Top Tips For Safe Travel
As many of our readers are well aware, Belize has been the subject of some outrageous and unfortunate crimes in recent weeks. While we cannot control the twisted mentality of humans on a whole, as your Belize travel specialists, we can do our best to ensure that visitors to Belize are as safe as they can possibly be. While most of us are more likely to get into trouble in our own cities, take a moment to read through some safety tips to avoid any unfortunate incidents during your holiday. Naturally we all take precautions when out shopping or with our friends or family so practicing safety should be even more heightened when on vacation.
Belize has been blessed with being relatively safe to travelers for many years. At times however, we do things that would seem normal to us but which place us in unsafe situations. Stay Safe! We care about the well-being of all visitors to our beautiful Jewel-Belize.
1. Take a second look….
Get in the habit of looking back when you get up to leave somewhere. Look twice at where you were sitting to ensure that you are not leaving anything behind and even glance around to check if someone is watching you. Many times being robbed was a simple as the person sitting next to you at a restaurant… Check that you have all of your bags with you before you leave.
2. Practice separating cash & cards
On the other hand, avoid using your credit card at a location you are not sure of- this includes internet cafe's, night clubs or stores/ businesses where attendant needs to step away from you. Get a good credit lock on your cards that keeps hackers away from your personal information.
3. Avoid your pockets
Don’t put all your eggs into one basket- meaning, separate your cash from your credit cards. Store them separately so that in the event that you fall into misfortune, you can at least count having one or the other.
On the other hand, avoid using your credit card at a location you are not sure of- this includes internet café’s, night clubs or stores/ businesses where attendant needs to step away from you. Get a good credit lock on your cards that keeps hackers away from your personal information.
4. Electronic Storage of documents
Before leaving home, scan important documents, including your passport, and save them securely. Using a Dropbox with a secure password is a great idea in the event that you need to access them during your vacation.
5. Don’t trust easily
Although it is difficult to get to know locals without trusting them, it would be common sense to avoid going with a completely stranger to any location that you are not familiar with. Eating or drinking food offered to you that is not being consumed by your hosts is also very tricky. Get tours through a credible tour operator with a license. Book your hotel stays at places you have already reviewed favourably. Avoid walking or riding through areas of any city or town that are questionable on your own. Ask about the bad spots before leaving your hotel to be sure you don’t wander into an unsafe location. Ask for directions from hotel guest services, tour guides or restaurant counters.
6. Review Everything
If you're doing a specialist course (scuba diving) or something risky (bungee jumping) then check the operators have legitimate qualifications and a good safety record. There's usually a reason a course is cheaper than the others. PADI has a list of qualified diving operators here.
7. Get travel insurance
Avoid travelling without it! Airline delays, hotel overbookings or sudden cancellation can put you in places you don’t expect to be. Ensure that your entire vacation is covered for emergencies.
8. Visit the doctor before you travel
Ask about any health concerns or advisories and get vaccinated based on your health care providers recommendations. Travel to Belize however does not require any particular vaccinations, but be on the safe side! Read up about health issues for the region you plan to visit.
9. Public Displays of Affluence
Avoid flashy jewelry, cameras or other valuables during your vacation. Leave these items and home and bring only basic cameras or phones with you. Custom jewelry is ideal for travelling and will look lovely anyway. Giving off an air of affluence opens you to vulnerability and can be unsafe!
10. Work on your game
Don’t “learn” to do anything on vacation. Learn to dive, snorkel or jet ski BEFORE travelling. This can help avoid injuries in a foreign country with less than acceptable medical care or https://www.woolcool.com/xanax-for-sale/ facilities. The less you open the door to injuries, the better! Check out your health insurance provider before you travel to see your options during your vacation. Ask about foreign medical care for your destination.
11. Your Kindness
Be kind but be careful! Although you will meet people asking for money or needing assistance in poor countries, be very careful what and how you give away. Someone might be watching you in your act of kindness that can lead to an unfortunate situation. If at a restaurant or store, ask the manager or hostess to kindly give your gift to the indicated person without personally doing so. This way, it is not completely obvious who is sending the gift.
