The U.S. State Department’s travel site monitors other countries for political and social upheavals as well as natural disasters that could prove problematic for travelers – or even downright dangerous. Then, if warranted, they issue advisories. The latest ones are listed in the chart below.
Difference between Warnings and Alerts
To a certain extent, the difference is a matter of duration – and danger.
- Travel Warnings: The more serious of the two alerts, some of these warnings have been in place for years. The State Department describes warnings this way: “We issue a Travel Warning when we want you to consider very carefully whether you should go to a country at all. Examples of reasons for issuing a Travel Warning might include unstable government, civil war, ongoing intense crime or violence, or frequent terrorist attacks. We want you to know the risks of traveling to these places and to strongly consider not going to them at all.”
- Travel Alerts: These are issued for short-term events. As the State Department notes, “Examples of reasons for issuing a Travel Alert might include an election season that is bound to have many strikes, demonstrations, or disturbances; a health alert like an outbreak of H1N1; or evidence of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks.”
Countries and Risks
These are the most recent warnings/alerts issued. See all of them here. Note: The reasons cited below (in quotes) come from the State Department’s website.
|Philippines||Travel Warning – May 19||“U.S. citizens should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu Archipelago, due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there.”|
|Kenya||Travel Warning – May 17||“U.S. citizens in Kenya, and those considering travel to Kenya, should evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing and recently heightened threats from terrorism and the high rate of violent crime in some areas. The levels of risk vary throughout the country.”|
|Thailand||Travel Alert – May 16||“Demonstrations, primarily in the greater Bangkok area and occasionally elsewhere in Thailand, are continuing, and there have been regular incidents of violence. U.S. citizens are advised to avoid all protests, demonstrations, and large gatherings.”|
|Central African Republic||Travel Warning – May 13||“The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to the Central African Republic (CAR) and recommends that those who remain in CAR depart immediately by taking advantage of existing commercial flights.” [The U.S. Embassy Bangui suspended operations in December 2012]|
|Ukraine||Travel Warning – May 8||“The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to Ukraine. In addition, the Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer all travel ? both essential and non-essential ? to several regions of Ukraine, including the Crimean Peninsula, the eastern regions of Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Luhansk, and the city of Odesa, due to the possibility of violent clashes between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian groups and the presence of Russian military forces in the Crimean Peninsula and on the eastern border of Ukraine.”|