Archive: Travel During Iraq War
Will the war in Iraq affect your European travel plans?
I went to London at the end of January---the first trip of my life and it was great. The English wanted to keep me talking (I think to hear my accent--it was very flattering. My uncle said the same thing about his trip to England.) There were many Arabs in Soho, and most very friendly, and some wanted to know how I felt about the impending war. Most were more concerned about the effect of this on the entire world, than just their individual countries, and that surprised me. I do agree with whoever said that we are less safe in America, as there are many more American targets in America, right?I plan on going to France and back to England in the next six months, as my daughter and granddaughter now live in England. I can't wait.
Sacramento, Ca USA 02/28/03
War, been there, done that...It's time to vacation.
My wife and I are planning our first trip to Europe, Italy to be specific, this October. I have not and will not change my plans for this vacation based on the possibility of war. To me it's the same thing as saying, "Oh, we better not go to Hawaii, a volcano might explode." Alot of things may happen every single day but we still live our lives and no way will war prevent us from having this dream trip.
Beaverton, OR USA 02/28/03
Of course you should travel. I am going to visit the UK at the end
of March and unless airplanes begin being shot out of the sky over the North
Atlantic, I'm going. Will some Europeans give you grief about our "imperialism"
(think that comment is rather funny...they always use it)? Sure but just
be ready for it and throw it right back at them. For example, I had a British
guy tell me our troops defending the Saudis was "imperialism". I reminded
the chap that British planes were flying around the Middle East right now...based
from Saudi Arabia. If people complain about us not getting UN approval...ask
them what resolution gave France the authority to invade Ivory Coast and
prop-up a regime in the middle of a civil war. Ask them why there were no
demostrations against US action in the Balkans (again, without UN approval).
When did the UK get UN approval to invade Sierra Leone? And if that doesn't
work just buy them another drink and be on your way.
Arlington, VA USA 02/28/03
Go! Just go...GO!
I went to Europe three times in the six months following 9/11/01, and have been there 2-3 times a year since. The first trip was on 9/20/01 and it was good to have something "normal" to think about at that time (and there were no crowds anywhere!).
I have yet to have any bad treatment directed at me because I am American -- there is/was terrific sympathy for 9/11, and everyone realises that the current action is the action of the government, and not necessarily of the American people. There are questions, but they are seeking knowledge, not condemning or berating.
I'm getting ready to go to Europe on another business trip. I'm nervous about being gone if war is declared, but that is more a mental issue than a logistic/safety issue, and I am relaxing as the window appears to be moving beyond my return. There are risks, sure -- but there are risks in breathing, too. I have always felt that I am on friendly ground when in Europe, and I don't think that will change. If anything were to happen, there will be people who'll try to help me get home to my family as quickly as possible. A few thoughts:
First, turn off CNN (especially CNN Europe) and the BBC. They are bordering on yellow journalism, trying to whip their viewers into a panicked frenzy, because there are no facts to broadcast after the first hour. Watching 24 hours of news will only make you crazy.
Second, keep your wits about you. Be aware of your surroundings; rough neighbourhoods look a lot alike, regardless of where they are. Read the travel warnings and advisories, and pay attention.
Third, Europe is much more accustomed to dealing with politically motivated violent extremists than the US. They have absolutely no tolerance or sense of humour about terrorism, and you WILL see security on view at all times. I feel safer traveling alone in Europe than I do traveling alone in many US cities.
Fourth, and most importantly, be a good guest. You ARE welcome to travel, (hey, you can run into jerks in Atlanta, Chicago, and New York, too...) BUT mind your manners -- learn to say please and thank you in the local language and use it whenever you can.
If you're frightened to death to go, then don't go. Your fear will keep
you from enjoying your travels. But please don't frighten yourself unnecessarily.
You are the only one qualified to judge your own comfort levels. Happy
Current state of travel in Europe
My husband, sister, and I just returned from 9 days in France, three of which were in Paris, the rest in Provence. We had to cut our trip short due to illness, but we received nothing but positive treatment from everyone we encountered. My sister and I were eating at a restaurant one evening and had some difficulty with the menu, when a couple seated near us offered to help. After we finished talking about the food, the man wanted us to know that the French people love Americans, and that that they bear us no ill will. They said that the media is responsible for blowing this all out of proportion. No one else mentioned politics, war or George Bush. Everyone was helpful and treated us no differently than they ever have.
Atlanta, Ga. USA 02/27/03
I'm planning to go to Germany for a month in June, and I will keep my head up, and my eyes straght ahead, I'm not ashamed of who I am, nor am I ashamed of where I'm from. People will know you are American; it can't be hidden. So be proud of your country. I don't want war but I'm not going to stay home either. I won't let some terrorist intimidate me. I've been looking forward to this trip all year. I might be dead next year. Like Auntie Mame said, "The world is a banquet!" and I want to be sure I get my share.
Beverly , NJ USA 02/26/03
Great Times in Europe
My wife and I also just returned from Europe this last Monday. We had a great time and had no negative experiences from the Parisians, Belgians, Dutch, or British. That isn't to say we didn't experience some interesting sights. We actually did get caught up in the demonstrations on Sat Feb 15th in Amsterdam. It made for some interesting pictures although we found some of the anti-riot police and helicopters a bit intimidating.
The most anti American thing we saw was in a great book store in the Westminster area of London, across from the London Eye, that had a display that featured books with anti-American themes. Titles included, "Why We Hate Americans", "What We Think of Americans", and various anti-Iraqi war type books. I really didn't expect to see that type of display in England, but maybe it's because Europeans are better educated and more willing to look at all sides of the arguments without getting hysterical.
Whatever the reason, we were treated wonderfully by everyone (especially
the French) and only occasionally were we asked about the impending war.
Buena Park, CA USA 02/26/03
Glad we went
My daughter and I returned Monday from a week-long trip to Rome. I had been thinking about postponing our trip because of the threat of war but am very glad I didn't. We had a wonderful time.
The only place we noticed any distruption in the regular tourist activities was at the Vatican, where we had to go through a security screening before we were allowed in. We missed the huge demonstrations that happened all over Europe the weekend before, but we did see a couple of small ones in Rome and in Florence.
However, war was the main focus of the newspapers and news shows -- all
war all day. The foreign media find the weirdest people to interview as
the "average American". The BBC ran a bit on a restaurant owner in North
Carolina who changed the name of French Fries on his menu to Freedom fries
because he hates the French now. (Who are these people?)A lot of Europeans
oppose the war and think Bush is more dangerous to world peace than Saddam
is. Still, they don't hold that against the average American, so we were
fine. In fact, Rome was packed with tourists from all over the world.
Seattle, WA USA 02/26/03
I'm going to Europe Sun. 3/2 for 21 Days. I've heard war may start in 2 to 3 weeks. I told myself I wouldn't let the terrorists alter my plans, but I want to be smart about this. Maybe I'll just stay away from France and Germany.
