21 Countries to Avoid for Your Next Vacation

Traveling is one of life’s greatest pleasures, but not all destinations are the same. Some locations may not be the greatest fit for your next vacation owing to political instability, high crime rates, or health risks. Here are 18 countries you might want to avoid right now. 

Afghanistan

Editorial credit: Jono Photography / Shutterstock.

Afghanistan’s beautiful landscapes and rich history are overshadowed by ongoing conflict and instability. The threat of terrorism, kidnappings, and military operations makes it a dangerous destination for travelers.

Syria

Editorial credit: Rosen Ivanov Iliev / Shutterstock.

Once a cultural and historical gem, Syria has been ravaged by civil war for over a decade. The violence, destruction, and humanitarian crisis make it a place to steer clear of until peace and stability are restored.

Yemen

Editorial credit: javarman / Shutterstock.

Yemen is currently facing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. The ongoing civil war has led to widespread famine, disease, and violence. The presence of armed groups and regular airstrikes heightens the threat, and foreign nationals are particularly vulnerable to kidnapping. For these reasons, international governments and organizations strongly warn against all travel to Yemen, encouraging people to reconsider visiting until the situation significantly improves.

Venezuela

Editorial credit: nestorfoto / Shutterstock.

Venezuela’s political instability has resulted in high crime rates, shortages of basic goods, and severe economic challenges. Kidnappings, armed robberies, and violent protests are common, making it a dangerous place to visit.

Somalia

Editorial credit: GR.Stocks / Shutterstock.

Somalia is notorious for piracy off its coast and terrorism within its borders. Kidnappings for ransom, bombings, and armed conflicts between militant groups and government forces are common, and the lack of a stable government and frequent violent incidents make it a no-go zone for most travelers.

South Sudan

Editorial credit: Frontpage / Shutterstock.

South Sudan is one of the youngest countries in the world but has been plagued by civil war and cultural violence since its inception. The security situation remains highly volatile, making it a risky travel destination.

Central African Republic

Editorial credit: GR.Stocks/ Shutterstock.

The Central African Republic suffers from ongoing conflict and chaos. Armed groups control large parts of the country, and the risk of violence and kidnapping is high, preventing many would-be visitors.

Libya

Editorial credit: Mahir Alawami / Shutterstock.

Since the fall of Gaddafi, Libya has struggled with political anarchy and armed conflict. The presence of militant groups and regular violent clashes make it a dangerous destination for tourists.

Iraq

Editorial credit: CameraAction / Shutterstock.

Iraq is still grappling with the aftermath of war and the threat of terrorism. While some areas have seen improvement, the overall situation remains unstable, posing significant risks to travelers.

North Korea

Editorial credit: Maxim Tupikov / Shutterstock.

North Korea is one of the most isolated and repressive countries in the world. Strict government control, the risk of arbitrary detention, and limited access to the outside world make it a highly restrictive and potentially dangerous place to visit.

Haiti

Editorial credit: Rotorhead 30A Productions / Shutterstock.

Haiti’s ongoing political instability, along with high crime rates and regular natural disasters, makes it a difficult and unsafe destination. Kidnappings and violent protests are common, posing significant risks to tourists. Basic services such as healthcare, sanitation, and transportation are often unreliable. While Haiti’s culture and history are vibrant, the current situation makes it a place to avoid until conditions improve significantly.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Editorial credit: Aleksandrkozak / Shutterstock.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo faces ongoing conflict, political instability, and public health crises like Ebola. The eastern part of the country, in particular, is plagued by violence from militia groups, who frequently engage in brutal attacks on civilians. The security situation is unpredictable, with armed groups operating in various regions, making it an unsafe destination.

Burundi

Editorial credit: Ntahonsigaye / CC BY-SA 4.0/ Wikimedia Commons

Burundi has experienced significant political unrest and violence in recent years. The security situation? Well, let’s just say it’s pretty unpredictable. You’ve got government forces and opposition groups going head-to-head quite often, which doesn’t make it the safest spot for travelers right now. One to keep an eye on before planning any trips.

Mali

Editorial credit: xbrchx / Shutterstock.

Mali is plagued by terrorism and kidnappings, particularly in the northern and central regions. The ongoing conflict has also exacerbated ethnic tensions and has led to a humanitarian crisis in parts of the country. The presence of extremist groups and frequent violent incidents make it one not to add to your itinerary.

Nigeria

Editorial credit: Truba7113 / Shutterstock.

While Nigeria has many vibrant and beautiful areas, it also faces serious challenges, including terrorism, kidnappings, and armed robbery. The northeastern region in particular is highly dangerous due to the presence of Boko Haram.

Sudan

Editorial credit: JoaoCachapa/ Shutterstock.

Sudan’s been in the news a lot lately with some big political shifts underway. But, despite these changes, things are still pretty tense there. The conflict in Darfur and other parts of the country hasn’t ended, which means there’s a real risk of violence and civil unrest. It’s something to seriously consider before making any plans to visit.

Pakistan

Editorial credit: Homo Cosmicos / Shutterstock.

Pakistan is a country of stunning landscapes and rich history, but it faces significant security challenges. The threat of terrorism, political unrest, and kidnappings makes certain areas particularly dangerous for visitors. While it’s got incredible sights to see, it’s wise to stay updated on the situation and be cautious about where you go.

Eritrea

Editorial credit: Matej Hudovernik / Shutterstock.

Eritrea is known for its repressive government and severe restrictions on freedom of movement and expression. The risk of being detained without much reason is a real concern, and the country doesn’t have much in terms of tourist infrastructure to help navigate these challenges. For most travelers, it’s probably best to think twice about visiting.

South Africa

Editorial credit: Arnold.Petersen/ Shutterstock.

South Africa, despite its natural beauty and cultural richness, faces significant challenges with crime rates, including violent crime and robbery. Certain urban areas, particularly at night, can be risky for tourists.

El Salvador

Editorial credit: Galyna Andrushko / Shutterstock.

El Salvador experiences high levels of gang-related violence and crime. Extortion, robbery, and targeted violence against individuals, including tourists, are common in certain areas. Probably not one to visit anytime soon.

Guatemala

Editorial credit: SL-Photography / Shutterstock.

Guatemala faces challenges with crime, including armed robbery, carjacking, and violent assaults. The presence of organized crime and drug trafficking adds to the security risks in certain regions, especially urban areas and along the borders.

About the author
Amy Watkins

Leave a Comment