Allure of spring break travel destinations come with risks

Andrea Elsholz, Features Editor

Spring break conjures visions of long days at the beach and renewed tans. Often, the crime rates, common seasonal infections and trafficking risks of the intended destination are topics that are pushed to the side in the face of excitement that traveling may bring. 

“I travel a few times a year,” freshman Matthew Allor said. “If you’re going to a different country you have to be careful. Make sure you’re staying at a good hotel. There was an incident in Punta Cana with the [high school seniors] we were traveling with where someone got robbed at a beach.”

Crime patterns in popular vacation destinations are likely to experience seasonal fluctuations. In many tourist destinations, cases of theft increase during popular travel times. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in general burglary, larceny and cases of assault occur more during summer and fall than in winter or spring. 

“Be aware of your surroundings,” Student Resource Officer Thomas Cole said. “No matter where you are, make sure you’re paying attention. Don’t have your nose in your phone; they [predators] target people who aren’t paying attention. One person will be talking to you while their partner is robbing you blind. Make a pact with your friends that, no matter what, you will never leave each other alone. People who are scoping you out will approach you when you’re alone, or they try to isolate you.”

A travel safety poll by the Fenton InPrint via google forms revealed that of the 113 student responders, the travel-related issue of highest concern was acquiring a disease or virus, at 32.3 percent. The second largest concern was human trafficking at 23.1 percent. 

“If you go somewhere unsafe or unfamiliar, it’s a risk,” Allor said. “But, if you prepare and do your research it can be a fun experience. I’m going to the Turks and Caicos islands, which comes with a few concerns. My biggest are bodily safety; getting food poisoning or getting sick from the water.”

Posting spring break adventures on social media can be a great way to capture memories, but in order to maintain safety and privacy while traveling, careful consideration should be taken in regards to social media posts.

“Don’t post where you’re staying or what days you’ll be going,” Cole said. “Don’t even post the hotel. And if you post who you’re going to be with, make sure they’re not posting information like that until after you’ve come home. Never give out your room number or key cards to anyone either.” 

According to Cole, when checking into a hotel, locate all exits and investigate the room for any red flags. Students are advised to keep valuables in a safe location rather than taking items with them throughout the day.

“Try to avoid traveling with cash, but if you have it, put it somewhere inconspicuous and never flash it,” Cole said. “Never have anything in your purse that you can’t live without. When it comes down to it, if someone is trying to take your purse, let them; [it is]  better than your life.”

Whether it is worth the risk, traveling offers experiences that cannot be found anywhere else. Amidst all the fun, remember: stay safe.