Traveling, as fun and pleasurable as it can be, can sometimes come with a bit anxiety from not knowing if the area you will be traveling to is safe or not. This is especially true for those planning to travel abroad. To help American travelers be more aware of travel safety issues, the U.S. Department of State has recently updated their Travel Advisory System.
The updated system was unveiled January 2018 to help U.S. travelers better understand and recognize the difference between “Travel Warnings” and “Travel Alerts”. Most notable changes are:
- The introduction of a mobile-friendly design
- Simplified language/terminology
- Clearer country rankings
- Making the information more actionable (advising what the traveler should do)
On their website, Travel.State.Gov, the State Department has included an interactive map to make it easier for travelers to search for important information specific to the country(s) they plan to travel to. Although the State Department cannot stop U.S. citizens from traveling to a “Do Not Travel” country listed, their job is to strongly recommend that you heed their warning and change your travel plans.
The updated advisory system is now a 4-level ranking system:
LEVEL 1: Excercise normal precautions
LEVEL 2: Excercise increased precautions
LEVEL 3: Reconsider travel
LEVEL 4: DO NOT TRAVEL
The State Department has added clarifications to justify the level ranking based on specific reasons that have been clearly spelled out. These new clarifications will be noted with special icons.
“C” – Crime
“T” – Terrorism
“U” – Civil Unrest
“H” – Health Concerns
“N” – National Disaster
“E” – Time Limited Events (Elections, Sporting Events, Etc.)
“O” – Other Reasons
Country rankings may change over time or suddenly, so it is important for those planning to travel abroad to check the website periodically for current warnings issued.
For more information, please visit www.travel.state.gov