In our August travel safety forecast we mention weather changes, Chinese relations and political instability in different parts of the world. However, everything remains overshadowed by covid-19.
Normally this is a prime time of the year for global travel. But not in 2020.
The northern hemisphere summer has been virtually cancelled and tourist destinations around the world are feeling the pinch.
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Relations between China and various other countries have deteriorated over Beijing’s actions in Hong Kong. Recent disputes have involved the UK, Canada, India and – of course – the US. Nonetheless, China will continue with its policies on what it firmly views as a domestic matter.
Furthermore, there is evidence that international Chinese trade with many, if not most partners, is actually increasing (covid-19 disruption aside). This includes those states mentioned above. As such, there are grounds for optimism that relations will stabilise again.
Concerns for Ukraine
Meanwhile, domestic manoeuvres in Ukraine have raised international concerns over the transparency and intentions of president Volodymyr Zelensky.
The IMF has expressed its concerns over the independence of the country’s central bank.
Further acts of cronyism involving the institution could prompt the IMF to withdraw its support for the country. This could create more of an economic and political vacuum which Russia will almost certainly seek to take advantage of.
The security situation is worsening in Iraq. Economic stagnation, a lack of investment and the ongoing virulence of covid-19 are stoking public anger.
The ongoing proxy war between the US and elements tied to Iran is also fostering an atmosphere of increased violence. Conditions will continue deteriorating with little room for optimism for the short and medium term at the very least.
Bear in mind that Islamic State fighters may also seek to conduct attacks against Shi’ite pilgrims as the religious event of Ashura approaches later in the month. Pilgrims heading through central Iraq towards Karbala have been frequently targeted in the past.
The month of August normally marks the end of winter in many parts of the southern hemisphere.
It can also see very hot temperatures and heat waves in parts of the northern hemisphere, sometimes taking places like Europe by surprise.
The extremely high temperatures are more consistent but nonetheless still excessive in the Middle East.
The hurricane season persists in the Caribbean, while the end of the month can bring a higher risk of typhoons in Japan.
The south-west monsoon in the Gulf of Aden also usually brings choppier seagoing conditions which has traditionally led to a decline in pirate activity.
Where to go
Popular travel destinations at this time include much of Europe. Indeed, August is the month that many people across the continent take off work.
However, widespread restrictions aimed at curtailing the spread of covid-19 persist.
Tourist numbers to traditional hotspots such as the Mediterranean, East Africa, South East Asia and North America are all inevitably down. This will have a devastating effect on local economies and employment levels.
If you really need a break after months of lockdown tedium, try somewhere in your area. Explore local. Take precautions. Adhere to the rules and recommendations of scientists.
If you really want to get away, be prepared for quarantine requirements when crossing borders.
It might also be a good time to visit less densely populated parts of northern Europe. Transmission levels are likely to be far lower and social distancing is likely to be easier. This is usually the best time of year weather-wise for many otherwise colder or wetter climates with low population densities including Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Canada.
As well as the popular Mediterranean, this is a good time of year to visit northern parts of Europe which might otherwise be avoided during colder times of the year. Other popular destinations include East Africa, South East Asia and North America.
Standard Weather Changes
The following countries and territories are worthy of mention in our August travel safety forecast because of notable weather changes they normally experience at this time of year:
Bhutan: the rainy season, which began in June, usually ends this month.
Botswana: the country can often experience dusty winds this month.
Ethiopia: the rainy season, which began in June, usually ends this month.
Guyana: the rainy season, which began in May, normally ends this month, although another one will take place again from November to January.
Japan: typhoon season is already underway but the period of greatest risk is normally from the end of August until early September.
Maldives: the rainy south-west monsoon season which began in June normally ends this month.
Pakistan: the rainy season, which began in July, normally ends this month.
Taiwan: the rainy season, which began in June, normally ends this month.
Key Dates for the August travel safety forecast
The following dates are significant this month:
Barbados: Emancipation Day
Benin: Independence Day
Democratic Republic of Congo: Parents’ Day
Jamaica: Emancipation Day
Trinidad & Tobago: Emancipation Day
Russia: Paratroopers Day
Ukraine: Paratroopers Day
Niger: Independence Day
Burkina Faso: Independence Day
Colombia: Battle of Boyaca Day
Croatia: Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day
Bolivia: Independence Day
Jamaica: Independence Day
Zambia: Farmers’ Day
Côte d’Ivoire: Independence Day
Tanzania: Nane Nane (Farmers’ Day)
Singapore: National Day
South Africa: National Women’s Day
Ecuador: National Independence Day
Central African Republic: Independence Day
Tunisia: Women’s Day
Zimbabwe: Heroes Day
Both Pakistan and India celebrate independence mid-month.
Morocco: Oued ed-Dahab Day
Pakistan: Independence Day
Bangladesh: National Mourning Day
Republic of Congo: Independence Day
India: Independence Day
Paraguay: Founding of Asuncion Day
South Korea: Liberation Day
Christianity: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Dominican Republic: Restoration Day
Gabon: Independence Day
Indonesia: Independence Day
Estonia: Restoration of Independence Day
Morocco: Revolution Day
Morocco: Youth Day
Ukraine: Independence Day
Uruguay: Independence Day
Moldova: Independence Day
Namibia: Heroes Day
Slovakia: Slovak National Uprising Anniversary
Kazakhstan: Constitution Day
Turkey: Victory Day
Kyrgyzstan: Independence Day
Malaysia: National Day
Moldova: National Language Day
Trinidad And Tobago: Independence Day
Thank you for staying up to date with our August travel safety forecast.
We hope you have safe travels ahead – at least once this pandemic is over!