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Safest Cities to Travel to in 2022

By Kit KieferDecember 10, 2021

Photo by Eva Blue on Unsplash

 

One year ago we released our list of the World’s Safest Cities for travel as a supplement to our annual Safest Places to Travel. A wild, unsettled year has gone by, and we’re back again, with an improved rating process and a brand-new list of the World’s 10 Safest Cities to Travel to in 2022. 

We’re going to unveil the list in little more than a paragraph, so if you’d prefer a slower reveal, click here to jump down the page. Otherwise, here we go.

From top to bottom the 10 safest cities are:

1. Montreal
2. Amsterdam
3. Tokyo
4. Singapore
5. Sydney
6. London
7. Barcelona
8. Hong Kong
9. Berlin
10. Rome

Now, let’s talk a little about how we got there.

Photo by Guilherme Stecanella on Unsplash

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

Methodology 

We started with readily available lists of the most popular international and domestic cities for travelers, culled from Expedia, American Express and other sources. That gave us a list of 23 cities for survey respondents to rank.

This year, we took the extra step of asking our survey respondents whether they had actually visited any of these cities, and only travelers who had actually been to the cities ranked them on a variety of safety measures, using their first-hand knowledge as a yardstick. 

To the survey ratings we added the most recent safe-cities index from The Economist, city ratings from GeoSure Global, and the Current Crime Index from Numbeo, and weighted everything to get a final result.

Caveat

These ratings look back to give a picture of what’s happening now. They can’t give you a safety rating on the future safety of any city throughout the world. 

We realize that we live in unpredictable times, but these ratings presume a measure of predictability.

Invitation

Because COVID-related travel restrictions change all the time, visit the State Department’s site for COVID-related travel updates for the latest information on international cities. 

Also, The New York Times regularly updates its “I’m A U.S. Citizen. Where In The World Can I Go?” piece. It’s a user-friendly way to navigate the myriad COVID-related travel restrictions.

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

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

The Top 10 Safest Cities in the World

1. Montreal

Survey Score: 80.2

Overall Score: 78.7

Why It’s Ranked Highly

It’s the top-rated city in our survey almost across the board, and GeoSure loves it, too.

Can Americans Travel There?

Yep. American citizens who have proof of full vaccination and citizens who recovered from COVID and can produce a recent molecular test result can enter Canada, at which time their only real choice is to head straight for Montreal.

Top Attractions

Old Montreal is the best of France and Canada, the waterfront is delightful, the neighborhoods are explorable, and Mont-Royal is worth the trek to the top. And the smoked meat is the stuff dreams are made of.

Photo by Azhar J on Unsplash

2. Amsterdam

Survey Score: 76.7

Overall Score: 75.6

Why It’s Ranked Highly

Amsterdam is a favorite of every measurement and measurer, usually just a tick behind Montreal. 

Can Americans Travel There?

Yes, if you’re vaccinated and complete the paperwork.

Top Attractions

Amsterdam is super bike-friendly and super people-friendly, with great beer, canals, parks, tulips – all the stuff you hope for with a trip to the Netherlands.

Photo by Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash

3. Tokyo

Survey Score: 68.2

Overall Score: 73.8

Why It’s Ranked Highly

Tokyo’s reputation for cleanliness and safety precedes itself. That’s why the city was our top-rated city last year and was only five points away from the top spot this year.

Can Americans Travel There?

No, unfortunately, and it’s not clear when that answer may change.

Top Attractions

There’s the world-famous Ginza shopping district and the blaze and bustle of one of the world’s most dizzyingly fast-paced cities, but there are also spots of exceptional calm and peace that make you marvel that the two can co-exist.

Photo by Jisun Han on Unsplash

4. Singapore

Survey Score: 71.6

Overall Score: 72.6

Why It’s Ranked Highly

Singapore’s dedication to safety (and rule-following) is well-known. It’s one of the cleanest cities on the planet, and one of the best-policed. That really resonates with our travelers, in addition to GeoSure and Numbeo.

Can Americans Travel There?

