The Us government is well set up to help travelers in the event of an emergency, and to aid travelers in travel planning with a host of helpful government travel safety resources and government websites for travel help. Check 'em all out below:
Travel alerts (formerly called travel public announcements), generally short term in nature, are issued because of situations like political unrest, recent violence by terrorists and on anniversary dates of specific terrorist events, and contain information about terrorist threats, political coups and other short-term conditions which may pose "significant risks to the security of American travelers," according to the government website. Examples of travel alerts would be those regarding 2006/07
and 2007/08's drug gang violence in Mexico
, or 2008's trouble in Thailand and Mumbai
. Learn more:
Ttravel warnings are issued by the US State Department when it recommends that Americans avoid travel to a country altogether because of its long term instability or "...when the U.S. Government's ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a drawdown of its staff." In winter, 2010, travel warnings existed for travel to and/or in Iran, Iraq, Haiti, Nepal, the Philippines, and Israel, the West Bank and Gaza among 22 other countries and areas; an example of a temporary warning was the travel warning issued during the spring, 2008 turmoil in Tibet
, for instance. Learn more:
Find the country to which you are traveling alphabetically and check for travel warnings or public announcements, as well as locating the US Consular in that country. Get up-to-date, specific instruction and facts on current safety and health conditions.
Registration at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country in which you are traveling makes it easier for Uncle Sam to find you in that country. According to the guv:
"Registration is particularly important for those who plan to stay in a country longer than one month, or who will travel to...a country that is experiencing civil unrest, has an unstable political climate, or is undergoing a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or a hurricane."
If you have registered with the US Embassy in the countries in which you'll be traveling, the embassy will notify a "tree" called the Warden Network (below), local members of which will try to get in touch with you then in the event of trouble, including natural disaster or severe political unrest.
The Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (ACS) assists US citizens with emergency travel help and repatriation loans
(money to help you get home to the USA). The Warden Network (above, under "Registration With US Embassies") is part of the ACS. The ACS is most definitely your favorite rich uncle when you're abroad.