Sometimes, all it takes is that one vacation to make you want to quit your day job and travel the world. Unfortunately, not every vacation can leave you feeling happy, free and reborn. On some occasions, you can come face-to-face with such a traumatizing experience that all you’ll want to do is book the next flight home and curl up on your couch with the curtains drawn. One of the most crucial things of all is to know what to expect before you enter a certain country, and to do everything possible to avoid unwanted attention.
In the end it all depends on what kind of vacation you are looking for; If you’re looking for an all-inclusive and don’t have any interest in leaving the resort’s premises, then feel free to bring some jewelry and name-brands. However, all that changes the second you leave the resorts confinement, then you become a flashy dingbat who is just waiting to get robbed or worse —kidnapped and used for ransom.
With today’s world getting crazier by the second, it’s hard to believe that traveling can now go hand-in-hand with gambling. The most important thing to do to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones is to never visit a new land without doing your homework first.
Thinking of visiting the beautiful beaches of Honduras this year? Well think again. Although this country has a massive allure due to its Caribbean sea coast lines and its proximity to the Guatemalan rain forest. It is deemed one of the most dangerous places in the world and very well might be the last place you ever vacation to.
Honduras has become so reputable for its heavy crime rate that in 2015, the Department of State warned travelers to reconsider their vacation choices. If that wasn’t enough, they issued another warning this August stating that the level of kidnappings, crimes and robberies had skyrocketed.
Honduras has become so accustomed to crime and violence because of their lack of resources and government officials. This country does not have enough funds to properly investigate murders or crime related ordeals and so the Hondurans continue to lash out and pry on tourists for their survival needs.
India is a truly interesting country to vacation to; from the smells to the fast-paced environment, you will literally feel one of the biggest culture shocks in your life-time. However, lately there has been an increasing amount of crimes, and they are mostly directed towards the female population.
So if you’re a woman and you are planning to travel alone to India, you should most definitely reconsider. Both foreign and local women are being subjected to a large volume of rape cases. If you are travelling to India and wearing your usual attire— there are chances that you will attract the malicious eye. Make sure to never walk the streets alone at night, and to prepay a taxi service to drive you around, preferably one that is affiliated with the airport.
The Indian parliament recently passed a bill that redefined their rape laws and confirmed that harsher punishments would be taken against rapists. Make sure to read up on how to dress and act before deciding to vacation in certain parts of India.
Mali is a country blessed with beauty and desert landscapes. It is among one of the top 10 largest countries in West Africa and strangely enough, the language spoken by the locals is French.
Although Mali is blessed with beauty it is also cursed with crime. So much in fact, that The Department of State has already issued numerous warnings asking U.S citizens and all tourist alike to stop travelling into the country, unless necessary. Foreigners are being asked to stay in the capital city of Bamako and heavily advised to stay inside their hotel rooms after dark.
Violent extremist groups have been known to target tourists in their quest to commit terrorism and have even gone as far as storming hotels with grenades and gunfire. In 2015, 20 foreigners were murdered in a similar event and even government officials are being sought out by these militant groups.
When you walk out of the airplane and into the capital city of Caracas, the harassment will start right away. Locals will watch you and judge if you are worth kidnapping or mugging, and there are those who will attempt to screw you out of any cash or valuables. There has even been reports of locals dressing up as officials, only to perform a bag-check on you. Once you open up your bag they will look through it and runaway with anything that catches their eye.
Venezuela is well known for its numerous kidnappings, and it’s safe to say that the Venezuelans have become quite creative with them. There is the express kidnap, which only lasts about an hour; you will be kidnapped and roughhoused and forced to empty out every single one of your bank cards. Once you’ve met your quota for the day you will be released. There is the fake kidnapping, where someone will ask you to sign a petition— only to access your information and then they will call your home and pretend you’ve been taken. There is the break-in kidnapping, where you will believe to be safe and sound in your hotel room, and then someone will bust in and steal one of your kids.
Before travelling to Venezuela, read up on how to stay safe and inform yourself on the many tricks that will be used against you. Make sure you know what to bring and what not to bring, and most of all who to trust.
