Hitting the road with friends for spring break is a long-standing tradition for young adults.
Sun, drinks and carefree attitudes make spring break fun, but taking them too far and getting into risky situations can ruin the trip.
To avoid a party foul, follow these spring break safety tips from Marshfield Clinic family medicine physician Dr. Brandon Parkhurst.
Pre-travel safety steps
A safe spring break starts before you leave. Here are a few smart things to do before you depart:
Check health and safety alerts in your destination.
“You may need additional vaccines, protective clothing or even medications in some cases if you’re traveling to certain locations outside the U.S.,” Parkhurst said.
Share travel information with family and friends back home.
Let them know when you will be leaving and returning, where you will be staying and who you are traveling with. Check in with them during the trip.
Make copies of identification and bring extra funds.
If your wallet is lost or stolen, you don’t want to get stuck with no ID or money to get home. Keep extra copies of your ID in the safe in your room, along with extra cash or your credit card.
Tips for a safe spring break
Bring sunscreen and wear it.
“Getting a bad sunburn that sends you to the emergency department is more likely to happen on spring break than violence or a natural disaster,” Parkhurst said. Reapply sunscreen often to avoid getting burned.
Use the buddy system.
Take turns being the person who watches out for your friends and makes sure everyone leaves bars or parties together. Steer your buddy to safety if he or she is drinking too much or talking to a person who makes you feel uncomfortable. Know the signs of alcohol and drug intoxication to look for in your friends.
“Acting excessively drunk or disoriented for the amount of alcohol they’ve had, passing out, and excessive vomiting are reasons to take a friend to the emergency department,” Parkhurst said.
Spending time in the sun and drinking alcohol can be a disastrous mix. Drink plenty of water starting when you wake up to avoid heat stroke and dehydration. When the alcohol starts flowing, have a glass of water between drinks.
Practice safe drinking.
Know your limit when it comes to alcohol. If you start to feel disoriented, switch to non-alcoholic drinks or ask friends to take you back to the hotel. Keep an eye on your drink, and only accept drinks that were made or poured in front of you. Steer clear of dangerous situations like drunken driving or getting in the pool or ocean when you’re drunk.
Don’t share lodging information with strangers.
Don’t give out your hotel information or room number to new acquaintances. They may seem friendly but have plans to steal from your room or hurt you. Plan to meet up with new acquaintances in public places, and bring your friends.