Traveling abroad presents certain risks for Americans, especially in light of the recent bombings in London, England. For the most part, terrorists are the problem, although drug, gang, and criminal activities can also be a factor. In addition, local health conditions can be a separate problem. Thankfully, the U.S. State Department regularly issues and updates Consular Information Sheets for every country in the world. These sheets give valuable information to travelers, information you must know before you take your next trip.
As mentioned, the Consular Information Sheets provide important information for travelers. You can also check the State Department’s Current Travel Warning list to see which nations the U.S. government encourages Americans to avoid altogether. Currently, the following countries are listed:
Israel, the West Bank and Gaza
Central African Republic
Several of the countries listed should be of no surprise to you as they are either embroiled in a war or are hotbeds of terrorist activity. These countries include: Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Algeria, and Libya.
Colombia is listed because of the ongoing violence related to the strong influence of the drug cartels there. Haiti is marked because of protracted civil unrest, while Uzbekistan has been identified as a possible terrorist breeding ground. In all cases the U.S. government warns Americans to avoid these countries as citizens may find themselves caught in the middle of an armed conflict.
Please note that just because a country is not on the Current Travel Warning list, you should still obtain the country specific Consular Information Sheets from the State Department to be aware of certain risks.