In the next few weeks, college students around the country will head out on Spring Break; some will journey to the sunny beaches of Florida and the Gulf Coast, but many will travel out of the country. Although many of these getaways do live up to the hype, you should be cautious and plan ahead for a safe getaway.
Prepare your home for your trip. Whether you’re staying on campus or leaving for the week, it’s important to protect your property. Thieves know that many Badgers will be away on spring break. The first thing thieves do is check for unlocked doors and obvious valuables left behind.
- Always lock your doors
- Do not leave valuables in plain sight, either in your car, dorm or apartment — valuables in plain sight are an easy target.
- Record brand names and serial numbers of your property, and keep this information in a safe place.
- If you notice a suspicious person or suspicious behavior, call UWPD at (608) 264-2677
Carry the proper identification. If you are traveling outside of the United States, check to see what identification is required. Those traveling on a cruise ship (leaving from a U.S. port and returning to a U.S. port) need only bring a valid driver’s license and a birth certificate. If you will be traveling by air to another country, you’ll need a valid passport and/or visa. Keep in mind that it takes up to 10 weeks to process the paperwork for a first-time visa. If the passport is needed in less than two weeks, you must go to their closest passport agency and apply.
Don’t travel alone. It’s best to travel in pairs or small groups. If you’re going to spend time at the beach, you should especially keep an eye on your belongings. Make sure that you or your friends do not wander off or leave with strangers, as well. Create a secret signal or code word to let your friends know when you are uncomfortable and need them to intervene. Establish a place to meet in advance if you get separated.
Protect your money. If you’re leaving your hotel/resort, you should only take small amounts of money and keep it in your front pockets. Thieves are always on the lookout for students flashing large amounts of cash — they can easily lift a wallet from a back pocket or open purse.
Limit alcohol consumption. We get it — it’s unrealistic to think all students will skip alcohol completely during a Spring Break trip. But it’s important to know your limits and watch out for one another. Alcohol has a tendency to reduce people’s inhibitions, which means students can become easy targets for predators. Stay with a group of friends and watch out for one another. If you choose to drink, please do so legally and responsibly — and never leave your drink unattended.
Keep those at home informed. It’s a good idea for you to leave your trip itinerary and contact information with a friend or family member, especially if you are traveling outside of the United States. You should also check with your cell phone carrier to make sure you have service, and you know about any roaming charges and other rates that may apply while you are away.
By following these simple safety tips, you can head out on Spring Break knowing that you’ll return with lifelong memories — instead of a horror story to share with their family and friends.