Free travel advisory service keeps you safe

Travelers taking off to an unfamiliar foreign country can ensure their personal safety by taking advantage of a free service from the federal government. The Consular Affairs Bureau of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade produces regular Travel Reports on every country from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Prepared by consular staff and updated regularly, the reports warn of changes in government policies (and governments), levels of violence and criminal activity, and provide the latest visa and health information. The latest report on Afghanistan offers a sobering example: “… the present security situation is extremely volatile due to the continued civil unrest and violence, together with a lack of law and order. Canadians are advised to defer all travel to Afghanistan. Canadians contemplating travel to Afghanistan should contact Foreign Affairs or the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad for the latest security situation prior to departure.”

Of course, most countries aren’t as dangerous as Afghanistan, and most of us are unlikely to ever go there. Every country in the world that has some sort of diplomatic relations with Canada is covered by the reports, d even familiar destinations such as Florida are flagged with warnings that offer food for thought

“…while attacks on tourists have decreased, violent crime remains a serious concern. Canadians should continue to maintain a significant degree of caution while traveling in Florida. Criminals have demonstrated that they will use violence with little or no provocation…”

According to government officials, Canadians planning to visit Florida should monitor media reports from the state carefully and make or adjust travel plans accordingly. The Department has published a booklet “Crossing the 49th” which provides detailed information for Canadians concerning travel to the United States. A copy can be obtained by calling 1-800-267-8376 “Publications” (option 2). For information on all destinations, call 1-800-267-6788 or visit the website listed below.