HomeTravelDestinationsDangerous countries: Where not to plan your 2023 holiday

Dangerous countries: Where not to plan your 2023 holiday

So, you are planning your next big trip away and are looking for something a little different to the usual resorts or well-worn tourist magnets.

But where to go and, just as importantly, where not to go?

There are some obvious no-go destinations. War zones spring immediately to mind, but some others may surprise you.

Risk assessment company Global Guardian’s latest monthly report has outlined the no-go areas for travellers and Australia’s Smartraveller website also has some good advice.

Read: Are you healthy enough to travel?

Global Guardian ranks countries from ‘low risk’ to ‘extreme’ for countries with ongoing conflicts, criminal activity or being ‘insecure’ in relation to militant activity or natural disasters.

Obviously, if there is a war somewhere, you should be somewhere else. So unless you are a foreign dignitary offering tonnes of guns or a mercenary with a bit of time on your hands, avoid Ukraine. Its border area with Russia is probably not ideal either.

Other countries on the ‘extreme’ naughty list are Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, the Central African Republic and Burkina Faso.

Not surprisingly, none of these countries have much of a tourist industry to damage anyway but popular tourism destination Mexico has also been rated as ‘extreme’ due to internal violence and police corruption.

Read: Is the next big thing in airport security?

Mexicans generally keep it away from the tourism hotspots, but in October 12 people were killed in a bar in the town Irapuato, in Guanajuato state. So maybe try to hunt the sun in a more friendly location.

Another tourist favourite Sri Lanka is on the ‘extreme’ list due to the country’s unstable economic position and the resulting public protest and violence.

Turkey made the ‘medium’ list due to an increased risk of terrorist attacks and a possible invasion of Syria. Global Guardian states that with an election looming in Turkey for 2023, a November terrorist bombing in Istanbul may be a sign of things to come.

Turkey began a campaign of bombing against Kurdish targets across Iraq and Syria in 2022 and Global Guardian seems concerned the country is poised to begin a major ground campaign as well.

If you are planning to travel to Turkey, Global Guardian recommends maintaining a high level of vigilance and urges travellers to be aware of any unattended baggage or packages left in any location. Visitors can also expect an increased security presence at government infrastructure, tourist attractions, transport hubs and commercial establishments such as shopping centres.

Read: Masks are back, but will they stop people cruising?

Other countries on the ‘medium risk’ list are Thailand, Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco.

Smartraveller urges visitors to Thailand to practise a high degree of caution due to the possibility of civil unrest and the threat of terrorist attacks, particularly in Bangkok and Phuket.

As well as the countries mentioned above, countries on Smartraveller’s ‘do not travel’ list include Myanmar, Haiti, North Korea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Iran, Belarus, Venezuela, Iraq, Niger and South Sudan.

I’d be crossing Java off the list of potential holidays as well. Mount Semeru in East Java erupted on 4 December and is still grumbling along. Also, there have been several earthquakes in West Java, the latest on 8 December. It follows the devastating earthquake on 21 November when at least 334 people died and 7729 people were injured.

Have you travelled to any of the countries on the ‘do not travel’ list? What was your reason for visiting? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisherhttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/JanFisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.


  1. I’ve been to Myanmar and absolutely loved it! What we hear in the media is not what I found there. It’s a fascinating country with friendly people and politics doesn’t change that. I felt safe there at all times.

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