4/21/2022 – I keep waiting to update this but I think it’s time. Europe has historically been at war since the first kingdoms came into existence. Based on the latest saber-rattling, and the current state of affairs. I would avoid it unless I needed to visit family. There are better places to enjoy right now for a great adventure. Jordan, Mexico, and others have fewer shortages and don’t seem to be on the break of WWIII. Not yet anyway!
3/13/2022 – Based on some of the reports; we higher recommend you not be close to the Poland border. There have been some recent strikes on the Ukraine side of the border, and they are much closer now.
3/10/2022 – The extent to which travelers will feel the effects of the war depends on where they’re going, though experts say the rising price of oil will likely affect all airline ticket prices, even on domestic routes. NY Times article
3/8/2022 – If you travel to Eastern Europe or if the conflict expands you need to read the fine print on your travel insurance. Many insurance plans will not provide evacuation assistance during times of terrorism or political unrest if your destination has a Level 3 or Level 4 warning before your departure. Another tip: Make sure you can cancel your European vacation with as few penalties as possible.
3/7/2022 – Oil (Brent Crude 130+) and commodities (Wheat, Corn Ect.) are not hitting levels that have not been seen since 2007/2008. Fuel prices are a non-leading indicator, and we will soon see much higher fuel prices moving forward. So how do we as adventurous people adjust our plans moving forward? If you have already paid for expenses to Europe you should expect some price surprises once you arrive. Two places come to mind right now and are open for tourists. Mexico never did really close for COVID19, and is still open will more people catering to visitors each day. Another location that recently dropped restrictions is Bali Indonesia. They have amazing beaches, food, culture, and some very old Buddhist ruins.
3/5/2022 – Buildings within a Ukraine nuclear complex are on fire. Reports state the Power plant now under the control of Russia is stable.
3/5/2022 – Ceasefire in two Ukraine cities is underway to allow civilians to leave.
3/4/2022 – See live stream video of Ukraine here
War in Europe – So now that the media has a shiny new emergency we have moved on from the pandemic to Russia and their invasion into Ukraine. Put into context from someone who has seen war with tank battles up close and personal, this has been very reserved on Russia’s part. Will this change Europe, I think yes it will, and depending on how things go this will be both good and bad for travelers. Update 3/10/2022: It appears the gloves are coming off with artillery and missiles being used. The tanks will fire a massive barrage just before advancing. I have not seen a big use of their air force yet.
The EURO will keep the overall currency stable, and I don’t expect we will see the strong dollar of the 70s and 80s Europe ever return. In the 80s before the wall came down in Berlin; I still traveled often, and sometimes far. I always felt safe except when walking along the old border to Eastern Europe. Having machine guns pointed in my direction did make it difficult, but my point is I still visited small farms, pubs, museums, and people who were in the know of what had happened. I engaged people all over western Europe, and when the gate first opened I was there to speak with the East German soldiers.
I do expect we will move into a much more Cold War footing but we should still be able to go into Eastern Europe for now. This may change, and we will have to keep on with the changes as they happen. Poland seems to be the new line between East vs West, and there is massive human suffering underway. I think people should stay away from the Ukrainian borders, and let emergency management get in there to support them. The Red Cros is on the ground along with many others, and you can support them with donations. I would stay away from major Non-Government Organisations since there is a history of intelligence services operating out of them. I also expect crime to have arisen in the areas of the Ukraine border. Both organized and petty crime will be attacted by the massive amount of evacuees. So try to stay away from those areas.
Neutrality and the war in Europe
Now even during WWII, some countries stayed neutral, and I’m sure this will happen again even if another European War breaks out. P[people did still travel, but they did so in a different fashion. Finland is an example of neutrality today, and many Russians are going into Finland for various reasons.
Should we change travel plans?
Obviously, we should not travel to Ukraine now and should stay away from the areas alongside their borders. However, if you were to go to Poland and were further away from the border I would personally feel comfortable. I would not travel by air travel in Eastern Europe right now and would stick to train, and car travel. The Fog of War is real, and flying around Eastern Europe could be dangerous right now. Too many trigger happy missile systems, and yes that has happened even during the last few years.
I’m not sure if train ticket costs will rise but I don’t expect that they will for now. Europeans may postpone or cancel their vacations, and you should be able to ride the rails in whatever comfort you can afford. I would fly into Germany, and just train travel from there. It’s easy, and most of Europe is very road-friendly with hotels close to the train stations.
I always found it much easier to travel in Eastern Europe with the use of German and Russian. I used German often during the last days of the Cold War and found it very useful in Croatia and other places. There are many languages in the East so those two assuming you already know English should get you wherever you need to go. Keep a small hard copy of language dictionaries, and a travel book with simple phrases. Don’t rely on mobile technology, and make sure to have a map.
In conclusion, I would not change my plans unless I was going to Ukraine. The conflict is centered there for now, and hopefully, it does not spread. Make sure to stay updated on the situation, and registered with your embassy.