Dangerous places to travel in 2023

22 December 2022
Dangerous places to travel in 2023

‘Tis the season for all the lists, would you agree? The most popular destinations for travel (video) in 2023, most unusual countries for tourism in 2023, most affordable destinations in 2023, and our new favorite – most dangerous locations in 2023.

International SOS, a not-for-profit organization of health, safety, and security workers, writes in their Risk Outlook 2023:

This year, 85% agree the world has become more dangerous over the past twelve months — the highest percentage since we started asking the question in 2014.

In addition, one of their top 5 predictions for 2023 includes: travelers want more support to plan for the unplannable.

So here we are, helping you plan for the unplannable. Read on to find out ways to mitigate your travel risks in 2023.

How dangerous is the location?

Depending on where you want to travel in 2023, it’s a good idea to look at the risks. Using the International SOS interactive risk map, we can discover the medical and security risks. 

You can add all the places you are considering traveling to in 2023 and select to see the Medical and/or Security risks. Then, scroll through the places you entered to compare.

For example, we typed in two locations to compare.

Alaska’s medical risk

Peru’s medical risk

Why is the location considered dangerous?

Some places in the world are known for particular types of risk. For example, the most dangerous countries for driving may surprise you.

#1 Dominican Republic *
2 Saudi Arabia
3 Thailand
4 Vietnam
5 Malaysia 
6 Iran
7 South Africa

* According to the World Health Organization, the Dominican Republic, a very popular tourist destination, is also the most dangerous country to drive a vehicle. Fatal car collisions are the leading cause of death in people aged 15 to 29 in the DR. Other countries with higher road risks are Liberia, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.

Can you mitigate the risk?

If the place you want to travel to is known for a particular risk, you can sometimes plan to mitigate that risk. For example, if the location is risky for driving, you can arrange a private driver. Contact your hotel or lodging and ask for recommendations for a driver with a good safety record and excellent reviews.

Iraq is considered risky primarily due to unrest and violent protests. Protest and strike risks can be trickier to mitigate, partly because the reporting tools are lacking. For example, just last week tourists were stranded in Peru due to protesters, and yet, the US Department of State website did not caution travelers in time.

Possible rail strikes are usually publicized, but you may miss the warnings unless you’re following the local news. European countries are known for posting strike warnings, but you could miss them if you’re not already in the country. 

Pro tip: when you book your train ticket, learn where strikes and service delays are announced. The National Rail Enquiries site can be useful for checking service alterations in the UK, for example.

Know how to get help

When you need help – whether it’s the local police, an ambulance, or the fire department, you’ll need to know the local version of 911. The US Department of State maintains a list of emergency numbers you can bookmark on your phone.

It’s not entirely complete, however. One of the first countries on the list is also one of the riskiest for tourists—Afghanistan—and no numbers are listed. The checklist shows ‘local numbers only,’ so you’ll need to look up the local numbers as you go along if you travel in that country.

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Damian Tysdal

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.