Note: Please bear in mind that whilst this topic does canvass opinions, it is not a fight club. You may disagree with other posters but we do ask you please to stick to our Talk Guidelines and to be civil. We don't allow personal attacks or troll-hunting. Do please report any. Thanks, MNHQ.

DM going on holiday to Haiti... AIBU to think she has a death wish?

(92 Posts)
Cantwejustsaywhatwemean Wed 08-Jan-14 20:39:59

Apparently there are Air bnbs there... Oh well that makes it ok then! She was supposed to be booking a much needed break to see my DB in the USA but has announced she also plans to go to Haiti for a few days with a similar aged friend (70+). She's not an intrepid traveller and has a habit of 'adopting' people she thinks need her help then taking ages to extricate herself from situations that end up making her feel I'll. she's not in great health but loves to be a bit different and crazy. I am pretty sure Haiti is the most dangerous country on earth. AIBU to worry? NC'd obviously although I think even this title may out me... Anyone else been on holiday to Haiti or have a 70+ year old relative who has?

MrsSquirrel Wed 08-Jan-14 20:56:13

Why do you think Haiti is so dangerous? It is a poor country, of course, but there is no war there.

Artandco Wed 08-Jan-14 20:57:55

We stopped there for 3 days 2 years ago. Had then 6 month old and 2 year old with us. We survived, had a lovely time with friends, and would go back. It's a poor country, not at war

CustardOmlet Wed 08-Jan-14 20:59:09

I wouldn't say it was the most dangerous place on earth, but I can't imagine the tourist facilities are great.

I can start a pretty long list of countries that are more dangerous, Somalia just to start with.

SparkleToffee Wed 08-Jan-14 21:01:37

Tbh FCO suggest against travel to parts of Port au Prince, they suggest great care due to criminal activity throughout the country , and there has been an increase in cholera. Personally I'm not certain it is the place for an unseasoned traveller. However that said presumably she has insurance and they know where she is going?

I'm not sure if its booked what you can do to stop her

magnumicelolly Wed 08-Jan-14 21:02:36

The most dangerous country on earth? Seriously? If I was asked to name the 10 most dangerous, I don't think it would even come close to featuring on the list!

Cantwejustsaywhatwemean Wed 08-Jan-14 21:04:53

Good to know it's not as dangerous as I thought

WooWooOwl Iran Wed 08-Jan-14 21:04:54

YANBU to worry, but I think it's great that she wants to do that sort of travelling at her age.

Cantwejustsaywhatwemean Wed 08-Jan-14 21:06:40

I am not going to try and stop her... That would be a hiding to nothing! But would be very worried about her

VworpVworp Wed 08-Jan-14 21:20:48

I thought FO advised against travel to Haiti.

VworpVworp Wed 08-Jan-14 21:30:29

Goodness- you don't think she's got mixed up with Hawaii do you?

RandyRudolf Wed 08-Jan-14 21:32:18

That's what I was thinking Vworp

TeacupDrama Wed 08-Jan-14 21:33:01

haiti is not as safe as Germany but i would imagine there is lots worse places syria pakistan afghanistan sudan somalia iraq iran etc etc

Rushyswife Wed 08-Jan-14 21:34:12

It's worth checking if the fact that the FO warn against travel invalidates her travel insurance, this can sometimes be the case.

Artandco Wed 08-Jan-14 21:37:46

The gov website only warns of travel in port au prince. The rest of Haiti is classified as safe

Cantwejustsaywhatwemean Wed 08-Jan-14 21:43:49

Vworp that made me laugh! No on reflection she said "x says it's very poor but just lovely" doesn't sound like Hawaii to me. I am concerned that she doesn't really know what 'very poor' really means. I did think that they didn't have an effective government... What about police? Who do you go to if things go wrong?

Cantwejustsaywhatwemean Wed 08-Jan-14 21:45:21

She hates insurance of all kinds. Would laugh at me if I said about insurance.

lastnightIwenttoManderley Wed 08-Jan-14 21:48:29

No insurance is nuts!

