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State Department issues safety travel alert ahead of Pride Month – The Points Guy

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The federal government is urging worldwide caution and alertness in popular tourist spots amid what it says are potential threats of violence against LGBTQI+ travelers.

The U.S. State Department issued a security alert Friday warning of the possibility of terrorist attacks, demonstrations or violent actions against American citizens. Specifically, the State Department is warning that Pride celebrations and venues frequented by LGBTQI+ persons could be at risk.

“The Department of State is aware of the increased potential for foreign terrorist organization-inspired violence against LGBTQI+ persons and events,” the State Department said in the alert shared to its social media platforms.

The warning comes just a week before the traditional start of the summer travel season, and just before the start of widespread Pride Month celebrations in June.

It also comes just a week after the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a joint public service announcement, which similarly warned of the potential for foreign terrorist organizations to target Pride events and venues in June.

Should travelers be concerned?

Though it shared serious concerns in Friday’s alert, it is important to note that the State Department did not detail specific threats or circumstances that triggered this advisory.

At the same time, the department told TPG, it’s aware of “long-standing messaging by foreign terrorist organizations encouraging attacks against LGBTQI+ persons,” including Pride celebrations.

The agency keeps an ongoing and robust assortment of travel advisories covering, essentially, the entire world. And it often issues safety alerts and reminders ahead of major travel seasons, and in the midst of situations involving emerging unrest.

For instance, before each of the past two spring travel seasons, the department reminded travelers headed to Mexico of common-sense safety measures to avoid becoming a potential victim of crime.

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It also issued a global safety alert in October amid violence in Israel and Gaza.

Additionally, the department maintains travel advisories for each country around the world, rating potential risk levels based on factors like the possibility of kidnapping, crime, unlawful detention and — for some regions of the world — specific dangers to LGBTQI+ travelers.

Notably, Friday’s alert for this June seems to cover travel around the entire world.

The state department has a guide full of advice and considerations for LGBTQI+ travelers heading abroad.

Here are some additional pieces of advice for your summer 2024 travels, including trips taking place during Pride month.

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Stay alert

The State Department urges travelers visiting popular tourist locations, including Pride celebrations, to stay alert and aware of their surroundings.

This is always a good practice when traveling or venturing out into busy areas for any reason.

Enroll in ‘STEP’ program

The agency also suggests travelers enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. STEP allows travelers to receive information and alerts from the nearest consulate, wherever they are. It’s a highly helpful tool to have if you’re experiencing an emergency overseas — it can also help travelers be easily located, if necessary. More on that in our guide, here.

Travel in groups

Just like at home, whenever possible, traveling with a buddy or a group can be safer than going alone.

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Research your country

As mentioned above, the State Department issues travel advisories for individual countries and shares specific safety concerns for each destination.

In some nations, advisory notices do specify the potential for violence against LGBTQI+ travelers.

You can search for your destination at this link.

Plan ahead

If you’re headed to a busy event in a crowded metropolitan area, it’s typically a good idea to have a primary plan for how you’ll get back to your hotel or rental property — and a backup plan, too. For instance, Uber or Lyft might be your “Plan A” — but what would be your backup plan if your phone died or cell phone service was spotty?

Though smartphones have made it easy to pull up walking directions on the spot, it’s not a bad idea to study the map of your destination so you at least have a general sense of the geography.

Visit a highly vetted hotel

Do your homework when booking a hotel to ensure it’s a fit for your trip — both in terms of amenities and safety. TPG has a vast library of hotel reviews and guides from properties spanning the globe, featuring firsthand testimonials and photos of what a particular property is like — including location and safety factors.

Share your itinerary with someone back home

As always when traveling abroad, it’s a good idea to share your itinerary — and any subsequent deviations from it — with a trusted friend or family member back home. This includes hotels or rental property addresses where you’re staying, flight numbers and a scan of your passport information page.

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