Pick Your City Travel Blog

Travel Tips, Industry News, and Discount Travel Deals

Kenya Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to the border area between Somalia and Kenya because of threats by the terrorist group al-Shabaab.

U.S. citizens should also be aware of potential terrorist threats and the high risk of crime throughout the country.  This replaces the Travel Warning dated June 30, 2016.

For your safety:

  • Avoid travel in the northeastern Kenyan counties of Mandera, Wajir and Garissa, the coastal counties of Tana River and Lamu in their entirety, all areas north of Malindi in Kilifi County, and the Nairobi neighborhood of Eastleigh.
  • In Mombasa, the U.S. Embassy recommends U.S. citizens visit Old Town only during daylight hours, and avoid using the Likoni ferry due to safety concerns.

In 2016, terrorist attacks involving shootings, grenades, or other explosive devices resulted in 122 fatalities. The bulk of these incidents occurred in Wajir, Garissa, Lamu and Mandera counties.  Potential terrorist threats remain in Kenya, including within the Nairobi area, along the coast, and within the northeastern region of the country.

Terrorist targets have included Kenyan and foreign government sites, police stations and vehicles, hotels, public transportation and other infrastructure targets, nightclubs and bars, religious and academic institutions, and shopping areas. On September 11, 2016, press accounts noted that three women purportedly attacked a police station in Mombasa with knives and petrol bombs, wounding two Kenyan police officers. The next month, on October 27, 2016, an assailant with a knife attacked a police officer guarding the U.S. Embassy compound.

Violent and sometimes fatal crimes, including armed carjackings, muggings, home invasions and burglaries, and kidnappings can occur at any time. U.S. citizens and U.S. Embassy employees have been victims of such crimes in the past.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen for Kenyan airspace. For further background information regarding FAA flight prohibitions and advisories for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

To be safe, you should review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings and local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance, take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security, and follow instructions of local authorities.

For further information:

Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)

Somalia Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Somalia because of continuous activity by the al-Qaida affiliated terrorist group, al-Shabaab.

U.S. citizens should be aware of the threat of kidnapping in all parts of Somalia, including Somaliland and Puntland.  There is no U.S. embassy presence in Somalia.  This replaces the Travel Warning dated May 24, 2016.

There is a particular terrorist threat to foreigners in places where large crowds gather and Westerners frequent, including airports, government buildings, hotels, and shopping areas. In 2016, there were 14 documented attacks directed at hotels, restaurants, and the international airport in Mogadishu.  

In addition, al-Shabaab has carried out attacks in government-controlled territories. In 2016, they targeted government facilities, foreign delegations' facilities and convoys, and commercial establishments frequented by government officials, foreign nationals, and the Somali diaspora. 

Al-Shabaab has repeatedly attacked the Mogadishu Aden Adde International Airport (MGQ) with mortars and other weapons. The group has conducted attacks from within the airport’s secure perimeter, and they detonated an explosive device hidden in a laptop on an airplane shortly after it took off from the airport on February 2, 2016.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) containing information on the U.S. prohibition against U.S. civil aviation operations in airspace over Somalia. For further background information regarding FAA flight prohibitions and advisories for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

U.S. citizens should avoid sailing near the coast of Somalia due to the risk of pirate attacks. Merchant vessels, fishing boats, and recreational craft all risk seizure and detention by pirates in the waters off the Horn of Africa, especially in the international waters near Somalia. See the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.

For further information:

Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)

The Gambia Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to The Gambia because of the potential for civil unrest and violence in the near future.

On January 7, 2017, the Department of State ordered the departure of family members and authorized the departure of all employees who need to accompany those individuals from the country.

The security situation in The Gambia remains uncertain following December 1, 2016 presidential elections.  On January 10, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the current president’s petition contesting the election results, which is a potential flashpoint that could lead to civil unrest.  The sitting government has begun taking restrictive measures, which include shutting down and restricting radio stations, and making politically motivated arrests.  The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has stated it may intervene if the president does not step down by January 18.

U.S. citizens should consider departing on commercial flights and other transportation options now, as airports and ferry terminals may close unexpectedly in the event of unrest.  All U.S. citizens should have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance.  U.S. citizens should ensure that travel documents (passports and visas) are valid and up-to-date.  Consular services, already limited throughout the country due to very poor transportation infrastructure and security conditions, may be further limited, including in Banjul itself.

