Where to Avoid Travel, According to the Government Advisory

 You might want to think twice before traveling to these nations at this time.

Travel habits abroad have been impacted in recent months by a range of global conflicts and climate crises, from earthquakes and floods in nations vulnerable to natural disasters to a string of coups throughout Africa.

According to the World Tourism Organisation, foreign visitor numbers could still hit 80% to 95% of pre-pandemic levels in 2023. However, some places call for more vigilance than others.

The U.S. State Department issued a global caution advice on Oct. 19 in response to the escalating tensions in the region and the beginning of war between Israel and Gaza.  The last global alert, which came before this one, was issued in 2022 following the death of Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in an American strike.

Travel advisory levels are released by the U.S. State Department for over 200 countries worldwide. These levels are updated regularly depending on a range of risk factors, including health, terrorism, and civil unrest. Level 1 travel advisories advise taking standard precautions, while Level 4 advisories advise not going there.

As of October 19, over 10% of countries—21 in total—had a Level 4: "Do Not Travel" advice. The State Department states that in Level 4 countries, the United States government may have "very limited ability" to intervene if travellers' security or safety is in jeopardy. Kidnapping, terrorism, crime, and civil instability are frequent risk factors linked to Level 4 nations.

The State Department has updated its Level 4 advisories for Russia, Gaza, some Mexican states, and Lebanon over the past two months.

Based on variables like crime, terrorism, and civil upheaval, the U.S. State Department determines the appropriate degree of travel advisories. There's a chance that some regions will get a different amount than the entire nation.

In alphabetical order, these are the main places that the US government advises against visiting at this time:


According to the State Department, the Central Asian nation is dealing with "armed conflict, civil unrest, crime, terrorism, and kidnapping." Americans in particular are vulnerable to violence and kidnapping. Women's rights are vanishing under Taliban rule, and the government reinstated public flogging and executions in December 2022. In August 2021, the American Embassy in Kabul came to an end of business. Numerous types of international help have been discontinued in the two years since the Taliban seized power. In the meantime, Afghanistan continues to experience an unprecedented drought that has lasted for years, and in October 2023, some of the deadliest earthquakes of the year claimed more than 2,400 lives there.


Belarus has been marked for "Belarusian authorities' continued facilitation of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the buildup of Russian military forces in Belarus, the arbitrary enforcement of local laws, the potential for civil unrest, the risk of detention, and the Embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens residing in or travelling to Belarus." Belarus shares borders with both Russia and Ukraine on the west and the south. In February 2022, the US Embassy in Minsk came to an end.

Burkina Faso:

This country in West Africa is plagued by crime, terrorism, and kidnapping. There is a state of emergency in the country's East and Sahel areas, and terrorist strikes may strike hotels, restaurants, and schools with little to no notice.

Central African Republic:

Although there haven't been any specific instances of violence or criminal activity directed towards Americans, violent crime and abrupt border and road closures are frequent occurrences. The assessment is influenced, according to the alert, by "Embassy Bangui's limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens, crime, civil unrest, and kidnapping." According to recent UNICEF research, the nation will have the least accessibility to clean drinking water worldwide in 2022.


This Southeast Asian nation, which saw a military coup in early 2021, is best avoided due to armed violence and civil upheaval. Risk factors include COVID-19 limitations, scarce medical services, erroneous detentions, and "areas with land mines and unexploded ordnance."


A large portion of the Gaza Strip, which borders both Egypt and Israel, is under the authority of Hamas, a group classified by the State Department as a foreign terrorist organisation. On October 7, hundreds of soldiers and civilians were killed in a blatant attack that shocked Israelis when Hamas fighters crossed into Israel. According to Reuters, Israel launched "the fiercest air strikes in its 75-year conflict" on the Gaza Strip on October 10. Rescuers claim that further bombings and a running out of gasoline have made their task more difficult. About 200,000 Palestinians, or about one-tenth of Gaza's population, have been forced from their homes as they get ready for shortages of electricity, water, and medical supplies. Within Gaza's borders, the State Department issues warnings about military conflict, civil unrest, and terrorism.


In July, the Department of State issued an order to all non-emergency U.S. government employees and their families to evacuate the U.S. Embassy located in Port-au-Prince. This decision was made in reaction to the country's heightened danger of kidnapping, violent crime, and armed cop-gang violence. The humanitarian organisation where the American nurse worked reported that month's kidnapping of the woman and her child took place close to Port-au-Prince.  As the violence escalated, hundreds of people in the country's central region fled their homes in response to a string of gang attacks in late September.


All visitors visiting Iran run the risk of being abducted and having their rights violated, but Americans are particularly vulnerable to "arbitrary arrest and detention." USA:Iranian individuals have been detained on suspicion of espionage and endangering national security, including journalists, students, and business travellers. According to a new report by Amnesty International, the number of executions in Iran increased significantly between 2021 and 2022, reaching approximately 580 persons throughout the year.


The State Department reasons that the nation's Level 4 designation is due to "terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict [and] civil unrest." Particularly risky are Iraq's borders with Syria and the north. Air pollution is another health concern for travellers mentioned in a State Department health alert. In 2022, Iraq has some of the worst air pollution in the world, second only to Chad. Security troops were sent by the government to Kirkuk, a city in northern Iraq, in September when ethnic unrest turned fatal and four Kurdish demonstrators lost their lives.


Lebanon is located in a region that is currently rife with violence, sharing borders with Syria to the north and Israel to the south. Lebanon's travel advisory status was upgraded from Level 3 to Level 4 after the Israel-Hamas war broke out in early October. This was because of "the unpredictable security situation related to rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges" between Israel and Hezbollah or other militant groups. The alert notes that the U.S. Embassy in Beirut has "limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens" and that family members of U.S. government employees and non-emergency staff have been given permission to depart the nation. The boundaries of the nation with Israel and Syria, as well as the refugee settlements inside Lebanon, are particularly mentioned as Level 4 territories.


Since its dictatorship ended more than ten years ago, armed groups in Libya's East and West have been engaged in domestic conflict. Risk elements include civil upheaval, terrorism, criminality, kidnapping, and armed conflict. Terrorists have targeted Westerners' favourite hotels and airports, kidnapping American citizens and holding them ransom. In 2014, the American Embassy in Tripoli came to an end. In mid-September, thousands of people died in eastern Libya due to floods, which some claim were made worse by climate change. In the past several months, there has been an increase in violent conflict throughout the nation, particularly in Tripoli, the capital, and Benghazi, which as of mid-October was experiencing a communications blackout that the government blamed on a damaged cable.


This landlocked country in West Africa faces numerous risks from crime, terrorism, and kidnapping following a military takeover in 2020. A heightened likelihood of terrorist activity led to an order for non-emergency U.S. government officials and their families to leave the country in July 2022. According to a U.N. report from August, armed organisations in the nation—possibly Russian Wagner mercenaries as well as Mali security forces—were using violence against women and violations of human rights to sow terror. Mali's military junta put off the country's democratic elections, which were scheduled for February 2024, indefinitely. According to Reuters, the nation "is in meltdown" and faces the possibility of civil war on October 3.


The levels of each travel alert are determined individually for each state in Mexico. Six of Mexico's thirty-two states—Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas—are classified as Level 4. Across the nation, kidnapping and crime are cited as the main risk factors. Currently, there are about 112,000 missing persons nationwide; the U.N. has deemed this statistic to be "alarming."

Also on the list are:

Niger, North Korea, Russia,Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Yemen

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