Is it safe to travel to Europe Right Now?

brooke flying
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This is something we gotta address.

For the past few months I’ve been asked what feels like a dozen times a day, “Do you feel safe travelling right now!?”, “Do you think I should change my travel plans?”… and so on, and so forth. Most of these questions (I’d throw a rough guess and say 90%) centre around travel to and within Europe.

First of all, I get it. I get the concern and I get that sick feeling at the pit of your stomach every time you switch on the news and hear, see or read something terrible has happened. Nobody enjoys that.

But is it unsafe to a point where you should change your travel plans or avoid travelling right now altogether? Lets talk about that.

Your Questions, My Answers…

I know I’ve been avoiding the topic for some time, because from the way I see it there’s a right and a wrong time to voice your opinion. For me, the right time is when you’ve stepped back, taken some time to yourself and to think before you speak.

To have answered this topic in a timely manner would have felt insensitive to all those effected in any of the attacks that have occurred this year, so I wanted to let the dust settle and come to terms with how I felt about everything before speaking up.

As many of you know, I’ve been talking a lot lately about a number of “safety first” matters related to travel on my Youtube Channel and here on the blog. This is part of my ongoing collaboration with Southern Cross Travel Insurance, who have been really great in helping me get the message out about important considerations for travellers – especially those new to travel, new to solo travel, or nervous travellers who just want a little more beyond the pretty photos (I hear you!)

It is important to talk about these things and get real about travel, because at the end of the day there is much more to a travel lifestyle than a likeable instagram photo, an inspiring video or a nice outfit to match your backdrop. Yes, there are downsides to travel and I believe it is important to touch on these subjects and stay realistic.

So about Europe.

These questions I tend to receive in the immediate aftermath of an event and as mentioned earlier, it seems insensitive to comment at the time. Now, in this video, I want to break it down for you how I really feel about travel in 2016.

Travelling does not make you more or less susceptible to an unfortunate turn of events. You never know what will happen in any place, at any time and you will never be able to completely control all situations.

My advice is to take precautions always (not just when the media jumps on a story). I would never travel anywhere without travel insurance and I would never suggest anyone do so – I have made multiple claims on flight delays, cancellations, and that time I wound up with a 5 figure hospital bill.

It is also important to read your policy clearly and understand what you are covered for. For instance if you travel with thousands of dollars of camera equipment, you may wish to pay a little extra to cover these items. Similarly with random acts of terror you may not be covered to fly home, but if you are injured your medical bills would be covered. Take a few minutes to read through and know what you’re entitled to!

And my final opinion on the matter is not to live in fear of what may happen to you. Life is to live, not just exist.


Thanks to WOW Readers for encouraging a conversation on the topic, to Southern Cross Travel Insurance for being generous enough to give WOW Readers 10% off (use the code “WOW” – Australia only) and to everyone out there who is still travelling, still supporting the tourism industry and still living.

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    Sarah Yekinni
    September 13, 2016 at 3:04 am

    Great post Brooke! I recently addressed this topic as well after traveling to Paris shortly after the attack in Brussels and Brazil during the Olympics. Before both trips I was warned not to go by everyone I talked to. I’m so glad I didn’t listen because I would have missed out on some amazing adventures. Like you said, anything can happen anywhere. As long as you take basic precautions most places are generally safe. I’ve decided that the world is simply to beautiful to stop exploring and there are too many good people out there to live in fear of a few. Thanks again for sharing!

    Hani Calista
    September 5, 2016 at 2:21 am

    My personal opinion, I won’t too worry about Erope, if we see what happens in middle east, I will put more concern to it as I still have travel wishes to go to those places.

    Tony Copeland-Parker
    August 31, 2016 at 12:31 am

    We sold our home and have been Nomads for the last 20 months. We go to Europe every 3 months for a month each time and don’t really worry but do pay attention of our surroundings.

    August 30, 2016 at 7:38 am

    It is definitely pretty scary and you never know what to expect anymore. It’s scary to be extremely afraid while you are in your own home, walking the same old streets. I hope it will go back to normal soon, because this situation is making the whole world tear apart!

    August 28, 2016 at 8:36 am

    The way I see it, there’s always a risk when travelling no matter where or when you go. It makes me so sad that my own country (the UK) has voted to leave the EU over total fear of what is happening on the continent right now. It happens everywhere, regardless, and I still love travelling to Europe!

