U.S. State Department Issues ‘Worldwide Caution’ Travel Warning

On May 17, 2024, the U.S. State Department issued a Worldwide Caution travel advisory for all Americans traveling abroad.

The State Department issued the warning “due to the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations, or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests.”

The advisory particularly cited the “increased potential for foreign terrorist organization-inspired violence against LGBTQI+ persons and events and advised U.S. citizens overseas to exercise increased caution.”

According to the FBI Hate Crime Statistics, released last October, there has been a significant increase in hate crimes against LGBTQI+ persons, reaching the highest totals in the past five years in 2022, the last year data was released by the FBI.

The warning, while relatively rare, isn’t that atypical for the State Department—it issued a similar warning in October 2023 in the midst of increasing tensions in the Middle East and the growing conflict in Gaza and another in August 2022.

The advisory is not a warning against travel—Level 4: Do Not Travel warnings have been issued less frequently since the winddown of the COVID-19 pandemic. The destinations in that category now include countries such as Russia, Haiti, Ukraine, Syria, and Sudan.

Instead, the advisory alerts travelers to keep safe by doing three things—stay alert in tourist locations, including at “Pride celebrations and venues frequented by LGBTQI+ persons,” enroll in the STEP program, and follow the State Department’s social media pages.