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How the New Europe Travel Alert is Affecting Our Summer Plans

Parthenon, Greece, Europe Travel Alert, Travel Safely

How the New Europe Travel Alert is Affecting Our Summer Plans

Posted on 2017-05-09 at 06:30
Last updated on April 20th, 2018 at 11:38 am

Wondering how the new Europe Travel Alert is going to affect your travel plans? Find out about the Travel Alert and how we are approaching European travel for families.

What is the Europe Travel Alert?

On May 1st, the U.S. Government issued a formal Travel Alert across all of Europe. You can find the alert on the U.S. Passports and International Website or by clicking here –  Europe Travel Alert.  For us, anytime this happens it can be a little scary and to be frank, the world we live in can be FLAT OUT SCARY!  Before we even get started, we want to point out we are not political analysts and no one in our group is an expert in terrorism. We can only express our opinions and share how this new alert changes our travel plans. To reiterate we are NOT experts!

Instead, we are a family who loves to travel and explore the world. Our traveling family has a big trip to the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Hungary planned this summer and all of these locations fall under the new Travel Alert. And…we are still going. All of us.

Travel Warnings vs. Travel Alerts

The U.S. Department of State has two different types of formal travel advisories. One is classified as a “Travel Warning” and the other is a “ Travel Alert”. Travel Warnings are issued when the Department of State requests travelers to consider even going to a location. For example; Syria currently (at the time of writing) has a formal Travel Warning. So far, we have not been to a country that has a current warning. We know some people who have and they were just fine. For us, in our current situation, we try to avoid these places while an official warning is in effect.

Alerts, on the other hand, are short term advisories issued when the Department of State wants travelers to be aware of possible dangers when planning a trip (i.e. The current Europe Travel Alert). See the official classifications from the U.S. Passports and International Website – Travel Alerts and Warnings

Europe Travel Alert, Travel Warning, Travel Alert

Travel Alert and a Travel Warning as taken from the U.S. Department of State Website.

While We Are Still Going Even With the Europe Travel Alert

We have had several people ask us why we don’t just change our plans and go somewhere else. (Our grandfather being one of them haha – bless his heart! He sometimes thinks we are crazy galavanting around the world like we do.) Of course we would rather travel places that do not have a travel advisory, but unfortunately, these places are becoming few and far between.

Between Zika, political unrest, terrorism, and communicable diseases there is CRAZY crap happening all over the world. Anything can happen anywhere. We want to be safe, we want to be aware, but we also don’t want to stay at home and live in fear. We have weighed the risks and read and re-read the advisory. Yes, something could potentially happen while we are traveling in Europe (this, of course, could be catastrophic) but these events can happen in a local movie theater or in our schools.

When Sav lived in N.Y.C. the “see something, say something” program was really in full effect and we have adopted that mentality. If we see something that we find fishy (no matter where we are) we reach out and say something.

Our Experience Traveling to Locations with Travel Advisories

Last spring following the horrible attack in Brussels on March 22nd, we were scheduled to travel to Rome on the 31st (only 9 days later). We sat down as a group, read the statements issued by the U.S. Department of State and weighed out the pros and cons. In the end, we decided to go. When we arrived in Rome there was a huge security presence everywhere, but we were so thankful for it. Honestly, we had the BEST time and not once did we feel unsafe or threatened.

Security Measures We Will Practice this Summer

  • Enroll everyone in the U.S. Step Program. You can enroll here U.S. Department of State – Smart. Traveller. Enrollment. Program. (https://step.state.gov/step/)
  • Put together an emergency plan.  We want to be prepared if something were to happen. Covered in this plan is how we will communicate with our loved ones back home (should the need arise) to let them know if we are okay or if we are in trouble.
  • Have the numbers for local authorities in each city in which we will be staying as well as the addresses and phone numbers for each U.S. Embassy in those areas.
  • Leave a copy of our itinerary with our loved ones at home so they will always know where we will be.
  • Make sure we are caught up on First Aid training and be sure to carry our First Aid Kit.  
  • Welcome and be prepared for longer security lines everywhere we visit.

In our opinion, everyone needs to decide what works for them. If a family decides not to travel to Europe then they have every right to do so. In the end, we believe that the majority of people only want their families to be happy and safe. For us, we are going to be aware, be mindful, and try to safely explore and experience every place that we reasonably can and try to not let the threat of terrorism dictate our life.

XOXOXO

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4 Comments
  • Lalani Hunsaker
    Posted at 14:15h, 09 May Reply

    Such great advice!! We feel exactly the same way. And have the same precautions in place for our trips abroad. We could not agree with this more?

    • ourfamilypassport
      Posted at 14:05h, 11 May Reply

      Thank you sweet Lalani! We love Europe and feel the same way. Can’t wait to follow all of your fun adventures! xoxoxo
      Kam :)

  • Evelyn
    Posted at 02:20h, 10 May Reply

    Sorry Kam, I really had to laugh about the travel Alert for Europe. In my opinion Europe is still one of the safest place on earth, I would not even think about not going to Europe. I would feel much more save in Europe than in the US right know :-)
    The thing about the Alert is, that they must set Alerts as soon as something happen, but news and media also only show the worst happenings and that stays in our mind.
    I remember my time living in Israel around 2000 when all the fights have started again. In the beginning, I did not feel or see anything, but at home in Germany they thought I’m in a war zone.
    I totally agree with not going in countries which have a travel warning, as Syria. It’s a help to decide where to go or not, but I always use my common scenes to decide in the end, as I’m sure you do as well.
    And I don’t like to travel in countries with inhuman rights, such as Russia or some middle east countries or now Turkey (I love Turkey).
    Well I think it is just great that we still travel, it is so important in our times now and it connects people from all over the world and opens our minds. That is the only way to fight against terrorism and “Nazi People” from the right corner (do you say the right corner too, when talking about kind of Nazi minded people?)
    Wish you a great day and I bet you’ll have a wonderful time in Europe.
    Bye Evelyn

    • ourfamilypassport
      Posted at 14:08h, 11 May Reply

      No need to apologize, dear Evelyn! Travel and seeing other people and cultures is one of the ways that we try and love everyone and come together as a family (I love that you feel the same way). So interesting about your time in Isreal – I do agree that the news loves to pick up on the negative and never promote any positive things going on in the world.

      Thank you for your comment sweet friend. Xoxoxo
      Kam :)

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