Boomer Traveler: 10 Dos & 10 Don’ts for Safe Travels

Third in a series of safety tips for traveling in Costa Rica by Doris Gallan!

Baby Boomers can become the target of thieves any where they travel. This is because we are usually carrying jewelry, cameras, computers and money. Thefts in the Costa Rican capital are fairly common with locals and tourists being affected. Travelers are an easier mark, however, as they are generally less aware of their surroundings and carry more valuable things on their bodies. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind when traveling to make sure you have great and fun vacations and feel safe with your friends or family.

10 Dos

1. Make copies of your documents to carry with you and keep the originals in the hotel safe deposit box or your hostel.
2. Stash your cash in several places on your body including shoes, front pockets, bra, etc.
3. Know where you are going so that you don’t look lost: ask at the front desk or the bus driver before you set off on your own so that you can avoid looking at maps in public.
4. Learn a few phrases of the local lingo: por favor, gracias, buenas, ¿donde es la policia?
5. Learn about the areas to avoid before you go and especially before you book your hotel/hostel.
6. Dress like the natives as much as possible to blend in.
7. Keep your daypack in front of you to foil pick pockets going into it while you walk on the street.
8. Leave an itinerary at home so that someone knows where you’re supposed to be and when you’re returning.
9. Leave unneeded credit cards, debit cards, cash and identification cards at home so that you won’t need to replace all of them should your wallet be stolen.
10. Take only the keys you need – leave the office, safety deposit box, car and any other keys at home.

10 Don’ts

1. Never carry a lot of cash: it is usually safer to use a credit or debit card (which you’ve stashed in your shoe, bra or front pocket).
2. Never look at a map or carry a guide book as this advertises you as a tourist and therefore a target for theft or worse. Go inside a shop or restaurant to refer to the maps or guides.
3. Don’t wear expensive jewelry or loud or skimpy clothing that will identify you as a tourist.
4. Don’t go home with anyone you’ve just met – and home includes hotel rooms.
5. Don’t buy illegal drugs.
6. Don’t set your bag down and turn your back on it.
7. Don’t accept that anyone with a car is a taxi driver – make sure the individual is in a licensed cab and uses the taxi meter.
8. Don’t overload your bags or have too many bags to carry as you can’t make a quick escape if someone tries to rob you.
9. Don’t show your cash or where you stash your cash while in public.
10. Don’t believe that everyone who wants to help you is trying to scam or rob you. There are still many, many people out there who actually want to help!


Doris is a Baby Boomer living in Costa Rica. She and her husband traveled around the world for 26 months visiting 40 countries on six continents (including Antarctica). You can read more about their travels and get travel tips at Follow Doris on twitter @dorisgallan.

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About Marina Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 20+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

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