It seems like yesterday we were all minding our own business as one by one stories began to hit our timelines about untimely tourist deaths and assaults in the DR. As one can imagine, the body counts mounted as more and more people expressed fear about traveling to the once highly sought after travel destination. One all inclusive resort closed its doors as a result of the declining revenue due to lost reservations. While concerns over the safety of the resorts there are certainly justified, I wouldn't rush to cancel my reservations just yet.
It seems like every other year headlines become inundated with stories about unsafe tourist destinations. About 2 years ago, it was Jamaica in the headlines with stories of tourists being sexually assaulted. And the year before that, Cancun and Cozumel were both under fire as several tourist had gone missing. And I don't need to tell about how Natalie Holloway's disappearance in Aruba deeply impacted their tourism industry. That is until the hype dies down. As the headlines change so does people's opinions of the tourist destination. Just imagine how foreigners feel about the US and all of our random mass shootings! And yet, we haven't attempted moving from the country.
The truth is no matter where you go, bad things happen to good people. But we shouldn't allow that to deter us from visiting a particular destination from the rest of our lives. I would be willing to bet you that by this time next year, the DR will have just about recovered from the bad press as tourist numbers began to soar again. There are someways to protect yourself while traveling however. First and most importantly! Always purchase travel insurance!! It covers so much more than your trip deposit. Certain policies will cover medical benefits and travel accommodations in the event of circumstances out of your control. There are phone apps that allow you to share your current location and intended destinations while traveling. Some travelers even bring their own carbon monoxide detectors as certain countries have different standards for their ventilation systems and tourist could potentially be exposed to the poisonous gas. And also get into the habit of traveling light! Don't bring valuables (jewelry, macbooks, etc.) unless you absolutely must.
And lastly but definitely not least, utilize the service of an experienced travel agent! A good agent will have the skinny on all destinations and can warn you of any travel advisory and counsel you on the best travel tactics (like how its not worth saving $200 on airline tickets by flying into a lesser known airport that is more than 2 hours away from your accommodations. This is what happened to one couple in the DR). All in all, the odds are in your favor that you will travel and have a memorable vacation. So don't let the headlines keep you from living your best life. You will be glad you didn't!