Earlier this year, the media began to highlight different problems and concerns with traveling to Mexico. With a story of a young women from the Milwaukee, WI area drowning while on vacation, the news was heightened in the greater Wisconsin area that I reside in.
After reading more about the topic, and talking with other agents, I do have a few points that should be brought up from the “other side”. (For clarification, when I refer to Mexico, I’m primarily referring to the Cancun/Riviera Maya/Quintana Roo region as it is the most under scrutiny by the mainstream media).
I’ve been to Mexico four times. The first was on a spring break trip to Cancun in 2004 while in college. The second was in 2012 on my honeymoon. The third was for a travel agent conference in 2015. And just this summer, my wife, daughter and I spent a week there.(Part I & Part II) Mexico is a wonderful country to travel to. I’ve never felt unsafe. This includes at the resorts, while on public and private transportation, in the pools or ocean, and even while at bars and public spaces.
Problems Happen Anywhere
Time and time again, the media has shown how "dangerous" it is to travel to Mexico. But in the same breath, anywhere can be dangerous. Go into any major metropolitan city, and there is crime, murder, gangs, corruption, etc. It's worth noting that much of the crime and violence in Mexico happens in places that aren't frequented by tourists. In fact, there are a number of countries that have active travel warning against the United States. These aren't mentioned by the media when describing the travel ban against Mexico.
There were 49 people that were killed in the Orlando nightclub shooting. 5 people were killed in the Ft. Lauderdale Airport shooting. Does this stop people from traveling to Florida? Absolutely not! The tourism industry is a main driver of the Florida economy. Families (and couples for that matter) flock to Disney World and Universal Orlando every year. There is no reason to be afraid of going to Mexico because the media sensationalizes crime that has happened.
A rockstar travel agent named Ashley Morris, owner of Alpaca Your Bags Travel recently used the phrase "Situational Awareness" to describe what travelers should have. I think this phrase hits the nail right on the head. You need to be aware of each situation that you are in. Perhaps an old fashioned expression was having "street smarts". Especially when alcohol is involved. If you are in a bar, and you have an uneasy feeling about the bartenders, or maybe are unsure about what you are drinking, you wouldn't stay. Right? There is always the option to leave, or even order a non-alcoholic beverage at the resorts.
I'm not denying what happened to the guests at a number of the resorts isn't awful. Serving alcohol that is tainted and illegal is horrible. No one deserves to have their vacation and lives ruined.
However, a number of these situations came when people were doing shots in the heat and humidity. Most likely there was some dehydration effecting them. You need to be situationally aware of what you are putting into your body. And what other variables come into play. With many of these cases happening a number of years ago, it is going to be hard to find out exactly what happened.
I know people that have been slipped something in their drinks all over the US from college parties to bars and clubs. Primarily women, but actually one of my best guy friends as well. It can happen anywhere.
When were in Mexico this past summer, we had to sign a waiver that we understood any alcohol we drank was our responsibility. There were signs posted at each bar stating that their alcohol met the federal regulations. There were sheets and dates written on bottles and mixers. Sandy and I both felt safe.
The Travel Agent Advantage
If you have hesitations about a trip to Mexico, it is always good to talk with a travel agent. Many agents can tell you what are higher quality properties where situations like these are less likely to happen. Travel agents can help describe the advantages of purchasing travel insurance.
At Blue Sea Vacations, we are going to keep selling Mexico. The beaches are amazing, the people are incredibly hard working. And the resorts are beautiful. If you use your situational awareness, there is no reason to be scared of one of our favorite locations.
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