Saturday, July 21, 2018 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

Is it Still Safe to Travel Outside of the USA? It Depends…

With everything the media is quick to toss in our faces, is it any wonder why more people are reconsidering their non-domestic vacation plans? Because of what they perceive as escalated violence and terrorist activity around the world, the Grand Canyon seems like a much safer alternative to Paris, Berlin, London, or pretty much anywhere on foreign soil.

Are these vacationers correct or are they too quick to assume it’s any safer to travel in the U.S. solely based on what they’ve seen or heard on the Internet? Maybe they don’t know about the 700 Americans who drown in their bathtubs every year. Or the over 4,000 pedestrians that get killed just crossing the street. Or the 37,000 who die on our highway each year.

Here’s a tip for those restricting their travel plans. There are so many places you can still go where you’ll be just as safe, and perhaps even more so, as running to your local Piggly Wiggly on double coupon day.

Europe

To view Europe as a whole would be to say every country is as safe as the next one. Well… This is kind of the case. Let’s consider every major city in every first-world country, including, of course, the U.S.A. In Paris, it would be foolhardy to stroll down the Avenue de Flandre after dark, and London’s Westminster borough isn’t safe day or night.

Unless anyone has a reason to be there, which is hard to imagine, don’t even come close to the Commerce area of L.A. If you’re visiting the Big Apple don’t accidentally get off the subway in Brooklyn’s Vinegar Hill.  And for goodness sake, unless you’re Bad Bad Leroy Brown, steer clear of the southside of Chicago.

The dangerous areas of major cities ten years ago are the same dangerous areas of major cities today. Nothing has changed. Don’t wander too far off the beaten path in any city if you aren’t sure where you’re going, and if you’re there to see famous sights and landmarks, stick to those and you’ll be A-OK.

Yes, there is terrorist activity in Europe. Yes, there is terrorist activity in the United States. The same can be said for protest marches and demonstrations, which America has seen plenty of in recent times. Especially in capital cities where the big kahuna resides, any visitor has a good chance of seeing some sign holders. Go to D.C. This is what the media presents us with because showing the peaceful serenity of the same cities or areas is too boring. Nobody wants to see that. They’re just doing their jobs, and they do them well.

If you want to go to Europe, go to Europe. Use the same precaution you would use at home.
Europe
Southeast Asia

There are many places in Southeast Asia that remain popular destinations for travelers from around the world. The pristine beaches of Thailand still see hordes of Australians and there have been no incidents to indicate any increased danger for foreigners.

Cambodia and Vietnam are still welcoming visitors with open arms and the bulk of their citizens remain warm and friendly to the very visitors who are helping boost their economies.

Indonesia has become more of a focal point due to the establishment of terrorist training camps so it’s best to avoid it. The camps are secluded and there is no imminent threat to tourists, but just the same, people would be well advised to stay away.
Southeast Asia
Central America (Costa Rica)
Costa Rica is a paradise for vacationers preferring a laidback atmosphere surrounded by an overabundance of un-manicured nature. Occurrences of violent crimes against tourists are very low, and any crime that does happen is generally theft related. Travel documents are of particular interest so keep those close at hand if you go. Tourist areas are targeted by pickpockets and purse snatchers but the chances of feeling a gun barrel on your back are slim.

San Jose is a major city so remember what has already been said. The downtown area is a fun place to visit with its marketplace, historical sights, and architecture, but it’s best to skedaddle before the sun goes over the horizon. Almost every other area of the city is safe at night but it’s always best to hang around populated well-lit areas just like you would at home.

A word of caution. Consider your mode of travel in getting to Costa Rica. Driving there is not recommended as motorists will have to pass through some very dangerous areas where the U.S. Government has already posted advisories, Mexico being listed as one of those. Bandits keep an eye peeled for foreign tags and the police are not known for their trustworthiness. If one doesn’t get you the other one will. Don’t do it.

There is no known terrorist activity happening in Costa Rica so the topic is a moot issue.
Central America
Other Locations

There are multitudes of locations outside of the United States where the threat of terrorism is non-existent, however, crime is everywhere, so common sense should always be your guide. Stay in well-lit areas, etc., etc.

If you would still just as soon stay away from anywhere with even the remotest possibility of getting caught up in dangerous activity, consider a Caribbean island or look to our neighbors to the north, Canada or Iceland.

For those who don’t mind a long flight, Australia or New Zealand are amazing countries to visit, and they remain safe.
Toronto Canada
Of course, America has always been a land of beauty with multitudes to see and do so considering staying domestic for your vacation is not such a bad idea. You’re already familiar with the lay of the land so you know where to go and where to stay away from, and surely you haven’t seen everything this great country has to offer. From Walt Disney World to a mountaintop in the Rocky Mountains, there is an entire nation just waiting to be explored.

 

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