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Berlin Christmas Market Incident

A truck ran into a busy Christmas market today in Breitscheidplatz in western Berlin, Germany. Early media reports are stating that nine people have been killed and at least 50 others are injured. Police have not yet confirmed whether the incident is related to a terror attack.

The U.S. State Department previously issued a Europe Travel Alert, which remains in effect. The advisory alerts U.S. citizens to the heightened risk of terrorist attacks throughout Europe, particularly during the holiday season. U.S. citizens are reminded to exercise vigilance when attending large holiday events, visiting tourist sites, using public transportation and frequenting places of worship, restaurants and hotels. Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds, when possible. Review security information from local officials, who are responsible for the safety and security of all visitors to their host country.

AAA Travel and Association Communication have prepared the following talking points to assist clubs if asked about the incident by members or the media.
AAA Travel Tips:

  • •  AAA Travel partners are closely monitoring the situation in Berlin. Travelers with plans to visit Germany or other destinations are advised to consult with their travel providers or travel agent for any changes to travel plans or requirements.

  • •   AAA has not seen significant cancellations or departure from travel plans at this time. Travelers should, however, always stay informed and remain vigilant when traveling.

  • •  AAA advises travelers to broaden their peripheral vision while on vacation and always remain vigilant about their personal security and surroundings.

  • •  Before their trips, travelers should refer to the State Department for detailed travel recommendations. Country Specific Information for Germany is available here.

  • •  Enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the nearest embassy or consulate to contact them in case of an emergency.

  • •  Travelers should be prepared for increased security and anticipate delays when traveling domestically or internationally.

  • •  Travelers are advised to travel with an additional form of identification such as an International Driving Permit, which can be obtained at one of AAA's more than 1,000 branch offices across North America. Travelers should keep their passport and/or IDP on their person at all times while traveling.

  • •  Make extra copies of all travel documents, itineraries and emergency contact information. Leave copies with friends or family back home, and keep an extra set with you in case originals are lost.

  • •  Consider purchasing travel insurance. Most travel insurance providers like Allianz allow customers to cancel their trip if an act of terrorism occurred at their destination within 30 days of their scheduled arrival. Customers could then receive payment for their non-refundable trip costs.

  • •  The decision to travel is a very personal one that must be made by the individual. Everyone should stay informed and remain vigilant when traveling. AAA travel counselors are available to assist members with this information.

  • •  If asked whether AAA is recommending that people cancel trips to Germany:

Currently, government officials are not advising Americans to avoid travel to Berlin, Germany or other European destinations. The decision to travel is a very personal one which must be made by the traveler. Travelers should always remain informed of travel alerts; AAA travel counselors are available to assist members with this information.

AAA Travel Recommendations

AAA recommends that travelers refer to the State Department for detailed Travel Alert recommendations and Country Specific Information when planning and traveling abroad.  

We also advise our members to do the following prior to any international travel:

  • •  Make extra copies of all travel documents, including passports, itineraries and emergency contact information. Leave copies with friends or family back home and keep an extra set with you in case originals are lost.

  • •  Those with plans to visit international destinations are advised to consult with their travel providers (tour operators, cruise lines and airlines) and travel agent for any changes to travel plans or requirements.

  • •  Travel with an additional form of identification such as an International Driving Permit, which can be obtained at one of AAA’s more than 1,000 branch offices across North America. Travelers should keep their passport and/or IDP on their person at all times while traveling.

  • •  Enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the embassy or consulate to contact them in case of an emergency.

  • •  Consider purchasing travel insurance. Most travel insurance providers like Allianz allow customers to cancel their trip if an act of terrorism occurred at the destination within 30 days of their scheduled arrival. Customers could then receive payment for their non-refundable trip costs.

The US State Department shares these additional travel tips:

  • •  Exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation.

  • •  Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places.

  • •  Follow the instructions of local authorities, especially in an emergency.

  • •  Monitor media and local event information sources and factor updated information into your travel plans and activities.

  • •  Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.

  • •  Stay in touch with your family, have a plan if you are separated and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.

Do you have any specific questions regarding your travel abroad? Contact one of our travel agents who will help you safely navigate the sometimes confusing world of international travel.

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