U.S. citizens who decide to remain in The Gambia should prepare for the possible deterioration of security: 

  • Exercise caution and remain abreast of the security situation.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • Stay home or at another safe location.
  • Have emergency supplies of food, water, and medications.
  • Let friends and family know that there might be communication disruptions.

Additional recommendations on emergency preparedness are available on the Travel.State.gov web page "What Can You Do in a Crisis Abroad?"

For further information:

Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)

Bangladesh Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of continuing threats from terrorist groups in Bangladesh and to consider the risks of travel to and throughout the country.

The Department is updating this Travel Warning to reflect the change in the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka’s status to “partially accompanied,” effective January 5, 2017, allowing only employed adult family members of U.S. government personnel to remain in or return to Dhaka.  The U.S. Embassy remains open and will provide all consular services.  This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated July 10, 2016. 

On July 1, 2016, terrorists killed more than 20 people in a restaurant frequented by foreigners in Dhaka’s diplomatic enclave, including one U.S. citizen.  Da’esh (also referred to as IS, ISIL, or ISIS) and Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) have publicly claimed credit for multiple attacks since September 2015.  In October 2016, Da’esh threatened to target “expats, tourists, diplomats, garment buyers, missionaries, and sports teams” in the most “secured zones” in Bangladesh.

The U.S. government considers the potential threat to U.S. government personnel in Bangladesh to be serious enough to require them to live, work, and travel under strict security guidelines.  The internal security policies of the U.S. Mission in Bangladesh may be changed or adjusted at any time and without advance notice.

U.S. citizens should take stringent security measures, remain vigilant, and be alert to local security developments.  Be aware that U.S. government officials and their families currently are not permitted to:

  • visit public establishments or places in Bangladesh
  • travel on foot, motorcycle, bicycle, rickshaw, or other uncovered means on public thoroughfares and sidewalks in Bangladesh
  • attend large gatherings in Bangladesh

For further information:

See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Bangladesh Country Specific Information.

  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier for us to locate you in an emergency.

  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, located at Madani Avenue, Baridhara, Dhaka, Bangladesh 1212, at (88) (02) 5566-2000, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.  Weekends and After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is (88) (02) 5566-2000 (press “0” and ask for the duty officer).

  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays)

  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook
Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)

Republic of South Sudan Travel Warning

The U.S. State Department warns U.S. citizens against travel to the Republic of South Sudan because of ongoing fighting, intercommunal violence, and violent crime.

The Department of State has terminated Ordered Departure status for Embassy Juba, and simultaneously adjusted its staffing profile to reflect new conditions on the ground.  This replaces the Travel Warning dated July 10, 2016. 

In July 2016, violent clashes between government and opposition forces broke out in Juba.  Since then, instability has continued, exacerbated by intertribal and intercommunal violence, cattle raiding, economic uncertainty, and an increase in violent crime.  Aid workers, including U.S. citizens, have been the targets of shootings, ambushes, violent assaults, harassment and robberies.  All U.S. citizens in South Sudan should have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance, and should carry medical evacuation insurance.

The risk of violent crime is high throughout South Sudan, including in Juba.  Due to the risk of carjacking and crime, travel outside of Juba should be undertaken with a minimum of two vehicles and appropriate recovery and medical equipment in case of mechanical failure or other emergency. 

Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of South Sudan, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM).  For further background information regarding FAA flight advisories and prohibitions for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for South Sudan.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in South Sudan despite this Travel Warning should provide their current contact information and next-of-kin information in STEP. 
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Juba located on Kololo Road in Tongping next to the European Union compound, at +(211) 912-105-188 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +(211) 912-105-107.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook
Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)

Republic of South Sudan Travel Warning

The U.S. State Department warns U.S. citizens against travel to the Republic of South Sudan because of ongoing fighting, intercommunal violence, and violent crime.

The Department of State has terminated Ordered Departure status for Embassy Juba, and simultaneously adjusted its staffing profile to reflect new conditions on the ground.  This replaces the Travel Warning dated July 10, 2016. 

In July 2016, violent clashes between government and opposition forces broke out in Juba.  Since then, instability has continued, exacerbated by intertribal and intercommunal violence, cattle raiding, economic uncertainty, and an increase in violent crime.  Aid workers, including U.S. citizens, have been the targets of shootings, ambushes, violent assaults, harassment and robberies.  All U.S. citizens in South Sudan should have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance, and should carry medical evacuation insurance.

