England and Ireland – The Royal Visit

May 16, 2011 on 5:27 pm | In Ireland travel, Terrorism and travel, The Troubles, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh will embark on a historic four-day visit of Ireland this week and will be in Dublin tomorrow. While many citizens of Ireland welcome the British monarch, the visit is not popular with the dissident republican groups who want Britain out of Ireland.

The security for this event will be massive and ordinary tourists may want to avoid anywhere the Royal Couple will be traveling in Ireland over the remainder of this week.

See this article in the U.K.’s Independent for more details.

Click for the ThereArePlaces Website

U.S. State Department Issues New Worldwide Travel Caution

May 3, 2011 on 6:55 pm | In Europe travel, Terrorism and travel, Transportation Security Administration, Travel Safety, air travel security, things travelers need to know, travel, travel alert, travel warnings | 1 Comment

The U. S. State Department has issued a Worldwide Travel Alert based on the potential for terrorists to react to the death of Osama Bin Laden, as the result of what is described in the document as “…recent counter-terrorism activity in Pakistan.”

Partial text of the report includes this extended quote:

“The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad to the enhanced potential for anti-American violence given recent counter-terrorism activity in Pakistan. Given the uncertainty and volatility of the current situation, U.S. citizens in areas where recent events could cause anti-American violence are strongly urged to limit their travel outside of their homes and hotels and avoid mass gatherings and demonstrations. U.S. citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times. This Travel Alert expires August 1, 2011.

U.S. Embassy operations in affected areas will continue to the extent possible under the constraints of any evolving security situation. U.S. government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert. These facilities may temporarily close or periodically suspend public services to assess their security posture. In those instances, U.S. Embassies and Consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.”

You can find the full text of the document here at the website of the U.S. State Department.

In addition, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration issued this statement on its website regarding airport security following the death of Osama bin Laden:

May 2, 2011

“TSA continually evaluates the latest threats and screening measures which are implemented based on the latest intelligence. As always, passengers may notice a variety of security measures at U.S. airports to include the use of physical bag checks, random gate screening, explosives detection technology, canine teams and behavior detection officers. We ask the traveling public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the authorities.”

Note that the State Department Travel warning will be in effect until the end of August. The TSA announcement, as is usual, did not mention a specific term, but was used to inform the traveling public that they may experience additional security during the future months.

Click for the ThereArePlaces Website

New Travel Warning for Mexico

April 23, 2011 on 11:11 am | In Mexico travel, Travel Safety, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | 1 Comment

The United States Department of State has issued an extremely detailed Travel Warning for those who might want to visit or live in Mexico. It contains the usual note that millions safely visit Mexico each year, as well as the obligatory statement that the Mexican government takes considerable effort to ensure the safety of visitors to Mexico. However, travel to Mexico appears to be increasingly dangerous for the casual traveler, especially those intent on exploring areas outside of tourist zones.

The introduction to the Travel Warning includes this quote: “Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico generally do not see the levels of drug-related violence and crime reported in the border region and in areas along major trafficking routes. Nevertheless, crime and violence are serious problems and can occur anywhere. While most victims of violence are Mexican citizens associated with criminal activity, the security situation poses serious risks for U.S. citizens as well.

It is imperative that you understand the risks involved in travel to Mexico and how best to avoid dangerous situations. Common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas during daylight hours, and avoiding areas where criminal activity might occur, can help ensure that travel to Mexico is safe and enjoyable.

The remainder of the Travel Warning contains much more dire information and highlights the areas and problems that tourist visiting sections of Mexico may encounter. As expected, the most dangerous areas for tourists visiting Mexico are along the U.S. Border, specifically in Northern Baja California, Nogales and Northern Sonora, Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua, Durango, Coahuila and Zacatecas, Monterrey and Nuevo Leon, as well as Tamaulipas. The Travel Warning also includes a detailed examination of violence in other parts of Mexico.

If you are planning travel to Mexico, be sure and read the Mexico Travel Warning. The full text is available here from the State Department of the United States.

