Traveler Beware

Just in case you haven't been keeping up with the news, but a total of eight American's have died while visiting the Dominican Republic in 2019. There have been strange circumstances surrounding all of the death's with seven of them sharing similarities — most described as happening suddenly, and several after an alcoholic drink. However U.S. officials have not determined whether there is any connection.

So, what do you do as a potential tourist to the island? Do you go, or do you stay away? Well, as officials have reported the causes behind the deaths is still being investigated at this time. But, as a tourist in a strange country, you DO need to use a little bit of common sense in not taking it for granted that just because you are an "American" that you are somehow immune from being a victim of unscrupulous and nefarious behavior.

The first thing is to ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings and do NOT allow yourself to become too distracted. Yes, we all know how exciting the experience can be, but always trust your instinct that if something doesn't feel just right then odds are that you do need to pay extra attention to what's going on.

Next, you need to use good judgment whenever you are ingesting food items that have not been prepared before you or from reputable places. For example, you wouldn't accept a drink that was given to you by a freelance style street vendor if you didn't see them open it to start with. But, you'd be surprised at the number of people that would readilly consume something that might not have been properly prepared.

Next, you need to be wary of your surroundings and although tourism is a big industry with these ports of call and police work hard to keep the criminal element to a minimum. But, there is still the chance that something could occur that could jeopardize your person or property. So, be vigilant in knowing your surroundings at all times and keep your possessions secure, which includes your children.

Although you should use caution whenever traveling abroad you should not feel fearful or paranoid — which can actually be counterproductive to good security. A traveler can learn a tremendous amount about a location and its customs by paying attention to the surrounding environment. Travelers should make a conscious effort to study their environment in an effort to determine what is normal — and what is not.

So, do a little homework on your part before departing on your vacation and learn all of the local customs, beliefs and practices. Be smart and be aware so you can enjoy your vacation and return home with the best memories of a lifetime.

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