    August 28, 2016 at 4:04 am

    I agree, I don’t think that there’s a point on missing out on adventure. Anything could happen at any time! I live in Munich, and even though that shooting happened a month ago, I still feel as safe as I ever have.


    August 27, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    Thank for share this good post and I have searching all of posts on your website but only find two post about my country. Please write more about Vietnam. I want to read your thinks

    August 26, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    I am living in Wales for school right now and had a great time traveling in Germany for my spring break. Of course, there is a lot going on here and we must always be careful. In general though, I felt perfectly safe while over there.

    August 26, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    Yes, yes yes – I coudn’t agree more!

    August 26, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Everywhere is “dangerous”, it’s about being smart while traveling.

    August 26, 2016 at 3:03 am

    Great post! I absolutely agree with you that no one is in complete control of what might happen.

    August 26, 2016 at 12:56 am

    Perfectly written! I live in Europe and even though all these events are scary, we can’t just stop living or live in fear. Life must go on.

    Sara Mcavoy
    August 25, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    It is definitely a worrying time lately with everything that has been happening but I don’t feel like it should stop anyone travelling. We shouldn’t be made to feel unsafe whilst on holiday and if we do then we let these evil people win.

    August 25, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    Im from the Netherlands, and really its quite safe. I went to France on holiday and because of the events that happend in the country there are bag controls and soldier walking around in busy places, which made me feel a lot safer. As far as I know, the rest of Europe is pretty safe too.

      August 25, 2016 at 6:33 pm

      Although im not quite sure if you should go to a lot of eastern european countries right now, but the west and middle is pretty safe.

    August 25, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Life is not meant to be lived in one place, and living in fear is DEFINITELY not the way to go.
    We have to be careful, be alert, be well-read but also remember not to be irrationally fearful, and remember to not let these fears get in our way!
    Loved that you talked about this topic 🙂

    x Carina
    Blog-Running White Horses || YouTube

    the adventurer
    August 25, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Great post! I got this question a lot before I traveled to Europe a few weeks ago. Honestly I feel much more safe traveling through Europe than I do walking in Chicago where I live right now. Best advice is just ignore the media but do stay cautious of course when you travel.

    Katie @ the tea break project
    August 25, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Couldn’t agree more! Safety first, but I don’t think it’s a reason to put off travelling altogether. Interestingly, I’m from England and am currently traveling in the US. Before I left I had people voicing concerns about my safety travelling to America, so I think Europe is no more dangerous than anywhere else at the moment – awful things can happen just as easily in America, Europe, or your own home town. Might as well still get out and experience wonderful things all the same!

    August 25, 2016 at 3:06 am

    Such an insightful article – thanks for sharing, Brooke!

    August 25, 2016 at 2:25 am

    It’s funny to read that people actually ask you the question if it’s safe to travel to Europe right now… while when you actually live in Europe, questions people ask here is usually “is it safe to travel OUTSIDE of Europe right now?” Like we consider most non-Western countries as way less safe than Europe…except for some countries like Turkey or Russia, but besides that, I don’t think you could travel to a much safer place than Europe 🙂

    Taste of France
    August 25, 2016 at 1:03 am

    I feel very safe in France, more so than in the U.S. The number of homicides is a tiny fraction of the U.S. rate (0.6 per 100,000 vs. 5.2 in the U.S. according to the OECD). Shootings are almost unheard of–whether mass shooting or road rage. Yes there have been terrorist attacks, but weren’t some of the mass shootings, like the Bible study group in Charleston, also terrorist attacks?
    Also, most people have forgotten that in the U.S., there were 2,500 domestic bombings in 1970-71.

    August 25, 2016 at 12:51 am

    Such a great post

    Taste of France
    August 25, 2016 at 12:36 am

    I feel very safe in Europe. The rate of crime is lower than in the U.S.
    According to the OECD, France has a homicide rate of 0.6 per 100,000 inhabitants, much lower than the OECD average of 4.1 and the U.S. rate of 5.2. The chance of being killed by a gun is far higher in the U.S., at 3.6 firearm homicides per 100,000 vs. 0.2 in France.
    Also, if you think things are bad now, there were 2,500 domestic bombings in the U.S. in 18 months in 1971 and 1972.