Playing devils advocate though, would you be as worried if she said she was going to the Dominican Republic?

Personally it sounds like she hasn't really thought it through. I'm quite a seasoned traveller but would always listen to the fco. Mind you, back to the insurance, most standard insurers have a blanket ban on countries on the fco list...

Tabliope Wed 08-Jan-14 21:49:43

I think she's nuts sorry. There's no war there but unless she's going to go to a resort (if there are any) and not leave the hotel it'll be dangerous. They had nothing after the earthquake of a few years ago. I don't think things have improved a hell of a lot. Per capita I think they're amongst the poorest nations. In fact at the time of the earthquake they might have been the poorest. It's violent with high rates of crime including kidnapping. I think the FO advises going there. I would really try and talk her out of it.

Cantwejustsaywhatwemean Wed 08-Jan-14 21:53:50

Right now I'd be thrilled if she said she was going to the Dominican Republic!! I am always the annoying one who says 'do you really think that's a good idea?' I think it just inflames her...

Tabliope Wed 08-Jan-14 21:54:15

I should imagine the police are corrupt. Wasn't it a dictatorship. Papa Doc was the president years ago. Not sure who is now or how good they are. I think voodoo originated from there.

Selks Wed 08-Jan-14 21:55:55

She is out of her mind to consider Haiti without insurance!! (or anywhere without travel insurance really), seriously - at least get her to sort decent travel insurance. Who does she expect will pay the $20,000 plus bills if she falls ill and needs an operation or has a road traffic accident? How would she pay the huge costs of medically repatriating her should she need it? Insane.

lastnightIwenttoManderley Wed 08-Jan-14 22:05:17

No insurance is nuts!

Playing devils advocate though, would you be as worried if she said she was going to the Dominican Republic?

Personally it sounds like she hasn't really thought it through. I'm quite a seasoned traveller but would always listen to the fco. Mind you, back to the insurance, most standard insurers have a blanket ban on countries on the fco list...

lastnightIwenttoManderley Wed 08-Jan-14 22:05:19

No insurance is nuts!

Playing devils advocate though, would you be as worried if she said she was going to the Dominican Republic?

Personally it sounds like she hasn't really thought it through. I'm quite a seasoned traveller but would always listen to the fco. Mind you, back to the insurance, most standard insurers have a blanket ban on countries on the fco list...

UncleT Wed 08-Jan-14 22:59:04

It is not correct to say that Port au Prince is off limits but "the rest of the country is safe". The UK travel advice says something completely different. Security is a major concern and any independent travel to the country is strongly warned against. She should not travel there without making full arrangements for her reception and security while in the country.

polythenespam Wed 08-Jan-14 23:02:48

forget the Haiti bit - if she's going to the USA she needs travel insurance, especially at her age. would be absolute madness to travel without it. people have had to sell their homes to fund repatriation.

No insurance is an extremely bad idea. I got dengue in Thailand and goodness knows what would have happened without decent insurance. That goes triple for the States.

UncleT Wed 08-Jan-14 23:06:01

+1 for insurance, regardless of destination. It's essential, no ifs or buts.

whois Wed 08-Jan-14 23:37:19

Your mum is a bit if an idiot to travel to the IMUS without travel insurance, and I would say also quite foolish to go to H given what the FO currently have as their guidance!

34DD Wed 08-Jan-14 23:41:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

UncleT Thu 09-Jan-14 00:07:34

Not suggesting she's stupid or anything (possibly crazy), but are we SURE she really does mean Haiti??

It just seems so odd if you don't have a connection or a reason to go there. If she really does mean Haiti, and she really wants to go independently AND without insurance, well - quite simply, she's doing it all wrong and risks tragedy. She needs serious warning off, but if she won't listen to you, keep it factual and present plenty of independent advice from a range of sources (all 'western' countries publish travel advice as a rule).

