Spring Break Safety
BEFORE TAKING A TRIP
- Use a reputable travel agency. You should check out the travel company before singing anything. Look for a street address and how long the company has been in business. Also make sure the company books other travel besides spring break. You should also check the number of people that are in the room, otherwise you could end up sharing a room with strangers.
- Learn as much as you can about your destination.
- Pack wisely. Being overburdened with luggage makes you more of a target.
- Avoid packing valuables or items you cannot afford to replace or have stolen.
- Never leave luggage unattended.
- Lock all luggage.
- Leave a complete travel schedule with a trusted family member or friend (where and when you will be at a location and how you can be reached).
- Leave copies of driver’s license, passport, and credit cards with a trusted family member or friend, in case of loss.
HOTEL AND MOTEL SAFETY
- Choose reputable establishments (recommended by travel agency or auto club, etc.).
- Ensure there is a peep hole in the door and that the dead bolt and other locks are in good working order.
- When in the room, keep the doors locked (purchase a travel door lock for added security).
- Never open your door to anyone you do not know (if the person states they work for the hotel, call the front desk and confirm this before allowing them entry).
- Keep valuables locked in the hotel safe and get a receipt.
RENTAL CARS AND TAXIS
- Always use reputable car rental and licensed taxi companies, if possible.
- Choose a rental car company that does not advertises or identify its vehicles as rentals.
- Keep car doors locked and windows rolled up at all times.
- Keep valuables out of sight and locked in the trunk.
ONCE YOUR ARRIVE
Prepare a list of emergency numbers such as local police, hospitals, and other emergency contacts. Don’t forget to include phone numbers for family or friends that may be needed in the event of an emergency. Also keep a list of phone numbers to call in case your credit cards or traveler’s checks are lost or stolen.
- It’s best to get your own drinks straight from the bartender, but if somebody else is bringing it to you, make sure you know and trust the person.
- Keep your drink in sight at all times. Never leave it unattended. This will reduce the opportunity for someone to “slip” something in your drink.
- Know your limit and stick to it.
- If you are going to drink, eat something.
- Don’t mix medications and drinking, particularly anti-depressants.
- Don’t drink and drive.
- There’s safety in numbers. Try your best to stay around your friends. Three people watching out for each other is better than one. Don’t let your friends go off with strangers by themselves.
- Don’t bring strangers back to your room and don’t give out personal information about yourself or those who are with you.
- If you are unlucky enough to be assaulted or even worse raped, alert the proper authorities immediately. If you are raped get medical attention immediately.
- Don’t take your valuables with you or have them locked in the hotel safe (get a receipt). If you are staying in a place without a safe, stow your valuables in the truck of your car or in a secured place in your room.
- Pack as lightly as you can.
- Lock your suitcases, so a theft can’t use them to carry out your valuables.
- At night, try to stay in well-lit areas and use routes that appear more heavily traveled.
- Avoid walking alone through isolated areas; avoid shortcuts through parking lots, parks, and deserted areas.
- Beware of what is going on around you. If you suspect you are being followed, indicate your suspicion by looking behind you. If you are on foot, cross the street, change directs, or vary your speed. Head for a place with people as soon as possible.
- Follow your gut instincts; if your intuition tells you that you are at risk, try to leave the situation quickly.
- If you enter an elevator and the person riding with you is making you uncomfortable, leave. Get off before the door closes, or leave at the next floor.
- You don’t need to make excuses or feel guilty for protecting yourself.
- Use the buddy system; when with a friend at a party or pub, agree to watch out for each other and to leave the event together or in a group.
- If you are persistently harassed in a bar or pub, report the person harassing you to a server or bar personnel.