Dear Travel Agent,
There have been warnings to travelers about criminal attempts and incidents since long before I started my first tour operator business. I could write a whole book of stories about travelers and travel agents who felt scared to go places once something bad had happened.
After 09/11, people were afraid to travel to Europe. Honestly, there was no severe warning or specific threat to people who traveled there. Therefore, travelers were unable to cancel their travel plans without penalties, nor were they able to use their travel insurance because of those incidents.
I clearly remember another time when there was an explosion in a mall in Kenya. We were planning a FAM Trip to the country, and a couple wanted to cancel the trip based on this incident. Unfortunately, the threat to travelers was not sufficient to get the cancelation without penalties and fees.
The same thing happened in 2014 on a FAM Trip to Israel when we took 2 groups of 20 people. One couple was completely concerned about their safety in Israel.
Check the website https://travel.state.gov and if a country has a DO NOT TRAVEL warning, then it is time to ask for your money back. Otherwise, consider traveling, and exercising normal precautions.
Common sense: Traveling is a time that should not be filled with worry about anything else but having fun and creating the best memories. Do not travel with expensive jewelry, don’t become a target by wearing Hawaiian shirts and a camera around your neck, don’t flash your brand new and latest model cell phone, especially in third-world countries where they barely have money to eat and the chances of being pick-pocketed are high.
My advice is to travel with tour guides and in small groups, even if you speak the language and think you know the country. Common sense is a precious component to having the best trip ever, and a step toward guaranteeing the utmost security.