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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    How to party safely in Mexico

    For those traveling to destinations south of the border, the U.S. Consulate has several recommendations.

    The foremost suggestion is registering with both the website StudentsAbroad.state.gov and with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.

    “No, this isn’t Big Brother tracking you,” the Students Abroad website says. “[STEP] makes it possible to contact you if necessary, whether there’s a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in the country you are visiting.”

    If something does go wrong on a spring break vacation, such as an accident, a lost passport or a lost friend, the information provided when enrolled on these websites makes it easier for the consulate to assist with the situation, said Megan Phaneuf, consular chief from the U.S. Consulate.

    “It doesn’t happen very often, but in cases when it does happen it’s good for them to be able to get that information,” Phaneuf said.

    Students Abroad stresses the importance of knowing what is legal and what isn’t in different countries. Travelers need to be aware of legal drinking ages and local laws that could be different than those at home.

    Students Abroad warns that something as American as joining in a public demonstration can be dangerous across the border.

    It’s important to get Mexican auto insurance and to be aware that only the registered owner of the vehicle is the driver. Phaneuf said that if the car is pulled over and the owner isn’t the driver, the car can be impounded.

    “Even though Mexico is on our backdoor and we’re neighbors, it is a different country and we need to remember it has different rules, different laws there,” Phaneuf said.

    It is also important to be aware of who you conduct business with. Despite the seemingly good deals offered, it may not be wise to get involved in business with someone who could be taking advantage of spring break travelers.

    “What we don’t want is for people to go out and just meet some guy at a bar one night and [the guy says,] ‘Yeah, I do ATV tours through the desert,’” said Trent Douthett, American citizen services chief at the U.S. Consulate. “The thing is to look for established businesses; that would be a good key as to somebody reputable enough to do business with.”

    For taxis, look for more than a light on top of the car. Taxi cars should be registered and licensed. If in doubt, ask an established business to call one for you.

    It’s also important not to wander off alone. This includes when your friend annoys you or you’re the only one who wants fish tacos; stick together and stick to the tourist areas.

    If car trouble strikes, Ángeles Verdes provides roadside assistance in Mexico via highway call boxes come spring break.

    If there is an emergency while in Mexico, the equivalent of 911 is 066, and the U.S. Consulate can be reached after hours at 521 (631) 318-0723.

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