MINNEAPOLIS – Travel experts recommend travelers do their research, check their travel insurance and even register with the State Department if planning on travel to certain areas in Mexico.

That advice follows the State Department’s new “do not travel” advisory for U.S. citizens to five Mexican states because of violent crime. The advisory issued on Thursday elevates the states of Tamaulipas, Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero to level 4, the highest level of potential danger.

“The moment I heard that, I knew people in Minnesota and across the country would start rethinking their travel plans,” said Mark Albert, Editor in Chief with the Voyage Report.

Albert notes people should first research whether their destination is affected by the new warning – popular tourist destinations remain outside the elevated warning. Albert also notes that if people decide to cancel their trips, they’ll want to check whether they can still get their money back.

“If you decide not to go, immediately call your travel or trip insurance to see if they will honor your claim. Many will not,” he said.

For those who decide to go forward with their travel plans, Albert notes it’s critical to travel with caution. He offers several safety tips at his website.

Meantime, Dr. Barbara Frey, Director of the Human Rights Program at the University of Minnesota, notes that Mexico still offers many safe destinations for tourists, provided they do their research. She also notes that the current problem of violence in Mexico may well start in the United States.

“The biggest problem is the need to treat the opioid crisis here and reduce the demand for drugs which are fueling this phenomenal drug war in Mexico,” she said.