Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Visiting Cuba

International relations in Cuba have gone a bit Cold War–shaped lately. While the missile crisis is looming on the other side of the world, diplomats in Havana are dealing with some Bond-movie weirdness that's wreaking havoc at the embassy. Scientists doubt that so-called sonic attacks are really making people sick, but either way, it does sound scary.

Last week, the U.S. issued a travel warning for the island, but tourists have not reported any of the symptoms that have affected more than a dozen intelligence and diplomatic employees. Maybe that doesn't inspire confidence, but there are reasons not to let the situation get in the way of a trip. First, the alleged attacks happened in August; the news is recent, not the events. Second, airlines and tour companies are still going to and from Cuba without interruption, which means they've considered the risks and found them low.

Getting to Cuba as an American citizen is still a bit more work than other places. You have to fall under one of 12 categories, from journalism to religious charity work and humanitarian projects. However, tourists generally enter the country under the "support for the Cuban people" label.

If you really want to be careful, consider staying in an independent hotel, casa particulare, or room-sharing arrangement, like Airbnb. The alleged attacks took place at major hotels in Havana, but the tourism economy in Cuba is much wider and greater in scale. In short, much of the tension between the island and Washington is political rather than physical. If you've already booked your tickets, you probably don't need to change your plans.