Understanding the State Department's New Travel Advisory System

Understanding the State Department's New Travel Advisory System

Posted January 19, 2018

On January 8, 2018, the U.S. Department of State implemented a new system of Travel Advisories to help U.S. citizens find and use important security information.  Employing a consistent format and in plain language, the Travel Advisories now offer four standard levels of advice designed to provide U.S. citizens with clear, timely, and reliable safety and security information worldwide.

The levels are as follows:

  • Level 1-- Exercise Normal Precautions:  This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk.  There is some risk in any international travel.  Conditions in other countries may differ from those in the United States and may change at any time.
  • Level 2 -- Exercise Increased Caution:  Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security.  The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory.  Conditions in any country may change at any time.
  • Level 3 -- Reconsider Travel:  Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security.  The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory.  Conditions in any country may change at any time.
  • Level 4 -- Do Not Travel:  This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks.  During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance.  The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or leave as soon as it is safe to do so.  The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory.  Conditions in any country may change at any time.

These levels are meant to clearly and concisely convey the amount of risk inherent in traveling to a certain country, and represent a substantial change to the long-standing system of the issuance of “Travel Warnings” and “Travel Alerts” when situations occur across the globe. One should also note that levels of advice may vary for specific locations or areas within a country. For instance, the Department of State may advise U.S. citizens to “Exercise Increased Caution” (Level 2) in a country, but to “Reconsider Travel” (Level 3) to a particular area within the country.

How to Learn More

You can find the complete list of Travel Advisories at www.travel.state.gov/traveladvisories.  This list also provides detailed information about the reasoning behind each country’s assigned level, including such factors as crime, terrorism, civil unrest, health, natural disaster, or local events that may constitute a heightened security risk.  You can also find an interactive and continuously updated world map that clearly shows each country's security level and highlights specific regions or locations within a country that may carry a different security level than the country as a whole.

Our Committment to Safety and Security

We will soon be adding this information for each country on a tour to the detailed day-by-day itinerary that we send you prior to departure.  Regardless of a country’s level, however, please know that our commitment to the safety and security of our guests and staff remains our highest priority – and we will always act accordingly.

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