Tips for staying safe on your Christmas nights out

Your social calendar is no doubt already filling up ahead of the next few weeks, with nights on the town and other festive events planned.

At such a busy time of year it's important to stay aware of your own personal safety and that of those around you. 

Preparation is key, so keep these simple tips in mind.

1. Stay in groups
Whether it's a pub crawl or a big night on the tiles, it's so important to stick with a group of people you can trust. Where possible, share taxis and do not attempt to walk on your own late at night. It's just not worth it. If you're going out with a gang of people you don't really know, let a close friend know of your whereabouts just in case.

2. Make sure you have the essentials
Double check before you leave the house that you have everything you need. Even if you'll be using your card to pay for drinks, keep some emergency cash on you just in case. Ensure your phone is fully charged – if there's a chance it might die later in the night, write down the phone numbers of one or two of your friends, so that you won't get caught out. 

3. Don't get too caught up
After a few drinks it's easy to let your own security fall by the wayside. Remember that you are your own responsibility – stay aware of where your bag is or check it into the cloakroom, try to pace your drinking as the night goes on, and don't disappear without letting a friend know where you'll be.

4. Have a back up plan
Not only can you expect big crowds while out and about this year, the weather can be changeable and even the best laid plans can fall apart. Have a plan B in case of emergencies – a meeting point if you lose friends, a taxi number or knowledge of where the nearest rank is in case it's needed, and again, spare cash just in case.

5. Be careful
If you're on your own at the end of the night, be extra cautious and aware of your surroundings. Sit near the driver if you're on a late night bus, avoid sitting in an empty train or Luas carriage by yourself and avoid walking alone. If you are flagging a taxi instead of using Hailo or a taxi service, take note of the plate number and the driver's name in case of lost property or any other unexpected event.