(CNN) — Not everyone heads to the beach this time of year. For many, summer is an opportunity to explore the world, but sometimes your itinerary could overlap with contentious, possibly dangerous situations.
Protests or uprisings don’t necessarily mean your trip is off. You’ll just need to do more homework and make sure you have the information you need to make smart decisions and ensure your trip is a safe one.
Scenes like these playing out on the TV might have you rethinking your summer travel plans.
Before you make the decision to change or cancel your trip, get informed. The best place to start is the U.S. Department of State.
The agency keeps an updated list of countries the U.S. Government has deemed dangerous or unstable. The State Department recommends Americans avoid traveling to these countries, or at the very least, consider the risks.
In some cases, the U.S. may be constrained or unable to assist you in an emergency because an Eembassy or Consulate is closed.
With just a few clicks, you can see when the warnings were issued and what guidance the government is offering.
Once you know your destination, consider signing up for the Smart Traveler enrollment program. This free service allows American travelers headed overseas to register their plans in advance so that the U.S. government can better assist if an emergency arises.
You can also get information about the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to your destination.
Once registered, you can opt for State Department issued email updates about travel warnings, alerts and consular information for countries you pre-select.
The Department of State also outlines what it can and cannot do in the event of a crisis, should you find yourself or your family in trouble overseas.