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Latest News on Travel Alerts

One of the ways the U.S. State Department notifies travelers of concerns and threats abroad is with Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings—two very different, but very useful sources of information.

The State Department defines these terms as follows:

Travel Alerts
We issue a Travel Alert for short-term events we think you should know about when planning travel to a country.

Travel Warnings
We issue a Travel Warning when we want you to consider very carefully whether you should go to a country at all.

Some countries with a current Travel Alert include Peru, Kenya, and all of Europe (more about that below).

Countries with a current Travel Warning now include Yemen, North Korea, Turkey, Egypt, and others.

Travel Alerts, and especially Travel Warnings, may be issued for a country as whole, a particular city, a region, or an area during certain times or events.

Alerts and Warnings are for set periods of time (sometimes years) and either expire or are reviewed and renewed by the State Department.

These notices provide information regarding terrorism, local crime, or threats from a localized event such as an election, ongoing weather issues like hurricanes, or health concerns like epidemics (H1N1, Ebola, etc.)

State Departments Alerts and Warnings do not prohibit citizens from traveling to a certain country, they simply convey important facts that should be carefully considered. The State Department may, however, forbid travel by military personnel or government employees.

State Department Alerts are quite common for many countries and regions of the world today, but can provide valuable information about regions of concern, places to avoid, and safe behavior when traveling.

Most recently, all of Europe was included in an alert issued after another round of ISIS attacks, and heightened concerns over the threat of more attacks.

The alert, issued May 1, 2017, urges caution and vigilance, suggesting that citizens should exercise thoughtful planning and increased awareness while traveling, stay informed through State Department websites before departure, and consider enrolling in STEP— the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, to receive security messages and be easier to locate should an emergency situation occur.

This means you should be aware, prepared, and vigilant, not that you should stay home.

When planning travel abroad, State Department alerts and warnings are important to understand, and keep in context. They will help you plan a wonderful, and safe, trip.

Visit the U.S. State Department's website for the most up-to-date travel information.