Some of you that know me have seen that I try to tell the facts as I know them. When it comes to travel safety, sometimes the facts get distorted for the sake of sensational journalism. It is easy to get someone’s attention by telling horrific stories. It is difficult to hold someone’s attention while telling them just facts. There must be a happy medium. I am interrupting my series on little known locations to talk about travelling safely. Travel today is as safe, in my opinion, as it has ever been. Please do not allow me, or any one, to guarantee your safety on a trip. My three favorite cities in the USA are New York, New Orleans, and Orlando. I feel they are safe to travel to, but I also know on any given day I can read about multiple murders, violent crimes, or travel related accidents, in any of those cities. How then do I plan for safe travel?
First know where you are going. For International travel, look to the United States Government for unbiased safety information, not sensationalism. Last night I listened to a news broadcast on a local station telling viewers there was a Travel Advisory issued recently for travel to Mexico. The reporter went on to repeat a 2 year old incident and Travel Warning that had long since been stale news, leaving listeners with the impression it was recent events. That, in fact, is untrue. The closest thing to a travel advisory issued since July 1 for Mexico were 2 Consulate Travel Advisories for 2 distinct areas in Mexico where there is known criminal activity. Neither of those areas are frequented by American Tourists, both are located in the operational area of some Mexican Drug Cartel activity, and I know of no one who would ever ask me to make travel arrangements there. Please learn how to read this US Government safety information. Go to Travel.State.Gov. There you will find information about travel to just about any area of the world, as published by the Embassy in that area or country. There will be three levels of caution, and a Do Not Travel Level. These levels are constantly being reviewed and adjusted as necessary, by the US Consulate. In my perfect world, every area would have a level 1, Use Ordinary Travel Precautions. Unfortunately, that is not the case in our world today. Looking at the US State Department Travel Security Levels for a few countries is interesting at best.
Italy. Level 2 Exercise Increased Caution
United Kingdom. Level 2 Exercise Increased Caution
Ireland. Level 1 Exercise Normal Precautions
Mexico. Level 2 Exercise Increased Precautions
Check back next week for Part 2 of Travel safely.