Travel Tips for visiting the Dominican Republic: What about Safety?
What about Safety?
As a tourist visiting a different country can be both exciting and a little scary, at least at first. This article is the third in a series of articles where I explain some of the ins and outs of taking your first trip to the Dominican Republic. I briefly cover several areas of common concern, with a couple tips and tricks for each one. Each of these areas are covered in much greater detail in my book, which can be found at www.MovingtoDR.com
During my first few visits to the Dominican Republic the things that concerned me the most were my not knowing Spanish (which was covered in Article #1), food (i.e., what things were safe for consumption, both food Article #2 and drink) and safety (money, personal security, and valuables). In this article I will discuss drinks and other liquids. See my other articles at www.MovingtoDR.com/Articles for a more detailed overview of these subjects.
I approach safety when traveling abroad very similarly to safety in unknown areas of the United States. There are areas of most major US cities I will not go. There are certain modes of transportation I use sparingly, particularly at night. I am also very careful with the type of clothes, watches, and other items I carry.
When I travel by air I am less worried about the things I carry. I feel like being in a secure area of an airport I am less likely of being accosted by a pickpocket or mugged. Outside of these secure areas I am much more careful. I never openly wave money, my iPod, or other expensive items around.
Visiting the Dominican Republic is not unlike most places in the US. The one major difference is the local belief that most visitors have a lot money. Many locals view visitors as well-to-do, because it is expensive to visit the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic also has a very large income gap, with the poorest individuals making between US$100 and US$200 a month. This income difference in the Dominican Republic causes the poorest to feel it is alright to ask for money. They do this in a variety of ways, including begging and sometimes stealing.
My advice for safety is to dress down, which means to leave your expensive watches and jewelry at home. The ordinary Dominican will not even know what a real Rolex is anyways. I also suggest leaving any expensive electronics at home as well. It is all right to carry a camera, but computers, expensive video cameras, and other high-end electronics are quick targets. Do not bring them with you unless absolutely necessary.
If you are traveling to the Dominican Republic on business and must bring your computer you should surely lock it up in your room’s safe, along with your passport and any other valuables.
When you go out you should carry enough money (in cash) to pay for any food, drinks, or other items you may want to purchase, but do not carry any excessive amounts of money. I also suggest you do not carry your real passport. It is acceptable to simply carry a photo-copy of the document.
I have been in the Dominican Republic for over four years and have NEVER needed my passport. I do not even carry a photo-copy any longer. In my book I discuss safety in detail. I write about how to protect your person, your property, and your house. I believe being safe is not a matter of luck. Safety is a matter of constant awareness.
In the next article I will write about Travel Tips for Visiting the Dominican Republic.
http://www.MovingtoDR.com - Dominican Republic