BlingBang Thu 09-Jan-14 00:10:22

Why Haiti - what a strange choice, especially from someone who isn't an 'intrepid' traveller.

People who travel without insurance make me really angry - very selfish.

She is going to the USA without insurance?

Madness.

(Chooses to ignore the insanity of travelling to Haiti without any kind of cover too).

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Thu 09-Jan-14 00:45:24

She might end up eaten?!?!?!

Errr, not really high up on the list of ways things may go horribly wrong. If OP said this then I'm afraid DM would have another reason not to listen to her. I guess twas in jest?

Could you get her declared insane? hmm (joke)
I would put together a dossier of all the travel warnings and news reports and give it to her. Also do extensive research into medical costs in the USA. DM went to visit her MIL about 10 years ago. Her MIL was taken ill and needed an ambulance. That alone was about $200 without any treatment costs. She would be totally irresponsible to travel without insurance.

NigellasDealer Greece Thu 09-Jan-14 01:28:00

haiti? is she completely bonkers? you must tell her not to, it will not be safe at all.

JamNan Thu 09-Jan-14 09:14:40

Do you think your DM means Tahiti?

dontcallmemam Thu 09-Jan-14 09:21:43

I hope she's taken health advice? There are several health risks.
I hope it's Tahiti or Hawaii.

Cantwejustsaywhatwemean Thu 09-Jan-14 09:21:55

No, not Tahiti sigh. Feel like I'd quite like to go to Tahiti right now. She is an adult, she can make her own decisions I suppose. But she seems to get these 'enthusiasms ' for things that she doesn't like at all in the end. Most of the time it's relatively harmless. But it is her life, all I can do is make her aware of the risks and leave her to it I guess. It's not actually my problem...

Cantwejustsaywhatwemean Thu 09-Jan-14 09:23:14

I think it's her version of wearing purple or whatever that poem is.

BlingBang Thu 09-Jan-14 09:26:28

I've travelled a lot, I know adventurous folk who have travelled a hell of a lot - I know no-one who has been the Haiti except James Bond.

Cantwejustsaywhatwemean Thu 09-Jan-14 09:29:43

Fwiw not too worried about the prospect of her getting eaten or being a victim of voodoo magic. More along the lines of flashing her camera/phone about, following some random stranger into their house, getting sick and not being able to get help. She's the kind of person who tells shop assistants her PIN numbers etc. I feel like this is more the kind of thing parents of teenagers ask about Gap years. How did it come to this?

Electryone Thu 09-Jan-14 09:40:10

I can see why you are worried. What does she want to go for?

chemenger Costa Rica Thu 09-Jan-14 09:40:35

Really must emphasise the madness of a visit to the US without insurance. My dh broke a bone in the US 15 years ago - the ambulance (2 miles) cost $500, painkillers were $15 per tablet, x-ray was $100's etc. Half a day in A&E came to about $5000 in all I think, all paid by insurance. Could you buy insurance for her?

My dd went on a field trip to Honduras, not a million miles from Haiti but with better governance. Pizza restaurants had armed guards on the doors in the town they stayed in. They travelled in a convoy with guards and stayed in a gated complex with armed guards on the gates.

MrsSquirrel Thu 09-Jan-14 09:41:59

Flashing her camera/phone about, following some random stranger into their house, getting sick and not being able to get help or giving her PIN number to shop assistants would all be things that could land her in trouble in Haiti or the USA (or most anywhere else really). YANBU to be worried.

Cantwejustsaywhatwemean Thu 09-Jan-14 09:45:26

Electryone I don't think she has a reason. If any at all and I am being totally serious, it's probably to visit an Air bnb. She's gone a bit nuts for them, is really evangelical about how great they are. Her friend mentioned it I think - she lives in Miami and May have been there. I'm not sure, as I don't know her very well, if she's a seasoned traveller herself or just as bonkers as mum and has been lucky. The problem is I don't think she has any idea about what it will be like! Just vague stuff like 'beautiful' and 'lovely people' etc. am I an awful stick in the mud?

