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A travel warning, travel alert, or travel advisory is an official warning statement issued by a government agency to provide information about the relative safety of travelling to or visiting one or more specific foreign countries or destinations. The purpose is to enable travelers to make an informed decision about a particular travel destination, and to help travellers prepare adequately for what may be encountered on their trip. In the United States, travel warnings are issued by the Department of State and are often called warden messages.
The confusion is even worse if you want to fly internationally. Official fares to most countries are set via a treaty organization called the IATA, so most computer systems list only IATA fares for international flights. It's easy to find entirely legal ``consolidator'' tickets sold for considerably less than the official price, however, so an online or offline agent is extremely useful for getting the best price. The airlines also can have some impressive online offers on their web sites.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Canadians travelling for tourism purposes in a European Union country must hold a passport valid for at least three (3) months beyond the date of expected return from that country (exceptions: United Kingdom and Ireland require a valid Canadian passport only). For sun destinations, the validity period must usually be at least six (6) months beyond the date of expected return. Regulations may vary for non-Canadian passport holders.
Four giant airline computer systems in the United States handle nearly all the airline reservations in the country. (They're known as CRSs, for computer reservations systems, or more often now GDS for global distribution systems.) Although each airline has a ``home'' CRS, the systems are all interlinked so that you can, with few exceptions, buy tickets for any airline from any CRS. The dominant systems in the U.S. are Sabre (home to American and US Airways), Galileo (home to United), Worldspan (home to Delta, Northwest), and Amadeus (many European lines.) The company that owned Galileo and Orbitz recently bought Worldspan, so the two GDS will presumably be merged. Many of the low-price start-up airlines don't participate in any of these systems but have their own Web sites where you can check flights and buy tickets. Southwest, the largest and oldest of the low-price airlines, doesn't participate, either. Southwest's web site gets car and hotel info from Galileo, but the info seems not to flow the other way. Orbitz one of the big three online travel agencies, runs its own system which is "direct connect" linked directly to many of the airlines.