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Why It’s So Important to Check Travel Advisories

Keep an eye on government risk levels when crossing borders, and you’ll be an informed traveller

Laptop computer on a table with a map, passport and plane tickets

Travelling outside our home and native land is a pastime for millions of Canadians, which is why it’s a priority for the government to help keep citizens safe abroad.

Here’s how to use government resources to ensure your safety before and during your trip outside the country.

Do your research before choosing a destination

Before you book anything, go to the Government of Canada’s Travel Advice and Advisories to find out if there are any known risks you should be paying attention to.

If you’ve already made plans and the government issues an “avoid all travel” alert for your destination, you may be entitled to a full refund, depending on the travel agency or company you’ve booked with. A travel advisory may also affect your travel insurance coverage. That’s why it’s best to check the travel advisories website at least twice: once when you’re planning and again just before you leave.

Know what to look for in government travel advisories

The most important information you’ll get from the Government of Canada’s travel advisories is an up-to-date look at the safety and security conditions in each country in the world, plus a list of areas deemed must-avoid locations.

It’s also key to pay attention to the information they provide on local laws and culture, natural hazards and climate issues, health hazards, and entry and exit requirements. Take note of where the local Canadian embassies and consulates are, so you know where to find help while travelling abroad. And if you follow the government’s travel-advisory accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you’ll get up-to-the-minute information.

Pay attention to the risk levels

The government takes all risks, from security to health, into consideration when assigning levels to a country or specific region.

There are four risk levels:

  • Exercise normal security precautions—there are no significant security or safety concerns
  • Exercise a high degree of caution—safety situations have been identified and can change quickly, so the government advises checking local media
  • Avoid non-essential travel—assess your need to travel and consider leaving if you’re already in a country
  • Avoid all travel—do not go and if you’re in the country, leave if it’s safe to do so

Sign up for the Registration of Canadians Abroad Service

Sign up for free online to receive updates about emergency situations or safety risks. You should also ensure your family or friends have information about your trip, such as tour operator, flight and hotel info, as well as your itinerary.

Get help from the experts

CAA Travel Consultants can help you plan the trip of your dreams, and CAA Travel Insurance can help you travel worry-free.

Plus, check out expert tips on doing sustainable travel right and arriving fresh after a long flight.

Image credit: iStock.com/hocus-focus