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15 of the Most Dangerous Countries to Visit

Most people have a general idea of the countries they should avoid due to ongoing conflict or poor relationships with the U.S. Places such as Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, and Syria don't exactly bring to mind a safe and carefree vacation. Recently, the World Economic Forum released its annual Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, which studies tourism in 136 nations. The report ranks the most dangerous countries to visit, based on the extent to which tourists may be endangered by crime, terrorism, and violence.

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01 Pakistan

most dangerous countries to visit Pakistan

The continuing presence of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are particularly dangerous to Americans. The government forbids foreigners from traveling in certain regions because of ongoing religious conflict and terrorist activity that has racked the country for decades. The Pakistan armed forces are currently battling militants, mainly in the North-West Frontier, but in other regions as well. The U.S. Department of State recently raised the travel advisory for Pakistan to a level 3: "reconsider travel."

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02 Bangladesh

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Extremist violence continues to plague Bangladesh; political turmoil and ethnic conflicts currently affect millions of Rohingya Muslims. Because of their persecution, they are fleeing Bangladesh. A number of attacks against both Bangladeshi nationals and foreign visitors have occurred over the past few years. Terrorists have threatened, and in some cases killed, writers, publishers, and journalists, including one American blogger. The U.S. Department of State recently set the travel advisory for Bangladesh to a level 2: "exercise increased caution."

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03 Colombia

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One travel site recently named Medellin one of the best tourist destinations in South America. However, armed gangs, drug traffickers, and organized crime groups continue the legacy of the infamous Pablo Escobar, who ruled Colombia for years before he was finally caught. The U.S. Department of State recently set the travel advisory for Colombia to a level 2.

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04 Lebanon

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Its location in the Middle East's most contested territory between Israel and Syria makes Lebanon a dangerous place to visit any time of the year. Hezbollah militants stage frequent roadblocks, and Al-Qaeda continues its presence in the country. The southern part of the country is littered with landmines and unexploded ordinance, and the U.S. Embassy can’t promise you assistance if you need evacuation. Lebanon ranks a level 3 on the U.S. Department of State's travel advisory.

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05 Mali

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Terrorists hit the capital city of Bamako frequently, and attacks also occur in the central and northern parts of Mali, in West Africa. It can be a dangerous place for tourists because many of these terrorist incidents happen at restaurants and hotels. In 2015, several people were taken hostage and later killed in a Radisson hotel in Bamako. The U.S. Department of State firmly advises against travel to Mali at this time, ranking it at a level 4.

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06 Venezuela

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Venezuela has been racked by shortages of basic goods and a spiraling inflation rate. Despite the recent election of Nicolas Maduro as president, the opposition continues to bring civil unrest to the country. Anti-government demonstrations occur almost daily. Violent crime is rampant, frequently targeting upscale neighborhoods and tourist areas. Venezuela is considered the homicide capital of the world. The U.S. Department of State recently raised the travel advisory for Venezuela to a level 3.

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07 Kenya

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The terrorist group Al-Shabaab is a major threat in Kenya. The group killed 147 people at a college in Nairobi in one of its largest operations. Kenya faces extreme threats from insurgent groups originating in Somalia, their next door neighbor. Kenya still hosts tourists without incident every year, but terrorist groups seem to target tourist locations such as nightclubs, shopping areas, resorts, and airports. The country currently sits at a level 2 travel advisory rating.

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08 The Philippines

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Crime, terrorism, civil unrest and an outbreak of measles make the Philippines a dangerous place to travel these days. The State Department warns travelers to avoid the Sulu Archipelago, Marawi City, and the Sulu Sea area, where many foreigners are the target of kidnappings. The government has also declared a “State of National Emergency on Account of Lawless Violence" on the island of Mindanao. An outbreak of measles in the summer of 2018 led to some fatalities. The U.S. Department of State advises travelers "exercise increased caution" in this country.

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09 Ukraine

most dangerous countries to visit

Russian-backed army separatists are fighting the Ukrainian army in the South Eastern and Eastern parts of this country. Many civilians have been killed or flushed from their homes by the fighting. Avoid the regions of Crimea, Donetsk Oblast, and Luhansk oblast. Ukraine is currently ranked at a level 2.

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10 Honduras

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In Honduras, violent crime, such as homicide and armed robbery, is extremely common. Criminal gang activity fuels extortion, violent street crime, narcotics, and human trafficking. Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world. In particular, travelers should stay away from the department of Gracias a Dios, a region of the country almost no one, not even the police, will enter because of drug trafficking and organized gangs. Honduras currently holds a level 3 travel advisory.

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11 Yemen

Architecture in Yemen

Yemen, with its rich history and culture, faces significant healthcare challenges. The limited medical facilities and ongoing conflict make it a challenging destination for travelers. It's vital to have comprehensive health insurance and access to emergency medical evacuation services when exploring Yemen.

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12 Ethiopia

Africa, Ethiopia, huts in a Hamer village in the sunset light

Ethiopia's diverse cultural landscape is as complex as it is beautiful. However, the country's ethnic tensions can lead to unexpected disruptions for travelers. Staying updated on regional conflicts, avoiding areas with known unrest, and respecting local customs and sensitivities are key to a safe journey in Ethiopia.

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13 Belarus

MIR, BELARUS - May 18, 2014: Medieval castle in Mir, Belarus

Belarus, a country with deep historical roots and serene landscapes, is currently grappling with political and economic instability. The aftermath of recent elections has led to widespread protests and unrest. Travelers to Belarus should remain acutely aware of the local political climate, avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place, and stay updated with travel advisories from their respective governments. It's important to navigate this beautiful yet complex destination with caution and awareness of the current situation.

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14 Myanmar

Ancient temple archeology in Bagan after sunset, Myanmar temples in the Bagan Archaeological Zone Pagodas and temples of Bagan world heritage site, Myanmar, Burmar.

Myanmar, known for its majestic pagodas and rich heritage, is currently facing a challenging period of civil unrest. The political situation, especially since the 2021 military coup, has led to widespread instability. Travelers interested in exploring this Southeast Asian nation should exercise extreme caution, stay informed about the latest developments, and avoid regions affected by conflict. It's also advisable to have a solid understanding of the local context and to respect the sensitivities surrounding the current political climate.

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15 Haiti

Sans-Souci Palace in Milot, Haiti

Haiti, a country with a vibrant culture and rich history, is unfortunately prone to natural disasters, including hurricanes and earthquakes. These events can significantly impact travel plans and safety. Visitors to Haiti should be well-prepared for such contingencies, keeping abreast of weather forecasts and having emergency plans in place. Awareness of local disaster response protocols and staying connected with local authorities can greatly enhance safety during a visit to this Caribbean nation.

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