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Travel advisory for your vacation destination? What to know – NBC4 Washington

by Staff

If you’re planning a trip in the next few months, perhaps for spring break, you might be wondering what to do about travel advisories issued for some popular destinations for Americans during the colder months.

The U.S. State Department recently issued travel advisories for both the Bahamas and Jamaica. If you’ve booked a trip to either location, here’s what to know.

Travel advisory for Americans planning to go to Jamaica:

On Jan. 23, the State Department issued a Level 3 warning for travel to Jamaica, which suggests that Americans “reconsider travel.” This comes after reports of violent crime at all-inclusive resorts and concerns over medical services.

Travel advisory for Americans heading to the Bahamas:

And on Jan. 26, the State Department issued a Level 2 warning for travel to the Bahamas, urging travelers to exercise increased caution. This comes after a security alert posted by the U.S. embassy in Nassau expressed concerns that Americans might be victims of gang violence in the Bahamian capital. There have been 18 reported murders this year, although none involved tourists, state officials say.

Can you get a refund for a trip if there’s a travel advisory?

If you want to cancel your trip because of these travel warnings, unfortunately you’re probably not entitled to a refund for your flight or resort purchase, even if an advisory is at level 4, which means “do not travel” — unless you got travel insurance or booked refundable trips.

However, you could contact the airline or resort directly and ask them to work with you.

“If you’re concerned, afraid, and you don’t want to risk anything right now, sometimes the airlines will be flexible,” said Clint Henderson, managing editor at The Points Guy. “You’ll see airlines issue travel waivers sometimes.”

What to do before international travel:

Before booking any international trips, pay close attention to this map showing State Department-issued travel advisories across the globe.

If you travel to any area where there is an advisory:

  • be careful when you’re out at night
  • keep a low profile
  • be aware of your surroundings
  • don’t fight back if you’re confronted by robbers

Before you travel, the State Department recommends that you sign up for its Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Through that program, you can:

  • get information from the U.S. embassy in your destination about safety conditions
  • help the U.S. embassy contact you in an emergency, whether it’s a natural disaster, civil unrest or a family emergency
  • help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency

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