Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The University of Iowa’s spring break begins Sunday, March 12, and ends Sunday, March 19. If you’re sticking around town, residence halls will remain open, but you must register first.

If you’re traveling, here are some helpful tips to make sure you have a safe, healthy, and enjoyable break, whether traveling across the state or across the country.

Close, lock, turn off

When leaving your home for an extended period of time, make sure your valuables are out of plain view, lock your doors, and turn off any lights or devices that don’t need to be on while you’re gone. You may also want to let a trusted friend or neighbor know you will be leaving town. Plan for the care of your pets, especially if you are leaving the country.

Prepare your home for your absence

Close your windows and secure your living space before leaving. Leave the heat on in your home and set a temperature no lower than 55 degrees to avoid frozen pipes. In case of snow—you never know during March in Iowa—arrange for someone to shovel your sidewalk and driveway if it’s not already handled by your landlord.

Pack a car safety kit

If you’ll be driving a long distance, make sure you have the proper tools to address any crisis. Keep a windshield scraper, jumper cables, a small shovel, flashlight, phone charger/battery pack, blanket, additional warm clothing, water, and snacks in your vehicle.

Use the buddy system when you reach your destination

Don’t go off on your own. Stay with your friend group, and don’t leave a party with a stranger. Before you venture out, talk to your friends to establish a place to meet if you get separated. If you do leave your friends, let them know exactly where you’re going and when they should expect you to return. Create a code word to use if you are in an uncomfortable situation and need a friend to intervene. Consider sharing your location with friends.

Bring a copy of your passport

If you’re traveling outside the United States, keep your passport and extra money locked in a safe in your hotel room when you are gone during the day. Bring an extra copy of your passport and keep it in a separate location in case the original is lost or stolen.

Share travel itinerary

Let your trusted friends and family know your plans and check in with them during your trip.

Prepare for warm weather

If you’re traveling to a warmer climate, make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. If you are swimming, you may not notice how much you are sweating. If you’re out in the sun for long periods of time, wear sunscreen of at least 30 SPF to avoid coming back to Iowa City looking like a lobster.

Pay attention to alcohol consumption

If you choose to drink alcohol, use protective strategies such as alternating drinks with water, eating before you drink and while you are drinking, sticking to one type of drink, and counting standard drinks.

Know what to do in an emergency

The number for emergency response in other countries is not 911. Do research ahead of time and program the appropriate emergency phone number into your contacts. The U.S. Department of State keeps an updated list.

Practice creating healthy habits

If you’re staying in Iowa City, use the time to practice other health-promoting behaviors, including incorporating movement into your day, catching up on sleep, and eating more fruits and vegetables.