02/22/2011 04:46 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

It Doesn't Have to Be All Sex and Drinking This Spring

Not a year goes by when we don't hear nightmarish spring break stories: testosterone driven showoffs taking headers off of balconies, tipsy girls getting raped or abducted, coeds behaving badly on film. This deadly combination of hormones and alcohol doesn't have to claim your child. Julie Barsamian from CookTravel.Net offers six tips for how to make spring break safe and fun for your kids.

1) Don't Follow the Herd.
This is especially important for college-aged kids. Too many times, spring-break trips are organized by large travel companies, the parents aren't involved, and kids hand their money over to scammers; they collect their money, promising excursions, buses and hotel rooms, and when you arrive, buses aren't scheduled, hotels never heard of you and your kids could have to either start from scratch or go home. Instead, help your kids to book with a trusted or recommended accredited travel agency.

2) Be a Chaperone. It's hard to keep tabs on children in college, but if you have high school kids going away on spring break, offer to be a chaperone for a small group as a condition of paying the freight.

3) No wallets at the beach; they'll get lost and the trip could take a sharp turn from carefree to a case of identity theft.

4) Get receipts and vouchers from hotels, restaurants and excursions. This is a good way to make sure you're not getting overcharged, and to keep a time stamp on your child's whereabouts in case something goes wrong.

5) Traveling with a credit card is a double-edged sword. If your child purchases food and it doesn't show, or books an excursion and it ends up being bogus, you can always deny the charges; but if they lose the card, you could run into trouble. Allow your child to bring a credit card but talk to them about being vigilant of their belongings.

6) Don't give your kids access to unlimited funds! Make sure they are able to feed and protect themselves, that's it. There are plenty of horror stories about kids who gamble on spring break, losing thousands of dollars of their parents' money by withdrawing funds from a credit card. One preppy kid from the posh Trinity School in New York allegedly blew $60,000 of his daddy's money playing Craps in the Bahamas.

Photo credit: Joe Raedle, Getty Images