By Brooke Niemeyer, Credit.com
With the warmer months come sunglasses and travel plans. If you're trying to figure out your next getaway, you should know which places aren't recommended for U.S. citizens.
According to the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs, travel warnings are issued when Americans should strongly consider visiting a country at all. These warnings remain in place until the location's deemed safe, which in some cases may take several years.
"Whether it's because of violence, anti-American sentiment or for health reasons, the reasons the State Department issues travel warnings and travel alerts primarily boils down to safety," Christine Sarkis, Senior Editor of Smartertravel, told Credit.com. She recommends reading the travel alert to get a sense of the issue and avoiding areas of concern. Also, she adds, "don't draw attention to yourself and take any health warnings seriously."
If you're hoping to leave the country, it's a good idea to check any requirements for a location. (To stay on budget, you may also consider a rewards credit card to help fund your trip. You can check out the best reward credit cards here.)
"Each country has specific entry requirements for tourist and business travelers," the National Passport Information Center said via email. "We recommend you check with the embassy or consulate of the country you plan to visit for the most up-to-date requirements."
Here are some countries you might want to think twice about before visiting.
1. Anywhere With Zika Virus Warnings
Zika, which can be spread through intercourse and mosquito bites, has prompted warnings for Americans heading to the Caribbean, Central America, the Pacific Islands and South America.
"We recommend that travelers who are pregnant, or might become pregnant soon, take Zika warnings seriously," Sarkis said. "The CDC has a list of Zika travel notices by country and has plenty of information about avoiding mosquito bites."
While millions of U.S. citizens visit Mexico each year, the State Department issued a safety warning in January 2016. Americans should be aware of violent crime in parts of the country like La Paz and Coahuila. (For more info, see this assessment on the State Department website.)
3. The Philippines
Americans are cautioned against coming here due to concerns about kidnappings and other terrorist threats. The warning has been in place since October 2015.
4. North Korea
There are several concerns about traveling to North Korea, especially since the country's criminal laws include arrest and long-term detention. The U.S. State Department says even visiting North Korea with organized tour groups has caused problems and isn't advised.
The U.S. Department state issued a warning against traveling here in November 2015 due to terrorist activity. Worse still, the U.S. Embassy can't provide consular services outside the capital area due to minefields, especially minefields near borders.
You can check out the full list of places Americans can't travel on Credit.com.