Travel Warnings And Alerts For Travelers: Don’t Beware – Just Be Aware

Travel warnings and alerts; these are not something the average traveler is usually very aware of, except in the most obvious of instances. We all know, for example, that Iraq and Afghanistan are not safe places for travelers these days. Sudan, Iran, and Somalia are not, either. But how many other countries can you name right now that you probably shouldn’t go to on your holidays? I’m betting you can’t name more than half of those remaining ones.

Terrorists Roaming The Neighborhood - Image Provided by Loyal Currate.com Reader

Terrorists Roaming The Neighborhood - Image Provided by Loyal Currate.com Reader

So, why is that? Why do even seasoned travelers not concern themselves more about this issue? Well, there are a number of reasons for this, one of them being a certain complacency these days that we live in a “global village,” and except for a few problem areas, everything is pretty much “okay.” Also, let’s be honest here, it is a subject travelers tend to avoid. Admittedly, it is a rather depressing topic, but for those traveling abroad, it is something of which they should be aware. After all, going to the wrong place at the wrong time can make for a very unpleasant trip indeed!

First, what is a bona fide travel warning and why are they issued? Well, according to the United States Department of State such warnings “are issued to describe long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable. A travel warning is also issued when the U.S. Government’s ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a drawdown of its staff.”

This means that even if you aren’t hurt or in danger, but you happen to lose your passport or need some other type of help; you may not be able to go to an American embassy or consulate to get it. They may be either closed, or so short on staff that they just don’t have the facilities to aid you in a timely manner, or even at all.

So, which countries currently have travel warnings issued for them by the United States Department of State? Which ones do travelers really need to be aware of and to avoid?

Well, according to their website at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_1764.html, as of October 7, 2009, those countries are:

Long Term Travel Warnings Issued by U.S. Dept. of State (2008-2010)
Country
Date Issued
10/01/2009
09/29/2009
09/22/2009
09/17/2009
09/01/2009
08/31/2009
08/19/2009
08/14/2009
07/24/2009
07/23/2009
07/22/2009
07/17/2009
07/17/2009
07/01/2009
06/26/2009
06/26/2009
06/26/2009
06/16/2009
06/15/2009
06/12/2009
06/02/2009
05/22/2009
04/09/2009
04/08/2009
03/25/2009
03/04/2009
02/12/2009
11/15/2008

This Information Is Courtesy of
the
United State Department of State,
Current Travel Warnings

You can just click on the country and this will link you to the most current information on the warning for that nation. This information may include where in the country there are problems (if they are localized or not), the type of trouble, and to what degree of severity these problems are. Also, there will be information as to the status of the American Embassy there, and other matters that must concern a traveler’s safety. These sites often also give the would-be traveler valuable information on how better to stay safe.

This is the list as of the time of writing this article. Since this list is subject to change and often, always check the above-listed website of the United States Department of State, “Current Travel Warnings,” for the most recent updates.

However, this isn’t all. There is still the matter of “Travel Alerts.” The United States Department of State also issues these. How do they differ from “Travel Warnings?” Well, again according to their own website at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_1766.html, Travel Alerts are: “issued to disseminate information about short-term conditions, generally within a particular country, that pose imminent risks to the security of U.S. citizens. Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, coups, anniversaries of terrorist events, election-related demonstrations or violence, and high-profile events such as international conferences or regional sports events are examples of conditions that might generate a Travel Alert.

So the main difference between a Travel Warning and a Travel Alert is that the former is a long-term warning, but the latter is a short-term one. Don’t think that these are any less important, because they are short-term. Situations change rapidly and can be volatile, so they are just as vital. Current Travel Alerts exist, as of October 7, 2009, for the following countries:

Short-Term Travel Warnings Issued by U.S. Dept. of State (2009-2010)
Country
Date Issued
10/01/2009
09/29/2009
09/22/2009
09/17/2009
09/01/2009
08/31/2009
08/19/2009
08/14/2009
07/24/2009
07/23/200

This Information Is Courtesy of
the United State Department of State,
Current Travel Alerts

Do notice that the alerts include, among others, Germany, India, China, and Mexico. Who would think Germany, a country in the heart of Europe, could be so potentially unsafe? Mexico, of course, has been much in the news of late. And by the way, there is even an alert about the Hurricane Season. So again, there is a lot of worthwhile information for travelers at these sites. Just click on the country to link to the information about that travel destination. And remember, these are constantly updated, so you should check out the website shown above, just before planning your next trip, and again before you actually leave. Do this for both such sites.

The point of this information isn’t to scare the traveler, to shout, “BEWARE,” at you, but rather to inform travelers of current conditions at various destinations. To be informed is to be aware, and the aware traveler is a safer one in this case.

Do remember, though, that alerts can come at any time. So, you must be flexible in your travel plans. If, even while traveling, an alert comes out that one of your destination countries may be unsafe for the moment, consider alternate destinations. Be ready to change your plans in a hurry, if need be.

And different destinations can mean different currencies, which have different exchange rates. With sudden plan changes, you may not be prepared for this eventuality. So if you have a mobile phone with Internet browser capabilities, take it along with you on your trip. It may be of invaluable service, because with it, you can access Currate.com, where you will find reliable and up-to-date currency exchange rates for most currencies.

Currate.com even has a Google style world map currency conversion where you can just point and click to your destination. It’s as easy as that. And this way, you can quickly find out the most recent exchange rate for a nation’s currency, have access to the easy-to-use currency converter calculator there, and can even see actual images of over 180 world currencies. So, not only will you know how much it costs to convert, what the destination currency actually looks like, but you will also be able to access such information any time as long as you have that mobile phone with you. You can just use your mobile phone to go to http://currate.com/m. If your mobile phone has more enhanced features, then try http://currate.com/e.

This way, you will always have quick and easy access to the best and most recent information on currency exchange rates. And as with travel warnings and alerts, it’s best to be aware of the latest currency exchange rates, rather than have to “beware” of making costly errors in your currency transactions all the time. Currate.com is a necessity for the “aware” and “flexible” traveler. And these days, all travelers need to be this way.

Rob Shelsky, Currate.com Contributing Editor

References:

U.S. Department of State, Travel.State.Gov Website

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis_pa_tw_1168.html

DallasNew.com, U.S. travel alert for Mexico no help to tourism

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/fea/travel/thisweek/stories/DN-mexalert_0308tra.ART.State.Edition1.48f1ea8.html

USA Tourist Community

http://community.usatourist.com/blogs/alerts/default.aspx

US Renews MX Travel Alert Today: What about that?

http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/billiegreenwood/borderexplorer/1208303160/tpod.html

Berlin rejects travel alert for foreign tourists

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,4719133,00.html

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5 Responses to Travel Warnings And Alerts For Travelers: Don’t Beware – Just Be Aware

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