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The first step to an international trip is to read our Traveler’s Checklist to find out things to consider before you go. Pay special attention to our safety and security information and assess for yourself the risk of traveling to a particular country or region. Some U.S. citizens with special considerations – such as students, women, and LGBTI travelers – may face additional challenges when abroad. If you do decide to travel, make a plan for what to do if something goes wrong overseas.
SYRIA - TERRORISM - Latakia - UPDATE: A car bomb detonated in the government-held Syrian city of Latakia, in the Sahat al-Hamam district, killing one person and wounding 14 INDIA - SECURITY - Gadchiroli - Suspected Maoists shot dead three villagers in Maharashtras Gadchiroli district on suspicion that their tip-off to police led to killing of 40 ultras. PHILIPPINES - SECURITY - Rizal - NPA terrorists attack construction workers in Quezon, burn equipment. Checkpoints were also beef-up in the area while troops are conducting pursuit operations. INDONESIA - FLOODING - Makassar - Parts of Makassar City were flooded following incessant heavy rain. Floodwaters reached height of up to 1.5 meters in Katimbang, Biringkanayan Sub-district. ZIMBABWE - BUS - Government deploys armed soldiers and police para-military support unit to man ZUPCO buses carrying passengers after rioting last week. Travel Smart… Travel Safe … www.eTravelAlerts.com
The U.S. airline industry is chronically in dreadful shape, with Aloha, ATA, Skybus, Eos, Silverjet, Maxjet, and now Zoom having shut down. Midwest merged into Frontier. American went bankrupt and the corpse merged into US Airways, although the surviving company is still called American. Sun Country went bankrupt but is still flying, Frontier went bankrupt but seems to be surviving as part of regional carrier Republic, and most of the remaining airlines are hanging on with a combination of somewhat higher fares (much higer for trans-Atlantic) and very full planes. The weak economy has kept them from raising fares as much as they want, but they're not passing on the recent lower fuel prices. Southwest and Airtran, two relatively healthy low-fare carriers have merged, with the surviving airline Southwest with more east coast and international routes.
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.
Passengers are subject to much more extensive screening than in the past, including screening of checked baggage at check-in time, and, according to news reports pat downs that approach groping. Airlines recommend arriving at least an hour earlier than before. In my experience the extra delay is rarely more than 15 minutes, even with the extra baggage screening, although I usually fly out of smaller airports, not big hubs where you can get the killer two hour lines. The TSA has handed back screening at a surprising number of airports to private contractors, all of whom wear outfits intended to look like TSA uniforms. There is remarkable inconsistency in procedures from one airport to another, particularly with respect to your shoes, is worse than ever. Don't put your shoes in a bin, do put your shoes in a bin, and they all insist very loudly that whatever their rule is has always been the rule everywhere. A variety of extra cost "trusted traveller" plans may allow people to get through the screening faster, or may just involve waiting in a different line. The TSA makes no promises. If you don't want to go through the X-ray machines, whose safety is nowhere near as clear as the TSA would like you to believe, you can get a light body massage instead. They have a web site with estimated wait times based on averages in previous months, not real time numbers.
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.
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