Terrorism, unfortunately, is a real threat, within the US and abroad. A new State Department warning urges people traveling to Europe to be cautious.
The State Department on Tuesday issued a new travel alert for Europe. The alert, which expires Aug. 31, states that the large number of summer tourists “will present greater targets for terrorists planning attacks in public locations, especially at large events.” This alert is in addition to the March 23 alert warning US travelers about the “potential risks of travel to and throughout Europe.”
The May alert, along with the usual reminder to be vigilant in public places and among crowds, cited three examples of events that will draw large numbers of people: the European Soccer Championships from June 10 to July 10; the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day, July 26-31 in Krakow, Poland; and the Tour de France, July 2-24.
“Euro cup stadiums, fan zones, and unaffiliated entertainment venues broadcasting the tournaments represent potential targets for terrorists as do other large-scale sporting events and public gathering places throughout Europe,” says the State Department.
Sometimes it’s useful to look at travel warnings and alerts issued by other governments. Although Canada has not issued an advisory for France, Canada does warn its citizens to “exercise a high degree of caution” when traveling in France.
In March, Britain warned its citizens “to be alert and vigilant” when traveling to Brussels and in April, the UK issued an advisory about traveling to Germany because “There is a high threat from terrorism.” Britain also issued an advisory, warning its LGBT citizens about traveling to North Carolina and Mississippi because of those states’ recent legislation.
Terrorism, unfortunately, is a real threat, within the US and abroad. Whether you decide to travel to a particular area is a personal decision based on many factors. Be aware of the warnings, assess the situation, maintain a perspective and make the right decision for you and your family. Here are some things you can do to keep safe while traveling.
What You Can Do
Flights: Plan to depart and arrive at times when the airports are less busy.
City Behavior: Know where you are going and be aware of your surroundings. That means spending less time staring at your cell phone.
Hotels: Avoid booking rooms at big international hotels that cater to US tourists, say some experts. Instead, choose smaller boutique properties.
Shelters: Look for police stations, hospitals, and other buildings on your walks where you could seek emergency shelter.
Reaction: Experts advise that if caught in an attack, you should run if you can, hide if you cannot run, and as a last resort fight.
Register: Sign up for the free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), administered by the US State Department. Before your trip, you provide information about your travels as well as whom to contact in case of emergency. “Enrolling a trip will provide you not only with Travel Alerts and Warnings but also specific, local safety and security information from the Embassy,” states the website.
Do you check government travel warnings before traveling oversease? Has such a warning ever caused you to change or cancel a trip? Comment below or connect with me on Twitter, @familyitrips.