Tips for a Trouble-Free International Spring Break

We promised your mom we’d publish some Spring Break safety information, so wherever you’re headed this Spring Break – from Mexico to the Caribbean and beyond – here are some safety tips you can actually use.

Spring Break

We all know that Spring Break can be a pretty wild time, but being a responsible and respectful traveler is at the heart of being a World Nomad. And that responsibility extends to your own personal safety, as well. So with threats ranging from Zika to terrorism, let alone plain old overindulgence, keeping your travel wits about you during Spring Break has never been more important.

crowd

Crowd Safety and Terrorism

Large crowds have made soft targets for terrorists in recent years. Don't become overly paranoid, but you should pay attention to the security around large-scale, easily accessible public events. If at all possible get yourself inside a secure area; this may mean a ticketed space or VIP area set up by organizers. Being inside those areas, like being behind the security checkpoint at an airport, is the safest option.

If you are in a publicly accessible area, stay away from the heaviest concentration of crowds, keep to the fringes where the sheer number of people presents less of a target and there is the option of making a quick escape if trouble should occur.

And whether in a nightclub, restaurant or outdoor venue, always know where the nearest exit is. As your friendly flight attendant always reminds you, it might be behind you.

Zika and Spring Break

If you're traveling to a destination that has been hit by the Zika virus, both men and women should try to prevent mosquito bites and always use a condom (the virus can be sexually transmitted). While keeping covered up may not be an option for your beachy Spring Break, mosquitoes are nasty buggers which carry a variety of diseases, so you should always try to minimize your exposure to them.

  • Cover up as often as possible and use tropical-strength insect repellant.
  • Make sure there are no mosquitoes in your living quarters. That means no unscreened open windows.
  • Inspect the area around your accommodation; if you find stagnant water in upturned cans or flower pots, tip it out so the insects have nowhere to breed.
  • Avoid tight-fitting, dark-colored clothing like leggings. The color attracts the mosquitoes and they can bite through the material.

Dancers

Alcohol Use and Spring Break

OK, you knew this one was coming.

The issue with alcohol is that it can increase the likelihood of crimes and accidents such as robbery, rape, assault, motor vehicle crashes, falls, burns and drowning, as well as STDs and unintended pregnancy. Mix alcohol, testosterone and a possible language barrier, and a misunderstanding can also quickly lead to disaster.

And a word to the wise: Travel insurance doesn't cover injuries or accidents that result from bad choices or behavior while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Spring Break Safety Tips for Women

A few simple travel tips:

  • Get the business card of the place you're staying so you can show the cab driver where you need to go.
  • Make sure someone knows where you're going and when you're likely to return.
  • Study a map before going out; once on the street, use a pocket-size guidebook to avoid looking like a tourist. Your hotel's concierge or a female employee can mark any dangerous areas on your map.
  • Drink spiking happens. If you didn't watch it being poured, refuse it.

The National Institute for Health says drinking makes young women more vulnerable to sexual assault and unsafe and unplanned sex. In general, when a woman drinks to excess she is more likely to be a target of violence or sexual assault.

LGBTQ Spring Break Safety Tips

There are dozens of destinations around the world where homosexuality is illegal (yes we know it's the 21st century, right?). So the first thing to do is find out the laws and attitudes toward the LGBTQ community in your Spring Break location. And tempting as it is to go all Stonewall on these places, it may be a better idea to just let your cash do the talking and go someplace that is LGBTQ-friendly.

For country-specific information on safety, scams and laws, visit our Travel Safety page and just type in the name of your destination.

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