In the least specific advisory imaginable, the US State Department today issued a worldwide travel alert, cautioning Americans about the danger of travel pretty much anywhere on the planet because of the increased threat of terror.
The statement cited the threat of more ISIS attacks or copycats in the wake of recent attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali. Interestingly, the large ISIS attack in Beirut the day before the Paris attacks did not make the list.
The alert warned Americans to “exercise vigilance” in all public places anywhere and whenever using transportation of any kind, and also advised them to avoid “large crowds or crowded places,” particularly during the holiday season.
State Department travel alerts are fairly common, but usually restricted to a single country or area and related to a single specific reason travel there would be unwise. They had issued a similar worldwide travel alert last Christmas, citing a hostage-taking in Sydney, Australia.
While the worldwide alerts appear designed to cover officials in the event something happens basically anywhere, they seem all but useless to travelers, as the total lack of specificity doesn’t allow for any realistic precautions to be taken at the individual level.