Many say adios to Mexican trips during outbreak
Posted April 28, 2009 4:44 p.m. EDT
Updated April 28, 2009 7:06 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — A growing number of Triangle residents have canceled trips to Mexico because of concerns over the swine flu outbreak.
Nearly 2,000 people are believed to be infected with the virus in Mexico, and more than 150 have died. As the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. began rising this week – there were 64 as of Tuesday afternoon – the government advised against any non-essential travel to Mexico to halt the spread of the disease.
The government warning was enough for Meghan McNamara and her fiance to cancel a four-day trip to Cancun scheduled for next weekend.
"It was the toughest decision ever," McNamara said. "I feel very sad. We were really looking forward to it.. We were planning for months and months, and now we have no vacation.
"We were just trying to follow the government warnings, and if they say we should avoid any unnecessary travel, we're going to follow what they say," she said.
The couple is working with the airlines to get a refund on the trip. Most airlines have waived their fees for changes in flight plans in light of the swine flu outbreak.
Nearly a dozen people who booked trips to Mexico through AAA Carolinas also have canceled those plans, eastern regional manager Charlene Edwards said. The agency is working with airlines and hotels, and many people are switching to destinations like Jamaica, she said.
"Safety is our No. 1 concern," Edwards said.
Tourists aren't the only people steering clear of Mexico. North Carolina State University has canceled a study abroad trip to Cuernavaca, a city south of Mexico City, that had been scheduled for this summer.
"We have a policy that, if there's a travel warning, a program would automatically be canceled," said Ingrid Schmidt, associate vice provost for international affairs and director of the Study Abroad program.
Nineteen N.C. State students had signed up for the program, Schmidt said.