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Vacation Safety Tips

Welcome to Miami: Watch Your Back
September 19, 2005 By Gus in Miami: Travel News  | 28 Comments


Miami Beach is a fun, and usually safe city to visit, but a number of random violent acts involving many close friends has urged me to comment on vacation safety. 

First some true stories…

On a Satuday night at 11pm, my friend Dan was coming home from his job at Pacific Time restaurant. At Euclid Ave. and 6th St., Dan got involved in a traffic altercation with a young male. The male violently attacked Dan with a kryptonite bicycle lock. Dan’s leg was severely broken, putting him out of work for nine months.

On a Sunday night at at 3am, my band mates, Pancho and Hernan, were walking down Lincoln Road. Out of nowhere, they were struck from behind by two unidentified attackers. Pancho was knocked unconscious, and fell face first into the pavement, losing his front teeth. The thieves also got away with then stealing Pancho’s wallet. 

On a Sunday night at 11pm, two friends from Tuscan Steak restaurant were assaulted on Washington Ave. and 5th St. Thankfully, Shaq saved the day.

As you can see, it is easy to let your guard down, especially when you are on vacation in a place like Miami Beach.

But the rules of the road may not be the same here as they are at home. Below are 16 vacation safety tips to remember:

  1. Before your trip, study a map of the destination. Pick an emergency meeting spot. We provide a number of local maps that can help you.
  2. Carry minimum luggage. Label each piece of luggage with your name and address.
  3. Do not pack valuables in bags you plan to check. Your bags will pass through many unsupervised hands. Keep your camera, computer, jewelry, money, and important documents in a carry-on bag. And there is always the chance that your baggage may not keep up with you, so pack medications and prescriptions in your carry on bags.
  4. In your hotel room, make sure windows and balcony doors are locked.
  5. Learn the location of hotel exits.
  6. Ask the hotel about the safety of the neighborhood and which areas to avoid.
  7. Ask the hotel for directions and costs before taking a cab.
  8. When exploring the city, don’t look vulnerable. Walk with a purpose and stay alert to what is happening around you.
  9. Use traveler’s checks and credit cards instead of cash whenever possible.
  10. Walkie-talkies, cell phones, and the Internet can keep you in touch with information and emergency services.
  11. Leave nothing in your car. Cars have been broken into for jackets and shopping bags.
  12. Leave copies of your itinerary, identification and credit cards with family or friends at home, so that you can be contacted in case of an emergency.
  13. Upload your itinerary, identification and credit card information onto a secure website so that you can retrieve the data from a local Internet cafe.
  14. Know where bad neighborhoods are, and avoid them. This is especially true when visiting Downtown Miami. There are no bad neighborhoods in Miami Beach as such. I avoid Washington Ave. and 16th St., but that is because of panhandlers and dirty streets. I also avoid walking on the Beach after dark. It’s not that it’s so dangerous, but why put yourself in a vulnerable situation.And if I need to walk late at night, I will choose to walk a busy street like Washington Ave., Collins Ave., or Ocean Dr., rather than walking a residential street like Euclid Ave., Jefferson Ave., or , Meridian Ave.
  15. It’s easy to let your guard down when it’s late and you’ve had a few drinks. But people should always beware of crime and theft inside night clubs.
  16. Miami Beach attracts a large mix of culturally diverse people; that is what make our city so great, but we can also attract a few hotheaded bullies looking to pick a fight. Avoid volatile situations. Don’t have words with the wrong guy. Just walk away. Later, you will be happy you did.

When you are on vacation have fun, stay alert, and use caution with whom you give your trust.

Photo by Miami Fever

Related Categories: Miami: Travel News,

Gus Moore heads up Miami Beach 411 as site administrator. You can reach him at 1-305-754-2206.

See more articles by Gus.

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28 Comments on

"Vacation Safety Tips"

stephen dunlop says:

coming to miami for xmas, now i’m worried. where would be safe for an early fortys pair

Posted on 10/25/2005 at 7:28 AM

LaDawn says:

Thanks for the good, common sense tips. I’m researching why out of state students would want to come to school in Miami. It’s important to get a balanced view.

