Marquette Wire

STAFF EDITORIAL: Be careful over spring break

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Spring break cannot come soon enough. After a long round of midterms and papers, it is time for a hard-earned week of relaxation. For some students this may mean going home and spending time with family, but for other lucky students, spring break means traveling to a warm sunny destination for some partying. No matter what the plans, we all deserve to enjoy ourselves over the next week, but we urge students to exercise caution and return to school safely.

The State Department recently issued a Travel Alert for people considering traveling to Mexico for vacation. The alert was released in response to a spike in Mexico's organized crime. It essentially encourages people to be wary of their surroundings and to make prudent decisions. The message is one that we have all heard, but it merits repetition.

Before you set foot on a plane, call and confirm all the details of your trip, especially if you didn't plan through a travel agent. If you made all of the arrangements yourself or purchased a package deal through an internet spring break organization. You don't want to hop on a plane only to discover that your connecting flight in Pittsburgh is canceled or end up in at your destination realizing that your bargain package neglected to finalize reservations at your now at-capacity hotel.

Anticipate potential physical barriers to your having a great week. This means stocking up on sunscreens and medication, as well as knowing things like whether the water is safe where you are visiting.

Watch how much you drink. By all means, enjoy yourself, but if you are in an unfamiliar place, you should never be in a state where you cannot comprehend your surroundings.

Don't carry too much money with you, and guard your identification to the point of obsession. Tourists are walking targets for petty theft — they don't know the area and often stick out like sore thumbs.

Make sure to stay in areas that you know are safe. It is understandable to want to get off the beaten trail and experience local culture, but this does not mean it is acceptable to wander into far-off, dark streets in the hopes of finding somewhere cute and unique to get fajitas.

If you are going to another country, do not get arrested. Sounds obvious, but this point should still be highlighted. If you choose to partake in illegal activities in the United States, as adults you will have to face the consequences if caught. If you break the law in another country, you are not necessarily entitled to the same rights as that country's citizens and are not guaranteed safe, sanitary or short detainment.

If you are overseas, carry the number to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate at all times. If you do find yourself in a sticky situation where you don't know how to respond, they will help you navigate the legal mess you've gotten yourself into.

Finally, keep in contact with your parents. They are always concerned and will feel better knowing that you are safe.

Have fun over spring break — we've earned it. Catch up on sleep, do all of that missed homework and spend some quality time relaxing with family and friends. But, most importantly, be careful and be smart. We want you all to return safely, Marquette.

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