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Safest Places to Travel 2020

By Kit KieferJanuary 1, 2020

Photo by Keith Zhu on Unsplash

If you’re looking for the safest places to travel in 2020, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection has the answer.

According to our research, and after crunching all the numbers, here are the countries that we believe are the safest for travelers:

1. Australia
2. Sweden
3. New Zealand
4. Italy
5. The Netherlands
6. France
7. Iceland
8. Ireland
9. Greece
10. Japan

This year’s results show quite a few changes from last year. (Click here to see the previous year’s results.) Some of the highlights include:

  • A new #1: Australia rises to the top, up from #2 last year.
  • New entries into the top 10: France, Greece, Japan, and New Zealand appear for the first time.
  • Some big-name departures: Switzerland, the Bahamas, the United Kingdom, and the Virgin Islands left the top 10 – though as you’ll see later, Switzerland isn’t entirely out of the picture.
  • Six repeaters: In addition to Australia, Sweden, the Netherlands, Iceland, Ireland, and Italy held onto spots in the top 10.
  • Bad news for the Bahamas: After cracking the top 10 last year, the Bahamas – ravaged by Hurricane Dorian – fell all the way to 23rd.

Safest Places to Travel 2020

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How did we get the safest places results?

Each year, we do a comprehensive research project in which we ask travelers to rate the places around the globe that they feel are the safest for travelers.

Using that information as a base, we then create a custom score for each destination using our own traveler data plus:

Here are the top 10 safest places in more depth:

1. Australia

Photo by Jamie Davies on Unsplash

Australia was the runaway winner of safest destination in the Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection survey, ranking first not only overall but in every major demographic category – Millennials, Millennials with children, and mature travelers.

Australia also ranked highly for safety in the UL index and scored well in the Global Finance Index.

Why travelers love it

Australia is the perfect mix of the exotic and the familiar. The variety of experiences in Australia – tropical, desert, metropolitan, and everything in between – are also a big draw for travelers. And the people are among the friendliest in the world.

What travel experts are saying

The Travel Tart
“There are a number of factors for Australia’s No. 1 ranking. Australia has a 'safety net' system where it's easier to access government social security and health services. The public health system is free in Australia, which makes people less desperate. This doesn't mean Australia doesn't have its share of problems. It's not perfect. Like with any place you visit, it’s always best to take normal precautions.”
Anthony Bianco, a/k/a The Travel Tart

2. Sweden

Photo by Raphael Andres on Unsplash

Much as it did last year, Sweden did consistently well in the travelers’ poll with all types of travelers. A high score in the UL Safety Index moved it up to second overall.

What travel experts are saying

Melinda Martino
“Sweden is safe, friendly and beautiful - and appreciated by both residents and visitors alike. According to the 2019 Global Peace Index, the Nordic region is the safest in the world, and Sweden was recently named “the world's most reputable country” by Reputation Institute’s annual Country RepTrak®.”
- Melinda Martino from Visit Sweden

3. New Zealand

Photo by Dan Freeman on Unsplash

Like Australia, New Zealand ranked highly with Millennials in the Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection survey. In fact, it was Millennials’ choice as the safest destination on the planet.

It’s not just American travelers who think highly of New Zealand. It also scored well in the Global Peace Index, the UL Safety Index, and the Global Finance Index.

Why travelers love it

New Zealand is even more “accessibly exotic” than Australia, with unworldly scenery and an even wider variety of climates and vistas. The fact that much of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy was filmed here doesn’t hurt, either.

What travel experts are saying

Michael Rees
“New Zealand is a safe place to travel because it has a low population base. People are friendly and helpful, especially outside the larger cities in rural communities. Communication is easy due to English being the main language spoken. The climate conditions are moderate and there are no major diseases travellers need vaccination for. With a good infrastructure in place travellers have fast access to medical facilities, fast internet connections and good roading throughout the country.”
Michael Nees from Guest New Zealand

4. italy

Photo by Willian West on Unsplash

Italy continues to score extremely well on safety with travelers, even though other measures are slightly less kind to the country. You wouldn’t know it by American travelers’ opinions, as it scored fourth overall with Millennials and Millennials with kids, and 10th among mature travelers.

Why travelers love it

Are you kidding? Italy is a dream destination for many American travelers drawn to its history and culture, its museums, classic destinations like Venice and Rome, food, and its picturesque villages – did we mention the food?

What travel experts are saying

Katy Clarke
“Italy is well known for its rich history, stunning landscapes and amazing food. We have traveled there for years solo and with small children and love that we feel safe wherever we go. From the famous larger cities to picturesque coastal towns and villages, there is a corner of Italy calling your name. The only trouble is choosing where to go!”
Katy Clarke from Untold Italy

5. THE NETHERLANDS

Photo by Tim Trad on Unsplash

Another European destination that scored extremely well across all the various measures, the Netherlands are particularly popular with mature travelers.

Why travelers love it

Canals, tulips, bicycles, beer – the Netherlands has a lot to like. The country is easy to get around, and it’s become a magnet for river cruisers, foodie travelers and others looking for a more pastoral European experience.

6. france

Photo by Soroush Karimi on Unsplash

While all travelers gave France high marks for safety, it’s very clear that Millennial American travelers love France. They put it third overall for safety – a significant improvement over last year’s rankings. 

Why travelers love it

Like Italy, France is an iconic travel destination with something for practically every type of traveler and every travel style. From river cruises to skiing in the Alps to a romantic getaway to the City of Lights, France has charms that just won’t quit.

