Keep Your Spring Break Drama Free!
A spring break trip can be a great experience and lead to great life-long memories of good times with friends. Follow these tips to ensure that your trip is a good one and not something that causes unfortunate regrets.
1) Know the law.
Laws regarding alcohol and drugs can vary (especially in punishment) from state to state and especially internationally. Everyone knows that if you are under 21 you can’t drink alcohol in the United States but if you are over 21 there are widely varying laws about drinking in public. For example, here in Tennessee a passenger in a car can legally consume alcohol but such behavior is illegal in Alabama and Georgia. Many people assume that drugs laws are rarely enforced in Mexico and other tropical destinations, but I have heard many stories of students being arrested and only let go after their parents are forced to pay exorbitant “fines”. Nothing will ruin a spring break like being arrested so know before you go!
2) Know what to do if you or a friend is arrested!
The simplest advice is to follow the law. However, if something happens and you are arrested, try to make sure that a friend knows who to contact on your behalf. This may mean having a contact number saved in their phones. Often the booking process takes a long time and you want someone working on your behalf as soon as possible. Finally, be very careful about pleading guilty to ANYTHING even if the punishment is time served. Often, many states have very specific steps that must be followed to erase a criminal charge from your record. These steps must be followed from the beginning or you could be facing a life-long criminal record. Any criminal charge, even for a relatively minor incident carries the life time sentence of a black mark on your record. You do not want to explain to future potential employers about that crazy night during spring break!
3) Know where you're staying.
Many spring break hotels/resorts often won’t reveal hidden costs until the time of check in. Clearly at that point you’re stuck, so ask questions up front. Specifically ask about “cleaning fees” or “security deposits” and if such fees are nonrefundable. If you are sent a contract, read it! They are mind numbing but you’ll want to know what you’re getting into. Use the internet to research specific resorts and see what other students have to say. Again, I have heard many stories about large security deposits being withheld once spring break is over. Or even worse, of students being evicted before the trip is over.
If you feel that you have been scammed or treated unfairly, contact an attorney.
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