Traveling Under ‘Terror Threat’ to Europe
How concerned should you be?
The US, UK, and Japan have alerted travelers of increased potential terrorism risk in Europe. Both the UK and Sweden have raised their ‘threat levels’.
The advice from security forces suggests that the risk is potentially higher, and travelers should be vigilant.
This information is thought to have some connection with Ahmed Sidiqi, a German national arrested in Afghanistan a few months ago. However, the information is relatively vague. More specific information or warnings have not been released.
Currently, there are no restrictions on travel to Europe, if you’re considering canceling your trip it is unlikely you will be able to receive a refund.
Although one may wish to be cautious about travel to Europe, avoiding Europe is too extreme, especially given the level of alert, relative to what the levels of alert have been over the long term. I’ll be going to London for 4 weeks in a few months, and this will not deter me, as it shouldn’t deter others.
Warnings have suggested travelers be cautious, which is essentially common sense and should always apply.
More important is the issue about how one, as a member of the public, reacts to threats of terrorism. Terrorism is the use of violence (or the threat of violence) for political aims. Terrorism can only be successful if people are afraid: if a general threat about the vague possibility of violence scares you away from visiting London or Paris you’re deluding yourself about the risk of a terrorist attack versus encountering any other form of violence.
The information about possible terrorist threats is vague and scattered. Yes, of course there is a risk. Yet, statistically you’re more likely to die every time you drive a car. If you drive a car frequently it’s unlikely you think about that threat in the same way as terrorism, even if you have passed traffic accidents.
Terrorism is an amorphous, unfamiliar threat. The real question you have to ask is, is it a threat that will alter the way you live your life? The way you perceive other countries, other people, and your own place in the world?
My answer is no. I’ll be going to London in December.
I’m going to keep calm and carry on.
Q&A: Europe travel terror alerts
UK travellers warned over Europe