If you’re planning a trip and want to know if the destination is safe to visit, there are so many resources at your disposal to help you decide. As someone who has traveled full-time as a digital nomad for three years, I’ve come to rely on a few useful sources for gathering destination safety and trip advice. Here are some simple steps you can take to check safety information for your upcoming trip.
1. Check U.S. government websites for COVID guidelines and other info
Familiarizing yourself with the latest COVID-19 guidelines posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a good first move. Also check the COVID-19 FAQ page on the U.S. Embassy websites for the country you’re traveling to so that you’re up to date with the country’s entry requirements. Unfortunately, entry requirements can change, so don’t get caught off guard if a new quarantine or test rule pops up.
In addition, the U.S. Department of State travel advisories page lets you search the country you’re traveling to so that you can see the latest travel alerts. The advisories can be particularly useful if you’re going to a destination that is known to be risky, as it can tell you which regions should be avoided and why.
Facebook groups are another great resource for finding information on the destination you plan on visiting. Region-specific information, including safety, can be found in expat or digital nomad groups related to the city or country you’re headed to. If your destination is obscure, look for general digital nomad groups or groups specifically dedicated to solo travel.
These groups often have thousands of members, and you can use the search feature in the group by typing in your destination to see if anyone has asked for the same information. Some of the groups are private and some are public, so you may need to join before you can search or make your own post. In addition, if you’re traveling solo and want to meet others who are living in or traveling to your intended destination, posting in these groups is a great way to connect with other travelers, especially if you’re nervous about traveling.
For example, if you’re thinking about going to Medellin, Colombia, and want to know safety information and travel tips, join the Digital Nomads Medellin Facebook group to ask your questions.
» Learn more: 8 safety tips for solo female travel
3. Leverage your existing online and offline communities
Reading blog articles for your intended destination could also provide a lot of useful travel advice and safety information. Again, using the Medellin trip as an example, head over to your favorite search engine and type, “Is Medellin safe?” and you will see pages of results discussing the safety information. In addition, you’ll find helpful tips (e.g., which areas are safe, how to get around, the best things to do, areas to stay in).
Not every article is going to give you the information you need, so take time to read through a few of them so you get an overall picture of the safety situation of where you’re headed. The more quality sources you have, the more accurate picture you’ll be able to get of the situation.