The world is your oyster, and there are so many different places out there that you’re probably craving to explore. Though there are hidden wonders in every crevice of the globe, these places may not be the best choice for Americans to venture off to.
Whether they pose a threat to travelers’ safety, or may cause detrimental harm to one’s physical health, here is our list of the 20 worst places for Americans to visit around the world, as well as the beauty that exists in each particular location that, sadly, Americans are missing out on.
1. Saudi Arabia
The U.S. Department of State advises Americans to exercise extreme caution when visiting Saudi Arabia, due to, in part, the increased amount of armed conflict.
Despite the bad rap Saudi Arabia receives, with hopes of peace, there may come a time when Americans will be able to enjoy all of the magnificent sights this country has to offer, including its staggering mountains, its lush fields, and its barren deserts. One place in particular, Edge of the World in Riyadh, was once an insanely popular tourist destination. The scenic plateau, which runs over 430-miles long, provides jaw-dropping views of the country and endless views of Saudi Arabia’s horizon.
2. El Salvador
El Salvador is known for its miles of gorgeous beaches and its once vast rainforests. But, as of July 2018, the US government advised its citizens to reconsider traveling to the Central American nation because of widespread crime.
Some paint a negative picture of El Salvador because of the increase in violence, but there was once a time when this country was the best place to get deeply immersed in the Latin culture. Delicious cuisine aside (we’re now craving pupusas!), it’s also home to some of the most exquisite Mayan ruins, including Tazumal, which dates back to around 5000 BC. The architectural complex was restored during the 1940s, but many of the ruins are still in their natural, unexcavated state.
One day, Americans may finally get the green light to make the trek to El Salvador again, and touring this stunning sight to learn about the Mayan civilization should definitely be on their to-do list.
Adventure-seeking Americans were met with disappointment after they were told to refrain from traveling to Somalia completely. The U.S. Department of State even suggests those who ignore their warning to draft their last will and testament before heading out to this East African country. Yikes.
The media depicts the coastal country as a war-torn land, and a September 2018 incident in the capital of Mogadishu is proof this beautiful country has to make some major strides before the American government will feel safe enough to allow its citizens to vacation there.
But aside from the political turmoil that exists, there are some positives about Somalia, most of which are in the capital city. The colonial ruins are a sight to be seen, and the capital’s iconic landmark, the Al-Uruba hotel, once housed royals and dignitaries during the country’s heyday. Surrounded by the blue waters of the Indian Ocean and white sandy beaches, we can only hope that peace will one day prevail in Somalia, transforming the country from one of the worst places for Americans to visit to one of the best.
The country’s prime minister has dreams of a brighter future, and our fingers are crossed, too!
Americans might want to think twice about traveling to Honduras, especially since the U.S. government cites the country’s lack of police and increased incidents of crime.
Even though Honduras made our list for the worst places for Americans to visit, we thought we’d shed some light on the hidden gems that exist in areas of this oceanside country. In the future, Americans may get to experience its tropical rainforests and the ancient Mayan ceremonial site, Copán. The latter is all decked out with stone-carved hieroglyphics and stone monuments that were originally discovered in 1570 by Diego García de Palacio.
5. Democratic Republic of the Congo
Between the 2018 outbreak of the Ebola virus and the U.S. travel advisory that warns of armed conflict, unfortunately, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the worst places for Americans to visit.
While unrest rings out in regions, we like to recognize the positive aspects of this country, as well. Bukavu – a city in the eastern region of the country – is home to one of the most breathtaking views. With clusters of beautifully-painted, art deco builds and homes, the city sits atop a hill, overlooking the scenic Lake Kivu, volcanoes, and steep mountains.
6. Bangkok, Thailand
Not every location on our list is facing grave circumstances that make it a horrible destination for Americans. Instead, the reason Thailand made the list is because the country has suffered from having too many tourists. Yes, you read that right. The influx of visitors has placed an environment and cultural strain on the popular tourist destinations. Thailand’s Tourism Minister, Weerasak Kowsurat, said it best in an article published by Bloomberg: “Tourism can create, and at the same time, tourism can disrupt.”
