If you spend your days dreaming of getting away to the perfect foreign country, then you’re not alone — millions of Americans every year are buying tickets to go to countries across the world for a vacation they’ll never forget. While some countries are noted for their love of foreigners and vacationers alike, there are certain places that aren’t quite as friendly. Even if there’s a killer price on a beautiful location, you’ll want to know the ins and outs of your chosen vacation spot before you book your flight — you never know what scary situations you can find yourself in if you don’t do your research first. Here are the top five places to avoid.
Istanbul, the most populated city in Turkey, may seem like the perfect destination due to its beauty and architecture, but the U.S. Department of State warns against any travel in the region, particularly in southeastern Turkey.
Lately, Turkey has been experiencing a number of terrorist threats, which has resulted in increased military activity. These terrorist groups before have specifically targeted U.S. tourists, and extremists also tend to target large sporting events, open markets, and public venues, which are places you’ll most likely want to go when vacationing.
Even U.S. government officials are experiencing travel restrictions in Turkey. Try a different country instead, and steer clear from this one for now.
Seeing the pyramids, reefs, and ruins are all part of the perfect Egypt experience, but this dream destination might sound better in your head than it is in reality. SafeTravel explains Egypt is currently considered a high-risk country for tourists, particularly near the border of Libya. There is a heavy threat of terrorism and kidnapping close to this area, with armed groups present near the border as well.
As for other popular areas in Egypt, such as Cairo, these areas are also considered high-risk for vacationers. The political situation in Egypt is causing civil unrest and heavy terrorist threats, particularly to areas where there are a lot of foreigners present, so travel is heavily cautioned. There have also been several attacks recently in areas where tourism is high that have included explosions, attacks near the popular pyramids, and firearm attacks near government buildings. Hotel bars, restaurants, and resort areas are also deemed unsafe at this time.
If you do find yourself in Egypt, be sure to avoid any protests and large public gatherings. These situations may escalate into violence. If you can stay away, it’s probably the best choice right now.
You can find tons of all-inclusive vacations in the beautiful country of Mexico, but you may want to save this spot for another year. As of now, travelers should avoid many areas in Mexico, such as Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, San Luis Potosi, and Tamaulipas, says USA Today. There are high rates of violence near Mexico’s northern border states because of the narcotic trade as well, so be wary if you’re planning on going to popular areas like Tijuana.
If you’re traveling to Mexico by car, highway robbery and carjacking are big concerns for tourists. If you have a newer or larger vehicle with a U.S. license plate, then you may be targeted — dark SUVs are particularly vulnerable. If you’re traveling around Mexico by taxi, then always get in a “sitio” taxi, as the government regulates them. Other taxi services exist, but you don’t want to take the chance of getting into a dangerous situation. Robbery, assault, and pickpocketing are all common crimes that happen throughout Mexico as well, especially if you’re a tourist, so travel in groups and stay aware of your surroundings at all times.
Syria is rich with history, beautiful ruins, and castles that would make for a beautiful Middle Eastern vacation, but at this time and for the foreseeable future, it’s best to stay away. Lonely Planet explains that in 2011, the Syrian civil war began, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths and mass exiles. While Syrians themselves have paid the biggest price for the conflict, Westerners in the area, such as journalists, and aid workers, have also been publicly kidnapped and executed.
More recently, the U.S. Department of State updated their warning to reflect just how dangerous things have become. One part of the warning reads: “No part of Syria is safe from violence.” Don’t plan to travel to this country any time soon.
When it comes to a beautiful, tropical climate in Central America, it’s hard to beat Honduras. However, due to the high crime rates and the outrageous homicide rate outlined by the U.S. Department of State, you’ll be better off skipping this dangerous country. Throughout Honduras, criminal activity is critically high. For tourists, this means kidnapping, crime, and violence may occur during their stay. Because the Honduran government doesn’t have the resources to prosecute cases and thoroughly investigate crimes, a lot of things fly under the radar, including murder. Honduras has one of the highest homicide rates worldwide, and most of these cases go unresolved.
Highway assaults and carjackings are also commonplace in Honduras in both highly populated and remote areas of the country. Some criminals will even go as far as to create roadblocks or checkpoint areas to convince people they’re with the police. Drug trafficking is not uncommon either, and criminals will resort to violence to carry out their activities.
If you are planning a trip to Honduras with a reputable travel agency and you’re staying at a hotel resort, you should still be extremely cautious and aware of your surroundings, particularly at night. If you’re on a cruise ship that stops on the shores of Honduras, you should still exercise caution, even if you’re with a good company.