When was the last time you consulted an official government travel advisory before booking a trip?
Wars (Syria), political protests (Brazil, Egypt, Turkey), floods (Germany, Manila) and disease outbreaks (China) are all enough to make us click headlines.
But many travelers admit to not giving much credence to advisories from governments.
In recent weeks, travel advisories for Egypt have hit high levels, with some governments evacuating their citizens.
But a similar situation in December last year didn't stop Marielle Butters from traveling alone to Egypt.
"Three days after the president declared himself dictator and all was supposedly in chaos," recalls Butters about the timing of her trip. "It was fine. I felt safe."
In July, protests in Brazil elicited travel alerts.
But local journalist Felipe Araujo says the warnings were unnecessary.
More: 10 things to know before visiting Colombia
"The Brazilian government was siding with the protesters, publicly making an attempt to accommodate some of their wishes," says Araujo. "Brazil was no less safe because of the protests."
Many travelers deliberately seek out reportedly dangerous locales, such as Kashmir, Afghanistan and Colombia, with few mishaps.
What is a Travel Warning?
Just how realistic are government travel alerts and warnings?
And are they even worth looking at?
The U.S. Department of State currently has 35 countries listed under a travel warning -- defined as a "protracted condition that makes a country dangerous or unstable," such as war.
A travel alert applies to temporary situations such as demonstrations.
Three-quarters of Brits admitted they do not check official travel advice before traveling in a recent poll, and those that do said they often ignore it anyway.
Countries currently listed by the U.S. Department of State with travel warnings include Egypt, Haiti, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, North Korea, the Philippines and Tunisia.
A warning status means travelers should "avoid or consider the risk of travel to that country. A Travel Warning is also issued when the U.S. government's ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a drawdown of its staff."
"Our obligation is to provide information to the American citizens who are traveling and residing abroad to allow them to make informed decisions," says Michelle Bernier, managing director of overseas citizen services for the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs.
"We want Americans to be vigilant and take security measures especially in an atmosphere of heightened concern."
The State Department website provides specific information on every country in the world.
More: Women: Travel safely but keep traveling
Australia's entry includes a warning to "be careful when consuming alcohol with unfamiliar people, as drink spiking can occur."
The UK's entry includes nearly 2,000 words on terrorist threats and crime, including details on pickpockets and ATM fraud.