Posted on 12/29/2006 at 12:59 PM

Simon B. says:

Excellent tips! Also, keep your wallet in your front pockets. Use Google maps in Miami or for that matter anywhere in the US. Remember, I-95 in Dade County between the Golden glades exit and Airport Expwy, 112 is the Highway through the Hood. Meaning, don’t exit the Interstate unless you know where you are going and your destination just so happens to be in one of those funky areas. For example if driving from Miami Beach to the Port of Miami, spend the extra 15 to 30 minutes and drive down Collins Ave. or Alton Road. The scenery is fanulous and you avoid the ghetto expressway that is I-95 in Miami-Dade County. A couple of weeks ago, we took Collins Ave. from the Thunderbird at 180401 Collins Avenue to the Mac Arthur Causeway to the Port Of Miami. I figured our drive was 15 minutes longer than schlepping inland to I-95 and touring the ghetto.

Posted on 09/05/2007 at 12:23 AM

Credit says:

Good choice… You never know what can happen in the ghetto. I have some unpleasant events that happened a while ago. I was mugged and left almost dead on the sidewalk after being stabbed several times.

Posted on 04/24/2008 at 1:51 PM

fixxxer says:

Nice site!

Posted on 05/25/2008 at 5:11 PM

Carps Lionel says:

The safety tips you included are very useful regarding all cities not only Miami. I am very sorry that your friends had to suffer. I try never to stand out of the crowd so I never have to suffer.

Posted on 05/25/2008 at 5:20 PM

Jason Miller says:

To all parents check out the NEW CHILD SAFETY device to prevent your children from slipping out with out your knowledge

Posted on 07/25/2008 at 10:14 PM

tom noble says:

we will be travelling by motorcycle to the key’s in may. how safe is hyway 997 from u.s 27 to homestead? are we better off picking up the turnpike extension

Posted on 03/22/2009 at 9:56 AM

Gus says:

Hi, Tom. I’m not exactly sure the area you’re asking about, but I do know the 2-lane highway, from Florida City to Key Largo can be sketchy, especially at night. There is a way to avoid that section of the highway by taking Card Sound Road:

“Veering southeast from U.S. 1 at Florida City, Card Sound Road carries no designation through to the Monroe County line. Once in Monroe County, the highway becomes part of Monroe County 905A and spans the tolled Card Sound Bridge. At the junction with Monroe County 905, Monroe County 905A ends. Monroe County 905 carries Card Sound Road the remainder of the way back to U.S. 1 at Key Largo.”

For some incredible sightseeing, I would also suggest checking out Everglades National Park, which you pass by in Florida City.

Have a safe trip!

Posted on 03/22/2009 at 10:31 AM

Binaya says:

Hi Gus,

I am planning to stay at 7250 NW 11th St, Miami or 105 Fairway Dr, Miami Springs during my trip to florida. I will be coming from Fort Lauderdale airport, but thought of staying in places nearby airport as they might be safe. In your views, how safe are these locations ? I will really appreciate your thoughts.

Thank you

Posted on 08/24/2009 at 9:26 AM

Gus says:

Hi Binaya,

I’m not very familiar with the areas you mentioned. What I do know is, they are not near the beach, or anything vacation-related, for that matter.

I suggest staying in Miami Beach, Downtown Miami, and at most of the hotels, near Miami Airport.

It’s hard to offer more detailed suggestions, without knowing more about your budget and dates of stay.

Posted on 08/25/2009 at 6:22 AM

Binaya says:

Thank you Gus for the suggestions. I am also planning to stay near Miami Intl Airport. I hope it will be ok.

Posted on 08/25/2009 at 7:16 AM

Ella says:

Real stories were terrifying!! Thanks for the useful tips.

Posted on 11/23/2009 at 1:43 AM

christer says:

I’m going to Miami tomorrow..and im gonna stay at main roads for the win:P

I’m from Norway and not used to seeing ppl getting shot etc…thx god for that..Only reason is that Only the cops are allowed to have guns here..therefor..NO murders at all almost;)
GoGo America and your brain dead gun laws:P Let Norway’s government run the Us for 10 years and ALL your money problems are gone and the crime rate is down about 50% at least^^

But with that said.. i love your country never the less;)

Posted on 02/04/2010 at 4:07 AM

tam says:


Posted on 09/16/2010 at 7:48 PM

Franki says:

We are going to be spending 2 days in Miami in April and are staying at the Wyndham Garden Hotel Miami South Beach located at 1050 Washington Avenue Miami Beach. Wondering if this area is safe for a young couple ? Thanks for any input that you have for I was talking to a few people and they were saying that this area is not a decent area. Thanks again in advance!

