In light of the tragic murder of an American woman in Costa Rica, a local avid traveler shares why it's appealing to travel abroad.
"Whenever I travel, I honestly feel that my heart grows. I feel like I become a smarter and wiser person. I love trying different kinds of food. I love to hear other languages," says Rebecca Gaines from Tulsa.
She says her only solo trip was in 2014 when she went to Costa Rica to learn how to surf and do yoga by the beach. Before stepping on the plane though, she did some research.
"I got online, and I started researching places. I found a place where the owner was from Seattle, which made me feel a little bit more comfortable because I am not fluent in speaking Spanish," says Gaines.
She doesn't believe she would take a solo trip now that she has started a family, but she is already looking for her next adventure.
According to the U.S. government's National Travel and Tourism Office, the number of Americans who travel internationally has increased in the past five years. The latest numbers show more than 60 million people went abroad in 2012 compared to nearly 88 million in 2017.
Travel experts at AAA say it's always important to research reputable lodging and look at reviews before you take the plunge. Barbara McCarty, who has worked as a travel consultant at AAA for more than 13 years shares other safety tips:
- Set in a check-in time with somebody you trust back home when you arrive at your destination.
- Provide your address and contact information to a loved one back home, so they know how to reach out in case of an emergency.
- Make copies of your passport, medical insurance and other important documents and leave them with someone you trust.
- Once in the country, stay in populated areas.
- Try and find group tours.
- Don't venture too much on your own.
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