It is a rite of passage, a ritual for high school and college students to pack up their sunscreen, grab their bikini’s or skis, pile in a car or jump on a plane and head out for a week of adventures. Spring break and the Senior Class trip are steeped in traditions, mayhem and glorious memories. Many years from now students recall fondly who they were with, what they did and what they got away with.
But for the 99% of kids who return home with sunburn and overpriced tourist t-shirts, there are always stories that surface of students who ended up robbed, injured, or worse. We want you to have an amazing time, but we want you to be safe. So here are some quick tips for your amazing adventure.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN!
1. If your mode of transportation is automobile, have the car checked by a licensed mechanic before you drive your first mile. Nothing is more disruptive, dangerous, or expensive then breaking down on the road, days from home. AAA has a great checklist for you to use (below) and invest in a quality Emergency Breakdown Kit …. Just in case.
2. Make sure that everyone on the trip has their valid driver’s license; a copy of the car’s updated insurance card and registration; medical emergency and contact card; all contained inside the vehicle before you roll. Bring a map or an Atlas. Cell phone signals are not always strong in rural areas, so it is good to have an old-fashioned, paper map as a back up.
3. Make a Travel Plan and leave it with an adult. Include the driving route; hotels that you will be checking into; friends that are accompanying you. It is always good to be cautious (and give parents some peace of mind.)
4. Take turns driving. Rotate who drives and who rests, so that no one will be nodding off behind the wheel. Also, whomever rides shotgun should stay awake. This will help the driver focus and not drift off. Take care of each other.
WELCOME TO YOUR DESTINATION!
1. Place the hotel information, hospital information, medical emergency contact information, friends phone numbers, hotel info and local taxi phone number in your cell phone (Notes Application). All this information may come in handy while vacationing.
2. Keep your cell phone on and charged. Invest in a smartphone app such as "Friend Finder" so that your buddies can find you (and you can find them) should you become separated.
3. Keep yourself from becoming a victim. Only you and your friends need to know your room numbers. Don't share that information with strangers or announce it too loudly.
3. If you need to get around, call a taxi or car service from the hotel ... it is safer than hailing a cab, curbside. And if someone approaches you offering a ride, be smart, decline the offer. It is always wise to take a photo of the taxi drivers badge, which is usually displayed openly, in case there are any issues with the ride.
4. When using Uber or Lyft, you will see the driver’s name, license plate number, and photo on your phone when you request the ride. Check for a match when your ride arrives to be sure you are getting in the right car.
WHAT WILL WE DO NOW?
1. The leading cause of death for individuals under the age of 30, is unintentional, accidental, (sometimes reckless) injuries. Freedom can be intoxicating, but please, be smart before you decide to bungee jump, ride a horse on the beach, scuba dive or para-sail. Make sure the business that is providing you with your adventure is licensed. Make sure they provide the proper training and safety equipment that you need. If something seems too risky, most likely it is.
2. Your parents probably already warned you of this, but keep a friend with you at all times. Never go out alone or leave a safe place with strangers. Even if you meet people or locals on your trip and they seem friendly, they might not have the best intentions. While indoors, also be careful of going into closed spaces such as elevators and stairwells by yourself.
3. Be responsible. Be careful what you ingest. There are always stories of college kids who go to hotel parties, drink from a vat or a pitcher and find themselves on the floor the next morning, no memory of where they are or what happened.
There are individuals that prey on kids on break. Unfortunately, they are waiting for you to arrive so they can try to take advantage of you. Be smart. Everyone is not your "new" friend and a healthy dose of hesitation and doubt is a good accompaniment to travel. Have fun, love life, enjoy the moment, but be careful. We want you to return home safely, full of tales and stories of how you had the time of your life.
More great links to give you tips on how to have an enjoyable holiday.