It may not seem like it, but life passes by incredibly fast, and since we only get to live once, many of us try to see as much of the world as possible, which is why millions of people travel all over the world every single year. There are a lot of things that go into planning a trip/vacation, like scheduling events and preparing a budget, which are both important things to consider when traveling abroad, but what is most important, is your safety and the safety of those you are traveling with. As much as we would like to believe otherwise, the world is a dangerous place, and there are some places that are more dangerous than others.
A country can be dangerous for a variety of reasons, such as high crime rates, and environmental factors, both of which have the potential to turn a vacation into a tragedy. A bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you die, and many people have traveling to certain countries on their lists, and yes, many people have the same countries on those lists, but there are some people who have much more surprising countries on their lists. There are certain countries that we all know are dangerous for obvious reasons, but there are other countries that are still fairly popular tourist destinations that are also dangerous, and which should not be part of anyone's bucket list, and this article will try to identify 20 of those countries.
Russia has seen a boom in tourism over the past decade, with most of that increase coming from hosting the last World Cup and the 2014 Winter Olympics, but even without those events, the country receives millions of tourists. It is true that Russia is not held in very high regard lately, mainly for social and international reasons, but it is still a beautiful country that offers both sea and ski resorts. It may be the ninth-most-visited country in the world, but locals tend to pick on foreigners, and when you go on vacation, you do not want to deal with such rudeness.
The Caribbean is filled with beautiful places with incredible weather, which is why the entire region is a popular tourist destination, and Haiti is special because aside from its huge coastline, it also has mountain ranges, underground caves, and waterfalls. The country was devastated by an earthquake in 2010, and although conditions have improved, things are still pretty bad, as blockades close off many of the roads, and according to garda.com, there are cases of tourists being robbed after leaving Haiti's main airport in Port-au-Prince. More importantly, the country has been hit with additional earthquakes over the years, to the point that you could very well get caught up in one.
Just like Haiti, Jamaica can be found in the Caribbean, and it receives a good amount of tourists every year, but just like Haiti, it would be better to avoid visiting it if possible. Jamaica may be beautiful, but there is a reason why the U.S. has issued travel advisories to its citizens about it, and that would be because crime is a big issue. Other than that, Jamaica finds itself in an area that sees a lot of hurricanes and tropical storm activity, a problem that the country has to deal with half the year, and it occurs during the half that generally sees the most tourism
When you take into account its architecture, its mountain ranges, and its connection to the Black Sea's coastline, you can see why Ukraine is capable of attracting tourists every year. With that being said though, most of us understand that things have been a little rough in Ukraine lately, mainly thanks to the whole Russia stealing Crimea ordeal, an ordeal that has made large portions of the country unsafe. As long as you avoid most of the Eastern parts of Ukraine, tourists should be fine.
We may not hear that much about Lebanon in the news, but it is actually a very beautiful country that offers some pretty great scenery, but those facts do not mean that it is without faults. Lebanon can be found in West Asia, and the main reason why people should not put it on their bucket list is that pollutants in the air and soil have negatively impacted the local food, and they have also caused damage to infrastructure. Lebanon is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, and tourists always go swimming in it, but the Lebanese portion of the sea has become heavily polluted with human garbage and waste.
Bangladesh may not be at the top of many people's lists, but it still has resorts and beaches that offer activities such as yachting, water skiing, river cruising, and sea bathing. Despite everything it offers though, the country is still located in a portion of South Asia that is periodically affected by extreme weather, which includes flooding, tropical storms, and the occasional earthquake. Aside from possibly getting caught in a natural disaster, Bangladesh also has to deal with heavy congestion and pollution, and tourists like to be able to move around while drinking clean water and breathing clean air.
The West has had a tenuous relationship with Pakistan for quite some time now, but that has not stopped the country from receiving roughly 500,000 tourists every year. Despite those numbers though, people are still advised to avoid visiting Pakistan, mainly because foreigners who practice other religions are picked on in many parts of the country, and because there are heavy restrictions on free speech. Pakistan does offer some pretty remarkable sights, but according to the Financial Review, the country actually forbids foreigners from visiting certain areas, which would be fine if the country as a whole was not dealing with a severe air pollution problem as well.
Egypt receives millions of tourists every year, which is not all that surprising considering all of the famous historical landmarks that are still standing, and most people do have Egypt on their bucket list specifically because they want to see the pyramids. As tourist friendly as Egypt may appear, there is a reason why the ancient land of the Pharaohs finds itself on this list, and that reason would be environmental. Egypt is dealing with a big pollution problem, as Cairo has often covered in a thick haze thanks to factories and car exhausts, and there is also a good amount of noise pollution as well.
12 Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has been in the news a lot lately, and not for anything good, but its recent wrongdoing is not the reason why the country should not be added to anyone's bucket list. Believe it or not, Saudi Arabia is the world's 19th-most-visited country, and it has the lavish accommodations needed to attract tourists, but most of their tourists are actually the result of religious pilgrimages. If you are in Saudi Arabia, some people will have to adhere to strict dress codes, and public displays of affection are essentially illegal. Considering every tourist needs to be sponsored by a resident in order to even enter the country, the threat of getting arrested is not worth the effort.