Columbia, SC USA 02/25/03
Safety of Overseas Travel
If you are EVER concerned with overseas travel, no matter what country you plan on visiting, a very good source of information is the State Department's website (www.travel.state.gov). They are very good at posting warnings for travelers to all areas of the globe.
IN USA 02/25/03
Europe at wartime
Pres Bush's assistant Karen Hughes attends the health club where I work out and I politely asked her what her opinion was on traveling in Europe in June. She told me that if we had to do something militarily, she hoped it would be all over with by then, and quite possibly Europe is the safest place to be! That put me at ease to some degree, but I am still concerned about how we might be treated by the French especially. We are spending the entire month of June in Europe, Germany, little bit of Italy and majority in France. We already have our tickets, so I don't want to back out now!
Austin, TX USA 02/24/03
Going to Europe in June
My husband and I are going to France, Belgium and the Netherlands this June with a tour group. This will be my first trip to Europe and I am so excited. I'm a little nervous going if we do go to war but not enough to cancel my trip. My husband is an Air Force Reservist, so I am more afraid of him getting activated than anything. However, he doesn't think he will. If he does, I guess I will have to go without him. Bon Voyage!
OGDEN, UT USA 02/24/03
Worried about Europe? Go to Asia. Just got back from a week in Hong Kong. Weather and people were amazing. NO anti-American feelings or nonsense like that. Prices are cheap, the ferries and MTR work wonderfully, and the Buddhist temples are great. I'm not worried about Europe personally; I'm going to France this April. Have fun.
Greenwich, CT USA 02/23/03
In London Right Now
My husband and I are Americans traveling in London right now. We are here for a week, and have encountered no trouble at all. People have been nice, the flight was smooth, and anti-American sentiment is not evident as far as I can see. We were even in Speaker's Corner (in Hyde Park) this morning, and two outspoken British men defended America and talked about how they envy our freedom and admire capitalism. I say travel to Europe if you want to, and I speak from immediate and relevant experience.
St. Louis, MO USA 02/23/03
Still Going to Europe
I am taking my husband and two children to England, France and Italy for 3 weeks this summer. I spent 6 months in Europe in the 70's and 80's and there was plenty of anti-American sentiment from the French and German young people at that time. If there is any this time, I'll just remember once again that these people don't know me, and I'll try not to take it personally. I will not be changing any plans, even if war begins. I have learned from watching my mother succumb to Alzheimer's, not to postpone wonderful experiences. Live each day to the fullest while you can.
Los Angeles, CA USA 02/22/03
Travel during a war
I don't get it. Just what is so important about traveling at this particular time? Why would you want to schedule a trip overseas during a war? A review of history will show you that most wars don't end exactly as they're planned. In fact, most contingency planning is far off the mark. I find it absurd that Americans don't want to be inconvenienced even for a war! I'm a veteran European traveler but I don't believe I have the right to travel overseas anytime and anywhere I please. An overseas trip is something I can postpone until the volatility settles down a bit more
Lafayette, LA USA 02/22/03
I plan to do both
I have nothing against traveling inside the US. But I will not be bullied, terrorized, manipulated, or otherwise altered about my plans to travel Europe or any other place which strikes my fancy (within reason of course). I've already traveled pretty extensively all over this country; now I'm expanding my travel horizons. If I wait for all anti-American sentiment and threats of war to be gone, I'll die waiting to go somewhere I've always wanted. CARPE DIEM!
OK USA 02/22/03
I am a grandparent who was planning on visiting Europe with my grandchildren this summer. I am sorry, but after reading some comments on this website my plans have changed. When I was in Europe marching down the Champs Elysees in Paris, I didn't pose as a Canadian but as an American. This summer I'll stay and vacation here in America with my family. I was hoping to share my experiences at Normandy with my family. But not now. My advice to everyone is not to travel abroad but rather travel here in America to support our economy since no one else will.
Coronado, CA USA 02/22/03
Being aware of your surroundings while traveling abroad should not be any different than going into a strange town or city back home. Common sense and listening to your "gut feelings" should keep you about as safe as you are in a strange city back home. I recommend checking out books by threat assessment expert Gavin De Becker. He has written several good books and is highly regarded by both the CIA, local law enforcement and celebrities. I am not trying to be a "suck-up" but with Rick's & Gavin's books you are well prepared for safe travel!
Santa Rosa, CA USA 02/21/03
War or no war. I will be taking my mom "back home" to Ireland for a visit w/her first cousins & do a bit of touring. In regards to the war, we decided not to worry about something we have no control over. Granted we are lucky that we have tons of family over there, which is a comfort. What else is there to do? Stick our head into the sand?
columbia , md USA 02/20/03
Airport security concerns
There are several posters below who named concerns with Gatwick Airport in London. Here's a reminder: the Venezuelan man with the grenade was caught. That's a good thing. Do a little bit of homework, and you will find that security at Gatwick is up with the best in the world. Count on being screened several times before you even think about getting on your plane.
As for travel in Europe, I found out that I wasn't the dumb American
that I thought I was. If you are reading this web site, you probably watch
Headline News and read the Times as much as I do. Go informed. The best
advice is probably not to initiate war-related conversation, but by all
means, politely and intelligently engage in such. I have had some of the
best conversations with strangers on trains. For the most part, people
travel to soak up a different culture. And, hey, with rates the way they
are right now, I'm sure that there are probably quite a few hoteliers/B&B
owners who would just love to have you. The only travel warnings I have
seen in black and white are for Americans who want to go to Iraq. Like
we need help on that one!
St. Louis, MO USA 02/20/03
Travel To Italy At This Time
Well I did post how weird it felt to be flying out of London after all the airport security was increased but I have to say I didn't feel uncomfortable traveling in general. And with regard to Italy I wouldn't feel uncomfortable at all traveling there.
I was in Italy in November and found people to be very friendly and very tolerant of my "Rick Steve's Phrase Book" Italian. At worst, I was treated in a courteous and businesslike manner. But the majority of the time I was treated with friendliness.
A brief story: I went into a local shop to buy some donuts for breakfast. Using a few words of Italian and pointing, I received my order. As I turned to go pay for them I heard the woman say, "Swiss?" I turned back and said, "No, USA." The woman then looked very thoughtful and, after a moment, said with a big smile, "Good Morning!" She was very pleased being able to say that and I responded in kind. I had several similar very pleasant interactions and conversatons over the course of my stay in Italy.
I also had gelato once a day and twice on Sunday but I guess that should
be posted to another part of the Graffiti Wall.
Carrboro, NC USA 02/20/03
This is a question for John in Budapest. I am a graduate student here in Cleveland. I will be going on a class trip to Budapest on March 8 for a week. I have some concerns about traveling with the threat of war and the percieved anti-american sentiment. Have you encountered anything negative? And do you feel secure there right now?
