Resources & Insights

In College? How to Stay Safe While on Spring Break

March 7, 2017

Heading somewhere fun for spring break?

If so, and sorry if this sounds like your dad, but please try to behave and drink responsibly.

spring break safety
CCIG’s Scott McGraw

Why? Well, obviously, because you could get sick, hurt or worse.

“Binge drinking is probably one the most concerning of all activities that college students engage in while on spring break,” Dr. Eric Collins, a Connecticut psychiatrist told Forbes magazine. “It is always on the minds of parents who ultimately know that it goes on.”

The extent of binge drinking, however, might surprise most parents.

According to the American College of Health, the average male reported consuming 18 drinks per day and the average female reported up to 10 drinks per day during spring break – well above the safe levels of alcohol consumption.

College students don’t drink during spring break alone, of course. According to the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each academic year from accidental alcohol-related injuries.

There’s a distinct risk of damaging brain cells when anyone drinks so much.

Studies of MRI scans of the brains of young people who drank heavily showed damaged nerve tissue compared to those who did not drink. While drinking, it can affect breathing, the heart rate and the body’s ability to regulate temperature, leading to a shutdown of the body’s life-support functions. In terms of permanent damage, over-drinking can impair one’s memory and coordination.

So, how many drinks does it take to reach alcohol poisoning? The answer isn’t straightforward but it takes an estimated five or more drinks for men (within two hours), or four drinks for women (within two hours).

Here, then, are a few pointers for spring-breakers (and parents, by all means, feel free to send this list along to your kids):

  • If you decide to drink, know the liquor laws, including age restrictions, of wherever you’ll be vacationing.
  • Never leave your drink unattended. If you lose sight of it, order a new one. Drugs can be put into any drink, including non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know or trust.
  • Don’t drink from open beverage sources like punch bowls, pitchers or tubs.
  • If you or one of your companions sees or feels the signs of being drugged — such as extreme wooziness, confusion, difficulty standing, or slurred speech — get to a safe place immediately and if the symptoms are severe, go to a hospital.

Whether you drink or not, make sure to check in with your health insurer if you’re heading overseas. Most health policies will extend coverage for domestic travel but things get complicated if you’re out of the country. Emergencies are typically covered but you are likely to have to pay upfront and you may want to buy a little extra coverage that includes medical evacuation in case something goes wrong.

Finally, if you’re renting a car, make sure your auto insurance travels with you. You may want to buy additional coverage, including a roadside assistance program, in case you run into any problems on the road.

Scott McGraw is Vice President of CCIG’s Employee Benefits division. He can be reached at 720-330-7924 or

Related: Tips on How to Travel Safely in Unsafe Places

Share this:
Back to Resources

Contact Us

Call us at 303-799-0110 or reach out by filling out a short form.

Get In Touch