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Safest Cities to Travel to in 2021

By Kit KieferNovember 9, 2020

Photo by Louie Martinez on Unsplash

 

We’ve conducted research on the world’s safest destinations for the last three years – but those destinations have all been countries. But countries are only part of the story. Now we’re excited to release our findings for the Safest Cities for Travel in 2021.

Like everything else in this time, providing a list of the World’s Safest Cities to Travel is a little different, having been preempted by a global pandemic, among other catastrophes.

As a result, the list may seem a little premature for travel right now, but nothing is forever – even pandemics. Soon we’ll be able to travel the world, and when we do, more than ever we’ll want to go somewhere safe.

When all the numbers were crunched, here are the 10 cities around the world that we believe will be safest for travelers in 2021:

1. Tokyo
2. London
3. Dubai
4. Madrid
5. Berlin
6. Honolulu
7. Seoul
8. Paris
9. New York
10. Los Angeles

Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

What You Need To Know About The World’s Safest Cities

Methodology

From August through October – yes, during a pandemic – we surveyed more than 1,200 American travelers and asked them to rank 23 major cities around the world on a 1-to-100 scale.

Then we added the most recent safe-cities index from The Economist as well as the Current Crime Index from Numbeo, and weighted everything to get a final result.

We’ve also included the proprietary GeoSafeScore™ from GeoSure Global. This score aggregates multiple measures to provide city-by-city but also neighborhood-by-neighborhood scores. It also offers scores for women, solo travelers, and LGBTQ+ travelers.

Caveat

These ratings aren’t predictive – that is, just because we say New York is safe doesn’t mean it won’t get hit by a sharknado tomorrow. (It probably won’t, but it’s been a year.)

A little common sense and some attention to the headlines can go a long way.

Invitation

Because COVID-related travel restrictions change all the time, bookmark this post and visit it frequently for updates.

You can also visit the State Department’s site for COVID-related travel updates for the latest information on international cities.

Let’s learn a little more about the safest cities for travelers.

Photo by Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash

The Top 10 Safest Cities in the World

1. Tokyo

Survey Score: 53.8

GeoSafeScore: 69 (high marks for LGBTQ+ safety and physical safety)

Overall Score: 65.9

Why It’s Ranked Highly

Tokyo gets an A+ for safety from both The Economist and Numbeo. It didn’t rank as highly among American travelers, coming in eighth overall, behind Miami.

Can Americans Travel There?

Per the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, “U.S. citizens with resident or student status in Japan can enter/re-enter the country.”

Top Attractions

The Olympics are still on re-schedule at the time this post was published, and that may spark a much-needed travel reboot if deemed safe. Otherwise, there’s the world-famous Ginza shopping district and the blaze and bustle of one of the world’s most dizzyingly fast-paced cities.

Photo by Eva Dang on Unsplash

2. London

Survey Score: 62.6

GeoSafeScore: 58 (high marks for basic freedoms; low marks for nighttime safety and health and medical)

Overall Score: 63.0

Why It’s Ranked Highly

Our travelers and the safety indices agree: London is a safe city to visit no matter how you choose to measure it.

Can Americans Travel There?

Yes, if you’re willing to quarantine for two weeks.

Top Attractions

London is one of the world’s most walkable cities. Combine that with an increasingly bike-friendly traffic pattern and efficient mass transit, and it’s incredibly easy to get around. And Big Ben, the Thames, Buckingham Palace, et al. … classic.

Photo by ZQ Lee on Unsplash

3. Dubai

Survey Score: 50.3

GeoSafeScore: 36 (low marks for LGBTQ+ safety, basic freedoms and nighttime safety; high marks for women’s safety and physical safety)

Overall Score: 62.7

Why It’s Ranked Highly

When it comes to low crime rates, it’s hard to beat Dubai. The emirates’ jewel city has also done an exceptional job controlling the pandemic – not a part of the rankings, but noteworthy nonetheless.

Can Americans Travel There?

Yes, though a quarantine requirement is currently in place.

Top Attractions

There’s the water and the shopping, but the real reason to visit Dubai is the stunning architecture that takes its cues equally from the cutting-edge and the timeless. To say there’s no city in the world like it does Dubai injustice; when it comes to looks, it’s in a category of its own.

Photo by Florian Wehde on Unsplash

4. Madrid

Survey Score: 53.3

GeoSafeScore: 59 (high marks for theft and women’s safety; low marks for health and medical)

Overall Score: 62.3

Why It’s Ranked Highly

Independent safety measures give Madrid high marks. It’s also rated highly by Millennials, middle-aged travelers, and Matures.

Can Americans Travel There?

According to the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, students, athletes, and some professional people are allowed into Spain for work and study. Tourists are not allowed in.

Top Attractions

There have been times when Barcelona gets all the press, but don’t sleep on Spain’s largest city. It’s warm and welcoming, and can go toe-to-toe with its sister city to the east anytime. Start with the famed Prado art museum and work your way out from there.

Photo by Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

5. Berlin

Survey Score: 55.4

GeoSafeScore: 62 (high marks for basic freedoms; low marks for health and medical)

Overall Score: 62.1

Why It’s Ranked Highly

Berlin ranked sixth among American travelers and checked in at fifth overall, so that’s a pretty good sign that everyone agrees on Berlin’s safety.

