After the terror attacks in Paris in November last year, combined with the attacks in the airport and Metro in Brussels a few days ago, many people are considering cancelling their plans to travel to Europe this year.
The U.S State Department has released a travel alert for travel to and throughout the continent until the 20th of June, and many other governments are warning citizens to remain vigilant in public places, and especially when using public transportation.
So should you still go ahead with your travel plans this year? Yes, unless you have family who are terrified of you going overseas. The fact is, if we cancel our plans and stay home, we allow the terrorists to win. While we should definitely be careful throughout Europe, we should also avoid assuming that the whole continent is dangerous due to a few random attacks.
These attacks have understandably been getting a lot of media attention around the world, especially in Western countries where many citizens have ties to European countries, relatives or friends who live there, or have spent time traveling there previously.
Many people take travel warnings extremely seriously, which is why theyre put in place. But governments also have to cover their butts, because if something happens to tourists and they havent been warned, its easy for them to point the finger at their government and say that they should have kept them safe.
Is there a chance that Paris, Brussels or elsewhere in Europe could face another attack? Sure, its a possibility. But there could also be more attacks next week, next year, or even 20 years from now. Travellers need to decide if its worth changing their plans because of the possibility of an attack and living in fear.
When you look at the scope of the travel warning, which is for the entirety of Europe which has a population of approximately 750 million people and the recent attack, which is a tragedy but also killed 34 people. In the US, more than 10,000 people die every year from drink driving related crashes, which works out to be around 30 people a day.
There are always risks while traveling. You could get mugged, you could be the victim of an assault, and yes, you could be close to a terrorist attack. But these things could also happen at home, so why miss out on seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the streets of Brussels, the Colosseum, or anything else that Europe has to offer.
Of course, there are a few things you can do to stay safe. Dont spend more time than necessary lingering near public transport, and once youre finished seeing main tourist sites, move on. Its also a good idea to register with your government as it makes it easier to get in touch in the even that anything happens overseas.