Travel alerts and travel warnings: The world is still my oyster

The U.S. Department of State issued a worldwide travel alert after it was confirmed a counter-terrorism operation killed Osama bin Laden. The advisory reads:

a close-up of a text

There are two levels of advisories the State Department puts out there: Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings. The former are for “short-term†conditions that pose risks to the safety of U.S. citizens (really everyone, actually), and can even include high-profile regional sports events. In addition to the worldwide one just issued, the other current alerts are for Egypt, Japan and Tunisia.

Travel Warnings are issued when long-term situations in unstable or dangerous countries make it ill advised to travel there in the first place, such as Iraq, Afghanistan and North Korea. They are also issued when U.S. Embassies in those countries are closed and/or have limited staff, or due to other short-term events that make travel unsafe, such as the recent earthquake & tsunami in Japan. Once the immediate danger eased, the warning was downgraded to an alert in Japan’s case.

What does this all mean? To me it’s just a matter of applying common sense when you travel. Egypt is still definitely on my list of desired destinations, and I can virtually guarantee I’ll take a trip there within the next 5 years. I read the current advisory also with a sprinkling of common sense and have absolutely no plans to change my travel patterns. Granted they don’t include trips to questionable regions of the world, but I will not let a risk of immediate retaliation deter me from my passion for travel.

Someone I follow on Twitter puts it best: “I don’t fear traveling, I only fear not traveling.â€

[Update at 1:50pm PST 5/3/11] Additional stories are surfacing about travel alerts & warnings today with this article from MSNBC being posted about an hour ago, mirroring my sentiments earlier today.

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