Sunday, October 03, 2010

Travel Alert

The comments this weekend on Globe & Mail articles about the US State Department's latest travel alert are unanimous in claiming that it is a fraud. They opine that the government is warning Americans away from European capitals as a way to scare the public into voting for incumbents in the upcoming election and as a way to deflect public attention from more important matters, like the economy. Many express amusement that there will be less Americans in Europe creating queues at art galleries and so on.

Canada, the US, and other countries regularly issue travel alerts, and anyone who travels should get in the habit of checking them before buying tickets. They aren't a joke, they aren't political, and they carry repercussions in terms of whether you'll be bailed out if things go wrong. See travel advisories from the US, Canada and the UK.

The current travel alert for Europe does not warn people against going to Europe; it merely describes an ongoing threat and current concerns by European governments, and suggests that US citizens register with a US travel service. I wouldn't cancel a trip because of it, but it would cause me to keep my ears open for possible developments.

There are times when you can take advantage of non-existent but perceived threats. When Reagan bombed Libya in 1986, I immediately made plans for a European holiday. American tourists were terrified of terrorism in Europe that summer and stayed away in droves. I rented a car for three weeks and did a driving tour to French 3-star restaurants. I could walk in to establishments that normally required at least a year's advance booking, and they were grateful to see me. It was quite a trip - mired only by being doused with radioactive fallout from Chernobyl. But that's another story.



Anonymous said...

Of course it's a farce.

Mid term elections are in one month so they have to be proactive and be seen to be doing something.

Any surprise that lap dog Harper is also putting one out today?

FFIB said...

The radioactive fallout story would be very interesting if you eventually decide to share