It used to be crazy, easy fun. You’d leave San Diego for some Rn’R with a few friends, your drivers license and some cash. The road to Ensenada was swift and Hussong’s Cantina beckoned. Carousing to mariachi’s and rock n’roll, drinking to all hours, sleeping when needed – spring break travel was easy but that was a simpler time.
Getting away from school, hitting the road, finding some sunshine – all sounds like fun, but doing it with care will get you home with great memories instead of stories of woe. The freedom of spring break travel to Mexico has inspired movies and novels but in real life crossing the border takes a bit of diligence.
The Center for Disease Control recently published safety tips appropriate for anyone going into Mexico, one of the most popular and inexpensive spring break destinations, whether you live on the west or east coast of the U.S. A few of their tips are included below.
- You need a valid passport or a copy of your birth certificate to return to the United States. Keep it with you in a safe place.
- Drink only bottled water, sealed soda, wines or beers and keep clear of ice. Tap water in Mexico and many other countries is not purified in the same way as in the U.S. Don’t risk spending days of gut-wrenching pain or worse.
- No open containers on the street or you may be subject to trouble with the Federales.
- Street tacos are a tempting treat but be cautious. Some travelers look for street vendors who have women and children in line. As a rule, fully cooked food that’s served freshly hot is safer than anything that’s been stored at unregulated temperatures.
- Avoid salads and fruits that aren’t peeled. Again it’s the exposure to tap water that might cause problems.
- Wear sunscreen. Hours in the hot sun can do more to ruin your vacation than most anything. Who needs the pain?
- Health insurance with specific coverage outside the U.S. is advised. The further you go and the bigger the investment makes trip insurance a good idea as well.
- Avoid getting tattoos or piercings. Sanitation and regulations are not the same for needles and accessories.
- Don’t take the risk of getting STDs or HIV – Bring condoms and practice safe sex.
A savvy traveler uses street smarts and trusts their gut reactions in any new situation whether it’s across town or the planet. Have fun and watch out for your friends. May your spring break travel to Mexico be the stuff of dreams.