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U.S. officials urge spring breakers in Mexico to 'travel smart'

U.S. officials are urging people traveling to Mexico for spring break to be prepared and use caution. They aren’t, however, telling people to stay away from the country entirely.

Thousands of U.S. citizens visit Mexico for spring break every year, and the vast majority travel safely — that’s according to a travel advisory from the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico this week.

"Travel smart — be informed," it urges travelers, asking them to take some precautions while in Mexico, including watching out for criminal activity, avoiding drug use and possession and purchasing prescription medications only from reputable establishments.

The alert comes in the wake of the kidnappingof four U.S. citizens in Matamoros, in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas. Two of the victims were killed.

Tamaulipas is among six of Mexico’s 32 states with a State Department “Do not travel” warning. Visitors to most states are simply advised to use “increased caution.”

The advisory for Sonora says "reconsider travel," but details that while some parts of the state are off-limits to government employees, others — like Hermosillo, Rocky Point and San Carlos - are considered safe to visit.

Kendal Blust, an Arizona native, reports from KJZZ’s bureau in Hermosillo, Sonora, focusing on business and economic relationships between Arizona and northern Mexico.Prior to joining KJZZ, Kendal worked at the Nogales International, reporting on border and immigration issues, local government, education and business. While working on her master’s degree at University of Arizona School of Journalism, she did stints with the Arizona Daily Star and the Tico Times in Costa Rica, and completed a thesis project about women art activists in the Arizona-Sonora borderlands.In her pre-journalist life, Kendal was a teacher, first helping Spanish high school students learn English, then heading to Tucson to teach fourth grade.When she’s not in the newsroom, Kendal enjoys getting outside for a hike or a swim, catching a good movie, hanging out with family and friends, and eating great food.