Cantwejustsaywhatwemean Thu 09-Jan-14 09:47:43

In the USA she would be staying with friends and my DB. She hasn't ever really travelled alone anywhere since she was in her 20s except to go to folk art conventions which I think are pretty highly organised events. Usually comes on holiday with us or with my dad when he was alive.

Cantwejustsaywhatwemean Thu 09-Jan-14 09:49:26

Also she doesn't like beach holidays except in Cornwall.

Acinonyx Thu 09-Jan-14 09:50:36

I'm a very seasoned traveller including (for work) parts definitely on the top 10 dangerous list and YANBU. She doesn't seem to know what kind of place she is going to and more importantly, how to behave safely once there. IIWY I would take out travel insurance for her. Dh and I have used ours each more than once (in fact I was in an overseas hospital just last week and very thankful for the insurance) - you do not want to be left feeling obliged to foot the bill.

Of course she is an adult and you can't stop her - but insurance would at least give you some peace of mind.

MrsSquirrel Thu 09-Jan-14 09:53:00

So basically she knows nothing about Haiti and is going there because this other person liked it?

Cantwejustsaywhatwemean Thu 09-Jan-14 09:53:59

Yep, and don't forget the Air bnbs...

BlingBang Thu 09-Jan-14 09:56:46

What is an Air Bnb?

HyvaPaiva Thu 09-Jan-14 10:01:40

This is the FCO info on travel to Haiti, it might reassure you:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the of Carrefour, Cite Soleil, Martissant and Bel Air neighbourhoods in Port-au-Prince due to the risk of criminal activity.

You should take great care due to the risk of criminal activity throughout the country.

There is a low threat from terrorism.

There has been an increase in cases of cholera.

There is a small British Embassy in Haiti but it does not provide consular (or visa) services. If you need consular assistance you should contact the British Honorary Consul (telephone: 509 3744 6371) or the British Embassy in Santo Domingo.

titchy Thu 09-Jan-14 10:01:45

The visa may well be dependent upon her telling them her insurers and having enough funds and a place to stay before they issue it, so might not be an issue if she doesn't even get a visa!

Sidge Thu 09-Jan-14 10:01:55

Even apart from the safety issues (and Haiti isn't one of the safest places to visit) she is barmy to travel without insurance, especially in the USA.

The health risks in Haiti are significant - Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, cholera, measles, diphtheria, dengue fever, malaria and TB.

She should be seeing her practice nurse or a travel health clinic for a full assessment and vaccinations, travel health advice and antimalarials. And hopefully they'll talk her out of it

Cantwejustsaywhatwemean Thu 09-Jan-14 10:02:18

Just a bnb advertised on the internet on a specific site. The users all rate each other so she feels like it's sort of recommended and much more personal than 'commercial' bnbs. Maybe, but I feel as though she needs educating about internet safety and the fact that you can't necessarily assume a place is safe because it has a couple of reviews... Having said that I am posting about my personal life on a public Internet forum [hollow laugh]

Cantwejustsaywhatwemean Thu 09-Jan-14 10:05:24

Ooh yes she hates vaccinations! That could be great, as she wouldn't want them. Actually she doesn't believe in them and never got us vaccinated as children [sceptical] so she'd probably just ignore me. Hasten to add that I did get mine vaccinated with no serious health effects (as she direly warned me). Am even more worried now, hadn't thought about that.

Cantwejustsaywhatwemean Thu 09-Jan-14 10:12:34

Titchy I am pinning my hopes on that right now. Have got DB on the insurance issue... Feel it has more weight coming from someone who lives there.

MrsSquirrel Thu 09-Jan-14 10:13:51

The air bnbs in Haiti might actually be very nice and have that 'personal' feel she likes. Even if she goes to the nicest place in Haiti, she would still run certain risks, and would do well to avoid risky behaviour.

