The United States recently issued an updated worldwide travel caution. It came after France suffered its deadliest terror attack in decades; two hostages died in an attack on a cafe in Sydney, Australia, in December; and a Canadian soldier was shot in Ottawa in October.

"Recent terrorist attacks, whether by those affiliated with terrorist entities, copycats, or individual perpetrators, serve as a reminder that U.S. citizens need to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness," the caution states.

What does that mean for people considering a trip overseas or already holding tickets?

Don't hesitate to go, in my opinion. But take a few extra steps to prepare.

Log on to the State Department website for travelers, Enroll in the department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so you'll get a notice of security concerns and the department can easily contact you in an emergency.

At the site, also read up on the countries you'll be visiting, and note the location and contact information of the U.S. embassies or consulates there. You can also sign up to follow the State Department on Twitter or Facebook.

Beyond that, let common sense prevail. Don't display wealth. Leave valuables at home. Be aware of your surroundings. Photocopy your itinerary and passport ID page. Leave one copy with a friend at home. Carry another copy with you, stored separately from the originals.

The new caution follows a worldwide travel alert that the State Department issued after the Sydney attack, and that is in effect through March 19. The travel caution has no specified expiration date.

Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at, and follow her on twitter @kerriwestenberg.