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Travel warning or travel advice: what does the difference mean for vacationers?

Contact restrictions, curfews and border closings: Due to the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, many potential tourists are uncertain about planning their autumn and winter holidays. The Federal Foreign Office offers guidance.

Since October 1, the general travel warning for more than 160 countries outside Europe has been canceled - so German tourists now have to take a closer look at what currently applies to the (potential) travel destination.

Travel advice and travel warning: what the difference is

In addition to travel warnings, the Federal Foreign Office also provides travel and safety information for various countries. There are also requirements for cancellation conditions and guidelines for consumers.

In short, there is a lot of guidelines and advice for travelers. So many that some holidaymakers no longer even know which regulations currently apply and what they mean. That is why we give you an overview of the differences between the various warning levels issued by the Federal Foreign Office.

Travel warning vs. travel advice: what does that mean in concrete terms?

According to the Federal Foreign Office, the following three basic rules apply with regard to the coronavirus and the associated effects on travelers:

ATravel warning for unnecessary, tourist trips applies in principle to all countries that are classified as risk areas by the federal government.

Unnecessary tourist trips are not recommended is usually for countries for which entry is only possible to a limited extent, a quarantine after entry is provided or which do not allow unrestricted travel in an overall view.

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If the incidence of infection is low, there are unrestricted travel options and no other reasons speak against it, theTravel warning for a country lifted and special caution advised.

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A travel warning for vacationers has these effects

A travel warning is an urgent appeal by the Federal Foreign Office not to undertake such trips. The travel warning is not a travel ban. Tourists decide on their own responsibility whether to go on a trip. There is also the possibility that the Federal Foreign Office will issue a partial travel warning for individual regions - this happens during the corona pandemic, especially for countries in Europe.

The existence of a travel warning can have legal consequences, for example for the validity of travel health insurance. For this purpose, travelers should contact their insurance service provider.

This information also has an impact on the cancellation conditions, e.g. for package tours. Because the travel warning is a strong indication that there is an acute threat on site that was not foreseeable when booking - and in this case the legal basis for "force majeure" applies. Tour operators are then legally bound to enable holidaymakers to cancel free of charge.

These are the effects of travel advice for vacationers

Even if there is no travel warning for a country, travelers should always find out about the travel and safety information. In addition to medical information, customs regulations and orders for law enforcement in a country, these also contain important information on entry restrictions, quarantine regulations for travelers and other restrictions - the Federal Foreign Office advises against traveling to certain countries for no reason. The infection situation in a country can also change quickly. Tourists should therefore keep themselves informed during their stay.

However, travel advice does not affect the conditions of the tourism industry. Therefore, those who cancel their vacation based on such information are usually not eligible for reimbursement.