Mexico: A Vacation to Remember

By Emma Berkel

As spring break rolls around once again, students the state over are bubbling with anticipation. For some, the joy of spring break is logging in a few more hours of sleep, while for others it’s taking off on the trip to remember. Here in Texas, the quest for that dream trip oftentimes leads students south of the border into the cheap yet warm and exotic world of Mexico.

Mexico, renowned for its turquoise beaches, is unquestionably a desirable destination. Aside from the natural beauty of its coast, an American tourist doesn’t have to worry about exchanging their currency as the majority of vendors accept the dollar just as readily as the peso.

As a popular vacationing spot in general, the tourist industry has developed to engage their foreign guests the whole way through with an exciting night life, a rich culture, and various other attractions. With all that, it’s hard to believe that a trip to Mexico remains one of the most affordable as well.

However, with such encouragement buzzing in the ads, it’s easy to overlook the risk. As it stands, Mexico is not only a foreign country with a different set of laws and a different government but one that’s trapped in the battlegrounds of Latin America’s prevailing drug war.

As a result, many tourists find themselves either drugged, robbed (by native civilians and police alike), or in the worst cases, raped or murdered. Another particular hazard that has plagued American tourists is the fact that medical help may not be readily available, even in life or death situations, and how it may come with an exceedingly high price when it is.

What does all this mean?

Put simply, it means that anyone looking to explore the wonders of Mexico, or any foreign hotspot, should do all they can to be prepared, and know exactly what sort of environment they are walking into.

Statistically, the majority of tourists that are murdered or assaulted got involved in Mexico’s drug life at some point during their stay, and so without a doubt, the easiest way to cut back on risk is by avoiding such drugs. It’s also possible to be caught unaware, and a tourist should never drink anything that they haven’t opened themselves.

In general, it’s always best to travel in groups. This is true even in one’s own hotel as there have been reported incidents of a hotel’s staff taking advantage of unsuspecting tourists.

As another rule of thumb, one should be careful not to carry a large amount of cash on them at any given point in time to reduce the possible loss.

Of course, it should be noted that the risks to be found in Mexico aren’t much different than the everyday risks of wandering around downtown Austin. The thing that works against Mexico’s visitors is the fact they are just that, visitors, foreign, and thus easily targeted.

For many, it’s easy to forget the danger when there’s so much fun to be had, and that is the mistake that, when corrected, could prevent the majority of the misfortunes that befall American tourists every year.

By simply being aware of the dangers and taking the necessary precautions, one can be sure that they’ll have the spring break of a lifetime, and a vacation to be remembered for laughter rather than tragedy.