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Editorial | Easy, important tips on how to remain safe during spring break

By Editorial Board
On March 18, 2014

Picking out the most flattering bathing suit and making sure to pack enough sunscreen are, of course, important tasks to achieve before spring break begins next week.

But, in addition to clothing and accessories, the perfect spring break checklist should also include safety and awareness tips for wherever you are traveling during this much needed break from school.

For many Miami students, heading abroad to tropical locations and even across the big blue to Europe is the dream. However, going abroad and having a great time still pose risks. Safety should be in the back of every student's mind at all times, and it won't take much to remain safe either.

Mexico is one of the hot spots for travel, and the cities of Punta Cana, Cabo, Cancun and Playa Del Carmen are the frequent points of destination for students. Even though it seems like the week will just be filled with the beach, parties and some good relaxation time, Mexico is a country that has been under a travel warning by the U.S. State Department since January. Kidnapping has been of particular concern to the U.S. government in Mexico ever since they watched kidnapping increase by 32 percent in 2013.

The Miami Student Editorial Board encourages those traveling abroad during spring break to watch out for one another, even if it seems like nothing could happen. Walking alone at night home from the bars in a foreign city, probably intoxicated, isn't the same as walking home the bars Uptown with a piece of Will's or Bruno's pizza in hand.

Stick with a friend at all times, bring only a certain amount of cash with you and leave your passport locked in a suitcase or in a safe at the hotel or wherever you are staying. This also goes for the rest of your important or expensive belongings. It is very unlikely that bars and clubs will ask you for identification abroad, including Mexico and most of Europe, because the drinking ages are lower than those in the United States, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't have an ID with you-or at least a copy. In fact, we highly recommend making copies of important documents such as your passport, driver's license and even hotel and airport information, because losing a wallet or a passport happens a lot more easily than you might think, and having a copy on-hand will help make the process of replacing those things less of a nightmare.

If staying in the U.S. and going to warm places like Florida, California or the Carolinas is more your thing, you should still account for your safety. It's true, you're not in Oxford anymore, and you won't always be among other students who can look out for you.

Stories of students dying from accidents involving alcohol during spring break are all too common. Unintentional injuries kill more Americans in the first three decades of life than any other cause of death according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Because this is our week off from homework and exams, we get that you want to live it up. But please-live it up somewhere other than a balcony.

In March of last year Samuel Levine, a University of Southern California student, fell from a sixth-floor balcony at a hotel in Cabo San Lucas during his spring break. It's easy to think these are things that would never happen to you or a friend, but, unfortunately, they can happen to anyone.

Other safety tips include limiting alcohol if swimming or boating and always making sure a drink you have stays with you at all times, especially at clubs or bars. It's all too easy for someone to slip something in there-whether that's in the U.S. or abroad somewhere.

The point is you don't have to sacrifice even 1 percent of a good time during your spring break to remain safe and keep some of these tips in mind.

Remember before leaving this week to check with the U.S. State Department's website for travel warnings, tips for packing and preparing documents, and talk to your friends about remaining with one another at all times when you go. Establishing a buddy system isn't weird or annoying at all, and this may even get your parents off your back during the week. And for the males, this goes for you too: even if you think you could fight off three guys with one arm, you never know what can happen.

The editorial board hopes all students have an amazing time on spring break, but we don't want to read any devastating stories about fellow students getting hurt or seriously injured during this time either. Please remain safe and remember to lock all doors, windows and file a vacant house check with Oxford Police Department before you leave town. Visit our website for the link.


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