The United States Department of State updated several of its informative travel advisories yesterday, providing new updates to popular Caribbean islands such as Jamaica in the process, as well as several other countries around the world. It’s been a busy start to the year, with yesterday’s updates the tenth separate instance of travel advisory updates in February alone as the State Department works to keep American travelers safe abroad.
Whilst the updates are purely advisory in nature, they provide a solid bed of knowledge of local issues and potential disruptions that travelers may face on their journeys, and are often used as a starting point for a traveler’s research before heading off on an international vacation. Here’s a closer look at what the latest travel advisories to be published by the State Department are, plus a reminder of what the travel advisory system is and why travelers should make sure to consult it.
Travel Advisories Updated – What Travelers Should Know
The current travel advisory system as we know it went live in 2018, when the old system was overhauled. Whilst the principles of keeping travelers safe remain the same, the modernized system is concise and easy to understand, and uses a color-coded and threat level system. Countries judged to be Level 1 – the lowest threat level – are coloured blue, whilst Level 2 is yellow, Level 3 is orange and Level 4 – the most severe warning level – is red.
Before being handed a warning level, a range of different issues are taken into consideration. These issues cover a wide range of factors, such as crime, terrorism, civil unrest, health issues and natural disasters, and are displayed on a country’s travel advisory page. Over the past two years, Covid-19 has played a prominent role in deciding which warning level a country will be prescribed, though there are several other issues that Americans should be aware of when traveling.
Yesterday saw twenty countries have their travel advisories updated on the State Department’s website. The updates covered four different continents, and saw Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4 travel advisories handed out. Not only is Covid-19 referenced as a key factor amongst the new updates, but other issues such as crime, terrorism and Russia’s recent invasion of the Ukraine also play their part.
The countries that saw their travel advisories get updated yesterday are as follows:
Level 2 – Ghana, Lesotho, Liberia, Montserrat, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Togo
Level 3 – Comoros, Cote D’Ivoire, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Uganda
Level 4 – Anguilla, Belarus, British Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Mali, Russia, Saba, Vietnam
The inclusion of countries such as Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and Jamaica is bound to concern travelers given their popularity with travelers and cruise goers alike, and considering the fact that Jamaica recently eased their entry requirements. Vietnam too had also planned to drop their entry restrictions this month, and their designation as a Level 4 country could put a dent in the number of travelers visiting.
Travelers should note that whilst they do not legally prevent one from traveling to a destination, travel advisories provide important information that can help travelers make informed choices about their vacation destinations. Providing a traveler has done their research and picked out a strong travel insurance policy, travel to most countries in the world can be a safe, enjoyable experience – regardless of its travel advisory warning level.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories