With spring break approaching, you, me and students all over the country are making preparations for a week of fun in the sun.

Many know about Natalie Holloway, who was kidnapped and murdered during her vacation to Aruba in May 2005.

Supposedly, Holloway left her friends to hang out with strangers. Not a very smart move. It would be tragic if one of our fellow students went missing during this highly anticipated break.

Whether you are going to be traveling to places like Mexico, Europe, Canada or even staying within the Untied States, there are many precautions that we can all take to stay safe and still have a blast.

First and foremost, be aware of your surroundings. Know where you are and where you are going. This is where a GPS service on your cell phone would come in handy. If you don’t have GPS available, make plans for the day before leaving your hotel or resort.

Always, always keep a buddy system in place. Do not go anywhere or do anything alone. A murderer, rapist or criminal is less likely to target groups of three or four. Choose friends whom you trust and don’t leave them for anything. Getting into cars or going into hotel rooms with strangers is a good way to get yourself into trouble, so avoid anyone you don’t know.

If while on vacation, you desire to engage in drinking or partying, watch your drink at all times. Even if you are drinking a soda, someone can slip a pill or powder into your beverage, and you won’t know it until it’s too late. There are many types of “date rape” drugs, so you can never be too careful. Also, be a friend and keep your friends out of trouble. Watch their drinks, too.

When it comes to swimming, although I think it is still too cold to be splashing in the ocean, use sunscreen often. Believe me, a plane ride home with the backs of your legs sunburned is not any type of fun. Keep the buddy system in place while you swim, and drink lots of clean water, not alcohol.

Remember to keep your spring break exciting and fun. Relax and come back refreshed. Have a wonderful spring break, and come back to us in one piece.

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