Mexico travel concerns

Mexico travel concerns

Don't take a one-way trip!

Newspapers and electronic media—including the Internet—are constantly warning travelers from the United States that visiting Mexico is dangerous, if not deadly. I must say it certainly seems that way. Reports regarding such events as entire police forces of some small towns resigning, after the chief of police is killed, are staggering and shocking. This, in addition to the purported number of people slaughtered in the streets by the drug cartels, as well as other atrocities, would certainly concern me if I were planning a trip to Mexico.

Apparently, I am in the minority. Mexican tourism officials have announced that international travel to Mexico increased by 5.3 percent from January to April of 2012. Not only has tourism increased, but over half of the 4,098,750 visitors hail from the United States; up slightly from 2011.

It is no surprise that people who can afford to travel to Mexico head straight for the vacation paradises of Huatlco, Riviera Maya, Cozumel and Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. These resort towns are primarily dependent on international dollars and to date have not been implicated in the violence endemic to many other areas of Mexico. However, street crime is a problem, just like in some other major cities around the world. Obviously, travelers should always remain ever-vigilant.

On March 14, 2012, the U.S. Department of State raised the alert for travel to Mexico, specifically the Northern border cities of Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Monterrey, Matamoros and Nogales.

Before leaving for Mexico, make certain to do the following:

  • Sign your passport and visa and fill in all information required
  • Leave detailed copies of the following information with family, friends or lawyer: your itinerary-by-day and the hotels you have booked with their contact information as well as copies of your passport and visa
  • Investigate your medical insurance coverage to make certain it applies in Mexico. If not, decide whether to include supplemental insurance
  • Be aware: U.S. citizens are subject to Mexican law—without any special consideration—which is radically different than U.S. law and pretty scary by comparison. There are many situations that involve possible incarceration in Mexico that the U.S. citizen would not believe. Mexican jails are brutal and beyond the comprehension of most people. The State Department cannot provide any assistance beyond advising you of what you already know
  • Do not stand out by wearing jewelry or the newest style of vacation clothing and certainly keep most of your money in the hotel safe. Do not showcase yourself as a U.S. citizen. Travel the streets in a group.

Enjoy your trip!