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Safe Spring Break Tips

We've compiled a long list of safe spring break tips for everyone headed to Spring Break.  Here are some common-sense tips we've broken down into the different stages in preparation for your Break.

Before you pack that suitcase…

Research your destination – these are questions to ask yourself and travel companions before you head out the door to Break.

Safe Spring Break Tips:  Do you know where you are going?
  • If you are driving plan your route a head of time and carry a map just in case you need to make a detour.  Stick to major highways and remember a Safe Spring Break starts with a good car inspection before you leave. A major car repair will take valuable dollars from your beer budget. Also don’t forget, at some point, you have to come back so don’t spend all your gas money in the hotel gift shop on the last day of your trip.

Airplane taking off

  • If you are flying, make sure you know how you are getting from the airport to your hotel. Call the hotel or your tour operator ahead of time and ask if they have a free shuttle or if they can recommend a taxi service and get phone numbers. This information will be very useful later in the week when you and your fellow spring breakers are pushed out of the bar and need to get back to your … or their hotel room.
  • Can you really fit in windsurfing, the safari jeep trip and dancing all night at the hottest club in town into one day? You can if you have a map of the actual place you are staying and have researched the best way to get from the beach to the club and back again. Safe Spring Break Tip: Try to find a map of your destination before you leave. Walking around with the hotel map or asking directions from strangers is like walking around with a fanny pack – you scream lost tourist with money rob me.
    Safe Spring Break Tips : Are you legal?
    • A common-sense safe Spring Break Tip: If you are traveling to another country make sure you know what documentation is required to enter and leave that country – a passport or a raised-seal birth certificate will get you in and out of most countries and will get you safely back to US soil.  To be really sure, check with the U.S. consulate of the country you are visiting.  Click here for more info.  Also, check out http://travel.state.gov for current information on foreign conditions and http://www.cdc.gov/travel for health issues.
    • What is the legal drinking age? Do not assume that can you drink at 16 or 18 just because you think the United States is the only country with an unreasonable drinking age. Your hotel room will became really boring if you have to stay in every night because the destination you picked will not allow you into the clubs.

    No Drugs Button

    • Can I inhale? Just say no. In many countries penalties for drug possession are VERY SEVERE. In addition, most countries consider anyone over sixteen an adult – talk about a permanent record. Even the hardiest Spring Breaker is not prepared for a night in a Mexican jail.
    Safe Spring Break Tips : Does anyone else know where you are going?
    • Tell family and close friends where you are going- including the name of the hotel and when you expect to return.
    • Find out if your health and car insurance will cover you while you traveling.  A simple call to your insurance company will tell you this.

    Packing the suitcase….

    What to Take

    Safe Spring Break Tips : Tickets & Travel Docs (Passport and Drivers License)
    • You can’t get on the plane with your good looks – need I say more?
    • Copies of your passport and Drivers License should be packed and left in the hotel safe in case your picture ID is lost at sea – anything is better than nothing at all.
    Safe Spring Break Tips : Health Insurance
    • Bring your health insurance ID cards with you! If you have UC SHIP go to the UC SHIP website to print a temporary card.
    • If you have UC SHIP . . . save $$ and call the numbers on the back of the card for information about netwrok providers and best rates when traveling.
    Safe Spring Break Tips : Money
    • Know your currency and plan accordingly.  Our destination guides have tips on where to change money, but, as a general rule, you will get the best deal at banks and exchange houses.  The airport and your hotel will give you the worst exchange rate.
    • Don’t bring a lot of large bills – keep smaller bills handy for tipping. Do not flash money around.
    • Carry only one or two major credit cards – your Limited Store Card is good at any mall in the US, but are you really going to need it in Cancun? More cards equal more chances to lose those cards.
    Safe Spring Break Tips : Emergency Numbers
    • 080 = 911 in Mexico, find out if the locality where you are staying has an emergency number.  Your hotel can help you here.
    • Carry the number for a reliable ground transportation service (i.e. taxi company or the hotel shuttle) with you at all times.
    • Know how to call home. Nothing says, "I love you Mom and Dad," like a brief call from another country, especially when you are short on cash!
    • Do you speak English? Know how to get in touch with the US Consulate  for your destination if you are traveling abroad. Check with the US State Department before you leave for any travel warnings.
    Safe Spring Break Tips for Sunscreen & Skin Care
    • Remember your local drug store will probably have better selection and prices on Sunscreen than the hotel gift shop where you are staying.

