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Personal Safety

State Department Travel Warnings & Consular information Sheets

Telephone 202.647.5225;

The U.S. State Department, Bureau of Consular Affairs, issues travel warnings, consular information sheets, and public announcements of over 200 countries. Travel warnings are issued when the Department of State believes travel to a particular country should be avoided. The consular information sheets provide information regarding health conditions, political disturbances, currency, entry regulations, crime and security information, and penalties for being caught with illegal drugs.

Personal security advisories

In-depth advice about specific security issues in any country, available from an embassy's Regional Security Officer (RSO). Phone: Department of State (202.647.4000), and ask for country desk covering destination country, and request phone number of the RSO stationed at the embassy. Telephone the RSO to inquire about: street crime problems, neighborhoods to avoid, recent incidents involving tourists, etc.


  • Avoid small, nonscheduled airlines in lesser-developed countries
  • Camp only in legal campsites
  • Avoid alcohol with boating, swimming & driving activities
  • Avoid the purchase, transport, or use of illicit drugs


  • Avoid unmarked beaches, swimming alone, swimming at night, alcohol, and in fresh water in the tropics


  • Lock hotel room at all times
  • Protect your name, room number
  • Keep valuables in hotel safe
  • Avoid ground floor rooms and those higher than 7th floor
  • Locate exits & know fire escape route
  • Don't open the door to unknown persons


  • Verify legitimacy of the taxi and driver (photo ID);
  • Verify fee before entering
  • Use seat belt and car seats for children


  • Drive an inconspicuous vehicle
  • Keep gas tank full and personal ID and valuables out of site
  • Rentals: remove rental stickers, keep contract out of site
  • Keep on well traveled roads
  • Be careful at rest stops
  • Don't pick up hitchhikers
  • Don't stop in deserted or "bad" area if bumped
  • Keep doors locked & vehicle in site at all times when out of vehicle
  • If stopped by police: slowly drive on to safe area, stay in vehicle with doors locked & windows up, keep car in gear and be ready to go
  • Don't sleep in car on roadside