U.S. Department of State Issues Travel Alert For Europe

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Yesterday the U.S. Department of State issued a Travel Alert for Americans going to Europe this summer saying that, “we are alerting U.S. citizens to the risk of potential terrorist attacks throughout Europe, targeting major events, tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centers and transportation. The large number of tourists visiting Europe in the summer months will present greater targets for terrorists planning attacks in public locations, especially at large events. This Travel Alert expires August 31, 2016.”Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 10.35.00 AM

The Travel Alert goes on to point out a number of large-scale sporting events and public gatherings in Europe this summer which could become targets of terror attacks. It specifically mentions:

  • the European Soccer Championship from June 10 – July 10 in 10 host cities in France
  • the Tour de France cycling race which will be held from July 2- 24
  • the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day event in Krakow, Poland, between July 26 and July 31

Th Travel Alert gives the standard advice, saying that “U.S. citizens should also:

  • Exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation.
  • Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities, especially in an emergency.
  • Monitor media and local event information sources and factor updated information into your travel plans and activities.
  • Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
  • Stay in touch with your family, have a plan if you are separated and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.”

Bottom Line:

I am going to Europe this summer, and I am generally dismissive when it comes to general warnings such as those listed above. But this Travel Alert has me thinking more of “what if” … like “what if” my travel plans are disrupted or “what if” I was separated from my travel mates? Anyone have any practical strategies?

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  1. I am currently closing out a two weeks vacation in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. I decided to use private car for transportation and minimized using mass transportation (except airport.)

    Also bought travel insurance from AAA ($88 for family of three, Gold plan). The condition for coverage spell out “planned itinerary suffer from terrorist attacks within 30 days of arrival” which I thought was exactly why I sought for insurance.

  2. I find these generic warnings to be more than the usual Washington CYA. If anything bad happens from now to Columbus Day, they’ll say “we warned you”. Nothing in the alert that’s remotely useful for travel safety except to stay home.

    Might as well say “Sponsored by the US Park Service” (And I love the parks — every year one vacation in a park and one that needs a passport).

  3. Do our tax $$ really subsidize this type of nonsense? A trained monkey could write something more useful.

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