As spring break approaches CSUN students are getting ready for a week of fun in the sun. With some heading south of the border, the state department has been busy releasing a new advisory of precautions students should consider before traveling to a foreign country.
Last month, the state department released an advisory sheet labeled ‘Spring Break: Know Before you Go,’ informing students about things they should consider before taking a trip to a foreign country, specifically Mexico.
Due to the larger number of students who gravitate toward popular destinations within Mexico, such as Cancun, Cabo San Lucas and Rosarito, the department is emphasizing that student’s research the destination they so wish to vacation at.
Terry Piper, president of student affairs at CSUN, said they have released a similar advisory to different fraternities and clubs on campus.
‘When we became aware of the state department’s advisory, student affairs disseminated the same information to all the different clubs, fraternities and sororities on campus,’ he said. ‘In return we asked them to forward (the information)to other organizations on campus.’
Piper said the state department routinely lists travel advisories and suggests that students visit the state department’s Web site often for updated travel information.
‘Students need to understand the laws that apply to specific countries,’ he said. ‘The same laws that apply in the US don’t apply to other countries such as Mexico and students need to be aware of these differences because a lot of them are not.’
Some of the precautions mentioned in the state department’s advisory which is located on the department’s Web site under the travel tab are vehicle operating instructions, when to swim and why, as well as dangers of over excessive alcohol and drug consumption.
Students are also given a list of Mexican consulates they should contact in case of an emergency.
Recommending that students register with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country they are visiting making their presence know should they need assistance while vacationing.
State department representative, Amaya Lopez, said since the advisory was put up last month, many students have listened to some of the advisories tips.
‘We have had many calls from students calling in and asking questions about traveling to Mexico and where the closest consulates are,’ she said. ‘A lot call for passport information also if they can’t find what they are looking for on the Web site.’
According to the advisory, since January 23, 2007 all US citizens traveling to or from Mexico, Canada, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda have to have a valid passport before entering or re-entering the United States.
CSUN sociology major, Steve Lopez, said he wasn’t aware of the advisory.
‘I didn’t hear of such a list,’ he said. ‘I think it is a good idea but how many people are really going to go on the Web site and check this out.’
Even with the state in recession and unemployment rates at an all time high, Mexico, specifically Cancun, was listed as one of the top 10 destinations for spring breakers, said a report by the Department of Commerce Office of Travel and Tourism Industries.
According to the same report, vacations in Mexico were up five percent last year.
Hotel concierge, Mariana Marea, of Cancun’s Calinda Beach Hotel said the hotel has not seen a decline in guests and assures that Cancun is one of the safest cities in Mexico.
‘Here, we are a small community we are not a big city like Tijuana or Rosarito,’ she said. ‘Police are everywhere around here people are safer here.’ ‘