For many travelers, the world is a magnificent place full of wonder at every turn. With every adventure to international cities, we learn something new about ourselves, the human condition, and how we see ourselves through the lens of other cultures. However, for all of the great places we experience, there are also many very dangerous destinations that may not welcome foreign travelers.
The dangers go beyond petty taxi cab scams and pickpocket theft. In some international cities, armed gangs are much more brazen in their attacks, specifically targeting western travelers. As a result, tourists and business travelers may be assaulted, attacked, and injured in the name of terrorism, robbery, or other motives.
Some locations are more dangerous than others - especially for travelers who like to go alone. Those who are planning a solo trip to these five cities should consider their plans carefully, or purchase a strong travel insurance policy.
With political unrest and violence becoming a way of life, the U.S. State Department is warning American travelers to stay away from travel to the country of Venezuela, including the capital of Caracas. The situation has gotten so bad, several airlines have stopped flying to Venezuela.
According to the State Department travel warning, political unrest and protests often lead to escalating violence between protesters and police, resulting in deaths and arrests. The warning cautions: "Demonstrations typically elicit a strong police and security force response that includes the use of tear gas, pepper spray, water cannons and rubber bullets against participants, and occasionally devolve into looting and vandalism." Additionally, gangs have been known to incite violence against individuals, ranging from muggings to murder.
Before planning a trip to Venezuela, travelers are cautioned to consider their plans and travels very carefully to avoid the escalating violence. American embassy employees have been voluntarily evacuated, which could result in limited consular services available.
The vibrant and historic capital of Colombia, Bogota is an industrial international city located in the heart of the nation. Known for producing some of the world's finest coffee and beautiful flowers, thousands of Americans visit Bogota and rural Colombia every year for cultural studies, volunteer work, and tourism. However, many who make plans to see this destination may not understand that it is also one of the most dangerous destinations for western travelers.
Terrorist organizations, drug cartels, and armed street gangs all have a significant and visible presence across Colombia. According to the State Department travel warning updated June 2017: "U.S. citizens should exercise caution, as violence linked to domestic insurgency, narco-trafficking, crime, and kidnapping occur in some rural and urban areas." U.S. Government employees are not allowed to use buses, and only travel during the day, while visitors are cautioned to pay attention to their surroundings and keep a personal safety plan.
While traveling to Bogota can be a rewarding experience, it also comes with a high level of risk. Those planning to visit should make sure they have a safety plan in place, and make sure they keep a contingency kit in the event of an emergency.
Mexico City, Mexico
Every day, over 150,000 people legally cross the border between the United States and Mexico to visit a coastal resort, see family and friends, or do business. Mexico is a popular and easily accessible destination for many travelers, and the capital of Mexico City is no exception.
While the media focuses on violence in cities that border the United States, Mexico City is also known for violence against solo travelers, including mugging, assault, and even kidnapping. Women traveling alone are advised not to utilize public transportation at night, due to the risks from gangs. Moreover, Mexico City is also known for high amounts of pollution, with smog being a major problem throughout the international city.
While many travel to Mexico City without any problems every year, it pays dividends to stay vigilant while abroad. Those with plans to visit this city should make a safety plan ahead of their travels.
New Delhi, India
A budding commerce center of India, New Delhi is an international city that attracts business travelers from around the world. However, New Delhi is discovering not only their identity in the global community, but also the dangers that come with expansive growth. One of those dangers comes in the threat of sexual assault - especially to women.
Both the British Foreign Ministry and the U.S. Department of State warn that sexual assaults of female visitors remains a concern for solo travelers. The alleged assaults have not been isolated to American travelers: travelers from Denmark, Germany, and Japan claim they have been sexually harassed or assaulted while traveling in New Delhi. Women with solo travel plans to New Delhi are encouraged to create a safety plan prior to their travels, and are strongly encouraged to travel in groups.
A popular layover destination for tourists seeking a tropical vacation, the international city of Jakarta offers travelers a healthy dose of adventure in a truly unique culture. However, what lurks just under the surface is a number of threats that can turn a dream holiday into a nightmare.
According to the British Foreign Ministry, threats of terrorism and kidnapping of foreigners are the two main safety concerns that visitors need to be aware of. In addition, Jakarta also sits along a series of fault lines known as the "Ring of Fire." This leaves the region susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis without warning. Those planning to visit the area should consider purchasing travel insurance early, in order to take benefit of all benefits in the event a trip turns bad.
While the world can be a wonderful place, danger is always just around the corner. By understanding the different forms the danger takes and which international cities are most susceptible, modern adventurers can make sure their travels go without danger as they boldly traverse the globe.