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state department travel warning
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If you plan to travel to Europe this summer, it’s important to understand the U.S. Department of State’s recent travel advisories issued for this area. The department indicates that the current terrorism threat in the continent is at its highest historic level. If you are concerned about terrorism at your destination, purchasing a travel insurance policy (with coverage for terrorism as a covered reason for trip cancellation) can ensure that you don’t lose your investment if an attack occurs within 30 days of your trip.

Overview

The travel advisory was issued in a press release by the department on May 1 and is set to expire on September 1, 2017. The release cites recent terror attacks in France, Russia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom as evidence that major terrorist organizations and their affiliates are focusing attacks in this region and are able to plan and execute devastation.

The U.S. government is most concerned about the continued potential for attacks on transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities, as well as smaller targets like hotels, clubs, places of worship, big events, and other tourist attractions. They expect these attacks to persist despite counter-terrorism efforts by the affected countries.

While the Department of State is not discouraging Americans from traveling to Europe this summer, they do urge caution for those that decide to take the trip.

Recommendations for Safe European Travel

  • Checking advisories in the U.S. embassy or consulate in your destination city for safety messages, particularly when traveling between European countries
  • Following instructions of local authorities as they pertain to safety measures
  • Monitoring local media and adjusting plans as needed
  • Being prepared for long lines at travel hubs to account for additional safety screenings
  • Remaining in touch with family members in the U.S. and ensuring they are aware of your locale
  • Having an emergency plan of action in case of danger
  • Purchasing travel insurance so a trip can be canceled without financial loss in the event of a terrorist attack at your destination

The Department of State also recommends that travelers join their free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). With STEP, U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad can register their trip with the embassies in their destination countries. You’ll receive important safety updates and make it easier for authorities and family members to reach you in case of emergency.

This information from the Department of State is considered a Travel Alert, which is less severe than a Travel Warning. An Alert indicates that travelers should use caution because of short-term conditions, while a Warning means that travelers should strongly reconsider their decision to travel to a particular country. European countries that are currently under a Travel Warning include Turkey and Ukraine.

When comparing travel insurance, make sure to click on the trip cancellation benefit to view covered reasons.

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