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Safe to travel?

Normally, I am not a nervous travel ninny, but several people have asked me if I was nervous to fly because of all the threats, nervous about ISIS, or worried about the long lines about to begin with TSA. Now we are thinking of leaving next week (we fly standby, I am fluent in German and Spanish, so we rent a car and go), but I am now a little nervous. How are things in Europe? Is it crowded beyond belief with the strong dollar ( we wander and never make reservations....)? Is there a valid reason to worry about those threats? I know, if we don't go, it is exactly what the terrorists want, but still....so what do you think? Rick, Amy, anyone? These may sound like odd questions, but as I said, I am not some nervous ninny.
I probably should clarify.....I have been to Europe 29 times in 40years, have acted as tour guide for many years, lived there for awhile....so it isn't from a lack of experience, but somehow, I just got a weird feeling this time. Probably just too much CNN. As far as the crowded question, we like to just go and find places to stay. More accurately, I should have asked if anyone thought that it would be a problem this time in Germany/ Austria. By the way, we were there in a year when it seemed everyone went to Europe, and it was difficult without reservations, and everything was crowded and not so much fun.

Posted by
2211 posts

I am not Rick or Amy, but we were in Spain 3 weeks ago and it was fine. The people are lovely, the food is delicious and, yes, it is crowded, but not unbearable. If there is something you would like to see and be disappointed if you don't, then I would make advance reservations. Otherwise, I'd go for it, but you have to do what is comfortable for you.

Posted by
3806 posts

Good one, Monte.

You should just go. Years from now, you may have a disability, and never get to go to the places you want to see. I would say travel while you are able.

However, if your anxiety over these things mentioned is so great, stay home, and forget about traveling.

Posted by
439 posts

If you think about everything that could go wrong, you won't leave your house. They caught a guy in Boston today, relating to terrorism, , does this mean Boston should be banned? Just be aware and have a great time.

Mary

Posted by
1056 posts

Terrorism is, by its nature, unpredictable, meaning it could happen anywhere or anytime. There is nothing particular to Europe, to air travel, or anything else related to your travel plans which should scare you. Go. You will enjoy yourself and would regret any decision leading you to stay home. If you are worried about crowds, visit less touristed locations. We leave for Europe in three months and couldn't be more excited.

Posted by
23418 posts

What threats? ISIS is long ways away. We are just back from Scotland, London and the Lorie Valley in France. And, yep !, there were a bunch of tourists around. London was very busy. None of those issues crossed our mind. We are tentatively think of Turkey in mid September. And Turkey is a lot closer to ISIS but still it doesn't cross our mind. But it also our personality. You may be a worrier who focuses on the negative stories. And if you do, then you may be too nervous to enjoy your trip. For us, our biggest worry is having a car accident on the way to the airport.

Posted by
506 posts

Just got back from Italy, in Rome there literally are military on every corner of something important with machine guns. We felt very safe from the IS type of threat, the biggest problems we had were getting through extensive airport security and some security at attractions. And I think the biggest threat at least in Italy right now is the thievery from locals. And I see zero security at the trains.

Posted by
15976 posts

Just back from Belgium and Germany and didn't see or experience anything at all to be concerned about. It's high season so sure, it's busy but that's to be expected. As far as hotels being booked, you'll probably need to avoid cities/towns with big events going on that pack accommodations in advance and drive up prices, and expect that the best of the more economical options in the cities will be filled. With a car you'll have a bit more flexibility to stay in places that most of the tourists don't frequent, though.

Posted by
703 posts

We just returned from Italy & Paris. We felt safe. Saw lots more military type security in both Rome & Paris. Nothing in Venice. If I were you, I'd just go.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks everyone! Got my travel mojo back! We are off next week, if the standby Gods are with us! Will let you know more later!!

Posted by
8293 posts

Good for you, Iklein. And if people start again with the scarey talk, realise that they are just envious because their travel plans are for another two week vacation at the lake.

Posted by
15976 posts

Happy to hear it, lklein! You'll have a great time, and wonder what the heck you were worried about. :O)

Posted by
11294 posts

I just came back from a trip to Israel. People were "naturally" worried for me. I say naturally in quotes because those who hadn't been were all sure it was a dangerous place. But reading accounts of those who had actually been told a very different story. Guess what - those who had been were right. It was fine, and while I did have more bag checks than in any other country (going into a train station or shopping mall) and saw more openly carried guns than anywhere else, otherwise it didn't feel any different.

Furthermore, I had to remind people that when I said i was going to Paris, no one had worried - but look what happened at the kosher supermarket. When I said I was going to Boston, no one had worried - but look what happened at the Marathon (this was before this week's apprehension of the potential terrorist). And who could ever have imagined that both New York City and Oklahoma City would be terror targets - but both were, not just the "likely target" of NYC.

So, your friends who are worried are most likely feeding off the tension in the air (created by constant talk of ISIS and TSA on the news), not on real dangers. By similar reasoning, the US is a dangerous place - look what's going on in Mexico, just across the border!! Aren't you scared just to leave the house, with such a threat so close by??

Whenever I hear of someone who thinks that they can predict terrorist attacks, I am reminded of the man who learned that most fatalities happen within a one mile radius of the home - so he moved. Sure, Syria and Yemen are dangerous places now. But Germany and Austria are not.

And finally - if it's so dangerous, shouldn't that thin the tourist crowds? You seem at least as worried about it being too crowded to enjoy; fair enough, but not consistent with it being dangerous. There are not many tourists in Syria and Yemen right now; tourists haven't stopped going to Europe.

Posted by
16894 posts

Yes, you or your friends have been watching too much CNN. When you get to Germany and Austria, you will find them largely the same as always, but with more Wi-Fi and whatever else is new.

Posted by
11613 posts

The greatest threat I've seen so far in Italy is the selfie stick.

Posted by
2 posts

The selfie stick and the Segway operated by tourists.

The only concern I would have is because of the $ to € exchange rate you may want to make reservations rather than trusting to luck.

IMHO European cities are no more or less dangerous than most American cities. Use your usual precautions about travel after dark and awareness of those around you. Go and enjoy!

Posted by
14580 posts

Hi,

It sounds as though you have traveled in Germany extensively in the last 40 years, being fluent in the language, etc, then you'll notice certain changes in Germany more this time. I got back a couple days ago after 21 day trip, and definitely saw, observed things I had never seen done in Germany, some of which can be attributed to security attached to G-7 conference. Read the announcements in train stations, the blue electronic boards, listen to the loud speak announcements in the trains, inside the stations, but none of this may apply to you if you're going by rental car. On the crowd question....yes, it's super crowded, look at the size of the crowds waiting on the platforms at certain stations, tons of people are traveling.

Depending on where you go in Austria and Germany as to geographic range, you may get by without reservations on accommodations. But with the crowds I would suggest making reservations since I don't want to waste time and energy tracking down places.