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Beyond Sunscreen: Spring Break Safety Tips, University Edition

Spring break is synonymous with college students seeking fun in the sun. It’s a time for stressed out college students to take a much-needed vacation. Last year, despite Covid, nearly one-quarter of students planned to travel over spring break, compared to 1 in 6 who were not sure, and 59% who had no travel plans[1]. When it comes to making plans, 79% of students planned to drive and only 29% planned to fly. This year, as more people are vaccinated and more Covid restrictions are lifted, promises to see even more students leaving their college campuses for warm weather destinations.

Here are some practical tips and reminders to help make sure spring break leaves everyone relaxed and happy.

 Drive with caution

Spring breakers may want to consider flying and using rideshare programs or taxis once at their destination, instead of driving. The CDC reports that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among healthy travelers and urges Americans to always wear a seat belt and only ride in marked taxis or ride-sharing vehicles[2].

If driving to the destination, take turns behind the wheel to keep everyone awake and alert. Bring an actual map in case of navigation glitches or dropped cell service, and make someone besides the driver responsible for navigating.  Double check that everyone has a valid driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance before hitting the road. It’s a good idea to know your route before you go, pack a roadside emergency kit and keep any valuables out of sight, locked and in the trunk. And, most importantly, never drink, search for playlists on your phone, read a map or text while driving.

If you plan to fly and rent a car at your destination, take time to get to know your rental car. Make sure your headlights are on since many times, rental car headlights don’t turn on automatically.

·       Accident prone?  Consider purchasing accident insurance.  Get a quote or purchase online today!

Ride share wisely

If you use a rideshare service, there are a few ways to help ensure your safety:

-          Check that the license plate and driver photo of the car matches the one on your app before getting in

-          Follow the navigation on your cell to make sure you’re heading to the right place

-          Plan ahead and research the safest and most reliable ride options before your trip and make sure you know areas to avoid on your trip

-          If possible, do not travel alone, even when you’re in a ride share or taxi

 Buddy up

It’s easy to get lost in a crowd, consider designating one of your friends as your travel BFF/buddy wherever you are—at a party, beach or seeing sights. Keep an eye on your buddy at all times and don’t leave anywhere without them. Try adding your friends and family to your “Find my Friends” feature on your phone for the duration of the trip to make it easier to keep taps on each other.

ID yourself

Carry ID and an insurance card with you at all times, and consider changing the lock screen of your phone to show your name and emergency contact number.

Stay informed

Enroll in the State DepartmentsSmart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive travel information and alerts about the places you are visiting.

Protect your assets

Use the hotel safe to store your ID, credit cards, passport (if abroad), cash, jewelry (better yet, leave bling at home), cameras and personal devices. When you’re out and about keep your cash, ID and keys secure.

You are your most important asset--If you’re anywhere that you don’t feel comfortable or safe, leave. Consider downloading an emergency contact app like Parachute. Keep your hotel name, phone number and address in your phone and provide that info with someone at home in case your phone dies or you don’t have service.

Drink responsibly

 Know and follow all rules for drinking, including how old you have to be to drink and where drinking is allowed. Always keep an eye on your drink, whether or not it’s alcoholic, and don’t accept drinks from strangers. Know your limits and know that binge drinking or keeping up isn’t required for a fun spring break. Consider a designated non-drinker from your group for each night so someone can stay alert and make sure everyone gets home safely.

Travel smart, travel safe to a fun and memorable spring break.

 

 

Sources:

1- Pulse, C. (2021, March 23). One-quarter of college students with a spring break plan to travel. Retrieved February 23, 2022, from https://collegepulse.com/blog/college-students-with-a-spring-break-plan-to-travel

2- Spring Break Travel. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2022, from https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/spring-break-travel