A tornado forming in the middle of the desert

The importance of checking travel warnings and advisories before you travel

Planning a trip is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. There are so many places to go and seemingly unlimited attractions to check out in countries around the world.

To help narrow the options, many people often create loose criteria of things to consider. While things like length of flight, budget and tourist attractions are common criteria, there is something else that’s important to consider when booking a trip abroad – travel warnings and advisories.

What are travel warnings and advisories?

The Canadian government publishes travel warnings and advisories to update you about current safety concerns and dangers in countries around the world. They note things that could potentially affect travel and personal well-being in a particular country.

To view country-specific travel advice and advisories, visit the Government of Canada’s website. The site also provides advisories and warnings for specific regions within particular countries.

Information provided in travel advisories

Travel advisories provide travellers with information about what is happening in countries around the world. Information is updated regularly to reflect current circumstances about:

  • Travel security and safety
  • Entry and exit requirements
  • Health conditions and concerns
  • Information about local laws and culture
  • Climate, weather reports and updates about natural disasters

Travel advisories also provide you with information about how to find help if you encounter any issues when you’re in another country. The Canadian government’s travel website provides a listing of Canadian embassies and emergency phone numbers to call if you are in danger.

The severity of travel warnings varies

If a warning is listed for a particular country, it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t travel there. When you’re reading an advisory, consider the following questions:

  • Is the entire country impacted? Is the issue isolated to a specific region?
  • What is the warning for? Is it for violence, weather issues, health care issues?
  • What is the real danger? Are tourists the target of violence in the country? Is dangerous activity happening close to tourist regions?
  • Is the warning recent? When it was last updated?

When you should check the travel advisories

Travel advisories can play a big role in your vacation planning. You should check travel warnings:

  • Before you book your trip: Travel warnings can be a factor in your decision to travel. Knowing there are travel dangers in a country you are considering for vacation can help you eliminate it as an option.
  • Before you leave: Weeks or even months can pass between when you book a trip and when you leave for your vacation. A lot can change in a country during that time. Always check travel advisories in the days leading up to your trip to ensure you are aware of any threats that could put your trip or safety in jeopardy.

Travel insurance and travel advisories

A travel advisory can occur any time, and there is no way to predict it. Travel insurance can help you if an advisory is published or an existing one is escalated when you are out of the country.

Before you purchase your travel policy, ask the insurer if there are any travel advisories in effect for your destination. If there are but you decide to travel to your destination anyway, be sure to verify with your insurer whether your travel policy would be valid.

Even if you take all the necessary precautions recommended in an advisory, travel insurance can give you the added protection you need to travel with confidence, knowing you have 24/7 emergency assistance should you need it. Get a free travel insurance quote from Blue Cross today.