Spring Break Travel Safety Tips From AAA

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HAMILTON – AAA Mid-Atlantic urges spring break travelers to heed the current U.S. Department of State warning if traveling to Mexico.

“Basic safety precautions are a must when traveling anywhere, however, when a State Department warning is in effect, they become critical,” said Tracy E. Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

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AAA is especially concerned about the timing of the latest warning as many college students and families are heading out to enjoy some rest and relaxation during their school’s spring break from classes.

Mexico is a wonderful, affordable, and very popular destination for spring break travel, therefore, some college students, for example, may be heading out for their first solo trip as young adults to Mexico. Younger, often inexperienced travelers need to be especially vigilant when a travel warning is in effect.

“Young adults tend to be inexperienced travelers, often naïve, and are more likely to take risks, so it is extremely important for them to follow safety rules when visiting other countries,” noted Noble. “Spring break is a great time for a getaway but don’t abandon rules about personal safety for the sake of fun.”

Mexico Travel Warning
The U.S. Department of State Travel Alert for Mexico states, “While millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year (including thousands who cross the land border every day for study, tourism or business), violence in the country has increased recently. It is imperative that travelers understand the risks of travel to Mexico, how best to avoid dangerous situations, and who to contact if one becomes a crime victim. Common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas during daylight hours, and avoiding areas where prostitution and drug dealing might occur, can help ensure that travel to Mexico is safe and enjoyable.”

To read the warning in its entirety travelers should go to www.travel.state.gov .

AAA Spring Break Safety Tips
1.      Leave a copy of your passport, travel itinerary and any other important documents with a reliable person at home who can be contacted in the event that your documents are lost or stolen. Carry an extra copy with an extra set of passport photos in a separate bag.

2.      Don’t go anywhere alone.  Travel in numbers.

3.      Don’t let your guard down.  Be aware of your surroundings.

4.      Don’t drink excessive amounts of alcohol or gather with those who do.  Never accept drinks from strangers.

5.      Keep your hotel room locked at all times. Don’t open the door if you are unsure who is on the other side.

6.      Travel in clearly marked taxis or hotel shuttle busses.  Don’t accept rides from strangers.

7.      Stay with your party at all times and avoid sharing your travel itinerary with people you meet on vacation.

8.      Don’t leave bags unattended at any time, even on the beach.

9.      Don’t make yourself a target by wearing expensive jewelry, and don’t carry excessive amounts of cash or credit cards.

10.   Don’t pack prescription medication, car keys, travel documents, passports, visas or critical items, or documents in checked luggage.  Upon arrival, keep them in the hotel room safe.

11.   Fill out the Emergency Information page in your passport, so that authorities are able to help you in the event of an emergency.

12.   Make sure you are dealing with reputable vendors for any activities, such as water sports. Make sure you are sufficiently trained to use any equipment and inquire about the operators who carry medical and liability insurance.

13.   Visit www.travel.state.gov (U.S. Department of State) for travel warnings about your destination.  Look up your destination in the Country Specific Information section for invaluable information about safety and security.

14.   Remember that in Mexico, you are assumed guilty until proven innocent. This means that if you are arrested for any reason, you may be jailed until you can prove your innocence. For this reason, obey all laws in Mexico.

The latest warning concerning travel to Mexico continues to focus primarily on those contemplating travel to or through border communities. Although Acapulco has now experienced drug-related killings, the advisory should be of less concern to those flying or cruising to Mexico’s resort areas than to those contemplating a visit to or through the border towns.

AAA continues to advise all travelers to remain vigilant wherever their destination. Travelers can enhance their safety by:

  • Consulting a travel agent when planning your trip
  • Reading reputable travel guides
  • Checking the latest news reports about your destination
  • Frequenting well-know tourist areas
  • Taking group or escorted tours
  • Traveling with a companion
  • If you drink alcohol, remain alert by drinking in moderation
  • Be wary of strangers

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