It was 15 years ago on May 30, 2005 that Beth Holloway’s nightmare began. Her daughter, Natalee Holloway, went missing in Aruba while on a high school senior trip. While the details of her daughter’s disappearance remain a mystery, Beth has turned her grief into a mission of helping others, not only does she help parents of the missing, but she also helps educate the public on how to travel safe. Alcatraz East Crime Museum and Natalee Holloway Resource Center are providing these awareness programs as Beth speaks to local students just in time for their spring break and end of year travels.
The country watched the news regarding the disappearance of Natalee. She could have been anyone’s daughter and it struck us,
explains Janine Vaccarello, chief operating officer at Alcatraz East Crime Museum.
We are honored to work with Beth to help spread the message of ways that people can stay safe while traveling.
Natalee’s disappearance sparked media headlines around the world, as people waited and watched, hoping for answers and as Beth’s quest for answers in finding her daughter were relentless.
While Beth’s grief continues, she has turned her energy toward helping others, she has been seen on the TV show Vanished with Beth Holloway. She along with the museum are providing assistance through the Natalee Holloway Resource Center, where people can download many resources at www.helpthemissing.org. These resources include college safety tips, identity-theft information, and information about law enforcement careers.
This month she will bring her story and message to local schools surrounding Alcatraz East. Travelers never expect that bad things are going to happen to them. Yet every year lives are ruined due to trafficking, sexual offenses, homicide, and many other incidents.
Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when traveling:
- Research. Always spend some time researching where you are going, don’t just focus on the tourist attractions. Check out the U.S. State Department’s recommendations, which are available online. The government will let you know how safe it is to travel in a particular country. While you are at it, look up the contact information to the U.S. Embassy where you are going to and keep it handy, either in your phone, written down, or both.
- Consider health precautions. There may be vaccinations required or health warnings that you should be aware of when you are leaving the country. Be sure to find out if there’s anything you need to know before you go.
- Copy documents. Take your important documents and make copies of them. The copies can be stored at home, where someone can easily obtain them for you, or you can store them electronically so you can easily access them.
- Obtain travel insurance. This will help to provide you with the coverage you need if there was anything that happens. Speak with your current insurance provider to see what you should have while traveling.
- Check your look. It may be difficult to do, but as much as possible try not to stand out and look like a tourist. Criminals find tourists to be easy targets.
- Keep in touch. Be sure to regularly check in with family and friends, so that people know where you are and where you’re headed.
- Be mindful. Always be aware of your surroundings. Keep such things as hotel security, going places in the dark, and walking in sketchy areas in mind. Don’t get so caught up looking at the sites that you forget to pay attention to what is going on around you.
- Watch the alcohol. While you want to have fun, drinking too much alcohol in a place you are not familiar with can put you at additional safety risks. Pace yourself, get a designated driver, exercise caution about who you are drinking with as well as knowing the legal drinking age, and keep your guard up so you don’t become more vulnerable.
- Add protection. Add tracking and a password to your phone. This will help you find it if it gets stolen, and if you go missing it may be used to help locate you. Connect with a family member or friend back home who can have access to your tracking, just in case it’s needed.
I’m looking forward to sharing Natalee’s story with the students with the hope that they will use what happened in my family to make informed decisions regarding their personal safety, especially in unfamiliar situations,
explained Beth Holloway.
Just maybe it will help keep someone else’s children safe. Natalee’s story is a reminder to everyone to put personal safety first, and I hope other teens can learn from it.
Alcatraz East Crime Museum has a star-studded panel of experts who make up the Advisory Board, including those in law enforcement, collectors, a medical examiner, crime scene investigators, and others. The board includes Jim Willett, a retired prison warden, Anthony Rivera, a combat veteran and Navy SEAL chief, and Judge Belvin Perry Jr., who is best known for the Casey Anthony trial. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: www.alcatrazeast.com. Please check out our traveling safe page with more safety tips and information: www.crimemuseum.org/help-the-missing/missing-persons/.
About Alcatraz East
Alcatraz East is the most arresting crime museum in the United States. Guests of all ages can encounter a unique journey into the history of American crime, crime solving, and our justice system. Through interactive exhibits and original artifacts, Alcatraz East is an entertaining and educational experience for all ages – so much fun it’s a crime! This family attraction is located at the entrance of The Island, located at 2757 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN. General admission tickets are $14.95 for children and $24.95 for adults. Group ticket sales are available. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., with the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: www.alcatrazeast.com.