What is a Travel Advisory?

When traveling abroad, it is important to be aware of the safety (and health) situation in the country you are intending to visit.  While this also pertains to domestic travel, it is with international travel that most travelers find themselves more unaware of these situations.  This is where several national governments step in and provide what is known as travel advisories for their citizens.  

Travel advisories are literally travel and health notices pertaining to the general safety in various foreign destinations.  They provide information and updates for national citizens on matters that may concern terrorism, public crime, civil unrest,  public and personal security, disease and weather.  As such, travel advisories serve the purpose of helping to make informed decisions about traveling to and spending time in various places around the world.

Who provides travel advisories?

Several foreign ministries and state departments provide travel advisories, which are published and made available online for everyone to view.  Here is a list of some of those resources.

Australia Dept. of Foreign Affairs and Trade
http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cg...

Canada Dept. of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
http://www.voyage.gc.ca/countries_pay...

Hong Kong Security Bureau
http://www.sb.gov.hk/eng/ota/

New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade 

UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-l...

US State Department
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa...

Similarly, the World Health Organization keeps an online repository of national government health and safety websites.  These websites serve to notify on disease outbreaks and general health situations in the foreign destination you may intend to visit.

World Health Organization (Intl. Travel and Health)
http://www.who.int/ith/links/national...

Travel Insurance Warning

Be Aware: Most travel insurance providers do not cover regions which the national government considers to be unsafe.  Thus, if you intend to travel to a foreign destination which has a travel advisory warning by your national government, it is very important to contact your travel insurance provider to understand what coverage you will or will not have if you decide to go there.  Generally speaking, if your government considers it dangerous to be in a certain foreign destination, your travel insurance provider may not cover you for any problems you encounter while there.