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The Most Important Travel Advisories Announced in February

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Patrick clarke

by Patrick Clarke
Last updated: 7:00 AM ET, Thu February 29, 2024

February was a relatively quiet month in terms of travel advisory updates from the U.S. State Department.

After starting 2024 with more than a dozen new advisories in January, officials issued only three updates for the shortest month of the year. Nonetheless, the albeit limited advice is very important.

Here’s the latest guidance travelers will want to be aware of as they venture abroad for spring break.

Ecuador – Level 2

Amid a nationwide state of emergency, the State Department reissued its updated Level 2 travel advisory for Ecuador on February 2, urging Americans to exercise increased caution due to civil unrest, crime and kidnapping.

Visitors to the South American country this spring are asked not to travel to Guayaquil, south of Portete de Tarquí Avenue; the cities of Huaquillas and Arenillas in the province of El Oro; the cities of Quevedo, Quinsaloma, and Pueblo Viejo in the province of Los Rios; the canton of Duran, in the province of Guayas and Esmeraldas city and all areas north of Esmeraldas city in Esmeraldas province due to crime.

View of el panecillo in ecuador

View of El Panecillo in Ecuador. (Photo Credit: ecuadorquerido/Adobe Stock)

Travelers should also reconsider trips to Guayaquil north of Portete de Tarquí Avenue; El Oro province outside the cities of Huaquillas and Arenillas; Los Rios province outside the cities of Quevedo, Quinsaloma, and Pueblo Viejo; all areas south of Esmeraldas city in Esmeraldas province and the provinces of Sucumbíos, Manabí, Santa Elena, and Santo Domingo due to crime.

South Africa – Level 2

Americans are advised to exercise increased caution in South Africa due to crime and civil unrest. The State Department’s February 5 update also warns of the potential dangers of relying on GPS navigation in the country.

“Using GPS navigation can lead to unsafe routes. GPS navigation may suggest shortcuts through townships as the quickest preferred route but can lead to increased risks of crime,” the department states.

Visitors are encouraged to research their route in advance, remain on major highways, avoid shortcuts through townships and avoid reliance on GPS navigation apps when driving through South Africa.

An elephant in chobe national park, botswana

An elephant in Chobe National Park, Botswana. (Photo Credit: Paul Souders/Danita Delimont/Adobe Stock)

Botswana – Level 2

Elsewhere in Southern Africa, Botswana receives a Level 2 travel advisory due to crime as of February 26. “Crimes of opportunity, primarily the theft of money and personal property, are common in Botswana,” the State Department warns.

“Potentially violent crimes, such as home invasions, break-ins, ‘smash and grab’ from vehicles stopped at intersections and from locked cars in shopping mall parking lots, cell phone thefts, and muggings are routinely reported to police.”

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