or sea. Acceptable documents include a U.S. passport, U.S. passport card, trusted traveler card or enhanced driver’s license. (U.S. citizens who do not have a single document verifying identity and citizenship must present both an identification and citizenship document; for example, a driver’s license and either a copy of a birth certificate or a naturalization certificate.) The U.S. Department of State’s Web site (http://travel.state.gov/) is an excellent source of information for those traveling abroad.
Road Trip Advice
Students who are traveling by car are reminded that driving while tired is as dangerous as driving intoxicated. Activity breaks can help the driver stay alert. It is helpful to take turns at the wheel to prevent fatigue. If possible, stay on well-traveled roads where it is easier to get assistance when needed.
Whether traveling within the states or abroad, students are urged to notify someone at home of their travel plans, and to check in daily to confirm that your trip is progressing smoothly.