It is that time of year again: spring break. People everywhere are soon to be hitting the road in search of a vacation destination if they have not done so already. This can mean copious quantities of fun if you are able to kick back and relax during spring break at the location of your choice. It can also mean a lot of stress if things such as large numbers of people and mass quantities of alcohol being consumed happen to worry you.
Spring break, for many people, is all about a good time. While that good time is being had, it tends to slip the minds of partygoers the things that could go wrong. TEOTWAWKI can come at any time, up to and including when you are spending a week on the beach downing pina coladas. In such a situation, you are at an immediate disadvantage. Panic is sure to set in and can easily escalate to hysteria as people are faced with danger in an unfamiliar place and do not know where to go or how to escape any threats that may arise. It almost seems as though spring break is a survival challenge in itself when you consider the number of accidents that take place each year requiring emergency room visits or worse. If you are a spring breaker, or the parent of one, head such troubles off at the pass by taking into consideration the following tips.
1. Get to know the area where you are going. It is very simple to do an online search that will tell you about your destination. Learn evacuation routes and where emergency services can be found, such as police and hospitals, and keep that information close.
2. Network, especially if you are traveling with a group. Ask friends if they know other like-minded people in the area you plan to visit. If so, get information for those people and make a connection. If the SHTF while you're on break, such people will be valuable resources to have.
3. Pack a vacation BOB. If you are in an unfamiliar area that is different from your hometown, pack applicably. If you live in the mountains and vacation at the beach, your bug out items may need some adaptation.
4. Prepare to stay hydrated and keep your skin safe. Since so much of spring break is spent outdoors, expect to consume more water than usual and slather yourself in sunscreen or wear a bandana. If alcohol is part of your plans, you will need to drink even more water to stay hydrated. Having a portable water filter may also be beneficial for spring breaks taken where questionable water can be found.
5. Plan to be left in the dark. If you find yourself on the beach after sunset, don't make the mistake of thinking you will be able to see. Lights are not common on the beach due to wildlife protection ordinances, so you will have to bring your own. Leave the beach while it is still daylight and bring a flashlight if you plan to return after sunset. Wildlife ordinances may also dictate that flashlights have a red lens, so do your research and see if such laws apply to your destination.
6. Be prepared to make noise. Tourists are easy to spot, and also easy to victimize. Thrown a whistle or air horn in your bag should the time come that you need to draw attention to yourself or summon help and don't be afraid to use it. Pepper spray can also be helpful to have.
7. Don't forget medications that you regularly take or even those that you occasionally take. Having extra headache medicine and first aid supplies are useful as well due to the increased activity around spring break being a potential source of extra injuries. Also include a few first aid items, stomach medicines, and hand sanitizers. Being hot, dehydrated, and eating on the go will put a strain on your immune system. So will eating an unusual selection of food that your body is not used to, especially in the case of rich foods and alcohol.
8. Practice the buddy system, especially in foreign countries. Make sure someone at least always knows where you are going and when you will be back, but ideally have someone accompany you. There is strength in numbers, after all.
9. If you did not buy a drink or if your drink has been out of your sight for even a second, do not drink it. It may be rude to turn down drinks from strangers, but you never know what extra additives may come with those drinks. Skip the freebies, buy your own drinks, and keep them under your control so the chances of someone slipping you something are lessened.
10. Don't forget your cell phone charger. Any charge is better than no charge, and a charge could very well save your life should something happen that you need to call for assistance. Portable external batteries can be purchased that will charge your devices even if you are unable to get to an outlet.
Above all else, remember that spring break is supposed to be fun. Whether you are the person going or are the parent of the person going, keep in mind that a little caution will go a long way. Also useful is a lot of common sense, so be sure to bring that along as well and use it at all times. Have fun, spring breakers, but be sure to look out for yourselves and for one another at the same time.