The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Surviving spring break 2005

By Claire Price

Contributing Writer

[email protected]

 

With spring break just around the corner, SMU students searching for fun in the sun beyond the Texas border flock to popular vacation spots in Mexico. Those planning to go crazy upon arrival in Mexico should know basic travel information and safety tips to ensure a smooth flowing vacation.

The U.S. Department of State’s Web site urges U.S. citizens to be especially aware of safety and security while vacationing in Mexico.

“Wearing flashy jewelry or carrying designer bags will make students a prime target for criminals,” said Robert Sessions, a travel agent at Student Travel Association on Hillcrest Avenue. “Students should always travel in groups and make sure they get a safe ride home from taxi designated automobiles due to problems in the past with people posing as taxi drivers.”

Students who refuse to leave home without their nicest accessories should call ahead to assure their resort offers private safe boxes. To avoid getting pick-pocketed, students should carry minimum amounts of cash and keep it well hidden.

In the past, traveler’s checks offered a smart and safe alternative to cash or credit cards. However, ATMs now offer the most secure and convenient way to withdraw Mexican currency. Sessions said. “The problem with traveler’s checks is that if [a check] gets stolen or misplaced, you can’t replace them while on vacation.”

“When I was in Los Cabos last year I brought a $500 travelers check. I lost it the third day I was there, and it totally ruined my trip,” senior Taylor Bovaird said. “I had no money for the next four days and had to borrow money from my friends. It was awful and I will never make that mistake again.”

For the most enjoyable vacation, students’ concerns should go beyond lounging in Mexico. When traveling abroad, illnesses pose a threat. According to the National Center for Infectious Diseases (www.cdc.gov), food and waterborne diseases is the No. 1 cause of illness in travelers. Travelers’ diarrhea is caused by viruses, bacteria or parasites, which are found throughout Mexico. These bacteria can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting, fever or liver damage. It is important for travelers to make sure the water they are drinking is safe.

To avoid getting sick this spring break, students should abide by these simple steps: Avoid food purchased from street vendors, beverages with ice, dairy products (unless they have been pasteurized) and, if possible, swimming in fresh water (salt water is usually safer).

“When I visited Los Cabos I made the mistake of drinking the tap water. Within hours I became violently ill and spent the next three days in bed with horrible stomach problems,” senior Annie Schlott said. “When I travel to Puerto Vallarta this spring break, I will make sure that I only consume bottled water.”

According to Sessions, “Travel insurance is a necessity for students traveling abroad. Insurance costs about $43 dollars a day and covers any medical expenses and travel back to the U.S. if illness does occur while on vacation.”

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