Spring Break In Mexico – Think Twice About ItBy Child Safety Specialist Mar 9, 2011 | 10:25:00 amPosted in: Travel
One of the most popular destinations for spring break is Mexico. Kids looking for fun in the sun, cheap liquor and non-stop partying consider Cancun, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas some of the best spots. Unfortunately Mexico has become one of the most dangerous tourist spots. While a great deal of the violence has been along the U.S. and Mexico border towns, it has spread to areas such as Acapulco which has seen nine deaths in the past week alone.
The warnings coming out of the US State Department haven’t gotten as much media attention as they should. The advisory, issued last September, strongly urges U.S. citizens to use caution and states that “..the security situation poses serious threats for U.S. citizens.” Tourists are advised to only visit legitimate businesses in tourist areas during daylight hours and to travel only on main roads.
Most teens feel invincible and, when you add liquor to the equation, common sense and caution go out the window. For teens that have never been out of the country, or even away from home, recognizing dangerous situations and how to protect themselves may prove to be impossible.
But, if your children are going to Mexico for spring break, make sure they understand how to protect themselves.
• Contact their cell phone carrier and be sure it will work in Mexico. Request that they call home frequently to let family members know where they are.
• Never under any circumstances travel anywhere alone! Stick with a group at all times. If a friend insists she’s leaving with someone she doesn’t know, tell her to refuse and stay with her.
• If they’re in a club only drink from bottles as there’s less a risk of someone slipping a date rape drug into it.
• Don’t rent jet-skis or mopeds. Many of these are in poor condition and are uninsured. Make sure your insurance will cover an accident. There have been instances where mobs have surrounded tourists to intimidate them into paying huge sums of money for damaged equipment.
• Only take licensed cabs from restaurants, bars and hotels. Gang members will pose as cab drivers and passengers have been kidnapped, raped and mugged. Nightclubs and restaurants will call a cab for you.
• Be careful swimming in both the ocean and pools. Sharp rocks can be hidden in shallow water and pools might not necessarily be up to U.S. code and have unsafe drains, faulty diving boards or other issues.
• Get the phone number for the closest American Consulate or the American Embassy and, when possible, check the U.S. State Department website to keep up to date on any travel warnings.
• Keep your passport with you at all times and be mindful of pickpockets.
Alcohol is involved in the vast majority of arrests, accidents, violent crimes, rapes, and deaths suffered by American students on spring break. Also, the purchase, possession or use of drugs can lead to imprisonment without bail for up to a year before a case is tried, and imprisonment of several years following a conviction.
All individuals 16-years-old or older are tried as adults. It’s important for them to know that if they get in trouble with the law, they are under Mexican jurisdiction and the U.S. Embassy will be powerless to get them released from jail.
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