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Beyond Sunscreen: Spring Break Safety Tips, University Edition

Spring break is synonymous with college students seeking fun in the sun. In 2015, the Chicago Tribune reported that over 50 percent of university students planned to travel for spring break1. Over 50 percent hit the road, driving to their destinations, 95% shared a hotel room with friends, 40% said they skipped sleep for at least 24 hours during a tripand over a 1/3 said they regretted drinking alcohol3 it’s a mix that would keep most parents up at night.

Here are some practical tips and reminders to help make sure spring break leaves everyone feeling 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. It seems that the increased number of cars coupled with drivers unfamiliar with the road has contributed to a 9.1% increase in young driver deaths.3

If driving is necessary, 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. For more safe driving tips visit

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.

Ride share wisely

Buddy up

It’s easy to get lost in a crowd, so designate 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.

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)link opens in a new window to receive travel information and alerts about the places you are visiting.

Protect your assets

Use the hotel safe for 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 and out of site.

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 Parachutelink opens in a new window. 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.

1 Karp, G. (2015, February 02). More than 50 percent of college students plan warm spring break. Retrieved March 09, 2018, from opens in a new window
2 News Releases. (n.d.). Retrieved March 09, 2018, from opens in a new window
(n.d.). Retrieved from opens in a new window
4 Traffic fatalities spike during spring break. (2015, March 18). Retrieved from opens in a new window