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Heres what you need to know about travel warnings and advisories

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We know youre not keen on travelling to Iraq, or Afghanistan and your country might be currently advising you to avoid going to these countries. In any case, travel warnings dont always mean that its a bad idea to plan a trip to your desired destination.

Did you know that in the past few years, U.S., U.K, and Canada have released advisories about going to Mexico, China, Thailand, Indian, and even the United States? Before deciding to avoid a particular location, its worth looking at what travel warnings mean, why theyre released, and the most important question of all why should we care?

Whats a government travel advisory

Travel advisories are issued to let citizens know about safety concerns than can affect travel to a certain region or country. They are released for a couple of reasons, which includes epidemic, terrorism, political unrest, natural disasters, wars, outbreaks of crime, and others. These warnings may also cover areas of the world where governments cant respond to issues of citizens travelling there countries with no embassy, or if the embassy functions are being threatened by local violence.

Governments also make a distinction between long- and short-term travel advisories. For example, the U.S. State Department gives travel warnings for current issues such as problematic governments and civil wars, while travel alerts cover temporary issues like election-related demonstrations and natural disasters.

Will travel advisories stop me from travelling?

No, it wont. However, you should get a comprehensive annual travel insurance to save on cost as well if you expect to travel to a particular destination regularly. Since a travel advisory cannot stop you from travelling, keep in mind that while the government will try to help you if you run into trouble abroad, youll be travelling at your own risk the need for travel insurance.

Other considerations:

  • In most cases, only parts of a country are affected by a case of unrest, natural disaster, or violence while the rest of the country will be welcoming and safe for While your security always comes first, take note that the fallout from an out-of-the-way act of violence can affect a country’s tourist industry and have an adverse effect on the economy of a developing nation.
  • Assess the danger especially if its terrorism or violence. Pay attention to what kind of attacks are taking place and its targets. Assaults that specifically pinpoint foreign tourists raise a bigger red flag than civil unrest. If the violence happens away from primary tourist destinations, there will be less risk for tourists.
  • Find a safety net. Check if your country has a consulate or embassy in the place youre bound to visit and make sure that its staffed and functioning. You dont want to be stuck in a foreign country without an embassy who can help with emergencies.

The bottom line

If youre decided to go anyway despite a travel advisory, its a good idea to register yourself with the government (if possible) and check in with your family or friends at home so they know when youre going and planning to return. And dont forget to purchase a travel insurance policy after reading carefully to see whats covered and what isnt.

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