HOW TO: Have Fun and Not Die or Get Arrested!

7 Mar

Ah, the infamous spring break. A time for relaxation, sunshine,  fun, friends, and maybe a little family time. As a freshman, this is your first time experiencing this long-awaited springtime “holiday,” so let’s make sure it meets your expectations while also keeping you out of jail and, you know, alive.

Some of these safety tips may have you rolling your eyes, but the key to having a fun spring break is having it stay fun from beginning to end. That means keeping yourself, your friends, and those around you safe from what I like to call, “spring break self-sabotage.” (A.K.A. letting the fun get a little too out of hand.) Whether you’re traveling by plane, car, or just chillin’ at home with your dogs, check out these tips to have an unforgettable week off!

Let’s play “Choose Your Own Adventure:”

Traveling by Car?

Road trips are great ways to travel with friends and explore the country (or even your own state!), but the more distance you travel, the more unfamiliar your territory becomes. Here are some ways to make sure it’s a smooth ride:

  1. Make sure your car is good-to-go. Be sure to have your car serviced at least two weeks in advance of your trip. This will give you time to make any repairs or prepare for possible problems on the road.
  2. Also, equip your vehicle with emergency supplies in case you break down. Here’s a great list of tools and supplies to throw in your trunk before you leave!
  3. Make sure someone knows when and where you’re traveling and the approximate time they should expect you or at least receive a call from you. Take breaks to pull over and let them know the journey is going okay. This way, someone knows how to find you should anything happen along the way.
  4. If you can, share the driving responsibilities with someone else. This will allow you to keep an eye on each other while driving and you can grab a nap without losing time. *Switch every 2-3 hours: this will give you all and opportunity to stretch your legs, regroup, and stay alert!
  5. Pack Snacks! This is the fun part (because…well, food is involved). Make sure you have an ice chest filled with waters and some nom-noms that will sustain you in between meals. (Lay off the sugary, fatty treats as those can make your energy drop faster than your gas level).

Traveling by Plane?

Woo-hoo! You’ve had your plane tickets for weeks and now it’s time to board and jet-set out of here! Traveling by plane can be a bit hectic. You’re losing and gaining hours, your luggage is bouncing back and forth between planes, and you may be landing in an unfamiliar place! Keep these tips in mind before you flip through your SkyMall magazine!

  1. If your traveling internationally, over-prepare and make copies of everything. Make a duplicate (or triplicate!) of your passport, photo I.D., flight itinerary…and pretty any documentation that proves “yes, you are supposed to be on that flight” and “yes, they should let you in (and out) of the country.” *Stick these copies in different, but safe and accessible places like your backpack, carry-on, and checked bags.
  2. Pack an extra set of clothes in your carry-on bag. Don’t be one of those travelers decked out in J’adore Paris apparel because the airline lost your luggage and you have nothing else to wear. Prepare for the worst, and make sure you have the bare necessities on hand!
  3. Know the rules, laws, and regulations of where you are going. Traveling abroad presents a lot of cool cultural differences and experiences, but with that comes some pretty different legal situations. Make sure you understand what behaviors are allowed and prohibited, because when it comes down to it,  the lowered drinking age in Mexico should not be the only thing you know going across the border.
  4. If you realize that you’re lost, don’t be afraid to ask. Hey, it happens. You’re in a new place and getting a little turned around is bound to happen. Locals will probably be more than happy to point you in the right direction and may have some insight into making your stay even better! *If you’re somewhere with a language barrier, try looking for an information desk or local authority.
  5. Make sure your credit card will work in the country you’re visiting. European banks have switched almost completely to the more secure chip-and-PIN technology, and fewer businesses abroad are accepting the outdated magnetic-strip cards. *Make sure you also carry some local cash!

Traveling by Foot?

Feeling adventurous? Whether your exploring new territories or just taking a hike on a well-know trail, make sure your trek is well-planned! There are a lot of factors to consider when going camping or hiking, but we have made this helpful list to get you in the right mindset before your big outdoor adventure. Here are some of our suggestions:

Know Before You Go

  1. Make sure you know the trail/terrain your are heading into. *This goes for knowing what sort of wildlife you might encounter and how to interact (or not interact) with them.
  2. Tell someone where you are going and when you should be back.
  3. Bring a cell phone for emergencies (and pictures, of course!)
  4. Bring the basics. Think about how much water you will need and double that amount. A small snack is also a good thing to have just in case.
  5. Protection from the elements:
    • Sunscreen
    • Hat/visor, rain jacket, etc.
    • Sunglasses
    • Make sure you have the proper shoes. *It may sound silly, but those sneaks you wear to class might not hold up in some terrain.
    • Bring emergency equipment like band-aids, aspirin, or other medications.

No Matter What You Do…

So maybe you have planned an entire week jammed-packed with doing absolutely nothing–and that’s the way you like it! Well, we all know trouble tends to happen when we get bored, so let’s make sure it’s the harmless kind. Here are some tips for those who are taking this week to just go with the flow…

  1. Plan something little for each day of break. Sure, the first couple of days of doing absolutely nothing is heavenly, but about half way through the week, you’re sleeping your day away, realizing you cannot take one more second of daytime TV, and grazing in the kitchen because you have nothing better to do. Make sure you make the most of your break! Here are some awesome ideas for those hanging around Tucson!
  2. Use the Buddy System. Whether you’re gallivanting off into the wilderness or just heading to the movies, take a friend!
  3. On that note, practice safe sex. Currently one out of five college students have an STD, and that is one spring break souvenir that nobody wants! Have birth control and condoms nearby, even if you think you won’t need it.
  4. Factor in some schoolwork. Okay, this one is more like a “college survival tip” rather than one that’s going to keep you from bodily harm and incarceration (which are the ultimate goals here), but keep in mind that your courses will be waiting for you when you come back! Take this time to get a head start on that research paper that’s due the following week, or start communicating with your teammates on that group project!
  5. Take care of yourself. In all seriousness, you’re an adult. You are going to do what you want this spring break. But you’re also smart. So act like it! Also, remember to relax and recharge for the next half of the semester. You’ve  been working hard, so make sure you keep up that momentum and finish STRONG!

Have a great, safe, and unforgettable spring break, Wildcats! And remember, don’t die or get arrested!

–Franny

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