By Sandhaya Mansfield, Courier Staff Writer
Spring break is a time that many high school and college students look forward to - school is out and vacation begins. For most, this means a week of relaxing and spending time with family and friends, and for others it means a week of partying and drinking, even for some high school seniors.
Spring break is when vacation planning companies lure students into buying spring break packages. Companies that specialize on selling spring break tours encourage students to travel to the spring break capital of the world - the infamous Mexico. Mexico seems to be the most popular spring break oasis because the legal drinking age is only 18 and is rarely enforced. Another company offers trips to places like Cancun and Mazatlan promising “50 hours of free drinking” over the seven day period of the vacation package.
For most people spring break has always been about having fun on the beach and going to parties with friends. For big tour organizers, spring break has now become a chance to sell tour packages to students, encouraging them to invest in trips to foreign cities like Mexico and Europe where they can get away with underage drinking and even the chance to take drugs that are considered illegal here but not there. Tour packages combine airfare, hotels, and even meals that most eighteen year olds can afford.
“Week long trips to Mexico, which typically cost $600- $1,200 are popular because they are affordable, and of course being international, you can drink when you’re 18” Matt Scriven, president of Paradise Parties said.
For other tour organizers like Sean Keener, spring break is an opportunity to sell either trips that consist of,"the drunk, drugged up parties, having sex with everybody they can, or the people who go to Nicaragua and build houses.” Sean Keener is the president of the Travel Network of Eugene, Oregon which is a parent company of the StudentSpringBreakcom.
USA TODAY did research on spring break tours and said that “health officials who have begun to monitor student drinking at Mexican resorts say the tours have become a key element in the dark side of the spring break party scene: incidents involving alcohol poisoning, rape, unpleasant stays in Mexican jails, injuries from accidents or fights and theft.”
Another question that comes up with the words “spring break” is; Should parents chaperone spring break trips?
“Parents should be encouraged to know what trips their kids are going on, who they’re going with, and what they’re going to do when they get there” says Michael Palmer, executive director of the Student Youth Travel association. Of course that doesnt guarantee that kids are really going to tell their parents exactly what they’re going to be doing, but it’s a start.
One website-www.healthylivingschoolsandcamps.com, offers a simple six step soluiton on how parents can be sure their child’s spring break is safe and secure.