Heading to Cancun for spring break, random college student in America? Don't forget to first read the travel tips from the State Department.
On Wednesday, the department sent out a travel advisory for college students that warns, among other things, against "overdoing it" with alcohol. Our diplomats have clearly watched MTV before.
The State Department no longer gathers statistics on how many United States citizens get arrested every year. Officials say there were too many extraneous factors that made counts hard to keep accurate. A previous count from the George W. Bush administration put the number of U.S. citizens arrested during spring break at more than 2,500.
Now, if you follow all of the tips from State — including "obey all local laws" and "don't carry or use drugs" — you might return intact from spring break. But what if you are arrested? The advisory doesn't state this, but the State Department does have details on what to do in case you forgot that Cancun doesn't have the same laws as Amsterdam:
If you are arrested, immediately ask to speak to a consular officer at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Under international agreements the U.S. government has a right to provide consular assistance to you upon your request. If your request to speak to your consul is turned down, keep asking — politely, but persistently.
Also not included on the State Department's list: sex. Don't worry. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have your back with another set of travel tips. Officials specifically recommend latex condoms.
But maybe it's the last tip the State Department gives that might be the most important, at least for the people who brought you into this world: "Keep in touch with your parents." Apparently a number of parents call fearing something has happened. But, in the end, they were just "too busy to check in," according to the advisory.
So, college kids, don't drink heavily, don't do drugs, and call your mom.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.