While some travelers barely think twice before traveling to some of the world’s most dangerous destinations, others will carefully read up on everything from gang violence to the presence of pickpockets before choosing a vacation.
Although the “safety” answer was over the last few years closely tied to the emergence Covid-19 virus, Bankrate’s annual travel survey regularly finds that safety concerns are behind only finances as the reason some choose not to leave home.
In its yearly ranking of the world’s safest travel destinations, insurance provider Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection (BRK.B) – Get Free Report placed Canada at the top as the place where travelers should have the fewest safety concerns.
Canada rose four spots from last’s year ranking.
‘As definitions of a safe destination have evolved so too have the world’s safest places…’
The ranking is put together by both surveying travelers who visited this destination in the previous year and pulling data on everything from the frequency of terrorism and natural disasters to local attitudes towards those of various minority groups. The company shifts the data it pulls according to the concerns expressed by travelers most each year.
“A safe place was originally a place that’s largely free from terrorist activity then it became a place that was safe from disease outbreaks [and] now it’s a place where all types of people can move about freely without discrimination or harassment,” Berkshire Hathaway wrote of the 2024 results. “As definitions of a safe destination have evolved, so too have the world’s safest places.”
Other countries to land in the top five include Switzerland, Norway, Ireland and the Netherlands. In 2023, Canada was in the fifth spot but rose four places after particularly good reports from those who visited in 2023.
Berkshire Hathaway concluded that “cold weather and low population density make for safe travels.” Switzerland and Norway have also held decades-long reputations for having pristine surroundings and law-abiding citizens.
For the second year in a row, the United States as a whole landed nowhere near the top 15 largely as a result of gun violence, uneven policing and the push to reverse certain laws in many Republican-led states.
United States scored poorly (but one major city came on top)
But despite the country’s low ranking, Honolulu still came out on top as the safest city for travelers in the world. Known for its hotels and sunny beaches, the Hawaiian capital has extremely high security and can often be perceived by travelers as one large resort.
Canada’s Montreal, Iceland’s Reykjavik and Australia’s Sydney followed as the safest cities in the world while Orlando was the only other American city to land in the top 15, which further underscores that many travelers associate safety with resort cities that are heavily policed to maintain such an appearance.
Unexpected appearances include Brazil, which is commonly associated with drug and street crime, among the safest countries as well as international metropolises such as Paris, London and Barcelona among the cities.
“While the list has traditionally been dominated by Scandinavian nations, Northern Europe and English-speaking countries in Oceania, this year noted Asian and South American nations […] with Japan and Brazil making the list,” Berkshire Hathaway wrote further.