Posted on 01/27/2012 at 8:03 AM

Gus says:

Hi Tam, sorry for the delayed reply. If you’re still looking around the Brickell area, check out the apartmetns along Coral way in Coral Gables. It’s a safe and nice neighborhood, with good shopping, withing walking distance.

Posted on 01/27/2012 at 10:36 AM

Gus says:

Franki, Washington Avenue is a safe place to stay. All I would mention is, the area from 14 to 16 Street, along Washington Ave. is a popular place for panhandling, especially at night.

You should also know, 4 block West of Washington is Flamingo Park and the Flamingo park public swimming pool, which is a hidden gem, especially if your hotel does not have a pool.

For an affordable meal, check out these restaurants: 11th Street Diner, Pizza Rustica, Puerto Sagua, and Charlotte’s Bakery.

Have a great time in Miami!

Posted on 01/27/2012 at 10:42 AM

Jonathan says:

Im not sure i can have my kids here kind of worried

Posted on 02/02/2014 at 10:31 AM

Gus says:

Hi Jonathan, it’s safe to bring your kids. However, I would avoid staying in a boutique hotel in South Beach. You’d probably be more comfortable staying at a Oceanfront hotel, north of the 25 Street. Kids also love visiting the Everglades. And there is a children’s museum nearby.

Posted on 02/02/2014 at 11:10 AM

Jonathan says:

I just wont take the risk of getting killed or get in a fight with a drunk man, so i guess after i have read all this i should cancel the flight tickets

Posted on 02/02/2014 at 11:35 AM

Gus says:

Miami is no different than any other major city in the United Stated. You can find drunks and dangerous situations almost anywhere. As a matter of fact, the last time I got into a fight with a drunk, and ran the risk of being killed was in El Centro, CA (population, 43,107). Surely, there are some dangers where you live. What made you want to visit Miami, in the first place? I’m happy to help you navigate safe passage, while you’re here.

Posted on 02/02/2014 at 11:49 AM

Jonathan says:

Can you please show me wich street not to go and we have already rented a car is that safe??? And is it safe to drive from miami beach to orlando

Posted on 02/02/2014 at 11:59 AM

Gus says:

Some people might tell you to avoid Overtown and Liberty City, but my wife and I feel safe driving there. In Miami Beach, you may want to avoid Washington and Collins Avenue, near 17th Street, but only because the streets are congested and a little dirty. Driving to Orlando is completely safe, unless you consider dying of boredom a concern. The route takes you thought lots of farmland. Toll charges on the Florida Turnpike will also beat-up your wallet, so beware of that.

Posted on 02/02/2014 at 12:10 PM

Jonathan says:

Can i go out with my kidds in the evening to eat at a resturant or go shopping without getting in trouble.

Posted on 02/03/2014 at 12:36 PM

Dam says:

I’ve been living in miami all my life. I would t worry about getting jumped or robbed in miami beach. The trick here is, do not go through the beach ally ways after dark, to avoid being mugged or jumped. Second rule is, don’t. BE driving in miami at night if you don’t know where your going… You do not, I repeat you do not want to be lost and end up In a place like over town…...and third rule… Don’t look sooooooo much like a tourist and walk around alone at nigh. Most crap happens at night, when someone is alone…..good luck in that 305

Posted on 09/08/2014 at 9:12 AM

jack james says:

You have published there informative post and share nice tips with us. These days I am planning to go with <a >boston washington bus tours</a> and will be careful to follow these tips to make my tour more reliable and memorable.

Posted on 11/13/2014 at 6:50 AM

Jooles says:

We are 2 adults, 3 children. I have a boutique hotel booked on Washington avenue at 5th street. I’m just unsure whether we will be safe or not. We will be arriving in the dark with all our luggage etc for just over 2 weeks stay in Florida (only 2 nights Miami).

Posted on 09/07/2016 at 3:46 PM

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