Aruba Travel Safety Tips

It is understandable how some women feel apprehensive and frightened about travel safety while in Aruba, amidst all the recent media publicity of the disappearance of Robyn Gardner from Maryland and the ongoing investigation of the 2005 disappearance Natalee Halloway of Alabama. My heart goes out to these young women. Yet I can’t help but wonder why they put themselves in such precarious and vulnerable situations, with men they barely knew.

Travel safety should always come first while traveling anywhere. If you are wondering whether or not Aruba is a safe place to travel, let’s put your fears in perspective. Yearly, Aruba has over 750,000 vacationers and over one million visitors who come in to port for the day from the many cruise ships. In the last 6 years since Natalee disappeared, over ten MILLION people visited Aruba safely.

Unfortunately, bad things happen everywhere. But, on a personal note, speaking as a woman, I felt safer walking around Aruba than some areas of Chicago, Boston, or New York. I believe Aruba to be one of the safest places to travel. However, there is no place in the world that is crime free. So, with that said, use the same common sense that you would to be safe at home and follow a few travel safety precautions.

General Travel Safety:

  • It is always best to travel with at least one other person or in a group, but if you must travel alone be extra aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • If you are a U.S. Citizen, Register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to citizens who are traveling to a foreign country. You can find more information on this program here.
  • If you are traveling in a group, keep track of each other.

Note: With our wedding group of 15 friends and family members we purchased 2 sets of walkie talkies that had a radio rang of 25 miles. This helped to keep the cost of international cell phone service with our U.S. phones to a minimum. Since Aruba is about 21 miles long we were able to keep in touch quite effectively this way, although there was some interference in the major hotel areas.

  • Stay connected with your family back home on a regular basis. Give them a copy of your itinerary and passport/visa information. Notify them if plans change.
  • Expensive watches and jewelry attract the attention of pick-pockets and thieves. You will be better off traveling without it.
  • Never flash your money in public.
  • Do not discuss your room number, vacation plans, or any other personal information in public within earshot of strangers.
  • There is safety in numbers. Go out in groups if you can and keep an eye on one another. Let someone in your group know where you will be at all times.
  • Never get in a vehicle with anyone you do not know.

Hotel Safety

  • Always lock your hotel room door when you leave the room.
  • Lock valuables in the hotel safe - Valuables left unattended on beaches, in cars and even in hotel lobbies are easy targets for theft.
  • Do not leave your camera, wallet or any other valuable unattended in your beach bag.
  • Take the safe key and hotel key with you

Sightseeing and Rental Car Safety

  • Park in well lighted areas.
  • Lock your vehicle with windows closed, and never leave anything valuable or important in the car. (Jeeps are prime targets since their plastic windows are easily ripped or removed in order to get to anything of value.)
  • Never pick up hitchhikers or give rides to strangers.

Nightlife Safety

  • When visiting a nightclub or bar, use common sense and never leave your drink unattended.
  • Never accept a drink from a stranger.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings – It goes without saying that excessive alcoholic drinking impairs judgment which might put you in a high-risk situation.
  • When walking at night, stay in areas that are well lit
  • Avoid walking in secluded areas.

Traveling with Children, Tweens, and Young Adults

  • Make an emergency contact card for children to keep with them. In in the event you become separated, they will have the information needed to get back to you. On a small note card, write hotel phone number, and your contact information. (In the case of young children and toddlers, also include your child’s name.)
  • Bring along an updated photograph of each child.
  • If you are traveling with young adults, keep certain places off limits. Let them know they are not allowed in bars, clubs and casinos (even in your hotel). Although 18 is the legal drinking in Aruba, the rule is very lax as it is in many countries. So know where your teenager is at all times during your vacation, and do not let them go wandering alone.

Of course most of these travel safety tips are common sense. Using common sense is perhaps the single best tip I can give for staying safe and having a good time. Awareness of your suroundings and a bit of street-smarts are the keys to safe and happy travels.

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