Difference between Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings

Travel alerts and travel warnings are common terms in air travel that every traveler should be enlightened on. In fact, the United States government issues travel alerts and travel warnings for different countries around the world almost on a weekly basis. Below, we define what travel alerts and travel warnings are and, how they can affect your travel plans.

What is a Travel Alert?

Travel alerts are usually issued for short term periods as a result of situations that could potentially endanger the lives of American citizens abroad. Such situations could include recent acts of terrorism, political instability, and anniversaries of known terrorist events or health crises. Travel alerts are also issued for weather-related crises.

These situations are considered to likely put the lives of American travelers in danger but, only for a short period of time. Recent travel alerts include the Haitian elections, potential cyclone in the South Pacific and violent demonstrations in Nicaragua, just to mention a few.

What is a Travel Warning?

Unlike travel alerts, travel warnings carry a lot of weight and more serious. Travel warnings are given if the State Department believes that American citizens should not travel to a country. This could be as a result of either a long standing instability in that particular country or when the ability of the United States government to assist its citizens is hindered by the closure of its embassy or consulate or lack of staff.

Currently, the US government has issued travel warnings for 39 countries across the globe including Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Philippines, El-Salvador, Colombia and Mexico. If you may be thinking about visiting North Korea, you should find another destination because the US government has banned its citizens from traveling there.

Overall, travel alerts and travel warning are matters that every traveler should consider when planning a trip. The only significant difference between the two is that travel alerts are short term while travel warnings can last even a lifetime.


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