Have you ever heard news reports of dangerous conditions in another country and wondered if itβs really safe to go there? Some countries such as North Korea are a no-go for the entire country but others, like Mexico, only have specific regions of concern and the rest of the country is low risk. To help travelers make informed choices about travel, the U.S. State Department Travel Advisory website has been simplified with a color-coded map and detailed country information.
State Department Travel Advisory Four-Tier System
Previously, the State Department published both Travel Warnings and Travel Advisories, the nuances of which were confusing to users. In an effort to make the information clear and actionable, a major overhaul of the State Department Travel Advisory website was undertaken. Now, every country in the world is placed on a four-tier, color-coded scale:
- Level 1 (White) β Exercise Normal Precaution
- Level 2 (Yellow) β Exercise Increased Caution
- Level 3 (Orange) β Reconsider Travel
- Level 4 (Red) β Do Not Travel
Risk level is based on crime, war, terrorism, political climate, weather conditions, natural disaster, and other any factors that impact the safety of American citizens traveling in the destination. The level is dynamic and changes as conditions warrant. There are two ways to see this information: on an interactive world-at-a-glance map, which also marks locations of U.S. Embassies and consulates, and as a color-coded list.
The map also indicates countries which contain areas with higher risk than the overall country is designated. To understand the specific risks in any one country, including pockets of higher risk, travelers can view detailed destination country pages. The country pages also provide entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions and other details that can assist travelers in decision making.
STEP Up Your Travel Awareness
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Conditions can change rapidly at any time, so we highly recommend all international travelers enroll in STEP to receive updated State Department Travel Advisories for the countries they choose and make it easier to be located in an emergency.
Before you travel abroad, be sure to review the State Department Travel Advisory for your destination and always have a contingency plan for emergencies. That includes travel insurance to handle any unexpected medical situations.
By following these simple steps, you will be well-informed and well-prepared for travel abroad.