I was talking with a friend about a recent travel alert posted by the State Department. He asked me if it was an Alert or a Warning. At the time, I was not sure of the difference so I decided to look into it. According to Wikipedia:
“A travel warning, travel alert, or travel advisory is an official warning statement issued by a government agency to provide information about the relative safety of traveling to or visiting one or more specific foreign countries or destinations. The purpose is to enable travelers to make an informed decision about a particular travel destination, and to help travelers prepare adequately for what may be encountered on their trip. In the United States, travel warnings are issued by the Department of State.“
What is the Difference Between a Travel Warning and Alert
Not a lot of help understanding the differences so I looked further and found the following:
Travel Alerts: They issue a Travel Alert for short-term events they think you should know about when planning travel to a country. Examples of reasons for issuing a Travel Alert might include an election season that is bound to have many strikes, demonstrations, or disturbances; a health alert like an outbreak of H1N1; or evidence of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks. When these short-term events are over, we cancel the Travel Alert.
The Dept. of State issues a Travel Warning when they want you to consider very carefully whether you should go to a country at all. Examples of reasons for issuing a Travel Warning might include unstable government, civil war, ongoing intense crime or violence, or frequent terrorist attacks. We want you to know the risks of traveling to these places and to strongly consider not going to them at all. Travel Warnings remain in place until the situation changes; some have been in effect for years.
From what I can tell, a Travel Advisory is, more generally, either an alert or a warning issued by the US or another country. Travel advisories are simply travel and health notices pertaining to the general safety in various foreign destinations. They may provide information and updates for travelers on matters that may concern terrorism, public crime, civil unrest, public and personal security, disease, and weather. Some resources for advisories are found below:
- US Department of State
- Australia Travel Advisories (Dept. of Foreign Affairs)
- Canada Advisories (Dept. of Foreign Affairs)
- Hong Kong Advisories (Security Bureau)
- UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office