Health & Safety Tips
Ensuring a Safe & Happy Vacation For All
A few common sense ideas will make sure you feel safe and secure on vacation. Being prepared means there’s nothing to worry about.
Warning – the following information may contain details that ‘they’ don’t want you to know about.
#1 Heath Insurance & Medevac
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Well, you’d be surprised how many people don’t take out travel insurance when they go on vacation, but for peace of mind it is worth a couple of hundred dollars to make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance to cover yourself, partner or family.
Most booking agencies give travel insurance options, but MAKE SURE you read the small print for ‘exclusions’ and ‘waivers’ – insurance companies will do anything to avoid a payout.
You may want to consider ‘Medevac’ coverage as well. If you have a serious accident and need emergency repatriation back to your home country to receive critical care, you may find you get stuck with a bill of up to $35,000 to pay IN CASH, UP FRONT, before you can get on the plane/ helicopter! For a low premium you can get a medevac coverage so you don’t have to worry about it. (we have a Medevac agent listed in our e-book)
#2 Dark Streets & Corners
You’d be surprised how many people think that just because an Island destination is considered ‘friendly’ or ‘safe’, they can walk around dark unlit streets in the middle of the night without worry – you never know when you might just bump into the wrong person at the wrong time so it is best to simply avoid anywhere that is ‘too quiet’ or ‘too dark’.
A good example is Philipsburg, St Maarten or Marigot, St Martin after sun down – if you stay where the crowds are, park as close as possible to the venue/ restaurant you are visiting, avoid dark alleys and avoid wearing tons of jewelry, then you will not be a target for an opportunistic thief.
In our downloadable guide we tell you exactly where the ‘no-go’ areas are after dark.
Whilst most tourist destinations avoid talking about anything negative to save their image, we take the view that it is our duty to help tourists to our island understand how to have a happy and safe vacation and avoid any potential problems. Many hundreds of thousands of visitors come through St Maarten annually with no problem at all and we are sure you will be one of them.
In our e-book we go into more detail about the specific areas of the island to avoid and we elaborate on general health & safety.
#3 Personal Safety
Many elderly people visit our island and there is something very important to understand about the difference in health & safety laws in the US (or other Western countries) to the Caribbean islands regulations and laws.
For instance, in St Maarten, it is not compulsory to have wheelchair access to all buildings and sidewalks, hence there generally aren’t any!
Be aware that there can be obstacles on your pathway or road you don’t expect. Some roads are not up to the same standard as the US. It pays to be aware of where you are walking at all times. You may find yourself tripping over a discarded utility cable sticking out of the ground, whilst you are trying to snap a picture – don’t walk and shoot!
Also – the pavements and roads can have the odd block or crack waiting to trip you up when you least expect it.
If you are elderly and on a cruise, you can ask for assistance to get around.
#4 Belongings & Valuables
Yes, we still hear about the hapless tourist who was going to the airport and decided to stop off at Sunset Beach bar to have one last dip in the ocean, a cool beer and catch some rays before going to catch their plane, only to find all their belongings vanished from the trunk of their car.
Suitcases, passports, camera with all the photo memories of their vacation – everything, gone.
It goes without saying – NEVER leave valuables in your car UNLESS it is parked right in front of a busy place and you can have it in eye contact at all times. Also, be careful who you rent a car from. You never know if they have some sort of ‘deal’ with a thief and gave them a spare key to your car! (see our rental car section in our guide for details about this).
Wearing too much ‘bling’ might attract the wrong sort of attention – tone it down. It’s better to be anonymous than famous.
#5 Sunburn & hangovers
A common issue – especially if you are on a cruise and spend the first day sunning yourself on deck! Be aware that the cool breeze on deck can make you misunderstand just how strong the Caribbean sun can be.
You do not want to end up having to stay out of the sun for the rest of the cruise because you got burnt the first stay. Small doses of sun and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants if you are still in the sun, is the general rule. Loose-fitting cotton or linen is perfect for this.
If you are on-island when you get burned, try to find some native Aloe plants – they are green, arrow shaped and spikey along one edge. These plants have miraculous healing properties for not only sunburn but also any cuts and bruises and Aloe is also great for hangovers!
I wouldn’t suggest you try to make your own Aloe drink because if you don’t get the right mixture of pulp and yellow gum, you can end up on the toilet for a few hours (great constipation cure!).
In our downloadable e-book guide we tell you exactly where you can find the Aloe plants and which restaurants you can get specially made aloe tonic drinks.
My old favorite for hangovers – baking soda – is also good for acid reflux if you’ve been hitting the spicy tacos the night before! A couple of teaspoons in water really is a miracle cure. You can pick up a pack of ‘Red Mill’ Baking Soda at any of the health food stores on the island.
For more great info on health & safety whilst on vacation be sure to instantly download our St Maarten Island Guide.
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