Avoid petting animals, including dogs and cats you are not familiar with. Bites can be serious and lead to some very unpleasant and potentially serious infections. Stay at arm’s length from animals that are leashed or even in cages. Watch the signs at zoos or natural preserves and follow the instructions.
13. Know who you travel with
Many times it is your own travel companion who you need to beware of. Friends steal from friends when under pressure or in a tight spot. Sometimes you are the one playing it safe and your friends are the ones asking every “Tom & Harry” for directions. Make plans together before leaving your room for the day, determine what you will and will not do. Set rules as to how you want your vacation or day trips to run and set a rule that you must both agree on a procedure.
14. Use a travel agent
Always ask your travel agent to recommend the best hotels, guest houses and tours. Have them recommend a suggested itinerary for you to follow and even book tours in advance. Allow them to recommend good restaurants too and even gift shops. Avoid going somewhere that is not recommended unless the suggestion comes from a reputable source.
15. Careful where you party
Never go anywhere alone and especially at night. Go with a buddy and always decide in advance who will be drinking less… one of you will need to get both of you back to your rooms safely at the end of the night. Never walk off with ANYONE you do not know or have never met before. Stalkers hang out at bars, night clubs and restaurants waiting for prey and they attack at your weakest point – when you are drinking and having a good time. Stay alert of yourself and your surroundings. Getting into a car with a stranger should be a NO NO! Keep cash instead of cards on your person and avoid drugs or excessive alcohol.
Keep the rule at your hotel – no strangers allowed in your room. This practice alone can keep you out of harm’s way. If you meet a stranger on vacation, meet in a designated spot that is open. Never give anyone the key to your room. Keep valuables out of sight and locked in your room safe; this includes your passport, wallet and credit cards. Avoid tipping at each service, leave a general tip when you check out. Always tell the front desk where you plan to go for the day or for a few hours. If you know, tell them the tour operator you are using or the name of your tour guide. At least someone will know where you were heading.
17. Do It Yourself Tours
It is not advised to enter a cave on your own without a licensed tour guide. Always get a credible guide to lead you through a cave tour. Caves are dark and unfamiliar, going through a strange cave without proper equipment can mean a bad story. Tour guides in Belize have regulations they must follow in regard to guest safety. Allow them to provide you with a tour package that includes safety gear, headlamps as well as an emergency plan of action. Emergencies can be anywhere from person injury to being trapped in a flooded cave. Use licensed tour operators at all times and ask to see their license when you arrive on site if you have any doubts. This includes water based tours such as snorkeling, fishing or diving.
Sometimes we all want a moment to ourselves. Honeymooners would naturally want seclusion and “alone” spots. The sad part is that sometimes the crime doers are there lurking, all because the seclusion appeals to them for all the wrong reasons. Avoid the alone spots as much as possible and especially when it is at a distance from your hotel or personnel who can assist you if needed. Opt for places where there are other people. Look for park rangers at Maya ruins or at a park or reserve. Ensure that they know you are there and take a moment to let them know you will be in the area.
Avoid going to a riverside alone. Stay in places where other people are… safety in numbers is many times the best policy.
19. If it happens?
If you are in a situation where you are robbed, give it all up – don’t try to be the hero! If you have insurance then you can try to recover your belongings but you can never get back your life for trying to keep your things. Better to walk away uninjured than not at all.
20. This one’s for the girls
As females we tend to draw natural attention, whether we like it or not. We can fight it all we want but this is the price to pay for being beautiful! Avoid drawing attention. Parties and drinking sprees are places where the wrong persons hang out to take their picks. While this may sounds absurd to some, it is reality to others.
Ladies, do not hang around a bar alone. Stay away from isolated spots if at all possible. Flirtation is not in order on a vacation, leave it at home (enough happens there) but in a foreign country, you are at the mercy of complete strangers. Ask your hotel for pickup at a particular hour and at a designated spot. Be on time for your ride. If you ask for directions from strangers, try to pick a couple or other ladies to ask.
Bottom line- we want each and every single visitor to Belize’s beautiful shores to arrive and leave- safe and sound. Enjoying your vacation should be your aim and with this comes your safety! Adventures in Belize wishes you the best vacation experience possible!