Worst Places to Travel To in 2024: 19 Countries to Avoid

A traveler stands with a suitcase, looking out of an airport window as a plane takes off.

Visiting new countries and exploring new cultures is an amazing experience – it’s exciting, not super difficult, and, in most cases, quite safe. Plus, you can easily find a variety of resources to help you plan a trip to the most popular tourist destinations. However, have you ever wondered about other destinations or thought about the worst places to travel to?

Well, I certainly know that I have wondered about the not-so-desirable destinations, and that inspired me to do some research and compare many countries to discover what is the worst place to visit in the entire world. Even though I didn’t come up with one definitive answer, I managed to create a list of the 19 countries that are a no-go for travelers.

The list of the worst travel destinations is separated into continents, so if you have a specific geographic area in mind, you’ll know what to avoid. Better yet, for each of the countries featured on this list, I provide an alternative destination where you can have a pleasant holiday and list several reasons why it’s a good destination for your travels!

Now, let’s take a look into some of the less desirable parts of the globe!


Europe is generally a safe place to travel to; millions of people flock to the continent every year, and the overwhelming majority report pleasant experiences. However, there are a couple of places you would do best to avoid.

1. Belarus

Aerial view of a small island with a monument, surrounded by water and autumn-colored trees. Nearby, there is a cityscape featuring a mix of modern and traditional buildings under a setting sun.

Bordering Russia to the East, Belarus is not just close to a war zone, it’s also an active facilitator in the war. Russian military forces are widely present in the country, and there’s also a buildup of weapons near the border, so it’s possible that the conflict might spread here at any moment.

But these are not the main reasons why you should avoid visiting Belarus; the current government arbitrarily enforces the law, and there’s always a risk of detention for foreign citizens. So, unless you don’t want to be unlawfully detained for just being in the country, skip this country and move on to the next.

Best alternative destination: Poland – it has an incredibly rich history and culture and a very unusual (and tasty) cuisine

2. Ukraine

A large statue stands on a hill, overlooking a river and a modern city with numerous high-rise buildings. Green trees are in the foreground under a partly cloudy sky.

Unfortunately, Ukraine is an active war zone, and there’s a constant risk of missile and drone attacks, even in former tourist areas like the capital city, Kyiv. So far, the war has resulted in a large number of civilian casualties, and you don’t want to risk your life while traveling.

Ukraine used to be one of the most popular travel destinations in this region of Europe – it has many historic landmarks and immense natural beauty. Hopefully, once the war is over, the country will be restored to its former glory (and safety), and you will be able to visit it one day.

Best alternative destination: Romania – it boats a few well-preserved medieval towns and many beautiful churches and monasteries


The Asian continent is home to some of the most dangerous countries in the world, as well as some of the most developed ones. There’s a stark difference between one destination in Asia and the next, so here’s a list of the ones you should avoid:

3. Syria

Ruins of an ancient structure with tall columns and an arch under a partly cloudy sky, viewed from an angle.

Syris is a high-risk destination and has been since the start of the civil war in 2011. The ongoing conflict between rebel forces and terrorist groups is extremely violent and has resulted in many casualties and the destruction of many cultural sites.

Foreign travelers face the risk of being kidnapped, injured, or unlawfully detained by the government. And if this wasn’t enough to turn you away, Syria imposes strict visa requirements, so it’s unlikely you’ll be granted access to the country.

Best alternative destination: Lebanon – it has gorgeous ancient towns, numerous hiking trails, and amazing cuisine

4. Iraq

A bustling square with fountains and green spaces surrounded by crowded streets and historic buildings. Many people are walking and socializing.

Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region, is under constant threat of terrorist activity. Bombings and drone attacks are constantly reported across the country, with targets ranging from government and religious buildings to vehicles and residential areas, so it’s equally dangerous for tourists and locals alike.

Even though Iraq has an incredibly rich history, hospitable people, and much lower prices compared to other countries, the risks of traveling here still outweigh the benefits, so I advise you hold off on your trip until the situation in Iraq settles down.

