Ukraine has been in the news quite a bit lately, but most of the attention has been on the violence that’s currently occurring in the country. The fighting between pro-Russian and Ukrainian forces continues to escalate, even as world leaders attempt to resolve it through diplomatic means. As for travelers, some of them are feeling apprehensive about visiting the region. However, if you still want to travel to Eastern Europe this summer (or at any time), then you should know how the conflict in Ukraine might affect your trip.
In a press conference Thursday morning, President Biden informed Americans that they should be watching their own news reports to get information about events in Ukraine. I think it’s important for us to understand exactly what is happening and make sure we don’t get out ahead of what we know, he said. To help his fellow Americans understand exactly what is happening, Biden suggested reading updates from various media outlets including CNN, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News and The Wall Street Journal. If you’re getting your information from some other source, let me suggest that you may be getting misinformation.
If you have any plans to travel in or around Crimea, you’ll need to put those plans on hold for now. All tourists are advised to avoid Crimea & Kyiv and other areas affected by political conflict in neighboring regions, including Donetsk, Odessa and Transnistria. The U.S. Department of State issued a statement warning travelers against traveling to Crimea & Kyiv as it would undermine U.S. efforts to de-escalate tensions and support a peaceful resolution to the crisis. If you do choose to go ahead with your trip despite these warnings, you may experience travel delays and difficulties obtaining essential documents such as visas and passports during your trip or when trying to return home from a visit there.
Although travel to Eastern Europe is generally safe, travelers should remain alert and attentive. There is no credible information indicating an imminent threat or suggesting that Westerners have been specifically targeted in these countries; however, U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and practice good situational awareness as they would in any unfamiliar environment. This includes being aware of one’s surroundings, avoiding crowds and demonstrations, observing local security protocols, and remaining alert for unusual activity or suspicious behavior that could signify risk to personal safety. The U.S. Department of State recommends against all travel to Crimea or Kyiv, because it is militarily occupied by Russia.
If you’re a business owner in an area that could be at risk for violence or martial law, there’s a chance your employees will look to relocate. You can help them out by recommending places where they can stay and work as long as necessary. Additionally, many companies are waiving travel insurance requirements for travelers visiting countries affected by civil unrest. It may be easy to say don’t go there, but companies who support employees during difficult times earn loyalty and respect. You should also make sure that important documents such as passports and visas are up-to-date before any crisis hits.
Before you buy your plane ticket, check to see if there are any economic risks in your travel destination. To do so, Google Ukraine or Russian currency crisis and look for news reports about a devaluation in their national currency. These reports might mean that your cash isn’t going to be worth as much when you try to exchange it back home. It could also mean that businesses in Ukraine or Russia might suddenly raise prices due to a lack of foreign exchange — making traveling there more expensive than expected. If you still want to go, at least consider carrying some U.S dollars with you to hedge against drastic price increases.
New threats have brought new worries to vacationers in Europe. The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert for those thinking about traveling to popular holiday destinations like Paris, Amsterdam and London following Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion into Ukraine. With visa restrictions and clashes between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists adding worry to worry, tourists are choosing to avoid big cities altogether until further notice; opting instead for destinations like Prague and Warsaw in hopes that they will be able to stay away from any fighting or shooting. Regardless of their plan, it is important that all travelers keep an eye on news channels while they’re abroad so they can stay updated with what is happening around them.