Cleveland, OH USA 02/20/03
Travel in Turbulent Times
We traveled to Istanbul (Turkey) shortly after the USS Cole was bombed in Yemen [FYI: 2,172 miles apart, or about the same distance as New York to Las Vegas], then we traveled to Italy one month after 9/11. We're going to France in April for two weeks. If we had canceled any of the previous trips out of fear, we wouldn't have had the wonderful experiences that we did. We're still going to France in April. We'll be careful and low key, just as we always are, as we should whether there's a war or not. If we stay home now, the terrorists win, and we don't intend to let that happen.
Jacksonville, FL USA 02/19/03
Americans vs. Canadians
I disagree that Americans should pretend to be Canadians. Last time I was in Paris, I heard the remark towards our tour group (Contiki): "Canadians, go home!" Also, many people--esp. French & non-Italians--tended to speak to me in their native languages! I am a bit apprehensive, being a very light of skin Black Female who could be mistaken for Arabic, about going back to Europe this year, but I just might anyway. God'll protect me, as always.
Winston-Salem, NC USA 02/19/03
Matt, who made the comment that "I always look on foreigners who talk down about their countries/leaders as a way of ingratiating themselves with me as suck ups", has evidently never lived in Italy where the majority of people have the attitude that most everything runs OK in spite of the government. With so many different political parties in most European countries it isn't hard to find people who aren't crazy about their leaders. Leaders rarely enjoy a majority of support and must form coalitions with other parties, that they may not agree with, to keep or gain power.
I've lived here for almost 3 years and have never hid or announced the fact that I am an American. I just try to behave myself like a normal human being, regardless of nationality, and have found out that's all it normally takes to be treated well. While I have seen some anti-American posters and demonstrations, I have yet to have anyone act disrespectful towards me personally because I was an American and I'm even a Dept of Defense employee.
If anyone is wondering if it is safe to come to Europe now, I wouldn't
keep my wife & 2 kids here if I thought it was unsafe. I actually feel
my family is safer here than in the U.S. mainly because of the sharp decrease
in violent crime in Europe compared to the U.S. although I can't say the
same about driving in Italy. There are no guarantees in life and of course
anything can always happen anywhere but I'm a lot more scared of being
killed or seriously injured by some nutcase with a gun or other weapon
in the U.S. than by a terrorist in Europe. Although like I said, there
are no guarantees, statistics are in your favor by coming to Europe instead
of staying put in the "safe" U.S.
Don't Cancel Italy
Don't cancel your trip to Italy. My daughter and I went over Christmas and were treated very respectfully. You can't believe everything that is printed or heard anyway. We traveled by train all over Italy and the people were very helpful. Go have a great time. BTW, my son is a Marine waiting in Kuwait. Now, that is something to be concerned about. But I would still travel if given the opportunity because our sons and daughters through generations have given of themselves so that we could have that freedom and many others that we cherish.
TX USA 02/18/03
I am planning a family trip with 7 adults and a 3 year old to Rome for the end of March and have heard that Americans are being harrassed in Italy and that we should cancel. I am wondering if anyone has any insight into what it's like right now in Rome, seeing as how it will be hard to blend in with so many of us and we plan to take the train to Bari and Venice. I really don't want to cancel but safety is really important. Thanks for any advice.
Chicago, IL USA 02/18/03
Where is all this anti-americanism you people talk about...?
...because I haven't experienced any, and I've spent a month in Barcelona, a month in Prague, and two here in Budapest since October. I keep looking for it, but can't find it. Even getting treated like dirt by Parisians is getting harder to come by. Anti-americanism here isn't anti-YOU, it's anti-(1) GWB (2) US foreign policy (3) US "values"/"way of life" (a love/hate thing there). YOU are way down on the list. But the poster below has a good point, don't wear *any* flag t-shirts. Flag-waving patriotism is considered vulgar and vaguely fascistic: for football hooligans and rabid nationalists only.
Budapest, Hungary 02/18/03
Travel while under threat of war
I am planning a trip to Italy in May and having traveled to Europe many times I have learned that many Americans tend to be obnoxious and rude. They tend to expect that things will be just like home and get upset when they are not. Also they take no effort to learn the culture or any phrases in the language of the country they are visiting which makes them more offensive. I rarely like to admit that I am an American when I travel.
When I travel, I wear generic items and clothing. I wear nothing that indicates the country I am from (like graphics on t-shirts). I like to stay low profile and not make an ass of myself. My sister and I travel together most of the time and we both have red hair. One time we were even mistaken for Irish women by German tourists that wanted to take pictures with us. It was nice. I recommend that anyone traveling at any time be as low key as possible. If you have to, say you are Canadian since there is so many anti-american people out there. Make sure to learn a little about the Canadian city you are claiming to be from just in case.
I also agree with Litekeeper, that if it is your time to go, there is nothing you can do to stop it. Make sure that your affairs are in order (this should have been done years ago, no matter how old you are) and tell your friends and family that you love them on a constant basis. Make sure you live each day without regrets and you will be much happier no matter where you are.
One last thing. USE COMMON SENSE! A little bit of common sense will go
a long way. Learn the customs of the country where are traveling to avoid
offending the locals and standing out like a target. Use the local currency
and try to stay away from tourist traps (which are a waste of time anyway).
Keep your eyes open at all times but do not be so paranoid that it ruins
your trip. Like Litekeeper said, your time will come anyway!
Houston, TX USA 02/17/03
Well, look at this way, guys
The ONLY sure fact that any of us can count on is that we all are going to die someday. I personally believe there is a "big book" SOMEWHERE which has everyone's name in it and their date of death (speaking inside the metaphysical world, here) and that date cannot be changed, avoided, ignored, or known. When that date comes, it won't matter where you are or what your circumstances are. You could be home reading a newspaper or you could be in the middle of Europe, enjoying yourself on a vacation. When it IS your time, something will happen that will cause the final breath to come. In the meantime, since none of us knows when that will be, why alter our normal life patterns (including traveling if you do that normally anyway) that allow us to live the life we lead? As far as talking politics overseas, I don't talk politics here at home because it so enrages me sometimes that I cause myself too much stress. The average Joe will play NO PART in whether war is waged or not, so why should Joe alter anything? I am scheduled to go to Amsterdam in April and to London way up in November. Unless "my time in the book" comes up, I'll be there.
OK USA 02/16/03
travel to europe
I plan to travel to the U.K at the end of February with my two children. I am so frightened about the prospect, but have spent considerable energy and money for this trip. I am going in the hope that, there will be heightened security measures that may keep us safer. I wonder if all the commercial airlines/airports will be closed down in the event of a war?
Atlantic City, NJ USA 02/16/03
Family travel in scary times
We're taking the kids this summer to Ireland, the U.K. and France barring an outright travel ban or another 9/11. There's no doubt that traveling with a pack of children makes you both more visible and more vulnerable, so we will be careful, but if we wait for optimum conditions for travel, we might never leave Florida. For that matter, we might never have moved to Florida in the first place! Besides, predicting optimum travel conditions is like predicting the stock market; it's best done in hindsight. So we'll plan carefully, pack lightly, try to be good guests - and purchase trip insurance.
