Tips for safe travel and avoiding travel danger zones

- AAA is expecting nearly 50 million Americans to travel this Thanksgiving holiday. While most of the travel is domestic, lots of people are expected to travel abroad. Some may be changing their plans, but others may be locked into an international itinerary.

FOX 5 took a look at travel danger zones and how you can stay safe.

It all starts with paying close attention to travel warnings and travel alerts released by the U.S. Department of State.

Even so, that’s not a sure thing.

We did some research and while a travel warning was issued for Mali in May, there was no travel warning or travel alert issued for France.

The Department of State says international travelers need to pay close attention to their travel warnings. Destinations can quickly turn to dangers zones for a number of reasons, including an unstable government, civil war and ongoing intense crime or violence.

The most recent travel warning posted on the U.S. Department of State’s website was posted Friday, warning against travel to North Korea.

The most recent travel warning for Mali was posted on May 7 warning against travel to the northern parts of the country and along the border.

The Department of State cites ongoing military operations and threats of attacks and kidnappings targeting westerners.

Here’s some advice from the U.S. Department of State for a safe trip abroad:

• After you check travel alerts and warnings, have all required travel documents including a passport.
• Prepare for an emergency by having the contact information for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate where you are going.
• Obtain an International Driving Permit if you plan to drive.
• Pack smart by packing light so you can move quickly and have a hand free if needed.
• Check bags for banned items or substances and use covered luggage tags to avoid a bystander observing your identity and nationality.

A Washington D.C.-based travel agent adds travelers should make sure their family members’ phone numbers are in their phones even if you know them by heart. Also, stay clear of unknown shortcuts and to avoid large crowds, avoid peak travel days – that’s one to two days before or after the holiday.

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