Terrorism is a terrifying word, instantly striking intentional fear in the hearts of many all over the world. Horrific acts of violence, innocent lives being lost and shocking images in the media being played on repeat; it is enough to make you want to grab your family and hide.
I know this is a depressing topic, which is typically not my style. I prefer to focus on the positive side of life and travel, but in light of recent events I felt it was an important discussion to have. The threat of ISIS and other fringe terrorist groups, the recent attacks in Paris, Lebanon and Kenya, and the constant updates of government travel warnings has got everybody rattled with travel anxiety.
In fact, the other day I was discussing 2016 travel plans with my sister and I noticed that she wasn’t as enthusiastic as usual. There were no cheers over chilled shots of tequila, no high-pitched squeals of excitement, no hyperventilation; as is the norm when we plans our trips. I asked her what was wrong and she expressed concerns about the safety of travel right now, even doubting if we should go. This saddened me deeply.
As a traveling mom the welfare of my family is always on my mind. Family travel is scary enough without the threat of terrorism, am right?
I am not going lie. Before every trip I embark on with my children, I spend a few sleepless nights stressing and praying it all goes well and we will be home safe in our beds again. I hope that no one gets sick or hurt. I worry about our flights and other modes of transportation and pray that there are no accidents. I research political climates, making sure not to bring my family into a knowingly dangerous situation. Now there is even more to worry about without even leaving town.
So with all this fear and uncertainty in the air, what does this mean for family travel?
Are we supposed to run and hide?
Change how we live our life? If so, for how long are we supposed to live in fear? Stressing out, constantly looking over our shoulders every time we are in a public space?
Is the world truly as unsafe as it is made out to be?
I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I do know that I refuse to let fear cripple my love of travel. Even with everything that has been happening I think that family travel is good thing and no more unsafe than staying at home, especially for those of us that live in tourists destinations. Terrorism is scary, for sure, and it can happen anywhere. It is important to put these terrorist attacks in perspective before giving up the things you love to do. Wendy Perrin has a great post to help ease some common fears that even I have fallen victim to from time to time. I’m not going to pretend that the thought of possible terrorist activity doesn’t cross my mind every time I take the kids to Disneyland. It sucks, but it is the sad reality.
All I know is that, I will continue to travel with my family while taking the necessary precautions to protect my family, whether we are local or abroad.
What precautions you ask? For one, I have enrolled in STEP the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which helps the US Embassy locate you in an emergency and sends out travel warnings and alerts. It just adds a layer of security if you traveling out of the country, especially one where there is instability.
We can’t control everything, but I try to control what I can. I get travel insurance, I don’t bring my kids to environments I know to be unsafe on the regular, and I avoid public demonstrations as they can easily turn violent.
I come from a family of law-enforcement, so I have always been a pretty observant person, but recently I found myself on heightened alert. HotDaddy teases me and says I act like a prairie animal, always scanning for danger. But that’s not just with travel, that’s the everyday pressure of trying to keep my little people alive who are constantly working against me. That’s why my cocktail breaks are so important, mama needs to relax.
So, will I stop traveling with my family? No.
Do I experience more fear when traveling? Somewhat, but whenever I feel the strangling grip of fear, I take a deep breath, remind myself of the statistical probabilities, and put my fears into perspective.
Now I pass the question on to you. How have these recent terrorist attacks affected your travel style?