These days, you’re probably not planning a trip to Iraq or Afghanistan — the United States and other developed nations are currently advising citizens against all non-essential travel to these countries. But a government travel warning doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad idea to plan a trip to a particular part of the world. In fact, within the past few years the governments of the U.S., Canada and the U.K. have also released advisories about the following countries: Thailand, Mexico, China, India and the United States. All of these are popular tourist destinations (if not home!). But before you decide to avoid these countries altogether — or to move to Canada — it’s worth taking a closer look at what a government’s travel warnings mean, why they’re released and how to evaluate them. What Is a Travel Advisory? Governments issue travel advisories to let their citizens know about safety concerns that may affect travel to a … [Read more...] about Travel Warnings and Advisories
State department travel warnings
Last week the State Department released a vague warning about Mexico travel to Playa Del Carmen, saying it had “received information about a security threat,” and prohibited government employees from traveling there until further notice. According to CNN, the Mexico travel warning came one week after a crude explosive device was found on a tourist ferry in the area. In its travel advisory, the State Department specifically notes that “U.S. government personnel are still prohibited from using ferry services between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel until further notice. U.S. citizens should not use ferry services operating between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel.” Authorities have reportedly ruled out terrorism and organized crime in the attempted bombing. Related: 10 Travel Safety Tips You Can Learn from the CIA “US citizens must have as much information as possible to make informed travel decisions,” State Department spokeswoman Heather … [Read more...] about State Department Warns Against Mexico Travel, But Is It Unsafe?
Increasing concerns over the risk of being arrested and detained in North Korea have led the U.S. Department of State to restrict Americans from traveling there. The ban is expected to go into effect on September 1. North Korea Travel Ban The announcement came after an American traveler died earlier this summer, days after being released from incarceration in North Korea. Arrested during a tour in January 2016 for trying to steal a poster, university student Otto Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment with hard labor; he died days after being returned to the U.S. in a coma in June. Tour companies operating in North Korea had been weighing restrictions on Americans since Warmbier’s death. Young Pioneer Tours, the outfit Warmbier traveled with, stated it would not accept Americans any longer. Uri Tours was in the process of reviewing its policy on Americans, tour manager Elliott Davies said, when the new ban was announced. The restriction is unfortunate, said Brian … [Read more...] about State Department Bans Americans from Traveling to North Korea
In an overhaul of its travel advisory system, the U.S. Department of State recently assigned every country in the world a travel safety rating. The safest places are ranked Level 1, while the places that Americans are advised to avoid are considered Level 4: Many tourist-frequented countries were highlighted for travel safety concerns as Level 2, meaning Americans should “exercise increased caution” and “be aware of heightened risks to safety and security.” Many of the advisories stem from threats of terrorism, while others are due to crime or weather. Related: State Department Rates Every Country’s Safety in New Travel Advisory System Surprising Countries with Level 2 Travel Safety Ratings Here are some countries you might be surprised the State Department gave a lower travel safety rating to, and why the agency says you should exercise caution when visiting them. Denmark “Exercise increased caution in Denmark due to terrorism,” the … [Read more...] about 10 Surprising Countries That Are Risky for Travel, According to the State Department
The U.S. State Department implemented a revamped version of its travel advisory system yesterday that rates every country’s travel safety on a scale of one to four. The new classifications are designed to simplify travel advisory information so people can easily decide if a particular destination is safe enough to visit. In place of the previous system of alerts and advisories, the new ratings establish advisory levels (reminiscent of the now-defunct Homeland Security Advisory System) which correspond to escalating levels of insecurity. Related:10 Surprising Countries That Are Risky for Travel, According to the State Dept. What State Department Travel Advisory Rankings Mean Level 1 – Exercise Normal Precautions: This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk. There is some risk in any international travel. Conditions in other countries may differ from those in the United States and may change at any time. Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution: Be … [Read more...] about State Department Rates Every Country’s Safety in New Travel Advisory System
