Watch: How to Interpret Travel Warnings

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One of the biggest mistakes I see travelers make, over and over, is to unnecessarily cancel a trip or rule out a country because they’ve misconstrued a U.S. State Department travel advisory. A Travel Alert does not mean don’t go. And sometimes that’s true for Travel Warnings too. Right now there are Travel Warnings for 37 countries, ranging from war zones that should be avoided (e.g., Syria) to places that millions of people travel to safely every year for blissful relaxation (e.g., Mexico).

Most countries are a lot like the one where you live: safer in some parts, unsafe in others. Just because Mexico has dangerous parts (e.g., border areas), it doesn’t mean you should avoid Playa del Carmen or Los Cabos, which are hundreds of miles away. Would you avoid Beverly Hills because of terrorist shootings in San Bernardino (which is only an hour away)?

This video will help you quickly understand and act upon travel advisories.

Wendy Perrin is the founder of WendyPerrin.com, where she shares her unique and extensive knowledge of travel solutions and travel planners. Prior to founding WendyPerrin.com, Wendy spent two decades as Condé Nast Traveler‘s Director of Consumer News and Digital Community. Follow her on Facebook and @wendyperrin for all her best tips.