11. Democratic Republic of Congo
If you have any family currently living in the Democratic Republic of Congo now might not be the best time to visit. On August 8, 2016 another travel warning was issued by The Department of State warning travelers to steer clear of North Kivu, South Kivu, the provinces of Bas-Uele, Haut Uele, Haut-Lomami, Tanganyika, as well as the eastern part of Maniema Province.
These regions have been known to be overrun by groups of armed bandits and forces that have no intentions of keeping the peace. Innocent civilians are constantly being raped and murdered for no apparent reasons and travelers are also being captured, tortured and kidnapped for ransom. The government offers no help and is also to blame for frequent detainments that are often poorly carried out. Just in the past year, several U.S citizens have been questioned and robbed by authorities and some unfortunately reported missing.
Guatemala is known for being the country with the most violent crime rates in Latin America. In a perfect world, Guatemala would be a fascinating place to vacation to, especially because it is home to volcanoes, rainforests and ancient Mayan sites. However this beautiful country has been ravaged by crime and poverty and is not worth risking your life over.
In the past year, there has been many cases of the Zika virus, which were all transmitted locally and to top it all off, there was a warning issued on July 4, 2016 asking travelers to avoid going to Semuc Champey at all cost.
In 2015 alone, there was a reported 5,718 violent deaths throughout the entire country. If travelling to Guatemala, it is important to avoid using public transportation and advised to pre-pay a taxi service that knows which roads to take to avoid numerous road blocks.
Many foreign governments have issued warnings against traveling to Northern and Central Nigeria. Militant terrorist group Boko Haram has been on the up-rise and has caused Nigeria’s safety to go down the drain. Even the Nigerian government has declared Adamawa, Yobe and Borno to be in a state of emergency. When your own country says you are dangerous, then there must be some truth to it.
If you are an expat seeking work in Nigeria you will be seen as the most valuable target. Kidnappers will seek you out as they know your companies will pay large ransoms for your return. It does not matter if you reside in a guarded compound, being a foreigner will put you at risk of a home invasion. Nigeria is also known to be heavily corrupted and so it would be ill-advised to assume that every uniformed officer has your best interest at heart.
This year has not been a kind one for the Turkish people. Radical Islamic groups have infiltrated the country and have not ceased to bombard them with terrorism. As many of you might have heard, the latest bombing that occurred was on August 20, where a child solider was used to target an entire wedding in Gaziantep. More than 50 civilians died and it was reported that nearly half of them were under the age of 20. Gaziantep is a city that boarders the south-east of Syria, but is still far away from the main city centers.
The bombings have been sporadic and not defined to any particular region, which makes it near impossible to anticipate the next attack. The U.S has issued warnings to its citizens to avoid travelling to Turkey due to, “increased threats from terrorist groups.”
Mexico has always been a go-to vacation destination, and for the most part it still is. However, it has become more and more dangerous to step foot out of the resort due to poverty and corruption. The U.S State Department has asked travelers to exercise caution when travelling to the Northern border states due to a rise of violence from the narcotics trade.
When driving in Mexico it is important to inform yourself on which roads to take. Especially since highway robberies and carjackings have become a common occurrence. If you are driving with a foreign license plate on an uncommon road you will most likely be the feast amongst thieves.
As for your personal safety —don’t be a big shot. Hide all proof that you are carrying money or valuables, don’t walk around alone or pull out money from an ATM during night time. Although you might feel safe, it is important to have eyes on the back of your head.
6. Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea must be one of the most exotic places in the world. From its coral reefs to its dense rain forests it is clearly a heaven on Earth. Which is why so many people dream of vacationing to this far away island. Sadly just because a place is beautiful, does not mean it is peaceful and safe for foreigners.
In many parts of Papua New Guinea, the law comes up empty handed due to its extremely poor resources. Violent crimes are often seen and justice neglected. Student demonstrations often violently clash with the police and can escalate at a rapid rate. It is important to avoid big crowds and riots at all cost.