    Sunscreen bottle

    • For a Safe Spring Break without sun poisoning or sunburn, pack a sunscreen with at least a 15 SPF. If possible try to find a waterproof sunscreen so that you don’t have to reapply every time you are splashed by a wave relaxing on your raft in Caribbean.  Even then, be liberal in reapplying sunscreen.
    • Pack at least one hat and a long sleeve shirt in case the sun gets to be much.
    • After sun lotion or aloe is also a good idea in case you or someone else forgot a spot when putting on the sunscreen.
    • Check out this Sunscreens and Tanning Fact Sheet.
    Safe Spring Break Tips for Medicines

    Medicine Bottle

    • Remember to pack any prescription medicine you need.  Keep prescription medicines packed in their original bottle or packaging, so that you are not having to explain to a Customs Officer what the little white pills are that have spilled all in your luggage.
    • Arrange for refills in advance; note that Adderall and other drugs used to ADHD are not legally allowed in some countries.
    • Packing over the counter medicines for pain relief and stomach distress will make you a popular person after a night out.
    • BIRTH CONTROL – don’t forget your pills and remember the pill increases your sensitivity to the sun.
    • CONDOMS – Currently one out of five college students have an STD, that is one souvenir that nobody wants… have a fun but Safe Spring Break.
    • Sunglasses – The higher the UVA and UVB protection the darker the shades, not to mention the darker the shades.

    I am here and loving it….

    Once you make it to your destination, we have a few more Spring Break safety tips that can make sure you're still around to enjoy all of your vacation.

    Safe Spring Break Tips : Time to Party

    Little umbrella drinks are everywhere, but staying out in the sun all day will make you thirsty.  Alcohol is not the thirst quencher! BEWARE of DEHYDRATION

    • Alcohol dehydrates the body, add some sun and salt water and we know from experience you will be heading up to your room early and alone.  To avoid this, drink plain, pure water during the day.
    • Know the signs of dehydration…. dizziness, weakness, muscle spasms, passing out, confusion, dark urine …  If you notice these symptoms in yourself, make you next drink a tall glass of ice water.
    • Prevent Dehydration by drinking lots of non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated  drinks before heading out to the party and alternate alcoholic beverages with a non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated  drinks while out at the Beach Party or Club.  Not only will you stay hydrated, that hangover the next morning should not be as severe.
    • Trust us- you will be able to party longer and harder by staying hydrated and your hang-over, if any, will be shorter and less painful if you drink a large glass of a non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverage before you go to bed.

    Another helpful safe spring break tip – pass on or limit the salt on the Margarita Glass – do you really need to ingest extra salt to further dehydrate your body? 

     

     Margarita Glass with SaltSafe Spring Break Tips for Alcohol Poisoning

    Every year hundreds of Spring Breakers are rushed to resort hospitals with alcohol poisoning and sadly, every year there are a number of Spring Breakers who will never see another Spring Break.  These safe spring break tips are important for everyone traveling with you to know and understand.

    • We understand the temptation, it is almost everywhere you look – the pool, the beach, the club, the hotel room, the plane… there is an insane amount of alcohol and you are on vacation – just be careful.
    • You will probably drink more the week of Spring Break than you did the week you started college or turned 21. Your body will seek revenge and ,even if you follow our safe spring break tips, someone else like your roommate, your best friend, etc. will push his or her limits.
    • Know what to look for – the person has consumed alcohol, is unconscious and cannot be woken and does not respond to any attempts to wake them up. The person has cold, clammy and unusually pale or bluish skin and they are breathing slowly or irregularly. Additionally, a definite sign of alcohol poisoning is when a person vomits and does not wake up. Remember someone can have alcohol poisoning without vomiting.
    • DON’T PANIC… Do not leave the person alone. This is an emergency.
    • Call 911 or its equilvent in the country where you are staying, if you don’t know the number call information to find out how to contact emergency medical personnel.
    • Turn the person on their side to prevent choking from vomiting.
    • Watch the breathing if breathing stops administer CPR.
    • Whatever you do – do not let the person just “sleep it off” or they may never wake up.
    Ok – so you just want to relax and not regret it …Safe Spring Break Party Tips
    • Eat before and while you are drinking
    • Set a limit on your drinks – know your limit
    • Space and Pace your drinks remember if you go all out at the beach or pool party then you will be too intoxicated, dehydrated and tired to enjoy the Sunset Party Cruise
    • We know form experience …Beer before Liquor – Never been sicker – don’t mix alcoholic drinks. Make it a beer day or a daiquiri day or you will be making it a hotel bathroom floor night.
    • Alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks.
    • Limit drinking games as you always lose more than you win – like you need to add fun to drinking while in a Caribbean Island somewhere - please!
    • Don’t accept open containers from others and watch your drink.
    • Party with a buddy and let that person know where you are going post party.
    • Never mix acetaminophen (found in Tylenol) and alcohol, it can cause major liver damage.
    Safe Spring Break Tips : It’s a girl thing – don’t be a victim

    Last year over 70,000-college women aged 18-24 were raped or sexually assaulted after consuming alcohol. This number is based on reported cases, the experts estimate the number of unreported sexual assaults on college women could be anywhere from three to five times that number.

    Beware of strangers - you have no way of knowing whether the guy you are dancing with can deal with the fact you are not having sex after the last dance. He could be “the one” or he could be the guy that has “that reputation” on campus.

    Beware of those you know – 1 in 4 women know their attacker and on Spring Break expectations are high. Don’t let your guard down if you are not ready.

    Stay with your group, it is a lot harder to be preyed upon if everyone is watching out for everyone else.

    Guys too, be careful you are not immune from predators, male and female.

    For more information or questions, please email studenthealth@sa.ucsb.edu