By Jeremy Miville
We recently released the top 5 European destinations for which InsureMyTrip customers have purchased travel insurance over the past year. Europe continues to be a popular American destination, despite the news of civil unrest, and terrorism.
The big question remains. Is it safe to travel to Europe?
The answer is simple. It’s the safest it’s been in decades.
Benedict Brook is an Australian news reporter, born in the EU. He’s a traveler, writer, and researcher. In June, he released an article that touched on this very topic. I’ve read it multiple times and referenced it in personal discussions on Europe.
Comparatively speaking, today’s Europe is safer than the Europe of the 70’s and 80’s. During the 70’s close to 1800 lives were lost as a result of the tensions and terrorist actions leading to the fighting between Northern Ireland cells, Britain and the Republic of Ireland. In ’72 alone, 400 people fell victim to terror in Europe. 1980 was the peak year of mayhem caused by ETA, a terrorist group in Spain, causing 400 deaths.
The Global Terrorism Database at the University of Maryland states Western European deaths surpassed 100 in 2015 and 2016. Most of those lives were lost in the tragic Paris Bataclan Theatre attack, the truck rampages that followed, and the Brussels Airport bombing.
While tragic, none of these attacks individually exceeded the casualties caused by the coordinated attacks on Madrid’s commuter rail network in 2004, which resulted in 191 fatalities while injuring an additional 2000 people.
American’s knew there was tension in the 70’s and 80’s, but did it stop us from heading to Europe? As technology grows, the world shrinks. Headlines travel faster, and events unfold in real time thanks to platforms like Twitter and Facebook Live.
America is not a stranger to terrorism. The Boston Marathon bombing and man hunt that followed left scars on Massachusetts and our nation. Extremists, of all nationalities and causes, have attacked American crowds with vehicles in 2017.
Nothing in this world is promised, but I can tell you this. The world is beautiful, and to sit still and watch it revolve without you is a waste. Every day I get into my car and head to work. I live in Rhode Island, which is not known for fine driving skills. The odds of dying in a car accident is 1/16,177 in my state (according to the Thrillist). However, not only do I continue to drive, I take my kids and wife along too.
Travelers should always be aware of their surroundings and take steps to keep informed of world events that could affect their itinerary. In fact, STEP is a great way to do this! The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), informs travelers of world events and enrolls them with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. This is important and allows the embassy a way to contact you in the case of an emergency. I recommend taking advantage of this program to all travelers, regardless of destination.
America is deeply rooted in European ancestry, heritage, and history. While the headlines can be frightening, the European Union is still the safest it has been in modern history.