Spring Break: the time to ditch your studies (or your job), run to somewhere tropical (or tropical-ish), and shed your normal existence for pure hedonism. You sit by the beach and/or pool. You drink alcohol with little umbrellas stuck into it, and at night, you go out clubbing.
But spring break is not without its dangers. Psychology Today cites numbers from the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) claiming that 44 percent of women and 75 percent of college guys get drunk on a daily basis during spring break. In 2015, a 19-year-old woman was publicly gang-raped during spring break in Panama City, Fla., as detailed in The Root article “Horrifying but Common: Spring Break and Sexual Assualt.”
So how can you have fun without becoming a statistic? Be very, very careful.
Know Your Tolerance
Many crimes involve significant levels of alcohol, enough to severely intoxicate the victim and cloud judgement. Know how much you can drink without becoming significantly impaired. If you’re not impaired, you’re able to evaluate safe and unsafe situations. Oh — and keep that drink in your hand at all times.
Travel In Packs
Ladies: don’t go anywhere alone, even if it’s to the bathroom, or a quick walk back to the car. This prevents you and your friends from getting into dangerous situations in the first place, because if one is brewing, there are people around to diffuse it. And if someone gets too drunk, there’s someone to take care of them. Stay with your friends, and party in safe public spaces. No one gets left behind.
Know Signs Of Alcohol Poisoning
You could save a member of your pack’s life that way. According to Psychology Today, you need to look out for, “Confusion, vomiting, seizures, slow breathing (less than eight breaths a minute), irregular breathing (a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths), blue-tinged skin or pale skin, low body temperature (hypothermia), passing out (unconsciousness).” If it reaches this point, you cannot treat this on your own by giving the victim liquid, or turning someone on their side so they don’t choke on their vomit. They need medical attention so they don’t die. Do not hesitate to take a friend to the hospital.
[Whether you’re out to party or seeking a more serene getaway, if you’re thinking of using Airbnb, check out our article Security Tips For Airbnb Guests.]
Don’t Take Advantage Of Drunkenness
This is less a typical “security tip” than it is “being a decent human being,” but guys: do not have sex with a drunk person. This should go without saying, but clearly, for some men, it does not. Fully consensual sex only—and this does not qualify.
Leaving The U.S.? Check The Laws
Some countries, according to Travel & Leisure, may ban drinking in public. Others criminalize same-sex relations. People, they claim, have faced fines for everything from public dancing to jail time for bringing in the wrong prescription medications. Your U.S. passport won’t help you if you’re caught with illegal drugs. And if you do get arrested, demand to contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, who will do their best to contact your family, who will presumably do their best to get your sorry butt out of there. You can check local laws and customs on the state department website.
You can have a great spring break. Just be aware and vigilant while you’re having a good time, stay together, and if you’re out of the country, know the local laws.