With everything going on in the world, especially in Europe, it can difficult for many people to truly enjoy their summer travels because of fear of flying and other threats. Many people are even calling off their European vacations and deciding to go elsewhere or just staying home altogether. The constant news coverage and warnings have even made me a little anxious.
The U.S. State Department just issued a travel alert, warning U.S. citizens of the dangers of traveling to Europe this summer and the potential threat of terrorist attacks. The whole situation is pretty daunting. But when you consider all the warnings and the actual likelihood of being involved in something devastating, what do you do? Only you, can make that decision for yourself. But I wanted to share my feelings and experiences on my recent trip backpacking across western Europe to help you get an idea for what you may experience.
Fear of Flying
My husband and I had SEVEN total flights for this trip to Europe. It was a little overwhelming to think about even before all the warnings, but we made it through each one. I was fine flying from Houston to Denmark, but once it was time to head to Paris I started to get really nervous. The day before our flight, the EgyptAir flight 804 went down and the constant news coverage gave me a lot of anxiety. What made it even worse, was we were flying to and out of Charles de Gaulle airport once we made it to France. I thought it was suspicious that the plane was fine for the previous 48 hours, but once it flew out of CDG it went missing. I really contemplated just skipping France and spending the rest of our trip in London, but I had already paid for our tickets (even if they were a deal) I knew I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to see such a beautiful and historic city.
Everything went fine during all my flights, but I was still super paranoid and watching everyone’s move around the airport and plane. I tried to sleep for the majority of the flights, and when that didn’t work, I would play Candy Crush or work on some Sudoku to keep my mind from wandering to places I didn’t want it to. I’m glad I had my husband with me to be my calming hand to hold, during the weird airplane noises and bumpy turbulence. While I didn’t really enjoy the flights because of my new found fear of flying, I was filled with so much joy each time the airplane wheels hit the runway and we had a safe and uneventful landing.
Visiting Tourist Spots
If you aren’t worried about flying or are able to fight your fear of flying, these are my feelings about the safety at tourist destinations. I personally didn’t have any issues at any of the tourist destinations I visited, except one. Most of the time I was more focused on absorbing all the amazing architecture, seeing all the people excited to see the same things I was seeing, and trying to find the best looking and smelling food with in walking distance. I was very much caught up in all the feelings of being in such an amazing place! The one exception to this was the Eiffel Tower.
While it was the most beautiful and awe inspiring thing I saw on my trip, after the first 15 minutes it made me extremely anxious. My husband decided to go up to the top, but I couldn’t bring myself to go with him. Mind you, I am also super afraid of heights. The French military was out in full force protecting the people and the monument, so that made me feel a bit safer. Actually, we saw armed military out in most of the cities we visited. Which was kind of weird at first since that’s a rarity here in America, even though we have one of the strongest and most funded militaries in the world.
While I was paranoid a few times during my trip to Europe, I’m still happy that I went. My husband and I enjoyed ourselves and made everlasting memories and I have no regrets (even with not going up the Eiffel Tower). If you’re currently trying to decide if you want to cancel your trip to Europe or continue on with your plans, no one can make that final decision but you. But if you do decide to continue on with your plans be sure to stay on your toes, pay attention to your surroundings and enjoy your self. If you would feel more comfortable not going, then make your decision to stay home or go somewhere else and to not feel bad about your choice. What ever your summer plans may be, have fun and stay safe!