When you’re planning a vacation, safety might not necessarily be the first thing on your mind when choosing where to go. But, following the recent terrorist attacks and the instability found in previously popular vacation destinations, safety is a serious concern -- not that there is an exact science to it. The U.S. Department of State currently has Travel Warnings or Travel Alerts issued on destinations across the globe ranging from Turkey and the Seychelles to an alert on the whole of Europe, which is so catchall it goes to show that no place can be definitively categorized as "safe" or "unsafe."
Using facts and figures compiled by the world’s leading organizations, which take into account a country’s treatment of tourists, security, murder rate, health, and military interventions, here are seven of the world’s safest travel destinations.
N.B. Wherever you go, we would always endorse staying alert and employing your common sense when traveling.
Singapore is thriving economically; and (definitely related), it is also generally clean, healthy, and safe. So safe, in fact, that the Singapore police ran an anti-crime campaign with the catchphrase “Low crime does not mean no crime” to warn against complacency. An independent state with a hard-line on crime, Singapore is one of the world’s safest travel destinations -- and bonus: home to some of the world’s best hawker markets.
Post-Pinochet, Chile’s democratic stability makes it one of the safest countries in South America. Violent crime is rare and its position at number 29 in the Global Peace Index is the highest of all countries in Latin America. Besides the natural beauty, Chile has the universal appeal of its capital, Santiago, a city that's equal parts hip, historic, and artistic.
Topping The Economist’s Safe Cities Index, Tokyo was the world’s safest city in 2015, which might not come as a surprise to anybody who has visited. Despite being the most densely populated city on the planet, with 38 million inhabitants, the index -- based on the categories such as digital security, health, infrastructure, and personal safety -- established Tokyo’s status as the world’s safest urban metropolis. Osaka is number three on the list.
Though the Global Terrorism Index reported that in 2014, terrorist activity increased to its highest levels since recording began, a recent report from Trip Advisor showed that 67 percent of U.S. vacation travelers still planned to take an international trip in 2015, an increase from 50 percent in 2014. While the survey doesn’t reveal specific destinations, the option of visiting supposedly safer countries might be a factor in travelers' decision making. According to the Global Peace Index, Iceland is currently the world’s safest country to visit, scoring highly thanks to recent heavy investment in tourism and its having one of the world’s lowest murder rates. Aside from safety, hot springs, fjords, and even surfing are part of the Icelandic attraction.
5. New Zealand
Featuring one of the world’s lowest incidences of terrorism and a very low crime rate, New Zealand is pretty close to the natural paradise you expect it to be. Which is a good thing since it is among the top five dream destinations American tourists say they’d visit were money not an object.
If you’re traveling to Sweden alone, then you can visit with the knowledge that its capital and largest city, Stockholm, was the only European (and non-Asian) city to rank in the top five of the world’s safest cities in the category of Personal Safety. Apart from its 13th place in last year’s Global Peace Rankings, other reasons to make Sweden your next vacation include its stunning natural beauty, the excellent shopping in Stockholm, Malmo’s coffee -- or fika -- shops, and the pickled herring.
7. United States
With the Department of State applying travel warnings to most of the world, the U.S. itself is deemed to be one of the safest places to travel, which makes the case for domestic vacations for U.S. citizens. Will Caldwell of The Guardian reports that travelers from the U.K. also view America as a relatively safe destination, with a rise in those planning a U.S. holiday up from 12 percent in 2015 to 32 percent in 2016. For those choosing to "staycation," the charming city of Sunnyvale, California rates as one of the country’s safest.