Central Florida can be a great place to visit, especially if Miami is your main destination. Beautiful weather, beautiful beaches, and beautiful people make it a popular destination for travelers all around the world.
That’s both a good and a bad thing. It means there’s no shortage of things to do because the city is used to tourists, but it also means Miami can be a bit more dangerous than some other destinations. Whether you’re traveling alone or you’re traveling with a family, these tips will help keep you safe.
Be Prepared for What Makes Florida Roads a Little Different
Just because you’ve driven on American roads before doesn’t necessarily mean you’re prepared to drive on the roads in Central Florida. There are some things you should do, like eliminate distractions in the car, no matter where you’re driving, but there are some things you should know about Florida roads that make them a little different.
The safety seat laws in Florida require children five and under to sit in a car or booster seat. Make sure you add one to your car rental if you need one.
You should also be ready to pass through tolls when you’re driving on Florida roads. Buy a sticker for your car that allows you to pay later, or make sure you have plenty of quarters and dollar bills to make paying a lot easier.
And of course, a GPS always makes it easier to drive when you’ve never been to Central Florida before!
Know Which Areas to Avoid
Miami is generally a safe place to visit, but that doesn’t mean every area of the city is safe. There are some dangerous places that should be avoided.
Opa-locka and Florida City should be avoided, as they are ranked among the most dangerous cities in the entire United States. Additional areas you may want to be wary of include Liberty City, Little Haiti, and Overtown.
No matter where you are in the city, it’s almost always a good idea to take a taxi back to your hotel if you’re out late at night. Miami isn’t known for being friendly to walkers, so it’s better to pay for a ride, just in case.
Keep a Close Eye on Your Belongings
Miami is a large city, and its residents are used to mingling with tourists. Unfortunately, that means there are plenty of people around who are looking for ways to take advantage of tourists who are unsure of their surroundings.
It’s important to protect your valuables while traveling. That includes doing things like:
- Use a money belt that can be worn underneath your clothing.
- Consider pickpocket-proof accessories, like pants and backpacks.
- Don’t leave all your money in one spot—leave small stashes hidden in your hotel room.
- Keep your luggage close while you’re at the airport.
Know Your Beach Flags
A favorite pastime of Miami citizens and tourists alike includes being seen at the beach. That doesn’t mean the beach is always safe.
There are many reasons why you might want to rethink your trip to the beach, but you won’t know if you need to be careful unless you know your Miami beach flags. Flags to be on the lookout for before you lay down your beach towel include:
- Double red flags mean the beach is closed to swimmers.
- A single red flag warns of high surf and strong currents.
- A yellow flag signals moderate surf and beach hazards.
- A green flag means the conditions are relatively calm.
- A purple flag indicates dangerous marine life, like jellyfish and stingrays.
Be Prepared for the Heat
For those coming from northern climates, the thought of warm air can be exciting, but the intensity of the Miami heat can be overwhelming, even for those who are used to warmer weather. Average temperatures in Miami in the summer can easily climb into the 90s, and humidity is the norm, which can make it feel even hotter.
Make sure you’re prepared for the heat. That includes dressing appropriately for the day by wearing layers that can be removed as the day gets hotter, as well as making sure you have easy access to water. Sunscreen is a must, while floppy hats and shady spots can help you make it through the hottest part of the day.
Miami is a great place to visit! Just make sure you have the kind of experience that makes you want to return again in the future by following the safety tips on this list.