Mar 22, 2019

Travel Destinations to Avoid in 2019

It’s that time of year again. Time to count your vacation days, fill out your vacation request forms, and book round-trip flights for one of the four corners of this beautiful planet that we call home. For the most part, there’s never been a better time to pack your bags and seek adventure abroad. There are more ways to travel, more destinations to visit, and more shareworthy attractions available than ever before. But, before you start booking hotel rooms and drafting your itinerary, there are a few things that you should watch for. Most notably, you should know which of your bucket-list destinations are safe. I mean, you only have so much time to spare and only so many dollars in your travel fund. After all, I’d hate to see you touch down in a new country only to get wrapped up in political upheaval, rampant violence, or ecological chaos. So, in an effort to protect you from a nightmare vacation the likes of which has never been seen, we’re going to give you a rundown of all of the travel destinations to avoid in 2019. Though you are free to travel to most of the locations on this list, you are encouraged to proceed with caution. We value your desire to seek new experiences, new people, and adventure but, we value your safety even more. Stay safe out there.


  • Ibiza, the Mediterranean island just off the coast of Spain, attracts young people by the millions. Why? It’s a pleasure-palace made true, with all-night partying, world-class dance music and some serious celebrity cache. Which makes it all the more depressing for us to scratch Ibiza off of our 2019 travel itinerary. To be fair though, it’s probably for the best.

    You see, a culture of excess always comes with consequences. For Ibiza, those consequences have manifested themselves in a series of tourist deaths. Drugs, violence, and all-around overindulgence is blamed for a 2018 spike in the death of tourists. The issue was serious enough that it has many reconsidering their 2019 travel plans. Perhaps you should do the same.

  • Tourists looking for an authentic Southeast Asia travel experience often make plans to stop over in Myanmar for a night or two. The country is historically rich, culturally diverse, and just flat out gorgeous. But sadly, political turmoil and a steady stream of reported human rights abuses have sullied the country’s tourism industry.

    If you don’t know, Myanmar (or Burma) is ground zero for a humanitarian crisis of staggering proportions. Myanmar’s military is currently in the midst of an “ethnic cleansing” campaign against the Rohingya Muslim population in Rakhine State. The horrific actions taken by the military have caused a mass exodus of nearly 700,000 refugees over just the last couple of years.

  • Virunga National Park made the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979. This massive wildlife reserve in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is celebrated for its incredible diversity of habitats, including lava plains and snowfields. I mean, who wouldn’t want to explore a National Park that boasts a hippo population of 20,000 and has mountain gorillas?! Sadly, humans have found a way to ruin this one too.

    Instability, militias, rampant violence, kidnappings, and ambushes forced the park to be closed in 2018. Although the park is set to re-open this year, we highly recommend that you keep your distance. The last few years have brought about the worst violence in a decade and it doesn’t show signs of slowing down.

  • Fans of Leonardo DiCaprio may recognize Thailand’s Maya Beach. The exotic island of the Phi Phi Archipelago was prominently featured in the cult classic film The Beach back in 2000. As it turns out, the most effective way to boost international tourism is to elicit the help of DiCaprio.

    Sadly, the real-life story of Maya Beach is just as dark as The Beach’s plotline. The famous beach was closed indefinitely in late 2018 to allow it time to recover from the damage caused by millions of tourists. What kind of damage do you ask? Pollution from litter, boats, and sun cream that has seen the destruction of roughly 80 percent of the area’s coral. This is why we can’t have nice things.

  • Unlike Maya Beach, Acapulco is still open for business. But we advise you to keep your distance all the same. The popular Mexican tourist destination is a popular cruise ship destination and attracts international tourists by the tens of millions every single year.

    It’s also often described as the “murder capital of Mexico,” so there’s that. Safety is always a concern when navigating a new country, but Acapulco is a different beast altogether. In 2016, Acapulco ranked second in the world in per capita murder rates, and the numbers aren’t trending in the right direction. But don’t take my word for it. The U.S. Department of State has issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory on Acapulco’s state, Guerrero, urging residents to avoid travel completely.

  • The United States State Department is kinder to Nicaragua, but only slightly. As of September 12, 2018, U.S. residents are advised to reconsider traveling to Nicaragua due to crime, civil unrest, limited health care availability, and arbitrary enforcement of laws.

    The civil unrest began in April of last year when pro-democracy protestors took to the streets following an announcement that the government planned to reform its pension system and reduce benefits by five percent. The protests turned bloody quickly, decimating their tourism industry and sparking a mass exodus of refugees.

    If safety and security are as important to you as crushed ice and a spot by the pool, then you may want to stay away from Nicaragua in 2019.

  • It’s important to note that traveling to Brazil isn’t nearly as dangerous as traveling to Nicaragua, and it’s not closed to the public like Maya Beach. Having said that, traveling to the largest country in South America is far from safe.

    The country is considered one of the most criminalized countries in the world, where pick-pockets, purse snatchers, and scam artists run rampant. It’s important to note that some areas are safer than others, but travelers are still advised to exercise increased caution around border areas and “Favela” neighborhoods.

    If you do plan on visiting Brazil in 2019, we highly recommend that you keep your jewelry at home and invest in a hidden and secure travel wallet.

  • Though China is remarkably safe by international standards, political tensions between the United States and Chinese governments have been on the decline. The diplomatic uncertainty was serious enough to warrant a travel advisory earlier this year.

    The Chinese government has been known to issue exit bans for U.S. citizens in the past and travelers should be aware of that possibility. China itself remains relatively safe with relatively low crime rates per capita.

    Air quality is another thing that potential jet-setters might want to keep an eye on, though the Chinese government has done a fantastic job improving air pollution over the last few years.

  • There’s no mistaking it, the Galapagos Islands are an ecological marvel. The birthplace of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, the popular tourist destination is internationally celebrated for its large number of endemic species and staggering biological diversity.

    No, the Galapagos Islands aren’t rife with political instability or overrun with crime. The issue is an environmental one. Issues that the Ecuadorian authorities are dead-set on curbing before it’s too late.

    A new set of travel restrictions went into effect last year, making it that much harder to retrace Darwin’s fateful steps. Authorities have acknowledged that the island’s tourism numbers have reached their peak and are using a laundry list of restrictions to beat back the surging travel demands of international tourists.

  • Political instability may force you to delay your trip to Romania. The UN is currently investigating the violent actions taken by the Romanian Gendarmerie when trying to quell demonstrations in the summer of 2018.

    The current state of Romania isn’t quite dangerous enough to warrant international travel advisories, but it’s certainly something that travelers should be mindful of. The protests, occurring largely around the most popular tourist locations, seem to be getting stronger as the year progresses.

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