Tallahassee, USA 02/15/03
Report from the European Street
I went to the anti-war rally and march here in Budapest: about 10-20K attended. Saw few overt signs (given that most signs were in Hungarian) of anti-Americanism: One sign read "America is the enemy of Europe", another "---- Bush (with american flag = skull graphic). Still, I discuss politics every chance I get, whether it's "tacky" or not. I think it's more important than ever, because done in a calm, well-reasoned manner, it fosters understanding between peoples.
Budapest, Hungary 02/15/03
possible war with Iraq
We were just in Paris and the Normandy area (Honfleur and Ste. Mere Eglise) the first 9 days of this month. Most of the French we talked to were very interested in how we felt (as Americans) about the impending war, with the majority of those we spoke to opposed to it. They categorically did not have any resentment against us as citizens, rather they are against Bush and his administration. We have traveled throughout Europe 5 times since 9/11 and have encountered nothing but sympathetic feelings for the US in our travels. We will be returning for a month towards the end of May regardless of the situation. It just takes a little common sense to avoid any potential "situation", i.e. non-opiniated and nonconfrontational. Bon Journee!
boulder creek, ca USA 02/15/03
Arrival in Amsterdam
Hi!! I just arrived in Amsterdam with no problems. Even customs was a breeze. I just hope Geneva, Switzerland is the same.
Views of an American living in Europe
As an American that has lived in Europe for over a year, I can tell you that there should be no problem with travel here. I'm a contractor currently working in Bosnia. Over the past year I have done a few trips in and though western Europe had have had no problems. In fact I feel safer on a normal day here in Bosnia then I have in some major US cities.
Believe me there is NO way you can pass yourself off as anything but American while you are in Europe. The first time you pick up a fork with your right hand you will be giving it away. Not to mention saying your first word--even if you happen to speak the local language, your accent will tip them off.
I just got back from a trip to Hong Kong and China in December. There were 4 of us on the trip: a British couple, myself, and another American man. During the trip the British couple and myself had a number of conversations, including some about Iraq. Between the three of us there were three separate ideas: pro-war, anti-war, and a neutral person, but we still managed to discus the issue. The other American was the problem: he was the "bad" American traveler we hear about and did cause some discomfort on the trip.
The key is not to be a arrogant or loud. Also remember that Europeans are not that much different then we are. They may or may not agree with what their "official" government is doing. If the subject of the war comes up, which isn't likely, just state your belief and go on. And if the opportunity comes for you to sit down and have a discussion on the issue, I would recommend you take it. After all you're here to learn about European culture and if you find someone that will answer your questions on why they feel the way they do, that is a great way to learn about a people. A nice dinner/after dinner conversation would be best, try to keep it out of the bars!)
Also don't believe every poll you read. The split on the issue here is not as one-sided as the news shows. Here in Bosnia most the people that I have talked to are behind us. They say they know what it is like to live under an oppressive government and they see Americans as liberators and friends.
I say go on your trip and have fun. Just keep a watchful eye out for
what is going on around you, which is the best way to keep from getting
pickpocketed anyway. That is far more likely then any terrorist threat.
Tuzla Bosnia, 02/15/03
Europe is a real place
Europe is not Disneyland, with a single management directing operations for the amusement of visitors. It is a group of countries, each with its own history and policies, and national pride, where people live everyday lives and try to make a success of them. There are immigrants and tourists everywhere - those from the US are in a minority - and most of us have learned to accept one another's differences and live in peace together. Come over here, enjoy and respect our history and customs, and you will be in no more danger than you would be at home. One poster complained of anti-US feeling and that troops were being obstructed, but this is because some European countries (Austria, Switzerland and Ireland, for example) have a policy of neutrality, and so are opposed to the movement of combat troops across their territory. If the UK picked a fight with Mexico, and the US was neutral, would you like us crossing your country to gain access?
Bristol, U.K. 02/15/03
Is travel okay during the Iraq war?
I'm planning a return visit to Amsterdam and England this July. Of course, I'm nervous. All sorts of things can happen (the incident at Gatwick for example.) But you can't take a day off from life, and I want to see England again. "Soldier on," to quote the Brits. If I can give some practical advice to people on this board who are anxious--please take some emergency phone numbers with you (I always carry mine in my money belt.) I also plan to open a free e-mail account. After folks were stranded on 9/11, I learned that e-mail works better than a direct phone call. If my plans change, I can always touch base with home, and feel comforted. Meanwhile, I plan to enjoy my trip, and whatever conversations come my way. We are all citizens of the world these days, traveling during a very political time. If only we are kind and respectful of each other's differences (and that goes for American to American as well), we will make it through this very difficult time.
Portland, OR USA 02/14/03
traveling in Europe
If anyone is curious, my husband and I just got back from Rome 3 weeks ago. No one asked us about our politics. We talked with Romans about wine, food, art and beauty, even the weather, but never our political stance or our government.
Maybe I am wrong in making this general statement, but I'd imagine most Europeans would care more if you are a polite traveler: no screaming indoors, no shoving on the metro, smiling politely, being a grateful guest who just wants to learn about and share their culture. If that is who you are, I'd venture that the average European could give a rip about your politics if you're just a decent person to spend time with or pass on the street. I suppose I can't speak for all Europeans and of course no one can. But would any of you who are from Europe be able to tell me if you think I am wrong or right?
By the way, my mom and aunt are in Prague now and have had no problems
this week. My sister and her family live there and have encountered nothing
negative. I have tickets to London for the end of March and, as I plan
on spening my time in rural England, I am sure to be more safe there than
here. If our government warns us not to go, I won't. I'm not afraid but
I still want to be prudent. Isn't that what many of us want? Courage with
Paranoia Strikes Deep...
My wife and I trust each other and openly discuss and disagree but refrain from passing shame-based judgements we get along well and travel well together. If you were to study the odds of being the victim of a terrorist attack (1 in 9,270,000) compared to the risk of being killed while driving to the airport (1 in 18,800) you'd put your car keys away. The most dangerous place in America is the road in front of your house. The second most dangerous place is your house. Yikes!! What are we suppossed to do? How about we put our fears in perspective and make decisions based on logic as oppossed to media focused fear and paranoia. According to some, people who reported taking no vacations for 5 years are at a much higher risk of heart disease compared to those who weigh the odds, place their fears in perspective and travel smart.
Kealakekua, Hi. USA 02/14/03
Don't travel right now
I think it shouldn't even be an issue. My answer is NO, of course people shouldn't go. Anything can happen. Yeah, it's easy to say " Oh don't worry nothing will happen..." They won't be saying that when something does happen. The story would change. I think it is a very bad idea for people to go to Europe now.
Halifax, CAN 02/14/03
EUROPE HERE WE COME!!!
