Top Tips – Stay Safe While Traveling
Do you think it's safe to travel to Aruba? What about Mexico? Both these popular beach destinations have been in the news recently for horrific crimes. In Aruba's case, it's the second high profile disappearance of a young female tourist under mysterious circumstances. In Mexico's case, it's the rapidly escalating number of senseless murders.
When I lived in Florida I worked at Sea World. We had a name for a condition that afflicts almost all vacationers. It’s tourist brain. What is tourist brain? It’s the total loss of common sense that seems to accompany travel. Tourist brain is easy to understand. People on vacation are having fun, relaxed, in an unfamiliar place, and feeling that everyone is as happy and relaxed as they are. Tourist brain leads people to ask stupid questions like “When do you paint the whales?” Worse, it causes people to do stupid things like wander into unknown areas that may be unsafe, leave their valuables unprotected, and go off alone with total strangers. Would you do these things at home? I doubt it.
How to Stay Safe on Vacation
Be aware of your surroundings. Most crime victims are not paying attention to what’s going on around them.
Don’t go anywhere alone with a stranger(s). Read http://solotravelerblog.com/solo-travel-stranger-danger-part-iibrcaught-con-game/ for one woman’s personal story. Not going anywhere with a stranger probably seems like an obvious safety tip, but many people look forward to a “vacation romance.” I appreciate a good vacation romance as much as anyone, but safety should still be your first priority. Use common sense and stay away from deserted locations.
Know where you’re going and if the area(s) are safe before you go there. Don’t rely on maps or GPS to get you to your destination safely. They will show you the fastest way to get somewhere, but often the fastest way goes through some of the worst neighborhoods.
Don’t flaunt cash or valuables. Having it doesn’t mean flaunting it. If you can, keep your valuables in a safe at your hotel except when you need them. Don’t travel with expensive jewelry or excessive cash at all.
Don’t drop totally off the radar even if you’re traveling with your family or a group. Keep in touch with people back home.
Be especially vigilant after dark. Stick to well-lit, busy areas.
Always lock and deadbolt the door to your hotel room. Don’t open the door without looking to see who’s there first.
Don’t accept food or drink from strangers whether you’re a woman or a man. Unfortunately this is a common way to drug people without their knowing it.
Keeping these tips in mind should help you stay safe on vacation.
To answer the first two questions. Yes, Aruba is safe. Its biggest problem seems to be its inability to solve a crime after the fact. And Mexico? In my opinion, many parts of Mexico aren’t safe and I wouldn’t consider traveling there under the current circumstances. I also wouldn’t go to the Englewood neighborhood in the city of Chicago, but that wouldn’t keep me from traveling to Chicago. The bottom line is popular beach resorts in Mexico are safe for travelers.
To many joyful beach experiences!
— Lisa Dworkin
Photo courtesy of Lisa Dworkin