Planning a Night Out

When heading out on a night out it is important to plan ahead, so you can have a safe and enjoyable evening. If you do decide to drink alcohol ensure you can get home safely, and avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation.

Look after yourself and your friends!

If you or your friends do choose to drink alcohol, regardless of your age, there are some things you can do to minimise the potential harms you might experience. It is important when going out with friends to think about how you will respond if you or your friends run into trouble. This can help you to reduce the risk of anyone coming to harm if things don’t go as planned, along with these tips:

  • Make sure you have contact numbers for your friends.
  • Let your parents, housemates, or partner know where you will be and until what time.
  • Ensure that you have a lift home with someone you know and trust.
  • If you do decide to get a taxi, make sure you have enough money to pay for your trip home.


Planning ahead

There are a number of ways you can look after yourself and your friends before, during and after a night out, including the following:

  • Have a good night’s sleep and/or nap before you go out.
  • Eat a substantial meal before going out and snack throughout the night.
  • Wear light clothing to avoid overheating.
  • If you are drinking alcohol, space each drink with water, to avoid dehydration.
  • Know where the free water stations are, and top up regularly.
  • Avoid energy drinks and other stimulants if you are drinking alcohol, because one can mask the effect of the other and you may drink more than you intended. Your blood alcohol will still rise and your coordination will still be affected even though you may not feel drunk.
  • Take time out to rest and cool down.
  • Make sure you have enough money for food, water and a taxi or public transport home.
  • Make sure you carry identification cards, such as a student card, your driver’s licence, Proof of Age card or passport.
  • Keep your mobile phone with you.
  • Keep an eye on your friends and make sure they are ok.
  • Never leave your friends in case something goes wrong and you, or they, need to get help.


Getting home safely

Never get in a car if the driver has been drinking alcohol or taking drugs. If you have driven your own car and end up drinking alcohol or taking drugs, leave your car where it is and find a safe way home with friends, family or in a taxi.

If you are having trouble thinking of a suitable way to get home, call a sober friend or a parent for help – they may be annoyed at the time but they will be more upset if you don’t get home safely.

Taxi and transport details

  • Catching a taxi. Popular taxi companies – Canberra Elite Taxis (02 6126 1600), Cabxpress (02 6181 2700)
  • Transport ACT 

Hingson, R.W., Heeren, T. & Winter, M.R. (2006). Age of Alcohol-Dependence Onset: Associations with Severity of Dependence and Seeking Treatment. Pediatrics. 118(3):755-763.

National Health and Medical Research Council. (2009). Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol: Commonwealth of Australia. Available at