Danger_PickpocketingThe recent turmoil in Turkey is a clear reminder that a peaceful place can quickly turn into a violent one, and a reminder that we need to be vigilant when traveling. Every traveler should know in advance if their vacation spot is one where they need to take extra precaution to increase their safety.

When planning any trip, be sure to research the country you’re traveling to. Read up on local laws and cultural norms, as well as any travel advisories that may be posted by your government’s travel website or a general travel agency. As always, practice good safety behaviors when going to new places. And even though many countries do have “safe spots,” it’s always good to know what you’re getting into before naively hopping on that airplane.

Here’s a list of countries where you definitely want to watch your back, or at least have a friend watch it for you:

South Africa
At the southernmost tip of Africa lies the home of Nelson Mandela, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and Table Mountain. It’s also the country with the highest rate of rape reported in the world. Additional crimes also include theft, carjacking, and murder, which is also one of the highest across the globe. Violent demonstrations for labor strikes are also quite common, so be sure to avoid any rallies or large gatherings of people. Muggings often occur at airports and on public transportation stations. Be sure to travel in groups if you can and stay alert to your surroundings at all times.

Colombia
As you likely know, South and Central America have been plagued by drug-related crime for eons. Colombia has one of the highest kidnapping rates in the world and armed criminal gangs, known as BACRIMs, are common in these areas. Security has improved in many of the tourist and business travel spots, such as Bogota, but it’s still important for travelers to be careful. Don’t walk alone at night or along trails or other tourist areas.

Russia
Gangs and conflict with the North Caucasus region have made this travel destination ripe with pickpocketing, assault, and robbery. So if you’re headed to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, try not to travel alone and stay alert when passing through underground walkways, riding on the subway, and walking through public places. Don’t wear or showcase any valuables, such as jewelry and credit cards.

Honduras
We should note that resorts and popular tourist destinations in Honduras have lower levels of crime and violence than in any other part of the country. However, since Honduras has the highest homicide rate in the world and is a hot spot for criminal and gang-related activity, you should still take extra measures when traveling around the country. Armed robbery, carjacking, and other types of aggravated assault are listed among the criminal activity, and you should take extra caution when traveling down roads. If ever confronted by an armed individual, immediately comply and avoid any sudden movement. Avoid driving at night if you can and drive with your doors locked to deter robberies.

Overall, trust your instincts and do you research. The more informed you are, the safer you will be.

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About The Author

Monica Montesa is a writer at Scribewise. An explorer and foodie at heart, she loves traveling to new places and discovering exotic cultures and cuisines. Visit www.scribewise.com.

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