10 Places You Should Avoid if Traveling Solo and Their Alternatives
Whether it's choice, a work or family obligation or something else entirely, there are countless solo travelers out there exploring every nook and cranny of the world. Some destinations are perfect for exploring on one's own, while others are best avoided altogether. These ten countries are ones you should consider skipping on your next solo trip.
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Since the Ukrainian Revolution in 2013, civil unrest and government corruption have run rampant in the country, along with some of the highest levels of unemployment and poverty in Europe. Pro-Russia separatists and Russia's involvement in the conflict continue to be a concern, although a new agreement over the War in Donbass was ratified in 2019. Until the coast is clear, solo travelers will want to check out the Ukraine's neighbor Slovakia, instead.
Violent crime is a major concern in Mexico, a country with one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Sharing its northern border with the southern United States, it's believed that Mexico is used like a port by drug traffickers and crime syndicates looking to move marijuana, cocaine and other illegal substances into the United States. Solo travelers looking to explore Central America can head further south to Costa Rica, a safe, stable and beautiful country with a diversified economy, including a burgeoning ecotourism industry.
Egypt has become more dangerous in recent years. The United Nations has condemned the country's persecution of women's rights activists, and the Human Rights Watch declared that the government, which came to power during a military coup in 2013, has laid at least 60,000 with criminal charges. Until political and civil stability come back to Egypt, Tunisia, a lesser-known but no less stunning country in Northern Africa sheltering the ruins of Carthage, is a safer bet.
Ongoing conflicts between the national military and insurgent groups make the Philippines a dangerous place to be for the moment, particularly the southern islands. If tropical beaches and delicious, fresh cuisine are the draw, then nearby Vietnam is the ideal alternative. It may surprise many to learn that the Philippines's neighbor across the South China Sea has low rates of violent crime, and countless solo backpackers have enjoyed the country's vibrant nightlife and scenic landscapes for decades.
Myanmar is currently struggling with high levels of violence and crime, mainly blamed on anti-government rebels, opium and methamphetamine drug trafficking. The country's military government is ranked extremely corrupt by Transparency International. Human rights violations are a major concern, particularly the government's persecution of the Muslim Rohingya minority.
Jamaica is an ideal holiday destination - exciting nightlife, delicious food and beautiful beaches. However, the county's high crime rate makes it a bit of a gamble for the solo traveler. While there's no substitute for the birthplace of reggae, Montserrat, The Cayman Islands, Martinique and Barbados are all Caribbean island destinations that a lone traveler could safely and thoroughly enjoy.
South Africa's economic disparity and social issues make it a dangerous place for a tourist to wander about alone. Violent crime and theft are common, exacerbated by corrupt public officials and racial tensions, so much so that many citizens resort to hiring private security firms and living in gated communities. In stark contrast, Botswana, on South Africa's northern border, is the most peaceful country in Africa, spending 20% of government income on education and enjoying one of the highest standards of living on the continent.
While reported crime is rare in Saudi Arabia, human rights violations via the criminal justice system are an issue. Basic personal freedoms, such as the right to protest, freedom of sexuality and religion are virtually non-existent or even punishable by death. On the other hand, the nearby United Arab Emirates and particularly the emirate of Dubai is working hard to increase tourism to the region, and is a safe option for solo travelers, though it's best to thoroughly research and respect local laws before heading out.
A beautiful country with a deep culture and long history, Afghanistan is still plagued by internal conflicts, political instability and violent crime. It was named the most dangerous country in the world in 2019. Neighboring country Tajikistan has managed to escape much of the conflict, and has recently begun efforts to improve its tourism industry. Tajikistan is a peaceful, mountainous country, with a secular government and one of the highest literacy rates in the world.
Home to the world's tallest waterfall, Angel Falls, Venezuela also has the highest crime rate on the planet. The country's current economic crisis has left a shocking 94 percent of Venezuelans living in poverty as of 2019, with food shortages, inflation and a lack of health care a major concern. Further to the south of the continent, Uruguay, however, is one of the best destinations in Latin America for the lone traveler.
While every traveler needs to be careful, safety is of particular concern to lone travelers. Keeping an eye on travel advisory warnings and staying abreast of local news is one of the best ways to plan a safe trip.