The risk of violent crime is high throughout South Sudan, including in Juba.  Due to the risk of carjacking and crime, travel outside of Juba should be undertaken with a minimum of two vehicles and appropriate recovery and medical equipment in case of mechanical failure or other emergency. 

Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of South Sudan, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM).  For further background information regarding FAA flight advisories and prohibitions for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for South Sudan.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in South Sudan despite this Travel Warning should provide their current contact information and next-of-kin information in STEP. 
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Juba located on Kololo Road in Tongping next to the European Union compound, at +(211) 912-105-188 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +(211) 912-105-107.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook
Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)

Democratic Republic of the Congo Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to the DRC.

On December 23, 2016, family members of U.S. government personnel and non-emergency personnel were allowed to return to Kinshasa. This replaces the Travel Warning dated December 2, 2016.

There is ongoing instability and sporadic violence in many parts of the DRC. Very poor transportation infrastructure throughout the country and poor security conditions in eastern DRC make it difficult for the U.S. Embassy to provide consular services anywhere outside of Kinshasa. All U.S. citizens should have evacuation plans that do not rely solely on U.S. government assistance. 

Armed groups, bandits, and some elements of the Congolese armed forces operate in the provinces of North and South Kivu, Bas-Uele, Haut-Uele, Ituri, Tanganyika and Haut-Lomami.  These groups have been known to kill, rape, kidnap, pillage, and carry out military or paramilitary operations in which civilians may be indiscriminately targeted. 

Congolese military and United Nations forces continue to operate throughout North and South Kivu and near the DRC's borders with the Central African Republic and the Republic of South Sudan, particularly in and around Garamba National Park.  Travelers in the region may encounter troop movements, armored vehicles and attack helicopters. Kidnapping for ransom is also common, particularly in areas north and west of Goma, North Kivu. 

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
  • U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in the DRC despite this Travel Warning are urged to provide their current contact information and next-of-kin information through STEP. 
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in the DRC, located at 310 Avenue des Aviateurs in Kinshasa, at +243-081-884-6859 or +243-081-884-4609 from 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday.  After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is 081-556-0151. 
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). 
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)

Egypt Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of threats from terrorist groups in Egypt and to consider the risks of travel to the country.

For security reasons, the U.S. Mission in Egypt prohibits diplomatic personnel from traveling to the Western Desert and the Sinai Peninsula outside the beach resort of Sharm El-Sheikh; U.S. citizens should also avoid travel to these areas.  U.S. Mission personnel are only permitted to travel to and from Sharm el-Sheikh by air – overland travel is not allowed anywhere in the Sinai Peninsula.  

The Egyptian Government maintains a heavy security presence at major tourist sites, such as Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada, and other beach resorts on the Red Sea and on the Mediterranean coast west of Alexandria, and at many of the temples and archaeological sites located in and around greater Cairo and in the Nile Valley, such as Luxor, Aswan, and Abu Simbel.  U.S. Mission personnel are allowed to travel to these areas.  However, terrorist attacks can occur anywhere in the country. 

There are a number of extremist organizations, including the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), operating in Egypt.  Over the past two years, terrorist attacks have targeted Egyptian government and security forces, public venues, including tourist sites, civil aviation and other modes of public transportation, and a diplomatic facility.  On December 11, a suicide bomber killed dozens of civilians in a church adjacent to the main Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo.  This incident followed two roadside bombings targeting police officers on December 9, one that killed six police officers in Giza, about three kilometers from the Pyramids, and a second that killed a civilian and injured three policeman in a rural area in the Nile Delta.  Other recent high profile incidents in or near Cairo include: the killing of an Egyptian Army Brigadier General and failed assassination attempts on a former Grand Mufti, a judge, and a Deputy Prosecutor General.

The Egyptian Military conducts active anti-terrorist operations in Egypt’s border areas with Gaza and Libya.  The northeastern Sinai Peninsula remains a particularly restive area, with frequent terrorist attacks targeting Egyptian security forces and civilians.  Terrorists are also active in Egypt’s Western Desert – the large, mostly isolated area west of greater Cairo and the Nile Valley – including in the vicinity of various oasis towns.  U.S. citizens should avoid these areas.  

For further detailed information and assistance:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Egypt.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Egypt.  For non-emergency inquiries, U.S. citizens may send an email to the American Citizens Services Unit at consularcairoacs@state.gov. For emergencies during and after business hours and on weekends and holidays, U.S. citizens can contact the Embassy Duty Officer via the Embassy switchboard at +20-2-2797-3300. The Embassy is located at 5 Tawfik Diab Street (formerly known as Latin America Street), Garden City, Cairo.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

 

Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)

Mali Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against all travel to Mali because of ongoing terrorist attacks and criminal violence.

