Travel is a subjective part of life where everyone has his or her own preferences. Some people prefer to visit large cities, some to beaches, and other to forests. The best countries to travel to are highly subjective, however, there are countries that are objectively the worst to travel to.
The U.S. State Department categorizes countries around the world into four levels: Exercise Normal Precautions (Level 1), Exercise Increased Caution (Level 2), Reconsider Travel (Level 3), and Do Not Travel (Level 4). The State Department labels specific threats that determine these advisories, such as crime, terrorism, civil unrest, health risks, and natural disasters.
There are currently 12 countries with level 4 travel advisories. According to the U.S. State Department, these are currently the worst countries to travel to. These countries are:
- North Korea
- South Sudan
- The Central African Republic
North Korea currently has a travel ban put in place by the United States government on January 27, 2017. The ban is expected to remain in place well into 2020. The ban was put into place after an American student Otto Warmbier was imprisoned in North Korea and returned to the United States in a coma, passing one week later. In order for a U.S. citizen to travel to North Korea, he or she would need to obtain a special passport from the U.S. government.
Somalia’s travel advisory is the most recently updated as of October 28, 2019. Somalia is facing issues with piracy, crime, health issues, civil unrest, and kidnapping. Somali pirates are known for hijacking ships off the coast of Somalia, especially in the Horn of Africa, robbing the ships or holding the crew and passenger hostage in exchange for ransom. Terrorists in Somalia continue to plot bombings in Somalia in places with large crowds and with frequent Western visitors such as airports, seaports, hotels, shopping centers and more.
Syria is currently facing terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict. There is no part of Syria is safe from violence. Syria’s security has been a large problem due to long-standing border issues with Israel, Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Syria is known for providing support to terrorist organizations such as ISIS and al-Nusrah, which is a crime under US law. Additionally, Americans and Westerners are at risk of facing violence and kidnappings in Syria, with abductions being a common occurrence since 2012.
All advisories from the U.S. State Department should be checked before traveling to a different country.