We might not always realize or appreciate it, but Americans are rather blessed when it comes to travel opportunities. Without even stepping out of the country we can discover vast and flat desert plans, jagged snow-capped mountains, lush forests, booming metropolitan cities, and quaint small towns. It’s a melting pot of culture and people from all over the globe, right at our doorstep. Even so, there’s still a giant world out there with so much more to be seen, tasted, photographed and lived. The world is out there and it’s beckoning.
But there are some countries that the American government has advised travelers not to visit. Whether it’s due to international political conflict, internal tensions, war or high risk, here are 10 places that the government says to avoid.
8 North Korea
We’ll kick things off with what is a country overflowing with controversy and boasting a reputation that precedes it... not in a positive manner, however. The media focus is on conflict, nuclear weapons, and controversial politics, but the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is actually abundant with beauty. But we're unlikely to ever see it as the government doesn't allow American travelers.
Before the current US government took the reigns and banned entry here, Americans were actually allowed to visit North Korea. Of course, though, they could do so with strict fine print and extreme difficulty.
Due to a complicated history of international relations, Americans have always had trouble going to and from Cuba. In fact, it was illegal for a number of years... although some people chose to ignore that and make the quick journey south anyway. Similarly to North Korea, the reason why USA folk couldn’t head down to sunny Cuba wasn’t due to the host country, rather because of American legislation.
These days the official ban has been lifted, however, it’s still very much taboo according to the US government and still shroud with difficulty. If you’re Canadian though, it’s as easy as booking a last-minute flight to Havana!
6 Saudi Arabia
Despite the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia presenting itself as an ally to the US, the oil-rich nation still deals with difficult geopolitical realities which make visiting exceptionally difficult. That’s a real shame too, considering that it boasts multiple pristine coastlines (the Red Sea and the Persian (Arabian) Gulf), stunning desert plains, historical religious sites, and rapidly developing cities.
However, without a working permit, the US government is far from fond of its people visiting.
It’s terribly unfortunate that over the past handful of years, Libya’s time in the spotlight has been rife with conflict, terror, and a dangerous political climate. Those factors alone have made the idea of visiting for any American citizen not very realistic. If this weren’t the case, though, adventurous travelers would rejoice in the Libian section of the Sahara Desert, which to this day remains one a mostly untouched gem.
Simply put, the current risk is far too high at the moment, hence the US goverment issuing assigning the northern African nation a strict ‘Level 4: Do Not Travel’ status.
It should come as no surprise to see Iraq on this list of 8 countries that the US government says not to visit. Despite having patches of beauty and plenty of unique culture, the reputation has been associated with war and conflict for a long time. While it is a reality and while there are real risks in the area, the media spotlight has swayed many opinions, forcing us to ignore the positive side of the country.
Like Libya and North Korea before it, Iraq is slapped with a Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory from the US government.
Considering all the jaw-dropping photos we see scrambled across social media of the Cappadocia hot air balloon sunrises, Istanbul mosques and idyllic Turkish baths, it probably comes as a bit of a surprise to see Europe’s third-most populated country make its way onto this list.
Fortunately, we're still able to journey over to this country, which is a Asian-European connector. However, the US government has issued a warning, suggesting that trailers reconsider their destinations due to the fragility of the region and ongoing political dispute. It’s not as dangerous as some of the other countries on this list but caution should be at the forefront of the mind for anyone who decides to ignore the government’s notes.
While the African nation of Somalia might boast stunning coastlines, its reputation surrounds much more violent and vulgar trends, sadly. The U.S government has issued a strict ‘Level 4: Do not travel’ status for Somalia, due to its high crime levels, the threat of terrorism, and unfortunately, inflated rates of kidnapping and piracy.
What’s unique about this nation is that visitors, including Americans, are subject to the local laws, meaning that a violator, whether intentional or accidental, can be expelled or even imprisoned. Despite offering some wonderful landscapes, it’s in the interest of safety to avoid this place, at least for the foreseeable future.
Not only do you have to obtain a visa in order to be able to enter this country which sits on the Caspian Sea in Central Asia but you’re also required to receive an official letter of invitation certified by the local government. That’s just the tip of the iceberg as well - you need to be accompanied by a registered tour guide 24 hours a day and have a fully planned itinerary.
Compared to the rest of the countries on this list, however, the U.S. government is far less concerned. They certainly advocate for reasonable caution to be taken but they haven’t issued any strict bans, and probably won’t be doing so in the near future.