|Safety in Europe Update|
|What Readers, the media, and the U.S. Department of State are saying about safe travel in Europe|
Travel safety is on everyone's mind these days. While no trip is without hazards, you might like to know of other traveler's experiences. This page has been produced from various sources in response to reader's concerns that War in the Middle East might make travel hazardous or uncomfortable in Europe.
My opinion? I'm going to Europe this summer. The bargains are way too good to pass up.
Readers of Guido Veloce's column report on their recent trips to European Destinations (each paragraph from a different reporter)
Just returned from 10 days in Sicily and Rome and cannot say enough about the smiles and friendship extended to us (41 Americans)
...if it's not being too one sided in your next article you may wish to point out that Americans are more than welcome to visit the United Kingdom, all the culture they can handle set in a relatively safe environment...with not much in the way of language difficulties?
Europe from 12/14/02 to l/15/03: We had car trouble in The Hague, had to push the car up on the sidewalk right in front of a "Black is Beautiful" shop, and nearly everyone who walked by us was male and had a beard, mostly Muslims. A lovely man from the Sudan helped us push it further, a gentleman from Pakistan helped us find the rental car company, and no one there was anything but perfectly nice to us...Nowhere were we ever treated any other way but friendly, and always by very helpful people.
In the supermercato last year in Como, two middleast men tried to get ahead in line in front of me and said americano americano.....I said I was lucchese to the lady in the front of me who was from brescia......and tried to ignore them. A wonderful italian older man came by and said nothing but put his finger in front and shook his head no to the two men.
This Week's Email Updates from recent Travelers to Europe:
Just returned from 9 days of self-touring by car in Ireland. Fabulous place, the outside world totally forgotten. Ireland isn't "wired" like many places, so the temptation to pop into an internet cafe and keep up with the rest of the world didn't exist. We stayed away from major cities and time spent the little villages and countryside B & B's were absolutely charming. Never a hint of fear or trouble that I could see. I did see a little protest literature at Trinity college while in Dublin overnight, but things were calm and quiet.
We traveled outbound from the U.S. on the day war was declared and feared heavy security at the airports. Things were calm out of Chicago and minimal inconvenience. Once on Irish soil, it was possible to not even know war was happening if you chose not to read a newspaper or catch a little TV at night. I'd go again in a heartbeat.
I returned on Friday from a week long (short) trip to Germany and Holland. I ended up going alone because my sister was afraid to travel to Europe, despite my telling her it was no problem. At no time did I fear for my safety, as a woman traveling alone or as an American. People were pleasant and friendly and willing to have a friendly debate on the issues!
Media Comments: Safety in Europe
Patrick Goyet, U.S. director of the French Government Tourist Office, from his newsletter: "a few American visitors will be asked about the U.S. administration's policy on Iraq out of concern and a genuine wish to understand. But if indeed there have been some unpleasant encounters, I strongly believe that they were few and far between."
France Cruises, a specialist in French Barge Trips, shares some comments they've received (from their newsletter, reprinted with permission):
...and finally, a little comic relief:
NEWS from Veniceword.com. On the first day of war, the Venice city council decided to have alarm sirens sound all around the city as a symbol of opposition to all wars. But the meeting ran late, so the sirens were sounded -- without warning -- on the next day, the second day of war in Iraq. Since the alarm siren is normally used in Venice to inform the population that high tide is coming (or, more recently, that a chemical emergency may have occurred at the nearby plants in Porto Marghera), this brilliant idea caused widespread fear. Venetian shopkeepers ran to their shops thinking that an exceptional high tide was rising, and the got very angry when they realised the reason. The sirens even scared away some tourists.
U.S. Department of State Consular Information Sheets
These sheets are occassionally updated with reports of safety hazards in each City. They also have other important information for the European traveler, but should not be used to determine the very latest conditions as many of them were last updated in 2002.
This page will be updated frequently as information arrives. Our free weekly newsletter will keep you informed of new material on Europe for Visitors.