Spring break for college students accross the world is rapidly approaching. It's important that you know what to do if you're caught in a less desirable or even threatening situation. But more importantly, it's crucial to know how to avoid such situations. Follow these helpful tips to keep you and your friends in the clear this year.
In the Car...
Make sure to have your drivers license's, registration & insurance information with you for each driver before you set-off.
Take turns driving. Rotate every few hours to keep you all well rested.
The front seat passenger should always try to stay awake, in order to keep the driver company. Two alert drivers are better than one.
Have a map on hand. Depending on where you're traveling too, phone service could be spotty and GPS systems may not work. It's important to have something else to rely on. This could be a regular old paper map, or a map from Google Play, or the Apple App Store which does not require an interent connection.
Always try to keep valuable items on your person. If you have to leave them in the car, hide them somewhere, out of plane sight, preferrably locked in the trunk of the car.
Traveling to a foreign country & driving? Take time to familiarize yourself with the road signs for the country.
Public Transportation (Taxi, Subway, Metro, etc)...
Always call ahead for taxi services. Use approved airport transportation and never hop into a car if a stranger has offered you a ride.
Official taxis have some sort of identification or badge. Make sure to look for this before accepting a ride.
If at any point during your taxi ride, you feel unsafe, it's within your rights to have the cab stop at a safe location, leave money behind on the seat, and get out of there.
Subways & metros are prime locations for pick-pocketers and theft due to their crowded conditions. Be aware.
If carrying a backpack on a subway or metro, carry it on the front of your person in order to keep an eye on it.
When you've arrived at your hotel, make sure to grab a business-like card that contains the name of the hotel, its phone number, and address, just in case you need assistance getting back.
Don't say the name of your room number too lound when checking-in, you don't know who could be listening.
Be sure to book your room on a floor that's above the 1st floor - 1st floor is much easier to break into - and below the 6th floor - fire ladders don't always reach past the 6th floor.
Locate the fire exits and stairwells when heading up to your room.
Many hotel doors have slow release hinges. Don't let the door close behind you, someone could sneak in. Always close your door yourself, right behind you.
Leave valuables in the room safe when you are gone. Housekeeping and potentially others could be in your room while you're out and about.
Always go to the ATM with a group
Scan the surroundings of the ATM to make sure noone is around that shouldn't be. If an ATM location just doesn't feel right, go to another.
Always cover the keypad of the ATM when entering your Pin number. You never know who, or what (cameras, etc.) could be watching.
We get it, you're on Spring Break to have fun, but always drink responsibly.
Sex can "happen" when alcohol is involved - ask yourself first if you're open to this. If you are, always make sure to carry protection with you.
Keep your drink in hand at all times or at the least, in very, very close proximity to you. Date Rape drugs can be slipped into anything, even non-alocholic, it just takes one quick second of you not paying attention. "In a 2007 study by the National Institute of Health, it was reported that 89% of female undergrad sexual assault survivors reported drinking before their assualt. No survivor is to blame for their asssault, but the links between alcohol and vicitimzation are staggering and cannot be ignored."
Try not to drink from punch bowls & tubs.
If you or a friend start to feel the effects of something that just doesn't feel right, get to a safe place immediately. This could present itself in the form of wooziness, confusion, inability to stand, inability to speak clearly (slurred speech).
Never drink and drive. Always have a mode of transportation prepared in advance before you start drinking, whether it be by taxi, Uber, Lyft, metro, etc.
Pace yourself if you choose to drink.
Try to eat before you start drinking. Drinking on an empty stomach can lead to you feeling the effects of alcohol much quicker.
Always follow the Golden Rule - Come with your friends. Leave with your friends.
Around the Water...
Usewaterproof sublock with a Sun Protection Factor of at least 30. Remember, you can burn even if it's cloudy out.
Stay hydrated, drinking plenty of water.
Sun maximizes the effects of alcohol, so keep this mind when drinking.
If swimming in the ocean, make sure there is a lifeguard on duty. If there is not, you're putting yourself and your friends at risk.
Know the flag system lifeguards use:
Red Flag: Stay out of the water - strong riptides / undertow
Yellow Flag: Use CAUTION in the water. Could be some riptides / undertow present
Blue Flag: Calm water
Don't dive into any body of water unless you know for sure how deep it is.
Be careful when drinking in a hot tub. Similar to the sun, the heat from a hot tub maximizes the effects of alcohol, and can lead to unconciousness and drowning.
For more information:
"Spring Break Safety Tip Sheet." Fight Back on Spring Break. N.p., 2015. Web.