The US has issued several new travel advisories this week. The move comes as part of their ongoing efforts to keep American travelers safe against new and existing variants of Covid-19, and other issues that may place them in harm’s way. The decision to issue new travel advisories shows that the new year is carrying on in very much the same vein as how last year ended, with the spread of Covid-19 continuing to blight the travel plans of millions of travelers around the world.
However, it isn’t all bad news, with some of the updates containing the less severe Level 2 travel advisory updates alongside the more serious Level 4 updates. Here’s everything you need to know about the new travel advisory updates issued by the US this week, including a recap of what the levels mean and which countries have been handed updates already in the new year.
Travel Advisory Updates – What Travelers Should Know
The travel advisory system is a system designed to keep American travelers both informed about issues and risks before deciding to travel and whilst they are abroad. All countries are rated with a travel advisory level number, which ranges from the least severe 1 through to the most severe 4, based on their supposed level of risk to American travelers. As well as giving a general travel advisory for a country, separate advisory levels can be handed to specific regions when appropriate.
Level 1 travel advisories – which ask travelers to exercise normal precautions – are handed to countries that are deemed the safest for Americans to visit. Level 2 advisories ask travelers to exercise increased caution, and typically carry risks that are unlikely to deter travelers from wanting to visit. Level 3 advisories recommend reconsidering travel due to a higher level of risk for travelers, whilst Level 4 advisories – the most severe – tell travelers not to travel to a specific destination at all.
Tuesday’s most recent travel advisory notices saw two countries handed updated Level 4 travel advisories, nine countries faced updated Level 3 travel advisories and a further four countries handed Level 2 updates. As is to be expected, Covid-19 featured heavily in the reasons for the updated travel advisory warnings, but was not the sole factor in the decision, with issues such as crime, terrorism, and kidnapping also featuring amongst the reasons.
The two countries that received updated Level 4 warnings were Singapore and Aruba. The city state of Singapore has been deemed to be Level 4 due to Covid-19, with the country experiencing a fresh new wave of cases so far in the new year that threatens to rise further. Aruba’s page cites Covid-19 related conditions as the sole factor for their Level 4 status. The island is currently experiencing its worst numbers of the pandemic so far, and so travelers have been asked not to travel there at present.
The nine countries that received Level 3 travel advisory updates are The Bahamas, Suriname, Sint Maarten, Romania, Nigeria, Niger, Moldova, Kenya, and Azerbaijan. Whilst Covid-19 is the main factor for most of these decisions, The Bahamas’ page also warns of the risk of crime, whilst Nigeria, Niger, and Kenya’s pages warn travelers of the threat of crime, kidnapping, and terrorism should they choose to travel there.
Receiving the less severe Level 2 warnings were Zambia, Philippines, Madagascar, and Costa Rica, indicating these countries are relatively safe to visit.
Whilst travel advisory warnings may seem scary they have no authority to prevent travelers from visiting a destination, meaning that if a traveler is aware of the risks of visiting a country and decides to travel there anyway, they are more than able to do so. Regardless of a country’s travel advisory level, all travelers are recommended to purchase strong travel insurance policies that will keep them covered in the event that something does go wrong on their trip.
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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