It’s the time of year that college students daydream about when they’re zoning out in the classroom or pulling another all-nighter: Spring Break! This much anticipated week of freedom invokes images of sandy beaches, snowy ski slopes, vibrant nightclubs, and, unfortunately in some cases, copious amounts of alcohol.
While it might seem fun, harmless, and even mandatory during Spring Break, excessive drinking poses serious risks that can transform what was supposed to be a relaxing vacation into an unforgettable nightmare.
As all of you Spring Breakers start making your way to the beach, the mountains, or abroad, be smart about alcohol consumption, if you choose to drink, make sure that your much-deserved break is fun and safe for both you and others:
- Find out the liquor laws, including age of consumption, of your Spring Break destination. While some countries might have a lower drinking age limit, remember that drinking under the age of 21 anywhere in the U.S. is illegal.
- Don’t drink and drive or get into a car with a driver who has been drinking. Select a designated driver or make alternate transportation arrangements before you start drinking.
- Know your limits, be aware of your surroundings, and use the buddy system when drinking at crowded parties and nightclubs.
- Only accept drinks from certified bartenders or that you poured yourself, never from strangers or acquaintances.
- Be aware of signs of predatory drugs. If you experience wooziness, confusion, difficulty standing, and slurred speech, ask your friends to take you back to the hotel or, if necessary, the hospital and do the same for a friend.
- Pace yourself and alternate between drinking an alcoholic beverage and a glass of water, especially if you’re drinking outside. The sun can enhance the effects of alcohol (and your hangover) and the combination of the two can lead to dehydration (and a nasty sunburn when you forget to put on more sunscreen).
- Stay out of the hot tub while drinking. Just like the sun, the hot water can enhance the effects of alcohol, which could potentially lead to unconsciousness and drowning.
- Avoid swimming, especially in the ocean, while drinking. Even the most experienced swimmer can get caught in a riptide or drown from impaired judgment or alcohol-related unconsciousness.
Last but not least: drink responsibly! It’s perfectly fine – and normal – to enjoy an alcoholic beverage here and there while you’re Spring Breaking. But you don’t have to spend the week in a dangerous drunken haze to have a good time.
Headed to South Padre Island or Mexico, two of the most popular Spring Break spots? Check out these safety tips for Spring Breaking in South Padre or the U.S. Department of State’s safety guidelines for Spring Breaking in Mexico.
Have fun, be safe, and enjoy your Spring Break vacation!