Some tourists are steering clear of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina after three mass shootings occurred over the course of eight hours around heavily trafficked tourist areas.
Eight people were injured in the shootings. One visitor to the area captured the commotion of one the shootings via Facebook Live.
Then there’s the tragedy that happened on the Greek island of Zakynthos; where 22-year-old American tourist, Bakari Henderson was beaten by a group of men outside a bar in a popular tourist spot in Lagana.
It’s unclear what caused the fight, but it happened soon after Henderson took a selfie with one of the waitresses at the bar. Security camera footage shows the group of men chasing Henderson down the sidewalk and beating him to death on a parked car.
The prospect of a vacation is exciting, but sometimes, the reality can cause anxiety. These recent events should encourage you to take a closer look at the destinations and neighborhoods you plan to stay in.
Knowing where trouble is known to flare up can help you steer clear of those areas, and likely keep you and your family much safer on vacation.
The following are tips to help ensure your safety while traveling.
Search Crime Maps
By searching for crime maps of the destination or neighborhoods you’re considering staying, you can get an idea of where the hot spots for crime are and avoid those areas. Online services such as SpotCrime and CrimeReports allow you to learn about crime statistics in most areas. Do a simple Google search of the name of the destination and keywords such as “crime” or “crime statistics” and see what comes up.
Recognize that threats exist, even in a crowd. Practice situational awareness; that is, knowing what’s going on around you always. For tips on situational awareness, see our post, How to Develop Situational Awareness. Keep this mindset throughout your vacation – and in your normal everyday life too.
Never carry your passport in your back pocket. And never carry around your cash, passport, license and credit cards at the same time or in the same place. While you’re out sightseeing, bring along the copy of your passport and leave the original in the hotel safe. You should also avoid using cash whenever possible.
Avoid Dressing Like A Tourist
It’s always a good idea to blend in while traveling. Standing out as a tourist can make you a target to thieves. Do some online research about the place you plan to visit and learn what kind of clothing would be viewed as inappropriate, then dress appropriately.
Be Careful In Nightlife Situations
Bars are a hot spot for rowdy behavior. Being in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people and unfamiliar customs while under the influence of alcohol is just raising your risk of something wrong happening. Assess risk and reward and you just might choose to get a good night’s sleep and see a historical site early the next morning instead.
Travel In A Safe Vehicle, With Seatbelts
According to the World Health Organization, “motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death for U.S. citizens abroad.”
Keep Your Privacy In The Hotel
The fact that someone could potentially invade your privacy in such an unexpected and disturbing manner is might not be too common, but is still a very real issue to think about. Read about examples of secret recording happening in hotel rooms and tips for keeping your privacy and information secure in our post, Is Your Hotel Room Really Private?
Having a better understanding of the place you plan on staying will help you feel more confident that your vacation will go smoothly.