by Anne Johnson
Drug-related violence in cities south of the United States-Mexico border has caused the U.S. State Department to issue a travel warning for Mexico — but did you know most of Mexico is as safe as ever? Our government is actually advising against visiting very specific places where drug cartels are warring over the billions of dollars made yearly trading illegal substances into the United States, and the efforts by the Mexican government to put an end to the drug traffic. Unfortunately, after hearing “warning” and “Mexico,” many Americans perceive the advisory for the country as a whole, which it definitely is not.
There are, of course, caveats about travel in Mexico, just as there are for visits to any foreign city or resort area, but many of these fall under the realm of common sense: Don’t stray from the well-known tourist areas, stay alert and don’t drink too much, avoid walking alone at night, only take public transportation or drive on the highways during daylight, don’t deck yourself out in expensive jewelry and avoid large crowds and demonstrations. Before traveling to Mexico, make sure your cell phone works on GSM or 3G international networks, and memorize the Mexican version of our 911, which is 066. (more…)