Fifteen years ago, on May 30, 2005 Beth Holloway’s nightmare began. Her daughter, Natalee Holloway, was missing in Aruba while on a high school senior trip. While the details of her daughter’s disappearance remain a mystery, Beth has turned her grief into a mission of helping others. Not only does she help parents of the missing but she also helps educate the public on how to travel safe. Alcatraz East Crime Museum and Natalee Holloway Resource Center are providing these awareness programs as Beth speaks to local students just in time for their spring break and end of year travels.
Natalee’s disappearance sparked media headlines around the world, as people waited and watched, hoping for answers and as Beth’s quest for answers in finding her daughter were relentless.
Beth Holloway along with the museum are providing assistance through the Natalee Holloway Resource Center, where people can download many resources at www.helpthemissing.org. These resources include college safety tips, identity-theft information, and information about law enforcement careers.
Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when traveling:
- Research. Always spend some time researching where you are going, don’t just focus on the tourist attractions. Check out the U.S. State Department’s recommendations, which are available online. The government will let you know how safe it is to travel in a particular country. While you are at it, look up the contact information to the U.S. Embassy where you are going to and keep it handy, either in your phone, written down, or both.
- Consider health precautions. There may be vaccinations required or health warnings that you should be aware of when you are leaving the country. Be sure to find out if there’s anything you need to know before you go.
- Copy documents. Take your important documents and make copies of them. The copies can be stored at home, where someone can easily obtain them for you, or you can store them electronically so you can easily access them.
- Obtain travel insurance. This will help to provide you with the coverage you need if there was anything that happens. Speak with your current insurance provider to see what you should have while traveling.
- Check your look. It may be difficult to do, but as much as possible try not to stand out and look like a tourist. Criminals find tourists to be easy targets.
- Keep in touch. Be sure to regularly check in with family and friends, so that people know where you are and where you’re headed.
- Be mindful. Always be aware of your surroundings. Keep such things as hotel security, going places in the dark, and walking in sketchy areas in mind. Don’t get so caught up looking at the sites that you forget to pay attention to what is going on around you.
- Watch the alcohol. While you want to have fun, drinking too much alcohol in a place you are not familiar with can put you at additional safety risks. Pace yourself, get a designated driver, exercise caution about who you are drinking with as well as knowing the legal drinking age, and keep your guard up so you don’t become more vulnerable.
- Add protection. Add tracking and a password to your phone. This will help you find it if it gets stolen, and if you go missing it may be used to help locate you. Connect with a family member or friend back home who can have access to your tracking, just in case it’s needed.