The US Department of State has issued 12 new travel advisory updates recently as part of its ongoing efforts to keep American citizens safe on their travels abroad. Updated frequently to ensure information is fresh and relevant, travel advisories serve as an essential tool for travelers to consult prior to booking vacations, providing up to date and easy to digest information about all of the risks that travelers may face when visiting a specific foreign country.
Whilst they can not legally prevent a traveler from visiting a destination abroad, travel advisories play an important role in helping a traveler to decide whether or not it is a good idea to take a trip at that moment in time, and should always be checked before travel. Here’s a recap of what exactly a travel advisory is, how their different levels are calculated and which countries were featured in this week’s most recent update.
What Are Travel Advisories? What Travelers Should Know
Travel advisories come in four distinct levels, ranging from the least severe Level 1 – which suggests a country is more safe to visit – to the most severe Level 4. A range of different issues are taken into consideration when it comes to deciding a country’s travel advisory level, with issues such as crime, terrorism, civil unrest and health concerns all taken into account before a country is handed its official level.
On top of travel advisories from the State Department, destinations are also given an advisory level from the CDC, which takes into account the risk of Covid-19 in that country. After dozens of Level 4 health warnings were handed out to countries throughout the pandemic, the CDC altered its system to “reserve Level 4 travel health notices for special circumstances, such as rapidly escalating case trajectory or extremely high case counts,” as the world pivoted towards living with Covid-19, which saw the number of Level 4 countries fall.
Travel Advisory Updates – Information For Travelers
The most recent updates to the State Department’s travel advisories came just yesterday, with 12 new advisories being published online. The updates clearly show the improvement of the Covid-19 situation around the world, as none of the countries included were handed the more severe Level 3 and Level 4 travel advisory warnings. The majority of the updates were Level 1 travel advisories – which recommend travelers “exercise normal precautions” – with just three countries handed Level 2 updates.
Here’s more details about the recent Level 1 updates:
- Paraguay – risk of crime in certain areas, CDC states unknown level of Covid-19
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – CDC states low level of Covid-19
- Angola – risk of crime and kidnapping in urban areas, CDC states low level of Covid-19
- Namibia – CDC states low level of Covid-19
- British Virgin Islands – CDC states moderate level of Covid-19
- Mongolia – CDC states moderate level of Covid-19
- New Zealand – CDC states high level of Covid-19
- Fiji – CDC states high level of Covid-19
- Brunei – CDC states high level of Covid-19
Three countries were handed Level 2 travel advisories, which recommend that travelers exercise increased caution in these destinations. They are as follows:
- The Bahamas – exercise increased caution due to crime, CDC states low level of Covid-19
- Bolivia – traveler should exercise increased caution due to civil unrest, CDC states moderate level of Covid-19
- Jordan – exercise increased caution due to risk of terrorism, with Syrian border area particularly dangerous. CDC states high level of Covid-19
As well as travel advisories, there are other sources that American can use to provide information about the safety of a destination. A recent survey revealed which countries American travelers perceived to be the safest, whilst an index that calculates the safety of destinations for LGBTQ travelers was also recently updated.
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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