Read these 13 U.S. Travel Warnings Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Travel Insurance tips and hundreds of other topics.
Guidebooks are probably the most complete resource you can own about a country. They offer information about all kinds of sites, restaurants, hotels, little known facts. Though, since these general guidebooks hit on all kinds of topics they don't go too in-depth into anything. So if you are interested in a more detailed look at certain topics you can buy specialized travel books. Ones that features a certain area of the city. They might even be geared towards a certain audience like traveling for kids, senior citizens, people with disabilities. Both a general and a specialized book would probably be a smart buy. Since neither would overlap really each other.
Once you are through security you should be a bit more heightened with what's going on around you. Keep an eye on your luggage and all personal belongings. Keep an ear for announcements by the gate. Plus, announcements over the main intercom. Granted a lot of times those announcements won't refer to you. However, if there is a major terror attack the announcement will be made over that intercom. If the airport is being shutdown they will announce instructions as to what people should do. So it would probably be best if you listened to not just the warning announcement, but ones that followed as well.
Public Announcements are a means to disseminate information about terrorist threats and other relatively short-term and/or trans-national conditions posing significant risks to the security of American travelers. They are made any time there is a perceived threat and usually have Americans as a particular target group. In the past, Public Announcements have been issued to deal with short-term coups, bomb threats to airlines, violence by terrorists and anniversary dates of specific terrorist events. The website address is: http://travel.state.gov/travel/new_pa_list.html
A State Department travel advisory is issued when the US State Department decides, based on all relevant information, to recommend that Americans avoid travel to a certain country. Countries where avoidance of travel is recommended will have Travel Warnings as well as Consular Information Sheets. The website address for current US Travel Warnings is: http://travel.state.gov/travel/warnings_current.html
The State Department will issue warnings about a country if it is unsafe. This is done so citizens will avoid this country at all costs. Though, what if you still had loved ones in that troubled part of the world. You'd probably want to know if they were all right. If there is anyway you can help them. Again, this is where the US State Department would prove useful. On their site they list all of their US embassies and consulates throughout the world. Chances are it would be in an area near the location of your loved one. If it is an emergency (either in that country or even at home) you can use the US State Department to help you locate them. The US State Department actually handles about 20,000 of these cases a year. So you will be dealing with experts. For more information you can check out the US State Department site at travel.state.gov
Countries differ in many ways -- language, culture, food, etc. However, there are certain fundamentals that ring true no matter where you are, One constant you can find in countries is the police. They might have different names, but they all pretty much are responsible for the same thing. Enforcing the law and protecting citizens. If some attack or terrorist incident did occur they would be the ones who would know. So if you are staying in an area that might be prone to acts of terror you might want to make sure you know where the police station closest to you is located. Plus, make a note of the phone number.
Use common sense and be alert and aware of your surroundings. If you are unsure in general about the local situation, feel free to check with the American Citizens Services section of the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate for the latest security information. Don't announce that you are traveling alone! Some guides for women even advise wearing a wedding ring if you're single. If you feel like you're being followed, step into a store or other safe place and wait to see if the person you think is following has passed. Do not be afraid or embarrassed to ask for someone to double check for you to see if all is safe. Display confidence. By looking and acting as if you know where you're going, you may be able to ward off some potential danger. Ask for directions before you set out. No matter how modest your lodgings are, your hotel concierge or other hotel staff should be able to help. If you find yourself lost, do not be afraid to ask for directions. Generally, the safest people to ask are families or women with children. Getting the right information may save you from ending up in a potentially unsafe area.
Department of State Publication 10679 Bureau of Consular Affair September 2000 To provide students, who are planning to travel or study abroad, with a few reminders about safety. Although most trips abroad are trouble free, being prepared will go a long way to avoiding the possibility of serious trouble. Become familiar with the basic laws and customs of the country you plan to visit before you travel. Remember: Reckless behavior while in another country can do more than ruin your vacation; it can land you in a foreign jail or worse! To have a safe trip, avoid risky behavior and plan ahead. Apply early for your passport and, if necessary, any visas: Passports are required to enter and/or depart most countries around the world. Apply for a passport as soon as possible. Some countries also require U.S. citizens to obtain visas before entering. Most countries require visitors who are planning to study or work abroad to obtain visas before entering. Check with the embassy of the foreign country that you are planning to visit for up-to-date visa and other entry requirements. (Passport and visa information is available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov.) Learn about the countries that you plan to visit. Before departing, take the time to do some research about the people and their culture, and any problems that the country is experiencing that may affect your travel plans. The Department of State publishes Background Notes on about 170 countries. These brief, factual pamphlets contain information on each country's culture, history, geography, economy, government, and current political situation.
Department of State Publication 10679 Bureau of Consular Affair September 2000 1. Make sure you have a signed, valid passport and visas, if required. Also, before you go, fill in the emergency information page of your passport! 2. Read the Consular Information Sheets (and Public Announcements or Travel Warnings, if applicable) for the countries you plan to visit. 3. Leave copies of your itinerary, passport data page and visas with family or friends at home, so that you can be contacted in case of an emergency. Keep your host program informed of your whereabouts. 4. Make sure you have insurance that will cover your emergency medical needs (including medical evacuation) while you are overseas. 5. Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs of the countries to which you are traveling. Remember, while in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws! 6. Do not leave your luggage unattended in public areas and never accept packages from strangers. 7. While abroad, avoid using illicit drugs or drinking excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages, and associating with people who do. 8. Do not become a target for thieves by wearing conspicuous clothing and expensive jewelry and do not carry excessive amounts of cash or unnecessary credit cards. 9. Deal only with authorized agents when you exchange money to avoid violating local laws. 10. When overseas, avoid demonstrations and other situations that may become unruly or where anti-American sentiments may be expressed.
