LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The number of those wanting to travel only increases around the holidays, and in the midst of heightened fear of terrorist attacks, East Texas travel experts say it is having an effect on the way people vacation.
"There is a general fear overall in some people's minds, not directly towards people traveling to Istanbul because that is more of an exotic destination," said Nancy Mize, the owner of Holiday Travel. "However, people are avoiding places like Europe."
Mize said she understands public concerns but added if an attack can happen in Orlando of all places, then predicting the next is impossible.
"It could happen anywhere at any time, but don't be paranoid; don't be fearful. If your big dream trip is to go to Paris, go to Paris," Mize said.
Lyle Nelson is a Nacogdoches native and international business major at Pepperdine University. He has spent the last two semesters traveling across the world, and he said he won't be slowing down any time soon,
"I'm not any more afraid than I was. It's all about being smart about where you are," Lyle said. "You can't control these things, but that can't make you live in constant fear."
Both travel experts agree that safety should always be your first priority, and gave their own words of advice.
"Be aware of your surroundings, and if something doesn't feel right, trust that feeling and tell someone immediately," Mize said.
Nelson explained that same feeling guided him when living in Argentina, but it still helps now as he spends his summer interning for Senator John Cornyn in Washington, D.C.
"No matter where you are, you look over your shoulder for a reason," Nelson said. "That instinct is there to protect you, and when you get that feeling, you have to answer to it and be aware of where you are."
While in Washington, Nelson has been able to sit in on important meetings led by the Obama Administration's top advisors. He said that from his time spent in those meetings, both parties are doing what they can to stop ISIS.
"They are discussing tactically taking out pieces of ISIS in certain regions, and teaching natives how to defend themselves," Nelson said.
We also reached out for comment to TSA agents, but due to the influx of travels this holiday weekend, they were unable to interview. They sent a statement that read, "In order to help airport security process, arrive early to your flight, and of course, report any suspicious behavior."
Monday we celebrate the holiday that gave all Americans the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," so while keeping safety first, experts also encourage you to travel and enjoy family and friends.