Spring break is just around the corner, and with it the annual warnings about dangerous destinations, especially for those heading south. The U.S. State Department has a Mexico Travel Advisory in place, which sets a warning level for all 31 states in Mexico. Five states are listed under "Do Not Travel" due to strong concerns about crime and violence associated with gangs and drug cartels. The other Mexican states are listed on a scale of level 1--the least concern, to level 3--the most concern.
Despite travel advisories for Mexico in place for years, American tourism south of the border has remained relatively steady. That's because most of the warnings don't apply to tourist and resort areas, which travel experts say are among the safest in Mexico. "Most of Mexico, and all of the areas that anyone has booked a trip to, are level 2 in the State Department's ranking system, the same as Paris or London," says Catherine Banks with Legacy Travel. "There is a security alert for Juarez---that's one of the areas that has a level 3 warning---but nobody is going to Juarez for spring break."
Banks tells KTRH there is a note of caution for parents of young people going to Mexico for spring break. "The legal drinking age in Mexico is 18," she says. "So if you have a high-schooler or a young college age student who is not of legal drinking age in the United States, they will have access to liquor down there if they choose to do so."
Whether it is young people or adults, the key with all travel is to exercise caution and vigilance. That applies whether travelling to Mexico, Europe, New York City or Chicago. "There are some common sense things you can do," says Banks. "As an adult moving through the world, you just have to use your brain...but there's nothing special about Mexico in terms of needing to be careful."