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Yet another "Travel safety in war" thought

Yet another "Travel safety in war" thought

Old Feb 8th, 2003, 09:29 AM
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Yet another "Travel safety in war" thought

Just this morning I was asked by friends, "surely you're not still planning to go to Europe this summer". And almost daily my mother says, "with the coming war how can you still consider going -- it will be so unsafe."

But today I got an email from good friends in the UK who come to Florida every year in April. They were letting me know that they have cancelled their trip this year. "TRAVELING TO THE UNITED STATES JUST ISN'T SAFE RIGHT NOW" they said. It kind of echoed when I've been thinking ever since 9/11. What makes people think we're safer here than in Europe? Their statement really kind of opened my eyes.

Sorry to add yet another of these topics, and please note this isn't another one aimed at the "politics" of traveling when our armed forces are at such risk -- that is being answered on another thread. I just wanted to vent.
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Old Feb 8th, 2003, 10:00 AM
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I'm with you, Patrick -- the US is the place that's on Orange Alert (whatever that means), not Europe!
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Old Feb 8th, 2003, 11:13 AM
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I feel like living where I do near Zurich here in Switzerland, I am in one of the "safest" places I could be.

But there is quite a bit of "anti-American" sentiment so we have to be very sensitive to that.

US citizen living near Zurich
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Old Feb 8th, 2003, 11:27 AM
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I think the idea of not traveling, either to or from Europe is the result of not wanting to be separated from your home, loved ones, and responsibility.
When I travel I put my pets in kennels, have my son take care of my garden and home and have co-workers take over my job. If I were not able to return on time it would create hardship all around, not to mention concern and worry on both sides of the Atlantic re: not being with loved ones.
This is my only concern with traveling during war, not that I wouldn't be safe, but that I may be separated too long.
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Old Feb 8th, 2003, 12:00 PM
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As far as I know, there are no plans for a war in Europe. Are there? And it seems pretty unlikely that Iraq will be able to do anything to stop transAtlantic flights--they no longer have any airforce to speak of, and they are quite a long ways from the normal air routes between Europe and North America.
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Old Feb 8th, 2003, 12:16 PM
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What would make you think that Europe is safer than the U.S., or vice versa. The last major terrorist attacks carried out by al-Qaeda or their sympathizers have been in Bali (aimed at Australians) and in Kenya (aimed at Israelis). How many al-Qaeda-related cells have been broken up in Europe recently? Wasn't a cell possessing ricin just discovered recently in the U.K.? The targets of terrorist attacks are not just Americans and not just in the U.S. These attacks are being directed at many targets, and its no less likely that the next one will come in Europe than in the U.S. Everybody has to make their own decisions regarding whether or not to travel, but saying that somehow one will be safer from a potential terrorist attack in Europe is wishful thinking.
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Old Feb 8th, 2003, 12:34 PM
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Next month I am traveling to London where I will be staying at the Millenium Mayfair which is practically next door to the American Embassy. I have no hesitation whatsoever about going.

I am baffled by all the posts on this forum and others about whether or not to go on planned trips. As far as safety goes, anything can happen anywhere. The poor victims at the World Trade Center did not go on vacation, they merely went to work. There is no way the average Joe on the street can know when or where the next terrorist attack will be - it could be in your hometown. This is not a reason to consider staying home from vacations.

And as for being stranded away from home in the event of a war, the odds of all the airlines shutting down all flights into the U.S. again is so miniscule as to be virtually negligible. Even when that did happen immediately after the attacks on 9/11, within a just a few days everyone that was going home had arrived there. The delays were not that long relatively - we're talking a few days, not weeks or months. Again, not a reason to consider cancelling.

This is the way I feel about it. Am I missing something here?
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Old Feb 8th, 2003, 12:38 PM
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Well said, dutchie! Everyone is acting like I am putting my children at great risk by taking them to Europe. My view is that I am teaching them not to live in fear.
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Old Feb 8th, 2003, 01:18 PM
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I think you are also taking your children to a safer place. As an earlier poster said, the USA is the place with the Orange Alert.
Haven't seen one yet in France, Austria, or Switzerland.

Europe unsafe right now? Come on!
What makes you safe here? It is not Saddam Hussein!!
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Old Feb 8th, 2003, 05:58 PM
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I'm with you, Patrick. I'm still going to Europe in the spring. My east coast city is probably less safe right now, according to what I have been hearing and reading.
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Old Feb 8th, 2003, 07:28 PM
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I have traveled at times in the past shortly after terrorist events had occurred, even in the countries I went. I know the odds of anything happening to me in particular are small, but also I like the fact that it can be less crowded at those times, and local authorities may be on higher alert or have instituted greater safety measures. There are certainly limits, however, to what I would feel comfortable with and where I would go.

some thoughts on your UK friends' remarks... I think the reason a lot of people are concerned, whether in US or Europe, is not always the fact of being in a particular country, but the travel itself.

I don't think one can just dismiss such feelings, or say that it is safer in Europe. First, I don't think that is necessarily true. I seem to recall an awful lot of people talking about how they were "used to" terrorism in Europe, have much more of it, deal with it all the time, etc., after the 9/11 event -- in reference to a lot of bombings, etc, that have occurred in Europe sporadically over a long period. I remember one in Paris about 5-6 years ago that killed a couple people and injured others (a bomb on the RER at Port Royal).

