STORRS, Conn. (WTNH) — University of Connecticut students were excitedly preparing to spend their spring break in Mexico — and then news of the kidnapping of four Americans spread across the campus.
“I am really excited, something we have been looking forward to all year, and now you hear the FBI is recommending against traveling,” said Kaitlyn Loura, a senior. “Yeah, it’s pretty scary.”
Loura and her friends will go to Cancun in a few days. When an alert about the kidnappings popped up on her phone, it made her question things.
“If anything else happens within the week, we might not, but as of right now, we are still planning on going,” she said.
Fran Meiko with AAA recommends checking in once a day. That can be as simple as telling someone that you will text at a predetermined time. Meiko also recommends staying on hotel grounds.
“Maybe stay on the resort rather than travel all over the country, exploring the side roads and the back roads and things like that, but be on your best behavior and remain vigilant,” she said.
The FBI recommends being careful of your cash and surroundings, especially at an ATM. Drinking alcohol can also make you a target.
Loura said she’s discussed the updates with her parents and will set up a plan so they know where she is.
The federal government used the STEP program to notify nearby embassies and consulates where Americans will be staying. That way, if there’s an emergency, they have contact information for family back home. It also sends alerts if something has happened in the area you are staying in.