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2016 Travel: Difficult Decisions in a Volatile World

Have you decided where to travel this year? With the latest terrorist attack in Belgium and the recent Europe travel alert issued by the State Department, people are questioning international travel for 2016. While no travel is 100% guaranteed safe, I’ve assembled this guide to examine safety and recommendations for the rest of the year.

Safety – Do Your Research

Before you book any international travel, you should always check with the State Department and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) websites about any notifications about your destination(s) or for any recommended vaccinations you may need prior to your trip. The Travel Resources page at has links to those websites.

You should first look at the Alerts & Warnings page at the State Department Website. The State Department issues a “travel warning” when they want you “to consider very carefully whether you should go to a country at all.” They issue a “travel alert” for “short-term events we think you should know about when planning travel to a country.” Post the Brussels terrorist attack, the State Department issued a travel alert for all of Europe that expires June 20, 2016.

The next thing you should do is enter your destination in the Learn About Your Destination section. There you will learn for each destination about passport requirements, visas, safety and security, local laws, health notifications, etc. It’s important if you are planning a cruise or travel to multiple destinations that you check each country separately as they may have different visa requirements or vaccination recommendations.

Once you know the CDC recommendations for your destination per their website, consult your physician. You may have already received the recommended vaccinations in the past and may not need them. It’s also important to discuss any health notifications including food and water, bug bites, animals you may encounter, etc.


If you’ve questioned whether or not you feel comfortable traveling internationally with the increase of terrorism across the globe, know there are ways to do so safely. There are also some places that might seem safe that you may want to avoid in 2016.

Great Ideas for Travel in 2016

ICELAND – Starting in May, you’ll probably begin to see a lot of your friends and family on Facebook filling your news feed with pictures of Iceland and smiles on their faces in every shot. Iceland is an amazing country with much to see and do. This would be a good year to avoid the hustle and bustle of mainland Europe and head north. Great flight deals are available from major cities across the US.

CANADA – If you’ve never been to Canada, or if you’ve only been to Toronto or Vancouver, give the province of Quebec a try. One can make a great trip out of visiting Montreal for a few days, then taking the train to Quebec City to finish out a week. It's a good opportunity to brush up on your French and walk the historic sections of each city.

FILL YOUR US STATE MAP – If you don’t want to travel internationally this year, pick a US state or two you’ve never visited and make it happen. Less traveled states like Utah and Maine are hidden gems. Alaska and Hawaii are probably on your bucket list. Travel to the opposite coast or opposite corner or visit an attraction you've always wanted to see.

CRUISE – A cruise allows you to see many places and take guided excursions in ports all over the world. Sleeping, most of your meals and entertainment will be on the ship allowing you to avoid trains, airports, and hotels on land. This will decrease your travel risk and provide an easier and more comfortable experience.

GUIDED TOURS – A big trend in the travel world is to provide more independence, smaller groups, and have a true local experience. A great example is the company G Adventures that recently partnered with National Geographic and has trips all over the world. You can still be adventurous, but know you will have the resources to discover easily and safely including a local CEO (Chief Experience Officer) the whole trip. I’ve done a lot of research on G Adventures and am planning to take a trip with them this year. I'll have a full feature on the company afterwards.

Proceed With Caution or Avoid Altogether

TURKEY – After recent terror attacks, the State Department has issued a travel warning to Turkey. It also has become the conduit where Syrian refugees cross to get to the European mainland. With the incredible deals Turkish Airlines offers to destinations around the world through Istanbul, it should be safe to still fly the airline, but you may want to avoid leaving the airport or doing a stopover this year.

GREECE – With Macedonia and other Balkan countries closing their borders to Syrian refugees trying to migrate north, it is estimated that anywhere between 50,000 – 70,000 refugees will be stuck in Greece for the next few months. Many islands and the ferry systems are being overrun with refugees, crime has increased, and the main port city of Pireaus near Athens has become its own refugee camp. There are no travel alerts for Greece, but its highly advised to only visit the popular Greek Islands of Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, and Corfu as Greece is trying to maintain them for tourism and do so only by air travel to avoid the ferry system.

EUROPE – It will be up to each traveler to decide their risk threshold to travel to Europe this year with the recent terrorist attacks and refugee crisis plaguing the continent. It may be wiser to discover countries like Ireland, Portugal, and Poland that haven’t made the news much this year if you choose to travel to Europe.

CUBA – With President Obama’s recent visit and the media fascination with Cuba, many Americans are planning to visit the largest Caribbean island ASAP. Travel experts are advising American tourists to proceed with caution, as there is not enough infrastructure in place currently to handle a large influx of American tourists. There are still hurdles to climb to get there too. This recent article from the NY Times provides good information on travel to Cuba, but keep in mind that the situation will continue to evolve and prices are expected to go up significantly with high demand and what will be a limited supply of flights, housing, restaurants, etc.

COUNTRIES WITH ZIKA VIRUS OUTBREAK – While its not making news as much as it did a few months ago, countries are still dealing with the Zika outbreak in the Western Hemisphere. Visit the Zika virus page of the CDC website to see how your intended destination is dealing with the issue and best practices to stay healthy if your destination is affected.

As you plan your travel for the rest of 2016, be a smart traveler. Do you research, know your risk level, and consider alternatives including travel insurance to protect your investment. You'll want to enjoy whatever trip you choose and it doesn't make sense to be worried leading up to it and the whole time you are there. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions at I'm also a travel agent and can help with figuring out destinations, finding deals, booking, understanding travel insurance, etc. Travel well!

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