10 Places That Aren't Safe to Travel to Right Now, U.S. Says
These destinations have currently been given "Level 4" warnings by the State Department.
Before you book your next trip, make sure your passport is valid, vaccines are updated, and your final destination isn't on the U.S. State Department's updated travel advisory list.
The government agency keeps a running tab of the most dangerous countries in the world to visit, marking them as a "Level 4" safety risk. As of October 19, twenty-one destinations (or 10%) are on the "Do Not Travel" list due to a variety of reasons, ranging from global conflicts to natural disasters like floods and earthquakes.
Here are 10 places that aren't safe to travel right now, according to the U.S. State Department.
Reconsider taking a trip to Afghanistan. According to the government, "Armed conflict, civil unrest, crime, terrorism, and kidnapping," are making it a less than desirable place to travel to right now.
Belarus shares a border with Russia and Ukraine. Based on location alone, the government recommends staying out of it right now. The State Department offers these reasons for why it's on the "do not travel" list: "Belarusian authorities' continued facilitation of Russia's war against Ukraine, the buildup of Russian military forces in Belarus, the arbitrary enforcement of local laws, the potential of civil unrest, the risk of detention, and the Embassy's limited ability to assist U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Belarus."
While hitting an all-inclusive resort in Cancun or Cabo might be a safe way to spend a week, there are 6 out of 32 areas in Mexico that are designated Level 4: Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas. These have all been dignified high-risk due to crime and kidnapping.
Even if you can sneak into North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea), the U.S. government warns against it. U.S. passports are not valid for travel "to, in, or through" the country led by dictator Kim Jong Un due to "the continuing serious risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. nationals."
It isn't a good time to visit Russia, says the State Department. The country has been deemed a Level 4 due to its invasion of Ukraine, harassment of U.S. citizens by Russian government officials, and arbitrary law enforcement.
It might be the worst time in history to visit Gaza due to the war between the Hamas foreign terrorist organization and Israel.
As for Israel, the State Department says: "Reconsider travel to Israel due to terrorism and civil unrest," adding: "Terrorist groups, lone-actor terrorists and other violent extremists continue plotting possible attacks in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza. Terrorists and violent extremists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Violence can occur in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza without warning. There has been a marked increase in demonstrations throughout Israel, some with little or no warning."
While Haiti might share an island with the all-inclusive resort-filled Dominican Republic, the government recommends staying on the other side of the island due to the increased risk of kidnapping and violent crimes. In July, the Department of State ordered all non-emergency U.S. government personnel and family members to leave the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince. Kidnappings "often involve ransom negotiations and U.S. citizen victims have been physically harmed during kidnappings," the State Department writes.
Kidnappings and wrongful detentions are risks you will take by traveling to Iran right now. U.S. citizens are specifically at risk for "arbitrary arrest and detention," according to the government.
Equally dangerous is Iraq, according to the U.S. government, citing "terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict [and] civil unrest" as their reasoning behind their "Level 4" safety distinction.
Lebanon, bordering Syria and Israel, is another unsafe country to visit right now. After the Israel-Hamas war broke out, the State Department moved Lebanon up from a Level 3 to 4 safety warning, citing "the unpredictable security situation related to rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges" between Israel and Hezbollah or other militant groups.