Effective December 27, the Embassy will change its status to "Adult Eligible Family Members Only," meaning that no one 21 years old or younger will be allowed to accompany U.S. government employees assigned to Mali.  This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated July 1, 2016.

The security environment in Mali remains fluid, and the potential for attacks throughout the country, including in Bamako, remains high.  Locations frequented by Western visitors, including but not limited to hotels and restaurants, continue to be targets for attacks.  U.S. citizens are reminded to stay vigilant and aware of their surroundings, and exercise caution, especially at night.  

Northern Mali and parts of central Mali in particular continue to be at high risk for terrorist attacks, armed conflict, and banditry.  U.S. government personnel in Mali are restricted from these regions except for mission critical travel, and in such cases are heavily reliant on United Nations and host country security support.  U.S. citizens are highly discouraged from travel to these regions.   

Violent extremist groups targeting foreigners, including al-Qa'ida in the Lands of Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al-Murabitoun, have claimed responsibility for multiple terrorist attacks in Mali over the past year, as well as kidnappings in Timbuktu and along the border with Burkina Faso.  Exemplifying the security challenges across the region, in October 2016, extremist groups kidnapped a U.S. citizen in Niger and reportedly took him to Mali.

Violent extremist elements continue to target Malian security forces, resulting in attacks on Malian government outposts and base camps for The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).  On March 21, 2016, heavily armed assailants attacked the European Union's Training Mission (EUTM) headquarters and primary residence in the diplomatic enclave in Bamako.  AQIM claimed responsibility for the attack.

On November 20, 2015, one U.S. citizen and 19 other foreigners were murdered when heavily armed assailants stormed the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako using gunfire and grenades.  AQIM and al-Murabitoun claimed responsibility for the attack. 

On March 7, 2015, armed gunmen attacked the La Terrasse restaurant in Bamako and killed five people, including French and Belgian citizens.  Al-Murabitoun claimed responsibility for the attack.  Following the attack, the Government of Mali declared a State of Emergency and increased its security presence in Bamako.  The State of Emergency has been extended through March 2017.  Roadblocks and random police checkpoints, especially between sundown and sun-up, are possible. 

Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Mali, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR).  For further background information regarding FAA flight advisories and prohibitions for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult FAA's Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

For further information:

Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)

Jordan Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of threats from terrorist groups throughout Jordan and to consider the risks of travel to and throughout the country.

Terrorist organizations, including the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), its affiliates, and sympathizers, have successfully conducted attacks in Jordan and continue to plot assaults in the country.  Jordan's prominent role in the counter-ISIL Coalition and its shared borders with Iraq and Syria increase the potential for future terrorist incidents.  

Travelers should be aware that both U.S. and Jordanian interests have been targeted in recent attacks.  On December 18, 10 people, including a Canadian tourist and seven Jordanian security and police officers, were killed at or near a tourist site in Karak, 130 km south of Amman.  A shootout between gunmen and Jordanian security forces occurred in the same area two days later.  On June 6, a gunman killed five Jordanian security personnel stationed at a security office in Baqaa, north of Amman.  In November 2015, a Jordanian police officer killed two U.S. citizen trainers and wounded two others in a shooting at the Jordan International Police Training Center (JIPTC) outside Amman.

Travelers to Jordan should avoid the country's border with Syria and Iraq given the continued threat of cross-border attacks.  All U.S. government personnel on official travel must receive prior permission to visit any area within 10 km from the Jordan-Syria border, which includes the town of Ramtha. The 10 km area does not include the tourist site of Umm Qais or the city of Irbid.  U.S. government personnel must also have permission for official travel on Highway 10 east of the town of Ruwayshid toward the Iraq border.  U.S. government employees on personal travel are not permitted to visit the border areas or refugee camps, and the embassy advises U.S. citizens to avoid both.

The Department of State reminds U.S. citizens that terrorist and extremist organizations have expressed a desire to conduct attacks targeting U.S. citizens and Westerners in Jordan.  Within the last year, Jordanian authorities have notified the U.S. Embassy of several disrupted terrorist plots targeting U.S. citizens and Westerners.  In addition, terrorist entities continue to express interest in attacking malls, hotels, restaurants, and other soft targets in country. 

For more information:

Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)