With the United States declaring a Worldwide Travel Alert, the question of safety for our family has come up a few times. Of course, a lot will change in 5 years, so nobody can be sure what we’ll be faced with when the time comes for our travel. But what can we do now to make sure we’re being as careful as possible? One thing is to keep track of worldwide events like terrorism — but not necessarily where terror events occur, but where they originated from and who supported them. This can help identify areas of the world that 14 and 9 year olds probably shouldn’t be travelling to. The world is a big place, so skipping a few countries shouldn’t be a problem…
So what can you do to research such a complex topic? One thing would be to read the Global Terrorism Index put out by the Institute for Economics and Peace. Their 2015 index just came out and you can see the PDF here. The PDF is 111 pages, so not exactly fun bed time reading. But, just looking at the rankings can give you a sense of which sections of the world you might want to avoid. Unfortunately, there’s a few countries we’d like to visit that are pretty high on the Impact list at the moment (for example, Thailand is #10, Egypt is #13, Kenya is #18).
Looking at things from the other end, we have the Institute for Economics and Peace’s 2015 Global Peace Index (PDF). Again, 127 pages, so a good long read – but at least not as depressing. This index can help understand a country’s level of safety and security, degrees of militarization and more. Thankfully, most of the countries we’re interested in visiting are fairly peaceful, though a few are red (Russia, for example, though it IS a massive geographical area that’s being lumped together).
Of course, the odds of being killed or hurt by a terrorist attack is much smaller than being hit by lightning, but the fact that poverty, class inequality, government corruption, civil unrest and other social ills are directly connected to terrorism can’t be ignored. The world’s a big place, and we understand that, in 5 years, there just might be a few beautiful places that we’ll just have to skip during our trip.