Travel advice and advisories are vital and informative guides to travelers especially to international destinations and cover specific guidelines and regulations concerning several factors like entry and exit requirements, health and safety, local laws, culture and customs, weather conditions, security issues and so on.
Visitors to any part of the world must ensure that they look up travel advice and advisories while planning vacations and ensure that all useful and vital information is at hand.
Every year, governments around the world issue travel advice or travel warnings, as the case may be. While some are obvious considering the security threats that loom large in sensitive areas, others seem unnecessary or sometimes exaggerated. However, a traveler who ignores such advice will be completely at a loss when faced with serious situations or repercussions.
It’s quite common to come across alerts that advise visitors ‘to exercise caution and be vigilant in public places or when using public transportation especially where crowds gather or during festival and holiday times’. The US advises its international travelers to monitor world news while on the move, to stay in touch with family so that someone is aware of their current location and to also approach the local embassy or high commission for assistance.
Types of travel advisories
Travel advice includes a wide range of areas such as:
• Travel documentation and insurance
• Health and medical bulletins and preventive measures
• Security threats
• Local weather conditions and natural calamities
• Traveling with children or elders
• Traveling with animals
• Local holidays and festivals, and many others.
Importance of travel warnings or advisories
Most issues concern general information and alerts. However, while most of them are prompted for security reasons including disease outbreaks, economic conditions, natural disasters, political upheavals etc. some are placed on record when two countries are not sharing the best of relations and the situation is tense.
While political ties between countries need not necessarily affect travelers, any situation leading to an embargo, conflict, protests or clamp on movement of goods or freezing of economic relations must be treated with caution. Many adventure and thrill seeking travelers sometimes treat these advisories with disdain landing themselves in dire situations and having to be bailed out. When something goes wrong, it’s quite easy for the traveler to blame a particular government for not informing them well in advance and expect their government agencies to come to their rescue even if the situation was created in the first place due to their negligence. Voluntarily defying a travel advisory is not illegal although there can be a huge price to pay for it.
The importance of conforming to travel advisories has become even more pertinent today as ‘we live in a very unstable world’.