Going on vacation is a lot of fun, especially when it is time to go on spring break. The most common saying parents teach their children when going on vacation is: “Don’t talk to strangers!” But how are you supposed to make friends by doing that, especially when you are on vacation? Or when you are more shy than your mother, who could talk a person’s ear off? Making friends and staying safe can be hard when out-of-town. Here is a quick crash course on staying safe and being able to make friends at the same time. First of all, let’s check our bases to make sure we have everything covered.

Base one: Get involved with your family on fun excursions. When on vacation, there are plenty of options to get out and have fun! There’s often hiking, swimming, horseback riding,snorkeling, snowboarding, kayaking, and tons more available depending on where you are. Getting your family involved in big group  activities  can lead to making friends with the families on those excursions as well.  Chances are that the families there will want to have fun just like yours. Also, having your parents around might make you feel more comfortable about talking to the people there.

Base two: Strike up a conversation. Socializing is a great way to make friends, especially if you have similar interests. Rule one for this idea is to stay in a more frequented area by people such as the pool or gym. You will most likely feel more comfortable in these places with tons of people around in case you need to vanish in the crowd. Rule two: Don’t ever go where you don’t have an escape route.  (Scroll down for more information.) In public places, you have a better chance of drawing attention to yourself if need be.file0002117227292

Short stop: If your safety is threatened, the key is to attract attention to yourself. There are many ways of doing this, including yelling, “Fire!”  Personally, I think this is a little out-dated. In self defense classes, we teach younger people to yell, “You’re not my dad/mom/uncle/aunt/etc!!” Most people will look to see who isn’t your dad/mom/uncle/aunt/etc. because your safety will be most important in that moment.  Of course, you can always yell “No!” or “Stop!” ; those phrases work just as well.

Base three: Hang out in public places and check in with your parents or guardians. Assuming that by this base you have met someone new and are dying to hang out with them, there are more precautions to be followed, especially if you don’t have a cell phone. First off, with such a short amount of time to get to know the person, you need to realize that you may not know everything about them. Instead of going back to your room or to their’s, hit the pool, the popular snack bar, the specified teen hangout place, or the shops nearby. Having that back up plan will make you feel safer, too (see below).  It is a big deal to make sure that your parents know where you are when you go off with your new friend. They want you to be safe just as much as you want to have fun. Send them a quick text, or, if you don’t have a cell phone, post-it-note them, letting them know where you are planning on going. You don’t want to worry them.

Home Plate: Escape routes. Looking for a way out?  Knowing your options for exits or alternate routes to vanish in is very important. The red lighted signs that say “Exit” on them are a friend of yours now. Easy routes out of places are nice to get to know. Even restrooms can be an escape for you if your friend is of the opposite gender. It will take you less than thirty seconds to scan for potential routes for a quick escape if your new friend is not what they at first seemed.

Now that you know how to make friends and stay safe while on vacation, relax and have some fun!

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