Now that most of the COVID-related travel restrictions have been lifted, airports across the globe have found themselves crowded by eager travelers.
Despite this positive development, safety is still a top priority for both seasoned and novice travelers. After all, any risk, threat, or unforeseen event brings the possibility of derailing a well-planned vacation.
To ensure the safety of its citizens on foreign soil, the U.S. Department of State came up with a four-tiered system that classifies each country based on its current safety and security conditions. Moreover, the rankings are updated and reviewed regularly.
Even though this system was made for U.S. citizens, it is still a useful tool for assessing whether the destination you plan to travel to is safe or not.
Before we dive deeper into the topic, we have to explain how the U.S. Department of State ranks each country’s level of safety and security.
The level assigned to each country is based on the following risk indicators:
It’s important to note that the U.S. Department of State may place a country under Level 2, but categorize a specific area or region within that territory under Level 3. This is because the safety level of an area may vary.
Now that you know how a safety level of a country is ranked by the U.S., it’s time to explain what each level in a U.S. travel advisory means.
Travel Advisory Levels
Countries listed in this level are generally safe for travelers since these destinations pose the lowest safety and security risk.
Despite that, travelers to these countries are advised to remain cautious because safety conditions in these areas could vary at any given time. At present, there are more than 90 countries under this level. Here are some of the more notable destinations in this level:
Travelers who plan to visit countries under this level need to be aware of the heightened safety and security risks present in the area. The Department of State has additional guidelines for travelers who want to visit areas under Level 2.
Here are some of the countries under Level 2 as of April 2023:
The Department of State advises travelers to avoid traveling to countries in this level because of serious risks to safety and security. These include terrorism threats, civil unrest, kidnapping, armed conflict, natural disasters, and disease outbreaks.
The following are some of the countries under Level 3 as of April 2023:
Due to the increased probability of life-threatening risks, the Department of State advises travelers not to visit the countries listed under this level.
Risk indicators for this level include nuclear terrorism threats, ongoing rebellions, armed conflict, civil unrest, crime, kidnapping, war, and bombings.
As of April 2023, there are more than 15 countries in Level 4:
For more information on the recent travel advisories issued by the US State Department, you may visit its website. You can also access the government agency’s interactive map to view countries color-coded with the Travel Advisory levels.
Aside from keeping track of U.S. State Department travel advisories, consider checking the list of banned airlines.
In January 2023, Mirror, a British newspaper, published a list of countries whose airlines were banned from European airspace.
For your reference, this is a list of countries whose airlines were banned by the European Union Air Safety Committee:
Additionally, these airlines were also added to EU’s list of banned airlines:
Whether you're a seasoned traveler or a rookie adventurer, make sure to do your homework on the places you plan to visit before setting off on your journey. After all, ensuring your safety is the most important step you must take regardless of your destination.
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