Travel Advisories... OK you need travel advice, but it shouldn't necessarily come from your friends when it comes to your safety. We're told all the time that we're crazy to go some of the places we do... but we really don't think we take chances.
Travel warnings can mean that there is scary stuff going on....
...but governments issue advisories on several levels, so just because a government issues one of these, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's a bad idea to plan a trip to that country.
Terrorism has been in the news for years, then there was the Arab Spring, and some unrest in European counties about austerity measures...
There have been earthquakes and other natural disasters that have triggered warnings and alerts.
We get nervous with some of these too.
We postponed a trip to Chile and Easter Island right after their big earthquake in 2010...
...but we went later in the year with no problem.
If you want to be a traveler, you need to learn to weigh the warnings and the news. You may decide that it's worth it to travel anyway.
Terrorism is nothing new; different areas have had unrest in the past. Read those advisories, take them seriously, but decide if what they are talking about will affect you and your trip. Don't trust them blindly and just stay home forever.
Travel advisories are issued for a number of reasons. Terrorism and wars are the scariest among them. They can be issued because of natural disasters, political unrest, disease outbreaks or high crime areas. You need to read to see if these are long term warnings or short term travel advisories.
We think it's a good idea to check with several different sources... as English speakers, we check to see what the governments of Australia, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S are saying.
They don't always agree. So if there are differing points of view, what should you do?
Evaluate them for yourself.
Which Travel Advisories Are Which?
I'll talk about the the U.S State Department because that's where we live. Here's what they issue...
(The Australians, for instance, would say "Do not travel" or "Reconsider your need to travel.")
The level of seriousness goes down from there...
(Here the Aussies would say, "Exercise a high degree of caution.")
Country Specific Facts - The State Department also has information on each specific country telling about road conditions, food and water safety.
Some of THAT information can be scary to read... but it shouldn't keep you home... It's just good information to have.
How Should You Use These Advisories?
Keep in mind your tolerance... will that warning or advisory worry you all through your trip or is it something you can just keep vigilant for and still enjoy your travels?
We read the travel advisories. We felt the problem was half a continent away, and we'd be fine.
...and we saw tigers every day. I'm so glad we didn't cancel.
What we're trying to tell you is if there was a natural disaster in one part of the country, the part you're going to may be fine. Health outbreaks and political unrest may be confined to only one area of a country, leaving the rest perfectly safe to travel in.
Are the threats to tourists or tourist areas or is there violence in isolated and remote areas where there is less possibility of it affecting you?
What did they do? They went anyway.
Now, I might not have, but they say they felt safe the whole time. There were no tourists (I wonder why?) so they got room upgrades, the people were glad to see them and super welcoming... and they had a great trip.
Some warnings are long term, but you can check to see if the conditions that prompted the advisory have changed.
So What Should You Do If You Go?
If war is breaking out or if the local terrorists are targeting tourists, you probably should reconsider your travel plans.
With a travel advisory or warning like that, you might want to find a country that is safer and friendlier or travel to a new part of your own country. Almost all travelers can find adventure even close to home.
So evaluate those warnings for yourself. Change your plans if you feel you need to, but travel somewhere. It's good for you.
Happy travels... even if you don't travel the world... just remember that life is a journey... embrace and enjoy it! Judy and Mark
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