PHOTO: Tulum, Mexico. (photo via Flickr/Stefano Ravalli)
As college students and families prepare for Spring Break, those traveling to their vacation destinations should exercise caution while en route to having fun.
Spring Break can be one of the wildest and most fun experiences of a person’s life, but it can also be dangerous if visiting an unsafe area or interacting with people who don’t have your best intentions at heart.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a list of health and safety tips to ensure travelers make the most of their vacations. The biggest point the CDC makes is to limit alcohol, which will help avoid bad decisions, alcohol poisoning and alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents.
“If drinking alcohol is part of your break, remember that it can impair your judgment and actions,” the CDC’s website states. “Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes kill someone every 31 minutes and nonfatally injure someone every two minutes. Don't drink and drive. There are plenty of non-alcoholic alternatives.”
In addition, CDC officials advise travelers to stay active, do the proper research to plan the most successful trip, protect themselves sexually, avoid any unnecessarily dangerous activities, eat healthy and respect the areas they are visiting.
For those looking for more ideas on how to stay happy and healthy during their spring vacation, SafeSpringBreak.org has organized a list of tips to optimize travel without putting you, your friends or your family in harm’s way.
SafeSpringBreak.org advises travelers to prepare thoroughly if they are driving to their destinations and to ensure the taxi service they are using is legitimate. In addition, the website offered advice on how to stay safe at hotels, at ATMs, while drinking, during water activities, while having sex and optimizing your experience when traveling internationally.
“Decide before you go out what your limits should be. When you are sober and making clear-headed decisions is the best time to consider what you feel your personal boundaries should be,” SafeSpringBreak.org says. “Do I want to drink tonight? If so, how much? Do I want to have sex tonight? If so, do I have protection? Deciding up front will make it easier for you later to make choices that you will be happy with after the party is over.”
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Know Your Surroundings
In one specific case, the U.S. State Department is warning travelers to avoid certain areas of Mexico (a primary Spring Break destination) where violent crime has run rampant. In a travel warning issued during December, the State Department warns American citizens about visiting particular Mexican regions due to the increasingly violent actions taken by criminal organizations in those areas.
Travelers visiting Mexico’s more dangerous regions have been the victims of violent crimes—including homicide, kidnapping, carjacking and robbery. The current travel warning replaced the previous notification issued in April 2016.
While there are no travel advisories in effect for locations such as Veracruz, Yucatan, Hidalgo, Mexico City and other popular destinations, major Spring Break hot spots like Cabo San Lucas, Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta and Monterrey are all under heavy scrutiny from the American government due to violence.
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Despite the recent travel warnings, Mexico's tourism industry is still booming, as the country ranked ninth overall in terms of visits during 2016, with 11.4 million international tourists. That is an increase of 9.9 percent from the previous year. An estimated 150,000 American citizens visit Mexico each day, and the Mexican government is dedicating substantial resources to protecting major tourist destinations.
Regardless of whether vacationers will be staying local or traveling internationally for Spring Break, everyone should exercise caution during their trip so that it is as memorable as possible.
Staying safe, happy and healthy will lead to a Spring Break you remember for all the right reasons.