Why travelers don't have to be so afraid of Mexican resorts, the Philippines, and other "dangerous" places
This January I flew to Acapulco, Mexico. I was there a few days before sailing on the Queen Elizabeth up to Los Angeles as a guest of Cunard Cruise Lines. Not surprisingly, almost everyone I told mentioned something about crime, murders, drug gangs, or beheadings.
Almost all the news coming from Mexico lately has been bad. It seems the only thing you hear about is violence, kidnappings, and drug lords running wild.
So am I crazy to have gone to Mexico?
Over the last four years I've been to about 80 countries depending on how you define the term. Five of those countries were on the State Department travel warning list when I visited: the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Israel, and Mexico. (Thailand and Indonesia are no longer on the list.) In addition, I've been at the Thai-Cambodian border while the two countries were fighting and I visited Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, a week after it was named the #1 Hell On Earth. I was also in East Timor the day of the assassination attempt on the president and prime minister.
I mention this not to brag or to make it sound like I'm some super traveler who doesn't fear danger. Quite the contrary, I have no desire to become a martyr to the cause of travel blogging. (I often joke that getting kidnapped would be the greatest thing I could do to boost the traffic to my site. I do, however, value my life more than I do page views.) I mention it because all of the places I visited that had travel warnings seemed quite pedestrian. Even when I was standing between several hundred Bangkok police officers in riot gear and several thousand redshirt protesters, I never really felt any immediate danger.