Staying Safe In Port

On July 1, 2004, major national and international initiatives went into effect to heighten the security of ships and ports. What effect have they had on the safety of cruise passengers ashore? The answer, alas, is probably none directly, though there may be a slight increase in safety within the ports themselves, because of the better fencing, increased surveillance and more intense review of identification documents. But once around the bend from the secured port area, crime stats probably haven’t changed. Depending on whom you ask, people’s responses to the status quo run the gamut between “There’s no difference between the risk abroad and that of any city in the U.S.A.,” and “As an American I wouldn’t travel outside our borders these days under any circumstances.” Of course, the truth generally lies somewhere in between, and even though we’ve all heard of attacks on American tourists in Jamaica, Aruba, Egypt and even the U.S. Virgin Islands, travel abroad is still a safe endeavor for the vigilant traveler. Still, North Americans need to be extra diligent in their vigilance. Think of preparedness as a three-step program with the acronym “ARM:” Assess the risks; Research the risks; Minimize the risks. A — Assess the Crime Risks You May Encounter Some types of crime are prevalent worldwide; others are unique to certain regions or population groups. Violent crime represents only a tiny portion of the total picture; theft represents the vast majority of infractions. Pickpocketing is by far the most oft-reported variety, encountered most often in crowded squares and aboard public transit, especially after dark. Theft of purses and backpacks is also commonplace. Be particularly cautious of street crime in countries with high levels of political unrest, poverty, and law enforcement corruption or malfeasance. Any combination of one or more of these factors should be a red flag. The prime examples that come to mind for the cruise traveler are Russia (especially St. Petersburg and Moscow), South Africa and Mexico, which have...

How to Prevent Beach Thefts and Pool Thefts

Thefts at beaches and pools increase during the busy vacation season. Tourists leave their wallets, cell phones, cameras or other valuables on the beach while they go for a swim.  Most think they don’t have an alternative but to leave their property. Some are clever enough to “hide”  their valuables under a towel but in a blink of an eye, their property can be picked up and gone.  Thefts at beaches – also called beach blanket thefts, or blanket thefts, happen at beaches all around the world. To understand how much of a problem this is, simply search in Google the terms “beach thefts” and you will find countless reports of beach thefts from most tourists beach destinations. And don’t think you are safe when traveling internationally.  Theft from travelers visiting some of the top beach destinations in the world has been an issue for years.  For example, in Rio de Janeiro has been dealing with this problem for years.  In past years, it was not unusual to see gangs of young people – many suddenly sweep over the beach, stealing phones and snatching jewelry. The following are a few recent reports of thefts of property from people visiting public pools or beaches. Beach Blanket Thefts in Florida on the Rise Holiday Thefts at Swimming Pools Woman thief steals purse at Honolulu hotel pool Beach-goers and thieves Swarming Thieves Wreak Havoc On Famed Rio Beaches In Rio this is called an arrastao, or dragnet. It’s also really difficult for the police to work on the beach because the beach is really large and there are lots of people on the beach. They cannot run on the sand.” These dragnets were a huge problem in Rio in the 1990s. The fact that they are back, Rio residents say, points to an uptick in crime in the city by the sea. Video Showing Social Experiment of Theft at Beach – What Would You Do? Video of Beach Thefts in Rio de Jameiro An obvious solution to...

Beach Massage Scam

If you travel to some truly beautiful and exotic location such as Barcelona, Indonesia, Thailand, Bali, or other places known for their beaches, you may find your way to the sand to simply relax.  The scenario goes like the; while laying down, you are approached by two attractive men or women who offer to give you a massage right where you are laying down for what sounds like a great price.  You think about it – you are on vacation so you figure what the heck, let’s go for it. After you agree with one of the beach walking massagers on a price, you turn and lay down. You close your eyes, listen to the ocean’s waves, and enjoy the back massage. When done, both of the men or women are asking for the same negotiated price each.  They intentionally scammed you to thinking the price was a total, not person fee. .  After several minutes of arguing, you simply give in and pay them off to go away. Always negotiate all the terms before, including paying only one of them. Best is you consider the professional massage sessions that are being held on the beach, in a specific dedicated  booth, by certified specialists. It’s not as cheap as the roaming massagers, but will most likely be worth...