Planning your first big trip? Advice and humor to get you through the process.
Terrorism, War, Civil Unrest: How to Avoid World Hot Spots
When planning an international trip, how do you know ahead of time what's going on thousands of miles away? A mistake can not only risk life and limb, but might also cost you some cash: Many travel insurance policies include a disclaimer that covers the companies when bullets start flying. Here's a list of news and information sites to visit before you buy any plane tickets.
U.S. Government Sites These pages are part of the U.S. State Department's travel site.
Travel Warnings The Feds issue warnings when "long-term, protracted conditions" make a country dangerous. Other warnings are issued when the Feds' ability to help American citizens is limited because our embassy or consulate has been closed or has had a staff reduction. Nigeria was added to this list on 12/2. Other countries on the list include: Haiti, Nepal, Kenya, Colombia, and the Philippines.
Travel Alerts These tend to be short-term conditions and can include everything from natural disasters to anniversaries of terrorist events to demonstrations to high-profile events like regional sports matches. Countries currently on this list in India, Mexico, and Thailand, which we expect to settle down now that protesters are no longer blockading the airports.
Other Sites As much as we love our government, sometimes their objectivity is a little suspect. Moreover, some countries receiving a lot of bad press may present great deals, or even opportunities for more adventurous travelers. The following sites provide information from international news organizations, expats living overseas, or recent world travelers.
International Herald Tribune The "Global Edition of the New York Times," the Tribune lets you browse the latest news by international region.
BBC News This site is similar to the Herald Tribune -- full of information and easy to navigate.
Oriental Expat This site bills itself as the "expatriate portal for all things Asian." Recent postings included topics ranging from prostitution in Asia to tourism in Thailand to the cost of living in Hong Kong. Geared toward expatriates, it has lots of up-to-date information. Not for those with weak stomachs.
Bluenity This social networking site is designed for travelers and provides buzz on travel destinations. Bluenity claims that you can also use it to meet other members at the airport, on the plane, or at your destination.
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Around the World Blog
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