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There’s a Travel Alert for Sochi Ahead of the Olympics

SmarterTravel

Going to Sochi? “Remain attentive,” says the State Department.

The U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert, warning American citizens of potential terrorism, crime, civil unrest, and substandard medical care during the 2014 Olympic Games in Russia. The alert expires shortly after the close of the Olympics, at the end of March.

The alert also includes a caution for LBGT travelers visiting Russia during the games. Those accused of violating Russia’s new anti-gay laws could “face a fine of up to 100,000 rubles ($3,100). Foreign citizens face similar fines, up to 14 days in jail, and deportation.”

In recent months, Russia has seen several suicide bombings. Westerners haven’t been targeted, but, says the State Department, they are considered “complicit” in the Russian government’s actions against the North Caucasus region.

The advice following this warning is generally the same guidance offered along with any travel alert: Be alert when using public transportation, avoid large crowds, give a copy of your itinerary to a loved one at home, don’t carry valuables or large amounts of money, consider purchasing emergency medical evacuation coverage.

Finally, a bit of booking advice from the State Department: Arrange your accommodations sooner, rather than later. There’s a shortage of available rooms in Sochi during the Olympic games, and prices for nightly stays are soaring to as much as $1,000.

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(Photo: Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

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