Last week, the US State Department made headlines by updating the Do Not Travel list. There used to be 34 countries categorized as ‘Level 4: Do Not Travel’, including the usual suspects of Afghanistan, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. But 116 more countries have now been added, to bring the total of Level 4 countries that the State Department warns Americans not to travel to, to 150. For a really interesting visual, check out this color-coded map, which shows you the world at a glance, on the State Department website.
That’s a pretty jaw-dropping number, especially because several of the countries added, like Mexico, Canada, Bahamas and Bermuda are popular places that Americans like to travel to.
Historically, the State Department’s Do Not Travel list is largely politically motivated, warning of political unrest or other unsafe conditions for Americans. But now COVID has become the main reason that the US is discouraging Americans from traveling to many countries around the world. In light of the European Union now saying that they’ll welcome vaccinated Americans this summer, I recommend that before you travel internationally, you also consult and cross-reference foreign travel advisories from Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. They are our allies and write their information in English.
BTW: There’s currently only one Level 1 country on the State Department’s travel advisory list (this is the safest ranking and means ‘exercise normal precautions’) and I would have guessed it was New Zealand but it’s not (find the answer here). However, New Zealand is the lone Level 1 country on Australia’s list so I wasn’t that far off base.