What travel experts are saying

Tuula Rampont
“There’s no right to bear arms in France, and apart from petty theft, not much for travelers to have to worry about. And when you travel through the airports, train stations, and the Paris metro, you’ll see increased police and security presence.”
- Tuula Rampont from Belle Provence Travels

7. ICELAND

Photo by Andrey Andreyev on Unsplash

The top country in the 2019 Global Peace Index, Iceland scores highly in the UL and Global Finance measures as well. American travelers think it’s extremely safe, too.

Why travelers love it

Iceland may not be the “cool hot” destination it was just a couple of years ago, but all its charms remain – its amazing landscapes, friendly people, hot springs, and ocean views. In fact, it may be even more of an amazing destination now that some of the crowds have dissipated.

8. ireland

Photo by Sylvia Szekely on Unsplash

Ireland slid a little in the 2019 survey after topping the safest-places list in 2018, but it’s not as though the country did anything wrong. The country remains extremely popular with affluent Millennials and older travelers, and it scores very well in the Global Peace Index and the UL Safety Index.

Why travelers love it

It truly is the Emerald Isle, with a well-earned reputation for friendliness. It’s affordable, easy to get around, and beautiful any time of year.

9. greece

Photo by Matthew Waring on Unsplash

After finishing just barely in the top 20 in 2018, Greece made the top 10 in 2019, thanks in part to affluent Millennials, who consider Greece one of their safest destinations.

Why travelers love it

From the ruins of ancient Athens to the uber-romantic Greek isles, Greece is warm, welcoming, and beautiful. It’s a favorite destination of Mediterranean cruisers and anyone looking for a little bit of European sun.

What travel experts are saying

Olivier Moutopoulos
“In my opinion, Greece is the safest country in the Mediterranean – including the other European countries of the region.”
- Olivier Moutopoulos from Greeka
Bruno B.
“If you believe (like me) that we're supposed to enjoy the little things in life, well, Greece has them all – friendly people, great wines, delicious food, stunning sunsets, postcard-worthy beaches. Everyone there is focused on making each moment special, which makes it a truly beautiful, safe, and special place.”
Bruno B. from Geeky Explorer
Paulina
“Greece is a great place to visit as this country holds something for every type of traveller. Whether you love hiking, lazy days on the beach or visiting historical sites: Greece seems to have it all.

 

I particularly appreciate that Greece is totally safe for solo female travellers. It's a pleasure to walk worry-free through the white-washed streets of the Cycladic islands. However, you should note that the safety situation of tourist islands cannot be compared to the one of Athens' outskirts neighborhoods. Indeed when in Athens, I always recommend staying in the city center. ”
Paulina from Paulina on the Road

10. japan

Photo by David Edelstein on Unsplash

With the Olympics coming in 2020, Japan has taken huge steps to improve its already stellar reputation as a clean, safe tourist destination. The efforts have more than paid off. Good scores in the Global Peace Index and the UL Safety Index don’t hurt, either.

What travel experts are saying

Asian Wunderlust
“One day, I was going to the airport to fly to Shikoku from Tokyo. I noticed at the last minute that I forgot my backpack in the metro. I had no time to go back and look for it because we were about to miss our flight. FYI, I had a lot of valuable stuff in it, including my DSLR camera and my wallet. We contacted the metro company, and two days later I received my backpack in Shikoku and nothing was missing. How safe is Japan? Very, very safe! :)”
Mehdi Fliss from The Asian Wanderlust
Walter Keats
“Having visited Japan about three dozen times since 1972, and having visited over 90 countries on six continents, I think [Japan] is very safe. In Japan I wouldn't be worried about saying anything that some local would find offensive and thus threaten my safety.”
- Walter Keats from Asia Pacific Travel

Rankings by Age Groups

Millennials (ages 25-34)

Countries that received the highest combined safety ratings from Millennials (ages 25-34) were:

1. Australia (1.82)
2. New Zealand   (1.83)
3. Italy (2.13)
4. Spain (2.17)
5. France (2.26)
6. Switzerland (2.34)
7. United Kingdom (2.34)
8. Portugal (2.44)
9. Ireland (2.52)
10. Japan (2.555)

Middle-Aged Travelers (ages 35-54)

It isn’t even close for middle-aged travelers – Australia is their runaway pick for safest destination. The rest of the top 10 (and their scores) are as follows:

1. Australia (1.46)
2. New Zealand (1.70)
3. Sweden (1.91)
4. Switzerland (1.93)
5. Japan (2.00)
6. Iceland (2.01)
7. Ireland (2.04)
8. Virgin Islands (2.16)
9. Norway (2.25)
10. Italy (2.27)

Mature Travelers (ages 55-74)

Countries that scored highest for safety among Baby Boomers (ages 55-74) are:

1. Switzerland (1.42)
2. Iceland (1.47)
3. Sweden (1.56)
4. Norway (1.58)
5. Ireland (1.68)
6. Australia (1.91)
7. Denmark (1.95)
8. New Zealand (1.97)
9. Netherlands (2.04)
10. Belgium (2.23)

Safety sometimes gets labeled “boring,” but there’s nothing boring about the world’s safest destinations.

In fact, they’re some of the most desirable destinations on earth. However, travel to any of these destinations can benefit from the added peace of mind provided by travel insurance from Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. Get a quote today!

QUESTIONS ABOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE?

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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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