Spring break can be a time to unwind, to forget about midterms and essays, and just have fun in the sun. But that glorious week can also pose significant dangers for the unwary, for college kids too naive to realize that there are dangers, that alcohol clouds good judgment or that there certainly can be too much of a good thing. Here's a guide to help parents discuss spring break safety with their college kids.
As anyone who's watched MTV's Spring Break bacchanals knows, anything can and does happen when spring breakers congregate on tropical beaches. Sit down well before the big departure day and talk about these four major safety tips - expectations, communication, travel alerts and exit plans.
Bad sunburns and extreme hangovers are the least of your child's Spring Break worries. Here are more tips to keep your kids safe from Roofies, predators and more, including this 21st century update to the old buddy rule from personal safety expert Erin Weed: "Go out with your friends, go home with your friends."
The U.S. State Department issues warnings for tourists heading into areas of unrest and violence. In 2009, that included warnings to Spring Breakers and other travelers bound for Mexico's border towns, including Tijuana and Juarez, because of drug cartel-fueled violence. Doublecheck the State Department web site before your family travels.
Of course, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Spring Break that don't include wet T-shirt contests or copious amounts of alcohol. Voluntourism trips that combine community service with sightseeing are a growing trend among college students and Spring Breakers.