Is your destination safe?

One of the Travel SOS questions we most often asked is about safety in other countries. Our first recommendation is always to refer to the foremost authority on travel safety – Smartraveller’s travel advisories.

Smartraveller is the friendly face of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It provides safety information on 176 countries, covering the threats that you could face from factors such as security, safety, health, local laws, or natural disasters.

The travel advisories offer different levels of travel advice that rate potential risks in four ways:

  • Level 1: Exercise normal safety precautions
  • Level 2: Exercise a high degree of caution
  • Level 3: Reconsider your need to travel
  • Level 4: Do not travel

There aren’t many countries on the ‘Do not travel’ list. Still, Smartraveller strongly recommends that travellers do not visit Afghanistan, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria or Yemen right now.

While you may recognise many of the usual suspects on the most dangerous list, there are a few popular bucket list destinations that require a high degree of caution or even reconsideration. After all, a trip of a lifetime shouldn’t cost you your life.

France is one such country. Long held in high regard as the world capital of romance, France is also on high terror threat alert. So, anyone travelling there should be on high alert themselves. Indonesia is another country where travellers are advised to pay close attention to their personal security and their surroundings at all times.

According to our research, Thailand is a popular retirement destination for our members, as well as somewhere many retirees will travel in the next year. Again, Smartraveller advises exercising a high level of caution in Thailand overall and, in some parts of the country, travellers are urged not to travel at all. The same goes for Mexico and India – Smartraveller advises you exercise a high level of caution overall and, in some parts of the country, either reconsider your need to travel or not travel at all.

You’ll be happy to know that other popular destinations such as Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, Austria, Denmark, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong are all green – meaning you’ll only need to exercise normal precautions when you visit. But before you go, you should check the travel advisories for any updates on the safety situation in those countries and do your own research through other channels, such as current guide books, friends and reliable online resources.

Are you travelling overseas? Find out if your destination is safe at smartraveller.gov.au

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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