Spring Breaking the Safe Way
The Dangers of Spring Break and Tips to Stay Safe.
By Zainab Zaman
Photo by Xinyi Fu
The countdown has begun, only 2 more days until flocks of college students get a much-needed break and head south for the week. Whether partying along the beaches in Miami or catching a plane to an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, spring break is always a good time. As brightly colored bikinis and the smell of tanning lotion fill the air, it’s important to remember—spring break can often come at a price.
Going on a spring break vacation has been sensationalized by the media with “MTV Spring Break,” a week-long show covering college students over spring break in Daytona Beach, Florida. This phenomenon of the week-long vacation has grown in popularity so much that it has coined its own term, referred to by the verb “spring breaking.”
The idea of spring breaking is usually associated with heavy drinking, drug use, and all-night parties. This lifestyle is pitched to college-aged students who use the week to let loose from their rigid school schedules. Spring breaking is almost seen as a rite of passage among college students, but as the number of Spring Breakers rises, so do the number of injuries and arrests. In a study by Economic Inquiry, the death toll at popular spring break destinations was found to spike 9.1% higher during spring break periods.
Binge drinking is a pillar of the typical spring break experience. A study from the American College of Health reported that the average male will consume 18 drinks a day, and the average female will consume 10 drinks a day during this week. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reported that in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and other spring break hot spots, 11% of the population drinks to the point of “blacking out,” contributing to the more than 4,300 deaths of minors due to alcohol each year. The combination of alcohol intake and relaxed ideas surrounding this annual vacation leads to many safety risks. However, you can still enjoy the sandy beaches and warm water while staying safe.
If you’re traveling with friends, use the buddy system, and leave no person behind. Ensure you are surrounded by trusted individuals who prioritize keeping you and themselves safe. Protecting your location and not sharing too much with strangers you meet along your trip is also essential. While fellow party goers may seem like harmless Spring Breakers, it is hard to know someone’s intention during this time. Unfortunately, there are too many stories of predators preying on young and drunk college students. Also, remember to carry cash, phone numbers, and your ID if you become separated from your group or need to contact authorities. Keep an eye on your bag and belongings at all times. Lastly, if you do partake in drinking over spring break, keep your cup covered, do not take drinks from strangers, and hydrate by spacing out your drinks with water.
As the clock continues to count down to the much-anticipated vacation, I hope that spring break is all that you have dreamed of and more, but more than that, I hope you stay safe while doing so.