How seriously should we take government travel advisories? I think it depends how familiar you are with the places you travel. I am always apt to check advisories for places I have never visited and of those that I know have whacky weather or political strife. Travel advisories offer information on important travel issues such as crime, security, laws, customs, entry requirements and health conditions.
If you aren’t on top of it, entry requirements can change in a heartbeat, like new airport fees or passport restrictions. I was just researching a trip to the Dominican Republic and discovered that upon arrival you are required to purchase a $10 USD tourist card when going through immigration. There is not a bank machine and they don’t take credit, so if you don’t have $10 USD in cash, you’re out of luck. Definitely a tidbit worth knowing.
Health checks are always a must, especially if you are traveling to regions with limited health care or unique diseases that you only hear about on late night TV documentaries. This website, Global Health Map, uses Google Map technology to pinpoint all sorts of health issues. It is very up to date, often more so than the official government sites.
At the end of the day, be smart and safe, don’t throw cash around or eat food off a dirty counter.
Government Travel Advisory Sites