Mexico was once a quick and relatively inexpensive spring break destination for college students. Now the nation has become too dangerous to visit due to its current drug wars, according to the U.S. State Department.
Drug-related violence has forced the United States to issue a travel advisory to Americans traveling to the border country. Though much of the problem exists in cities most tourists do not often visit, popular travel spots like Cancun and Mazatlan have seen their share of the violence.
Last August, six women and two men were killed when a group of 6-8 men threw homemade bombs into a bar in Cancun. Allegedly a hit by the Zeta drug cartel, the attack was likely connected to previous extortion attempts against the bar.
In Mazatlan, shootings last month led major cruise lines such as Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Cruise Lines to eliminate the city from trip itineraries indefinitely.
“My advice to my own children and to anybody who would want to listen to me is ‘Stay of out Mexico,'” said Michael Wilding, COC’s Dean of Student Services. “Not only would I advise ‘Stay out of Mexico’ … if you’re going to spend money, spend it in the United States.”
Wilding says that there are plenty of places to visit in the United States that don’t bring the danger of certain Mexican regions. Regardless of where students may choose to travel to during spring break, he gave some vacation tips to students:
- Never flash your jewelry
- Always travel with a buddy
- Make sure somebody at home knows your itinerary
- Make copies of airline or cruise tickets
- Make sure cell phone works internationally
- Keep a good portion of money in a hotel safe or in other secure locations
“Predators know that it’s spring break and they know that American students are there,” Wilding said, referring to Mexico. “They become easy targets. … Florida, Lake Havasu, there are lots of spring break meccas right here in the U.S. that are just as much fun.”
For up-to-date travel advisories to Mexico and other popular vacation spots, visit the U.S. State Department website.