This Week's "Travel Alert" in Europe
The intelligence community has intercepted chatter this week indicating that terrorists may try to unleash some kind of action in Europe. So, our government has issued a "Travel Alert" advising citizens to be "vigilant" in Europe. It instructs people to be aware of their surroundings and adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves; such as staying away from unattended packages and to scram if they see violence...always common sense, even without a government alert. For complete details, see the official Travel Alert.
For more tips on having a safe trip abroad, see the US Department of State Tips for Traveling Abroad.
A more urgent option that our government has — to issue a "Travel Warning" — has so far been rejected. In fact, undersecretary of state Patrick Kennedy is quoted as emphatically stating, "We are not, not, not saying that [Americans] should defer travel to Europe at this time. Absolutely not."
This is our busiest season for tours, and we have many groups traveling through Europe right now. As always, we are paying close attention to the news, and staying in touch with our guides and travel partners in Europe. We want to assure you that we will never do anything to place our travelers and tour guides in harm's way. And it's always been our travel style to maintain a low profile in Europe — sleeping in smaller, family run hotels, eating in local restaurants and traveling in "unmarked" European buses — not because we're concerned about terrorists, but because that's how we travel.
It's important to keep in mind that each year 12 million Americans travel to Europe and 12 million return home safely. I can't remember the last time an American tourist in Europe was hurt by a terrorist. (As I type this, my son is in Barcelona, and I'd fly to Europe tomorrow if I wasn't tied down with "office work" here in the statistically far more dangerous USA.)
Assuming you believe in statistics — regardless what the news headlines say — I have one strong piece of advice which could very well save lives: Take your loved ones to Europe as soon as possible. It's just much safer over there.