Eliminating all risk from travel is impossible but you can come awfully close when you take the time to examine the key factors that contribute to it.
Medical and travel security risk services company International SOS has released its 11th annual Travel Risk Map predicting the most and least dangerous places to travel to in 2020 in addition to the biggest issues travelers will face in the new year.
A majority of the most dangerous destinations are located in regions plagued by instability like Africa and the Middle East, including places like Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Mali and parts of Egypt, Pakistan, eastern Ukraine and the Congo.
“There are certain regions within each country that may have a higher risk or might be more dangerous than others,” Erika Weisbrod, director of security solutions at International SOS, told Forbes. “So understanding where you’re going in a country is important as opposed to ruling out travel to a country altogether.”
International SOS also identified the top eight geopolitical risks globally that could impact travelers in 2020, including the upcoming U.S. presidential election; the changing nature of the U.S. involvement in the Middle East; tensions in the Korean Peninsula; the competition between the U.S. and China in the geopolitical and trade space; terrorism; popular uprisings in South America; social disturbances and identity politics in Europe and the role of Russia as a major global player in the face of U.S. retreat.
Medical risk, weather and cybercrime are among several other risks that will persist in 2020.
“Natural disasters are really impacting every corner of the globe,” added Weisbrod. “So being as prepared as possible and aware of the risks is what we recommend to travelers. And then having a way to stay informed if something does take place.”
Travelers seeking to minimize their risk next year should consider a getaway to Europe or the Caribbean, according to International SOS’ research.
Among the world’s least dangerous destinations in 2020 are Iceland, Greenland, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, San Merino, Switzerland, Turks and Caicos, Cayman Islands, Anguilla, Seychelles, Cape Verde, Palau and the Marshall Islands.
The U.S. is also projected to be a low travel security risk in 2020 despite concerns surrounding next November’s election. “What we might see—leading up to the election or following the election—is protests,” International SOS regional security director Matthew Bradley told Forbes. “We could see what’s going on in other countries like Hong Kong and Chile.”
Visit TravelRiskMap.com for additional insight into specific cities, countries and regions.