Summer vacation is usually a time to relax, rejuvenate, travel and enjoy time with friends and family. Being safe while traveling over summer vacation will ensure that your fun is sustained for the three months and that you have good memories of your experiences. Below are some tips to ensure that your summer vacation is great!

Travel Tips

  • Travel with someone you know and trust, and preferably with a group.
  • Never allow a member of your group to leave alone with someone they do not know.
  • Always travel in well-lit areas.
  • Lock your hotel/motel room door (keep your keycard in a safe place), and when someone knocks, always look through the peephole before opening the door.
  • Do not invite strangers to your room.
  • Do not share a cab/transportation with someone you don’t know
  • Do not give your room number/address of where you are staying to someone you don’t know.
  • Make sure someone has your itinerary and contact information before you leave.
  • Always carry some extra cash and your ID (passport if you are in a foreign country).

Healthy Lifestyle Tips

During the summer, you want to relax and get out of your normal routine. At the same time, there are parts of your routine which keep you healthy that would be important to continue. Eating regular meals, exercise, meditation and staying in touch with your support group are all important activities to continue during the summer. And at the other extreme, do not over-schedule yourself so that you feel exhausted in September!

Use of alcohol and eating patterns are something to consider as you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here are some suggestions:

  • Decide in advance what and how much you will drink.
  • Eat before you drink and during a party.
  • Plan on how you will refuse once you reach your limit of food or alcohol.
  • Drink water in between each alcoholic beverage to slow your drinking as well as keep you hydrated.
  • Be aware that a new environment can heighten the effects of alcohol so you may get intoxicated faster than you would in a familiar environment.
  • Watch your drink, alcoholic or not.
  • Know what will happen if you violate state or local laws.
  • Use a designated driver or choose public transportation.
  • Try to eat several normal meals a day – avoid over-eating and under-eating patterns.
  • If you are taking medication, find out how it interacts with alcohol.
  • Should a member of your group become intoxicated, never leave them alone. If they pass out, make sure they sleep on their side to prevent choking, and if their level of consciousness is too low to get a response for more than 10 minutes, call 911 or emergency services in your location (if out of the country).

Personal Safety Tips

  • Be smart! Drinking makes it easier for a person to become either the victim or the perpetrator of a violent crime such as robbery or sexual assault. Again, know your limit.
  • Do not allow yourself to be taken to an isolated location.
  • Do not walk alone. Use the buddy system.
  • Never leave with someone you just met. Attend large parties with friends and plan to leave with the same friends.
  • Do not leave your drink unattended.
  • Keep your cell phone battery charged and with you at all times. Don’t leave it in a bag or jacket.
  • Keep cash on hand in case you need to call a cab.

Sun, Sand & Surf Tips

Nothing can ruin a week in the sun as much as sunburn! Even if you have been tanning, the sun in southern climates is HOT and INTENSE. Prevention is key here, so follow these tips:

  • Avoid sun exposure during the hottest hours of the sun’s rays.
  • Avoid over exposure – limit your time in the sun.
  • You CAN sunburn even if it is cloudy.
  • Apply sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 15, paying special attention to the face, nose, ears and shoulders.
  • Re-apply sunscreen after swimming and sweating.
  • Wear a hat.
  • Wear sunglasses with UV (Ultraviolet) Protection.
  • Drink plenty of water, non-carbonated and non-alcoholic drinks, even if you do not feel thirsty.
  • Be aware of Heat Stress Symptoms (hot, dry skin, profuse sweating, chills, throbbing headache, confusion, dizziness, hallucinations, slurred speech). To treat it, soak the person’s clothes with cool water, have them sit or lie down out of the sun, and slowly drink a sports beverage or water. If symptoms continue, take them to the ER.

Best wishes for a fun and healthy summer vacation from the U.Va. Women’s Center! If you have concerns about your summer vacation experiences, please feel free to call us for help at (434) 982-2252.

Tips compiled by Counseling Services at the Women’s Center