When countries experience civil unrest, it can often have a profound impact on travel. What do you need to know if your plans are threatened by the geopolitical situation of a region? We’ve put together some tips and strategies to help.

Do your destination research early to scan for civil unrest

When you begin travel planning, it’s always a good idea to stay informed about the political situation in the destination country. You can do this by following State Department advisories, and reading news articles. In areas that seem to be volatile, it can also be helpful to follow local news outlets’ social media accounts. By staying informed early, you can make a more thorough decision about whether or not to visit a particular destination, and you can pivot accordingly.

Choose destinations known for their political stability

It’s not always possible to predict which countries might be stable, but many countries do have reputations that are welcoming to foreign visitors. Some examples of politically stable countries include Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and most countries in Western Europe.

Take steps to minimize your personal exposure to civil unrest

In addition to choosing political stable destinations, travelers can also avoid large political demonstrations or protests. You can stay away from areas known for political violence, and stay aware of local customs and laws to avoid running afoul of the local authorities.

Purchase travel insurance that includes coverage for political unrest

This type of travel insurance can provide financial protection in the event that a traveler’s trip is disrupted or even canceled due to a country’s political situation. This kind of insurance can be more expensive than standard travel insurance, but can provide more peace of mind when you’re traveling somewhere a bit more volatile.

Weighing the Wait-and- See Strategy for trip changes or cancelation due to political unrest

When a destination may or may not be possible due to political unrest, it can be tempting to wait before you cancel a trip or decide to change destinations. After all, you might have been planning this vacation for quite a while. But there are risks in waiting.

Air carriers servicing these destinations usually will refund or offer a credit for future travel. Just keep in mind that these refunds or credits may not come on your timeline – as the airlines are also making real-time assessments for safety.

If you have the budget, you might want to book a backup trip in case your first choice isn’t possible.

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