Travel Advice to Europe in wake of Brussels Terror Attacks

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If you are planning a trip to Europe anytime soon, it may be understandable if you are nervous since word of another horrible terror attack this week in Brussels.  Some Americans may even be considering canceling travel plans.

However, AAA says at this point the State Department has NOT issued a Travel Warning, but rather a Travel Alert.

Travel Alert:  Short-term event travelers should know about when planning to visit a country.

Travel Warning:  Issued when travelers should carefully consider whether they should visit a country at all.

Susan Dischner from Four Seasons Travel in Savannah told us they have had some calls from people who have been concerned.  “But they’re all going ahead with their plans as well as two of our staff members.  One is leaving tomorrow for Paris and another is leaving in a few weeks,” she said.

Dischner says a travel adviser can be of great help in helping people navigate the safety issues and offer advice.  “People do ask about safety and a lot of it is common sense,” she said.  “Always be aware of your surroundings.”

Dischner has been to many places around the world and still sees travel as a way to get to know other cultures.  She just returned from a trip to New Zealand and Australia and is planning a trip to Europe in August. “The way to fight terrorism is to continue to travel,” she said.  “And to not to give in to the terrorists, that’s what they want.”

She says traveling now certainly must be an individual decision but she is continuing to  plan a number of trips to Europe for clients who have no intention of canceling their trips.AAA Tips for Traveling to Europe:

1.  Know Your Destination. Visit the State Department website for a Consular Info Sheet which advises travelers on safety and security measures for the country visited as well as warnings and advice.

2.  Be Aware of Your Surroundings. Pay attention to local news, never leave bags unattended, and if something feels suspicious, follow gut instincts to leave an area or contact local authorities.

3.  Enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling, you make it easier for the embassy or nearest consulate to contact you in case of emergency.

4.  Buy Travel Insurance. In addition, to covering missed connections and lost luggage, most travel insurance companies will cover travelers’ transportation to or from areas impacted by terrorist/emergency situations. It also provides 24/7 emergency assistance. Most travel insurance providers, such as “Allianz”, allow customers to cancel their trip if an act of terrorism has occurred at the destination within 30 days of their scheduled arrival date if the policy was purchased before the incident. Customers may then receive payment for their non-refundable trip costs.

5.  Make Copies of All Documents. It’s advised travelers make extra copies of their passports, itineraries, emergency contact info, etc. and leave them with friends or family in the states. Also keep copies with you on a flash drive in case originals are lost.

6.  Allow for Longer Delays in Transit. Airports, train stations and metro stations may have tightened security.

AAA also says that travelers with plans to visit Brussels or other European destinations are advised to consult with their travel providers or travel agent for any changes to their vacation plans or requirements. In times of crisis, some airlines, hotels and car rental services may allow travelers to cancel or alter itineraries with no additional fee.

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