As the country anticipates an estimated 40 million visitors in 2019, perhaps it’s best for Americans to bypass the onslaught of visitors that make for crowded lines almost everywhere they’ll go until the fascination with this Southeast Asian country dies down a bit.
All areas of Afghanistan were deemed unsafe as recently as July 2018 by the U.S. government. With the country in the midst of recent wars, Communist coups, and attacks, will it ever be a safe place for Americans to visit? It depends on who you ask, but we like to point out the positives and find the beauty in all places across the globe, including this landlocked, South Asian country.
While the news is heavily focused on the ruin that exists in certain areas, including the capital of Kabul, many American soldiers were amazed by the beauty of the country when they first arrived in 2001, according to Business Insider. Surrounded by the stunning Hindu Kush mountains and breathtaking lakes, beauty still lies in the midst of the country’s longstanding discord.
8. North Korea
Although it isn’t entirely impossible to visit North Korea, it probably wouldn’t be the best idea for a Western visitor to jet off to this country. The U.S. Department of State advises its citizens that traveling to the East Asian country could result in arrest and long-term detention by the hands of North Korea’s government officials.
So what exactly are Americans missing out on? Well, many wouldn’t contest that this country has a few sights scattered around the capital of Pyongyang, including intricate, monuments to pay homage to the Kim family and beautifully crafted memorials of political leaders from the past and present.
9. Mount Everest
Climbing to the top of Mount Everest will earn an American bragging rights from their friends back home, but many would list the highest mountain above sea level as the worst vacation destination for Americans. Not only do mountain trekkers have to come up with the estimated $40,000 to be guided up the mountain by a local Nepali operator, but there are physical dangers for climbing to the peak, as well, including frostbite and hypothermia from the freezing temperatures.
10. Beijing, China
Beijing is the country’s capital city that has history that dates back to the Zhou Dynasty of 1045 BCE. Visitors clamor to this bustling city to enjoy its architecture and tasty, authentic Chinese food, but its population of over 21 million people means Beijing’s environment has suffered tremendously.
This is the worst place for a health-conscious American to visit because of the serious air pollution. Exhaust emissions from the millions of cars on the road and coal burning in various regions of the country have made smog a huge problem in the city, resulting in the government to implement emergency measures to help alleviate the problem.
Sure, visiting the Great Wall of China may be on an American’s bucket list, but it may be best to hold off on that trip until they win their battle with pollution.
With a high risk of arrest and detainment, U.S. officials updated their travel advisory to warn Americans not to visit Iran.
We don’t know what the future holds for this Islamic republic, but just imagine a day when Americans will get the go-ahead to visit Iran’s stunning attractions, including the Ali Qapu in Isfahan. This six-story palace was built during the 16th-century and is adorned with beautifully-crafted wall decoration and stucco ornaments. Isn’t she lovely?
12. Isle of Skye, Scotland
Yet another destination that has seen an overwhelming increase in visitors is Isle of Skye, Scotland. As visitors caused traffic jams in the island’s tiny roads, left trash on the countryside, and inundated the tiny ferries that took passengers back and forth to the mainland, islanders pleaded for help in 2017 to deal with the overwhelming tourist predicament.
The most popular destinations, such as Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing, were hit the hardest, but there are tons of other less-traveled areas that Americans can visit if they want to avoid the crowds, like the Eigg, Rum, Muck, and Canna islands, and the island of Jura in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland.
After the U.S. Embassy in Damascus suspended its operations in February 2012, Syria has frequently been labeled as one of the worst places for Americans to visit. As recently as 2018, advisories from the American government pointed toward civil unrest and internal conflicts as many of the reasons why this country should be avoided for the time being.
Frequent airstrikes weren’t always the norm, though. There was once a time when Syria was a happening tourist destination. The country’s tourism department even started a campaign, dubbed “Syria Always Beautiful,” in 2016, to encourage tourists to travel back to its beaches.
The coastal towns of Jableh and Tartous were once relaxing, safe havens during peaceful times that the country dreams of reclaiming.
