By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The U.S. State Department has expanded its warning to travelers thinking of going to Mexico.

The new travel warning issued this week highlights an uptick in crime in certain Mexican states. It includes two states that are home to the popular tourist destinations of Cancun and Los Cabos.

“We bring it up that there is a state department warning and we try to educate them on it,” Bonnie Lee, owner of Travel Leaders Albertville, said.

Lee runs a travel agency. She says the scrutiny of the problems in Mexico hasn’t affected the number of people going there, but it has prompted more questions from customers.

“It’s important to have a conversation,” she said. “Choosing a vacation should not bring anxiety into your life so for people who have anxiety, maybe another option,” she said.

Elicia Shepard just moved from Minnesota to the city of Torreon, Mexico, for her husband’s new job. It’s in one of the 23 states included in the travel warning.

“Hearing the travel warning, you know it’s there for a reason and we take it seriously,” Shepard said.

Shepard says she feels safe and takes precautions. She doesn’t go out at night alone, and asks for advice from friends who have also lived in the country.

“We were very nervous beforehand but so far so good,” Shepard said.

“If someone offers you a drink that you don’t know don’t take the drink, if someone offers you a ride don’t get in the cab or car,” Lee said. “Same common sense carry that with you and more than likely your trip will be smooth and carefree.”

Lee also recommends people going to Mexico get travel insurance. That allows you to be covered if you’re injured when out of the country.

The U.S. Government’s advisory does note that while most crime in the mentioned states is targeted, shootings during daylight hours have injured innocent bystanders.

Kate Raddatz