The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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February 6, 2013

Traveling alone? Remember these safety tips

When vacationing, is it better to travel alone or in a group?

It’s a question that a lot of travelers mentally toss back and forth, because traveling in a group certainly has its benefits whether you do it abroad or domestically, but so does traveling alone.

Although traveling in large numbers seems to be safer and extremely fun to do, it can also be quite exasperating, especially when people in your travel group share different interests and like to do different things. And most know that trying to appease everyone in a group is a task they'll never be able to pull off succesfully.

So to avoid these kinds of travel headaches, a good number of people choose to go on their journey unaccompanied and figure they can either meet people on the road or stay with people they know in the towns they’re visiting.

Dangers lurk

It’s important for lone travelers to be aware of how to stay safe, especially on the heels of a 33-year old mother from Staten Island, NY., who was tragically killed after going to Istanbul, Turkey on a lone photography trip.

The details of how the victim, Sarai Sierra, was killed are still fuzzy, say police, and detectives are still working the case, but the tragic incident will more than likely put the issue of travel safety on a lot of consumers’ minds, especially those who may already be planning a trip by themselves.

According to some safety tips released by the U.S. State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, one of the first things a person should do before traveling is research, learn and remember all of the cultural differences of a foreign country and also be knowledgeable of the political happenings to determine the level of safety.

The department advises travelers to use the website www.travel.state.gov to keep abreast of any news that may be developing in a country that you’re traveling into.

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