If you are going to try and get travel insurance for her, read the small print. The insurance is usually only valid if you have all the recommended vaccinations.

MrsSquirrel Thu 09-Jan-14 10:18:12

Also, if she needs any kind of medical treatment in the USA, most places will turn her away unless she shows evidence of insurance cover or hands over a credit card with a big enough credit limit.

specialsubject Thu 09-Jan-14 10:20:37

tell her the following if she is travelling without insurance:

- if she has an accident or is hospitalised in the USA, she will be racking up bills of about £1000 a day.
- if she needs repatriation from anywhere abroad, she is looking at thousands, possibly tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds.

oh, and Haiti (and indeed Hawaii, and anywhere tropical) are dengue zones, and there is no vaccine for that.

so if she refuses to buy insurance, make it clear that you will not be selling your house or going bankrupt to get her home or pay for her treatment. So she needs to be prepared to shoot herself if she gets ill. Yes, I know that is brutal, but that is the kind of risk with your life and finances she is taking through her stupidity.

it is also disgusting to go to poor countries unvaccinated, as she puts at risks the people there who have no choice.

Cantwejustsaywhatwemean Thu 09-Jan-14 10:23:18

Special subject you have hit a nerve there. I think I'm partly worried that she is careless with her health and well being now as she's not happy about turning 70 and not bothered about reaching 80 iyswim. It makes me sad.

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Thu 09-Jan-14 10:29:49

If vaccinations are suggested, she may have trouble being allowed back in the UK is she hasn't had them. She may have to spend time in quarantine, surely that would put her off.

specialsubject Thu 09-Jan-14 10:41:17

OP, that is sad. But being brutal again (sorry) if she is tired of her life that is a different issue, but taking your finances with her by bankrupting you does not help!

of course the odds on this kind of disaster are fairly low, but it is NOT impossible and the consequences would be horrific.

hope you can get some sense into her. Why doesn't she just buy some travel insurance???

Cantwejustsaywhatwemean Thu 09-Jan-14 10:44:28

Yes DB has been put on case... I think she might listen to him. I feel bad mentioning my finances to her, it feels mean - of course we would repatriate her, she'd do it for me. And she likes to sniff out an ulterior (mean) motive when she can.

MistressDeeCee Thu 09-Jan-14 10:48:41

Haiti is not the most dangerous country on earth. But there's a whole subculture there..hmmm..tbh I dont entirely blame you for being worried about your DM going there. If she has her wits about her tho & isnt overfriendly ie, aware that not everybody who approaches her to be a friend is genuine - then hopefully she will be ok. Crime and illness is rife in Haiti, also. Will she even be able to get insurance at her age, and going to Haiti too? You cant stop her if she's adamant though, but I wouldnt be happy at all if it were my DM

kmc1111 Thu 09-Jan-14 11:02:55

She shouldn't be going ANYWHERE without insurance and up to date vaccinations, but Haiti is really not that bad. It's a poor country with a lot of issues, but it's not a hellhole, there's culture, people are friendly and hospitable, it's very vibrant...I've enjoyed my visits a lot. Haiti wouldn't even make my list of 'high risk' travel destinations tbh, there are major American cities I'd consider much more dangerous, and as for most dangerous country on earth, well, Somalia, Columbia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, Democratic Republic of the Congo and the State of Palestine would beg to differ.

It's not really a touristy place (as in tours and souvenirs and all that), but lots of travellers iykwim. It's dangerous in areas, but I've visited Port au Prince multiple times and while yes, it's certainly dodgy, there are parts of London that are similarly dangerous. An awful lot of the crime is bored teenage boys/young men doing stupid things, just like anywhere else. There's bag snatchers and the like, but you'll get the same all over Europe. Two days ago a guy tried to sneak my phone out of my pocket on the tube...it happens everywhere. I found it much, much worse in Brazil, and foreign tourists still flock to Carnivale. Some health issues, but for a visitor who isn't living like a local, vaccinations and only drinking bottled water would be enough.