Recently I received a call from my mother, who informed me that all my family is very concerned about me traveling during this tough time. With recent events in London, to the club bombing in Bali, all of this has my father cringing and my grandfather is not happy about the trip either. I just graduated from college and my 5 week Europe trip with my boyfriend is a gift to myself for accomplishing that dream. I will under no circumstances let today's world events keep me from my second dream.... traveling abroad. So with that said I'm going to eat the best French pastries, experience the Amalfi Coast, ride a gondola in the Swiss Alps and celebrate the Queen's birthday in Amsterdam.
San Diego, CA USA 02/14/03
Keep your mouth shut.....
I have to agree wholeheartedly with what Matt wrote below. I think most Europeans know that many Americans disagree with them about this war and Yanks who claim to be anti-war run the risk of being viewed as suck-ups. Avoidance is the best strategy and ought to be practical except in the most intimate situations. If you find yourself in a situation where the European really wants to know then be frank. But most really don't want to know....
London, UK 02/14/03
I agree with the comment made "in someone else's home - you sometimes
have to bite your tongue". Question is, are Americans even welcome in the
"home" in the first place right now? I always look on foreigners who talk
down about their countries/leaders as a way of ingratiating themselves with
me as suck-ups, and would rather they just remained silent. I would think
Europeans would feel the same. For liberal/anti-war/pacifist travelers,
as well as conservative/pro-force, I would say just keep your mouth shut
about politics. It's tacky to talk politics overseas no matter your political
inclination. My response when confronted is usually along the lines of "I'm
here to have fun, learn a new culture, and see your beautiful country, not
to discuss politics."
People should be aware that even if some European governments have
voted "in favor" of US use of force, their people are almost 70-80% against
it (not repeated in our media very often). Just like the majority of Americans,
who feel that the inspectors should be given longer and that the preservation
of long-standing multilateral alliances are very important. When we travelled
in Italy (WITH a three-year old child) we always made it very clear that
we did not agree with Bush's policies and that we were proud to be American
dissenters. Why pretend to be Canadian if you're embarrassed of the "official" US party line - let everyone know that there ARE Americans who still believe
in multilateralism and peace! We were treated well.
Albany, NY USA 02/14/03
Its like Halloween again!!!
I say don't let something like war stop you from your trip. Just camouflage yourself! I'm an American but my family is from Puerto Rico, so many times I'd just say I was Puerto Rican, Cuban, or even from some country in South America. I also met other Americans who were not spanish, and they just told those people they were from "Canada." Even bought a Canadian flag and sewed it on their Backpack. I'm not saying to disown your nationality, but if someone comes across as a bit hostile its better to protect yourself. I personally never had a problem with this. I did meet a couple of "interesting" people in Rome, but it never turned into an issue.
Whatever happened to the Home of the Brave?
When you leave Fortress America, guess what? *You're* the foreigner. Are you going to get harrassed for who and what you are? Yes, sometimes. More likely, you'll just be ignored. You may be alone, sick, hungry, lost, confused, and depressed at times, too. If you can't deal with that, go to Disney World. But "keep my head down", feh!
Budapest, Hungary 02/14/03
I have done a tremendous amount of reading and assimilating and this
is what I have determined. Right now we are not welcome in Europe as Americans,
however if you are an extreme liberal or Democrat you have a far better
chance of making your way through the trip without lots of conflict. Did
you know that Germany is trying to derail us by pulling our troops that
are stationed in Germany off the rail system that runs through Austria to
get to Italy. They have to be diverted through ROtterdam and then instead
of going through one country to get to Italy go through 3. Tread lightly
over there with all the antiAmerican sentiment and remember spouting anti
american rhetoric will not endear you to the Europeans just the fact you
are American is an issue to some right now.
I'm going to Romania on a volunteer project next month (with a stopover
in Paris). I ordered peace buttons to wear on my coat to show the people
of Europe that I don't agree with my government's policies.
Odessa, FL USA 02/14/03
"Inconspicuous in the UK"
My comments were meant as advice to posters who were nervous, but I still think they are useful for anyone travelling to different countries with different customs and social values. Generally speaking, I think there has been a convergence amongst Europeans in recent years in terms of appearance and behaviour, and displays of nationalism are reserved for sporting occasions. Sometimes Americans have different norms, which can make them stand out. You don't have to deny your nationality, or even seek to hide it, but it's like being in someone else's home - you sometimes have to bite your tongue. If you want to make sure you avoid any problems, keep off politcs (even routine US right wing views can appear extreme over here) and curb your evangelism for the American way of life.
Bristol, UK 02/13/03
In Times of Civil Disruptiion
Why are so many concerned about the reactions of Europeans to Americans? I have traveled for years in Europe and only once had a verbal insult thrown my way (and the owner of the restaurant threw the rowdies out and apologized to me) I will be in Italy from March 26th to April 9th as I often am, and as an experienced traveler, I am not worried in the least. Europeans are actually protective of Americans when times are tense. They don't hate us, they just disagree with our politics sometimes. Seems fair to me. I don't always like their politics either. As for other concerns of being trapped over there, I can't help but recall one ocassion years ago when a snow storm in New Mexico trapped us on top of a mountain in a lovely hotel. I was frantic to leave and get back to work. How could my people manage without me? Today, I know better. I'd call and say, Gee, guys, but I'm trapped in this luxury hotel on top of a mountain and I may not be able to get back for days, ahh, correct that, weeks. And that is exactly what I will do if I am "trapped" in Italy this April. Sounds like a plan!
Charles M. Luther
Katy, TX USA 02/13/03
"Inconspicuous in the UK"
My only concern at this point is about trying to enjoy and educate our two teenage daughters and possibly being heckled or harassed while going about our own business merely because of our nationality. It would feel hypocritical to pretend to be something we're not, and uncomfortable to "keep our heads down and be inconspicuous". As Liz stated, this really puts a damper on things. Question for those in the UK: is this behavior really necessary?
CO USA 02/13/03
On the other hand...
there are pro-American and even pro-war Europeans out there: I was at an Irish pub last weekend, and a busty Hungarian woman was wearing an american flag top. Europe is more americanized than ever. I'm with Peter (below), much easier being American here than European in the States nowadays.
Budapest, Hungary 02/13/03
http://travel.state.gov/wwc1.html Go to the above site World Wide Caution
from Feb 6-May 4 put out by the state dept. There are some good instruction
to follow and tells you some things you might not think about. For example
it says " Attacks on places of worship and schools, and the murders of private
American citizens and other westerners, demonstrate that as security is
increased at official U.S. facilities, terrorists and their sympathizers
will seek softer targets. These may include facilities where Americans or
possibly other foreigners are generally known to congregate or visit, such
as residential areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels,
outdoor recreation events or resorts and beaches. Americans should increase
their security awareness when they are at such locations, avoid them, or
switch to other locations where Americans in large numbers generally do
not congregate. There is a possibility that American citizens may be targeted
for kidnapping or assassination." My feeling is the bombs will start dropping
around March 3 when there is a new moon and total blackness and cover of
night and end somewhere around late April. Personally I am concerned enough
about being too far from home and possibly facing bad feelings abroad this
year that I might skip my trip and do an alaska cruise or hawaii. I have
never had anyone give me a hard time except 3 years ago in Austria by a
group of older German people who were making fun of Americans and Japanese
but I did not take too much afront to it as we and the Japanese are ususally
the butt of tourist jokes. Let's see what happens at the end of hte summer
when the tourism takes a hit because of this- next year they will be welcoming
us (and our money) back again.
