collaborative post | Study finds Iceland is the safest place to travel solo — while Afghanistan is the most dangerous.


A study conducted by world geography resource World Meters has revealed that the safest country for solo travelers is Iceland. 

The research, which was carried out by analyzing the Global Peace Index to determine which countries are the safest, also found that Afghanistan is the most dangerous place for solo travel. 

New Zealand is the second-safest place for solo travelers, and Ireland is the third-safest for those traveling solo. Denmark comes fourth in terms of safety, with Austria and Portugal in fifth and sixth place. The seventh-safest country for a solo trip is Slovenia, with another Eastern European country — Czech Republic — taking the eighth spot on the safest places list. In ninth place is Singapore, followed by Japan, which is the tenth-safest country in the world. 

How was the study conducted? 

The research was carried out by analyzing the Global Peace Index (GPI) to find out what the world’s safest countries are. 

The GPI is a report that measures the level of peacefulness of 163 independent states and territories. Produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators are used to measure peace across the three domains:  

  1. The level of Societal Safety and Security 
  2. The extent of Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict 
  3. The degree of Militarisation 

Each state and territory is then given a score based on it peacefulness. The lower the score, the safer the place is.  

What are the top 10 safest places for solo travelers? 

According to the research, the ten safest countries to travel to are: 

Rank  Country  Score 
1  Iceland  1.107 
2  New Zealand  1.269 
3  Ireland  1.288 
4  Denmark  1.296 
5  Austria  1.3 
6  Portugal  1.301 
7  Slovenia  1.316 
8  Czech Republic  1.318 
9  Singapore  1.326 
10  Japan  1.336 

What are the top 10 most dangerous places for solo travelers? 

The research also found that the ten most dangerous countries to travel to are: 

Rank  Country  Score 
1  Afghanistan  3.554 
2  Yemen  3.394 
3  Syria  3.356 
4  Russia  3.275 
5  South Sudan  3.184 
6  Democratic Republic of the Congo  3.166 
7  Iraq  3.157 
8  Somalia  3.125 
9  Central African Republic  3.021 
10  Sudan  3.007 

How safe is Iceland for travelers? 

With a GPI Index score of 1.107, Iceland is the world’s safest country. Crime rates are among the lowest in the world, and scams are almost unheard of. The country has a high level of sanitation, healthcare is excellent, and there’s a lack of deadly creatures. When walking the streets alone, you shouldn’t run into any problems, even at night time.

Solo female travelers — who can sometimes feel more vulnerable — will be pleased to know that the country champions gender equality and visiting bars and clubs alone is perfectly acceptable.

Protests against the government in the capital city of Reykjavik are the extent of the unrest you may experience, and even if you do run into trouble, much of Iceland has adequate Wi-Fi and phone reception so you can seek help. 

That said, there are some dangers in Iceland that are mainly due to the country’s unpredictable weather and extreme landscapes. Many of Iceland’s activities are based outdoors, so it is important to ensure you are properly dressed and have the right equipment while you are out exploring. Take care to also stick to marked pathways, follow any warning signs and respect rails and fences. 

Freak waves and undercurrents make the world-famous Reynisfjara black-sand beach one of the most dangerous places in Iceland and if you run or climb over the glaciers in the Jokulsarlon Lagoon, you risk falling into the water. 

Rather than driving around the country yourself, it’s best to book onto organized tours, as hiring a car alone is not only expensive, but more dangerous. Loose gravel and snow and ice on the roads make driving in Iceland a totally different experience to anywhere else in the world. 

But, as long as you use your common sense and exercise the necessary precautions, you shouldn’t have any problems on a solo trip to the country. 

If you’re considering traveling to Iceland but need more reassurance, you might find it useful to know that the US government has labeled Iceland a Level 1 country. This means it is a low-risk destination, and you only need to take the usual precautions while you are there. 

How dangerous is Afghanistan for travelers? 

Afghanistan has a GPI Index score of 3.554, making it the most dangerous country in the world. Afghanistan is under Taliban control and there are more than 20 other armed terrorist groups active throughout the country. Traveling through Afghanistan is extremely dangerous for all tourists — especially solo travelers.

Unexploded weapons and landmines are a real risk on and near roads, violent incidents and terrorist attacks are frequent throughout the country, and kidnapping is an ongoing threat, with criminal groups and terrorists targeting foreigners. Foreign nationals, including humanitarian and aid workers, are being detained for unclear reasons and without due process. 

The US government’s ability to assist its detained citizens is severely limited and it is unable to provide emergency services for citizens in Afghanistan. 

As well as armed conflict, sanitation and hygiene are poor, insect-borne diseases are widespread, and medical facilities are limited.   

Furthermore, on its Bureau of Consular Affairs website, the US government advises against all travel to Afghanistan. 

Safety tips for solo travelers 

There’s truth in the saying “safety in numbers”. This means that if you are a solo traveler — and especially if you are a solo female traveler — you will need to take some extra precautions while you are away. Here are some considerations to bear in mind: 

  • Stay up to date with the Department of State’s travel advice and health information 
  • Buy travel insurance, health insurance, and ensure all your vaccinations are up to date 
  • Book guided tours rather than exploring on your own 
  • Always make sure you are aware of your surroundings 
  • Avoid wandering around remote areas, especially at night 
  • Be extra vigilant in tourist hotspots, as solo travelers are an easy target for pickpockets 
  • Respect local cultures and dress modestly to help you blend in with the crowd 
  • At night, take taxis instead of catching public transport or walking 
  • Pre-book taxis rather than hailing them from the side of the road 
  • Get a local SIM card so you are able to contact someone if you need to 
  • Prepare a contingency plan so you know exactly what to do in an emergency situation 
  • Join the government’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and to make it easier to find you in an emergency 
  • Memorize the numbers for the emergency services in the country you are in 

What to do if you don’t feel safe while traveling 

If you feel unsafe in a foreign country, the first thing to do is to speak to your tour guide or hotel staff, as they will be best equipped to advise you on what you should do. Serious incidents should also be reported to the local police. 


According to recent research, the ten safest countries for solo travelers are Iceland, New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Singapore, and Japan. However, nowhere is completely safe, which is why it is important to use your common sense and take the necessary precautions when traveling overseas. 

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