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Doyle: Risk to American travelers minimal

Kevin Doyle of Conde Nast Traveler
Kevin Doyle of Conde Nast Traveler

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Editor's Note: CNN Access is a regular feature on providing interviews with newsmakers from around the world.

(CNN) -- Many families travel during March as schools go on spring break. But the prospect of war and the threat of terrorism has raised concerns about traveling, especially abroad.

Thursday morning, Kevin Doyle, senior writer for Conde Nast Traveler, talked to CNN anchor Bill Hemmer about safety tips for leisure and business travel. Below is an excerpt from that conversation.

HEMMER: Your magazine did a really interesting survey recently. You found that 64 percent of the people you talked to are worried about unfriendliness because they're Americans, 63 percent worried about getting stuck abroad, not being able to get home, 62 percent about being harmed because they are American.

DOYLE: That's right.

HEMMER: Paranoid or a rightful reaction?

DOYLE: Well, we find that there's actually a great gulf between perception and reality. And our readers voiced a lot of concern, as you mentioned, about being identified as Americans or fearing that harm would come to them. They also said that they thought that there was about, on average, a one in 100,000 chance that they would be involved in a terrorist incident.

But, in fact, the likelihood of that happening is one in 9.4 million. To give you some perspective, the changes of an American dying of a gunshot wound is one in 9,000.


DOYLE: Or of dying of heart disease, one in 300. But people aren't running out to buy bulletproof vests.

HEMMER: True. It's always been my impression of this [that] the risk assessment is difficult for people who are not in that location because they're not overseas to see firsthand for themselves.


HEMMER: But after you go, you can assess the area in which you are traveling or living at the time.

DOYLE: That's true. That's true. But there are a lot of resources available to people to find out what the situation is in the country that they're going to be visiting, and giving them some sense of control. And that has a lot to do with controlling the fear. So, for instance, you can go to the State Department Web site, which lists information on political situations, civil unrest, etc., travel warnings for every country in the world.

You can go to the United Kingdom's site, which is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. That will give you a different perspective. So if you balance the two, you see what the English have to say, what the Americans have to say, the truth is probably somewhere in between.

HEMMER: I think that's great advice. Back on the screen, your Eye Jet Travel Intelligence. I've never heard of this. Apparently you can sign up and get information possibly through e-mail, PDA.

DOYLE: Yes, through your PDA, your cell phone, for $15 to $25, they will give you in depth and unbiased, you know, nothing political -- they don't have any political biases. So they will give you in depth information and warnings on any country or any city or region that you're going to visit.

HEMMER: A couple of things you point out in your article. Stay at a hotel that carries CNN or even the BBC as a backup, always good, CNN International overseas.

DOYLE: A very good idea.

HEMMER: And carry contact numbers for the U.S. embassy. I think they're all practical. How easy are they? Are people diligent enough to truly go out and follow these rules?

DOYLE: I think they are because what it allows the traveler to do is to have, again, a sense of control. Other things that people like to do is in a foreign city hire an English speaking guide, say one recommended by the concierge, because then you'll have someone to help you navigate your way through a city. They'll keep you out of dicey areas that you might otherwise wander into. A lot of times they like to use transportation provided by the hotel, say, getting from the airport to the hotel or a hotel car service. It gives them a sense of security.

Things like this help people, again, feel that they have a sense of control.

HEMMER: We've got about 30 seconds. I don't know if you can squeeze them both in. There are deals out there right now.

DOYLE: Great deals.

HEMMER: Twenty percent down to Europe over the past few years.

DOYLE: Great deals. Winter is always a great time to travel, but now especially. Delta, for instance, has a $219 round trip fare to Amsterdam.

HEMMER: Wow, that's stealing money.

DOYLE: It's great. British Airways has a $279 special round trip to London, including three nights accommodation.

HEMMER: And, quickly, insurance. Do you get it or not?

DOYLE: Get insurance. Definitely get insurance. Definitely get insurance. But there's supplemental insurance now being offered by cruise lines and travel companies that will cover you in the event of war or terrorism. Typical standard insurance will not. So make sure you buy the supplemental insurance. Read all of the contracts before you invest because you stand to lose a lot.

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