Why do you travel so much? This is a question I hear a lot. It’s hard to describe my incessant urge to travel to others. If you’re anything like me, you thrive on adventure. It’s in your blood: the insatiable curiosity to go explore the unknown and to see what others merely glimpse in photographs.
If you stay in one place too long, you start to get an itching to go somewhere, anywhere. However the most significant thing keeping many people from scratching this itch is the question of, is it safe? Truthfully you should always be aware of your surroundings and use good judgement, but to answer this pressing question, I have compiled a list of the safest countries to backpack through in 2019.
Although Iceland is one of the most expensive countries to visit, it has topped the Global Safety Index list ten years in a row. It is renown for its beauty: from its lichen carpeted volcanos, breathtaking waterfalls, and therapeutic hot springs, to its majestic fjords and glaciers. Safety wise, Iceland is often rated in highest by various travel sources. The chances of terrorist attacks, taxi scams, and muggings are all low. Iceland is very proud of its extremely low pickpocketing rates. And as for solo female travelers, Iceland is one of the safest countries to explore alone. Reykjavik is the only place where heightened precaution is suggested due to a recent uptake in petty crime.
The home of the beautiful Danube River; the largest ice cave in the world, Eisriesenwelt; Hohe Tau-ern National Park; 226 mountains; 551 lakes; and 250 glaciers, Austria has plenty to offer anyone who steps inside Her borders. Overall, Austria is safe. The threat of terrorist attacks, taxi scams, and muggings are nihil. Pickpocketing is relatively common in crowded areas, so just keep your valuables hidden. One of the things that makes Austria safer than other countries is the fact that even rural and the uninhabited regions are safe at any time of day. Naturally, try to avoid dark alleyways and walking with large groups of rowdy strangers; otherwise you should have a safe and uneventful trip.
3. New Zealand
New Zealand is made up of two separate islands. The North Island − Te Ika-a-Māui − is famous for its volcanoes, being one of the main places Lord of The Rings was filmed, the other worldly Waitomo Caves, Whanganui River, and Whakarewarewa Valley of Geysers. Whereas, the South Island − Te Waipounamu − is known for some of the world’s tallest waterfalls; the rain forest in Waitakere Ranges; Aoraki, New Zealand’s tallest mountain; and national parks that will leave you lost for words when trying to describe their beauty. For such a tiny country, New Zealand truly has a lot to offer: rainforests, glaciers, beaches, caves, volcanos, mountains, etc. You can’t go wrong choosing to backpack through New Zealand. The chances of terrorist attacks, taxi scams, and muggings are all low. Pickpocketing is more prevalent in areas frequented by tourists and Auckland has a reputation for increased pickpocketing rates. Solo female travelers are advised to avoid poorly lit areas and rowdy groups late at night.
Switzerland’s most significant geographical feature is the Alps. However, Switzerland is more than just snow-capped mountains, the Vorderrhein Gorge is considered to be the Swiss Grand Canyon, Schilthorn offers a panoramic view of more than 200 mountain peaks, and the Swiss National Park located in the gorgeous Engadine Valley. Safety concerns are low in Switzerland. Although taxis can be expensive, transport scams are rare. Pickpocketing is doubtful, but not unimaginable, so make sure you keep your valuables out of plain sight.
Canada is a vast country whose boundless wilderness has barely been touched by man. Each of Canada’s thirteen provinces has an identity all on their own. Home to the ever popular Caribana, Toronto is one of Canada’s most festive gems. On the complete opposite border you have photogenic remnants of the 2010 Winter Olympics and the Pacific Spirit Regional Park. As a country with virtually no army and neutral in all wars, Canada is exceedingly safe.
6. Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a country bursting with history. Due to parts of the country evading heavy bombing in the Second World War, many historic buildings and sites have survived to the present day. If you’re a lover of architecture, the Czech Republic is the place for you. In major cities like Prague, make sure you only use reputable taxi services or rideshare services. Some taxi services have been known to take the longest possible route when transporting foreigners – and make sure you negotiate the price first. In the major cities, scams can be more prevalent. Using cash is recommended and only withdrawing money from ATMs located in areas reliable areas, like hotels, will help you circumvent becoming a victim of scams.
Journeying to the land down under, The Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, Daintree Rainforest, and Fraser Island, are just the tip of the iceberg of the many wonders Australia has to offer. When it comes to safety, in all honesty, you are more likely to experience bodily harm from coming face to face with some of the local wildlife than at the hand of any Australians. There have been no terrorist attacks in recent history, muggings are rare, and pickpocketing is nearly extinct. Australia is a land full of adventure just waiting for you to explore.
Famous for its countless fjords, ancient stave churches, and breathtaking views, Norway is a place that no photograph can do justice. The sheer size of the fjords and mountains will leave you overwhelmed. However, in the places heavily touristed scams have been known to occasionally happen. And in the larger cities, the risk of pickpocketing is greater. Nevertheless, safety concerns are minor for solo female travelers – the greatest threat for any backpackers exploring Norway is mother nature. Avalanches, spring flooding, and landslide have been known to happen, so take extra precautions by staying updated on the conditions of the areas you’re traveling through.
Japan is an archipelago consisting of thousands of islands. Places like Mount Aso, Tokyo, Mount Fuji, and the scenic island of Kyushu — Japan’s third largest island—are merely a handful out of the thousands of destinations you can pick to visit. When compared with many Western countries, Japan’s rates of terrorist attacks, transport scams, muggings, and pickpocketing are all lower. Japan is rapidly rising in the ranks of becoming one of the safest counties for solo female travelers to visit. Some hotels are even starting to offer female-only accommodations. However, precautions should still be maintained due to reports of drink spiking in some locations; as long as you don’t accept drinks from strangers or leave your drink unattended, you should be fine. One other helpful tip is to make sure you pack some tissues with you, some public toilets either make you pay for toilet paper or merely don’t provide it.
Chile is a country rich in diverse geographical features. Home to places like the Atacama Desert, Grey Glacier, Easter Island, and Torres del Paine National Park. Being so diverse, Chile gives visitors little excuse to be bored. In Chile, people should use the usual amount of vigilance. Although attacks are low, in places like the capitol city of Santiago, political protest can happen from time to time. If you encounter such a protest, just leave the area. Muggings are unlikely, but to be safe avoid poorly lit areas and walking alone late at night. Like in Austria, be aware of disreputable unmarked taxis. They tend to target foreigners unfamiliar with the area. Pickpocketing is more common in crowded areas and places densely populated by tourists.
We know you have beauty and brains, so remember common sense and instincts are your greatest resources ─ don’t ignore them. If a place, a person, or a situation seems dodgy, walk away. Like anywhere else in the world, most crimes are opportunistic in nature. If you merely exercise the same caution that you would use in an unfamiliar city in your own country, you shouldn’t encounter any trouble. With that being said, you only have one life to live. Adventure is out there, just waiting for you to go explore the unknown and to see what others merely glimpse in photographs. Are you willing to answer its call?
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