It’s not uncommon for travel alerts and warnings to be issued, especially in countries with political unrest, unstable societies and well, these usually aren’t considered to be prime tourist destinations in the first place. But Europe? Coming as a surprise, the US State Department issued a travel alert for Americans yesterday.
Americans are advised not to cancel their trips or holidays, but to be extra cautious and be on guard while visiting some of Europe’s metropolitan cities. Due to a number of expected terrorist plots by al-Qaeda to attack major European cities, it’s no wonder they’ve issued an informative alert.
Not only Americans are on guard though, European governments are aware of the threats and are doing their best to control the situation. Prime targets are of course public transit including the tube or metro, train stations and possibly airports. Although the whole continent was included in the warning, travellers should be more cautious while travelling here in Britain, throughout France and also Germany.
It’s no time to freak out though, cancel your holiday or put off your plans to work or study abroad. The US State Department’s last agenda is to create paranoia and put off tourism to Europe during the fall and winter travel season, for both leisure and business travellers. Especially since high-tourist season is over and there are plenty of cheap flight deals to London and Paris right now.
Just be aware. It’s a good reminder that no matter where we are travelling in the world we should always be on guard, in Europe, in the US and elsewhere. It’s all about common-sense.
How to stay safe while travelling abroad:
- Avoid spending extended periods of time in public areas in/near airports, the area past security is much safer than the lounges on the other side
- Take clearly identified taxis and avoid hopping on that oh-so-obvious tourist bus
- Look like a local so that you don’t stand out against the crowd (eg. European’s don’t tend to wear running shoes and shorts to take a walk in the city centre… look around and dress accordingly to blend in)
- Keep your eye open at airports and train stations for abandoned parcels or luggage, if you suspect anything report it to a nearby worker
It’s nothing you haven’t heard before, for instance “How to blend in with the locals while travelling” but a reminder never hurts.
Have any more tips for blending in while abroad? Do you think this travel alert is justified or will it just have a negative effect on tourism?
The travel alert, one step below a formal travel “warning”, is planned to expire January 31st.
Img: gingerblokey / flickr cc