Hiking tips

Tips for a Safe and Fun Spring Break

Many students choose to travel or return home for spring break. Here are some tips to keep spring break memorable for all the right reasons:

1) Rest before and during trips.
While it can be tempting to take a road trip at night and plan stops as you go, being tired while driving can have effects on your body similar to drunk driving. Studies have shown that being awake for more than 24 hours is equivalent to having a blood alcohol level of 0.10%! This is higher than the legal limit in every state. Instead, consider stopping at a hotel you researched before traveling to make sure it’s safe and clean. If you must drive all night, drive in shifts and make sure someone stays awake with the person driving.

2) Protect your skin.
Sunburn doesn’t just happen at the beach. The sun’s UV rays are stronger at higher altitudes. Whether you’re hiking in the mountains or hitting the beach, always use sunscreen and lip balm with SPF and reapply often. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. In addition to using sunscreen, consider wearing UPF clothing or staying in the shade to protect yourself from the sun.

3) Hydrate often.
Be sure to drink enough water throughout your trip. Being in the sun, drinking alcohol, and spending time in hot tubs can all dehydrate you. Keep a bottle of water with you throughout your trip so you always have water available. You may find it beneficial to use hydration boosters such as Liquid IV or Nuun to help combat dehydration.

4) Be smart with alcohol.
If you are of legal age and choose to drink, eat before and while you are away, as an empty stomach can intensify the effects of alcohol. Protein-rich foods slow the absorption of alcohol. Alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated and pick up your pace. Count all alcoholic beverages and remember that not all beverages are equal based on their alcohol content. Although each person’s metabolic rate is unique, the average person metabolizes about one drink per hour.

If you or your friends drink, pay close attention to your surroundings, especially when you’re in unfamiliar places.

  • Don’t drink anything you haven’t seen mixed/poured or left alone.
  • Is everyone on the balcony? Ask yourself if the AirBnb balcony was really designed to accommodate 20 students at a time.
  • If you are walking through bars, make sure you know how to get back to where you are staying. Add the address to notes on your phone or grab a hotel business card.
  • If you plan to get home using Uber or Lyft, charge your phone to make sure it has enough battery to last all night and get you home. (As a backup, if you haven’t already, memorize the contact information of a friend or family member in case your phone breaks.)
  • If plans change overnight, contact your group to let them know where you are.
  • If you are near water, be very careful. Avoid boating or swimming while intoxicated.

5. Use condom sense.
Condoms and dental dams help prevent sexually transmitted infections. Have them handy even if you don’t plan to be sexually active – a friend might need them! Free condoms are available at the reception of the University Health Center and in several distribution points around campus.

Remember that sexual contact without consent is sexual assault. Consent must be enthusiastic and given freely, without pressure or influence.

If you want to get a head start, schedule an STI test at the University Health Center. University students who are 24 or younger and do not have or cannot use insurance can receive free or discounted sexual health services at the health center.

Call 402.472.5000 to make an appointment or learn more about online sexual and reproductive health services.

Center for Advocacy, Response and Education
University Health Center