How travel advisories can help you plan for safer trips

November 6, 2014

Before you leave on a trip, it's a good idea to check out available information for the country you're planning to visit. The Canadian government offers free travel advice and advisories to help plan for safer travel. Here's what you need to know about understanding travel advisories.

How travel advisories can help you plan for safer trips

Travel advice

The government offers travel advice to help Canadians visit foreign countries with minimum inconveniences. That doesn't mean you'll find Ottawa handing out tips on hot restaurants or out-of-the-way museums. The government's advice is a little more practical, focusing on:

Security: If there are any high crime areas or regions in political unrest that travellers might want to avoid.

Entry/exit requirements: The kind of documentation, identification and visa requirements that need to be met.

Health: Any inoculations or other health precautions that are recommended before visiting. The types of health records or tests the foreign country requires from their visitors. Government travel advice reinforces that travellers should have yellow fever inoculations before journeying to the Middle East, for example.

Laws and culture: Activities that would be acceptable in Canada but could cause travel delays or even legal problems overseas. Issues could range from minor changes in traffic laws to serious expectations for how visitors will dress and behave. For instance, the Canadian government advises that travellers to Turkey avoid even minor physical contact, such as holding hands, when in public.

Natural disasters & climate: These warnings cover recent and potential weather problems or natural disaster risks like earthquakes, tsunamis or blizzards. For example, the Canadian government recently warned travellers about seismic activity related to volcanoes in Iceland.

Help abroad: Information on where Canadian visitors can turn for assistance or support when travelling abroad, such as the location of different embassies.

What is a travel advisory?

Government travel advisories can tell Canadians about risky or uncertain conditions in other countries. An advisory doesn't always mean to avoid travel, but does indicate a higher level of awareness is needed. Common advisory levels include:

Exercise normal security precautions -- travel as you would normally. This does not mean ignore any danger, of course, but keep your head about you and you should be able to travel in safety.

Exercise a high degree of caution -- conditions are uncertain but travel is still possible. You may want to cut your trip to essential purposes and avoid travelling with children.

Avoid non-essential travel -- Due to political, natural or health conditions, Canadians should curtail tourism and even normal business travel. Travel only in an emergency and be sure to take extra safety precautions. Arrange to keep in contact with the local Canadian embassy or consulates so they can keep you advised on local conditions.

Avoid all travel -- Due to political, natural or health conditions, a nation is openly hostile to or dangerous for Canadian visitors. Avoid this country until the situation changes.

If you need help while travelling, or want updates to Canadian travel advice and advisories, contact the Canadian consulate or embassy nearest your travel destination.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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