It's still possible to have a safe trip, but smart travelers should educate themselves.
Even the most adventurous traveler is generally not prepared to gamble with their life while on vacation — but that doesn’t mean that it’s necessary to avoid places some people may consider dangerous.
In fact, the very idea of “dangerous travel,” can be manipulated depending on different statistical approaches.
Last month, Priceonomics published a report on the world’s most dangerous countries for Americans. The report examined the number of travel warnings issued by the state department, number of Americans killed abroad and the efficacy of these warnings.
Although the State Department issued the most travel warnings for Mexico, Mali, and Israel over the past few years, Americans were actually much more likely to find harm in Honduras, Thailand, or Pakistan.
From 2009 to 2017, Mexico topped the list of most travel warnings issued — even though touristy areas like Mexico City and the Yucatan Peninsula are generally considered safe. However, for Americans who head off the beaten path, things can get a bit more dicey. In that same time period, Mexico also had the highest number of Americans killed on their soil, but Priceonomics is quick to note that many more Americans travel to Mexico than anywhere else on the list.
When the data is adjusted to account for Americans per capita, Pakistan turns out to be the most dangerous country. After that, Thailand, the Philippines, Haiti, and Honduras round out the five most dangerous countries.
The rest of the dangerous countries on the list are generally ones battling international conflict, terrorism, or drug cartels.
However, Americans are able to safely visit these countries every year. For more localized information on specific areas to avoid in each country, check the State Department’s travel alerts and warnings.
And for more data about which countries have the most travel warnings (and whether or not these warnings are actually effective), see Priceonomics' full report.