Since diplomatic relations with Cuba were reinstated and a newly liberalized U.S.-Cuba aviation agreement was enacted last year, travel between the two countries has been a decidedly up-and-down affair. U.S. airlines initially mis-forecast demand for Cuba travel, and launched far more flights than the market could support. Several carriers have since cut back on their Cuba flight capacity, or withdrawn completely from the Cuba market. Then, in June, President Trump threatened to reverse the Obama administration’s conciliatory policy and reinstate sanctions and an embargo, further undermining enthusiasm for travel to Cuba. And the latest blow to a resumption of unfettered travel between the two countries: On September 29, the U.S. State Department issued a Travel Warning, prefaced as follows: “The Department of State warns U.S. citizens not to travel to Cuba.” This is not, at least ostensibly, a politically motivated ban. Rather it is based on a series of mysterious … [Read more...] about U.S. State Department Issues Cuba Travel Warning
The U.S. State Department uses Alerts and Warnings to educate travelers about potential risks in destinations, but many travelers don’t realize that there’s a difference that the two issuances. Here are the key differences between travel alerts and travel warnings: Travel Alerts are issued by the U.S. Department of State for short-term events. Alerts don’t necessarily mean “don’t travel,” but rather contain information that’s worth knowing about so you are prepared. For example, the Europe Travel Alert specifically cautions travelers about large events that may attract violence, such as the European Soccer Championships and as the Tour de France. Alerts are also issued for weather-related events, such as the Hurricane and Typhoon Season 2016 Travel Alert. Overall, Alerts provide a lot of common-sense information to frequent travelers, including what to do in worst-case scenarios, but are nonetheless worth reading as a refresher before … [Read more...] about Travel Alerts vs. Travel Warnings: What You Need to Know
Traveling to a truly dangerous place is never a good idea, but not planning or canceling a trip to a country just because it has a government travel warning is unfortunate, too. The U.S. State Department currently lists travel warnings for approximately 30 countries. Many of these warnings are legitimate, and travel to such places warrants careful consideration. Yet the State Department has been accused on many occasions of using travel warnings for political purposes, and for being alarmist following isolated incidents abroad. Here are some tips for figuring out what you should do if a potential destination has a travel warning: Have a great travel tip you’d like to share? Send your insider travel strategies to [email protected] … [Read more...] about Making sense of State Department travel warnings
Given recent headlines, you might wonder: Does travel insurance cover terrorism? And the short answer is, “Yes, but…” with some important variables in that “but.” Most trip-cancellation or interruption travel insurance includes “terrorism” as a named peril and a “covered reason” for benefits when you might want to cancel or change a trip to a destination that suffers an attack. But whether and how insurance covers you for terrorism depends on two important elements the insurance policy’s fine print: How the insurer defines “terrorism,” and what kind of “terrorism” event triggers coverage. These critical details can vary from policy to policy. Surprisingly, the big travel insurance issuers are not in lockstep about defining “terrorism.” A random check of policies from the main insurers reveals some major differences. Several companies define terrorism simply as “an incident deemed … [Read more...] about Does Travel Insurance Cover Terrorism?
In case you missed something, following are the biggest travel stories and best deals covered this past week. Check ’em out! Hilton Adds Bonus Opportunities for Credit Card Holders From Hilton: a 5,000-point bonus for Honors members who use one of the Honors-linked credit cards to book two stays before year end. And there’s more … JetBlue Preview: More Seats, Less Legroom Enjoy JetBlue’s generous legroom while you still can. U.S. State Department Issues Cuba Travel Warning In response to a series of attacks on U.S. diplomatic personnel, the U.S. is warning American citizens not to travel to Cuba. After 20 Years, Action on Hotel Resort Fees May Finally Be Imminent With the FTC and a task force of attorneys general reviewing the controversial practice, action to force the hotels to disclose resort fees may be at hand. Dine Out, Earn a $15 Gift Card from Amazon, Starbucks, Uber With new app, Seated, diners can earn a gift card from … [Read more...] about The Week’s Biggest Stories: JetBlue Cuts Legroom + Cuba Travel Warning + Resort Fees + $95 Bag Fee