Finance and Operations

Keep safety top of mind during Spring Break


Spring Break is just around the corner and many students will be heading to warm destinations for a well-deserved, mid-semester break. While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of Spring Break, be sure to keep safety top of mind during your travels with the following tips.

Arrive safely

  • Driving through the night to make it to your sunny destination is common for spring breakers but driving while drowsy can be similar to driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • Be sure to rest up before your trip, plan stops along your route and consider stopping at a hotel you’ve researched prior to travel that is safe and clean.
  • If you can’t avoid driving through the night, drive in shifts and have at least one person stay awake to talk to the driver.

Have a plan and be prepared

  • Let a trusted person (such as a parent) outside of your travel group know where you are staying and contact information for others in your group.
  • Give that trusted person a copy of your important documents in case you lose them (ID, plane tickets, passport).
  • Know the address of your hotel or short-term rental, as well as number and location of local law enforcement agencies (or U.S. Embassy if traveling out of the country.)
  • Keep your phone charged at all times. Take a portable battery charger if needed.
  • Write down important phone numbers, in case your phone is lost or stolen.
  • Don’t tell new acquaintances where you’re staying. You never know who has innocent or dangerous intentions.

Be alert

  • Secure your hotel room or short-term rental by locking the doors and securing important belongings like passports and wallets in a safe.
  • If using transportation such as Uber or Lyft, ensure the vehicle/person matches the description.
  • Don’t share your travel plans or location on social media.
  • Carry cash and take a copy of your credit cards in case they are stolen.
  • Use the buddy system. Never leave a party with a stranger and establish a place to meet in advance if you get separated. It’s always best to take a friend with you. If you do leave without your friends, give them details about where you’re going and when to expect you back.
  • Be an active bystander. If you see a situation that gives you a gut feeling that something isn’t right, take action to step in and prevent harm. Engage in bystander intervention to interrupt harm and provide support.
  • If you need help, ask for it. If there’s an emergency, call 911.

Practice safe drinking

  • Take turns so that one friend in the group per night will plan on minimal drinking to look out for everyone.
  • Watch your cup or glass and only accept drinks that you’ve watched get made or poured in front of you.
  • If you choose to drink, plan not to exceed a certain number of drinks.
  • Know the signs of alcohol poisoning and recognize if someone in your group has had too much to drink.

Take care of yourself

  • Wear sunscreen, a hat and light-weight, loose-fitting clothing when spending time in the heat. Know the signs of heat-related illnesses.
  • Drink plenty of water. Drinking caffeinated alcoholic beverages in combination with sun and heat can dehydrate you.
  • Make sure you eat, especially if you choose to drink.

If you’re traveling outside of the country:

  • Sign up online for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enables the State Department to contact you in case of a family emergency, or to notify you of a crisis near your travel destination.
  • Look up the address or contact information for the American consulate or U.S. Embassy in the country where you’re headed. Tell friends and relatives in the U.S. of your travel itinerary and check in with them often. 
  • Know what to do in an emergency. In foreign nations, the phone number for emergency response is not 9-1-1. Visit the Students Abroad website for a list of these numbers along with detailed tips for health emergencies, evacuations, natural disasters, crime victims, and assistance to U.S. citizens arrested abroad.
  • Call your credit card companies in advance to let them know you’ll be out of the country so they won’t put a stop on your account.
  • Take a copy of your passport, in case it is lost or stolen.

For more tips and information about traveling outside the country, visit the U.S. Department of State website.