The United States’ State Department has issued its latest round of travel advisory updates, this time featuring ten countries – including Mexico. It is the seventh such separate episode of travel advisory updates so far this month, as the State Department works around the clock to keep American travelers safe when traveling abroad.
These latest travel advisory updates are here just before what is expected to be a busy, potentially record-breaking summer of travel, and could play a significant role in helping travelers to decide which destinations they should visit this summer – and which destinations they may be better off avoiding.
Here’s a closer look at the latest travel advisory updates, including a recap of how they are formulated, what they mean, and what they say about each destination.
What Are Travel Advisories? Information For Travelers
Published by the Department of State, travel advisories serve as mini-guides that inform travelers about issues that could harm their safety in other countries. A range of sources of information is evaluated, such as crime statistics and assessments from the embassies, before a destination is awarded an overall travel advisory Level relating to the severity of the problems in that country. A wide range of issues are included, from terrorism and natural disasters to crime and health risks.
There are four distinct levels, ranging from the least severe Level 1, which tells travelers to exercise normal precautions, to the most severe Level 4, which advises Americans not to travel to that destination – though it is worth keeping in mind that a travel advisory holds no legal power to prevent a traveler from visiting a destination. More recently, travel advisories have also started to include an update from the CDC regarding the level of Covid-19 a country has.
Travel Advisory Updates – What Travelers Should Know
Yesterday’s most recent travel advisory updates saw all four of the system’s levels used. Three countries – Cabo Verde, Saba, and New Caledonia – each received Level 1 updates, making them amongst the safest destinations to visit around the world. Saba and Cabo Verde were judged by the CDC to have a moderate level of Covid-19, whilst New Caledonia has an unknown level of the virus.
Two countries were handed Level 2 advisories, which ask travelers to exercise increased caution. Guinea was awarded Level 2 status due to civil unrest, whilst the Maldives received it due to the threat of terrorism. The CDC indicates that both of these destinations have an unknown level of Covid-19 at present. Honduras received a Level 3 travel advisory due to crime, and has a moderate level of Covid-19 according to the CDC.
Two countries, Iraq and Belarus, received Level 4 updates. Travelers were advised not to travel to Iraq due to terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict, civil unrest, and Mission Iraq’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens, whilst the CDC adds it has a low level of Covid-19. Travelers were also advised not to visit Belarus due to the arbitrary enforcement of laws, the risk of detention, the Russian military attack on neighboring Ukraine, and the buildup of Russian military in Belarus along the border with Ukraine. According to the CDC, it has an unknown level of Covid-19.
Interestingly, Mexico does not have a travel advisory level, and is categorized as “Other” instead. Mexico’s travel advisory page, instead breaks down its levels into specific areas – something that the Mexican government has appealed against. Travelers are advised not to travel to Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas due to the strong risk of crime and kidnapping, whilst also advising travelers to reconsider travel to 11 other areas in the country. The advisory states that “violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread and common in Mexico,” whilst the CDC has determined the country has a high level of Covid-19.
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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