The Worst Countries to Travel as a Woman

Female travelers might want to avoid these countries

It's a weird world if you're a woman – I of course say this as a man, looking outward. On one hand, women are in places of power like never before in modern history, from female leaders like Angela Merkel and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchener, to industry-leading musicians, movie stars and other celebrities, to activists like Malala Yousafzai, who really need no labels associated with them.

At the same time, women face a number of challenges in today's world, particularly in developing countries where the legal system does not protect them or, in some cases, actively works agains them. While it's tempting to think that horrible fates only befall women who live in a particularly country – not that this would make them any less horrible – the fact is that some places in the world are also not particularly safe to travel as a woman. I say this from my own personal observations, as well as facts I've acquired through research.

Here are the worst places you can travel if...MORE you're a woman.

  • 01 of 05

    Saudi Arabia

    Kingdom Center shopping mall in Riyadh
    ••• Ali Al Mubarak/Getty Images

    Saudi Arabian women made news in recent years by showing the bravery to protest the conservative nation's female driving ban, which has reportedly led some of the country's top clerics to consider lifting the ban. On one hand, you probably wouldn't drive if you visited the Kingdom anyway. But on the other hand, a woman can't be in public without a male relative in Saudi Arabia, local or foreign, so you might want to go elsewhere for your next trip to the Middle East.

  • 02 of 05


    Brazil Women
    ••• Brazil is one of the worst places to travel as a woman, in spite of – or maybe because of – its association with beach babes. Werni via Pixabay

    It might seem strange to think of Brazil as one of the worst places in the world women can travel – the country has a female president at the moment, to say nothing of how much the world has come to associate Brazil with beautiful, bikini-clad women. Unfortunately, Brazil's macho culture (and some other factors, to be sure) have led to a disproportionate amount of this country's endemic violence occurring to women, which has unfortunately included tourists at times.

  • 03 of 05


    Woman in India
    ••• A number of challenges face female travelers in India. Robert Schrader

    Although India is full of some of the world's most amazing travel treasures, its inclusion in the travel press in recent years has mostly been due to a string of tourist rapes. Local women tend not to fare much better, particularly in cities like Mumbai and Delhi, whose metro has attracted criticism regarding its safety for female riders since it opened in 2010.

  • 04 of 05


    Woman in Kenya
    ••• From Maasai to travelers, women in Kenya are likely to face violence of some kind, according to officials. Robert Schrader

    Kenyan women rose up in huge numbers in late 2014, protesting the fact that a local woman was assaulted due to the length of her skirt, but violence against women remains a huge problem in the East African nation, which is better known as a safari destination. "Women of all ages, education levels, and social groups, in rural and urban settings are subjected to violence in Kenya," says a recent U.N. report on the subject.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05


    Woman in Morocco
    ••• Women in Morocco are liable to face harassment – especially tourists. Robert Schrader

    Egypt tends to get the most press as an unsafe destination for female travelers, especially in the wake of the 2011 revolution and the high-profile rape of journalist Lara Logan, but in my personal experience traveling in North Africa, women – and especially Western women – faced much more day-to-day harassment in Morocco. As one man on the street in Marrakech explained to me, "women with light hair and skin look like the exotic dancers we see in pictures and movies, so many men here assume all Western women must want sexual attention, simply based on their lighter complexion."