State Department Urges Caution for Travelers to Mexico and Europe

The Bureau of Consular Affairs for the U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert for Europe because of heightened concerns about potential terrorist attacks and a travel warning for Mexico because of drug-related violence, particularly in the northern border regions.

SMU students participating in programs in Europe have been informed of the alert and asked to take appropriate precautions. SMU Abroad is not operating programs in Mexico this fall.

“SMU Abroad and the Office of Risk Management continue to monitor the situation,” says Susan Kress, director of SMU Abroad. “Should additional actions become necessary, students will be notified by their program directors.”

If your student is planning to travel to Europe, or is currently in Europe, he or she should consult the travel alert, the regularly updated Worldwide Caution and the country-specific information found through the State Department.

If your student is planning to travel to Mexico, or is currently in Mexico, he or she should consult the travel warning and the U.S. Embassy’s Mexico security update.

• Members of the SMU community, including parents, may call 214-768-4475 for more information.
• Find State Department tips and contacts below.


State Department tips for those traveling abroad include:

Register so the State Department can better assist you in an emergency.

• Sign passport, and fill in the emergency information.

• Leave copies of your itinerary, passport data page and visas with family or friends, so you can be contacted in case of an emergency.

• Ask your medical insurance company if your policy applies overseas, and if it covers emergency expenses such as medical evacuation.

• Familiarize yourself with local conditions and laws.

• To avoid being a target of crime, do not wear conspicuous clothing or jewelry and do
not carry excessive amounts of money.

• In case of emergency, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

State Department tips for those traveling in Mexico include:

• If you believe you are being targeted for kidnapping or other crimes, notify Mexican law enforcement officials and the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City or the nearest U.S. consulate as soon as possible.

• Make every attempt to travel on main roads during daylight hours, particularly the toll (“cuota”) roads, which generally are more secure.

• Stay in the well-known tourist areas. Leave your itinerary with a friend or family member not traveling with you and avoid traveling alone.

• Check with your cellular provider prior to departure to confirm that your cellphone is capable of roaming on GSM or 3G international networks.

• Do not display expensive-looking jewelry or large amounts of money.

• Be alert to pickpockets and general street crime throughout Mexico, but especially in large cities.

• Monitor local media for information about fast-breaking situations that could affect your security.

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