As of today, here are the State Department warnings regarding travel to my destinations in May.
Serbia: Reconsider your need to travel. It has not been updated since Oct, 2021. Belgrade is only 320 miles from the Ukraine border!
Croatia: Exercise a high degree of caution. (Mar 2022)
Greece: Same as Croatia
France: Same as Greece
Germany: Same as France
So, what am I going to do? The cycling portion of my trip in May in Croatia, from May 14-21. Is the Adriatic Sea safe for tourists? Yet, Poland is rated the same as Croatia, France, and Germany, though they have received upwards of 3 million refugees from war torn Ukraine. At least Ukraine is listed as “Do not travel” as of March 20, 2022.
Here are the warnings for the Ukraine:
Military action is underway.
Shelter in place.
When it is safe, leave Ukraine.
Contact your family and loved ones by phone (if you have phone service)
Follow the instructions of Ukrainian authorities.
Personal security measures include:
- Always be alert and aware of your surroundings, especially in large crowds.
- Keep a low profile. Avoid standing out or looking like a tourist.
- Have a list of emergency contacts on you.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations or large crowds are gathering.
- Avoid areas with large numbers of armed forces.
- If you’re out and notice something suspicious, leave the area immediately.
- Don’t take photos of security forces or local authorities. You may appear suspicious and put yourself at risk.
If you have significant concerns about your welfare, contact the US Embassy.
What would you do if you get caught in a country where evacuation is necessary, and resources are limited? I doubt travel insurance, though I might be reimbursed, will help secure safe passage out of the country.
Here are my options:
Train (the most obvious and cheapest choice)
Plane (quickest and most expensive)
Car rental (both expensive and dangerous)
I would also worry about my baggage, and valuables: Remember I told you the story about the woman who invited me to Kiev, Ukraine in 2014. She was trapped in a hotel, under the bed in Iraq or Lebanon. She was able to get out when the UN forces created a safe path to the airport, and out of the country!!
- You usually won’t be covered if you were breaking the local law when the incident occurred. This can include not wearing a motorbike helmet on a moped.
- Many insurers won’t cover you if something happens to your property when you’re under the influence of alcohol. Even a low blood alcohol level can get your claim denied.
- Your items won’t be covered if the incident occurred while you were doing an excluded activity. For example, if your policy excludes riding motorbikes and you lose your phone while riding, you can’t claim it.
- Unattended baggage is rarely covered. Even if you turned away for just a moment when it was stolen.
- Valuables locked in a car may not be covered. You may need a separate car insurance policy via the hire company – and excess reduction cover from your travel insurer as an extra.
- Baggage checked in on an airline may not be covered. Ask your airline what their policy is for items lost, broken or delayed when in their care.
Most insurers won’t cover cancellation costs if:
- you’re cancelling because of a situation that was known about before you bought your policy
- our advice level was already at ‘Reconsider your need to travel’ or ‘Do not travel’
- you’re cancelling due to a mental health issue or episode
- there’s a demonstration, war or terrorist incident in your destination unless we raise our advice level to ‘Do Not Travel’
- there’s a pandemic, epidemic or natural disaster in your destination unless we raise our advice level to ‘Do Not Travel’
- your tour company or airline makes a mistake with your booking, or goes out of business
As you can read, my options are fairly limited. Is it worth the risk? I think it is