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Recent natural disasters and civil unrest overseas have resulted in evacuation warnings to U.S. citizens from the U.S. State Department. But many don’t know just how much assistance they can expect from the government when they are trying to leave a country in crisis.

According to the official website, the State Department offers assistance based on the nature of the crisis. Their responsibilities range from providing information on the current conditions in a country to, in more serious situations, providing departure assistance if the resources are available. For example, the U.S. government recently issued an evacuation warning to U.S. citizens in Japan as the nuclear crisis escalated, and sent chartered planes to take U.S. citizens out of the country or relocate them to safe areas.

For further details on what U.S. citizens can expect from the State Department during a crisis in another country, click here.

Syria, April 25, 2011
Due to continuing unrest and a possible increase in anti-foreigner sentiment, the U.S. Department of State has issued a warning to U.S. citizens urging them to leave Syria immediately while commercial transportation is still available. U.S. citizens who remain in Syria are advised to limit nonessential travel within the country. U.S. citizens not in Syria should postpone all travel to Syria at this time. The Department of State has ordered all eligible family members of U.S. government employees as well as certain non-emergency personnel to leave Syria. Embassy operations will continue to the best possible extent.

Uzbekistan, April 25, 2011
Due to a potential for terrorist attacks and civil disturbance, the Department of State urges U.S. citizens in Uzbekistan to exercise caution when traveling in the region.

The best way to get the lowest price on an airline ticket is to plan ahead. But when you have to get somewhere fast, or just want to go on a spontaneous getaway, it can be hard to find a reasonably-priced flight.

Here are a few tips from on how to score a last minute deal:

  • Be Flexible. If you’re willing to compromise on flight times, airport locations and the number of layovers, you will typically get a cheaper flight.
  • Use the Web. Airlines post last minute ticket deals on the Web at significant discounts when they need to fill up seats. You can also sign up for email alerts. Just make sure you read the fine print for any restrictions that could negate the savings before buying.
  • Check out vacation packages. Companies that organize vacation packages buy blocks of seats to combine with hotel deals. If they haven’t sold all of the packages as the trip approaches, they unload them at pretty deep discounts. You could get a flight plus a hotel room at an even lower price than buying just an airline ticket directly from the airline.
  • Search for travel consolidators. Consolidators buy big blocks of seats at wholesale prices to ensure that a certain number of tickets are sold in advance. They resell the tickets back to consumers for less than the advertised price of an individual ticket.
  • Traveling with children? Search for student travel deals. Students usually travel at a discount. For older children ages 18-22, youth fares offer cheaper prices and they don’t have to be a student.