The US Department of State has just issued a total of 10 new travel advisory updates to a diverse range of countries around the world. The latest travel advisory updates went live on the State Department’s website just yesterday – the third update already this month – and highlighted a wide range of issues and safety concerns that American travelers should be aware of on their trips abroad.
Published to ensure that American travelers heading abroad are kept up to date with all of the potential risks that they may encounter on their travels over the summer and beyond, travel advisories should play a major role in any traveler’s vacation planning – though there is no legal obligation to follow what they say. Here’s a reminder of what travel advisories are, how they are formulated and which countries were affected by the State Department’s most recent updates.
What Are Travel Advisories? What Travelers Should Know
Published online by the Department of State, travel advisories provide information to travelers about the major risks that they could face when traveling abroad. In order to provide accurate information, data is taken from a range of sources, such as crime statistics and assessments from the embassies, which allows the State Department to issue an overall travel advisory level to a destination. Several different threats to a traveler’s safety are considered, from terrorism and natural disasters to crime and health risks associated with that destination.
There are four distinct color-coded levels, ranging from the least severe Level 1, which advises travelers to exercise normal precautions when visiting the country, to the most severe Level 4, which recommends that Americans do not travel to that particular destination. Following the pandemic, travel advisories now include an update from the CDC regarding the level of Covid-19 a country has which ranges from unknown to high. Whilst they are issued by the State Department and are strongly worded, travel advisories cannot legally prevent a traveler from visiting a destination – with the decision to do so resting solely with the traveler.
Latest Travel Advisory Updates – Information For Travelers
Unlike the last round of travel advisory updates issued at the start of the month, yesterday’s updates saw only Level 1, 2 and 3 advisory levels awarded to countries – with no destinations placed into the most severe Level 4 category.
Fiji, Romania and Mongolia were handed Level 1 travel advisories; Fiji and Romania have moderate levels of Covid-19 according to the CDC, whilst the level of the virus in Mongolia is rated as unknown.
Travelers are warned by the State Department to exercise increased caution in countries with Level 2 travel advisories. The following countries were awarded Level 2 travel advisories in the most recent updates:
- Ecuador: Level 2 due to civil unrest and crime, with travelers advised not to travel to Carchi, Sucumbíos, the northern part of Esmeraldas provinces and Guayaquil. Ecuador has a high level of Covid-19 according to the CDC
- Liberia: Level 2 due to civil unrest and crime, with an unknown level of Covid-19
- Tunisia: exercise increased caution due to terrorism, with several no-go areas. High level of Covid-19
Four countries were handed Level 3 travel advisories, which ask travelers to reconsider travel. They were:
- Laos: due to civil unrest and Covid-19-related restrictions. High level of Covid-19
- Lebanon: due to crime, terrorism, armed conflict, civil unrest, kidnapping and Embassy Beirut’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens. Travelers should not visit the borders with Israel or Syria, or refugee camps. Lebanon has a high level of Covid-19
- Papua New Guinea: travelers should reconsider travel to Papua New Guinea due to crime and civil unrest, and exercise increased caution due to unexploded ordnance, ongoing elections, and volcanic activity. The country has a high level of Covid-19
- Peru: due to crime. The country has a moderate level of Covid-19
Regardless of a country’s travel advisory warning, travelers should always ensure that they are behaving in an appropriate fashion and taking steps to mitigate risk when abroad. Having a solid travel insurance policy can not only offer peace of mind on a vacation, but make sure that travelers are covered in the event that something unforeseen should happen when abroad.
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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