The horrific attacks in Paris (and elsewhere around the world) have left us with profound sadness for the victims and their families. They also have us thinking about how travel – and the ability to travel fearlessly – fits into the landscape of this tragedy and others like it.
At Virtuoso, we wholeheartedly believe that boundaries divide and travel unites. We also believe that as a whole, the world is a safe and wonderful place for travelers. That’s why it’s important not to let fear govern our itineraries. For insight on why we should travel fearlessly, we turned to some of the most well traveled and well connected people we know, Virtuoso travel agency owners. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Big news does not equal big risk.
The chances of being involved in a terrorist attack are slim. Very slim. According to State Department data, 24 Americans were killed overseas as a result of terrorism in 2014, a number that’s vanishingly small compared to the number of deaths in the U.S. from traffic accidents, heart disease, and other more mundane causes. “So many of our agents and clients’ lives revolve around travel,” says a Virtuoso agency owner in New York City. “Our message is clear: we are not changing our lives because of a few tragic events.”
2. If not now, when?
“With only one life to live, we can’t afford to let these events dictate our plans,” says a McLean, Virginia, travel agency owner. “There are many who have waited years to take a special trip. There are dangers in our own backyard that are much more likely to impact us personally than any random act of terrorism.”
3. Travelers should refuse to be terrorized.
“Fear is the outcome terrorists want because it makes their atrocities even more successful,” says a Virtuoso travel agency owner based in Phoenix, Arizona. “We want to support our friends in Paris with our visits to show that the terrorists will not deter us.”
4. Now is the time to travel fearlessly and support Paris.
If your upcoming travel plans include Paris, many Virtuoso advisors advocate keeping them. Paris’ major tourist sites and museums have reopened, and it will be business as usual in the city, our advisors say: “If you have concerns, speak to your advisor or your local on-site providing the tours about what bothers you, and gauge their feedback. Feel good about the dollars you are spending to support the Parisians who so badly need a positive boost.”
5. When in Paris…
“Parisians are of course shocked by recent events but we are hedonistic people and we have already started the fight against pessimism and terror,” says an executive at one of Virtuoso’s Paris-based travel agencies. “Parisians continue to live normally, take their coffee on the terrace, take public transportation, and plan to attend concerts. This is the way we show our rebellion and especially that terrorism will not win. Our lifestyle works on the principle of liberty, equality, fraternity – and that will never change. In addition, the city has never been more secure than in recent days and it will strengthen day by day.”
Ultimately, assessing the risk of any endeavor and the decision to travel fearlessly is a personal choice. Your Virtuoso travel advisor can help plan a trip that’s right for you, whether it’s a close-to-home getaway or a far-flung adventure.