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Should a Worldwide Travel Alert Keep You From Traveling?

November 24, 2015

The U.S. State Department issued a worldwide travel alert  today about the possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats. (The alert will stay  in effect until February 24, 2016.)

As a co-founder of a travel media company and a frequent traveler, I often get asked about the safety of travel, particularly to certain destinations.

Safety is a very difficult thing to assess, particularly in broad terms. I believe statistics—like how many people have gotten hurt in a neighborhood, city, or area relative to how many have not been hurt—are very useful in assessing risk. But of course that kind of thinking is retrospective, and ultimately we are worried about what is going to happen rather than what has already happened. And the fact is that we cannot predict the future.

Fear, as an instinct, serves a purpose. But my goal is not to act out of fear, but to act with an awareness of the risks and to make rational decisions based on those risks.

The bottom line: It comes down to one’s personal comfort level and values. To me, travel is a part of life. I can certainly do without it for a short while, but I have a hard time conceiving of life without it. That sounds like jail to me. But you have to ask yourself: What is important to you?

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AFAR inspires and enables those who travel the world seeking to have deeper and more fulfilling travel experiences. AFAR's platforms include the award-winning AFAR Magazine;, recently named a Top 10 Site That Makes Travel Easier; the non-profit foundation Learning AFAR; and the immersive travel series AFAR Experiences.