But anyway I wouldn't be worried about her going to Haiti, I'd be worried about her leaving the house if she's as hopeless as you say. Sounds like she could put herself in plenty of risky situations everyday here at home if she's really so clueless.

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Thu 09-Jan-14 11:34:34

I've been to Haiti a few times. I love it for many reasons - mainly cultural, but it's not at ALL touristy and if your mother is as you describe I simply can't see the appeal. There are no beaches, no real sights of interest and you can't really walk around Port au Prince, it's too hot and the roads are appalling, pot holes everywhere, raw sewage running through streets. There's nothing to visit except dilapidated buildings and some appalling slums (these in areas FO warns against).

Main danger- she might get pickpocketed, but I can't imagine she'd want to go out much once she's realised there's nothing to see. Will she sit in the b&b all day? In short, she will probably be fine, but she'll be wasting her time and money.

That aside, the issue here seems much more to do with your mother having a later-life crisis. If you can't stop her going, then take out insurance on her behalf. Please.

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Thu 09-Jan-14 12:08:13

Have looked at the b and bs now.

They're either in Port au Prince (nothing to do, except sit inside b and b) or in Petionville, which is the posh suburb (ditto).

Or in Jacmel and Cap, which are seaside towns but NOT resorts, though much nicer than P au P. But unless she flies directly to Cap, travelling there would involve a day in a taxi/horrible broken-down bus on dire roads in both directions.

Haiti's not got beautiful scenery, it's suffered shocking deforestation.

V interested to see how this turns out.

Devondarling Thu 09-Jan-14 12:45:51

If that's what she wants to do, that's what she wants to do, if not now, when?

She is an adult, it's entirely up to her, by all means make her take out insurance, you can always do it for her if it bothers you.

My father is in his 70s, climbs mountains in remote countries, has just finished a back pack around south America, is on his way to the Antarctic, He plans to walk across south Georgia, he is a fan of Shackleton, and has a few sea birds left to tick off, he was knocked off his bike by a hit and run car, a few weeks before he left(his helmet saved his life), had to have a couple of operations, he still went, they (step mum) have had a great time in south America, as they always do, in places which people fling their hands up in shock, and say you will be murdered.

on the way to airport in this country, his friend had a flat tire, while he was changing it, they had their laptops and her handbag stolen from the car,

Shit happens here just as much.

When I am in a place that requires local nouse, I send a letter in advance to the local language school, asking if there is anyone who would like to have conversation in exchange for guidance around the local area, and ask them to put a note on their board,

I always pay for all meals and travel, and have found it a brilliant way to get a really good feel for a place,

I have made some life long friends this way, and experienced places in a way tourists never do,

I trained as a documentary photographer so tend to be carrying a lot of crucial expensive equipment, yet have never had a single problem, because I go in with local support.

Name changed for this as it outs me, but I do find it strange when children try to control their parents, at what point are they permitted to live their lives the way they want.

My mother died (cancer) when I was young, but it never made me try to control my remaining parent, he is behaving no differently to when my siblings and I were children, if we were children no doubt we would be walking across south Georgia with him.

She has told you what she wants to do, find ways of supporting it, not sabotaging for your own benefit.

struggling100 Thu 09-Jan-14 13:40:06

Devondarling - your dad sounds AWESOME! I hope I'm like that in my 70s.

But the OP did say that her Mum wasn't a very seasoned traveller and (reading between the lines), she sounds a bit naive (the 'adopting people' thing). So she's perhaps not as intrepid or aware as your father.

I do agree that bad things can happen anywhere, but I'm not sure that's an argument for not trying to side-step problems if someone isn't a very experienced traveller and might possibly walk straight into problems.

And another shock at the lack of insurance/vaccines. That really is basic stuff.

