earlier today i spoke with Cynthia Drescher (aka @jetsetcd) from Jaunted and Condé Nast Traveler about my upcoming Tunisia trip (first week of April) for an article she was writing about whether or not Tunisia is still safe to travel to in the aftermath of the attack that claimed nearly two dozen lives. my answer to whether or not i was going to cancel? an emphatic no. well, at least for now.
i haven’t ever traveled to a hot spot (though at the moment i’d only consider Tunis a warm spot) during a time of crisis, so i can’t base my decision on experience. the closest i’ve been, i think, is Ukraine pre-Russian invasion and Russia during the height of the anti-gay (and start of external anti-Putin) sentiments last year and the year before. hmm, maybe Israel/Palestine last year?
here is my rationale
- while i feel absolutely horrible for those innocent lives lost during the attack, and while i assume that chances are higher now of subsequent incidents, it’s a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. yes, Tunis may be more of a “wrong place” and there may be more “wrong times” now, but unless the situation changes drastically, my reasons for going still outweigh these reasons for not. over six million tourists traveled to Tunisia last year; so far the numbers are overwhelmingly on my side.
- i haven’t been abroad since December, thanks to work. i know this is a #firstworldtraveladdictproblem but i need to get out. i’ve been looking forward to this trip since i booked it in October.
- if worse comes to worst while i’m there, i’m workationing and will just work more than (v)acation. my airbnb looks pretty nice, so i won’t mind spending time there.
not taking things lightly though — i’m a prepper!
— Jonathan Khoo (@jonk) March 19, 2015
as Cynthia mentioned, it’s important to enroll in STEP, a State Department program i wrote about several times. basically, you are simultaneously letting the local embassy know you’ll be around (and how to contact you) and signing up for notifications of any travel alerts and warnings before and during your trip. as of now, there are no alerts (short-term breaking information) or warnings (broad “you might want to think twice before coming here” missives) for Tunisia, and if any appear — which i should get notified of via STEP — i will definitely reconsider. by the way, you can access the full list of warnings and alerts here.
for sure, if things heat up over there, i will reconsider. the $612-$775 i’d lose if travel insurance doesn’t kick will be well worth it. ($449.75 airfare thanks to an Emirates mistake [sale?], and $162-$324 Airbnb depending on when i cancel.)
sidebar: Chase MileagePlus Explorer card coverage i called them up and they said that acts of terrorism might be considered as grounds for trip cancellation coverage, so who knows. maybe it has to be major? ugh, *knock on wood* nothing happens, major OR minor!