The goal of any vacation, especially one in Europe, is to relax and enjoy yourself. After all, it involves your time and your money, so you should be able to do what you want in a reasonable manner. Recent tragic events in a number of European cities, however, have made some people think twice about their overseas vacations. It doesn’t have to be that way. With a little forethought and planning that includes the purchase of travel insurance, you’ll still be able to enjoy your trip and be protected at the same time.
Hazards on the Streets
Many incidents of terrorism in European cities over the last few years have occurred when suspects have driven vehicles into crowds of people. Bollards, which are squat poles made of metal, are common sights. The poles are placed at strategic intervals to allow pedestrians easy access to sidewalks and other footpaths, yet deter the entry of vehicles. This is probably the most common safety measure that travelers will see in Europe. While trip protection won’t guard against someone finding a wide enough opening in those bollards, know that the local authorities are cognizant of your safety by erecting these devices to help keep you safe while you are walking.
In some areas, such as where there are important government buildings, you’ll see bollards that will disappear into the ground to allow an approved vehicle to pass. Expect to see additional checkpoints at certain locations, too. The International Court at The Hague in the Netherlands, for example, has working checkpoints where both vehicle traffic and pedestrian visitors may be asked for identification before proceeding onto the grounds.
Another increasingly common sight is large concrete blocks, but don’t expect to notice them right away. Locals usually try to make these blend in with the scenery. In York, England, for example, the town received advice to place large concrete blocks inside the bollards to further protect York Minster, the large cathedral. These concrete blocks are manufactured in the same color as the cathedral facade so they blend in with the scenery.
Similarly, in Manchester, England, the scene of another recent terrorist attack, local authorities have placed concrete blocks decorated with a local symbol, the Manchester worker bee. In addition, these blocks have a decorative tree inside, so you may not even notice them.
Security at Transit Locations
Public transport is one of the most vulnerable places for terrorism. Thus, it is not uncommon to see police or army members patrolling train stations or airport. This practice is commonplace all throughout Europe now. Don’t panic when you see these guards as they are there to protect you.
Similarly, when you are at an international embarkation point or border, don’t panic when the customs officials ask a lot of questions. In some locations like London, for example, you may be subject to additional questioning. Just answer honestly and realize that these individuals are doing their jobs to protect you and your family.