It’s normal to be nervous about traveling internationally, but you don’t have to be. The world is a safer place than ever before, despite what you might think when turning on the news. We’ve put together a list of the five safest countries to travel to, as well as a few tips to help you stay safe on your adventures.
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The Five Safest Countries
The world’s safest countries were determined by the World Economic Forum (WEF) rating, which differs slightly from the Global Peace Index in that it looks at the economic standards of countries, as well as the amount of crime, theft, and terrorism—factors that all travelers should consider.
Not only is Finland one of the safest countries, it’s ranked as one of the most stable. The country also scores high marks globally for education and quality of life standards. Finland is a popular destination for those interested in the Aurora Borealis—the Northern Lights can be seen during fall, winter, and spring.
2. United Arab Emirates
The UAE received a 6.6 rating (7 is the highest score) from the World Economic Forum. The country has become a travel hot spot in recent years due to Dubai’s rise as an entertainment and shopping hub, as well as a global midpoint for aviation. Arabic is the official language in the UAE, but English is widely spoken and travelers should have no difficulty finding their way around.
Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful countries on Earth, Iceland scored a 6.57 rating from the World Economic Forum. The country is small and offers many outdoor activities outside of the capital city of Reykjavik. Travelers that prefer to stay warm will appreciate the country’s natural hot springs and the renowned friendliness of the Icelandic people.
Despite its proximity to turbulent Yemen, Oman is a quiet country that scored 6.49 from the WEF. It also ranks as the 70th most peaceful country from the Global Peace Index. Oman is rich in history, with archaeological evidence showing settlements dating back over 100,000 years.
5. Hong Kong
Hong Kong is small and densely packed, with a population of 7.3 million people spread over just 1,104 square kilometers. The country received a rating of 6.47 from the WEF, due in part to its position as one of the world’s leading economic superpowers. Hong Kong is a melting pot of people and cultures—travelers will be able to try many different cuisines and see some of the best architecture in the world.
Safety Considerations When Traveling
When deciding on your next destination, there are a few questions you need to keep in mind.
Is there civil unrest, or have travel advisories been issued for the country?
Have there been any recent natural disasters?
What is the water quality like?
Is there political instability you should be aware of?
Countries with recent natural disasters may have increased crime rates. While that isn’t a reason to avoid traveling to one of these countries (in fact, many people travel to offer humanitarian aid), you should take precautions. Simple things like luggage locks can help protect your belongings, and a passport covercan keep your important documents in one place and help prevent identity theft.
Water quality is also something to keep in mind. A good guideline is this: if you have any hesitations about the public water system in the country you’re visiting, boil tap water before using it or just used bottled water. You can also invest in travel-sized water filters to ensure you stay hydrated without risking any water-borne bacteria.
The State Department routinely issues travel advisories for countries where trouble might be possible. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit one of these countries—a travel advisory just means you should be aware of potential dangers and keep your eyes open on the road, which is a good practice no matter where you go.
The World Awaits
St. Augustine once said, “The world is a book, and those who don’t travel read only one page.” Open up Expedia, find your destination, and book that flight. A mile of runway can take you anywhere.