Photo: Eiffel Tower, Paris, France. (Courtesy of Auto Europe)
On Monday, the United States Department of State issued a travel alert for Americans visiting Europe due to an increased risk of terrorist attacks, especially during the upcoming holiday season.
The travel alert will remain in effect until Feb. 20, 2017.
According to the official website of the State Department, U.S. citizens traveling overseas should exercise caution when visiting regions with holiday festivals, events, outdoor markets or other areas where large groups of people congregate.
The State Department claims they have received credible information suggesting terrorist groups like the Islamic State of Iraq, the Levant, al-Qaeda and self-radicalized extremists are continuing to plan attacks in Europe, with a focus on the upcoming holiday season and associated events.
With recent attacks in countries like Belgium, France, Germany, and Turkey, citizens are advised to call or check the website of the U.S. Embassy or consulate in your destination city for any recent security messages.
To help travelers, the State Department has also issued several guidelines to ensure any trip to Europe is as safe and enjoyable as possible, via the agency’s official website:
•Follow the instructions of local authorities. Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
•Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
•Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
•Have an emergency plan of action ready.
•Register in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).