Everything that we do comes with risks. When the risk outweighs the reward, we may decide to avoid a particular situation or activity, so it’s important to understand the odds before we jump to judgment—especially on big decisions like whether or not we let the fear of terrorism stop us from getting out to explore our world.

We’ve all seen and heard news reports on terrorist activity in cities that top many of our lists of places we’d most like to visit. It scares us. It saddens us. It angers us. It horrifies us. It should not deter us.

Despite the disturbing nature of terrorist incidents worldwide, your odds of being a direct victim of terrorist activity are very small, with an annual risk of one in 3.5 million for Americans. For perspective, consider the following statistics comparing terrorism worldwide to deaths from various causes in the United States from the Centre for Research on Globalization:

  • You are 35,079 times more likely to die from heart disease than a terrorist attack.
  • You are 404 times more likely to die in a fall than a terrorist attack.
  • You are 87 times more likely to drown than die in a terrorist attack.
  • You are 5,882 times more likely to die from medical error than a terrorist attack.
  • You are 1,904 times more likely to die from a car accident than a terrorist attack.
  • You are 271 times more likely to die from a workplace accident than a terrorist attack.
  • You are 2,059 times more likely to commit suicide than die at the hand of a terrorist.
  • You are 33,842 times more likely to die from cancer than a terrorist attack.
  • Americans are 110 times more likely to die from contaminated food than terrorism.
  • You are 12 times more likely to die from accidental suffocation in the comfort of bed than a terrorist attack.

If these odds don’t stop you from going out to live your daily life, then think about the fact that your odds of being a victim of terrorism are much more remote than any of these potential outcomes. This will encourage you to avoid the pitfalls of fear when it comes to your next vacation, business trip or opportunity to study abroad.

Please be advised that being a fearless global citizen does not mean that you take unnecessary risks. A Fearless Global Citizen is prepared.

According to research published by the CATO Institute, In the U.S., you have a 0.00003% chance of dying in an attack by a foreign-born terrorist. On average, since 9/11:

  • 9 people have been killed a year by Muslim extremists.
  • 12,843 people have been killed a year by guns.
  • 37,000 people have died in traffic accidents.

Although your overall odds of being in a terrorist attack are negligible, there are certain areas that are inherently more dangerous in some respects than others. With this in mind—and before you travel to any destination—do your research to learn about the environment, laws, currency, language and culture you will encounter. If you are traveling internationally, take advantage of government resources for travel advisories and recommendations.

According to the 2016 Global Terrorism Index published by the Institute for Economics & Peace:

  • Just 5 countries accounted for 72% of deaths from terrorism in 2015 (Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria)
  • From 1989–2014, More than 90% of terrorism attacks occurred in countries engaged in violent conflicts
  • Only 0.5% of terrorist attacks occurred in countries that did not suffer from conflict or political terror

With sufficient planning, you can mitigate irrational fears and be sensible about what you will likely encounter on your travels. You should weigh the pros and cons of any destination with as much practical information as you can gather.

Political upheaval, crime rates, weather events, climate and other environmental factors are examples of things you should investigate before deciding to travel. Always make note of your country’s foreign embassy information, and how to contact local emergency services in your destination.

It’s also a good idea to check with your doctor with any medical questions before you leave. Call your doctor as far in advance as possible, in case you require immunizations. You should also secure relevant travel insurances before leaving home. These preparations should help you take your next trip with a sense of excitement and adventure.

You can leave the fear behind and become a Fearless Global Citizen. With education and planning, you’ll be ready to embark on your life’s journey brimming with confidence. Adventure awaits you.