Papua New Guinea is also prone to cyclones and flash flooding, which does nothing to help the countries endless battle in overcoming poverty.
If vacationing to Columbia has always been a dream of yours— now might be there perfect time to fulfill it. Kidnappings have been reported to be more and more seldom, and the numbers are nowhere near as grave as they were back in 2000. No matter the statistics, some kidnappings are never reported and so it is wise to exercise caution at all cost and to use your common sense and street smarts.
The south of Colombia is still somewhat dangerous, and many foreign governments are advising their citizens to avoid this region entirely. There is still on ongoing war between drug cartels and you could wind up at the wrong place at the wrong time.
To avoid becoming a target, there are a few tricks that I’m sure you are already familiar with. Don’t dress to impress or use illegal taxis to get to wanted destinations— it might be cheaper but you’re putting yourself at risk. Always have a travel buddy, don’t accept drinks from strangers or turn your back on your food/drinks.
Brazil has been devastated with poverty and corruption for what seems like an eternity. This gorgeous city, that has so much nature and wild life to offer, has seen an exponential decrease in tourism over the last decade, and unfortunately it is because tourists are afraid.
Particularly in the regions of Rio, Salvador and Recife there are large amounts of thefts and assaults ranging from small to gargantuan. It is even considered unsafe to make a complete stop at a stop sign, because you can be subjected to a carjacking or robbery —at gun point.
Tourists are mainly the biggest targets, but most assailants will try their luck with anybody. In some cases, you will begin to get scammed from the second you leave the airport. Well dressed men will greet you and flash you a quick badge —pretending that they work as airport security. They will then proceed to lead you somewhere secluded and rob you blindly.
Oh and good luck trying to get any justice. Many police officers are corrupted or paid-off—and those who aren’t, will have absolutely no chance at retrieving your items unless they were stolen from your hotel room by the staff. It is advised to get in touch with your consulate and to do as they say, instead of seeking help from police men who don’t really speak English and are overworked and underpaid.
Although Georgia is not a place that specifically targets tourists, it is still extremely dangerous because of its surroundings. Political instability, ethnicity and terrorism are all factors that build up Georgia’s crime portfolio. Travelling to this destination can be worrisome due to the fact that you might be heading to a site of destruction without any heads-up.
Russians, Georgians and separatist forces from South Ossetia are constantly exchanging gunfire and artillery. Which is what eventually lead to a full-blown war between Georgia and Russia back in 2008.
Tourists have been well advised to keep away from Pankisi Gorge, because of its on-going battle between Georgian forces and Chechen militia. Although most hate crimes are directed towards Georgian police officers and officials, civilians and foreigners have been known to get caught in the crossfire or targeted as well.
2. El Salvador
There are many reasons to travel to El Salvador, be it to study, conduct business, volunteer or simply just to visit. In fact, tens of thousands tourists safely travel to El Salvador each year and return in one piece. Yet the Department of State never continuously warns their citizens of the risks they are taking by entering this country.
When it comes to El Salvador, it has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Tourists are not often targeted by criminals, but they aren’t exempt either. In the past 6 years, 38 U.S citizens have been murdered in El Salvador and a reported 449 Americans have reported being victimized and robbed.
Carjackings, road blocks, extortion and gang violence are extremely popular occurrences in El Salvador. It is advised to avoid public transportation, unknown roads, using ATM’s and going out at night.
1. South Africa
South Africa is a breathtaking country situated to the far south of the African continent. To the West of this country, you will find stunning beaches, cliffs, forests and even lagoons. Despite its crime rate, many tourists are blinded by the promise of beauty and decided to travel to South Africa, regardless of the risks. In truth, it has been proven that touristic cities face less violence than rural ones do.
Sexual assault and rape statistics are disturbingly high in South Africa which is why nearly one quarter of the population suffers from HIV. While tourists are less often targeted, rape is a daily occurrence for woman that inhabit the townships. To avoid unwanted attention it is advised to dress as conservative as possible.
Wether you are a woman or a man, it is in your best interest to travel with a group of people while vacationing in South Africa, and to exercise caution as you would in any other country.