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Reading a wikipedia article on the invasion in Iraq I saw something about a pre-war travel ban. Googling it I only found one news article relating to that.

I know that some ministries of foreign affairs advise not to travel to certain countries because of a dangerous situation, but as I understand you're still free to go there on your own risk.

Could someone explain how a travel ban works? Do other countries just get to hear that they are not allowed to give visa to passport holders of the country that issued the ban? Or is the country that issues the ban holding back direct travel to the banned countries, still leaving room for indirect travel?

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The example that immediately comes to mind is discussed in Is it technically illegal for US citizens to visit Cuba? –  AakashM Dec 18 '13 at 12:39
    
Presumably, it could work like any other crime: It's forbidden, nothing physically prevents you to do it anyway, the authorities will prosecute you when you come back. Third countries need not be involved or condone any of it. Indeed, it seems to be what happened here: The guy did travel unencumbered and was fined for it after the fact. Also, if international sanctions are in place, neighbouring countries might close their borders and airlines cease operating, etc. leaving you very few options to effectively reach the place. –  Relaxed Dec 18 '13 at 12:45

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

In the event of such an occurrence, the country banning its citizens from travelling to country B is in essence making a (hopefully temporary) law. This affects the citizens of this country only (unless it's a decree across say, a host of countries ruled by one government).

These laws are local only and cannot impact on another country. No other country ever has to listen to these laws, as they belong to country A. Heck, Country B might like some tourists, as that tends to bring money in.

Indeed, if Country A is about to go to war with Country B, one might consider it even less likely that Country B will help out with enforcing their laws.

As a commenter said, one example is the US stopping its citizens going to Cuba - but if you as a US Citizen find a way into Cuba, say, via Canada - neither Canada or Cuba is going to stop you travelling there.

On the other hand, if Country B bans citizens from country A coming to it, well then you're just going to get turned away at the border, and airlines will check your visa and likely not fly you there.

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On top of what Mark Mayo wrote, in most cases insurances will not pay for any damage that you might have in case they happen in that country. –  uncovery Dec 18 '13 at 13:25

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