Should I travel after a terrorist attack?

Je suis Charlie Johanna Read

In Paris three weeks after the Charlie Hebdo attack, support was literally stamped onto walls

Statistics say that the average person is more likely to die from a TV falling on them than from a terrorist act.

So why are we so scared?

I hear too many stories of people cancelling their travel plans or being too afraid to make any travel plans at all.

So, I wrote a piece for the travel safety site World Nomads about this. In Travel and terror, how do you decide it’s safe to go? I explain my simple process for determining whether to travel after a terrorist attack.

The memorial to the 22 victims of the March 18, 2015 attack. Photo by Johanna Read

The memorial to the victims of the Bardo attack

I’ve had to use this process three times, and decided not to cancel trips to NYC, Paris and Tunis in the days and weeks following attacks there.

In the article, I show how, statistically, staying at home is more dangerous than a potential terror threat. I explain how we waste money on security measures, wars and on fighting terrorism. And I make the case that changing our lives and plans because of fear ultimately makes the world a more dangerous place.


Damaged by gunfire, a 2nd century A.D. statue of the infant Bacchus.Photo by Johanna Read

Bullet holes in the display cases in the Bardo Museum a month after the attack

I’d love your opinions on my article, and love you to share it if you agree with it.

How has terrorism and the threat of terrorism affected your travels? Do you agree with my approach?

For more on travel and fear, please read my:

– Why is everyone so freaked out about  the zika virus? 

– Everyone is freaking out about Zika — should I? (for World Nomads).

And if this has got you thinking about travellers’ roles in making the world better or worse, you might want to read my responsible tourism articles. I explain easy things you can do to protect destinations’ cultures, economies and environments, with the added bonus that you’ll have a more interesting trip too.


4 responses to “Should I travel after a terrorist attack?

  1. Nice info and clear explanation.Thanks for sharing such a informative content.
    it was very helpful.Regards,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally agree with you, Johanna. Why should we be arranging our lives for the sake of a few in the large scheme of things? I think your reasons for not giving in to terrorists is our way of fighting the battle. They want to take over and have us live in fear so we need to recognize this and keep on with our travel plans. For example, some people would not have gone to Columbia or Ecuador after reading what our Canadian Embassy had to say about the drug cartel and other crimes, not to mention diseases. I was there this year and never had any problems. Just met the friendliest people every where I went. I feel safer in all the countries I’ve been to in SE Asia, as well; in fact, safer than I do in some of our cities here in Canada. Keep up the good reporting for safe travel.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Betty. EXACTLY!

      I mean, there are dangerous places and risks everywhere, but we need to look at risks sensibly. I’ve never encountered a problem in all my travels. Violence-wise, the U.S. is more dangerous than most countries. And street crime-wise, Europe is more dangerous than most countries a tourist would go to.

      I’m all for being cautious when the risks warrant it, but we need to assess the risks rationally.

      And we can make the world a better place by not letting terrorists change our behaviour, and by making sure that the world’s people have human rights. Seems to simple …..


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