The safest countries to visit in 2018: how does SA compare?

A recent report mapped out the safest and most dangerous countries to visit this year, with Nordic and Scandinavian countries topping the list of the world's least risky travel destinations

09 January 2018 - 00:00 By AFP Relaxnews
Helsinki in Finland - a country where travel risks are classed as being 'insignificant'.
Helsinki in Finland - a country where travel risks are classed as being 'insignificant'.
Image: 123RF/Scanrail

For a stress-free holiday and peace of mind, the findings from medical and security experts International SOS, suggest booking a trip to countries like Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland, where rates of crime and political instability are low and the quality of emergency medical care high.

For their Travel Risk Map, analysts looked at a wide range of factors including infectious diseases, standard of emergency medical care, access to medicine, crime, political and social unrest, quality of emergency services and susceptibility to natural disasters. 

Based on this, countries were assigned one of the following travel security risk ratings: insignificant, low, medium, high and extreme. 

Along with Northern Europe, other destinations where the travel risks are "insignificant" and which have low medical risks include Switzerland, Slovenia and Monaco. 

And while Canada and the US are considered low medical risk countries, they're classified in the "low travel risk" category - one level above "insignificant."  

Meanwhile, many of the countries in the "extreme travel risk" category are located across Africa and the Middle East, including Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Niger and South Sudan among others. 


South Africa is considered a low medical risk country - the only African country to be classed as such. However, like much of the rest of the continent, SA is a very high risk country when it comes to road safety.

Overall, Mzansi falls into the "medium travel risk" category. According to International SOS, countries in this category are described as being those where industrial action can disrupt travel, there may periodically be political unrest and violent protests and travelers may face risk from racial violence and violent crime.

Additional reporting by staff reporter.