In any case,I don't think you can ignore that a lot of terrorist events do occur around transportation -- flights, ships, buses, trains, etc, and may occur around transient and tourist crowds (which are even sometimes targeted, as in Egypt and other places). I think many concerns are related to the actual travel itself, as well as the fact of being a tourist and in different situations and places than a local resident would be, and this is not irrational.
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Old Feb 9th, 2003, 04:09 AM
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I would not cancel plans. But CrenHov made the point I worry about: Anti-Americanism because of the war. We were in Italy May 2003 and did see obvious signs of this even then.(I.E. "Death to America" spray painted on walls in Pisa. And a general feeling of dislike in Bologna -- both university towns of course and so more extreme.). I would be in no more physical danger in Europe than the USA -- but I would be much less welcome there. I wouldn't cancel plans, but I am not going to make any plans either. We will end up either villains or heroes in the eyes of the world. I will wait to see which it is and then make plans accordingly.
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Old Feb 9th, 2003, 04:47 AM
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We were in Itally (Rome, Sorrento) in May 2003 and I didn't see anything remotely anti-American.

I kind of agree with Natalia. People who are cancelling may not realize it, but they are probably more concerned with familly separation than anything.

It is possible that the odd person may be a target of some anti-American sentiment but this would be very rare.

As we have seen in many countries, this is not a war in the traditional sense; countries on one side attacking countries on the other side.

Terrorism is faceless.

How many countries on each continent have been targets either for world-wide reasons or local reason in the past 10 years.

I'm starting to think our trip to Spain is just permanently jinxed.
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Old Feb 9th, 2003, 06:03 AM
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ToAnonymous and BobBrown---the Orange Alert is for both US proper and all US citizens anywhere in the world.....

as the terorists may well target a European site that Americans may frequent- like an EMBASSY---

As far as travel-- there are only a couple of places I would generally steer clear of and that is Turkey or Greece in the Med--- as those areas will be closer to the action , IF anything happens--since our US troops will be there....

To stay or go is a matter of opinion...
I am not planning a trip to Europe this summer--but if I did, I would keep abreast of the government security warnings and make sure I took trip cxl insurance.....
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Old Feb 9th, 2003, 06:16 AM
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This is the third time I've typed this. If my computer loses the connection again, I give up!!

Surely it's just that people generally feel safe at "home"

We have had a terorist raid in Glasgow this week. For a nation unused to this- the Irish left us out of it because so many of us are related to both sides and sent money- it was very scary.

I find no anti-Americanism. Anti war feeling for sure. But that's not the same thing. There's going to be a demo in London next week that they say will be the biggest ever.

My husband works for a multi-national and was meant to go to Dubai next week. He was going but chose not to fly BA. His line was "why fly in the plane with the target on the tailplane?"

But all travel for meetings has been cancelled anyway so it's off.

On the other hand, I've got friends who went to Jordan yesterday. We'll see...
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Old Feb 9th, 2003, 06:19 AM
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Questions related to war and travel have been haunting me lately.

A lot of it has to do with the fact that I'm an uneasy flyer and an obsessive worrywart to begin with. So even in the best of times I worry and make contingency plans.

We're going to France in May, and while I'd like to say that we'll go no matter what happens, I can imagine that there are some tragedies or threats that could derail my plans. I do think that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden and Kim Il Jong pose threats, not just to the United States, but to the world.

But still:

The day that the "orange alert" upgrade (downgrade?) was announced, we had a sizeable snowstorm and my workplace was closed. My husband still had some appointments that day, so we were listening a lot to the all-news station for weather and traffic reports. This station pretty much repeats the day's top stories over and over.

#1 story: Nine Inches of Snow Blankets the Region.

#2 story: Dept. of Homeland Security Announces "Orange Alert"

#3 story: 13-year-old Boy Tries to Murder his Teacher by Putting a Cleaning Solution in her Juice.

I found story #3 to be the most worrisome and the most emblematic of my concerns for the future. Something went horribly wrong in this child's life and even more horribly, he felt that killing was the way to justify the wrongs--real or imagined--that have been inflicted upon him. Wonder where he learned that lesson?

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Old Feb 9th, 2003, 08:34 AM
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Yes, I am going to the Italian and French Rivera in May. This one of my dream trips! I will not cancel it. "Que sera, sera"(sp?) as Doris Day used to sing. Judy
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Old Feb 9th, 2003, 10:58 AM
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RE: travelling to the US just isn't safe right now AND what makes people think we're safer here than in Europe

To me this is a comparison between the probability of being in a plane crash or being struck by lightning. Odds are fairly low for both events and heightened media attention to one over the other doesn't change the odds.

I wouldn't travel to Iraq right now. Nor would I travel to any of half a dozen primarily Islamic nations at this point (for those with small brains, I didn't just say Iraq was Islamic). But I have plans to travel to London, Frankfurt and Copenhagen in March -- part business, part pleasure. I have to admit that my heart may beat a little faster on approach and while I am in the airport. But I recognize that is largely a form of paranoia and unrealistic fear.

Having said that, paranoia strikes a little deeper when my kids are involved. I can't honestly say what I'd do if my plans to Europe included taking them along. Partly because as kids they will stand out a little more as Americans than I will -- in dress, speech, curiosity . . .
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Old Feb 9th, 2003, 12:42 PM
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It is all rather frightening however I will share this for a moment of levity amidst it all. We travelled to Italy for three weeks October 2002. Sometime in Spetember I e mailed an old and dear friend about my concerns regarding possible war during that period. His response was short, sweet and made me laugh out loud. "I don't think Saddam will retaliate by bombing Tuscany".
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Old Feb 9th, 2003, 12:53 PM
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Too funny, Pam, and too true!

My mother and I take a trip together every year and in 2001 our trip was planned for September 19th. We debated the entire week after 9/11 on what to do, and eventually we ended up taking the trip. Our reasoning was related to the "if it's your time to go" theory, and the thought that if we didn't go we might end up getting killed in a car accident a mile from home when we were supposed to be in Boston! So we went, didn't regret it, and are planning another trip to NYC this May. As long as we're able to travel, we will.
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