For many travelers, the world is a magnificent place full of wonder at every turn. With every adventure, 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 destinations we experience, there are also many very dangerous locations that may not be as welcome to foreign travelers.
The dangers go beyond petty taxi cab scams and pickpocket theft. In some cities, armed gangs can be brazen in their attacks, targeting western travelers. As a result, travelers may be assaulted, attacked, and injured in the name of terrorism, robbery, or other motives. Even with the best protection and preparation, many travelers may not know where they need to be the most vigilant for danger.
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 either reconsider their plans, or purchase a strong travel insurance policy.
The vibrant and historic capital of Colombia, Bogota is an industrial 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 classic city don't 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, especially in Bogota. According to the State Department, American visitors are often considered easy targets for crime. Furthermore, Officials warn that the threat of kidnapping remains high, despite the fact that the rate of kidnappings has decreased significantly over the last 15 years.
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 for a number of reasons. Whether seeking a vacation at one of the many coastal resort towns or visiting family and friends, Mexico is a popular and easily accessible destination for many travelers. The capital, Mexico City, is no exception.
While the media focuses on violence in cities that border the United States, Mexico City also has a violent streak, including mugging, assault, and even kidnapping. Women traveling alone are advised not to utilize public transportation at night, due to the risks of gangs roving the streets.
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.
Considered one of the most historic cities in South America and the gateway to Machu Picchu, Lima is a prime destination for those who want to experience South American history first hand. Because of the high number of tourists, criminals also occupy the city in the city, waiting to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists.
From illegal taxi services that have been known to take more than a fare to hijackings that take place on remote roads at night, Lima offers plenty of danger to the common traveler. Solo travelers who want to visit this historic city should consider limiting their travel plans to daylight hours and utilizing taxis recommended by their hotels or tour operators.
New Delhi, India
A budding commerce center of India, New Delhi attracts travelers on both business and pleasure. However, New Delhi is discovering not only their international identity, 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, 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 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 locations are most susceptible, modern adventurers can make sure their travels go without danger as they boldly traverse the globe.