Is Travel Safe?

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A number of headlines from various sources caught my eye recently:

‘Kurd attack’ kills 12 in Turkey
Haleakala National Park Officials Call For Safety Summit For Bicyclists (In the past year, three bicyclists have died in Haleakala National Park while descending from the park’s summit).
Fall Into Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone Kills California Woman
FBI Assists With Maldives Blast Probe (U.S. authorities have sent FBI agents to the Maldives to aid with the investigation into a weekend bombing that injured 12 foreign tourists).
Women die in India train stampede (At least 14 women have been crushed to death in a stampede at a train station in northern India, officials say.)

What do these headlines have in common? They are all stories about some destination that I have recommended on the Amateur Traveler. So what can we say, is travel safe?

There certainly can be risk in travel and more risk in some parts of the world than in others. Of course there is also risk in staying home but it is not always clear how to calculate the difference. I know many people who are nervous about crime when going to Europe for instance but would think nothing of going to a major U.S. city where their chance of encountering violent crime is probably higher.

Of course part of the problem is that “plane arrives safely!” is not news. That alone should make us feel better about travel. There was some good news this week in a New York Times article “Fatal Airplane Crashes Drop 65%“:

After two infamous crashes in 1996 that together killed 375 people, a White House commission told the airline industry and its regulators to reduce the domestic rate of fatal accidents 80 percent over 10 years. That clock ended Sunday.

They have come close to reaching that goal. Barring a crash before midnight Sunday, the drop in the accident rate will be about 65 percent, to one fatal accident in about 4.5 million departures, from one in nearly 2 million in 1997.

Safety in some destinations can change very quickly. It was safe to travel to Myanmar until a few weeks ago but I would not recommend it now.

When traveling off the beaten path the U.S. Department of State provides timely International Travel Information which you should check out before you travel.

So here is what I know about traveling safely:

  • I am safer when I keep my wits about me
  • I am safer when I leave valuables at home
  • I am safer when I don’t draw attention to myself
  • Much of my safety is just luck, fate or providence
  • It is worth it to me to consider my safety in planning any trip
  • It is not worth it to me to worry so much about safety that I stay home

In a bit of irony, I am writing this blog entry from Los Angeles while a friend is driving though rush hour traffic. Writing this distracts me from how quickly the car in front of us stops from time to time. Is travel safe? I sure hope so.

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by Chris Christensen

I am the host of the Amateur Traveler. The Amateur Traveler is an online travel show that focuses primarily on travel destinations and what are the best places to travel to. It includes both a weekly audio podcast, a video podcast, and a blog.

One Response to “Is Travel Safe?”

Jim montek


In my opinion traveling to any place is not risky at all if proper precautions are taken

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