My wonderful friend died of breast cancer years ago. I still miss her profoundly. Why mention this? Because more of my friends have died of breast cancer than of terrorism. The stats are something like 50 to cancer and 0 to terrorism.
Why do we freak at the current Belgian headlines? Unexpected events have a greater impact on us than do everyday losses. Next time you are worried, think of how many friends you have lost to illness, drug addiction and suicide. Then think of how many died in terrorism.
The way to stay safe is: Don’t speed on highways to the airport. Do not lift heavy suitcases while standing on a ladder. Do not smoke in the airplane lavatory or anywhere else. Do not eat fatty foods in the departure lounge at McDonalds. Finally, don’t call us on your phone while driving. Heed that advice, and your safety future is excellent.
The ironies of travel safety are that places that seem iffy are sometimes the safest. Iran, for instance, is a tightly controlled country with minimum crime. The country is religious and does not permit deviations from its laws. The New York Times says American tourists are flocking to Iran. In part, this is due to our new treaty and in part to the fact that much of the Middle East is off limits. Savvy travelers are looking for new destinations. The Lonely Planet adds: If travel is most rewarding when it surprises, then Iran might just be the most rewarding destination on Earth. If you fancy traveling somewhere neither East nor West, and exotic and fascinating yet perfectly comfortable, read on. Here is the article.
Don’t let prejudices about countries spoil your fun. Our group just returned from our second trip to N. and S. Ethiopia. The Addis Ababa Airport is managed so that only passengers can enter. Guides and friends/family need to wait a long distance away in a parking lot. We saw this safety factor also in the domestic airport in Moscow where again only passengers could get near the airport plus the only carry on allowed was your passport and wallet.
Being in primitive places can also be very safe. In S. Ethiopia where few tours go, we visited villages and markets rarely seen by Americans. Obeying the guide’s instructions, and showing respect for locals by not taking photos unless agreed on was the key. The biggest danger in that remote area was the heat; the bottled water we supplied was critical.
Frivolity and reputation do not always mean lack of caution. On leaving Rome the other day, my traveling companion carried a bottle of water. In the US, we toss the bottle at TSA. In Italy, they ask you to drink from it to prove it is water, not a bomb. Countries that have experienced terrorism are usually the safest. And are usually the most sensical.
Wild animals: The biggest danger in a safari is that your shoes will be eaten if you leave them outside the lodge. The next is that the Chinese who are building roads in East Africa will decimate wildlife before you get there. There is plenty of evidence to show this killing of wildlife by construction crews is happening. Kenya had a cross the border attack in a shopping center very far from where tourists go. So if you are worried and do not heed statistics, try other countries: Tanzania, S. Africa, Zambia (known for walking tours) or Botswana (famous for small camps and less crowded national parks). Summer is peak season for E. Africa.
Avoid elections anywhere. Should we add do not come to the US during our presidential election either? Elections can bring demonstrations not necessarily dangerous, but disruptive to your itinerary. During elections, many countries also close museums and public places so everyone can vote.
Avoid important anniversaries, especially if negative ones, like the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square shootings. How will you know? Look on line at local English speaking newspapers for local advice. Interestingly one of the Iran papers headlines a funeral for a major cleric; that is the kind of non-dangerous but crowd event can disrupt your trip.
Here are a few examples:
Travel tips from The Women’s Travel Group. Phyllis, The Women’s Travel Groupo President, will escort Iran in November and The Yucatan in December. We are happy to share travel tips wherever Tomatoes go; just contact us as below.
For more information: www.thewomenstravelgroup.com or Phyllis@thewomenstravelgroup. Tel: 646 309 5607