10th Dec 2018
Why you need to check Smartraveller’s travel advisories

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


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Cowboy Jim
4th Dec 2018
Would put most of Africa on the list, exception for Cape Province, Botswana and Namibia. Forget the rest for safety, been over there recently and if you have to go do it in a group. On a trip along the west coast we had barbed wire strung along the side of the ship and the fire hoses were primed and ready to blow attackers off the deck. Maybe I am getting a bit old for that.
11th Dec 2018
There seems to be a bias in the rating for United Kingdom. It should be "Level 2: Exercise a high degree of caution", especially as Smartraveller itself says "There is a heightened threat of terrorist attack in the UK. See the Security Services MI5 website for current domestic UK threat levels. In recent years, there have been several terrorist attacks causing deaths and injuries."
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