Plan safe travels this summer

luggageWith a large number of personnel traveling during summer break and permanent change of station season, service members, civilians and family members are reminded to exercise vigilance and sound risk-based decision-making.

When traveling, make sure to monitor local conditions and ensure travel plans do not place you or your family in high-risk situations.

The Department of State has several valuable resources to keep you informed of conditions abroad that may affect your safety and security.

The Department of State issues travel warnings to describe long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable. It also issues travel warnings when the U.S. government’s ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate, or because of a breakdown of the consular staff.

It issues travel alerts for short-term events that you should know about when planning travel to a country. Examples include an election season that is bound to have many strikes, demonstrations, or disturbances; a health alert like an outbreak of H1N1; or evidence of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks. When these short-term events are over, the DOS cancels the travel alert.

Another good resource is the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program — a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Enrolling means you will receive updated text message information about areas abroad and makes it easier for a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to contact you or your designated contact in case of emergency.

You can also find information on embassies and consulates, country descriptions, visa requirements, safety and security concerns, health, transportation, and important local laws that you should be aware of.

For more information, visit