The return of the warm weather marks the beginning of the spring break season. Whether you have spent the last few months trudging through snow up to your knees or working hard on that winter coursework, spring break is a much-anticipated event every year. Now that you have your travel plans arranged and you have your wardrobe set the trip should be the fun and stress-free break you have been looking for.
For many students, spring break will be a fun vacation where they may drink a little too much or might come back with a tattoo they regret later. However, the growing trend of drinking to excess, copious amounts of drug use, and recreational sex has brought consequences that are much larger, and more permanent, than a bad dolphin tattoo. Over 1,800 college students died during spring break last year. Countless more reported being involved in physical altercations or were the victims of sexual assaults.
Spring break has morphed heavily from its beginnings in 1938 when the Casino Pool in Fort Lauderdale, FL hosted the first annual College Coaches' Swim Forum. The party was born when more than 300 swimmers and spectators descended on the town. With the release of the popular 1961 film 'Where the Boys Are' the idea that spring break was a place for sun, fun and possibly finding the love of your life was born. This momentum continued until the 1970's when the crowd in Ft. Lauderdale became louder, more dangerous and more promiscuous.
The free-wheeling '70's gave birth to the dangerous practice of balcony surfing and the almost twenty years of excess had many Ft. Lauderdale locals questioning why the party was continuing to be tolerated year after year. Stricter laws came into effect in the late 1980's after more than 370,000 students had begun to flock to the city year after year for a week of debauchery and excess. Ft. Lauderdale's mayor even took to the airwaves to promote these laws and tell students they were no longer welcome. This didn't stop the party, it just moved it further south and pushed the parade of excess internationally.
MTV jumped on the spring break bandwagon and took its cameras to Daytona Beach, FL to broadcast its first special in 1986. The location may change annually, but the glorification of excess continues. With the rise of social media, the draw of spring break and the party all week culture has gained even further momentum. The average student spends $1,100 on their weeklong trip. This translates to big business for those top destinations. In the United States, Texas and Florida see almost $1 billion from spring break tourism annually.
The trend of excess and partying isn't going away. While many colleges have launched programs to equip their students with information on sexual assault, provided condoms and sunscreen, and set tough policies to deal with spring break indiscretions, college students still lack the basic knowledge on ways to stay safe during spring break. If you, your son or daughter, or another loved one has an addiction issue, call our Wilmington NC alcohol rehab and drug treatment center at Legacy Freedom. We can help your family beat addiction.
Here are the best ways for you to ensure your spring break ends with nothing worse than awkward tan lines and a few good stories instead of something far less fun.
- Do Your Homework - No, we aren't talking about that paper your evil professor assigned that's due the day you return to class. We're talking about knowing where you're going. If you are traveling internationally, check US government websites for travel warnings and advisories. Take time to read up on travel and tourist scams that are popular in the area you are visiting. Rely on hotel provided transportation to and from the airport and only choose designated taxi services. Upon arrival to your hotel, ask about things like the safety of public transportation, where the nearest hospital is and what areas of the city you should avoid.
- Don't Pack Your Bling - Flashy clothes and jewelry can attract unwanted attention when traveling. Ensure that you leave one credit card in the safe at your hotel in case your wallet is stolen and that you have photocopies of your passport, ID and credit cards in there as well. Pickpockets love spring breakers, so make sure that your purse zips or that your shorts have a pocket for your wallet that fastens in some way. Avoid the temptation to put your wallet in the pocket of your backpack; keep it close to you at all times. For added security, request a room on a higher floor of the hotel.
- Double Up - Not just on the sunscreen either. Even when traveling in groups it can be easy to lose one person or lose track of the main group and find yourself separated. Choose a dedicated buddy for your trip and look out for each other. Deciding to go off with someone you just met is a big no-no. Keep an eye out for people who look like they are lost, too drunk to be alone or who may have found themselves in a potentially dangerous situation.
- Know Where You Are - Before you leave the hotel, know how to get from point A to point B. Following the cab or Uber route on your phone as you travel can help alert you to when something seems fishy. Stay in well lit and populated areas and be aware of what's going on around you. Listen to your intuition. If someone or something makes you uncomfortable, get out of the situation and find safety.
- Keep It to Yourself - When in public, avoid talking about identifying information like your hotel or room number. Don't broadcast your plans on social media or invite new friends along to your hotel property. Keep meet ups with these people public. Your immediate circle and your travel buddy should be the only ones with these specifics.
- Drink Up - Stay hydrated and keep the water flowing to ensure that you don't become dehydrated and get sun poisoning. Feeling lightheaded or weak? Find some shade and some air conditioning. Skip intense mid-day sun, especially if you have been consuming alcohol as this can dehydrate you even more quickly. Opt to move the party indoors to the spa or onto a covered patio. Remember to reapply your sunscreen often; dehydration and a bad sunburn can make you sick for your entire trip.
- Connection Is Key - Before you leave, make sure that someone at home knows where you are. Check in with them on your arrival to give them specifics like your room number or if you had to switch hotels. Make sure you will have cell service wherever you are. Adding an international package to your phone plan or getting a prepaid phone on your arrival is money well spent. Don't let your phone die. Invest in a wireless charger or an extended battery for your phone. Also, keep your phone in the shade. If your phone overheats it could drain your battery, or stop working altogether.
- Be Prepared - Unprotected sex has lots of consequences. If you are planning to hookup or think you might while on spring break, don't rely on your partner to bring protection. Pack condoms and bring them with you. Also, no means no. Engaging in sexual activity with someone who is unable to give consent, regardless of gender, is rape.
Following these tips can help you enjoy your spring break safely and ensure that these memories are ones you will want to remember.
Affordable Wilmington NC Alcohol Rehab and Drug Treatment
If the party doesn't stop for you and you are dealing with a drug or alcohol addiction, Legacy Freedom can help with quality Wilmington NC alcohol rehab and drug treatment. One in four college students has a substance abuse problem. Concerned about your substance use or the substance use of a friend or loved one? Call Legacy Freedom of Wilmington today.