5 Tips for Traveling to Europe Following Brussels Terror Attacks

Passengers checking flight schedules in Munich

Passengers checking flight schedules in Munich

By Jesse Sokolow on 18 April 2016
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Given the tragic terrorist attacks in Brussels last month and in Paris last November, it’s important to be prepared when traveling abroad.

Here are five essential tips to help you stay safe and well informed while traveling.

1.) Stay in Step

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP, offered by the U.S. government, is a free service that allows U.S. citizens and residents in foreign countries to register with the closest U.S. embassy or consulate from either a browser or a smartphone. The app will alert travelers with real-time, detailed updates of country-specific warnings and alerts.

2.) Be Aware of Your Surroundings and Don’t Stand Out

Since it’s virtually impossible to avoid terrorist targets (terrorists don’t publish their plans on Facebook or Twitter), the most frequently offered advice of avoiding target locations is impractical and disingenuous at best. Instead, dress in a low-key fashion (muted colors work best) so you don’t stand out. Non-essential public events and festivals should, however, be avoided if possible.

3.) Keep on Top of Local News

While the State Department issues travel warnings and advisories (which you should be receiving since you are going to enroll in STEP), it’s equally important to keep up with local news and query people in a position to know, such as your hotel’s concierge.

4.) Be Prepared

While the likelihood of an attack or event is infinitesimal, it is nonetheless important to prepare as if one were imminent. Carry your passport and other important papers with you at all times. Keep your phone charged and carry an extra fully charged battery pack with you. Carry credit cards and cash in two separate wallets in case one is lost or stolen. Don’t divulge personal information or travel plans to strangers.

5.) Have an Escape Plan

Experienced travelers always look for the closest emergency exit on a plane and in a hotel. Remember that, if disaster strikes, there may be limited visibility so count rows on a plane and doors at the hotel. Just hope you never have to use this information.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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