Have you heard about the new U.S. State Department system of travel warnings?
Given all the turmoil all over the globe (natural disasters, political strife, wars, terrorism, etc.), it’s prudent to check State Department Advisories before traveling internationally.
On January 10th, 2018, the U.S. State Department announced a new system for informing travelers about safety and security, replacing the previous often-confusing system of travel warnings and travel alerts. The aim of the overhaul was to make the system more understandable and user-friendly.
The four levels of caution
The new system is color-coded, defining four levels of caution:
Level 4 – Do Not Travel
This highest level (red) warns the public that they should not travel to these locations. For example, Iran, Yemen and North Korea fall into this category.
Level 3 – Reconsider Travel
Because of “threats” to safety and security, this level (orange) suggests that travelers heed specific advice from the State Department.
Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution
Because of “heightened risks,” travelers to level 2 (yellow) should heed specific advice as well.
Level 1 – Exercise Normal Precautions
This lowest level (without any color or blue) still carries some level of risk for travel.
Criteria for travel advisories
In addition, the new advisories offer a rationale for the assignments of various levels, including:
C – Crime
T – Terrorism
U – Civil Unrest
H – Health
N – Natural Disaster
E – Time-limited Event
O – Other
The bottom line
As you make travel decisions and certainly before you go, it’s a good idea to take a look at the State Department website that lists country-specific information (linked to city-specific crime and safety reports) and displays them on an interactive, world-at-a-glance color-coded map.
In addition, because conditions can change rapidly, all travelers should enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to stay informed of changing conditions in countries to which they are traveling. Travelers can also stay in touch via Facebook and Twitter.
- Conde Nast Traveler article – Mexico Travel Advisory: What the New System Means for U.S. Travelers