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Thu 09-Jan-14 14:06:14

Agree, if OPs mum was like your Dad, no problem and I think Haiti is a great destination for adventurous/experienced types. But she sounds v far from it. However, she can and should do what she wants, however she really should be insured. She should also ideally have the local support you mentioned fixed up in advance, rather than hooking up with first shyster who greets her off the plane and there'll be plenty of those.

Cantwejustsaywhatwemean Thu 09-Jan-14 14:25:18

My DB has advised me to stop worrying about it which I think I should do... As you all say, she is her own person and can do what she wants! Love the sound of the adventurous dad above, sounds like he grabs life with both hands and enjoys it. What more could you ask for?

Devondarling Thu 09-Jan-14 14:28:04

Really, so unless you manage to get out and about in your earlier life you should stick to places like Florida? Which by the way can be just as dangerous.

One of the lovely women from my village has just traveled a thousand miles through africa, over land with her sister, both in their 60s, neither of them had been in a plane before the trip, they did a bit of volunteering and lots of research, had a brilliant time, they mainly followed their noses, and met only kindness, both had had a life time of children and then grandchildren, the first chance they got, they took it, they also had a lot of disapproval from family, all of which were thinking of their own take on the situation, and quite a few cat bum faces when predictions of rape and death failed to happen.

of course it is arrogant not to insure or have vaccinations,

just ask her to do those for your peace of mind if nothing else,

There are plenty of volunteer works going on in Haiti, and schools, so if she googles and sends a few emails, she will find lots of support.

Limiting your life by fear, is really damaging. You only get one, not doing what you want would be a real wasted opportunity.

specialsubject Thu 09-Jan-14 21:11:40

travel insurance is available at any age.

then let her go, you are protected once she is insured. Just get someone to check she's got the policy right.

UncleT Thu 09-Jan-14 22:45:56

HyvaPaiva - I'm alarmed that you think that is the extent of the FCO's travel advice for Haiti. That is the headline summary.

Here's the more pertinent bit about safety and security (there are multiple sections of advice for each country), directly from the gov.uk site:

"Crime levels are high and the general security situation is unpredictable. You should seek advice from local contacts or established organisations and make arrangements for your security throughout your stay in Haiti. The presence of one or more travelling companions with reliable local knowledge can help deter any unwelcome attention and also provide support in an emergency. It is best to avoid travelling around Haiti alone.

Avoid displaying expensive items of jewellery or carrying large sums of money. Don’t leave property in vehicles and always travel with car doors locked and windows up. Park close to any venues you visit and where possible avoid leaving a venue alone. Avoid travelling at night. Extra care should be taken when visiting downtown Port au Prince."

And it goes on like that. Now, while it might not be Somalia, how is that not of concern for a traveler who is naive enough to think that they don't even need insurance??

I love travel, and I am generally in the 'life's too short' crew. But, there's taking calculated, informed risks, and then there's simply being completely unprepared. I would suggest, unfortunately, that she's the latter.

I don't think the OP is wrong to worry. My dad recently spent several months as a missionary in Kenya. This is a safe part of Africa and he had local support. Even so, he had his laptop stolen, was ripped off by a local con artist with a sob story and saw a local man beaten to death on the street.
He has 20 years on the OPs DM and has travelled before.
Haiti is not a 'safe' place, the DM will have no insurance, no vaccinations and none of the recommended local connections. There is travelling safely to somewhere risky and there is being foolhardy. DM is being foolhardy. Yes, she is a grownup, but the OP will be the one picking up the pieces If when things go wrong.

VworpVworp Fri 10-Jan-14 23:11:50

There's an infographic in one of the newspapers today (may be the C4 website actually) that shows Haiti in last 3 years had almost all the cases of cholera in the world- worldwide cases of cholera (2010,11,12) 375, cases in Haiti- 357

Quite scary really.

XiCi Fri 10-Jan-14 23:27:09

If my 70yr old DM announced she was going to visit Haiti I would seriously think she had lost her mind. Have you actually spoken to her about what to expect out there?

olgaga Sat 11-Jan-14 00:32:04

I doubt she's going to Haiti.

