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All Quiet as European Travel Alert Sinks in

The State Department’s travel alert for all of Europe, issued Sunday in response to a growing threat of terrorism, has been the focus of much attention and speculation. The alert is vague about any actual threat (or threats), suggesting only that terrorists might target public transportation, airline, and maritime facilities with “a variety of means and weapons.” The alert did not advise U.S. citizens against visiting Europe, but rather urged caution and increased awareness. What to make of it?

So far, however, the alert has had little effect on travel, or, by all estimations, on Americans’ willingness to travel. Airlines have not waived cancellation fees for nervous flyers, and according to Reuters, few travelers have called their airlines or travel agent to cancel plans.

In fact, the general reaction to the alert seems to be, “Meh.” Likely because the threat is so vague, and because the State Department’s advice is so broad, people seem to be taking the alert in stride. Makes you wonder if the alert understates the seriousness of whatever potential threats exist.

Personally, if I had a trip to Europe planned in the next few weeks, I’d be no less eager to go than I was before the alert came out. Travel, like life, is inherently risky, and even if the odds of a mishap (or worse) are slim, we all accept that risk the moment we book a flight. Terrorism is perhaps a scarier threat, but the likelihood of an attack finding me among the millions of tourists parading around Europe is laughably minimal.

What about you, readers? Are you reconsidering an already booked trip to Europe, or sticking to your plan? Were you thinking about booking but are now having second thoughts?

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