When planning a vacation, it’s important to prioritize both enjoyment and safety. The U.S. State Department provides ongoing travel advisories for all countries worldwide, categorized from “Exercise Normal Precautions” to “Do Not Travel.”
Before embarking on any journey, it’s advisable to consult the travel advisories for your chosen destination and remain updated, as a country’s conditions can change swiftly.
Travel inherently carries certain risks. Level 1 and 2 advisories suggest taking normal or increased precautions. If your intended destination is categorized as Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) or Level 4 (Do Not Travel), careful consideration should be given before making travel arrangements. Even with Level 2 advisories, it’s important to carefully assess specific locations and circumstances that may render travel unsafe. Always review the complete travel advisory and compare it with your itinerary.
You might say Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, but terrorism is a threat across Europe. Most countries in Western Europe have an elevated terrorism risk, with a few notable exceptions like Ireland, Portugal, Switzerland, Norway, and Finland. So it’s not just Denmark, but France, Spain, the U.K., Italy, and more that you should exercise increased caution due to the threat of terrorism like being aware of your surroundings, following the instructions of local authorities, monitoring local media for breaking news, and enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive Alerts and help locate you in an emergency.
The June 7th advisory says- Exercise increased caution in the Kingdom of Denmark due to terrorism. Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in the Kingdom of Denmark. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations.
Mexico, a diverse and historically rich country, features beautiful coastlines, mountains, and jungles. It holds significant archaeological sites like Chichen Itza and Teotihuacan, showcasing the heritage of ancient civilizations. The country’s vibrant cities offer a lively atmosphere, colorful festivals, and a delightful culinary experience with iconic dishes like tacos and guacamole. Visitors are welcomed with warm hospitality, making Mexico an appealing destination for exploration and cultural immersion.
For all of it’s beauty and culture, America’s southern neighbor has some states that travelers are best to avoid. As of July 2023, Mexico has implemented a Level 4 – Do Not Travel advisory for specific states. Each state in Mexico undergoes an individual assessment to determine its travel advisory level. Out of the 32 states, six have been designated as Level 4: Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas. The prevailing risk factors throughout the country are related to crime and kidnapping.
Ecuador is an emerging tourism destination because of its natural beauty, rich cultural history, and unique geography. Because of its elevation and location on the equator, you’re closer to the sun and actually weigh less. It’s only a 1% difference, but every little bit helps, right? Like many South and Central American countries, there is still high crime and civil unrest from Narco economies, especially in Guayaquil, Carchi, Sucumbíos, and the northern part of Esmeraldas provinces.
The June 22th, 2023 travel advisory says – Level 2, exercise increased caution in Ecuador due to civil unrest and crime. Crime is a widespread problem in Ecuador. Violent crime, such as murder, assault, express kidnapping, and armed robbery, is common. This most recent advisory warned about a specific kidnapping indicator for extra caution in the provinces of El Oro, Manabí, Santo Domingo, Los Rios, Santa Elena, Cañar, and Carchi. Transnational criminal organizations and gangs operate in Carchi, Sucumbíos, and the northern part of Esmeraldas provinces, as well as in Guayaquil, south of Portete de Tarquí Avenue.
This advisory is particularly complicated with specific “do not travel” locations, so it’s even more important to read the complete travel advisory before traveling.
The Dominican Republic is a tropical paradise, but recent news reports highlight risks from organized crime. On June 6th, the country was upgraded to a Level 2 Travel Advisory sparking a fresh round of debate and speculation.
The June 6th advisory says – Exercise increased caution in the Dominican Republic due to crime. Violent crime, including armed robbery, homicide, and sexual assault, is a concern throughout the Dominican Republic.
The development of a professional tourist police corps, institution of a 911 system in many parts of the country, and a concentration of resources in resort areas means these tend to be better policed than urban areas like Santo Domingo. The wide availability of weapons, the use and trade of illicit drugs, and a weak criminal justice system contribute to the high level of criminality on a broader scale.
Bolivia is similar to Ecuador. Its capital city, La Paz, is almost 1000 meters higher than Quito, making it the highest capital city in the world. Unfortunately, La Paz (The Peace), isn’t as peaceful as one might hope.
A June 6th travel advisory says – Exercise increased caution in Bolivia due to civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk. Do not travel to the Chapare region due to crime and reconsider travel to the Yungas region due to crime.
