The US State Department has issued 12 new travel advisories – with most issued just yesterday – as part of the department’s ongoing efforts to keep citizens both well informed and safe as they travel around the world.
Viewed by many travelers as a good starting point for their pre-travel research, travel advisories play an important role in the travel experience, and their succinct updates have helped to keep millions of travelers out of harm’s way for several years now.
Whilst they may not have the power to legally prevent travelers from visiting destinations deemed to be unsafe, they help travelers make an informed choice about whether or not they should go through with their travel plans.
Here’s a reminder of how the travel advisories work, plus a look at which destinations saw their travel advisory pages updated in the latest round of updates.
How Do Travel Advisories Work? What Travelers Should Know
Travel advisories are routinely updated by the State Department to reflect safety concerns in particular countries and regions around the world. Updates carry four distinct warning levels, numbered 1 to 4, that relate to the severity of the threats travelers may face. Level 1 is the least severe warning offered, whilst a country with a Level 4 travel warning has been deemed to carry serious threats to a traveler’s safety.
Whilst there is no exact science that determines a warning level, a range of sources are consulted before one is assigned to a destination.
In addition to countries receiving a warning level from the State Department, the CDC also provides an update regarding the levels of Covid-19 in each country, keeping travelers well aware of the pandemic situation in each destination.
New Travel Advisory Updates – Information For Travelers
Between May 18th and May 23rd, twelve new travel advisory updates were posted on the State Department’s website. These updates included all four of the system’s warning levels, highlighting the fact that some destinations are clearly safer than others at present. Fortunately, only one Level 4 update was issued, with the majority of updates seeing countries handed the less severe Level 1 and 2 warnings instead.
Level 4 Updates
The Level 4 update – which tells travelers Do Not Travel to a specific destination – was handed to Venezuela on May 19th. According to the country’s page, travelers face the risk of crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, kidnapping, and the arrest and detention of US citizens without due process or fair trial guarantees in the country. The CDC also states that there is currently an unknown level of Covid-19 in the country.
The Level 3 updates are as follows:
- Saudi Arabia – reconsider travel due to the threat of missile and drone attacks on civilian facilities and risk of terrorism. The CDC indicates a low level of Covid-19 in the country
- Egypt – reconsider travel due to risk of terrorism. The CDC indicates a low level of Covid-19 in the country
- Jamaica – travelers should reconsider travel due to crime in the country. The CDC states there’s a moderate level of Covid-19 in Jamaica.
- Mauritania – travel should reconsider their trips here due to crime and terrorism. There’s currently an unknown level of Covid-19 here according to the CDC.
The following countries received Level 2 updates:
- Kenya – travelers should exercise increased caution in Kenya due to crime, terrorism, and kidnapping. According to the CDC, there is a low level of Covid-19 in the country.
- Cameroon – travelers must be cautious due to crime. There is a moderate level of Covid-19 in the country according to the CDC.
- The Bahamas – this destination also carries a risk of crime, as well as a high level of Covid-19.
The four countries that received Level 1 updates are Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Montserrat, Mongolia and Kuwait. However, travelers should remain aware that they also have moderate to high levels of Covid-19, so relevant precautions must be taken.
Regardless of the travel advisory warning a country has, travelers should always make sure they have a good travel insurance policy to keep them protected against the worst.
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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