I may have been the only person thinking this, but when I saw all the news stories and tweets regarding the liberation of Libya over the past couple of weeks, I first thought, when can I go visit?
I didn’t know what there was to see in Libya (just checked the Wikipedia “Tourism in Libya” site and it looks like there are some nicely preserved classical ruins) but I just think that a place that has seemed so foreboding to visit for a while would be interesting to see. I think the same things about Iraq and Iran and to some degree Cuba, but Cuba isn’t foreboding as much as a hatred of red tape. (See here and here, but good luck sifting through it all. I gave up.)
So, the past couple of links will lead you to government travel related websites and it is to similar places that I want to direct your attention if you wish, like I do, to travel just about anywhere in the world and be as safe as possible.
1. State Department Current Travel Warnings
This site from the State Department is a list of links to countries that the State Department considers unsafe. They range from The Bahamas (due to the impact of Hurricane Irene) to Libya (due to the revolution) to Somalia (terrorism including suicide bombings) to North Korea (possible detention if your travel documentation is not correct.) If you have any doubts about the places you want to travel to see, check here first just to be sure. (I was surprised to see Nepal listed and now I wonder what I’m going to do with all these stupid Nepalese coins.)
2. Travel Tips
I tend to travel by the seat of my pants. I have a general plan, but I like to just see where the day takes me when I arrive in a new city. I like to walk around and explore. Part of that carefree nature comes from looking at this page on the State Department’s website and knowing that even if I am robbed, I have copies of my passport, important phone numbers and other necessities in my room and with a contact back home. Yes, it would stink (and the key is to follow their tips and avoid making yourself a target for crime) but if you plan ahead, it would just be an inconvenience.
Unfortunately even with careful planning, things can go wrong. In the Middle East right now there may be revolutions about to begin to follow those of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. This page gives you information on what to expect and how to find help from the State Department. There are also pages on seeking help after a crime and conversely the help available if you are arrested.
If you are traveling, most of the time you won’t even have to worry about any of this and those precautions you take before you leave may have seemed like a waste of time. However, it takes just one time getting in a bit of trouble to make it seem worthwhile. Just exploring the State Department site will make you aware of some possible precautions and help available for that one time.
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