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U.S Warnings

Travel Forums General Talk U.S Warnings

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1. Posted by aah2 (Budding Member 8 posts) 38w


This summer I was planning on travelling to Europe for a month with my family. However, I checked the news this morning and heard there was a warning from the U.S. government, encouraging people NOT to travel to Europe this summer due to terrorist warnings. What are your opinions on this topic? If I were travelling by myself, I wouldn't be so concerned, but since I am travelling with my 2 parents and a little brother, this warning did worry me a bit. Any thoughts?

2. Posted by hasbeen (Travel Guru 806 posts) 38w


Have a read of your State Department's advisory - it does not advise against travel to Europe, it is alerting of the risks of doing so.


3. Posted by Andyf (Moderator 725 posts) 38w

I'd think a month in Europe would be safer than remaining in the USA. Violent crime and gun ownership are nonexistent here in comparison to the USA, I don't think any terror attacks can make much dent in the stats.

4. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 550 posts) 38w

Andyf's statement above is backed up by this site on World Atlas which suggests that there are four US cities with a murder rate amongst the highest fifty cities in the world :( - there are no European cities in that top fifty :). Whether World Atlas is accurate or not is another question entirely.

5. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru 2488 posts) 38w

Quoting aah2

However, I checked the news this morning and heard there was a warning from the U.S. government, encouraging people NOT to travel to Europe this summer due to terrorist warnings.

I don't believe that. Link?


6. Posted by hasbeen (Travel Guru 806 posts) 38w

The BBC give their take on the US State Departments advisory here

A calmer approach than some US reports perhaps.

7. Posted by OldPro (Inactive 406 posts) 38w

Every country deals with travel advisory information in a different way. The USA tend to be one of the more reactionary and overly cautious in that regard. Basically, they like to keep you thinking that the USA is the world's greatest country and everywhere else is dangerous. I find this attitude actually quite common with Americans in general. What's funny is that many Europeans (especially Brits) tend to have exactly the same view of travel in the USA. I've had Brits say to me, 'don't you worry about all the crime when you visit the USA?'

Here is my advice on the topic aah2. Ignore any 'warnings' and only pay attention if there is indeed a 'do not travel' put out. That is the one that invalidates your travel insurance and the only one that actually has a real impact on your travel.

There is a difference between saying, 'be aware' or 'you might want to reconsider' or 'it might not be a good idea' etc. and saying, 'DO NOT TRAVEL'. The first is simple scare mongering. The second means they have some real reason to say, 'DO NOT'.

If the travel insurance companies ignore the first and only refuse to cover you for an actual 'do not', then I would think the same way. As the old saying goes, 'you have a better chance of getting hit by a bus when you step off the sidewalk.' Sure, some people do get hit by a bus, mugged on a visit to NYC or end up in the wrong place at the wrong time through no fault of their own. But, the VAST majority of people don't have any of those things happen to them. Letting a US State Dept. advisory keep you home is like saying you won't go out since they started running buses on the streeet in your town.

8. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 682 posts) 38w

Thanks, hasbeen, for the informative BBC link.

As a traveler, I want to be informed to better assess risk. It usually doesn't deter me from travel.

This is how the U.S. State Department describes a "Travel Alert," which it issued May 31.

"We issue a Travel Alert for short-term events we think you should know about when planning travel to a country. Examples of reasons for issuing a Travel Alert might include an election season that is bound to have many strikes, demonstrations, or disturbances; a health alert like an outbreak of H1N1; or evidence of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks. When these short-term events are over, we cancel the Travel Alert."

Makes sense. Many governments do that for their citizens. Better to be informed than not to be. It can't be helped if someone misreads and/or misinterprets things. Most of us are guilty of that at one time or another.

9. Posted by katzgar (Inactive 228 posts) 38w

given that the OPer is asking about europe terrorism homicides in the US is not only different but in a different country. the US and europe are seperated by the atlantic ocean.

10. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 550 posts) 38w

"... was planning on travelling to Europe...there was a warning from the U.S. government, encouraging people NOT to travel to Europe this summer ...... What are your opinions on this topic? "

Making the assumption that the OPer is in the US, the comparison between homicides in US and European cities suggests that European cities may be safer than US cities and Andyf mentions that a terrorist attack might not make much of a dent in these statistics. In recent years, the intentional homicide rate (which includes terror deaths) in the US is 3.8 per 100 000 (a count of 12 250 amongst 320 million people). The rate in Europe is 3.0 per 100 000 (a count of 22 000 amongst 730 million ) and if this is further divided into countries in Western Europe, the count is usually less than 1 per 100 000. Based on the whole of Europe rate, a further 5700 or so deaths per year would bring the European rate up to the US rate.

Based on these statistics alone, being in Europe could be safer than being in the US and therefore the US Govt warnings could be seen as hollow.

However, the threat of terrorist attack in Europe has increased and targets could be transport hubs, entertainment venues and shopping districts, all areas frequented by travelers with families. It would be up to individual travelers to decide for themselves whether this perceived greater risk is an actual barrier to them travelling.

Personally, having recently been in South Africa (31.9), El Salvador (39.8), Belize (45.1) and Honduras (a whopping 84.3), I'd be quite happy in Europe, or for that matter, the US, even with the increased terror threat!! :)