Scottsdale, Arizona USA 02/13/03
Travel during tense times
We went to India on October 7, immediately following September 11. I am sure we felt safer there than we would have at home (not being bombarded with anthrax scares, etc., daily.) We were warmly welcomed. At first we planned to say we were Canadians, but soon gave that up. During the Kosovo bombing we were in Greece, did experience some anti-American sentiment, but were again welcomed by some who discovered us to be "sensible" Americans. We plan to spend the month of May in Italy - Let's hope the war drums have quit beating!
Santa Cruz, CA USA 02/13/03
Discuss the Issues
It is amazing to me that Bin Laden can release a video in which he describes the Iraqi regime as infidels, and the Bush administration actually tries to use this as evidence that there is a link between him and Saddam Hussein. Some Americans will believe anything! By the way, if the comments about the French that are being posted to this message board (as well as on our news programs) were made about any other country, they would be recognized as what they are: racist. Why can't we discuss these issues on their merits instead of resorting to name calling and stereotypes?
New York, NY USA 02/13/03
On the fence - leaving 2/21
My husband and I are due to leave on the 21st for London/Paris and are on the fence. This morning there was a report about a grenade at Gatwick. Even if nothing happens, it seems there will definitely be disruptions. My sister called from Ireland today and said the anti-American sentiment was rather unsettling (I believe she was referring to the media). Anyway, I hate to cancel the trip since it was to be our first trip abroad. If it is rescheduled for a few months later, who is to say things will be better? I don't have a problem with Europeans opposing this war. I happen to think the war is wrong.
Orange County, CA USA 02/13/03
My husband and I are going to the UK for the first time at the end of April. The idea of having to hide your nationality while on vacation -- a time you're trying to enjoy -- is not appealing. I think we're going to go (at this point), but our enthusiasm is certainly reduced. What should be a wonderful event to be anticipated, is now a source of worry for us and our families. We aren't as worried about security as we are about what we've read about European attitudes toward Americans. I suppose we'll try to play it by ear and, as others have said, keep our heads down.
Chicago, IL USA 02/13/03
travel during terrorist alerts
My husband and I bought tickets to Italy the day before the heightened alert. We leave on March 13 for nine days. We're still excited but a bit apprehensive. Reading these posts makes me feel so much better about the timing of our trip. Knowing that others are going through the same thing helps and, of course, hearing that most people are not going to change plans and give into the fear is affirming. We plan to go unless the State Deparment issues a strong warning against it.
Chapel Hill , NC USA 02/13/03
Bret: a great leader once said "the only thing we have to fear is fear
itself." Take your trip! Have fun! See this wonderful world we live in!
I was in London last October right in the midst of the Bali bombing, still
had a wonderful time! Use common sense and you'll be just fine. To the guy
from Denver who's afraid to ride the NY subway, it's also quite safe.
Cleveland, OH USA 02/13/03
More balance in opinions
There seems to be a lot of recommendations like "keep eyes down", "be inconspicuous", "don't look like an American", "avoid large crowds and popular tourist spots" etc... As someone planning a solo (32, male, first trip abroad) trip to the UK and Italy in June/July, these aren't comforting words, and I'm thinking seriously of canceling my trip before I'm unable to get a refund. The "war be damned, I'm going no matter what" rhetoric also strikes me as not very encouraging. I would like to hear from more people who are either canceling trips or on-the-fence.
Banks, OR USA 02/13/03
Is Travel Okay During Iraq War?
My Girl Scout troop has been planning a trip to visit the international Girl Scout/Girl Guide centers in Europe for over 3 years now (London and Adelboden, Switzerland). At this point, everyone is still excited about going and although I am a bit nervous about it, I am still excited too. We bought our plane/rail/car rental tickets and have all our hotels booked. The only thing that I am going to wait on is to buy the tickets to the museums and such as I want to make sure there isn't some sort of international travel ban by the government. As I recall, people still traveled by boat to Europe during WWII. I plan to have a talk with the girls closer to the time to discuss what to say should we be approached with political comments. I plan on them having the time of their lives, with wonderful memories to last a lifetime!
Uniontown, OH USA 02/13/03
I think most americans are more angry at Schroeder than the French.
We love to poke fun at the French- it's kind of a sport. But what Schroeder
has done is inexcusable- especially the most recent revelations that he
and his foreign minister are in heavy disagreements over Schroeder wanting
to give aide and comfort to Saddam. French bluster and carry on but in the
end they will come around and we will take them back into the fold but Germany
is outcast until the president comes in, if it is a democrat.
Susan St John
Canton, ohio USA 02/13/03
The vast majority of Europeans are capable of recognizing the difference
between a country's leaders and its people. Everywhere you go, shops are
full of American music and movies and people wearing American-inspired clothes,
even including US-flag themed t-shirts and sweaters, all this despite near-universal
opposition to a non-UNSC approved war against Iraq. Judging from some of
the anti-European hysteria being whipped up by the American press, I think
I'd rather be an American in Europe than a European (especially a Frenchman!)
in the United States right now. Here's a new article in the Nation that
addresses this issue, sort of: http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20030224&s=alterman
Brussels, Belgium 02/13/03
These uncertain travel times....
The only thing that would change my travel plan at the end of March are if the State Dept. says "no travel abroad" or if the airline cancels the flight. Yes, I would be heartbroken after planning for almost a year for a trip to Italy, but I would just go another time. Since I only speak a few phrases of Italian I couldn't talk politics even if I wanted to. I'll try to blend in and enjoy myself but I'll also keep tabs on what is going on in the world and make adjustments to travel plans if needed.
Atlanta, USA 02/13/03
To Brittany: Good luck and have a great time- it's great to be young
and fear free. But take the advice of others on the site- don't talk politics
no matter how anti american you want to be; in these perilous times, just
admitting to being an American puts you in the spotlight and some potential
danger (especially around Paris Nord train station)
Washington DC, USA 02/13/03
Safety in Europe
Life goes on at present in the U.K. with few changes. There is increased security at airports, and concern at possible terrorist attacks, but this does not affect much of the country. There is a lot of opposition to the war, especially if it starts without another UN resolution, and the Chirac/Schroeder/Putin approach probably has more popular support than the Bush/Blair one. Regarding anti-US feelings, if you avoid expressing strong opinions you should have no problems. The U.K. is a very diverse society and we seldom discuss politics with strangers. Keep your head down, make yourself inconspicuous, and you should have no problems. One consequence of increased security is that tourist attractions could be closed at any time (there are always more bomb threats than bombs), so you should be flexible about what you plan to see. Don't forget that US citizens will usually be in a minority wherever you go.
