Saturday, February 28, 2009

Is it Safe to Travel to Mexico?

The U.S. State Department has issued a Travel Alert to Mexico. People are now wondering, is it safe to travel to Mexico? The Travel industry says absolutely yes, as long as precautions are taken.


The U.S. state dept issued this Travel Alert

This Travel Alert updates security information for U.S. citizens traveling and living in Mexico. It supersedes the Travel Alert for Mexico dated October 15, 2008, and expires on August 20, 2009.

“While millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year (including thousands who cross the land border every day for study, tourism or business), violence in the country has increased recently. It is imperative that travelers understand the risks of travel to Mexico, how best to avoid dangerous situations, and whom to contact if one becomes a crime victim. Common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas during daylight hours, and avoiding areas where prostitution and drug dealing might occur, can help ensure that travel to Mexico is safe and enjoyable”.

The State Department is advising travelers to avoid areas of prostitution and drug-dealing. The problem is increased violence near the U.S. borders due mostly to drug cartel wars. Americans have been kidnapped, injured or killed during violent attacks, mostly in non tourist areas. Its important to note that 20 million tourists and travelers visited Mexico last year, without a problem and had a wonderful experience. For the most part tourists have not been targeted.
However, When I hear clients say that they want to visit out of the area places when they travel to see “how the people really live” I want to SCREAM!!!! That is when tourists have the potential of encountering trouble.

Recently some colleges have issued warnings to students to avoid Mexico altogether during Spring Break. After all we know they usually do not go on organized tours.

Here are some suggestions for you to have a fantastic and safe trip to Mexico
~Travel on main roads and travel only during daylight hours
~Stay in known tourist areas
~Exercise caution in unfamiliar areas and always be aware of your surroundings.
~Avoid traveling alone
~Do not wear expensive looking jewelry
~Do not carry large amounts of cash or valuables
~Book excursions and tours directly from your cruise lines or Resort concierge – They will use legitimate vendors and the tours will be in safe areas.
~Leave an itinerary with family or friends who are not traveling with you
~Check and see if your cell phone carrier is capable of roaming or GSM or 3G international networks.
~Cooperate official checkpoints while traveling on Mexican highways

Following the above suggestions and using plain common sense will pretty much ensure you of having a flawless Mexican vacation
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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Celebrate Black History by Taking a Vacation

February is traditionally Black History Month. Black history is 365 days out of the year, not just one month out of the year. Why not turn this year’s family vacation into Black History learning experience?

It is so important for us to pass down the legacy of Black contributions to world history. So ofter our youth are not even aware of the sacrifices and contributions their elders and ancestors have made. I listed a few venues in this blog where
Black history can be celebrated and more learned about it.

One such venue is Washington D.C. Washington DC has a wealth of Black History that is available year round for the family, chock full of history. Did you know that DC was the first city to pass an Emancipation Act, freeing all slaves even before the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Lincoln? Interesting information. A favorite place to visit is the Frederick Douglass Historical Site. Visit the home of this great abolitionist . We went as a family and must say this was one of the highlights of our trip.

There is also the Anacostia Community Museum, one of the Smithsonian museums. They have a wonderful tour called Jubilee: African American Celebration where you can discover the rich history of African American celebration through artifacts, photographs, and videos.

Another Venue is Memphis Tennessee. If you love music like me then you will love Stax Museum of American Soul Music Otherwise known as Soulville USA Exhibits include an authentic replica of an old Mississippi Delta church demonstrating soul music’s roots in gospel, the Soul Train dance floor Isaac Hayes’ restored 1972 gold-trimmed, peacock-blue El Dorado Cadillac; and case after case of artist bios, costumes, performance footage and the actual Stax recording studio itself. Definitely a must see when visiting the city .

Also In Memphis there is Mason’s Temple the Headquarters of the Church of God in Christ, the largest African American Pentecostal denomination. This is the site where Dr. King gave his "I've Been to the Mountain Top" speech the night before he was assasinated.
No trip to Memphis is complete without going to the National Civil Rights Museum, at the Lorraine Hotel which is the former hotel where Dr. King was assassinated.

To the North of us in Canada there is a rich African Canadian presence.. a popular tourist attraction is the African Canadian Heritage Tour. Part of that tour includes the Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historical site the commemorates the life of Reverend Josiah Henson who worked with the UnderGround Railroad as as an abolitionist. His life inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel “Uncle tom’s Cabn.”
There is another great site in Ontario that was part of the Underground Railroad. The North American Black Historical Museum Explore a home of escaped slaves and the church where their lives of freedome began.

B lack History is not just one month out of the year. It is 365 days a year. What better way to celebrate Black History than to incorporate it in a family vacation!

Contact Gail to get your vacation boooked @
call 646-450-6255 *No soliciations please**