Safety is one of the most important aspects of solo traveling. Yet, we often limit some of our traveling experiences because of misconceptions and stereotypes about certain countries or regions. Here are 4 places that are safer than you realize.
The Caribbean islands have a somewhat negative stereotype in the west when it comes to crime, but we need to look deeper into specific islands – grouping them together is unhelpful. And, whilst some islands do have high crime rates, it’s often not crime that is directed towards tourists, which is another important distinction to make.
So, some islands that are incredibly safe include Montserrat, St. Barts, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands – but there are many more. Iberostar’s Jamaica resorts, for example, are incredibly safe with a feeling of privacy on the beaches.
Even the islands that are considered less safe I wouldn’t completely write off as many of the issues are focused on the inner cities, which isn’t where most tourists are traveling to. For example, visiting Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti may concern tourists. But there is a big difference in wandering around the city at night and relaxing in a beach resort in Montserrat.
So when looking at traveling to this region, we need to consider not just the islands individually, but the towns and which kind of accommodation we’re staying in.
The Caucasus region is known for being a place that isn’t particularly peaceful. However, Georgia and Armenia should be separated from this stereotype as they are exceedingly safe places to be.
To put this into perspective, let’s say you’re from Bristol in the UK. Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital (capital cities are often the most dangerous places in the country), scores vastly more safe than Bristol. Surprising to some, but you’re a lot safer to walk around alone at night in Georgia than you are in the average UK or American city.
Cambodia had a brutal genocide not too long ago and it’s often described as being more dangerous than its neighbors Vietnam and Thailand. However, Cambodia is very up and coming with some of the most stunning beaches and historic sites in SEA.
When it comes to crime, it may be true that Thailand and Vietnam are safer, but by no means does this mean Cambodia is particularly dangerous. You’re significantly more likely be subject to a hate crime or violent crime in New Orleans than in Phnom Penh, for example.
Many consider Eastern Europe to be “behind” Western Europe in every aspect, be it more dangerous, more bigoted, or less developed. But not only are countries like Lithuania and Estonia highly developed and tech-centric, but they’re highly safe too. And if you don’t trust Numbeo’s reporting, official Eurostat crime statistics are very telling.
Reported robbery per hundred thousand inhabitants:
- Belgium – 102
- Spain – 95
- Sweden – 85
- Luxembourg – 75
- The Netherlands – 42
- EU average – 41
- France – 31
- Romania – 20
- Lithuania – 17
- Poland – 14
- Bulgaria – 14
- Slovakia – 6
This really highlights the misconceptions and unfair stereotypes that Eastern Europe often gets in a similar way to some of the Caucasus. All the eastern countries score lower in robberies than the EU average. Of course, there are other crimes to consider, but you won’t find many reasons regarding safety to not visit the Baltics or even the Balkans.
The way we view crime
We often see places as being safe or dangerous without looking into the different aspects, or what type of crime is occurring. For example, we hear the term “organized crime” or “mafia” and think “my country doesn’t have any of that, this must be more dangerous”. But, the chances are you’re from a country far more dangerous than Thailand, yet did you know Thailand has a lot of organized crime and local mafia? It’s not talked about because tourists aren’t commonly the victims of their crime, meaning we rightly don’t worry about it.
Violent crime specifically towards tourists is a highly worthy statistic to be researching, and we will often find Western European or North American countries to be surprisingly worse in these areas than where we’re traveling to.
Of course, Ukraine highlights a different kind of story and a different type of safety concern. Corruption, politics, and wars are something to consider on a case-by-case basis, but recent history often clouds our view. For example, Rwanda is one of the most up-and-coming African countries in which Numbeo scores as being safer than most European countries. But in many people’s minds, it’s the place that had one of the worst genocides in human history in the 1990s – during most of our lifetimes.
It’s also an African country, which many already write off as being dangerous before looking more closely. This teaches us to realize that countries can radically improve in short spaces of time and that we must keep up to date with recent safety reports instead of relying on preconceptions. The UK government website does a decent job of highlighting safety concerns for each country.