News reports about terrorist attacks, rampant crime or an unsettling string of deaths in an idyllic destination such as the Dominican Republic may give you pause when selecting a vacation spot -- or make you wonder if the place you chose is safe to visit at all.
Before deciding you may be better off with a staycation, keep in mind that for most travelers "the actual risks are more mundane," says Matthew Bradley, of International SOS, a medical and travel security services company. In most places, you're likelier to experience petty theft, traffic accidents or gastrointestinal problems than a terrorist attack.
Instead of writing off certain places because of unfavorable news stories, use these strategies to judge a destination.
Check government advisories
To review the U.S. Department of State's advice for travelers, go to
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