Missing tourists and travel safety tips

A NYC woman, Sarai Sierra, goes missing in Istanbul (Istanbul is considered a fairly safe city while Turkey is considered safe for tourists overall) and we have to renew our interest in travel safety. The media has largely lost interest in the case, but I did find this recent article about the search.

So what do you do to keep yourself safe when traveling, particularly when traveling alone?

Most of the tips I see are common sense – stick to busy areas at night, don’t look like a tourist, don’t wear flashy jewelry, that sort of thing. I’m looking for tips that may be a little less obvious if anyone has them.

One thing that might help is the Google latitudes smart phone app or something similar. I know when my friend went biking around The Netherlands, he used one of those apps to track his entire trip and get a location for every photo he took. I used Latitudes when driving from Florida to New York to Boston and back. This way instead of checking in every hour, my friends or parents could just look at their phones to see where we were. I could see something like that helping in a missing persons case – friends would be able to report locations to the police, who would have a better help retracing the missing person’s steps.

Sometimes the same topic
can be more funny than scary, like when a bus driver counts wrong and everyone on the bus begins looking for someone who had been on the bus in the first pace. The headlines quip about the woman searching for herself, but the people sitting next to her and the driver who counted wrong seem just as laughable to me.

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