Now for the caveat. It all depends on how any conflict develops. The
mood could change if there are US atrocities - for example if a hospital
is bombed, or nuclear weapons are used. Also, you must be ready for disruption
to travel arrangements, such as ocurred after 11th September. Make sure
you have ready access to local money, and work out how to use the telephones.
Your ancestors (and mine) had the courage to cross the oceans in small
boats to seek a better life. The risks they took are far greater than
yours. To keep up to date, check out the BBC website at http://news.bbc.co.uk/.
It may be a state-run rather than a commercial news source, but it has
comprehensive news coverage and tries to reflect all shades of opinion.
Bristol, UK 02/13/03
My best friend and I leave in one week for a backpacking trip all over Europe until July. I am not the least bit afraid. In fact, I am excited to represent anti-war Americans abroad. Besides, neither one of us is important enough to martyr.
Hemet, CA USA 02/12/03
Moving to Europe with war looming
I'm moving to Germany in one week and although I am feeling nervousness and anxiety, it's not going to stop me. I am flying out of JFK airport, and will be spending the next week on the East Coast in some large cities that are "targets." The only thing that has changed about my plans is I am not going to be spending my week in New York city. I use the subway system when I am there, and I don't feel comfortable enough at the moment to confine myself underground. Otherwise, that is all that has changed. I am going to remain vigilant and keep my eyes open for activity that may be suspicious. Upon my arrival in Germany, I am going to register with the U.S. Embassy and also do my best to protect myself as an American when I am in an unfamiliar situation. You just have to be smart, and I think everyone traveling will still enjoy themselves.
Denver, CO USA 02/12/03
I am traveling to Spain and Portugal at the end of March and am not worried in the least...in fact I cannot wait. I know that things seem to be scary but I am going to enjoy life the best way I can: by expanding my horizons and having a great time doing it.
SLC, ut USA 02/12/03
Traveling during uncertain times
Well, life goes on! I am traveling to London and Paris in the first two weeks in March. I will be careful, but I will not cancel my trip. It took me many months of planning. It will be my first trip to Europe. I wish everyone who is travelling to Europe during this time the best and enjoy! Life is too short! My partner taught me that.
Mimai, Fl USA 02/12/03
Leaving on 2/21 for London/Paris
We're headed to London and Paris on 2/21. We're leaving the kids behind with the grandparents but the grandparents are freaking out. I wouldn't mind hearing from someone who's recently come back from Europe (or over there now) in the past few weeks how things are. My only real concern is the flight over and back.
Orange, CA USA 02/12/03
From what I am reading in the BBC and CNN Europe online, it is Gatwick
and Heathrow airports in the UK and NY and Washington airports that are
worried about shoulder to air missiles taking out the planes. In the US,
they have Stinger missile equipment set up in NY and Washington in preparation
for that. In London they have the airports under guard with armed tanks
outside and armed guards inside.
Hartsdale, NY USA 02/12/03
Fear Schmear, War Schmar
I booked tickets for a week in Paris in May, and nothing's going to stop me from going! We may live in a new world with a heightened sense of anxiety as to what can happen, but if you think about it, its been that way for decades! London has had the IRA, Spain has had the Basque Separatists, and other European countries have had similar groups. There's still a big beautiful world out there to see and cultures to experience. I for one am not letting anything interfere with seeing this world.
Cleveland, USA 02/12/03
Travel during war
Just as we were told that to alter our plans lets the terrorists win, maybe now changing our plans out of fear, lets the war hawks win. I plan to add the phrase "I did not vote for him" to my phrase book and prepare myself for some lively vocal exchanges in fractured French! I think we can help international relations by traveling and I plan to do my part. I am going to Paris for my 50th birthday, war or not.
Lafayette, CA USA 02/12/03
Don't cocoon yourself
Sure, when traveling anywhere during these crazy times, one does need to exercise caution. There is great advice on this message board. I, for one, still plan on going abroad next month, blending in with the locals and having a wonderful time.
Boston, MA USA 02/12/03
Terror didn't start on 9-11-01
When I was in Paris in 97, a bomb exploded in a metro station I was in just hours before, killing 2. I've had to alter travel in London because of bomb scares at stations. Risks aren't new. Europe hasn't become a scarier place, the US has! "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself".
Budapest, Hungary 02/12/03
I tend to think that attacking Europe is probably not the most efficient way to attack US citizens, since most of us are here in the US. War in Iraq doesn't scare me, terrorists do, but I just bought my tickets yesterday. I'm probably a little safer in my small town, but I'm going anyway. I'm hoping the decisions are all made (war, no war) and we know what's going on by this summer. I guess I will be more nervous if there is talk this summer like what is going on right now.
GA USA 02/12/03
I am glad to see so many people pumped about travel. I am unfortunately
paralyzed with fear and cannot make plans this summer. I have a fear of
going to London or Paris due to the Ricin incident and am also not crazy
about using subways as there have been plots exposed about them being targeted.
I am really very nervous about getting on planes because a physician on
Neal Boortz talk radio show gave a chilling account of how you can catch
smallpox and pass it along from someone who has no outward symptoms and,
of course, there is no cure. I had very much wanted to go to Russia and
eastern europe this summer but I think things are too precarious right now
to do that, although I know things are not much better at home. We are all
alerted to dirty bombs, the potential for contaminated food and water. What
a way to live.
Hartsdale, NY USA 02/12/03
One possible focus for anti-Americanism will be the disruption of oil supplies to Europe, which gets a large amount of oil from the Middle East. The result will most likely be long lines and/or much higher prices at the pump. Europeans will naturally want someone to blame, and something tells me they won't be blaming Saddam... BTW I'm an American living in Brussels and am rather apprehensive. Fortunately I speak French well enough that people can't tell I'm an American, at least not right away.
Brussels, Belgium 02/12/03
Is Travel Okay During Iraq War
If a war with Iraq starts, I would still go to Europe. I would exercise caution though. Stay away from obvious American landmarks & targets. Also, I would not go into Arab dominated neighborhoods. The US traveler should not be surprised to be on the receiving end of hatred of the U.S.A. and good old anti-Americanism when crossing the path of everyday Europeans. This Iraq war is very unpopular in certain quarters, to say the least.
Walnut Creek, CA USA 02/11/03
Sure I fear war, but I'm going anyway. I bought my ticket to Amsterdam today.
Clearwater, FL USA 02/11/03
Leave the kids at home?
My husband and I are still planning to go on vacation in July and August. My biggest concern is leaving my 5 year old son at home in the U.S. with his grandparents. I am even considering bringing him along--I am not sure I can handle being separated from him for a month during a possible war. I am also very concerned (as we will be traveling around the UK) about any anti-American sentiment. I would like know how other parents of young children feel about leaving their little ones at home if there is a war. I'd also like some input from residents of the UK about negative feelings toward Americans.