According to The New York Times, U.S. travelers with proof of vaccination can enter without having to quarantine, though they have to test negative twice, and are put in isolation until they can produce negative tests.

Top Attractions

Changli Airport is acclaimed as the world’s greatest, and it’s just the start of the architectural marvels to be found in this everchanging city.

Photo by Dan Freeman on Unsplash

5. Sydney

Survey Score: 71.8

Overall Score: 62.1

Why It’s Ranked Highly

People often think of Sydney in terms of postcard shots – the harbor, the opera house, the bridge – but Sydney is really a city of neighborhoods, great restaurants, and beaches that invites exploration. The Sydney Zoo is one of the world’s best, and if you feel like some serious exploration the bush isn’t all that far away.

Can Americans Travel There?

No. To quote our recent Safest Countries post, “Australia has enacted a travel ban on all non-residents and non-Australian citizens entering Australia.”

Top Attractions

The Opera House, the waterfront – Sydney is a non-stop parade of iconic views. Sydney is also a great city for the arts, and the perfect jumping-off spot for the country’s wild interior.

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Photo by Lucas Davies on Unsplash

6. London

Survey Score: 65.2

Overall Score: 65.5

Why It’s Ranked Highly

The fact that the survey score almost matched the overall score hints at the convergence of opinion regarding London. Every score aligns with every other, and every source agrees that this is the appropriate ranking for London.

Can Americans Travel There?

Yes, if you’re not entering the country from a “red-list” country. Also, proof of vaccination is required. Unvaccinated travelers must buy a “travel package” of tests covering an eight-day period.

Top Attractions

London is a walkable, bikeable, and generally easy-to-get-around city. It has no shortage of iconic sites and attractions, from the British Museum to Buckingham Palace – and hey, there are venomous sharks in the Thames! Enjoy that.

Photo by Dimitry Anikin on Unsplash

7. Barcelona

Survey Score: 58.4

Overall Score: 65.5

Why It’s Ranked Highly

GeoSure and The Economist are big fans. Also, it’s hugely popular with higher-income survey respondents.

Can Americans Travel There?

Tourists from the United States must be vaccinated and have a QR code generated through the Spain Travel Health portal.

Top Attractions

One of the world’s greatest cities architecturally, Barcelona combines cutting-edge modernity with Moorish and European influences to create a cityscape unlike any other. 

Photo by Nic Low on Unsplash

8. Hong Kong

Survey Score: 52.7

Overall Score: 65.0

Why It’s Ranked Highly

Numbeo considers Hong Kong to be safer than Tokyo and on par, safety-wise, with Reykjavik and Amarillo, Texas (!). Survey results and other measurements disagree.

Can Americans Travel There?

Like anywhere else in China, not yet.

Top Attractions

The glitter and style of China’s chicest city … with a British heritage that still shines through.

Photo by Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

9. Berlin

Survey Score: 55.0

Overall Score: 64.5

Why It’s Ranked Highly

The ranking this time is driven by GeoSure, which considers Berlin to be at least as safe as Tokyo or Amsterdam. Numbeo is less impressed.

Can Americans Travel There?

Germany is open to fully vaccinated tourists or those who were infected with COVID in the previous four weeks to six months.

Top Attractions

Art, architecture, and amazing neighborhoods. The people are friendly and the history is amazing. Berlin gives you a lot to take in and think about, if you’re so inclined.

Photo by Carlos Ibáñez on Unsplash

10. Rome

Survey Score: 69.9

Overall Score: 64.5

Why It’s Ranked Highly

High scores from all the other sources help offset a low Numbeo number.

Can Americans Travel There?

Americans can enter Italy without quarantining if they have a negative test performed within 72 hours before arrival, and have either proof of vaccination or a medical certificate confirming recovery from COVID within the previous six months.

Top Attractions

The Coliseum, Vatican City, St. Peter’s Square, the Forum, the Pantheon … there is so much to do and see in the Eternal City of sun and romance.

Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

Travel Safety Has Multiple Dimensions

Because we had people who had actually visited specific cities doing the rating this year, we felt comfortable asking them about multiple aspects of travel safety, including safety from crime, terrorism, and disease, and safety for vulnerable groups such as travelers of color and LGBTQ+ travelers.

