Guide to health travel.

Travel Alert: Travel with Care in Uncertain Times

  • Rodger Johnson
Mar 25, 2016

If you’ve been watching the news as of late, you’re probably aware of the bombings in Brussels, Belgium. While that is unfortunate, we want you to always travel safe. Recently, the U.S. Department of State issued a travel advisory for Europe. 

These types of advisories are announced regularly for a variety of reasons, but you shouldn’t necessarily cancel your trip. In fact, there are two types of advisories: warnings, and alerts. Understanding what an advisory means may help you plan better, safer, and more enjoyable adventures.

What’s the Difference between a Travel Alert and Warning

The state department issues warnings when an area of the world is experiencing an unstable governmental structure, engulfed in a civil war, if there is excessive, ongoing dangerous crime and violence, or if the frequency of terrorist attack is high. When the state department announces a warning they want you to strongly consider staying out of those regions of the world for your safety and protection. These warnings are issued and remain in effect until the environment and situations change. By some accounts, some warnings have been in effect for years.

On the other hand, travel alerts are issued for short-term events. For example, an alert may be issued for an election season where strikes, demonstrations, or disturbances are probable. These alerts are also issued for health reasons such as an H1N1 outbreak, Ebola, or evidence of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks. When these short-term events end, the alert is canceled. For example, with the recent bombing in Brussels, the state department issued an alert, but not a warning because the incident is isolated, there is no government unrest, and no health risks. Generally speaking, traveling throughout Europe remains safe.

You can stay abreast of travel alerts by visiting the United States Department of State Alerts and Warning page.

Assessing Alerts and Warnings in Relation to Your Travel Plans

Not all travel advisories are created equal, as we just explained. Even with an alert or a warning, there are some questions you can use to assess your travel plans in relation to these announcements.

  • What exactly is the danger?
  • What was the posting date of the warning, and when was it updated?
  • Do other countries corroborate the threat?
  • Is there a safety net?
  • Is travel insurance an option?

Asking the right questions and doing your “homework” will help you make better travel decisions, and keep you safer. Should you want to research more severe warnings before setting out on an adventure, consider bookmarking these resources in your internet browser.

We want you to travel safe and well. Regardless of your plans, should you decide to travel overseas, purchasing a travel insurance plan might be right for you. There are several to choose from.

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