Spring break and vacations are a time to relax, rejuvenate, travel, and enjoy time with family and friends. Being safe during this time will ensure that you do have fun and that you bring back good memories of your experience. Here are some tips to make sure that your travel experience is great!
Travel Safety Tips
- Travel with someone you know and trust, and preferably with a group.
- Even if you are with a group, you do not have to go along with something if it does not feel safe to you. Follow your own instincts. Listen to your gut.
- Part of the fun of traveling is to meet new people. At the same time, this can be done in a way that does not cause problems. Don’t go off alone with someone you have just met. Also don’t allow a member of your group to leave alone with someone they do not know.
- Don’t give out information about your hotel room or let someone you just met into your room. Agree to meet people in public places like restaurants and not isolated locations.
- 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.
These may sound like common sense ideas, but it is easy to forget when you’re caught up in the excitement of travel, new experiences, and you are out of your familiar environment.
Drinking and Eating Tips
Another part of the fun of traveling is trying new foods, going to social events where there is alcohol and again, being with different people. Everyone has different limits of how much alcohol they can safely drink depending on their normal habits, their body weight, etc. Paying attention to your own body and not comparing yourself to others is an important part of staying healthy with drinking and eating.
- Decide in advance what and how much you will drink. (Many people don’t know that the effects of alcohol are amplified when drinking in a new environment.)
- Eat before you drink and while drinking.
- Have a plan for how to refuse food and alcohol once you’ve reached your limit.
- Drink water in between each alcoholic beverage to slow your drinking as well as keep you hydrated.
- Watch your drink, alcoholic or not.
- 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 and you do not get a response for more than a few minutes, call 911, or if out of the country, know the emergency number for your location.
Sun, Sand & Surf Tips
Nothing can ruin a week in the sun as much as a sunburn! Even if you have been tanning, the sun in other climates is HOT and INTENSE. Prevention is the 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 a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 15, paying special attention to the face, nose, ears, feet and shoulders.
- Re-apply sunscreen after swimming and sweating.
- No matter how bad you think you look in a hat, Wear One!
- 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 these symptoms in yourself or another person; fatigue, nausea, headaches, excessive thirst, muscle cramps, confusion, dizziness, fainting, sweats. These are signs of heat exhaustion. If they occur, immediately get out of the heat and rest, preferably in an air-conditioned room. If you can’t get inside, try to find the nearest cool and shady place.
Other recommended strategies include:
- Drink plenty of fluid (avoid caffeine and alcohol).
- Remove any tight or unnecessary clothing.
- Take a cool shower or bath.
- Apply other cooling measures such as fans or ice towels.
If these strategies don’t work within 30 minutes, you will need to contact a doctor.
Good planning, trusting your instincts, and eating and drinking in moderation are all part of making your spring break or vacation a positive experience.
Best wishes for a fun and healthy Spring Break from the UVA Women’s Center! If you have concerns about your spring break experience, please feel free to contact Counseling Services at (982-2252) or go to our website www.womenscenter.virginia.edu