Spring break safety

Amelia Viar and Lauren Harris

Millions of students travel each year according to Time Magazine. Here are some tips to make the big trip easier.

 

Travel without emergency:

Traveling to a new country can present some new challenges. Do I need a passport? How to I get to the airport? Where exactly is the hotel? Who do I call if there is an emergency?

Make sure passports are ready and up to date at least five weeks before traveling outside the country, rush options are available at the Secretary of State, according to travel agent Tammy Weddington.

“If you were outside of the country and you lost a passport, you would want to get to the closest U.S. embassy,” she said. “We do recommend for all people with passports to make a photocopy of that passport and leave it at home; or leave it with someone while you are traveling.”

Over 6.5 million travelers will pass through airports around the country this spring break season, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). They recommend arriving at airports early; avoid wearing large jewelry or clothing; and paying close attention to TSA rules and regulations.

“Be prepared for long lines. Go to the TSA.gov website to find out what is allowed and not allowed in your carry-on,” Weddington said.

Once the plane lands, traveling from one place to another without a personal car can be stressful.

“We recommend staying on the resort. If you are going to leave the resort, stay in a group—not just one person alone— and [if you are going to leave], do it by a tour where pick up and drop off are included,” Tammy Weddington said. “Or, if you are going to take a cab, have a concierge summon the cab.”

Travel insurance is also recommended by Weddington. It will allow trip cancellation for medical reasons, with a refund. Secondary insurance can assist travelers for immediate emergencies in other counties if a they must visit a hospital.

In case of emergency, it’s prevalent to know, not every country uses 911 as their primary emergency contact number. Mexico holds three separate numbers to contact in case of emergency; many countries have separate numbers for fire, law enforcement and medical emergency. Check out travel.state.gov to see a full list of every country’s contact number.

 

Drinking dulls senses

Though the American drinking age is 21, it’s no secret students will choose to partake in the 18+ drinking age in many spring break destinations.

“Students go a little wild on their first trip with their friends,” counselor Lindsey Dunn said. “You get into a large group setting and it’s a lot easier to just fall into line.”

Mob mentality could be a contributing factor to drinking levels on spring break as peer pressure can sway an unsure teens’ choice to drink or not.

“A lot of kids go to Mexico and make bad choices,” building security officer Victor Patrone said, “and in Mexico, American [students] don’t have the same rights as they do in Mexico.”

If students find themselves in trouble with the law, they can face larger bail amounts, lose scholarship offers and possibly lose a job later in life, according to Patrone.

“You’re more willing to do things you would not normally do when you get surrounded by a bunch of crazy friends at the same time and they just try to one up each other,” AP psychology teacher Derek Berdeski said.

On average, 1,825 students between the ages of 18-24 die each school year from alcohol-related, unintentional injuries, during spring break, according to Forbes.

 

Promiscuous behavior creates risk  

There could be temptations on break that involve new or high-risk activity.

For example, 70 percent of college students admit to engaging in sexual activity they wouldn’t normally engage in because they were drinking, according to a Purdue University study.

“It’s just the natural way of human behavior,” Berdeski said. “If people are in those areas where the drinking age, or something like that, is lower than it is in the United States, it’s only going to add fuel to the fire.”

The only way to completely stay safe is to avoid promiscuous behavior and prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) by not having sex. However, if a person chooses to engage in sexual activity, they should, according to the Center for Disease Control, use a condom and choose partners wisely,  

“Drugs and alcohol are a huge thing to look out for. If you do engage in that behavior, that puts your faculties at a lower risk,” Patrone said. “That makes you more vulnerable to sexual predators or other types of criminals who are going to steal your money; steal your belongings.”

Though spring break can be a lasting experience it presents many challenges and difficulties.

“I think the most important thing is to think before you act,” Principal Nanette Chesney said. “Make sure you know where you are going, know who you are with and make good choices.”