People travel for all sorts of reasons: for fun, for learning, for business, and more. Some travel to explore new cultures and environments. Some travel to volunteer at disaster sites. Some travel to relax. Some travel to expose themselves to experiences and challenges they can’t get back home.
While there are inherent risks to traveling anywhere – you can be robbed in your own hometown after all – some countries are recognized as highly dangerous as a result of any number of factors: political strife, natural terrain, weather conditions, violent gangs, and more. Still, each country of the world offers its own special allure to travelers and travelers still want to go.
The following is a short list of countries that are currently considered highly dangerous for travel:
Of course, this is just a few of the countries where travelers are recommended to avoid anywhere from all travel to just non-essential travel. These are also countries that many travelers desperately want to visit.
Let’s review some steps you can implement to keep yourself as safe as possible while traveling in or through a dangerous country.
Traveling very dangerous routes can be seen as courting disaster for its own sake, and public transportation in some countries doesn’t come with the same safety standards that travelers expect to find in the U.S.
Where carjackings, unauthorized roadblocks, and armed abductions are common, a traveler may be safest avoiding ground travel altogether or relying on well-known and secure tour services.
In all cases, you should research the risks and have alternative route planned. Proper route planning is something every traveler should pay attention to as a way to avoid running into a known risk.
While useful for broad information, the mainstream media is not the best resource. Not all of Brazil is overrun with bloodthirsty criminals after all. Spending a little time sorting out when and where it is actually dangerous can leave you with a lot of safe places you can enjoy.
Up-to-date guidebooks and online sites like the following usually have extensive information on the current risks for the region to which you are traveling:
The U.S. State Department’s International Travel site also offers country-specific information as well as travel alerts and warnings.
A well-prepared traveler is the one who knows where they’re going, what their risks are, and has put together a plan of action for those risks.
Of course you should always be prepared by leaving a copy of your itinerary with someone back home. Check in with that person often enough that they know you’re safe, and:
Not your watch, not your camera, not your politics, and certainly not your body – don’t flaunt anything.
Every country has different deeply ingrained cultural rules that govern proper attire for men and women. Learn what the expected rules of attire are and do your best to accommodate them. Dressing improperly in some countries can land a person in jail. Again, it’s their country, their rules, and you’re the visitor.
Most tourists who find themselves in tricky situations got there because they made a bad decision or two, but you can go a long way by using common sense when you’re traveling, including:
Travel anywhere in the world can be a planning challenge, but travel to a dangerous country requires even more effort. Do everything you can before you to to realistically assess and mitigate the risks you’re likely to face and your trip could go off without a hitch. Fail to do this work, and you might not come back (or at least not with all your stuff).
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.