Thanks to illegal activities, there was a time when Columbia was one of the most dangerous places on the planet, but the county has done a great job of cleaning things up, which is why tourism numbers have been increasing recently. Even with all the strides that Columbia has taken, it is still risky for people to travel there, and that would be because the crime rate in the big cities is still pretty high. Thanks to mining operations throughout the country, however, Columbia has to also contend with polluted water, in fact, many of its major rivers are heavily contaminated.
Yemen can be found at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, and the country has not been a safe place to travel to for some time now, in fact, people are advised to not set foot in the country, no matter the reason. According to the Financial Review, there is a great deal of civil unrest in Yemen, which has contributed to shortages in water, food, and medical services. The chances of getting caught in some sort of altercation are high, especially since they usually occur in public areas such as markets and malls. If the water shortage was not enough, a good amount of Yemen's water is polluted with harmful chemicals.
One of the things we learned from the second Hangover movie, is that Thailand can be a very beautiful and fun place to visit, which it is, but that does not mean that the entire country is safe. In the southern part of the country, there are several provinces where going out at night is far too dangerous, to the point that most of the region is under some form of martial law. As a whole, Thailand is also experiencing several environmental issues, including air and water pollution, but it is also dealing with a garbage problem, as the country has to deal with tons of plastic and electronic waste.
In Southeast Asia, you will find the Philippines, a country that is known for tourism thanks to its beaches, caves, and rock formations, but it also contains rainforests, islands, and great diving spots. As beautiful as the Philippines is, it suffers from a dangerously high crime rate, and it can get super crowded depending what time of the year it is, which would be fine if the country was not dealing with air and water pollution at the same time. Aside from those issues, the Philippines also has to contend with mother nature, as it gets struck by typhoons on an annual basis.
Guatemala shares a border with Mexico, which means that it shares the same climate with Mexico, and according to multiple sources like the Insider, it is actually one of the most dangerous countries in Central America. The country is a hotbed for illegal smuggling, which is why the northern half deals with such a high level of crime, but small pockets of crime can also be found throughout the rest of the country. Tourists are asked to exercise extreme caution while visiting Guatemala, mainly because of how common theft is, but the big cities also deal with heavily polluted air thanks to old trucks and the occasional volcanic eruption.
You can find the country of Mali in West Africa, and although you will not find any beach resorts due to it being completely landlocked, there are still plenty of hotels to stay in, but you should never find yourself in the country. As of right now, tourists are advised to not visit Mali, and that is partly due to the high crime rates in the more rural areas, but there are also a few environmental issues. Mali is a very dry place that is prone to droughts, and what water is available is not all that safe to drink thanks to inadequate supplies.
5 The DRC
The Democratic Republic of the Congo can be found in Central Africa, and it is home to the Congo Basin, one of the world's largest and most beautiful rainforests. The rainforest itself is the biggest reason to visit the country, as it provides guests with sights that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, but as great as the experience would be, the country itself is very dangerous. The country is riddled with bandits, and thanks to severe sewage issues, almost all the urban areas have to deal with severe water pollution, and the air suffers a great deal from cars and forest fires.
Over the last few decades, Venezuela has done a lot to try and improve tourism, which they have, as evidenced by the popularity of Margarita Island, and the beaches of Mochima National Park. As beautiful as these places are, they do not negate the fact that Venezuela possesses one of the highest crime rates in the world, which is to be expected to see as the country suffers from shortages in food, water, and medicines. Aside from these issues, Venezuela is fairly polluted, as it deals with air pollution from factories, and severe water pollution thanks to mining, sewage, and oil production.
3 El Salvador
Based on the numbers from Trading Economics, at least a million people visit El Salvador on an annual basis, and people are attracted to the country because of its beaches and engaging nightlife, but those two things should not supersede a person's safety. People are advised to stay away from El Salvador, mainly because gangs have caused the country to have one of the highest crime rates in the world. People are actually advised to not wear jewelry while visiting El Salvador, and they are also advised not to walk around at night, which literally eliminates half of the reasons to even visit the country in the first place.
Some people may not know this, but Honduras is actually part of Central America, and there is a reason why so many people are fleeing the country because it truly is a violent place. Honduras is not dealing with any sort of conflict, and yet it has one of the highest crime rates in the world, mainly thanks to cartels who are active in the region. Insider, as well as other outlets, consider Honduras to be one of the most dangerous places on Earth, so it stands to reason that no one should be adding it to their bucket list, especially when that same country has virtually no system in place to clean up the air and water, which are heavily affected by mining chemicals.
1 South Africa
Other than Egypt, South Africa is probably the most visited country in Africa, which makes sense considering how many coastal areas the country has, and those coasts do a good job at masking many of the nation's troubles. South Africa has indeed come a long way, but it is still ripe with problems, as most of the country deals with crime, to the point that some citizens have to hire security guards, and not everyone has the money to hire private security during a vacation. According to the Telegraph, the country is also dealing with a severe water shortage, which is why water has been rationed for about a year and tourists like their water.
References: afr.com, destinationon.com, toptenz.net, thisisinsider.com