A Word of Caution to Spring Break Travelers

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

It's a strong message to spring-breakers: Stay north of the border.

The U.S. State Department is issuing a travel alert for all people searching for fun in the sun in Mexico, after a string of murders and increased violence in the area.

With spring break just a couple of weeks away, and thousands headed to the vacation hot spot, News 3 wanted to find out how the alert is affecting travel plans.

It's that time of year, when students begin dragging their feet.

"Just the classes and all the work they're giving us," A&M Student Julie Fajado said.

Fajado says the paperwork and the tests are all beginning to take their toll. But she and other students are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

"I'm so ready for Spring Break," Fajado said.

"I'm looking forward to just doing nothing," another student said.

"I want to see some clear water. I want to be able to see my feet in the water," A&M Student Jordan Seewale said.

The sights and sounds of Cancun, Mexico have become synonymous with Spring Break over the years.

"Laying out, getting some sun, just relaxing and maybe getting some reading done," Kendall Owens said.

A Texas A&M senior, Owens plans to spend a week in Mexico, but admits the recent kidnappings, thefts, and violence in the area have taken some of the excitement out of her Spring Break plans.

"Just all the drug cartels and everything is kind of scary," Owens said. "I try not to watch because I don't want to be scared when I'm over there."

Linda Moore with Aggieland Travel has been fielding phone calls coming from concerned travelers.

"I've had some people ask about it, but we've had people travel down there and have had no problems with resorts, or between airports and resorts," Linda Moore said.

Moore says flights to Cancun actually began selling out early this year, and in fact, show no sign of slowing down.

"Besides Spring Break, we're already booking for summer," Moore said.

"You just got to be careful, who you hang out with and stuff like that," student Hector Martinez said.

For friends Hector Martinez and Jose DeLuna, who grew up just minutes from the border, the worry has become a part of every day life.

"Tourists are concerned about it, but when you live there and you have family there, it's a normal day thing," DeLuna said. "You just mind your business, take care of yourself, and don't get into trouble."

Officials with the U.S. Department of State say if you decide to go to Mexico, there are some common-sense precautions you should take.

For example, visiting businesses or tourist attractions during the day, and of course avoiding the areas where drug dealing and violence typically occur.

But if you're looking for a different vacation plan all together, Aggieland Travel says Disney World and Florida in general are becoming popular alternatives.

Probably one of the most infamous cases of a Spring Break trip to Mexico gone horribly wrong happened in the early 90's.

When UT student Mark Kilroy got separated from a group of Aggie friends, and his body was later found in a mass grave with victims of an occult ceremony.

Homeland Security expert Dave McIntyre says currently American tourists don't appear to be targeted, but it's not hard to end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"You don't want to look like a target, you don't want to carry your money where it's visible," McIntyre said. "You want to be aware of your surroundings and pay attention. And I got to say, this is not the time to get drunk and be by yourself. It's not an environment to be safe and have your capacities limited."

Universities in Arizona are also issuing warnings about violence in Mexico, asking students to vacation elsewhere this year.

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