Best alternative destination: Jordan – the country has many noteworthy attractions, especially the ancient city of Petra

5. Iran

Urban skyline with a prominent tower under evening sky, mountains in the background, including a snow-capped peak.

Much like other Middle Eastern countries, Iran faces the threat of terrorist attacks. Although the country has many distinct monuments that are worth visiting, such as the Imam Reza shrine, one of the largest mosques in the world, there’s still a high risk of terrorist activity, even in places of worship and tourist areas.

In case you’re determined to visit Iran, be prepared to undergo a lengthy and complicated visa process. What personally turns me away is the country’s treatment of women, and as a woman myself, I would not dare to travel here and potentially face the brutal treatment Iranian women are sadly experiencing.

Best alternative destination: Azerbaijan – it has stunning landscapes, amazing architecture, and affordable prices in both hotels and restaurants

6. Afghanistan

A brightly colored tiled facade of a mosque featuring intricate geometric patterns and arched windows, set against a clear blue sky.

For years, Afghanistan had the highest percentage of terrorist attacks in the world, and although it’s not currently at the top of the list, little has changed in terms of safety. The capital city, Kabul, which has been under Taliban rule since 2021, is extremely unsafe for foreigners, especially for visitors from Western countries.

Kidnapping is a very real risk in Afghanistan, as well. Even if you’re staying in a city, you can still be kidnapped, especially at night. Other concerns about traveling to Afghanistan include not being able to cross the border to exit the country and not being able to use any foreign cards or exchange foreign currency.

Best alternative destination: Nepal – home to most of the world’s highest mountains that attract many visitors each year; just avoid the rainy season

7. Yemen

Aerial view of a densely built city with traditional brown buildings, numerous minarets, and distant mountains under a partly cloudy sky.

Yemen is experiencing an ongoing armed conflict and poses several risks for travelers, including bombings, land mines, kidnappings, and health risks. No part of the country is safe, including Socotra Island, native home to the dragon’s blood trees; even though the trees are a sight to behold, the island is a breeding ground for criminal activity, so I’d skip this, too.

Some other unsafe countries in the Middle East can provide organized tours and guarantee the safety of tourists, but unfortunately, Yemen can’t guarantee the safety of anyone entering the country. Many Western embassies have closed due to the security station, so you’re also unlikely to get assistance from your native country.

Best alternative destination: United Arab Emirates – major cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi boast futuristic architecture, amazing restaurants, and many shopping opportunities.

8. Myanmar

Golden pagoda with a tall spire at sunset, surrounded by smaller structures and visitors walking around. Sky shows blue and pink hues.

In recent years, Myanmar has witnessed countless cases of violent crime, both among local communities and foreign travelers. Even though the country has been welcoming tourists since 2010 (it wasn’t open for tourism before then), the military rule in Myanmar turns away many people interested in this destination.

Myanmar is also one of the worst places in the world for journalist freedom, so we have very little information on what exactly is going on in the country’s day-to-day life. However, we do know that some foreign reporters were unjustly jailed, and we also have reports on foreigners being kidnapped, even during the day and from public places.

Best alternative destination: Thailand – one of my favorite places to recommend, offering beautiful beaches, bustling cities, rich culture, and mouth-watering food

9. North Korea

Wide cityscape view featuring a tall communications tower and several modern buildings. A large statue and well-landscaped areas are also visible in the foreground.

Well, you were probably wondering when I was going to mention North Korea, and of course, I couldn’t create a list of the most dangerous countries without including it. Even though criminal activity in North Korea is not as prevalent, and there’s virtually no risk of terrorist attacks, the country has probably the most repressive regime in the world.

The first thing to keep in mind is that it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to visit North Korea at all; the visa requirements are extremely strict, and people are often denied access for no reason. But in the case, you are granted a visa, you will constantly have to be accompanied by a government employee, and you won’t be allowed to take photos or talk to the locals.

The main risk of visiting North Korea, especially if you’re from a Western country, is unlawful detention. And, if you are detained, the negotiation process with your native country could take years, and you don’t want to be stuck in a North Korean prison for that long.

Best alternative destination: South Korea – the country has a unique culture, a bustling nightlife, and tasty food – just get ready for the long lines in the nightclubs.