Can Americans Travel There?

Well, maybe ... if you’re a dual citizen of a country on Germany’s “allowed” list.

Top Attractions

In addition to classic examples of bauhaus architecture and shockingly modern art, there’s the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, the remnants of the Berlin Wall, Unter den Linden, and scores of fascinating neighborhoods to explore.

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Photo by Zetong Li on Unsplash

6. Honolulu

Survey Score: 64.2

GeoSafeScore: 69 (high marks for physical safety, theft, LGBTQ+ safety, and women’s safety; low marks for health and medical)

Overall Score: 62.0

Why It’s Ranked Highly

Mature travelers in particular give Honolulu high marks for safety. In fact, it topped our traveler’s survey, and occupied the No. 1 spot for all age groups.

Can Americans Travel There?

Travel restrictions were lifted Oct. 18, 2020, but are subject to change. Check official sources like the Hawaii Tourism Authority for the latest information.

Top Attractions

It’s Hawaii, and that means Diamond Head, amazing beaches, incredible scenery, fresh fruits on the lanai, and dancing under the stars. Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

7. Seoul

Survey Score: 47.3

GeoSafeScore: 57 (high marks for physical safety; low marks for nighttime safety and women’s safety)

Overall Score: 60.5

Why It’s Ranked Highly

Safety measures love it, and the city, like the country, has done an exceptional job handling the pandemic.

Can Americans Travel There?

Yes, but a 14-day quarantine rule is in effect.

Top Attractions

You can think of Seoul in the same terms as Tokyo, with high-tech mass transit and glitzy nightlife, but the more time you spend in the city the more you appreciate its hard-working nature and steely resolve.

Photo by Pedro Lastra on Unsplash

8. Paris

Survey Score: 57.4

GeoSafeScore: 64 (high marks for physical safety, LGBTQ+ safety, women’s safety, and basic freedoms; low marks for health and medical)

Overall Score: 60.4

Why It’s Ranked Highly

Safety indices and traveler ratings agree that Paris is essentially a safe city – which is important if you’re looking for love in the world’s most romantic city.

Can Americans Travel There?

Not now.

Top Attractions

Seriously? Okay: the Eiffel Tower. The Louvre. The West Bank. The East Bank. The Arc de Triomphe. Sidewalk cafes. The Seine. We’ll leave it at that and let you discover the rest.

Photo by Colton Duke on Unsplash

9. New York

Survey Score: 54.3

GeoSafeScore: 64 (high marks for theft, LGBTQ+ safety, and women’s safety; low marks for basic freedoms and health and medical)

Overall Score: 60.4

Why It’s Ranked Highly

The days of a trip to New York City being something reserved for risk-takers are long gone. Travelers of all ages and safety indices agree on the city’s safety.

Can Americans Travel There?

There are quarantine restrictions in place for travelers from some states, but generally New York is waiting with open arms … and a mask.

Top Attractions

Again, seriously? From the Statue of Liberty to the Met to Broadway, New York City is richly deserving of its status as one of the world’s great cities. However you choose to measure it, New York measures up.

Photo by Olenka Kotyk on Unsplash

10. Los Angeles

Survey Score: 51.9

GeoSafeScore: 60 (high marks for theft and women’s safety; low marks for basic freedoms and health and medical)

Overall Score: 58.6

Why It’s Ranked Highly

L.A. is sometimes criticized for being a collection of neighborhoods in search of a city, but its decentralized, sprawling nature helps keep down crime and helps it rate highly in safety measures.

Can Americans Travel There?

Anytime you want. Keep an eye out for wildfires, though.

Top Attractions

As befits a city of neighborhoods (and other cities), there’s a little something for everyone, from the food and funk of East L.A. to the glitz of Hollywood and Beverly Hills to the laid-back vibe of oceanfront hangouts like Venice Beach and Santa Monica.

Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

Full Rankings By Age Groups

Millennials (25-44)

1. Tokyo
2. Dubai
3. London
4. Madrid
5. New York
6. Berlin
7. Seoul
8. Paris
9. Los Angeles
10. Hong Kong

Middle-Aged Travelers (45-54)

1. Tokyo
2. London
3. Honolulu
4. New York
5. Madrid
6. Dubai
7. Los Angeles
8. Paris
9. Berlin
10. Rome

Mature Travelers (55+)

1. Tokyo
2. Honolulu
3. London
4. Berlin
5. Madrid
6. Dubai
7. Paris
8. Seoul
9. Rome
10. New York

Regardless of when you feel able to visit the World’s Safest Cities, be sure to choose travel insurance from Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection to cover all your travels. Discover what makes our coverage special here.



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Kit Kiefer
Kit Kiefer

Kit Kiefer is a former travel writer for The New York Times and has more than 30 years of freelance experience writing about domestic and international travel. He blogs and produces content for Winbound, a content marketing firm.

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Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection (BHTP) is a registered trademark and a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company (BHSI), a leader in specialized casualty and liability insurance.  The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable.  BHTP disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information.  The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

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