With the news coming from the Dominican Republic, it's understandable to feel worried about any upcoming travel plans to the country.
Nine Americans have died under mysterious circumstances in the Dominican Republic since April. It was most recently reported that Joseph Allen, 55, was found dead on June 13 in his hotel room at the Terra Linda Resort.
Currently, Dominican Republic officials and the U.S. State Department have not determined a connection between the deaths. The FBI is aiding local authorities in the investigation.
“The safety and security of U.S. citizens that live in, work in, and visit the Dominican Republic remains our highest priority," U.S. Ambassador Robin Bernstein said in a statement last week. "These incidents are tragic and we offer our deepest condolences to those personally impacted.” The statement also requested patience as authorities work to investigate these cases.
The U.S. government issued a level 2 travel advisory for the Dominican Republic in April due to crime, recommending that tourists "exercise increased caution" when traveling.
Right now, experts aren't advising against travel to the entirety of the Dominican Republic. According to the Washington Post, travelers should look at the hotels where the deaths occur more than the country.
“Yes, bad stuff happens to tourists, whether it’s a bus crash or a death,” Eddie Lloyd, an expert on Caribbean travel, told the Washington Post. “Is it indicative of the destination falling apart? No.”
But exercising common sense and being aware of your surroundings is necessary when traveling anywhere. Research your destination and resort before arriving and don't assume you're completely safe in your hotel.
Experts also recommend staying in a reputable international hotel chain, always checking seals on bottles before consumption, watching any drink vigilantly, and letting fresh air into rooms in case of pesticides or toxic fumes.
Ultimately, a vacation should be relaxing. If you're feeling overly worried about traveling to the Dominican Republic, consider cancelling or postponing your trip.