Top 10 Controversial Travel Destinations: Are They Safe Or Not Safe?

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Earlier this week the writers and editors at Budget Travel published a slideshow listing their opinions of controversial travel destinations around the globe, and offered up reasons as to whether they are currently safe, or not safe, for Americans to visit.

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Here are the destinations that are currently considered safe to travel by Budget Travel:

  • Paris – in wake of the terror attacks use precautions in crowds
  • Hati – safe if you take precautions such as staying in U.S. based hotel chains
  • Greece – despite economic uncertainty, and the influx of migrant refugees, it is still relatively safe
  • Israel – most is safe but “U.S. Department of State strongly warns Americans not to visit the Gaza Strip and most areas of the West Bank (other than Jericho and Bethlehem)”
  • Cuba – after decades of the island being considered off-limits to US citizens, recently relaxed travel rules are making the communist-ruled island safer for Americans
  • Mexico – relatively safe as long as you stick to major cities and resort/beach towns
  • Indonesia – is safe if you’re content to stick to Jakarta, Bali, and other ‘on-the-beaten-path’ tourist destinations
  • Zika Prone Destinations – areas such as Barbados, Brazil, Colombia, and Puerto Rico are experiencing outbreaks of the mosquito born virus, but are generally considered safe UNLESS you are pregnant

Here are the places Budget Travel listed as NOT as safe to visit:

  • Kenya – but maybe consider going with a quality guide (?)
  • Egypt – if you go, stick to the famous and well traveled sites

Personally, I thought it was strange that Turkey wasn’t included in the list at all.  I would consider Istanbul relatively safe if you stick to the Sultanahmet – the touristic old city that is walking distance to the historical sights including the Topkapı Palace, Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia), the Blue Mosque, the Byzantine Hippodrome, and the Basilica Cistern. I also think that the Turkish cruise port of Kusadasi- where you can explore nearby ancient city of Ephesus – is also relatively safe.

Bottom Line:

Common sense and good judgement are two of your best assets when traveling abroad.  A couple common travel strategies are to avoid areas with severe political and economic unrest, and avoid areas know for large scale demonstrations which can often turn violent.  The U.S. Department of State also has a few web-based resources: Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings found at travel.state.gov and the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) which allows you to receive security messages in addition to making it easier to locate you in an emergency.

Have you been in any harmful or unusual travel situations while overseas?  Feel free to tell us your story.

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