Another Middle Eastern country that the U.S. government warns Americans not to visit is Iraq. Active insurgent groups and America’s inability to protect its citizens who visit the country are the two main reasons why Iraq makes this list.
While it’s now a shell of its former self, the once-flourishing capital of Baghdad was previously a beautiful, peaceful city lined by the gorgeous Tigres River. It’s hard to believe, isn’t it?
Rival militia factions have swept through the North African country of Libya, leaving behind a decimated landscape. The U.S. Embassy suspended its operations in July 2014, and the country now advises Americans to scratch the coastal country from their bucket list entirely.
There’s always a silver lining, and to look back at what Libya’s glory days looked like, we must travel back to ancient times. Those remnants, many of which date back to 500 B.C., are still present. A 3-story theatre, sanctuaries, and a Christian basilica from the Roman era are some of Libya’s most prized ruins that Americans won’t get to witness for the time being.
The landlocked Republic of Mali is another African country that has topped our list of places Americans shouldn’t travel. Not only does the U.S. government note increased risks and threats for its citizens who don’t take heed of the travel warnings, but emergency services are also unlikely in the West African country.
Still, there are pockets of places in the country that Americans are missing out on, such as Djenné – the central town and birthplace of the country’s Islamic history. The Great Grand Mosque of Djenné is one of the largest adobe buildings in the world, and while the date it was constructed is unknown, many estimate it was built in the early 1200s. How amazing would it be to see this masterpiece with your own two eyes one day?
Even though the U.S. government doesn’t completely ban its citizens from traveling to Venezuela, they do suggest Americans reconsider their trips to this South American country. So what went wrong? Venezuela was once a hidden gem, with travelers from all walks of life perusing its rainforests and crystalline waters.
Civil unrest poses a huge threat to American visitors, but some tourists still dream of the day when they can enjoy all that Venezuela has to offer, such as the Parque Nacional Archipiélago Los Roques – an estimated 350 islands, islets, and cays. Coral reefs and picturesque waters surrounded the islands that are inhabited by endangered turtles and over 42 species of birds. *Sigh* it sounds like a magnificent place to visit once the travel advisories diminish, don’t you agree?
18. Dhaka, Bangladesh
Americans should exercise extreme caution when visiting Bangladesh due to crimes against tourists. And while many would also choose to refrain from visiting the destitute city of Dhaka, we’re fascinated by its rich history and culture. Known for its mosques and ruins that date back to 1608 A.D., Dhaka as a whole has unique architecture that will take your breath away…as soon as the U.S. gives Americans the thumbs up to safely venture back into this South Asian country.
It’s no secret that the U.S. thinks Pakistan is one of the worst places for Americans to visit. From the threat of attacks and the United States’ inability to provide emergency care to its citizens, we can’t fault them for giving this country a “Level 3” travel advisory.
If the ongoing attacks were to cease, what exactly could Americans enjoy in this South Asian country? Well, the Karakoram mountain range is enriched with natural beauty, while the Indus River, one of the longest rivers in Asia, would provide the perfect backdrop for a relaxing day in the middle of nature.
An adventure lover’s paradise, Pakistan is packed with artifacts from the past, including the ancient Silk Road – a trade route that connected the East and the West. And how could we forget the Mohenjo-daro? Built around 2500 BCE, this archaeological site was one of the largest settlements during Pakistan’s ancient times. Check it out below!
The U.S. Embassy suspended its operations in the capital city of Sana’a, Yemen back in February 2015, and, since then, the country of Yemen has been listed on the U.S.’s do not travel list.
As one of the worst places for Americans to visit, Yemen wasn’t always a security and personal safety threat for tourists. It was once the go-to destination to basque in the beauty of one of its most prominent landmarks, the Bridge of Sighs, also known as the Bridge of Shaharah.
This magnificent, limestone structure was built in the 17th century and is surrounded by mountainous villages and the country’s unbelievable landscape. With the Jabal al Emir and Jabal al Faish mountain ranges in the distance, this bridge will always be known for its beauty. Americans may get to experience it for themselves one day, but, for now, this picture will have to do.