We used an average of the eight sub-category scores for the Safest Cities calculation employed above. Here are the top-10 lists for the sub-categories.

Violent Crime Safety

1. Amsterdam
2. Montreal
3. Rome
4. Sydney
5. Tokyo
6. Singapore
7. London
8. Las Vegas
9. Miami
10. Paris

Not only is it somewhat surprising that two American cities made this list, it’s surprising that the American cities are Miami and Las Vegas – two cities known for high-rolling night life.

Terrorism Safety

1. Montreal
2. Amsterdam
3. Singapore
4. Rome
5. Tokyo
6. Las Vegas
7. London
8. Sydney
9. Bangkok
10. Miami

Based on past events, Las Vegas seems like the outlier here, but surveyed travelers do feel safe.

Transportation Safety

1. Montreal
2. Amsterdam
3. Las Vegas
4. Singapore
5. Rome
6. Tokyo
7. London
8. Sydney
9. Paris
10. Miami

We don’t want to keep picking on Vegas, but the city doesn’t have much in the way of mass transit by comparison, so does this mean people feel safe driving in their cars around Vegas? Evidently.

Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash

Health Measures

1. Montreal
2. Amsterdam
3. Singapore
4. Rome
5. Tokyo
6. London
7. Las Vegas
8. Sydney
9. Paris
10. Bangkok

As we noted in our piece on travel safety in Thailand, don’t drink the water and be careful with street food. Otherwise, the country has done an admirable job dealing with COVID.

Women's Safety

1. Montreal
2. Amsterdam
3. Singapore
4. Rome
5. Tokyo
6. London
7. Paris
8. Las Vegas
9. Sydney
10. Miami

In terms of the composite score, women give Asian cities high marks. In the specific category of women’s safety, Asian destinations were near the bottom. It doesn’t make sense.

People of Color Safety

1. Montreal
2. Amsterdam
3. Sydney
4. Rome
5. Tokyo
6. Singapore
7. Las Vegas
8. London
9. Paris
10. Bangkok

Not a lot of change. The safest cities for some are the safest for all.

Photo by Miltiadis Fragkidis on Unsplash

LGTQ+ Safety

1. Amsterdam
2. Montreal
3. Singapore
4. Rome
5. Las Vegas
6. Tokyo
7. Paris
8. London
9. Miami
10. New York

Ditto, but New York City cracks the top 10 with this community.

Rankings By Age, Gender, And Income

Unlike past years, survey respondents had wildly different perceptions of the world’s safest countries depending on their age, gender, and income. After we broke apart the responses, here are some of the categories with the biggest deviation from the overall scores:

Millennial Survey Respondents (ages 25-44)

1. Montreal
2. Amsterdam
3. Rome
4. Singapore
5. Tokyo
6. London
7. Bangkok
8. Las Vegas
9. Sydney
10. Paris

As they showed with the safest countries, with the safest cities Millennials tend to eschew domestic destinations in favor of international ones.

Respondents With A Household Income Of More Than $100,000

1. Amsterdam
2. Montreal
3. Rome
4. Singapore
5. Tokyo
6. London
7. Las Vegas
8. Paris
9. Barcelona
10. New York

Higher-income travelers give higher marks to Amsterdam.

Photo by Rodrigo Kugnharski on Unsplash

Female Survey Respondents

1. Tokyo
2. Montreal
3. Amsterdam
4. Singapore
5. Sydney
6. San Juan
7. Rome
8. Seoul
9. Paris
10. Bangkok

San Juan and Seoul? Women definitely have a different idea of what constitutes a safe city.

Male Survey Respondents

1. Montreal
2. Amsterdam
3. Rome
4. Singapore
5. Las Vegas
6. London
7. Paris
8. Tokyo
9. Sydney
10. Miami

The usual suspects, more or less.

Regardless of when you’re able to visit the World’s Safest Cities, choose travel insurance from Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection to cover all your travels, whether you need simple flight insurance for a weekend in Vegas or coverage for a cruise that includes a stop in Sydney.

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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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