U.S. state department issues travel warnings and alerts


When a travel warning is issued, it is strongly recommended that travel to the country under the warning should be avoided. Unstable governments, civil wars, frequent terrorist attacks and other acts of crime make these countries extremely dangerous.

Travel alerts are issued for conditions that are on a short term basis and include health risks and dangerous weather. These alerts and warnings should be taken seriously by American travelers as, in many cases, when a dangerous situation arises; the U.S. government often has limited ability to help.

An on-going warning issued by The Department of State is for travel to Iraq due to the high risk of kidnapping and terrorist violence, particularly around religious and civic holidays. Attacks often take place in public areas with high traffic to cause the most harm. Additional risks in Iraq include arrest, fines and expulsion.

Colombia is under a travel warning region due to the risk of, violent crime and kidnappings surrounding drug trafficking. Both criminal and organized political groups have been known to use explosives in both rural areas and major cities. Though U.S. citizens are not specifically targeted, the risk of kidnapping and being held for ransom is a real threat.

While violence has reduced in Algeria in recent years, and attacks are mainly directed towards the police or military, incidents involving both French and Americans have led to multiple fatalities. It is highly recommended that when travelling to Algeria to stay close to major cities and make use of a reputable travel agent who knows the area.

An example of a travel alert includes the 2017 Hurricane and Typhoon seasons which are in effect until December 1, 2017. While most Hurricanes and Typhoons occur from May through October, the risk in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico are serious threats and people should take potential weather dangers into account before finalizing travel plans.

A list of all travel warnings and alerts can be found on the Department of State’s website, additionally, travelers should consider enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive security messages and make it easier to locate them in an emergency.

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