Safety Matters

Keep calm and call your travel agent

Are you concerned about your safety when traveling?  I know you are, and it isn’t just your personal safety is it?  It’s also your financial safety.  

Since opening The Joy of Travel in 2005 we have never had a customer victimized by any type of violence when traveling anywhere in the world.  I think that’s a very comforting fact.  We book thousands of customers every year, primarily to the Caribbean, Mexico and Europe, and I want to say it again:  zero acts of violence have been perpetrated against them.

I like to think our customers are smarter than regular travelers and know to stay away from dangerous areas.  You don’t find our customers in the slums of any destination.  Our customers aren’t looking for drugs.  Our customers aren’t flashing expensive jewelry or large sums of money.  Our customers are playing it cool and aren’t looking for anything except a fun, safe vacation. 

When it comes to theft we did have one customer leave $150 in a college textbook in his room (in Puerto Vallarta) and it was stolen from the book.  There have been no other thefts reported since 2005.

In 2008 we had a couple on a walking tour with us in Rome (they were not my customers) and he had a huge bulge of cash in his front pocket.  Two girls picked his pocket in front of the Spanish Steps.  Our group literally chased those girls down and got his money back.  No other reports of pick pockets have been reported.

In 2013 one of my customers had her debit card information swiped from an ATM and her checking account was purged of about $2000 by the time she returned home.  Luckily her bank reimbursed her.

To protect your banking information here’s a good idea: go to your bank and open a separate account just for your travel expenses.  On your vacation use only the debit card associated with that account.  Have only the funds you plan to spend on the trip in that account, no more.  That way if your debit card information is stolen while you are traveling the criminal can’t wipe out your entire checking account.  Great idea, right?  I wish I could take credit for it but my friend and great travel companion Marilyn Meredith came up with it.  Good job Marilyn.  Best of all I bet your bank will also reimburse any funds withdrawn via a hacking incident, just like my customer in 2013.

After your trip you can use that same Travel account to squirrel away monies to use for your next vacation.  It’s a terrific way to save for future trips.  

Of course in addition to that travel account debit card you always need to travel with a credit card.  What if you lose the debit card?  You also need to travel with some local currency if you are traveling in Europe.  You can usually pre-order some “folding money” from your bank; $200 dollars will do in Euro’s or BPS.  Once you arrive in Europe use your travel account debit card to get additional cash from a bank associated ATM.  

When traveling to Mexico they are still readily accepting US Dollars in most places, even though there are lots of warnings out there that say they won’t.  Remember if you purchase something with cash expect to get any change due back to you in pesos.

Safety in any tourist destination is a matter of using common sense more than anything else.  When we travel we get out and experience the destination, we don’t hide like scared rabbits on the resort, and neither should you.  The excursion companies we use are above reproach and focused on your safety in addition to your enjoyment.  Trust us to help you have experiences that will give you great stories to tell when you get back home, without anything unfortunate happening along the way.

Joy Gawf-Crutchfield owns and operates The Joy of Travel.  Contact her at