Sadly, Africa is the most impoverished continent on the globe, and in some parts of the continent, most people live below the poverty line. Seeing as the living conditions in some African countries are far from ideal; it’s no surprise that the tourism industry is not as developed – the high crime rate in some countries and oppressive regimes also contribute to the fact that a few countries found their way to this list.

10. Libya

Skyline of a city featuring a mix of modern high-rises and traditional buildings under a clear blue sky.

The high crime rate in Libya is the main factor that deters travelers from exploring the rich history of this country. There is a constant threat of armed conflict, and foreigners are at risk of being kidnapped for ransom.

Libya is a country that has a lot to offer and a large tourism potential, and even though the situation is not extremely dangerous at the moment, things could take a turn for the worse at any point. So, if I were you, I’d hold off on visiting Libya for at least a couple more years or until things settle down completely.

Best alternative destination: Egypt – it offers countless ancient treasures, some great beaches, and many adventure activities

11. Ethiopia

Aerial view of a street lined with cars and buildings in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the cityscape and construction cranes visible in the background. Colorful flags are strung across the street.

The threat of civil unrest in Ethiopia is quite high, as well as the likelihood of terrorist attacks. The whole city of Addis Ababa is under constant threat of attack, even in places frequented by tourists, such as hotels and restaurants. Unfortunately, poverty is also very evident in the city, and it’s a very unpleasant thing to witness.

In case you decide to visit, keep in mind that you won’t be allowed to take any photos, the traffic can be extremely difficult to navigate, and communicating with the local people can be tricky as well – people report that not too many locals speak English. Tourists should also be aware that petty crime is also quite prevalent in Ethiopian cities.

Best alternative destination: Kenya – it has a rich culture, stunning beaches, and the most impressive wildlife, so it’s the perfect destination if you want to embark on a safari

12. Central African Republic

A group of people in traditional clothing sit outdoors on a log, holding spears, with a dry landscape and trees in the background.

The Central African Republic, also known by the acronym CAR, has experienced political instability ever since it gained its independence back in the 1960s. Demonstrations are quite common, and they can often become violent; unfortunately, foreign visitors can get caught in the middle of it.

The capital city, Bangui, is dotted with armed patrols and roadblocks, and gang activity is quite common. Besides violent crime, there are certain health risks to visiting the Central African Republic, such as contracting the Zika virus or Dengue fever. If you do visit, you will have to receive vaccinations for many diseases, but I’d still advise against traveling here.

Best alternative destination: South Africa – the country boasts some beautiful beaches, has a very diverse culture, and it’s also a great place for a safari experience

13. Sudan

Ancient pyramid structures partially buried in sand, with weathered walls and stone steps. Clear blue sky in the background.

Sudan, particularly the capital city Khartoum, has an ongoing armed conflict, and criminal activity – everything from pickpocketing to militant attacks – is quite prevalent in the country. Furthermore, people that visit the country are constantly asked for money, i.e., a bribe, so if you do wish to visit, be prepared to overpay for everything.

People who have visited Sudan report that the visa process was lengthy, and if you want to take photos, you need an additional photography permit. Also, you’ll need to have a full security detail to accompany you for the duration of your stay and protect you from unwanted attacks – it is an authentic experience, albeit a costly one.

Best alternative destination: Tunisia – the capital city, Medina, is stunning, and the food is super delicious

14. Somalia

Aerial view of a coastal town with a pier extending into the water, numerous buildings, and arid landscape in the background.

Situated in the Horn of Africa, Somalia is the Easternmost country on the African continent. Unfortunately, the security situation in Somalia is very volatile, and there’s a constant risk of domestic terrorism. Kidnappings are also a common occurrence, and violent crime is omnipresent in the country.

Another reason why you should cross off Somalia from your to-visit list is the health situation, seeing as cholera is still prevalent – if you absolutely have to visit, avoid drinking the water. Droughts are common during the summer, while rainy weather often results in floods, which contributes to the widespread famine around the country.

