We can all agree that there are some fantastic travel destinations out there, and many of us have a bucket list as long as our own arm, but sometimes we can feel nervous about setting off to a new destination, particularly if we’ve read some scary things about it in the news.
Whether it’s crime in Latin America or terrorism in Europe, rest assured that the statistical likelihood of something bad happening to you is still very low. There are also plenty of practical tips and practises you can implement to reduce the risk of a travel-related incident even further.
For a start, you can register with our site for free and see all the relevant safety advice, as well as tips and hints left by other travellers on countries and territories around the world.
Otherwise, here are 7 destinations that some people still won’t go to because of their fears about various risks. You might also be surprised by some of the countries on the list!
Yes, some people are too nervous to visit Australia.
This mostly relates to fears of dangerous animals such as spiders, sharks, crocs and jellyfish. We now have flesh-eating sea lice to think about as well, so thank you Australia.
However, rest assured, millions of people still visit the country every year, and surprise, surprise, the overwhelming majority of these people don’t get eaten by a shark or attacked by a rabid Koala. Even the majority of Australians manage to spend most of their lives unaffected, particularly in the well-developed parts of the country where most travellers visit – and indeed where most Australians actually live.
Starling Safety ranks Australia as being in the safest 10% of the world’s countries. Society is stable, healthcare is good and the crime rate is low. You have to be respectful of local geographic conditions if you intend to travel into the interior but otherwise there’s very little to worry about.
People are often too scared to visit South Africa because of the risk of crime. We aren’t going to pretend that it doesn’t exist, but there are a lot of falsehoods out there about what the conditions are like in the country.
There are places that should be avoided, particularly after dark, and you need to take care when driving and in your accommodation, but once you’ve got the basic procedures in place you should be able to enjoy wine-drinking in Stellenbosch, driving the Garden Route or visiting the country’s national parks and world heritage sites unhindered.
Millions of people visit every year and suffer no ill-effects at all.
Like South Africa, the main concerns in Brazil revolve around crime.
Again, the risk can be significantly reduced if you avoid poorer areas and refrain from walking around dark streets at night. Don’t flash expensive jewellery or equipment around (tablets, smartphones etc) and be sensible with the places you visit. Get to know your destination, familiarise yourself with a map and make sure you avoid the favelas.
Otherwise, enjoy the atmosphere, the beaches and the fun nightlife – several million other travellers do so every year and don’t get caught out by criminals.
The main traveller concerns about India tend to revolve around disease and poverty. Rest assured that by travelling to the country you are helping stimulate the economy, with tourism accounting for nearly 10% of the country’s GDP. Visiting the country equates to doing your part in the fight for poverty alleviation.
As regards diseases, be sensible and get properly vaccinated before you trip. Check whether or not you require malaria medication (it depends on where you’re going) and adopt anti-mosquito measures to lower the risk of being bitten. Otherwise, be rigorously hygienic and eat only in places that you think have proper food preparation techniques in place.
Starling Safety marks down India’s travel safety rating because of car accidents, so take care on the road. The overall safety score is also affected by things such as political violence, but most of the related issues happen far away from the usual tourism hotspots so don’t worry about those.
Otherwise, the crime rate is low, the culture is rich and you’re almost certainly going to have a trip you’ll never forget – or regret!
It’s the militants isn’t it?
Yes, militant groups still have a presence in Lebanon and yes, it’s located in the heart of a very turbulent part of the world, but this has never stopped the Lebanese from having a good time. Beirut’s nightlife is legendary while the country is absolutely steeped with history and culture. We are a long way from the dark days of the civil war and it would be a terrible waste to miss everything this amazing country has to offer.
Far from a hotbed of sectarian tension as it can sometimes be portrayed, Lebanon is actually a cosmopolitan haven in the region, known for its hospitality and warm welcomes. The cuisine and wines are exquisite and the Mediterranean climate makes it one of the most pleasant parts of the Middle East. Even the militant groups respect the importance of tourism and culture in the country. For the most case, it isn’t in their interests to disrupt the sector.
From a day-to-day basis conditions are calm and a trip here will probably be one of your most enjoyable anywhere. It’s the sort of destination that once someone has visited, they tend to come back again and again.
Is it the weather? The attitudes towards foreigners? Lingering mistrust almost 30 years since the end of the Cold War?
There are different reasons why some people wouldn’t want to visit Russia, but they are mostly misplaced. Today it is one of the most visited countries in the world, with over 30 million tourists coming every year.
Starling Safety marks the country down for issues such as crime, so take sensible precautions. Don’t wander alone around dark alleyways at night for instance, and organise reliable taxis for your journeys rather than hailing people in the street.
The country is also affected by political violence, but this is almost all restricted to areas very far from the usual tourist hotspots, such as the North Caucasus.
Otherwise, the weather can be extremely cold in the winter, but experts say that this can be the best time to visit.
Yes, you read that right! The winter is when you can see Russia at her most authentic. Wrap up warm and indulge in food and drink – you’ll burn off the calories keeping away the chill.
Take in the nightlife, visit some of the country’s numerous World Heritage Sites and enjoy a unique culture forged through distinctive history and geographic conditions.
We will finish with what is likely to emerge as one of the top travel destinations of the coming years.
Colombia’s brand is still being harmed by narco-criminals and a civil war with the FARC rebel group, but ongoing peace talks are proving to be one of the most optimistic developments in Latin America for years and the crime rate has fallen considerably.
Healthcare is very good, the culture is rich, people are friendly and the nightlife is fun. You can get around using uber and you’re likely to come home absolutely raving about how much of a good time you had.
So in summary, is Australia safe to visit? Yes. What about India? Yes. South Africa? Yes. Brazil, Lebanon, Russia and Colombia?
Yes, they are all safe to visit.
Take some basic precautions and know the areas you are specifically travelling to before joining millions of other tourists who visit these countries every year without incident.
For the best information, register with our site for free and see all the relevant safety advice, as well as tips and hints left by other travellers on each country.
Or why don’t you leave your own tips and advice for somewhere you’ve been recently yourself? The more everyone contributes to the site, the better it will be for all of us!