If my Facebook newsfeed has anything to prove, it is that spring break is finally upon us.

I remember the days that I craved a spring break. Wait a second, I STILL crave a spring break. But back in my student days I could not wait for spring break. It was right about the time of the college semester that I couldn’t handle it anymore. Long story short: I welcomed spring break with open arms.

The term spring break means different things to different people. For many, it is a chance to catch up on half a semester’s worth of homework. For others, it is a time to sleep and eat constantly while doing absolutely nothing. But the wilder set tends to imagine spring break as an all-out rager, full of beer, babes and the beach.

My spring break tended to look a bit like a combination of the first two. Being a good student (read: nerd) mean that I used spring break to catch up on big projects I needed extra time to work on. But I definitely took advantage of sleeping in, watching ridiculous shows on TV (because nothing good is on TV in the middle of the day ever) and relaxing.

But many dream of the MTV Cancun parties until all hours of the night. Hate to be a downer, but spring break is not all jell-o shots and tans. It can be hazardous for your health.

If you want to keep safe while still having fun, keep these in mind.

  •   Drink safe. For many spring break equals booze. If this is for you, be smart about it. Know that it is illegal to drink if you are younger than 21 years old in the United States. Under the legal age? Find something else to do. You will be breaking the law. Also, limit your drinking. Drinking too much can result in poor choices, nasty hangovers and alcohol poisoning. You can die from alcohol poisoning, and trust me, no spring break night is worth your life. If you plan on drinking in a public place such as a bar or a party, never drink anything that you didn’t see poured. And never let your cup out of your sight.
  • Pick a great location. Your spring break location is part of the appeal. It does not have to been Cancun to relax and enjoy the sun. If you do choose a popular spring break locale, make sure your hotel is in a good part of town. Every spring break town has seedy motels with even seedier lurkers. Spend the extra $20 a night to get a nice, safer room.
  • Be smart. This sounds dumb, but spring break is stereotypically a lot of people doing a lot of stupid things. Common sense seems to fly out of the window in favor of spontaneous fun. Remember what your mother taught you: don’t talk to strangers, always wash your hands first and you don’t know where that has been.

Happy safe spring break!

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