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Not so. A careful consideration of statistical tables 

leaves me with the following conclusions:

- Commercial flying is the safest mode of transportation—

much, much safer than cars;

- Travel is as safe or safer than staying at home (particularly 

if you avoid countries with frequent disturbances).

For an extra layer of safety, consider taking “the 

road less traveled.” Look for places not on the Top Ten 
Tourist Destination lists. Consider countries that are not 
enmeshed in international conflicts, civil wars or bitter 
elections. Like Canada. South America is looking good. 
Vietnam. Botswana. New Zealand. Think about islands: 
Caribbean, Galapagos or the Azores. 

That said, something might have already happened 

or could soon happen at any point on the globe. And 
you shouldn’t feel guilty for worrying about international 
travel. But you can worry less if you take some 
precautionary steps and control what you can. Here are 
some guidelines to help you feel prepared for international 
travel in an uncertain age. 


Sign up with STEP (the Smart Traveler Enrollment 

 through the U.S. Bureau of Consular 

Affairs. STEP helps an embassy or consulate keep 
track of you and locate and help you in the case of 
a terrorist incident. When you register travel plans, 
they forward that data to the respective embassy. But 
you’ll also get emails with any travel warnings from 
the State Department. All in all, this is a simple and 
quick cautionary step. I finished the registration in 
only twenty minutes (and I always take extra time 
because I never get the instructions straight for 
creating passwords and such).

2) Research and purchase travel insurance. 


of your worst fear and insure against that, not just a 
delayed flight or unplanned layover. Since having to 
be evacuated after a medical crisis (whether from car 
accident, heart attack or terrorist attack) is by far the most 
costly expense any traveler could encounter, start with a 
medical evacuation plan (I use MedJet Assist, endorsed 
by AARP.) These are significantly different from the 
limited protections of the website-generated “Do you 
want to insure your trip?” kind of insurance (with a lot 
of small print and exclusions). These are often annual 
memberships vs. single trip coverage for individuals or