If you are planning a solo trip or are a female wanderlust, then you may have wondered about the safest destinations. A safe country is one with low rates of crime, particularly violent crimes.
Feeling safe can also mean visiting a place where you feel comfortable. English-speaking countries are great options for those nervous about language barriers.
Check out the 20 safest destinations below and start planning your next trip with peace of mind.
The Safest Countries are North and Nordic
“Go north, young lady. Go north.” The Northern Hemisphere has some of the safest countries in the world. Nordic countries, in particular, are the most reliable for safety in the world. These areas are perfect for visiting solo or with a group of your girlfriends, as they have low to very-low crime rates.
The Global Peace Index (GPI) ranks Iceland as the safest country in the world. It has held this ranking for the last 12 years. It’s so safe that the police do not carry guns, and the country’s president refuses bodyguards stating they are unnecessary.
The country has a small population, with most Icelanders living in the capital. Reykjavik feels more like a small town at its population of 220,000. Iceland is an excellent destination for nervous new travelers, as everyone, and I do mean everyone, speaks English.
One night, I had stayed out too late and needed to call a costly taxi. Some locals heard about my transportation needs and offered me a ride. I found out that this is something that occurs pretty regularly since everyone knows everyone.
Iceland is free of dangerous animals and annoying pests, such as mosquitoes, snakes, and ticks, that inhabit. This is great for someone like me who doesn’t feel totally comfortable in nature due to creepy crawlers and flying blood-sucking insects.
Although Ireland has a history and reputation, the Emerald Isle is another English-speaking country perfect for new and solo wanderlusts. From Belfast to Cork, the Irish are friendly and warm people quick to offer helpful advice over a pint of beer.
However, travelers should still follow safe practices while drinking. While the violent crime rate is meager, thieves take advantage of the inebriated in touristy areas. I recommend joining a pub-crawl group if you plan to drink to get drunk, as you are less of a target when with others.
Ladies, Irish men are VERY flirty. But I found that flirting is usually the extent as the night ends. Some have wives or girlfriends and just want to make other women smile, laugh, and have a good craic. Nevertheless, should you feel uncomfortable, then firmly tell him and move on.
Other Nordic countries for solo and female travelers include:
Safe European Countries
Aside from the countries in the European Union mentioned above, several continental European destinations are incredibly safe. I’ve visited Europe more than any other area of the world, and most of my travels there were alone.
- The Netherlands
The Benelux countries (Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands) are incredibly safe, with low rates of violent and petty theft. More populated cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam, however, are still prone to pickpocketers and bicycle thieves.
During both my trips to Amsterdam, I felt completely safe to walk the streets at night (even under the influence). Just remember to watch your purse and lock up your bike.
Portugal was the first European country I visited. Portugal is the third safest country in the world, according to GPI.
Along with low crime rates, the Portuguese government made catcalling illegal. That’s right, ladies. No unwanted hoops and hollers as you walk around the beautiful cities of Portugal.
While Europe is generally pretty safe for solo and female travelers, the safest include:
- The Czech Republic.
- The United Kingdom.
South Asia and Asia-Pacific
- New Zealand
Just behind Iceland, New Zealand is the second safest country in the world. The most prominent safety concern is protection from the sun, as it has extreme ultraviolet radiation levels.
New Zealand is safer and cheaper than its neighbor Australia. Although this destination is still on my list of places to go, I’ve heard that it’s the perfect place for a solo female traveler.
The country from Down Under is one of the safest places for solo travelers due to its very low crime rate, strict gun laws, and a booming economy that keeps unemployment rates low.
Melbourne ranks as the world’s most livable city for six consecutive years, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit. Travel & Leisure magazine also named it as the “Destination of the Year” for 2020.
However, the country is also home to several deadly animals. From snakes and spiders to crocodiles and sharks, tourists should know how to stay safe in the water and rural areas of Australia.
Other safe Asia-Pacific countries for solo and female travelers include:
Significantly closer to home is our northern neighbor of Canada. Known for its peacekeeping, residents and tourist alike enjoy the country’s overall low crime rate. It’s exceptionally rare to be mugged or pickpocketed in Canada.
Canadians are also super lovely, helpful, and friendly. Maybe it’s the maple syrup that keeps them so sweet. I went for a stroll in Vancouver late one night and ended up in the middle of a snowstorm. Seeing me struggle in the harsh winds of the driven snow, a local told me to come inside until the storm slowed and someone could take me back to my hotel.
- Costa Rica
South of America is the safe and beautiful country of Costa Rica. It’s a great place to see the beaches and rainforests. Just beware of scams like ones involving taxi drivers with “broken” meters and people selling tours on the street.
Countries Female Tourists Should Avoid
I’m not usually one to tell people not to do something or to go somewhere, so take all of this a friendly warning. Certain places are straight-up dangerous for anyone, and select areas are particularly precarious for women.
Some of the most dangerous countries to visit include:
- South Sudan
There are several unsafe countries I would like to visit, and I will! But, I’ll take these trips with friends instead of venturing to them alone.