NOTE: I have to mention Somali pirate attacks; even though they’re not a direct threat to travelers, there have been cases of Somali pirates attacking cruise ships off the coast of Somalia. Just keep this in mind if you’re going on a cruise along the coast of Africa – it’s an unlikely scenario, but it’s best to be aware of the situation.

Best alternative destination: Tanzania – home to Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, and Zanzibar, an island with amazing beaches and lively beach parties

15. Burkina Faso

A large, reddish-orange brick building with blue circular details on the windows. Three people walk outside, surrounded by a spacious, sandy courtyard with a few rectangular bases.

Besides being one of the hottest countries in the world, Burkina Faso is also a very dangerous place, with a high level of political instability, a constant threat of terrorist attacks and kidnappings, as well as civil unrest.

Insurgent attacks are quite common in the country, and no place is safe from them, including places of worship, police stations, and urban areas that might be frequented by tourists. Other concerns for people traveling to Burkina Faso are rabid dogs and other wild animals and the risk of contracting rabies, as well as the lack of treatment options for the disease.

Best alternative destination: Morocco – the country has amazing cuisine and gorgeous architecture, as well as some of the most stunning Saharan views; although some people deem Casablanca as a boring city – I still think it’s worth a visit

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Central & South America

In this last section of the post, I’ll be covering the countries that you best skip when exploring Central and South America. Some of these countries have the highest crime rate in the world, and are quite dangerous for locals and tourists alike.

16. Haiti

A densely packed hillside community with numerous small buildings under a clear blue sky, interspersed with trees and colorful foliage. Mountains are visible in the background.

Haiti is a country in Central America, specifically on the Hispaniola Island in the Caribbean Sea. In addition to a large number of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and cyclones, Haiti is also plagued by high rates of violent crime, poverty, and famine.

Kidnappings for money, i.e., ransom, are a very serious concern in the country and one of the main reasons why I advise against spending your holiday in Haiti. Other widespread crimes in Haiti include armed robberies and carjackings.

Best alternative destination: The Dominican Republic – situated on the same island as Haiti, this country is a lush tropical paradise for beach lovers and surfers

17. Honduras

Aerial view of a circular structure with a tall central tower surrounded by greenery at sunset. A flag flies on the central tower. The city landscape extends to the horizon with mountains in the background.

Moving to Honduras, another country in Central America that unfortunately sees many instances of violent crime and drug activity. In many parts of the country, there’s no police presence or any type of security services.

Honduras is one of the poorest countries in Latin America and has one of the highest murder rates, so governments of many different countries advise against all non-essential travel to the country. Unlike in many other countries on this list, US citizens are better received in Honduras, but I’d still advise checking out some other destinations in Central America.

Best alternative destination: Belize – a small country that’s easy to navigate, with gorgeous white sand beaches and the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world

18. Venezuela

A scenic coastline with turquoise waters, sandy beaches, and green hills. In the distance, there is a lighthouse on a small hill. The sky is clear with a few clouds.

Venezuela has the highest crime rate in the entire world: homicides, kidnappings, and armed robberies are very common in the country, and no one is safe, neither locals nor tourists. The unemployment rates are constantly rising, so people are often turning to criminal activity to make a living and often target foreigners.

Some of the most stunning natural wonders in Latin America are found in Venezuela, and that might be enough to convince some people to travel here. Once again, I have to tell you that regardless of its natural beauty, you need to avoid all non-essential travel to this country,

Best alternative destination: Colombia – is a country with a very diverse natural landscape and is home to many magnificent national parks and beaches

19. Bolivia

People gathering around a large statue with pigeons on a sunny day in a public square surrounded by historic buildings.

Bolivia takes the final spot on the list of the worst places to travel right now. Although it’s not as dangerous as some of the other countries featured on this list, it can still be unsafe for international travelers. The main concern when traveling to Bolivia is civil unrest, as protests and demonstrations (often violent) are very common in the country.

However, there are also other risks of visiting Bolivia; muggings are very common, so even if you do visit, you shouldn’t walk alone, especially at night. Also, if you find yourself here, don’t drink the tap water, as there’s always a risk of contracting a tropical disease.