Click for the ThereArePlaces Website

UCLA Advises Against Spring Break Travel To Mexico

March 22, 2011 on 11:28 am | In Mexico travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

We were surprised to see that UCLA has warned its students against travel in Mexico during spring break . Citing the State Department Travel Warning of last fall (described and linked to in our Blog), increasing drug-related violence and more than one thousand homicides during the first two months of 2011, UCLA recommended that its students avoid visiting Mexico during spring break and, “…anytime soon.”

Click for the ThereArePlaces Website

Travel Warning For The United States?

March 15, 2011 on 2:30 pm | In ThereArePlaces.com, Transportation Security Administration, Travel Safety, air travel security, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

Those of you who read this blog know that we follow the Transportation Security Administration weekly post called TSA Week At A Glance. We last reported on these reports in October 2010.

During the last three weeks we have noticed several unusual trends. First, for the week ending 2/20/2011 the number of firearms found on passengers or in their luggage at TSA checkpoints increased to 19 from the 7 reported the previous week. Since that time, the results from the weeks ending 2/27, 3/6 and 3/13 have been 25, 23 and 22 firearms intercepted, up from the weekly average of approximately 13 (based on the date we started tracking these number starting in May, 2010).

In addition, items that the TSA describe as “Artfully concealed prohibited items found at checkpoints”, jumped to 9 the week ending 3/06/2011, up from 1 the previous week and well above the weekly average of approximately 3 items confiscated. However, the number declined to 2 the week ending 3/13/2011.

Next, for the week ending 3/13/2011 the action defined by the TSA as “Passengers arrested after investigation of suspicious behavior or fraudulent travel documents” rose to 15 from the 7 recorded for the week before, above the weekly average of approximately 6 passengers arrested .

While taken alone, these numbers are suggestive, it should be noted that around 15 million passengers pass through security every week in the United States. In essence, the numbers in the TSA reports and the variances we noted are not statistically significant, but , at least from our point of view, are troubling. Just who is it that doesn’t know that you not allowed to take firearms aboard an airplane? Since you can buy whatever you need almost anywhere you go, what could you possibly want to smuggle onto an airplane in the United States, except something you wanted to be able to use on the flight that regarded as dangerous to carry in the cabin of an airliner? Finally, is it news to people that they need to have to have bullet-proof credentials to pass through TSA security? Hard to figure, isn’t it?

Since the TSA does not reveal details on their website related to the “TSA Week At A Glance” reporting categories, it may be that the modest fluctuations reported by ThereArePlaces in this blog are related to wild and crazy college students departing for “Spring Break”. Or, it could be an early start to summer travel. It could be a lot of things, but it could also be terrorists probing our security systems.

We are not excited about the security surrounding today’s air travel, but we would rather have than not . Yes, the TSA might be able to improve the security process, but as the numbers show, some folks just don’t seem to get the message, while others might have ulterior motives. Such is the price of vigilance.

Click for the ThereArePlaces Website

Japan Earthquake Halts Tourism

March 11, 2011 on 10:01 am | In Japan travel, Travel Safety, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

On March 11, at 2:46 local time in Japan, a massive magnitude 8.9 earthquake struck off of the eastern shores of Honshu, Japan’s largest island, resulting in a significant number of deaths and incredible destruction of property/infrastructure. The earthquake, which was centered 234 miles (376 km.) to the northeast of Tokyo, generated a 23-foot high tsunami that devastated the city and port of Sendai and surrounding areas (Sendai is approximately 86 miles from the epicenter). Tokyo sustained damage during the main earthquake and its port was struck by the tsunami waters. Miyagi Prefecture, which is part of the Tohoku region encompassing northern Honshu, received the brunt of the damage from this large earthquake.

The State Department of the United States has issued a travel alert asking citizens to avoid travel to Japan. The alert expires on April 1, 2011.

Seismic aftershocks continue to rock the area (over 50 earthquakes have occurred since the initial shock with numerous temblors above 6.0 on the seismic intensity scale). At present major airports in northern Honshu are closed, including Tokyo’s Narita Airport.

