Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Travel Safety

DH & I have only traveled in Canada, the U.S., and Western Europe before this trip. So Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Columbia were all new to us.  So we did a little extra research on all of our stops.  DH checked State Department warnings   
( http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_1764.html),
I checked for Furla stores.  (If you know us this was perfectly in character.)

Acapulco had recent State Department warnings because of drug violence and just before our trip there were news reports of some pretty horrible happenings.

We had an excursion booked to see the famous Cliff  Divers through the ship and security would be provided.  But we were both a little uneasy.  And did I mention we are kind of wussy - or least I am - when it comes to personal safety.  So we cancelled the excursion and decided to stay on board.  And we took a few shots from the balcony of our cabin (yesterday's picture post). 

From the balcony we could see where everyone got on and off.  And there were lots of security guards with machine guns.  And a fence around the whole area with guards.  This wasn't the usual fence/guard patrol you see at foreign ports for customs/immigration reasons.

Talking with other passengers later in the day (and listening to other conversations) we kept hearing the same thing.  Acapulco had changed a lot in the last 10 years and they didn't get to see or do much regardless of where they went because there was security everywhere with guns.

Was I bummed to not get to see the area?  Yes.  Am I glad we stayed on the ship? Absolutely.  Our personal safety is more important than sightseeing.  Was anyone hurt that day?  Not that we heard.  So we may have been overly cautious, but Acapulco will still be there and we can come back another time.

I'll post more later on safety trips when traveling but here are two very important ones:

1) Research where you are going before you get and figure out what the issues are.  Pickpockets? Cabbies who run up the fare? Random drug violence? Unsafe neighborhoods?  This isn't to avoid going or to scare yourself - it is so you can be prepared when you get there.

2) Trust your gut.  If you really feel uncomfortable, take a pass on the excursion/event.  This doesn't mean traveling to a new place to stay locked in a hotel room.  But it may mean joining a group outing instead of going on a solo excursion.  Or hitting the spa one day instead of the street.  Stay informed.  Be objective about the risk and be cautious when necessary.

Safe travels!

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