Enjoying Spring Break Safely

Spring break is around the corner, and for a good number of college students, this is a popular time to go south and enjoy the beach. But before you hop on a plane and fly outside of the Midwest, remember to make time to do your homework on your destination.

Traveling abroad—especially for the first time—is an experience you should give plenty of time and thought to before leaving. Every country is different, and depending on where you’re traveling, you should be familiar with the country and its practices.

Planning for a trip is not something you can cram the night before and pull off successfully. This article will give you a better idea of how to prepare for the best spring break trip ever!

Have proper travel itinerary and identification information. This includes your driver’s license, birth certificate and/or passport, depending on what’s required for that country. Did you know that it normally takes four to eight weeks to get a passport? Getting it sooner will cost you a large amount of extra money for processing fees.

Become familiar with the proper procedures for entering and exiting the country. Know what you can take and cannot take into the country. Spend an hour or two of planning ahead and researching the Internet before you pack and fly out so your spring break trip won’t be ruined by a two-day investigation or worse—a visit to jail!

Remember that in other countries, you’re expected to follow their laws and you’re under their judicial system. So know the laws and obey them. Don’t rely on your American citizenship to get you out of a tight spot because you decided to carelessly drink too much. What you might get away with here in the States can be a harsh and severe crime in other countries. Be careful so you don’t end up having to bail yourself out of jail the rest of your spring break trip and the spring semester.

For more information about travel requirements and international relations, visit the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs Web site.

Use common sense. Travel in groups and in well-traveled areas. Obey the signs at the beach and on hiking paths. Those signs are posted for your safety. Unfortunately, too many college students have ignored those signs in the past, with tragic results. Also, think twice before you rent a moped or other equipment so you don’t get cheated out of money. If you travel out of North America, pack an electrical converter. And be wise in how you exchange, spend, and carry your money.

Be smart. Be responsible. Be respectful of other countries’ laws and authorities. And finally, have a good time! Remember that careful planning ahead is the secret to having a fabulous spring break trip.