John Kerry issues warning to traveling Americans

In the wake of terror attacks in Brussels that killed dozens last week, Secretary of State John Kerry said Americans don't need to "live in fear" while traveling abroad, but at the same time cautioned that Americans can and must be "vigilant."

"Well it's really a matter of common sense, but there are guidelines and the State Department is ready to help anyone understand exactly what that means," he said Saturday in an interview for CBS' "Face the Nation," asked to explain how and whether American travelers should adjust their plans after the attacks. Kerry had just returned from Brussels, where he traveled Friday morning following the attacks.

"It means avoid a crowded place where you have no control over who may be there, have a sense of vigilance to watch who's around you," he continued. "If you see a guy walking into an airport with a black glove in one hand and nothing on the other and there are two of them the same way and they are pushing a big suitcase, maybe that tells you something."

When moderator John Dickerson responded that that doesn't sound like "much of a vacation," Kerry said "unfortunately" the current state of the world requires people to be "vigilant."

"I mean there are realities that there are dangers around. I don't want to scare anybody. I don't think you have to be," he said. "The odds of being hit by a terrorist are far less than the odds of an injury in the course of daily life whether it's an accident in an automobile or a home or elsewhere. So people do not have to live in fear. But it doesn't mean you should be oblivious to your surroundings."

Kerry said he wouldn't suggest anyone cancel their trip to Europe, but that travelers must have an "awareness" of their surroundings when they're vacationing outside of the U.S.

"There are plenty of ways and places to have a good vacation. I would not tell any of friend of mine or member of my family don't travel to Europe or elsewhere," he said. "But I would say do so with an awareness of what you're choosing to do, what activity you undertake, and where you are."

  • Emily Schultheis

    Emily Schultheis is a reporter/editor for CBS News Digital.