The US Department of State has issued several new travel advisory updates, with some of the most popular travel destinations around the world such as Thailand on the receiving end of Level 4 Do Not Travel warnings. The updates, which were published on the State Department’s website just yesterday, saw a range of countries issued with new updates that covered a range of different warning levels, from relatively safe Level 1 updates to the more serious Level 4 updates.
Though they form an important part of a traveler’s research prior to taking a trip abroad, travel advisories don’t actually prevent a traveler from heading to a specific destination. Here’s a recap of what the advisories actually mean, a look at which countries received updated advisories yesterday and why travelers shouldn’t go ahead and postpone their travel plans just yet.
Travel Advisories Explained – What Travelers Should Know
Travel advisories are color-coded, and come with four distinct warning levels that represent the threats posed to travelers heading to that country. These are as follows:
- Level 1 warnings, which ask travelers to exercise normal precautions in that destination
- Level 2 warnings, which ask travelers to exercise increased caution in that country
- Level 3 warnings, which ask travelers to reconsider travel
- Level 4 warnings, which explicitly warn travelers do not travel to a specific country
Determining a country’s travel advisory warning level takes into account a range of different criteria. Amongst the issues being assessed by the State Department are problems such as crime, terrorism, civil unrest, health issues and natural disasters. As one may expect, Covid-19 has played a key role in what travel advisory level a country receives, but it is just one of several issues that American travelers have to worry about when abroad.
Updated Travel Advisories – What Travelers Should Know
A total of 23 countries received travel advisory updates yesterday, covering all four of the travel advisory levels. They are as follows:
Level 4 – Thailand, New Zealand, Ethiopia
Level 3 – United Arab Emirates, Uganda, Philippines, Niger, Mauritania, Fiji, Cote D’Ivoire, Anguilla
Level 2 – The Gambia, Senegal, Republic of the Congo, Namibia, Mozambique, Kenya, Equatorial Guinea, Djibouti, Angola
Level 1 – Togo, Rwanda, Lesotho
Thailand and New Zealand being handed Level 4 travel advisories is bound to affect thousands of travelers, particularly given the two countries had recently made it easier for travelers to be able to visit. The Philippines also recently relaxed their entry requirements, and could also face a drop in projected traveler numbers at the hands of their Level 3 travel advisory warning level.
Whilst Thailand and New Zealand’s pages cite the sole risk travelers face as Covid-19, fellow Level 4 country Ethiopia’s page warns of the risk of “armed conflict, civil unrest, communications disruptions, crime, and the potential for terrorism and kidnapping in border areas,” highlighting the range of issues travel advisories take into account. Covid-19 remains a factor in the warning level of most of the countries updated yesterday, but travelers should visit the page of any destinations they are thinking of visiting so that they know the risks in that country.
Regardless of a country’s warning level, these updates are advisory in nature, and cannot legally prevent a traveler from heading to an international destination. Providing that a traveler has done their homework, followed the guidance of the CDC and purchased a strong travel insurance policy just in case, travel to Level 4 countries such as Thailand can be perfectly safe.
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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