Dallas, Tx USA 02/11/03
Paris in March & April
Unless the State Department issues an alert for Paris right before the end of March, my sister and I are going. Life is too short to let the possibility of a war affect my plans. I agree that staying away from targets that would appeal to terrorists would be smart. But that's a good thing to do even without a war.
Annapolis, MD USA 02/11/03
Yes, I think so...
I'm planning to travel through Europe again this summer, war or no war. I usually avoid the usual suspects for reprisals anyway: embassies, 5-star hotels, US military bases and servicemen hangouts, american corporate symbols. However, no population in Europe, to my knowledge, supports this war, even if their leaders do (often, without the peoples' consent, as in Britain and here in Hungary), so that frustration might be inappropriately directed towards Americans. I haven't experienced it yet, though.
Budapest, Hungary 02/10/03
Travel during war...
I will be traveling solo in March to Southern Italy, Sicily, and Tunisia. It will be my first time traveling abroad. I do not know exactly what to expect in Tunisia, but I know that no matter what happens, I will have the time of my life. I plan on being as low-key as possible and doing my best to be respectful of the locals. I think any risk is worth it.
Sacramento, CA USA 02/10/03
Probably a good time to go....
From a budgetary point of view, there are going to be a lot fewer Yankee and Canuck tourists than normal. Should make for less crowding, shorter queues, and an all-around better experience. I'm not much worried about security either. Security services are on high alert and have been jumping on Al-Queda cells real hard for several months now.
London, Confusion UK 02/09/03
Wartime travel w/o children
My husband & I are traveling to Paris the 1st week in March. In my "single days," I would not have hesitated to go to Europe during a time of war. But since we will be leaving our darling children at home with grandparents, I am more hesitant to leave them in the event that something should happen. Having children puts a whole new perspective on "taking risks." Any thoughts?
Naperville, IL USA 02/09/03
European attitudes fall 2002
When we were in Italy and Switzerland, there wasn't any blatant anti-Americanism. In fact, three families told us how much they dream of visiting American, and California in particular. There was only one case where Iraq came up specifically. Someone selling audioguides at the Forum asked us if there would be a war. We said we didn't know, but that we hoped not. He said that he didn't like Bush and we said that we didn't vote for him either. We all left chuckling. I don't think that all Europeans realize that America is split nearly 50/50 on the issue. I know we learned about European culture and I think some of them even learned a little something from us.
Princeton, NJ USA 02/09/03
Should I or shouln't I?
I'm planning on traveling to Europe in May and June to visit my sister in Madrid and travel around with a friend. We are both 22 Y/O females and are concerned about the upcoming possibility of war. ANY suggestions are appreciated. And, if you think we should go, what places should we avoid? We're two college seniors sick of studying who want some adventure :)
Potsdam, NY USA 02/08/03
I am a little bit worried about traveling in Turkey this coming September, as it does border Iraq, but I'm not worried enough to not go. The way I see it, the small chance of being attacked in a foreign country is not worth the price you would pay for living a boring, sheltered life if you didn't take trips to exciting new places. If something ever happens to me while I'm traveling, it will be worth the risk I took, because I will be doing something that I truly love instead of sitting in America being scared. It seems like people are more concerned with "surviving" their lives than actually living them.
Golden, CO USA 02/08/03
Italy in April
My husband and I are traveling to Italy for two weeks in April for our first anniversary. Although people I know have asked me if I am scared, I am not at all. I think that at this point in time it is probably safer in Italy than it is here in the U.S. Italy has also now taken a stand to support America, so I don't think we will be treated unfairly at all. Italy is my favorite place I've ever been in the entire world. I am so looking forward to this trip, and I would not miss it for anything...especially not for terrorists! Happy travels! :)
Austin, TX USA 02/07/03
April in Paris
I'm traveling with 3 female friends to Paris in April. Of course we're a bit nervous but hey...we're smart(all 50ish), very excited and friendly. We're flying Air France and staying at(Rick's recommendation) Hotel la Bourdonnais in a suite so we can be together. We just decided this will be too much fun to pass up!
Chicago, IL USA 02/07/03
My husband and I are going to Paris next week, and are looking forward to the trip. We do not anticipate any negative treatment, as we have always been treated graciously in our travels.
Atlanta, GA USA 02/07/03
Europe During "War"
Frankly, I feel that we shouldn't stop traveling simply because of the impending war. It seems to me that this is the most important time to be experiencing the world. Not only can we remove ourselves from the unilateral attitude that the US has to offer, but we can show the rest of the world that not all Americans are the same. I was in London during September 11, and I traveled extensively afterward. In March I will be going to Europe for 7 months. You can't put your life on hold for things that are outside your control. Be smart and keep your wits about you and you should be fine. Europe is probably safer than the US anyhow.
Philadelphia, PA USA 02/07/03
Trip to Rome?
I planned a trip to Rome for Feb 25 thru March 11 (I am a senior who travels solo). I wish I could say I am confident about this trip and am going but I just don't know if I will. I'll wait to decide until the last minute. Not only will I lose my airfare, but I might lose a wonderful trip to Europe, where I have always enjoyed traveling. I was in Paris the last 2 weeks of January 03. People were very nice, but they did say to us "Your're American? Oh, you're the people who want war." This was said to us more than once. I just don't know what to do about this upcoming trip to Rome.
CO USA 02/07/03
Not afraid of terrorists
My husband, his parents and I plan to spend Mar 11-27 2003 In Italy. We have a tour booked for northern Italy and we are visiting Sicily for 5 days on our own. I was pleased to see that Burlesconi came out in support of the US. Anywhere you happen to stand in the world, you are lucky to be alive. My biggest worry is if I will be sprayed with permethrin on my flight from Rome to Palermo!
San Francisco, CA USA 02/07/03
Planning a Roman Spring
I plan to leave for Italy on March 26, war or no war. I fail to see the connection. I am going to Roma, NOT Baghdad.
Charles M. Luther
Katy, TX USA 02/07/03
I plan on visiting Athens and the Greek Isles in June, war or not.
Most Americans may think that it's safer to just stay home, but as we witnessed
on 9/11/01 the US is no safer than anywhere else in the world. I am a travel
junkie and if, God forbid, something were to happen to me abroad at least
will have left this life doing something I love to do. As far as people
giving me a hard time because of anti-American sentiment, I will behave
as I always do: pleasant, polite, and respectful of the local culture and
let the chips fall where they may.
NJ USA 02/07/03
Travel in Europe
I too am a single (50 Y/O) traveling solo through Europe in March, April, and May. I am going to try not to look like an American tourist..And I will do a lot of praying. There is not much else one can do.
Greenfield, IN USA 02/06/03
safe in Spain/ France
I'd like to go to Barcelona and maybe travel to France during mid march through mid April, but am not sure if this is safe for a 30 yo female. I've traveled many times throgh Europe solo and lived in Spain before, I'm just concerned about the timing.
San Diego, CA USA 02/05/03