The Itinerary

Quick Guide - Spring Break Safety Tips

Posted Feb 26, 2016 11:30:00 AM in Travel Safety Advice by Amanda Hand

Spring Break. A college student's dream, and often times one more reason for a parent to worry. As college aged students are well on their way to adulthood, they are still at an age where taking excess risk is still the norm.


Parents of spring breakers will often use a travel agent to book trips, and may have certain safety concerns. This may be a good time to address Spring Break safety tips. 

According to Safe Spring Break, an educational travel safety website brought to you by Girls Fight Back, there are many things your college aged students can do to make their Spring Break a safer trip. We think they touch on some great travel advice you may be able to give your clients, and read their full post here

For Road Trips 

1. Stay well rested

Spring Break is a time when college students quite possibly sleep less than during midterms and finals, but when it comes down to being responsible for their own means of transportation, they should avoid pushing the envelope. 

They can take turns sleeping and drive in rotations, as long as everyone has a valid driver's license. 

2. Buddy system 

It's a good idea for the driver to have someone riding shotgun that is able to navigate as well as stay awake. Two sets of eyes are better than one, especially when it comes to road hazards, handling music and working the navigation system. 

3. Take a map 

If your college student relies on their cell phone for everything, this may be a good time for them to learn how to use a map. Phones can be great for navigation, but they don't work everywhere - even in the United States. 

4. Don't leave belongings in plain site 

This is often one people chalk up as common sense, but that is not always the case. The younger the traveler, the more likely they are to suffer from optimism bias - the cognitive bias that causes a person to believe they are less at risk of experiencing negative events compared to others.

Whether domestic or abroad, there isn't anything safe or pleasurable about a group of college students losing their valuable while away from home. 

5. Stay sober 

No one should ever drink alcohol or take recreational drugs while driving, but with an average of almost 30 people dying every day from motor vehicle crashes that involve driving impairs each day, it is no surprise the issue still needs to be discussed.

The CDC released some pretty chilling information on just how many people are negatively impacted by their choice to drive impaired every year. Get those statistics here. 

With Spring Break, travelers may have clouded judgment while getting caught up in the fun. It's a good idea to address this before the trip to avoid DUI's and worse, injury or death. 

Hotel Safety 

1. Room numbers should stay private 

No one needs to know the room number outside of those staying in that room. With Spring Break occurring the same time every year, there may be tourist destinations where scammers and thieves are targeting students who have their guard down. 

2. Reserve the right room 

A room above the first floor is less likely to break into while rooms below the sixth floor are almost always sure to be reached by fire ladders. 

3. Be sure the locks are secure 

When first checking in, spring breakers should be sure their room has proper security locks on any doors and windows. Also, it's a good idea to make sure the safe is working properly to stow any belongings. 

4. Do not leave the door ajar 

Often times, leaving a small room open by cracking windows and propping open doors can help travelers feel less confined - but this isn't always safe. By doing this, those staying in the room are allowing for people to walk by and get a sense of who they are and what they own. This can make them and easier target. 

5. Know the exits 

Travelers should make a mental note of any fire exits and stairwells closest to their hotel room in case of emergency. 

Health and Diet 

1. Stay hydrated 

Day drinking and pre-gaming can be pretty common among spring breakers, but taking a break and staying hydrated can help prevent a few safety risks like dehydration and severe sunburn. 

2. Water safety 

Depending on where they travel, water safety can be a concern. Some students will need additional education on the water quality in certain areas. For instance, there are some places in Central America and the Caribbean where drinking tap water can land a traveler with a seriously upset stomach.

Check out our infographic on water safety here

3. Food Safety 

Sometimes, travelers need to pay attention to the foods they are eating as well. Some foods that are raw or under cooked may be more likely to cause food poisoning. The CDC has some great advice on food safety while traveling.

Handling Money 

1. Set up an emergency fund before the trip

Part of becoming an adult is learning how to handle money. That includes both budgeting and safety. However, some people have been scamming their whole lives and know how to target. It is good to teach young adults to prepare for this kind of emergency by leaving additional cash at home that can be wired to them is a good place to stat. 

2. The ATM 

Safe Spring Break recommends going to the ATM in groups. One thing they address that is a good point is, just because travelers are in groups, does not mean they are not at risk for muggings and other forms of theft. So they should stay on their guard. 

3. Know the surroundings 

By doing an assessment of their surroundings, travelers can be sure there isn't anyone suspicious hanging around the ATM. 

4. Cover the keypad 

One thing people don't often think about are cameras that may be close by or attached to an ATM. Some people will install a camera so they are able to capture the pin number being entered and then pick pocket you further down the road. 

Have an emergency plan

1. Leave itinerary behind

It's a good idea for travelers to always leave itinerary with someone back home. This way, a relative or close friend will know their schedule should they need assistance. 

2. Maintain regular contact while traveling 

While traveling for extended periods, it is always a good idea for travelers to maintain regular contact with a non-traveling family member or friend. 

3. Make records of passports, credit cards and insurance papers 

If traveling abroad, having copies of your passports, credit cards and insurance papers can save a traveler a lot of trouble should documents become stolen or are misplaced. In the event travelers need to make a travel insurance claim for a medical emergency or to replace lost or stolen documents, it is a good idea for them to know what they need and have it be accessible by an emergency contact. 

4. Know emergency numbers 

Outside of the United States, emergency numbers are going to be different than 911, and it is a good idea for spring breakers to know the local emergency number in advance. For example, the emergency number in Cuba is 106. The Department of State provides some information on emergency numbers abroad here. 

If a student is headed to Spring Break and has a travel insurance plan, they should know their 24 hour emergency hot line. TravelSafe uses On Call International and their phone number is 1-800-555-9095 inside the US or Canada and 1-603-894-4710 outside of the US or Canada. 

5. Know your insurance coverage 

If a traveler is headed outside of the US, they may be surprised to learn that their medical coverage isn't accepted abroad. Often times due to optimism bias, students don't foresee a medical emergency while traveling.

Not including alcohol, there are risks abroad from falling to extreme cases of sunburn that require medical attention. Read a report on injury prevention from CDC here. However, 599K students between the ages of 18 and 25 receive unintentional injuries while under the influence of alcohol. 

Drugs and alcohol heighten a person's risk of injury, many insurance companies do not cover those who obtained an injury while under the influence. Helping spring breakers understand that they may void their coverage due to intoxication is a key component in the event they should have to file a claim. 

One of the best things a college student can do when on Spring Break is understandt hey are responsible for their health and safety. Spring Break is meant to be fun, but by allowing their guard to be down, Spring Breakers can put themselves in danger. 

By providing these safety tips, we hope students and their parents can feel more at ease during the upcoming Spring Break season. 

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