These are the safest (and most dangerous) countries you can travel to next year
As the year quickly draws to a close, we all have our eyes on our future travel plans.
And though it's important to exercise caution no matter where in the world you travel, certain places really shine in terms of safety — while others earn dreadful marks for being high-risk destinations.
On Thursday, International SOS, a travel security services company, released its annual Travel Risk Map for the upcoming year.
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The color-coded map highlights destinations where travelers might encounter medical and security risks. The categories range from "insignificant" to "extreme" travel security risk and "low" to "very high" medical risk. The ratings consider everything from prevalence of infectious diseases and political violence to the quality of medical care and probability of petty crime. There's even a map that helps travelers visualize the quality of road safety in a given destination, based on 2018 data from the World Health Organization (WHO).
In terms of medical risks, the U.S., Canada, the bulk of Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Uruguay, Chile and South Africa pose a "low" threat. On the flip side, countries such as Venezuela, Haiti, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are destinations where you should exercise increased caution.
You'll find the most "insignificant" security risks in Norway, Finland and Greenland, as well as Denmark and Iceland, among a few others. Sounds to us like 2020 will be a great time to make sure the northern lights are on your must-see list. For context, there's a "low" security risk for the U.S., Canada and Sweden.
Countries you may want to avoid due to "extreme" security risks include Libya, Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia, to name a few. There are also "high" security risks in Haiti, Venezuela, Papua New Guinea, and parts of Egypt and Mexico, among others.
In various instances, though, security threats are concentrated in just a few regions and cities as opposed to throughout an entire country. Interestingly, North Korea has been deemed "medium" risk.
Oh, and you may want to keep off the roads of Vietnam, Thailand, Belize, South Africa and others.
"Obviously [the map] is overall reflective of location risks, but we do advise that consumers do as much research on their destinations as possible," an International SOS spokesperson told CNN.No matter where your travels may take you, it's always worth putting in the time and effort to understand what to expect when you get to your destination.
Before you go, check out our guide on how to stay safe while traveling abroad, as well as how to avoid the measles and other medical mishaps.
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