Getting stuck in the mountains can lead to dangerous consequences....
Travel — especially international travel — comes with some inherent risks. Usually, these risks lead to relatively minor inconveniences. For example, you might eat some unfamiliar food that doesn't agree with your stomach, or encounter some difficulties navigating to your destination as a result of a language barrier. But in some cases, these risks can become much more severe. There might be corrupt officials who demand a bribe, you could be kidnapped and held hostage, or you could even end up in the midst of a violent military coup.
Fortunately, preparation can diminish all these risks. One good pre-travel resource to review is the U.S. State Department travel advisory system. This system has recently been updated by the State Department to make its information easier to understand and apply to your travel plans.
As opposed to the previous system of “travel advisory” or “travel warning” notices, a four-level ranking system is now used:
Each country on this list features a travel advisory page that outlines its ranking and gives a clear explanation of why it's ranked that way. For example, the United Kingdom travel advisory is Level 2 due to the threat of terrorism and the potential of isolated violence by dissident groups in Northern Ireland. At the extreme end of the spectrum, Central African Republic is rated at Level 4 due to crime and civil unrest, with the following warning: “Violent crime, such as armed robbery, aggravated battery, and homicide, is common. Large areas of the country are controlled by armed groups who regularly kidnap, injure, and/or kill civilians.”
A color-coded map, pictured above, is also available. Areas with shaded lines indicate an increased security risk over solid-color areas.
While it's highly unlikely that you're planning to travel to any of the Level 4 countries as a civilian, here's a list of those countries at the time of this article's publication: