Traveling is good for you, as it promotes positive brain activity. At the same time, as foreigners in unfamiliar territories, there are things we need to be aware of. Our vacations or travel itineraries are supposed to be filled with joyous memories. For most of us, it’s about finding ourselves, since it gives us the time to reflect on our lives. However, there are plenty of desirable locations where the traveling can be tricky—or downright dangerous. Many destinations boast thrilling adventure opportunities but hide precarious personal safety conditions. Here, we are listing some of the most dangerous places for solo travelers.
Although Colombia is considered to be a traveler-friendly destination, like any other country, it has places that can be bad for foreigners. The U.S. Department of State advices travelers to take extreme caution when traveling, especially when traveling alone. Organized crime is high throughout the country and demonstrations and protests occur often, especially in Bogota. Violent crimes are common throughout the day while organized criminal activities are rampant, especially focusing on foreigners. The U.S. Department of State highly suggests foreigners to stay away from Arauca, Cauca (except Popayan), Chocó (except Nuquí), Nariño, and Norte de Santander. (source)
2. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is known as one of Europe’s most enticing cities. At the same time, the Catalonian capital also bears another, more dubious honor: the pickpocket capital of the world. Due to high unemployment rates and scarce legal deterrent for petty crimes, it provides the perfect atmosphere for pickpockets. Foreigners are often targeted since they are unfamiliar with the environment.
They always work in groups and if you ever encounter someone who starts talking to you or accidentally bumps into you while walking the streets, immediately pay attention to your valuables. Pickpockets always have someone as a distraction while another rifles through your bag. (source)
3. El Salvador
Known as the Land of Volcanoes, El Salvador has frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity. Most of the citizens live on the coastline and are poor with no running water or electricity. There is no shortage of crime in the country and the U.S. Department of State has put a travel advisory on the travel destination. If you do wish to travel to El Salvador, be aware of your surroundings and avoid traveling at night; especially alone. While using ATMs, be vigilant, since most crimes focused on tourists take place around banks and ATMs. (source)
4. Cairo, Egypt
Witnessing the Great Pyramids in real-life is something we all have on our bucket lists. Filled with vibrant contrast, Egyptian resorts and culture, the destination is sure to be relaxing and educational. However, the BBC states that Cairo is the “most dangerous” megacity; especially for women. The poll conducted by Thomson Reuters Foundation, ranked London as the megacity most friendly to women while ranking Cairo as the worst. Women’s rights campaigners in Cairo blame centuries-old traditions for the discrimination and ongoing social issues, while the government blames the citizens. (source)
Pakistan is such a huge country, which is comprised of countless different regions, ethnicities, and sub-cultures. While there are some areas that are safe for foreigners, there are areas with increased risk. Crimes targeting transportation hubs, markets, shopping malls, military installations, airports, universities and tourist locations take place without any warning; according to the U.S. Department of State. The USDS also advices not to travel to Balochistan province and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, including the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the Azad Kashmir area. (source)
6. Tijuana, Mexico
Tijuana is located on the border of the U.S .and Mexico. Sitting just 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of San Diego, the city is assessed as Level 2: exercise increased caution according to the current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory. Fugitives from the U.S. escape to Tijuana, and the city is also a transit point for narcotics; making it an extremely dangerous place for tourists. (source)
7. New Delhi, India
The capital of India is mostly safe for foreigners but there are places that are extremely unsafe for women; especially those who travel alone. The state is known for a huge number of attacks on women. Not only is New Delhi known for the Taj Mahal and humid weather, it is also known for scammers who prey on tourists. The USDS also advices travelers to practice extreme caution, especially women who are traveling alone. The USDS also considers India to be a Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution and also suggests not to travel to the state of Jammu and Kashmir (except the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh). (source)
Nigeria is a dollar-friendly country but tourists are asked to reconsider going there. Due to a high amount of crime and piracy concerns, the USDS has recommended advisory while traveling to the country. According to the U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Nigeria, avoid all but essential travel to Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, and Yobe states due to security concerns. The places also have very poor transportation infrastructure as well as unpredictable crimes. (source)
9. Paris, France
The city of love is the perfect getaway for couples. Filled with scenery and romantic atmosphere, it can be the perfect honeymoon destination. However, it is also a hotspot for pickpockets, beggars, and really pushy street vendors who will sell you just about everything you do not need for a high price. Street vendors scour the crowd and target foreigners. They then pressure them into buying cheap products with no value for a hefty price. The city is also filled with pickpockets who target tourists. The USDS advices travelers to practice extreme caution and considers France to be Level 2. (source)
10. Guatemala City, Guatemala
This Central American country just south of Mexico also gets a Level 2 travel advisory from the U.S. State Department. Political tensions, high poverty, unpredictable crimes and trafficking are just a few of the reasons to steer clear. If you do decide to go, make sure you book a hotel with professional security staff and not just a doorman. The USDS also advices to always travel with a security member from the Guatemalan Tourism Institute, to avoid walking or driving at night, using public ATMs, and displaying any signs of wealth, such as wearing watches or jewelry in public. (source)
Not all places in the world are 100% safe. As a traveler, it is your responsibility to learn and be aware of your destinations. Obeying the laws and staying clear of places with travel advisories can surely provide you with a pleasurable experience.