What are the most dangerous countries in the world? That’s exactly the question that most travelers face when choosing to take a trip. Luckily, the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) created a simple scale that ranks countries from least to most threatening. Read on to see if you’re planning a trip to a risky destination.

World peace

Here’s the deal: traveling can be scary. That’s why it’s important to know where the most hazardous countries are. Thanks to the recent Global Peace Index (GPI) study, it’s easier than ever to know where you should and shouldn’t visit. According to the GPI, the good news is that our global scale of violence has actually decreased over the last five years. Nonetheless, violent acts have increased over the last decade. That means that our level of international peace has decreased by almost four percent.

The craziest part is that the GPI is the only study in the world to rank the most and least dangerous countries on a global scale. Based on a list of 163 nations, the IEP assesses each country’s safety levels from over 20 factors. These include the territory’s safety, conflict, and militarization levels. Once the country’s indicators are measured on a scale of one to five, then it receives a spot on the GPI.

How do you measure peace? While it might be hard to find a global definition for the term, the IEP describes peace as the “harmony achieved by the absence of violence or the fear of violence” in a community. Fortunately, most countries improved their peace levels by almost 1 percent in 2019. While 86 sovereign states increased their global peace ranking, 76 nations became more vicious last year.

Danger zone

What is the most perilous country in the world right now? The latest GPI study revealed that Afghanistan is officially the diciest place in the world. Although Syria is usually at the top of the list, it has now fallen to second place. The runner-ups to Afghanistan and Syria include South Sudan, Yemen, and Iraq. Sadly, this is the first time that Yemen has been ranked among the top five most violent nations. In addition to these places, Somalia, the Central African Republic, Libya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Russia are also some of the most dangerous countries to visit.

Thus, the Middle East and North Africa have become one of the most menacing areas in the world. This is due to the ongoing power struggles and conflicts that the region has experienced since the 19th century. Even though the Middle East and North Africa have generally improved over time, it’s still one of the riskiest zones. That’s why Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, and Iran have shown the biggest decreases in peace levels this year.

It gets worse: the United States’ international peace ranking has actually dropped for the third year in a row. In fact, the GPI study showed that America has fallen four spots on the list since 2018. Other countries that showed massive declines in peace levels include Nicaragua and Brazil. Surprisingly, Central America and the Carribean are neck-and-neck with the U.S. in terms of the deterioration of peace. Unfortunately, this region is closely followed by South America. However, not all hope is lost. If you are planning to travel to any of these places soon, make sure that you take the necessary safety precautions first!

Safe space

Speaking of safety, it’s extremely important to know what the most peaceful countries in the world are. Oddly enough, Iceland takes the cake for the securest travel destination. Not only that, but Iceland has also been listed as the friendliest country to travel to for more than a decade. Following Iceland’s lead, New Zealand, Portugal, Austria, and Denmark have also been determined as some of the safest holiday destinations ever.

You might be wondering: what are some other safe spaces to visit? We’re glad you asked. It’s always a good idea to travel to countries with low levels of violence like Canada, Singapore, and Slovenia. Plus, Japan, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland also ranked highly in the GPI report due to decreasing rates of theft, felonies, and incarceration. While the latest U.S. travel advisory suggests that visitors should avoid certain Mexican states like Michoacán, Tamaulipas, Sinaloa, and Guerrero, Oaxaca is generally viewed as a safe state to visit.

Additionally, the British Virgin Islands has been reduced to one of the lowest-risk countries on the travel advisory list. Now, visitors can enjoy a slice of the Caribbean without constantly looking over their shoulder. Not only that, but Bolivia, Argentina, and Peru are also peaceful places to visit in South America. Even the Middle East has countries to visit that are safe and sound, such as the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Out of the nine regions on the planet, four of them have increased their levels of peace since last year. These areas include Russia and Eurasia, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East and North Africa. Luckily, the Ukraine, Sudan, Egypt, North Macedonia, and Rwanda have increased their international peacefulness. Also, Europe has been ranked as the most tranquil continent for the 11th time, with over 20 nations showing an improvement in peace levels. So, the next time that you’re planning a vacation, just remember to take a look at the U.S. travel advisory first. You won’t regret it!