As mid-term exams are completed and the semester wanes, students’ thoughts turn to Spring Break. Be it an annual spring break jaunt to fun and sun on the coast, a ski trip to the mountains, or just a relaxing visit home to spend time with family and friends – Spring Break is a chance to let go of the pressure from the school year and have some fun. However, students need to be sure that that take some precautions to ensure their good times are not spoiled.
1. Let your friends and family know where you are.
Share your itinerary and lodging information with folks back home and on campus, along with names and phone numbers for the people with whom you are traveling. It doesn’t hurt to check in from time-to-time as well, especially when you arrive and when you leave to return to campus.
2. Pre-arrange a ‘danger word or phrase’.
Determine a word or phrase that you can share with your friends and family that alerts them you are in danger or do not feel secure. It can be something like a unique name of a person, or and old pet, or a type of food that you do not ordinarily eat. When you use the word in a sentence on the phone when you’re talking to your folks, or even just in conversation with your friends on Spring Break with you… it lets them know you need them to take steps to get someplace secure.
3. Lock your door.
When you’re sharing a room with multiple friends, many times you or your roommates will block the door so that it does not close and lock securely. That is inviting problems such as theft – or worse. Close and lock your doors, including patio doors, and use a portable door handle or door stop alarm for added security.
4. Use the buddy system.
You’re on break to have fun, but you need to remain engaged with your surroundings. One way to ensure that you ARE engaged is to always be with or near a friend and look out for one another. If you’re impaired, it is especially important that you have someone keeping an eye out for you – the more the better. Safety comes in numbers, and you will be less of a target if you are not alone.
5. Know where you are going.
Depending on where you are – and perhaps how sober you are – you may need assistance in telling your taxi or Uber driver where you are staying. Mentioning a hotel chain which has multiple properties in town, or “my uncle’s condo by the beach” won’t help get you home. Write down the address or plug it into your smart phone so you have it handy and can tell your driver where you need to go. After dark, it’s also a good idea to ask them to wait until they see you enter the building safely before driving off. 6. Have fun! You don’t need to be afraid of every sound or shadow or person that you meet – just be smart. You will have a great time if you take some precautions, have a plan, and look out for yourself and your friends.