Why You Shouldn't Let Terrorism Keep You From Traveling to Europe

The case for traveling across the pond in spite of recent attacks.

U.S. News & World Report

Why You Shouldn't Let Terrorism Keep You From Traveling to Europe

Caucasian couple walking near Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

With heightened security, flexible flight options, bargain-friendly hotel rates and plenty of off-the-beaten-path destinations awaiting discovery, there are plenty of reasons to carry on and keep traveling.(Getty Images)

With the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, many travelers are left wondering whether heading to Europe is a smart idea. Instead of focusing on securing flights and accommodations overseas this summer, many Americans, in light of the recent U.S. State Department travel alert for Europe, are contemplating staying stateside. And while its easy to understand why travelers are uncertain and anxious about whether they'll be in danger traveling across the pond, the truth is, the continent still feels just as safe and accessible as before the devastating attacks.

In fact, despite the crisis, a number of major European travel companies have seen a spike in bookings this year. For example, popular luxury boutique cruise line Windstar Cruises is seeing record-breaking number of cruise bookings for 2016, with Mediterranean cruise bookings up by 50 percent over the past three weeks compared to the same period last year. And the company has seen an increase in Northern European cruise sales, too, with bookings up by 30 percent this year.

"Our guests are informed travelers," says Joe Duckett, vice president of marketing and sales at Windstar Cruises. "They travel internationally often, which makes them less travel-averse and more tolerant to the volatile nature of travel in our world. They make measured decisions on where they will spend their vacation and are always interested in taking advantage of a good deal. Europe remains a top choice," he adds.

With that in mind, before you write off a trip to Europe because of safety concerns, here are three top reasons to travel across the pond this summer.

You'll Find a Bargain

During times of uncertainty, prices are often lower since as there are more flights, hotel rooms and restaurant tables to fill. And during the peak summer travel season, the prices in popular locales can be off-putting for the budget-minded traveler. However, because of the current climate, those who want to keep traveling despite recent threats will find a higher opportunity for flight deals and hotel steals. For instance, while round-trip flights to Europe from popular destinations across the U.S. typically cost around $2,000 in the off-season, budget carriers like WOW Air are offering round-trip flights from Washington, District of Columbia, airports to Paris airports starting at $600, including all taxes and fees.

There are also plenty of bargain-priced hotels to be found across Europe. But if you decide to plan a European getaway this summer, it's a good idea to work with a reputable travel agent, such as a Virtuoso Travel Advisor, to pull together a low-cost package deal instead of cobbling together plans yourself. The benefit of working with a travel advisor is his extensive industry connections and access to lucrative perks and promotions. Think of it this way: A reputable advisor has a portfolio of clients, so he can easily negotiate on your behalf for the best deal.

You Can Keep Your Travel Plans Flexible

If you invest in the right travel insurance policy, you'll have the peace of mind that you can easily pivot your plans if a crisis arises. Hotel rooms, flights and lost luggage are some of the typical items travel insurance can cover. Investing in the right policy for your needs also allows for flexibility should you need to reschedule your trip for a later date without facing a severe financial penalty. Also, much like home or auto insurance, you can easily modify your coverage based on your specific needs, which is especially beneficial if you're concerned about canceling or postponing your trip. For instance, 21 million people have invested in travel insurance with Allianz Global Assistance, which offers policies that cover everything from flight delays to calamities (including terrorism threats). "Whether it's a medical issue or a travel delay, a travel insurance policy from Allianz Global Assistance can provide peace of mind, especially for travel outside the U.S., where many hospitals may request cash payments in the thousands before treatment even begins," says Daniel Durazo, director of communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA.

There Are Lesser-Known Gems Worth Exploring This Year

If you've already visited Rome, Paris and London, there are plenty of off-the-beaten-path European locales worth the trip. For instance, instead of going to Rome or Florence, why not visit Lugano, Switzerland? Located near Lake Como, Italy, Lugano has memorable seafood spots like Grotto San Rocco, beautiful architecture and a mix of Swiss and Italian influences thanks to its unique location near the Italian border. Or instead of going to Paris, why not try Evian-les-Bain, France? The city recently renovated its Hotel Evian Royal, where you'll find a Michelin-stared restaurant and a serene spa. Or, if you really want to get off the grid, a few miles away from the Hotel Evian Resort, you'll find the luxurious Les Lodges Babylone, which features a Michelin-starred chef, gracious hospitality and plenty of charm.

About En Route

Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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