As you book your flight and pack your bikini, chances are you can’t stop picturing the stunning beaches and festive cocktails waiting for you at your spring break destination of choice. But did you ever consider you might be one bad decision away from a spring break nightmare? What about getting all of your valuables stolen so a thief can dine on unlimited breadsticks at the Olive Garden? Or attempting to get a sexy tan, but winding up looking like a full-fledged lobster? Read on for some tips and testimonies about the 5 most common spring break horrors and how to avoid them.
1. Sexual Encounters of a Dangerous Kind
“We were in Ibiza, Spain my freshman year of college. One night, I ended up getting separated from my girlfriends and going back with a guy, but I didn’t realize my phone wad dead. My friends didn’t know where I was, and had spent all night looking for me and trying to think of ways to tell my parents that they lost me. It definitely scared all of us, because I had no clue where my girlfriends had gone, and there is nothing scarier than being in a foreign country and not knowing where your girls are.”- Krista, Simmons College
By now, we’ve all heard about Natalie Holloway and the dangers of hooking up with strangers. While it might seem like an extreme example, it’s important to recognize that hooking up with someone you don’t know puts you in an infinitely more vulnerable position than hooking up with a friend from home. But that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a little spring fling romance. Here are some ways to keep your hookup from crossing into the danger zone.
- Power in Numbers: Before you hit the dance floor, develop a game plan with your girlfriends and stick to it. It’s easy to get lost in a crowded club, so agreeing on a time and place to meet at the end of the night is a great way to keep track of each other. The website SpringBreakSafety.org, suggests: “Go out with your friends, go home with your friends. It’s one of those things that keeps you a whole lot safer, and eliminates about 98% of the bad drama.”
- Pick a Location: If you do meet a guy you want to hook up with, try to go somewhere you feel safe, preferably in a place that’s near your friends so they know where you’re headed and how to reach you. Always use your hotel room instead of his, since your friends can access it if necessary. Or, if you don’t mind a little PDA, stay at the club and get a little smooch time in there. While it may not be the classiest behavior, at least your girls can keep an eye on you.
- Watch Your Drink: Drugs like GBH, Ketamine, and Rohypnol (“roofie”) () are popular date rape drugs because they can be discreetly slipped into a drink and take effect quickly, often lasting several hours. At first, when a person is slipped a date drug she’ll just seem really drunk, often making it difficult for friends to realize the person has been drugged before she’s sauntered off with the guy and it’s too late. Stay in control and be aware of your surroundings by making sure you know exactly what’s in your drink and holding onto it the entire night. If a guy offers to buy you a drink, walk over with him to the bar and watch him order it. And if you notice your drink tastes or looks a little funky, pour it out. GBH can make drinks saltier and Rohypnol can change the color of a drink. Also, remember that the more you drink, the more self-control you lose. While there’s no shame in having a little fun, monitoring how much alcohol you consume and making sure to not exceed your limit will help you evaluate a hookup situation with more clarity and better judgment. And if nothing else, at least you’ll choose a guy without the influence of the beer goggles effect.
- Can I Get Your Number?: It's always a good idea to carry around the number and address of the hotel you're staying in. And before you leave for Spring Break, exchange phone numbers with your friends' parents. Their parents will feel better knowing they can contact you, and you'll know how to get in touch with them in case of an emergency. Also, if you think you might be spending the night somewhere else, bring your phone charger with you. It's a small device that could make a huge difference.