Spring break is the time to let loose. Get the kids together, pack the swimsuits, and head someplace warm. Here in Chicago, it’s a chance to head south and see the sun for the first time in a few cold, dark months!
But, of course, a big trip always brings some risks along with it. Here are some tips to keep your spring break safe and fun.
Don’t leave your house unattended.
Burglars also know it’s spring break — especially if you’re posting about it on social media. It’s probably not wise to post about your house being empty while the newspapers collect on your front porch. Instead, ask trustworthy neighbors to keep an eye out for suspicious activity and ask them (or a nearby friend or family member) to pick up your mail, spend some time with the lights on in the house, and to be sure all windows and doors are locked. Home automation can help here — automatically triggering lights as though you’re home, or setting cameras to alert you if there’s motion — but there’s still no substitute for having someone you trust watching your home.
Keep a routine.
Don’t get too far away from your daily habits while traveling — coming home will be even harder. Sure, sleep in on vacation! But wake up earlier on the last day or two before you head home. Bedtimes should obviously be extended (it’s vacation, after all), but don’t overdo it, or getting back on a school night schedule will be tough.
Don’t forget the sunscreen.
For most of us, it’s been a long, cold winter, and we’re about ready to soak up some rays. The long winter has also likely left your skin and ready for a devastating sunburn. To keep a rough sunburn at bay, be sure to apply sunscreen (and reapply every 30 minutes or so!); keep out of direct sun around midday, when the sun’s rays are the strongest; and wear sunglasses, hats, and other protective clothing if you’re going to be out in the sun for extended periods. Remember melanoma is not a fruit.
Remember your safety measures
I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve said “long, cold winter” in this blog post, but it has taken its toll on your equipment and habits, not just your skin. Whatever activity you’re enjoying this spring break, make sure you haven’t forgotten how to do it safely. Maybe you’re hitting the slopes for some spring skiing! Remember your helmet. Maybe you’re boating! Those kids are going to need life jackets. Maybe you’re taking the kids out for a big bike ride! Give all moving parts a nice once-over before you head out.
Watch out for germs
Anytime you travel, encounter a number of new and potentially harmful germs. Don’t get sick for spring break! Wash your hands and remind your children to frequently (especially right after you clear airport security, where studies show germs are most prevalent). And maybe think twice before flipping through in-flight magazines, which may have been handled by a sick passenger on a previous flight. Being sick or having a sick child on vacation can put a real damper on your plans.
Finally, there are the standard caveats for any trip. If you’ll be traveling by car, make sure your vehicle is road-ready by checking the tires, keeping a full tank of gas and packing an emergency survival kit. If you’re flying, pack snacks — spring break travel delays can be brutal. Follow these simple steps and your spring break break will be (safe) fun for the whole family.