Travelers with tickets for air travel to any airport in this area over the next two weeks should check with their airlines about re-booking at some future date. We can assure you that vacation or “natural disaster travel” would not be appreciate by the authorities or people of Japan at this time.

We extend our sympathies to the people of Japan.

Click for the ThereArePlaces Website

Germany Train Driver Strike Starts Tonight

March 9, 2011 on 8:59 am | In Germany travel, ThereArePlaces.com, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel restrictions, travel warnings | Comments Off

According to ForexLive drivers of Germany’s freight trains will go on strike this evening at 19:00 GMT. Drivers of some passenger trains will join the action early tomorrow morning, although the strike action is scheduled to end at 09:00 GMT Thursday. Although this action may have only modest consequences for passenger traffic, potential extension of the strike or new instances of the strike action could be bad news for travelers, as well as the German economy.

Travelers in Germany should examine local sources for up-to-the-minute news on the strike and plan accordingly.

Click for the ThereArePlaces Website

Strike in Belgium for EU Summit on March 24?

March 5, 2011 on 10:02 am | In Belgium travel, ThereArePlaces.com, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

The EUobserver is reporting that trade unions in Belgium are considering blocking all access to Brussels (roads and train stations) during the March 24th European summit of the European Union. The summit will be held in the building of the council of the European Union at the Rue del la Loi. See this article at the City of Brussels website for more details about the Safety Zone that will surround this area during the summit.

The plan for the strike has not been formalized and it may not occur. However, if you will be traveling in Belgium on or near the date mentioned, we urge you to pay close attention to local news sources and to avoid the area of the strike does take place.

Click for the ThereArePlaces Website

Mazatlan Dropped by Disney, Holland America and Princess

January 26, 2011 on 10:12 pm | In Mexico travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, personal travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

Continuing violence in Mazatlan focused on cruise passengers and crew has caused Disney Cruise Lines, Holland America and Princess Cruises to drop the city as a port of call on their Mexican Riviera itineraries. See this article from Fox News for more information.

Mazatlan now joins former gem of the Mexican Riviera Acapulco as ports no longer served by Disney or Holland America, although Princess Cruise still ports at Acapulco. Indeed, many cruise lines are cutting back their cruises to the Mexican Riviera due to concerns about the drug violence in Mexico. Several lines have already relocated or are planning to relocate their cruise ships based in California that service the Pacific Coast of Mexico.

ThereArePlaces provides coverage of Mazatlan and Acapulco in our guide to the Mexican Riviera for those intrepid travelers who insist on visiting. However we note, both here and in our articles on these two cities, that we currently do not recommend tourists visit either city due to concerns about public safety.

Click for the ThereArePlaces Website

Brisbane Underwater

January 13, 2011 on 10:48 am | In Australia Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings, travel weather warning | Comments Off

Queensland, home to the Great Barrier Reef and Australia’s state that covers much of the northeast of the country, has experienced torrential rains and flooding based on the unusual La Nina weather pattern parked in the Great Southern Ocean (i.e. the South Pacific). All areas of northern Australia have experienced torrential rains and flooding has now reached tragic levels.

The city of Brisbane has been especially hard hit. See this article at Yahoo News for specific details. Note that Queensland is one of Australia’s leading tourist areas and the current flooding has made touring impossible. If you are headed for the Great Barrier Reef or Northern Queensland you might need to delay your journey. The best sources of information on the Australian flooding will be local, so call the hotel you will be staying at in Queensland to get a local’s perspective on the scope of the problems. In addition, search the Internet for Australia-based news sources.

Tasmania, an Australian island and state, located to the south of the continent has also experienced severe flooding. More information is available here.

Read our website for information on the best places to visit in Australia.

Click for the ThereArePlaces Website

Previous PageNext Page

Powered by WordPress with Pool theme design by Borja Fernandez.
Entries and comments feeds.Feed Shark Valid XHTML and CSS. ^Top^