Starting Sunday morning, the Unites States State Department will issue a travel alert, warning Americans planning or currently traveling throughout Europe to be cautions, but for many, the planned trips they have been waiting on are not likely to be easily given up on, so what exactly does a travel alert entail and when is it time to cancel plans?
The United States State Department defines travel alerts as “…short-term conditions, either transnational or within a particular country, that pose significant risks to the security of U.S. citizens” and that examples of such would be “Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, coups, anniversaries of terrorist events, election-related demonstrations or violence, and high-profile events such as international conferences or regional sports events.”
This means that those in Europe should be cautious about high profile places where a terrorist attack would be likely. For many traveling in European cities this could mean that all the sights they were planning to see should be left off the list, but a travel alert is not as severe as a travel warning.
These are issued when “Conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable” are in place and that Americans abroad should take caution when traveling in or considering travel to the country which has received the warning.
As of right now, the risk seems to be low and Americans aren’t receiving immediate warnings about travel in Europe. While this certainly isn’t reassuring, a little common sense should alleviate most concerns. It would behoove those planning on traveling to Europe at the moment to use some caution if planning to be in densely populated tourist areas or at places where a terrorist attack would be likely.
Also, United States Citizens should be aware that if in Europe and the travel alert were to be raised to an full warning, many means of getting home, such as flights, could get canceled and travelers may have to deal with either not getting to or getting stuck in the country they are visiting.
As long as those traveling know where they are going, can live with the prospect of an elevated warning status, and can minimize exposure to dangerous places, travel stills seems to be the likely choice.