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10 Surprising Countries That Are Risky for Travel, According to the State Department

In an overhaul of its travel advisory system, the U.S. Department of State recently assigned every country in the world a travel safety rating. The safest places are ranked Level 1, while the places that Americans are advised to avoid are considered Level 4:

travel safety department of state ratings

Many tourist-frequented countries were highlighted for travel safety concerns as Level 2, meaning Americans should “exercise increased caution” and “be aware of heightened risks to safety and security.” Many of the advisories stem from threats of terrorism, while others are due to crime or weather.

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Surprising Countries with Level 2 Travel Safety Ratings

Here are some countries you might be surprised the State Department gave a lower travel safety rating to, and why the agency says you should exercise caution when visiting them.

Denmark

“Exercise increased caution in Denmark due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Denmark. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning.”

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Belize

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“Exercise increased caution in Belize due to crime,” the travel advisory states. “Violent crime, such as sexual assault, armed robbery, and murder, is common. Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.”

France

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“Exercise increased caution in France due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in France. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning.”

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Antarctica

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“Exercise increased caution in Antarctica due to environmental hazards posed by extreme and unpredictable weather,” the travel advisory states. “The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Antarctica.”

Italy

Italy warnings and dangers

“Exercise increased caution in Italy due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Italy. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning.”

The Bahamas

“Exercise increased caution in The Bahamas due to crime,” the travel advisory states. “Violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assault, is common, even during daylight hours and in tourist areas. U.S. government personnel are not permitted to visit the Sand Trap area in Nassau due to crime.”

The United Kingdom

“Exercise increased caution in the United Kingdom due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “There is also a risk of isolated violence by dissident groups in Northern Ireland, focused primarily on police and military targets.”

Germany

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“Exercise increased caution in Germany due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Germany. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning.”

The Maldives

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“Exercise increased caution in Maldives due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups may conduct attacks with little or no warning … Attacks may occur on remote islands which could lengthen the response time of authorities.”

Spain

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“Exercise increased caution in Spain due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Spain. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning.”

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Associate Editor Shannon McMahon writes about all things travel. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

By Shannon McMahon

Editor Shannon McMahon is always planning her next trip and often writing in her travel journal. Follow her on Twitter @shanmcmahon_ and on Instagram @shanmcmahon.

Shannon joined SmarterTravel in 2015. A former news reporter, she's lived in the south of Spain, spotted elephants in Sri Lanka, gone spelunking in the Caribbean, hiked Jordan's Petra Basin, interviewed Sao Paulo's Michelin-Star chefs, and explored China via bullet train. Travel trends, news oddities, and her visits to up-and-coming destinations are some of her favorite things to write about.

Her stories have also appeared online on USA Today, The Sun, Huffington Post, Business Insider, blog.TripAdvisor.com, Boston.com, and more. Her educational background is in journalism, art history, gender studies, Spanish, and film. She's been quoted as an expert travel source by CNBC, People.com, MarketWatch, The Washington Post, USA Today, and more.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Plenty of extra thick hair elastics. They tame my frizzy curls and come in handy in a surprising number of packing and hotel dilemmas."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Climbing (yes, climbing, it's steep!) the Great Wall of China before it's gone."

Travel Motto: "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain

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Email Shannon at smcmahon@smartertravel.com.

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