U.S. Consular Officers offer tips for safe international travel during spring break.PAUL GHIOTTO: Hi, everyone. Greetings from the United States Consulate in Merida on the Yucatan Peninsula. We’re here to spread some tips for safe travels during spring break. Spring break season here in the Yucatan Peninsula, which comprises Cancun and the Riviera Maya, is – generally hits its peak in March. And although the majority of students have a safe time on their trip here in the Yucatan, we also assist students with problems that they encounter. So we want to pass along some tips for those of you who are traveling down here for spring break.
THU NGUYEN: Basically people should use their common sense. If you’re not going to do it at home, think twice about doing it in Mexico. Always stick with a friend. Watch what people put into your drinks.
ANNE HARRIS: Awfully important that they remember that it’s not a theme park, it’s a sovereign country with laws. And even though they think possibly American citizens won’t be prosecuted outside of their country, that they’ll be treated as tourists, they really need to understand the possible criminal results of an unfortunate choice during their vacation.
SAMANTHA MASON: Basically the best advice I can give is to not to take a vacation from your common sense. I think – enjoy your vacation in moderation, stick with the other people in your party, at all times use the buddy system, but have fun, you know. But don’t be incited by others to do crazy things.
ANNE HARRIS: Well, you know, pretty much do what your parents told you. Don’t make bad choices. Because something that is going to be a minor inconvenience in your own country can really turn out to be a very serious situation when you’re so far from home. You’re not going to be able to deal with the language. It’s a different legal system. It’s going to be a massive amount of expense to get yourself out of it. In some of the situations, people are injured.
You really need to use good judgment. Ninety-five percent of the injuries that we see involve impaired judgment, reduced ability to respond to a situation because of drugs or alcohol. And really, you know, listen to your parents. It’s not a good idea to go out and get so incapacitated with alcohol or drugs that you don’t know where you are or who’s with you or if you’re safe, what’s going to – what may happen.
THU NGUYEN: Travel.state.gov is a great place to start. From there, you can find information about Mexico in particular. You can find information about traveling overseas in general, about getting health insurance or medical insurance that will cover you while you’re overseas, and also you’ll find links to registering with your embassy or your consulate so that you can receive the latest information when you’re overseas.
ANNE HARRIS: Go to StudentsAbroad.state.gov, and it’s a really excellent resource.
PAUL GHIOTTO: So the bottom line is use the same good sense that you use back home here in Mexico. And learn a little bit more about your destination before you travel. You can go on travel.state.gov to read about Mexico on the country information sheet. You can also register for your trip on travel.state.gov to let us know a little bit more about your itinerary in the case that we do need to assist you. And should you need help, you can seek help here in the United States Consulate in Merida or in the United States Consular Agencies in Cancun, Cozumel, or Playa del Carmen.
Be safe and have a great trip.