SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — If you’re planning on heading out of the country this holiday season, the United States Department of State advises taking extra caution when making your trip.
On Monday, Oct. 30, the Department of State issued a “Worldwide Caution” for U.S. citizens outside of the country. The caution comes from what the department says is “increased tensions” in various locations around the world.
According to the advisory, there has been an increased potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations or violent actions against U.S. citizens and in areas of U.S. interest. With the increased risks, U.S. citizens are advised to stay alert in locations often visited by tourists.
Typically, cautions issued by the Department of State come in 4 levels ranging from “Exercise normal precautions” to “Do Not Travel.” While the Worldwide Caution does not come with a level, the warning is similar to a Level 2 warning of “Exercise increased caution.”
This advisory does not mean you shouldn’t travel abroad or come home if you are currently overseas. It also doesn’t mean you should reconsider your travel plans – that would be a Level 3 advisory. Many hotspot destinations for Americans are still well within the range of safe travel.
For example, according to data from the National Travel and Tourism Office, Mexico is by and large where Americans are most likely to visit followed by Canada and then the United Kingdom. According to the United States travel advisories, U.S. citizens heading to or in Canada are under a Level 1 travel advisory while the United Kingdom is under a Level 2.
Mexico is slightly more complicated, with advisories varying from state to state. Yucatan, where the tourist hotspot Cancun is located, is under a Level 1 advisory while visitors to Mexico City should exercise increased caution. Those planning a trip to Baja California though should reconsider travel due to “crime” and “kidnapping.”
As of Monday, there are only 21 countries where the Department of State has issued a “Do Not Travel” warning, including war-torn countries such as Ukraine and Syria as well as places of civil unrest, such as Haiti.