Understand and Interpret Travel Alerts

Travel alerts are a system set up to keep you safe while traveling abroad.

American travelers can use these alerts to see if it is safe for them to travel to a country. These travel alerts can save you money, time and ensure that you are not putting yourself at risk when you travel.

There are various types of alerts that are issued, understanding them and what they mean can assist you with making your travel plans.

Warnings

The State Department is in charge of issuing travel warnings based upon information and intelligence they have received. These warnings serve to alert American travelers of whether or not a country is safe.

A warning serves to tell travelers that they should avoid travel to specific countries.

When a warning is issued there will be specific information given for each country that has a travel alert so that travelers will understand why that country is considered a risk.

Travel Alert

Alerts

In addition to warnings, alerts will also be issued to warn travelers.

Travel alerts are used to make travelers aware of terrorist threats and short-term or trans-national conditions that pose a risk to American travelers.

These travel alerts are made when there is a threat made that cannot be handled with the confidence that it will not come to reality.

Alerts are issued in situations such as:

  • coups
  • terrorist violence
  • the anniversary date of severe terrorist events

Information Accompanying Alerts

When a warning or alert is issued it comes with country specific information.

This information is even available

if a country is not under a warning or alert.

This information includes helpful resources, like the location for that country's U.S. embassy.

It also includes immigration information, current health conditions, including concerns, any information about political disturbances and crime information.

Other information provided is information about:

  • currency
  • security tips
  • drug penalty information

If the country does have a current warning or alert then there will be a description of the reason why the warning or alert has been issued.

This information will be listed under the heading of Safety/security.

Besides the reason for the warning or alert, this section may also contain advice from the U.S. embassy in the country.

Most of the information contained in this information section will be of a factual nature, but in some instances advice is needed to ensure travelers fully understand the situation.

Travel alerts and warnings are an important factor to consider when you are traveling. They are issued with much care and you can be sure that every warning or alert issued comes with a serious reason behind it.

Issuing such warnings and alerts is not something taken lightly.

If you are planning to travel to a foreign country it is always a wise decision to check the current warnings and alerts before finalizing your plans and then again just before you leave for your trip, as situations can change quickly.

To keep you safe abroad this service is always updated and provides the most current information about any given situation in any given foreign country.

Travel Warnings Tips for Traveling Abroad Here are some quick tips to make your travel easier and safer:
  • Register so the State Department can better assist you in an emergency: Register your travel plans with the State Department through a free online service at https://travelregistration.state.gov. This will help us contact you if there is a family emergency in the U.S., or if there is a crisis where you are traveling. In accordance with the Privacy Act, information on your welfare and whereabouts will not be released to others without your express authorization.
  • Sign passport, and fill in the emergency information: Make sure you have a signed, valid passport, and a visa, if required, and fill in the emergency information page of your passport.
  • Leave copies of itinerary and passport data page: Leave copies of your itinerary, passport data page and visas with family or friends, so you can be contacted in case of an emergency.
  • Check your overseas medical insurance coverage: Ask your medical insurance company if your policy applies overseas, and if it covers emergency expenses such as medical evacuation. If it does not, consider supplemental insurance.
  • Familiarize yourself with local conditions and laws: While in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws. The State Department web site at http://travel.state.gov/travel/ has useful safety and other information about the countries you will visit.
  • Take precautions to avoid being a target of crime: To avoid being a target of crime, do not wear conspicuous clothing or jewelry and do not carry excessive amounts of money. Also, do not leave unattended luggage in public areas and do not accept packages from strangers.
  • In an emergency contact: Consular personnel at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad and in the U.S. are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens. Contact information for U.S. Embassies and Consulates appears on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website at http://travel.state.gov. Also note that the Office of Overseas Citizen Services in the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs may be reached for assistance with emergencies at 1-888-407-4747, if calling from the U.S. or Canada, or 202-501-4444, if calling from overseas.
  • Ask Your Travel Alert and Home Alarm Question HERE!


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