Best alternative destination: Peru – the country is home to the ancient Inca ruins, the people are super friendly, and the food is awesome

Places to exercise caution

A hand holding a passport with a boarding pass, standing in an airport terminal with a blurred background of travelers and luggage.

In an ideal world, all countries would be safe, and travel would be affordable for everyone. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and as you can see from the list above, many places around the world are unsafe travel destinations and what’s even more disappointing is that there are plenty of other places that can be risky for travelers.

I want to help you make informed decisions before you travel anywhere, so I also compiled a brief list of places where you should exercise caution while traveling. Don’t get me wrong – I still recommend you visit all of these places; just put your safety alert on high and take some extra precautions before you embark on your trip.

  • Russia – as you probably know, Russia is at war with Ukraine, and although Russian territory is much safer than Ukraine, it can still be quite dangerous. Additionally, many nationalities need a visa to enter Russia, so it can be difficult to get approved for a visa and gain entry, especially if you’re a US citizen.
  • Georgia – I’m not talking about the US state of Georgia, but the country that stretches on both the European and Asian continents. The country is generally safe, although there’s a small risk of terrorist activity and violent crime.
  • India – this is a vast and beautiful country, and it attracts quite a lot of tourists. However, tourist scams are quite common in the country, and people will try to get money from you in many different situations. Petty crime is also prevalent, so keep your valuables close at hand and well-protected.
  • Egypt – the main thing you should be careful of on your trip to Egypt is tourist scams; the locals will try to constantly sell you something and also, overcharge you for it in the process.
  • Costa Rica – in recent years, Costa Rica has become a very desirable tourist destination, and it’s definitely worth a visit. Once again, I have to warn you of the tourist scams that are especially widespread in popular tourist areas.
  • Brazil – this South American gem is a must-visit for everyone, IMO, but unfortunately, it’s experiencing high levels of crime, and tourists can get in the crossfire or be targeted, especially if they’re displaying valuable items.
  • Mexico – just like Brazil, Mexico is battling high crime rates, and although the criminal activity is mainly drug and gang-related, you should still be extra cautious if you want to vacation in Mexico.
  • Major US cities – lastly, I want to warn you that you should also be super cautious in major US cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Portland, and Atlanta – street crime is very prevalent here, which is not surprising seeing as there are large homeless populations and high unemployment rates.

FAQs about the worst places to travel

A person with a hat and backpack stands by a wooden fence along a lake, with mountains in the distance on a cloudy day.

❌ What are the least safe vacation destinations?

The worst vacation spots in terms of safety are Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Iraq, and Libya. Each of these countries has an ongoing armed conflict and is under constant threat of terrorist attacks.

🚫 What is the number 1 least visited country?

Tuvalu, a remote island nation in the Pacific Ocean, is the least-visited country in the world, with only 3,700 visitors per year. However, that doesn’t mean the country isn’t safe; it doesn’t get many visitors due to its remote location and the difficult visa application.

🙅 Which country in the world is hardest to visit?

The hardest country to visit in the world is North Korea; the country is ruled by an oppressive regime, and its borders are closed to international visitors. Getting a visa for North Korea is an extremely long and difficult process, and often unsuccessful.

❓ Where is overtourism most common?

Phuket, Thailand, is a popular tropical getaway. It boasts beautiful beaches and attracts many digital nomads, but unfortunately, it’s battling over tourism issues. It is estimated that Phuket was visited by 118 tourists per 1 local resident in 2023.

Final thoughts on the worst places to travel to

A traveler wearing a straw hat and backpack stands in a train station, looking at the electronic schedule board.

That’s the end! Thank you for reading my (fairly) comprehensive list of the worst places to travel. Hopefully, you now have a better idea of which countries to avoid on your next trip.

Lucky for you, I provided alternatives for each of the high-risk countries on this list, so if you wanted to visit any of the dangerous countries, you now have a backup plan.

In case you have a different opinion on the worst places to travel in the world, please let me know in the comment section below. And if you have any other questions or concerns about traveling somewhere, feel free to ask – I’m more than happy to assist you!

Have fun traveling cautiously,


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