No matter your age or gender, there are some standard guidelines to consider when heading out for the night. We’re not going to call them “rules,” as that sounds a bit restrictive, but after years of experience and consulting others in a social crowd, here are some tried and true pieces of advice we feel are worth following.

Don’t …

• Wear high heels. No one looks good falling off 3-inch heels after a few drinks; they’re just not practical. There’s also no point in crippling yourself so you’re walking around barefoot at the end of the night on foreign floors and liquids. Ick.
• Drunk text. You’ll regret it in the morning, believe us. What seems to make perfect sense at 2 a.m. will come back to haunt you for days afterwards. If you think there’s ANY chance you may do this, give your phone to a more responsible friend to monitor.
• Pee in the street or bushes. Always use the toilet before leaving the house or nightclub, lest you get caught by people you’ll probably bump into again or worse, the police.
• Mix drinks. Doesn’t seem like a big deal at the time … rum, followed by vodka, gin and tequila. It’s all just alcohol, right? Wrong; and you’ll discover the difference a few hours later when the buzz is wearing off.
• Bring the kitchen sink out with you. Ladies, try to leave the big bags at home. Take a small clutch that has room for the essentials only.
• Spend all night texting and talking on your phone. If you’re out with friends or, even more importantly, a date, there is nothing worse than giving your phone more attention than them.

Do …

• Go home the first time it crosses your mind. Your brain is trying to give you good advice; listen to it.
• Make sure you have enough money for a taxi ride home. Local taxis rarely, if ever, take credit cards.
• Eat a solid meal before you go out. A couple of slices of cheese and a grape won’t absorb anything; try to consume something with some heft to fill your stomach before you start indulging at the bars.
• Drink a large glass of water (or two) before you go to bed. Try not to take a painkiller, as regular ingestion of alcohol coupled with ibuprofen or acetaminophen is terrible for your liver.
• Dress according to the weather. If it’s the middle of September and it’s an outdoor event, leave the long-sleeved velvet top at home.
• Keep your eye on your drink at all times. You’ll often be surrounded by strangers so take sensible precautions.
• Have a designated driver. You can absolutely take a taxi or hired transport home, but it doesn’t hurt to have a sober member in the group either.