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Safest Countries to Visit
Safety is a highly subjective term whose definition depends on your comfort level with risk-taking and uncertainty. With all the news focusing on safety and the risks of traveling, you will find that everyone now has a Top Ten or Top Five safest countries to visit based on arbitrary or anecdotal information. That said, there are ways to evaluate a country that take the list from subjective to objective. I looked at four safety factors that, when overlaid onto a map, shows a high degree of correlation: 1) Corruption; 2) Income equality (using the Gini method); 3) Homicide rates; and 4) Environmental Performance Index (EPI). Because these were the factors for choosing my top five Safest Countries to Visit, you will see some countries on this list that may surprise you:
5. New Zealand
The homicide rate in New Zealand is 1 per 100,000 inhabitants. For perspective, that rate is 4.7 per 100,000 in the United States. New Zealand is the third least corrupt government in the world and holds the #11 place on the EPI.
In Stockholm, everyone will tell you how great the drinking water is (which is bad news for bottled water vendors). Like the others on this list, Sweden ranks high for income equality, environmental performance, and low on corruption and homicide.
Proudly holds the title of least corrupt country in the world and has one of the lowest income inequality numbers on this list. As for EPI, 50% of commuters in Copenhagen bike to work along the multiple designated bike paths of this historic, Scandinavian city.
The land of the fjords and the national pastime of troll themes is extremely well rated on apps like Geosure, and for good reason: It’s the fifth least corrupt government in the world, ranks high on income equality, and the chances of you running into physical trouble is extremely low.
Our champion on the list of our Safest Countries to Visit, Iceland was declared #2 in the world on the EPI, has one of the lowest homicide rates in the world, and ranks low for corruption and high on the income equality index. With all the natural wonders here, why wouldn’t you visit?
Life is good in these countries, which means visiting as a tourist is equally good. Does that mean you should totally let down your guard or that there are no safety issues? Absolutely not. Especially in larger cities, you should still protect your personal belongings as you would in any big city and, as always, be careful with alcohol or drugs.
My top five are safe in the sense that there is a low likelihood of assault, minimal political unrest, and slim chances of becoming ill. However, there are many phenomenal outdoor adventure opportunities in these countries with not as much government/official oversight as you would find in the United States. For example, in Iceland, there are minimal barriers between visitors and the natural sights, so visitors are on their own to make good decisions. Iceland Search and Rescue says most of their response calls are for visitors who are lost while hiking or stuck in their cars. So while my top five are safer to visit, your personal safety is still in your own hands.
Were any of our top five on your bucket list?
Are they now?
J.C. Lightcap, Travel Safer | September 12, 2016
JC Lightcap is a travel safety consultant, author and serial traveler. He provides business travelers, study abroad students and families with the tools to focus on their travel goals, raise their awareness overseas and come home safely. JC has been quoted in the Washington Post, featured in the Liberty Project and is a member of the International Ecotourism Society. He currently lives with his well-traveled wife and two dogs in Denver, Colorado where he snowboards, camps and hikes 14ers.