In my opinion, these issues should not be taken lightly. Yes, Spring Break is a time to let loose, but not completely lose your mind. You want to have as much fun as possible on these trips, so therefore there needs to be some kind of precaution and planning. There’s no shame in planning early for next year.

Students wait around all year for Spring Break and make elaborate plans to far away cities to cause mayhem. Going to Panama City and Daytona Beach is fun and safe, as long as you travel in groups. Traveling in groups create a larger network of people to look after each other and take care of each other if something were to go wrong. If you consider yourself and independent traveler that is fine but, it’s a big world out there and you are only one person. Travel with friends, it makes life so much easier.

Another safety trip for traveling would be to watch your alcohol intake. I say this at the risk of being a Debbie Downer, but it needs to be said. I know that college students get grilled from every direction on the dangers of alcohol, but some things are worth listening to. I’m not saying do not drink at all, just limit your intake. There are a lot of people out there who do not have your best interest at heart. If they see that you are vulnerable they will strike.

An acquaintance told me that they didn’t remember five of the seven days of spring break because they were so drunk. In that time they lost their cell phone, credit card and a very important piece of jewelry. My solution for this would be to designate one of your travel mates a “Sober Person of the Night.” This may sound lame, but designating a person or two to look after all of the intoxicated friends will come in handy. This will make sure you get back to the hotel in one piece and with all of your belongings.

So if you are nominated as “Sober Person of the Night,” do not think of it as a dent in your fun, but a way to protect those you care about. None of you want to end up in the hospital or at the police station.

One issue I hear about concerning Spring Break traveling is money. It always seems as if one person doesn’t have the money or they didn’t pay their share. Travel with friends you can trust. If they are really your friends they would pay up front and not try to manipulate you into paying for them.

Also, start saving money early. It’s not a very good idea to go somewhere far away from home and not have the money you need. I would also try to save a little emergency money because you never know what can happen.

For your next trip always carry a cell phone, or be by someone who has a cell phone. Having a cell isn’t just a luxury anymore, it’s for safety. If you are stranded all you have to do is call someone and the problem can be solved. If you have no phone and all of the stores are closed, you are pretty much on your own. We can all imagine how scary that would be. Make sure your phone is charged and ready to go anywhere with you.

It is also a good idea to let the people back home, like you parents, know where you are. As college students we are adults and see ourselves as completely independent at times. No matter how sure you are of yourself you still need to let people know where you are. If you turn up missing or something strange happens on your trip, you will have people back home to verify where you were. If no one knows then there is a smaller chance that you will be found.

I am not saying all of this to scare anyone or make them stay close to home on Spring Break. Spring Break is a time to have fun and explore new lands, but try to be safe while doing it. We have all seen stories on the news of missing people. Some have yet to be found. You would not want your parents to have the same sad expression on their faces as the parents on the news who have lost their children.

When the next Spring Break rolls around, take the proper precautions. Have fun, but do not forget to stay level-headed. The best part of Spring Break is coming back and telling stories, right? You can’t do that if you endanger yourself. Plan thoroughly for trips like these, they will prove to run smoother in the long run.