Demonstrations, strikes, and roadblocks can occur at any time in Bolivia. Demonstrations can result in violence. Roadblocks and strikes may cut off traffic and restrict the flow of goods and services around the country. Domestic and international flights may be delayed or unexpectedly canceled.
Peru is home to remarkable cultural and natural beauty, including Macchu Pichu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Unfortunately, there’s a dark side too. The Peruvian Congress impeached President Pedro Castillo Terrones leading to widespread civil unrest. Combine that with record inflation and decreased tourism income, and you see that situation in Peru is nuanced and rapidly changing, which is why it’s so important to check the current travel advisories regularly.
Per the Peruvian Embassy (May 2nd, 2023) – Please be advised that the Department of State has changed the Travel Advisory level for Peru from “Level 3, Reconsider Travel,” to “Level 2, Exercise Increased Caution” due to crime and civil unrest. Please note that while most of Peru is at Level 2, there are areas in Peru that are currently designated “Level 4: Do Not Travel.”
Jamaica is a classic Caribbean destination, appearing in James Bond films and Beach Boys songs. Unfortunately, per the State Department- “the homicide rate reported by the Government of Jamaica has, for several years, been among the highest in the Western Hemisphere.” That’s part of the reason that Jamaica is currently at Level 3 Advisory – reconsider travel to Jamaica due to crime.
The May 10th advisory says – Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts. Local police often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. Emergency services and hospital care vary throughout the island, and response times and quality of care may vary from U.S. standards.
Chile is home to Easter Island, world-class wine, and summer skiing. However, it’s not free from crime and civil unrest. That’s why the State Department recommends exercising increased caution while visiting Chile.
The May 8th advisory reads – Street crime (e.g., muggings, pick-pocketing, theft) is common in Chile. Rates of violent crime, such as assaults, homicide, carjackings, and residential break-ins, are increasing. Large-scale demonstrations periodically occur in Santiago and other cities in Chile. Demonstrations can take place with little or no notice, and often result in disruptions to transportation, including public bus and Santiago metro services.
Indonesia is the 4th most populated country in the world, comprised of more than 17,000 islands. It’s a South Pacific paradise with unique natural wonders like the beautiful Raja Ampat Islands, towering Mount Bromo, color-changing Kelimutu Lake, and the fearsome Komodo Islands. It’s also a Muslim country with thousands of distinct native ethnic groups that sits on the “Ring of Fire,” so there’s a complex political spectrum and the threat of natural disasters.
Some of the islands are currently ranked as “do not travel”, but the national as a whole is under a Level 2, increased caution warning for natural disasters and terrorism. Because of the complexity, it’s important to read the full advisory; however, the May 2nd advisory contained an interesting report about upcoming legal changes -Indonesia’s revised criminal code, which takes effect January 2026, includes penalties for defamation, blasphemy, cohabitation, and sex outside of marriage. It is unclear how Indonesian authorities will implement the revised criminal code.
The most current update on July 24th issues a specific DO NOT TRAVEL warning for the provinces of Central Papua (Papua Tengah) and Highland Papua (Papua Pegunungan) due to civil unrest.
Nigeria is now at a Level 3 advisory (reconsider travel) due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed gangs. Other risks include:
- Kidnappings for ransom are frequent, often targeting dual nationals and wealthy U.S. citizens.
- Terrorist attacks may occur without warning, targeting various public places.
- Civil unrest and armed gangs are prevalent in Southern Nigeria, especially the Niger Delta and Southeast regions.
- Intercommunal violence can erupt in rural areas.
- Limited U.S. government emergency services due to security conditions.
Some regions have elevated risks. Do Not Travel to specific states for these reasons:
- Borno, Yobe, Kogi, and northern Adamawa states – due to terrorism and kidnapping.
- Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara states – due to kidnapping.
- Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Enugu, Imo, and Rivers states (except Port Harcourt) – due to crime, kidnapping, and armed gangs.
Currently Russia is on a Level 4-Do Not Travel advisory due to the ongoing full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces, potential harassment of U.S. citizens, arbitrary local law enforcement, limited flights, and the Embassy’s reduced ability to assist U.S. citizens. Depart Russia if you are there, and exercise caution to avoid wrongful detentions. The U.S. government’s ability to help citizens in Russia is limited, especially outside Moscow, due to staffing and operational issues at U.S. consulates.
Reports of drone attacks, explosions, and fires are common near the Russian-Ukrainian border, Moscow, and St. Petersburg. In emergencies, follow local authorities’ instructions and seek shelter promptly.
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