You’ve got your night out look on and are ready to paint the town – as they say: work hard, play hard. But regardless of what your game plan is, the end goal should always be to make it home in one piece! Whether you're hitting up a party or dancing at the clubs, take into account these simple tips to ensure you have a safe night out.
Go in Groups
The saying "there’s safety in numbers" definitely rings true in a going-out situation. The more trusted members you have in your party (who have your best interests at heart), the more likely you will be to feel secure with your status and decision making.
Though everybody feels comfortable with a different amount of people, generally a group of 3-5 is fine with most. Keep in mind, however: If groups get too large, keeping tabs on everyone may become difficult as the night progresses. Have your cell handy, partner up, or set a common meeting point if you get separated from the crew!
Carry the Essentials
Clutches aren’t clown cars, so unfortunately you can’t throw in the whole kitchen sink when going out. Of course, we all have our makeup staples for those bathroom-break touch ups, but before you leave, add these items for some extra insurance:
- Phone. An obvious choice, but very crucial! Make sure it’s fully charged, especially if you don’t plan on returning home for the night.
- Keys/ID. If wallets are too bulky, consider a cute wristlet.
- Cash. This is more important if you're going downtown, but you also never know when you’ll need to make an emergency purchase or call. A general rule to go by is to have enough to cover a round trip cab ride. Also, be sure to have at least a few dollars worth of quarters on hand! That way, you won’t have to scramble for bill exchanges when you need to take care of parking meters or use pay phones.
- Extra pair of flats. Heels of some sort are often the shoe of choice when going out, and can be the difference between a casual and wow-worthy outfit. But after hours of sporting a 4-inch pump with no platform, we don’t blame you for wanting to take a break. In that case, consider tucking away some Dr. Scholl’s foldable flats so you can move around easier as the night winds down.
- Band-aids. It never hurts to stash away a few, just in case.
Also be sure to check out our article on 5 things every college girl needs in her bag for more suggestions!
Check on Yourself
There’s no need to self check every minute of every hour – after all, you’re going out to unwind and have fun! However, taking mental notes of how you're doing can provide comfort and reassurance in regards to your well-being. Ask yourself (or have a friend ask you) the following questions at these three midpoints to see how you’re doing throughout the night, and to make sure you’re OK.
- Before the night begins. Do I have everything I need? Do I have someone to call and a place to stay in case something happens?
- In the middle of festivities. Am I having fun? Is anything making me uncomfortable? Am I getting too carried away? Do I need to slow down?
- As the night winds down. If I want to stay out later, do I have a way to get home in the morning? If plans have changed, what are my options at this point? Given my circumstances, which is the best?
Have a Back Up Plan
As with all things in life, not everything always goes according to plan – something happens to our phone or keys, we get separated from our friends, or we have a little too much to drink. If you find yourself in a sticky situation, though, don’t panic! There are steps you can take to make tough circumstances better, so long as you take a little time to prepare beforehand.
- Write down important numbers. Sometimes having contacts stored in your phone is not enough – especially if it gets lost, broken, or the battery dies. By stocking your purse with a paper list of numbers of trusted friends and family, cab companies, the police, and other important people, you’ll have a safety net if you ever get stuck in a bind.
- Secure someone you can call in case of an emergency. As mentioned above, before you head out for the night, find a friend who will be willing to pick you up/allow you to stay over if a situation heads south. Though doing so may seem tedious, this little action can go a long way, especially if you are unable to grab a cab, drive, or have run out of cash. Also, informing others of your circumstances beforehand will save you time if you need or want to get back fast.
- Know the basics of self defense. Hopefully you'll never be put in a situation that's dangerous or unsettling, but unfortunately we can't always predict what will happen. Just as a precautionary tactic, learn some self defense maneuvers so you can protect yourself. See if your University offers specialized courses specifically designed for women, or locate a RAD program close to you to learn more.
- If you're at a party or decide to grab something to drink downtown, always keep a close eye on your drink. Holding onto it at all times is the best way to make sure nothing foreign gets dropped in.
- Know your limits. Despite peer pressure, don't give into doing something you're not comfortable doing. You know yourself better than anyone else. If you put your foot down on something, others should respect your decision.
- Try not to go home by yourself! Unless you have a legitimate ride waiting outside for you, walking home alone can be dangerous at late hours of the night, even if you live just a few blocks away. Have someone you trust walk with you, or make an agreement to leave together at the same time.
How do you stay safe when spending a night out?Do you have any stories, tips or advice for other girls? Let us know in a comment!