Department of State Publication 10391 Bureau of Consular Affairs Revised September 1996 For Americans considering residence abroad as well as for the more than three million U.S. citizens who are currently residing in a foreign country. Our primary goal is to provide assistance to and protect the welfare of American citizens who live abroad. Before taking up a foreign residence, there are many details that you will need to consider. BEFORE YOU GO Learn About The Host Country Read as much as possible about the country where you plan to reside. Learning about a nation's culture, customs, people, and history will make your stay more meaningful. Libraries, bookstores and tourist bureaus are good resources for this information. Keep abreast as well of the international news for the latest political developments in the country where you will live. Although English is spoken in many countries, learning the language of the nation in which you plan to reside will make the transition to your new environment easier. One of the best ways to learn about living in a foreign country is to get advice from U.S. citizens already residing there. Countries with large numbers of U.S. expatriates often have a U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a bicultural organization, or clubs for Americans that could give you information on living in that country. In countries with fewer U.S. residents, you may be able to meet fellow expatriates through a local international club.
8AM - 10PM weekdays; 9AM - 3PM Saturday 202-647-5225 The following are instructions for sending money to a U.S. citizen in an emergency financial situation abroad. When you use this service, a Department of State trust account is established in the recipient's name in order to forward funds overseas. There is a $30 processing fee. We do not accept personal checks. Your money order or cashier's check must be made payable to the Department of State. Upon receipt, we send a telegram to the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad authorizing next workday disbursement. The recipient must contact the Embassy or Consulate to arrange receipt. The forwarding of funds will be delayed if you fail to provide the recipient's name and overseas location. Funds are normally disbursed in the foreign country's currency and not in U.S. dollars. WESTERN UNION: If you have a major credit card, you may telephone Western Union at 1-800-325-6000 or 4176. Otherwise, tell your local Western Union agent that you wish to purchase a money order for the desired amount plus $30 (our fee) and made payable to the Department of State. A message with your name, address, and telephone number, as well as the name and overseas location of the recipient, must accompany the money order. Western Union charges a fee based on the amount sent. The money order and message are sent to: Overseas Citizens Services (OCS), Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520. Funds are normally received electronically in OCS within several hours. We have a Western Union checkwriter in our office and an officer is available to receive funds during the hours listed at the top of the page. The U.S. Embassy or Consulate which is to disburse the funds will be notified and authorized to pay out the funds. However, it is important to understand that the funds are disbursed only during normal office hours, not during weekends or local holidays when the Embassy or Consulate is closed. BANKWIRE: It may take 1 to 3 days to process a bankwire transaction. If you choose this option, tell your bank that you want to wire the desired amount plus $42 to Bank of America, Department of State Branch, 2201 C St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20520 at 202-624-4750 via ABA Number: 114000653; Account Number: 7476363838; Account Name: PUPID State Department; Special Instructions: OCS/Trust for benefit of (recipient's name), US Embassy/Consulate (city, country); and include your name and telephone number. The wire instructions must include the recipient's full name and overseas location. Bank of America notifies our office when funds are received. The $42 fee includes our $30 fee and Bank of America's $12 wire fee. OVERNIGHT MAIL: Obtain cashiers check or money order for the desired amount plus $30 (our fee), made payable to the Department of State. Attach a letter with your name, address, and telephone number, as well as the name and location of the overseas recipient. Mail to: Overseas Citizens Services, CA/OCS, Room 4811, Department of State, 2201 C St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20520. Delivery of overnight mail to CA/OCS may take 2 to 3 days. REGULAR MAIL: Regular mail can take 3 to 4 weeks to reach CA/OCS due to on-going irradiation procedures. We strongly discourage this method for emergency use. For more information, contact: Overseas Citizens Services, Department of State, Room 4811, Washington, D.C. 20520.
Consular Information Sheets are available for every country of the world. They include such information as location of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the subject country, unusual immigration practices, health conditions, minor political disturbances, unusual currency and entry regulations, crime and security information, and drug penalties. If an unstable condition exists in a country that is not severe enough to warrant a Travel Warning, a description of the condition(s) may be included under an optional section entitled "Safety/Security." On limited occasions, we also restate in this section any U.S. Embassy advice given to official employees. Consular Information Sheets generally do not include advice, but present information in a factual manner so the traveler can make his or her own decisions concerning travel to a particular country. The website is: http://travel.state.gov/travel/warnings_consular.html
Travel alerts is a pretty general term. It can refer to acts of terror. It also might mean weather storms. Then there are travel alerts that are specific to your travel time. Namely, delays or canceling of flights. When it's time to leave most people just head to the airport and hope for the best. However, if you are at a place that won't need you to check out right away you might want to rethink that plan. Call the airport the day of departure. If there is a problem they will probably know. If it's a delay or the flight isn't even taking off you can stay where you are. Even stay another day. Instead of getting stuck in the airport.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|