U.S. Department of State Launches New Travel Advisory System for International Travelers

travel alerts

New US Department of State Travel Advisory System for International Travelers

Every time the US Department of State Issues a Travel Advisory, travel lovers everywhere go NUTS. Finally, the government has come up with a new and more simplified alert system. While the Department of State is only trying to keep us in the know and make sure we travel safe, I always tell my clients, no matter where you are traveling, practice the same (if not just a little more) safety measure that you would at home in an area you know potentially might put you at risk (ie; a dark parking lot outside a store, a shady looking character hanging around); just be alert. In addition, I would never suggest to my clients that they travel anywhere that was unsafe, or that I myself would not travel to at any given time.

So, with that, here’s what the Department of State has done….

On January 10, 2018, the United States Department of State introduced a new travel advisory system for sharing information with U.S. travelers.

Instead of travel warnings and travel alerts, every country will have an overall Travel Advisory level, with levels of advice ranging from 1 to 4.

A U.S. Department of State press release offers the following descriptions for each level of advice:

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 aware of heightened risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.

Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.

Level 4: Do Not Travel

This is the highest level, due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or leave as soon as it is safe to do so. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.

A Level 4 travel advisory is not a ban on travel, but advice. North Korea is currently the only country under a geographical travel restriction.

While an overall travel advisory level will be issued for every country, levels of advice may vary for specific locations or areas within a country. For instance, the Department of State may advise U.S. travelers to “exercise increased caution” in a country, but to “reconsider travel” to a particular area within the country.

The travel advisories will also provide clear reasons for the level assigned, and will be updated based on changes to security and safety information. Risks, conditions and circumstances will be indicated with icons:

C: Crime
T: Terrorism
U: Civil Unrest
H: Health Issues
N: Natural Disasters
E: Time-limited Events
O: Other

Additionally, U.S. embassies and consulates will now issue alerts to replace the current emergency messages and security messages. The alerts will inform travelers of specific safety and concerns in a country, such as weather events.

The State Department has come to recognize that sometimes their various documents were not readily understood and needed to make it more accessible and understandable to people.

So…… If you are in the process of thinking about your upcoming travel plans for 2018 and have questions about the destinations you are considering, please contact me, I would be happy to share all the information I have from my in country partners, as well as from the Dept. of State.



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