When it comes to travel, forbidden is in.
Cuba, Iran and North Korea — long off-limits to most American visitors — might be added to the “allowed” list under an Obama administration. Other destinations that were considered too dangerous or hostile to Americans are becoming fashionable again as travelers jettison boring “staycations” for something more exotic.
“People who love to travel will take their chances,” says Glenn Strachan, a wireless communications consultant in Annapolis, Md. He’s been to several “forbidden” places, including everyone’s favorite no-no vacation hotspot, Cuba, as well as Vietnam and Cambodia when they were still closed to Americans.
“Had we been caught,” he says of his visit to Cambodia years ago, “we likely would have been killed.”
That’s the thing about these verboten vacations: They can be risky. The State Department publishes a list of travel warnings that shouldn’t be ignored. They range from Cote d’Ivoire, which is experiencing periodic episodes of political unrest and violence since a failed coup a few years ago, to the Philippines, where Americans are at risk from terrorist attacks.
Never mind the health hazards of vacationing somewhere that’s off the beaten path. Or on the war path.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes health advisories for most countries. If you’re traveling to Somalia, for example, you should consider vaccines for yellow fever, Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, rabies and polio. Going to Burma? Add a vaccine for Japanese encephalitis and take your malaria pills, please. “We very rarely tell people that they should not go to a particular country,” says CDC spokeswoman Shelly Sikes Diaz.
So when they do, you might want to heed their warning.
Still interested in going off the grid on your next getaway? Here are nine tips.
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