As summer approaches and British holidaymakers prepare to jet off on their well-earned breaks, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued warnings of violence in the popular tourist destination, Mexico.

The advice, updated yesterday, highlights an increase in shootings taking place across the country, including tourist destinations. According to the FCO website, the Mexican Government is taking precautions to protect major hotspots including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta and Los Cabos. Police presence will also be increased in Cancun, particularly around hotels.

Tourists are being advised to take ‘extreme care’ throughout their holiday.

Suspected drug-related violence has also been reported in the states of Tabasco and Veracruz as well as an increase in illegal roadblocks.

In addition to violence, British holidaymakers, particularly those who are travelling during pregnancy, should also be aware that Mexico is classified as having Zika Virus. The mosquito-borne disease is known to cause abnormally small heads, which can lead to abnormal brain development and other serious birth defects in new-borns. Concerned expecting parents should speak to their GP for further advice.

Hurricane season in Mexico is imminent, usually running from June to November. According to the FCO, tropical storms and hurricanes can cause flooding, landslides and disruption to transport. British holidaymakers are advised to monitor local weather updates via the US National Hurricane Centre.  Though tremors are fairly regular, earthquakes can also occur.

If British holidaymakers are affected by a natural disaster during their trip and have booked their holiday as a package deal, they should speak directly to the travel agent or tour company. Alternative accommodation or transport will be arranged at no additional cost. Likewise, if a natural disaster occurs before travel it may be possible to re-arrange the trip of request a full refund.

Those who have booked their holiday to Mexico independently and are now no longer able to make their trip, due to a natural disaster, should speak to the airline and accommodation provider. A refund may not be available, but this depends on the terms and conditions stated when booking each element of the trip. In this instance, it is advised they check to see if their travel insurance policy will cover for either ‘force majeure’ or ‘cancellation for any cause’. This cover is not widely available as standard and will only apply if the policy was purchased before the natural disaster occurred.

Those who are abroad, and have booked their holiday independently, and cannot reclaim the costs elsewhere, may have to pay for additional accommodation or transport home unless they have the travel insurance cover mentioned above.

Generally, most trips to Mexico are trouble-free, but it pays to be protected.