It is no secret there have been a series of targeted attacks on certain areas of Europe & Britain in recent years. There was one in Brussels, Nice, and Munich last year, and more recently in London & Manchester. These attacks from declared “terrorists” are doing what they aim to do, which is to disturb and place fear in both residents and travelers abroad. Does this mean that you should be changing and altering your travel plans this summer due to this?
Usually, when these horrific terrorists attack happen, I get questions from nervous friends and readers about whether they should cancel their European trip or not. I can’t tell you what to do but I believe you shouldn’t let the terrorists scare you since that’s their goal. I read a great quote on ABC News from John Cohen, a former counterterrorism coordinator for the Department of Homeland Security, who said people should be aware but not afraid. I agree 100 percent. Go on with your daily life but instead of staring at your phone, be observant and if you see something or someone suspicious, report it immediately. Don’t be shy or waste time.
The title of this article is “Are people scared to travel to Europe?”, and the short answer –as well as the obvious one—is yes there are people who are definitely scared of traveling into and around Europe. The reason as to why is apparent by just flipping on the news. With every headline and news story being filled with coverage and updates on the events occurring in Europe, it’s hard to shake the mentality that Europe is nothing more than a mine field of potential attacks just waiting to happen.
The truth is that Europe is a place no more dangerous than where you already live. Now we are certainly not trying to belittle the importance and tragedy of what has been happening in the EU, but the tragic events that unfold overseas just happen to be very publicized and emphasized through media outlets as compared to other tragic events that happen in our own backyards here at home.
Traveling to Europe will always have risk attached to it, and the same thing goes for Europeans traveling abroad to the US as well. There are bad people all over the world: robbers, pickpockets, scammers, thieves…you name it. The kinds of people who want to inflict harm and hurt on people don’t reside and operate exclusively in Europe, but absolutely anywhere: Here in the US, over in Europe, in Madagascar, on a tropical island in Fiji… everywhere.
Don’t get me wrong, the events that are picked up and displayed on the news and have climbing death tolls are certainly nothing to belittle and explain away, but terrorist planned attacks happen all over the world too. They occur here in the US, as well as within every country across the globe. So the risk really is the same everywhere you go or even don’t go. Where you live now has just as much “potential” to be a place that may appear on the news too.
These facts and considerations are not being described to inflict fear into you, but just as a rationality of thought. This is not a PSA on how Europe is totally safe because “lightning can never strike twice in one place”, but just a spotlight on what you should be considering when planning your trip to Europe.
No, you don’t need to alter your travel plans just because one of the stops on your trip is a location that was targeted in the past. Although, if you are having second thoughts and think you might be feeling uneasy about the leg of the trip that goes through a previously targeted or what you think might be a potentially targeted area, then listen to your feelings and act accordingly.
It is your trip after all, and why put up with a feeling of uneasiness on vacation when you can change that? If you’re feeling uncomfortable with a particular set up, then there is no reason to be ashamed of your emotions on the matter: do what you feel is best for you and your party. If altering your plans will give you peace of mind, then go for it!
As a response to the events that have been happening abroad, the countries of the European Union and Britain (I have to say that separately now) have all made decisions and moves to punch up security in pretty much all areas across their nations. Local patrols, transit security, and of course airport security, so expect more of a delay when you are prepping to board your flights and such.
All of these enhanced security measures may cause some alarm in travelers, but know that they are put into position for the sole reason of keeping you and your loved ones safe as you travel abroad. More security is good! It means that you can relax and know that they are watching your back while you stroll through the Champs Elysees or canals of Amsterdam.
The goal of planning the attacks that happened in the targeted areas of Europe all happened to stop travelers and residents from feeling that they can live their lives however they want. They want to scare us all into being too afraid to live our lives comfortably and to throw us off of our natural rhythms.
For the most part, they do succeed in throwing us off of our rhythms, as they have all of us pretty spooked from their dramatic plans and international headline-making events. When we abandon our plans due to the fear that we may be the next victims of a new attack, that means that what they want is working to some degree.
Dropping your travel plans due to this fear of another tragic event occurring while you are in the general proximity is not the answer to dealing with this fear, but then again neither is marching into an area that has been declared to be the next staging location of an attack.
Be smart, and trust your instincts while planning your trip. If you feel that you are going to be uncomfortable and nervous about being in a specific area, then, by all means, alter your trip plans to spend time elsewhere, but dropping the trip entirely may be a little of an over the top reaction.
The idea of a vacation, especially a European vacation, is to enjoy yourself. It’s your vacation, which makes you in charge of the plans and festivities and experiences that you will potentially be having. You are the decider in how long you will stay in a particular place, and you are in charge of where you will be and when.