In Wake of Paris Attacks, Some Question Whether Traveling Abroad is Safe

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“I’ve been to Europe a few times,” said Irma, as she left a Starbucks Wednesday evening.

“I’ve um … I’ve been to India,” said Shaun Shah.

“It was part of a high school field trip for AP Spanish,” said Rachel Oberlander, as she described her travels in South America.

“Yeah, I was just in Paris about a month ago … and it’s very shocking and sad because I was just there, where it’s happening, by the stadium,” Shah said.

The “it” Shah’s talking about is the violent impact ISIS has left on France and its neighbors in the last week — a situation that some fear will ground the desire for international travel to such areas for the long-term.

“I have great reservations, um to France … to the whole surrounding area.  There’s turmoil, cells everywhere. So right now, I want to stay right where I’m at,” said Irma, who didn’t want to share her last name.

Clients with feelings like that have been ringing Teri Young’s phone at Dreamcatcher Vacations.

“They’re asking me, ‘should we be concerned?’ ‘should we cancel?'” Young said.

About 40 percent of her annual bookings are tours of the European highlights — Munich, London and the city of lights, which ISIS has tried to darken with its destruction.

“The most important thing I feel is never to react immediately to any situation like this,” Young said.

By handing out that advice, her business weathered the travel drought after 9/11, and following the January Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, she saw no cancellations on booked trips to France.

It’s in times like this new crisis that she says having a travel expert handle your trip while you’re abroad can really pay off.

An expert gives you another point of contact to help negotiate your way out of an affected area.

“If there’s something you need to know, you don’t have to panic. Just pick up the phone and call me because that’s what I’m here for,” Young said.

She wears a pager so she’s available to traveling clients 24/7.

Oberlander says if she had the chance, she would still go to Paris right now.

“I think life is too short to be afraid to travel. If you have a chance to go somewhere great take it. Don’t let current events sway you,” she said.

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