How to avoid Spring Break disasters
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 09:03
As Spring Break nears, vacations become the talk on campus as well as on everyone’s Facebook newsfeed. Of the spring breakers who travel, the majority flock to South Padre and Gulf Shores, while some students venture off to other countries.
While most students are worry free on vacation, we all need to be reminded that vacations do not always go as planned. Esther Burns, Nacogdoches, was one of the many who spent five days adrift at sea on the Carnival Triumph cruise.
She advises spring breakers to check hotel, cruise and flight ratings prior to booking a trip.
“I have never been one to check the ratings on any hotels or trips that I have taken, but given this experience I will probably start doing that now,” Burns said. “Apparently the Carnival Triumph had issues prior to the trip I took. It might have convinced me whether or not I should have gotten on the boat to begin with, had I read the reviews.”
Although it was Burns’ first time on a cruise ship, she said she is better prepared for vacation disasters in the future based on her experience.
Unexpected disasters on Spring Break cannot be prevented, but there are safety precautions that can be taken.
If you are planning on taking a road trip, be sure that your car is prepared by having it inspected by a mechanic. Otherwise you might be on the side of the road with an overheated engine, a hard lesson Danielle Zajic, Ennis junior, learned.
While driving back to Texas from Florida with her boyfriend, Zajic experienced a five-hour delay due to engine trouble.
“Triple-A is convenient, they definitely saved the day when my car broke down,” Zajic said. “I could not imagine what we would have done without help.”
Zajic recommends students investing in some type of roadside assistance program for traveling because, “You never know what may happen.”
Roadside assistance programs such as Triple-A offer 24-hour roadside service. They assist with every possible emergency a student could encounter during their trip, such as flat tires and towing services.
For many, Spring Breaks can be a first for traveling alone, without parents or chaperones. It is important to be informed about the area as much as possible before departure. When traveling it is important to keep in mind that laws, customs and standards for safety and health differ from country to country.
In foreign countries it is vital to be informed about rights, and having U.S. citizenship is not going to keep you out of jail. The U.S. Department of State has a website with tips for students traveling outside of the country. The website, http://www.state.gov/, contains information pertaining to specific countries regarding public announcements detailing any serious crime, terrorism, health risks and natural disasters.
It is vital to carry proper forms of identification at all times when visiting another country. In regards to a driver’s license, plane ticket and passport it is always safe to make extra copies and carry them with you. If you were to lose your passport in Mexico, your vacation might be extended, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.
Spring Break brings revenue to many cities, and the locals are aware that spring breakers have money. It is best not to flash cash or credit cards in public; spend money discreetly. Prior to leaving the state or country it is recommended by banks to set up fraud alerts for purchases over a certain amount or outside of certain areas to avoid fraud. The last thing you want is to be in another country with a frozen credit card account.
While spring breakers have been known to “get loose, loud and crazy,” it is important to be aware of your surroundings, especially in an unfamiliar area. For safety, it is best to travel in groups when on vacation, never alone. Like mother says, “Safety in numbers”.
While everyone may not be traveling for Spring Break, there are other alternatives that will keep you entertained but not break your bank. Time off from school is a great opportunity to perform community service, for example. You will benefit the community and your parents will not be worried sick.
Whatever you may choose to do during the break remember you are representing SFA, think smart and remember to wear sunscreen!