My MIL, on a trip to visit family in California, sent us a card saying how much she'd enjoyed a short break in Santiago.

We were a bit puzzled and rang BIL - but it turned out they'd had a weekend in San Diego.

MrsSquirrel Sat 11-Jan-14 11:21:43

grin olgaga maybe she is really going to Little Haiti in Miami.

ScarlettInSpace England Sat 11-Jan-14 11:35:58

Could she mean Tahiti? I always thought they were the same place blush

flamby Sat 11-Jan-14 16:11:59

Any chance you could persuade her to look for a compromise? E.g. fly into the Dominican Republic and stay in an AirBnB there and then travel overland to Haiti (I think there are tourist buses) if she wants to. That would give her the chance to hear from local people and get some advice and if she takes the bus into Haiti and hates it (it might shock her how poor it is), she'll know she can turn around and come back somewhere more tourist-friendly and with more infrastructure.

My mum's book group read a novel called "In the Time of the Butterflies" about the DR and loved it - maybe you could recommend it and see if you can get her interested in going there? Flights are easier to the DR anyway and they also have charter flights from the DR to the UK for the way home.

Oldraver Sat 11-Jan-14 17:17:01

You say you would repatriate her if she fell ill, could you afford to ?

IndridCold Sat 11-Jan-14 17:25:20

Channel 4 news yesterday had a report on the cholera epidemic in Haiti, report here.

Your DM will DEFINITELY need a jab against cholera before visiting - or even better, avoid it completely!

NigellasDealer Greece Sat 11-Jan-14 17:51:18

sorry OP have you got any idea how much it costs to repatriate?

Cantwejustsaywhatwemean Sat 11-Jan-14 20:51:43

Sorry, other dramas overtook me the past couple of days and I haven't been checking this thread. Have since had a chat with DM who admitted her friend had had to hire armed guards to escort her everywhere!!!!! Give me strength. I think she is having second thoughts as she has gone very non-committal on me, either that or she still wants to go and is lying through her teeth ( not unknown behaviour). Either way I have a battle to fight with John Lewis about a fridge now and so have decided to step back. I don't know how much repatriation will cost. My sister has suggested we just leave her there...

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Sun 12-Jan-14 01:02:23

A quick google says if you broke your leg in Menorca, had 10 days in hospital, and were then flown back to the UK it would cost £25,000.
That was in 2009.

rightsaidfrederick Sun 12-Jan-14 03:35:52

Might be one of those places where certain parts are fine, others aren't. If she's going with a friend who knows the area, then chances are she'll be fine, as they'll know where to go / where not to go, and be able to act as an intermediary with the locals.

For what it's worth, there are even part of Iraq that are safe enough to go to - I know a couple of people who have backpacked through Kurdistan, lived to tell the tale, and spoken highly of the experience. Similarly, you can go to North Korea (on an organised tour only) and so long as you don't do anything very silly like taking photos of politically sensitive things or acting as a missionary or journalist, you're fine.

No insurance is, however, as always, utterly bonkers - and I say this as someone who harbours ambitions to visit North Korea, so I'm not exactly timid about these things.

rightsaidfrederick Sun 12-Jan-14 03:38:24

Bloody hell - just seen the bit about armed guards. You don't even need that in Kurdistan FFS

MM5 Sun 12-Jan-14 05:11:46

I think the no insurance problem is the bigger issue!

70+ travel insurance is very expensive. I helped my father recently get insurance for a two week trip to sttes and it nearly cost as much as the holiday!

He didn't want to get it at first. I reminded him, should anything happen to him while away, that I had NO money to sort it out! God forbid if it was a death, what was I going to do?

This was his wake up call and he got the insurance. In the end, he did need it for something minor. However, thatminor thing well made up for the cost of the insurance!

As far as Haiti, not my choice of holiday destinations. My parents always seemed to be holidaying and trouble followed them. It was their lives and decisions. The whole living life to the fullest.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now