When people look for places to travel overseas, one of the primary considerations is the threat to personal safety. So it’s understandable why very few Americans would choose to travel to places that would put themselves, their families, and fellow travel companions at risk for harm or worse. Safety concerns are one of many reasons people avoid traveling to specific regions.
Travelers Take a Stand
Some travelers refuse to visit specific countries due to ethical concerns about their governments, the treatment of their citizens, and human rights abuses. A user on an online travel thread refuses to travel to certain places for these reasons and asks if others share their feelings and which countries they would avoid visiting and why.
1. Burma (Myanmar)
Several users on the travel forum say Burma is one of the countries they would not travel to for ethical reasons. Since the military coup in February 2021, there has been a dramatic increase in human rights abuses against its citizens, including military assaults on civilians and denying children their right to receive an education.
The country of Yemen receives more than a few votes for places people refuse to visit on principle, and with good reason. In addition to being a hotbed of terrorism, Yemen has a terrible human rights record, with severe restrictions on access to food and healthcare, the use of gender-based violence against women and girls, and unlawful attacks and killings of civilians.
3. Galápagos Islands
The Galápagos Islands are one of the most beautiful places on earth. It’s also one of the most ecologically fragile due to the number of endangered plant and animal species.
This is reason enough for one person to swear off travel to the Pacific Ocean paradise, writing, “They are being destroyed by tourism. They used to be very lightly traveled in an effort to protect the fragile ecosystem, and now they have hotels and are building an airport all under the cover of eco travel.”
In December 2022, Indonesia’s parliament passed a new law that criminalizes sexual relations between unmarried people. This law applies to Indonesians and tourists and is punishable by up to one year in prison. Numerous users understandably find this law objectionable and decline to visit the Southeast Asian country.
Diplomatic relations between Iran and the United States have been nonexistent since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The U.S. State Department has a decades-long “do not travel” advisory due to the high risk of arbitrary arrest and wrongful detention of American citizens. These are the reasons why many respondents on the travel thread say Iran is a country they boycott for ethical reasons.
6. North Korea
With its brutal dictatorship, isolationist policies, and nuclear weapon saber-rattling, it’s no surprise Westerners refuse to visit North Korea. But many people take issue with the country’s abysmal record on human rights.
Qatar is one of multiple Gulf states users decline to travel to as a form of moral protest. The state has a long history of human rights violations, including freedom of the press, association, and expression. Users object to the exploitation of migrant workers and the restrictions placed on the civil liberties of women and religious minorities.
There are numerous ethical reasons people opt out of traveling to Russia, including human rights abuses and the unlawful arrest and detention of American citizens.
For most users, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the anti-democratic government of Vladimir Putin are at the top of their list, with one person saying, “I wouldn’t visit Russia at the moment due to the war and government. However, if the war stopped, and the government became democratic, then in a while, I wouldn’t rule it off.”
9. Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is another Gulf state that users refuse to visit in protest. In addition, the country’s human rights abuses run the gamut from limitations on the freedoms of expression and association and the arbitrary detention of human rights activists to restrictions on the rights of women, girls, and migrants.
One person writes, “Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait – would not feel safe traveling these countries as a woman, and it’s shameful how they treat South Asian migrants….”
10. Faroe Islands
The Norwegian archipelago has a summer tradition of hunting pilot whales for their meat and blubber. This practice is so offensive to one user that they vow never to visit the islands over their whale hunting, which they also believe should have been outlawed long ago.
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Credit. This article was produced and syndicated by Our Woven Journey. Featured Image Credit: Andrii Iemelianenko/Shutterstock
Demi Michele is a seasoned traveler, turned freelance writer. Having explored most states and ventured internationally, her love for outdoor cafes, new cuisines, and cultural immersion shines through her wide range of articles. Based in Texas with her family and two Scottish Terriers, Demi turns her adventures into captivating travel narratives to share with readers.