Here at the Current we’re all about travelling. Whether it’s within Canada, down to the states, or halfway around the world – we’re committed to helping you plan your trip and getting you the currency you need! Though the destinations seem limitless, there are unfortunately places that are best to avoid for the time being. Using official Canadian government travel advisories, we’ve put this list together as a resource to help keep you safe and secure during your travels.
Avoid all travel
Obviously there are some countries that are simply not safe no matter where you are. These are the countries that the Canadian government advises against travelling to for any reason.
- Afghanistan: The continued insurgency and high crime rate make security a huge risk. Kidnapping is also a real danger. Canada has an embassy but its ability to help travelers in case of emergency is limited.
- Central African Republic: Following a 2013 coup, the situation remains unstable. Sectarian violence has continued, with the government unable to fully control it. In addition, the capital of Bangui is under a curfew.
- Iran: Since Canada closed its embassy in Iran, travel to the country is not recommended for any reason. Even if you’re an Iranian-Canadian, the Iranian government does not recognize dual-citizenship and you will likely face added suspicion.
- North Korea: Travel is not advised due to the repressive North Korean government and security tensions between the DPRK and the West. Also, there are no diplomatic relations between Canada and North Korea, with no embassy to assist you should you run into trouble.
- Libya: The political situation in Libya remains unstable, resulting in the closure of the Canadian embassy. Violent outbreaks and the threat of terrorism continues.
- Somalia: Though there is a government in power, the rule of law is extremely limited/non-existent. As such violence, terrorism, and other threats are constant in many areas of the country.
- South Sudan: In the world’s newest country, violence and instability remain high. Ethnic violence, militia groups, and the potential for conflict with Sudan to the north are a few reasons why travel is not advised for any reason.
- Syria: The ongoing civil war in Syria makes the region extremely dangerous. The cities of Damascus and Aleppo continue to see conflict between government and rebel forces. In addition, ISIL controls large parts of the country and coalition air strikes continue in these areas to combat the terror group.
- Yemen: The Houthi rebel group and the threat of terrorism make Yemen extremely dangerous for travelers. The political situation is very unstable and the central government does not exercise much control.
Avoid all travel (with regional advisories)
Like the above countries, those listed below should not be traveled to for any reason – with the exception of certain regions. Despite this, it is still generally not recommended for non-essential travel.
- Chad: The security situation in the majority of the country is very poor. Military forces and rebel groups are prone to clashing with one another. Though Canada does have an embassy in Khartoum, travel is not recommended for any reason. The one exception is the region of N’Djamena, which, while also dangerous, is slightly downgraded to warn against ‘non-essential’ travel.
- Iraq: The majority of Iraq remains extremely dangerous. ISIL insurgents are a threat in the north, but could potentially move further south. The relatively stable areas are those controlled by KRG (i.e. Kurdistan). However, the region is under threat from ISIL and the situation could deteriorate rapidly so only essential travel should be conducted.
- Niger: Terrorist groups in the region remain a threat to most of the country. Political instability is also high in many regions. Niamey is slightly more stable, although the threat of violence and kidnapping remain so it’s not recommended for non-essential travel.
Avoid non-essential travel
These countries should not be visited for non-essential reasons.
- Guinea: Bandits and other violent groups are still prevalent in much of the country. In addition, the outbreak of Ebola has prompted the Canadian government to advise against any non-essential travel.
- Liberia: Like Guinea, the Ebola outbreak has made Liberia dangerous for travellers. Though it appears to be in recovery, travel is still not recommended for any non-essential personnel.
- Republic of Congo (Brazzaville): Political instability and crime remain high in the majority of the country. The government and remnants the Ninja rebel group still may clash even though a ceasefire was signed. There is no advisory in the cities of Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire, but you should use caution nonetheless.
- Sierra Leone: Like Guinea and Liberia, the Ebola outbreak is the main current danger in Sierra Leone. Unless travel there is essential, you should not visit the country.
Avoid non-essential travel (with regional advisories)
As above, non-essential travellers should avoid these countries for the most part but there are regional exceptions. In some cases, parts of the country should be avoided altogether, while other regions are somewhat safer. Nevertheless caution should still be exercised.
- Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa): The general security situation in the bulk of the country is stable, but can be unpredictable. The east and northeast of the country however, should not be visited for any reason. The situation in North and South Kivu (provinces) in particular is very tense.
- Egypt: Due to the evolving political situation in Egypt, you should exercise a high degree of caution throughout the country. The Sinai Peninsula, Port Said, Suez, and Ismailia should not be visited for any reason due to ongoing military conflict, terrorism, demonstrations, and other violence. Generally speaking however, coastal resorts are safe but use caution regardless.
- Eritrea: The political situation is highly unstable so travel is not recommended to the country for any non-essential reason. However, the border regions near Ethiopia, Sudan, and Djibouti should not be visited for any reason.
- Lebanon: The security situation throughout the country is unpredictable but there are several regions that should not be visited at all. These include the southern suburbs of Beirut, North Lebanon, the Syrian border region and northern Bekaa Valley, Abra, areas south of the Litani River, and Palestinian refugee camps.
- Mauritania: There is a rise in terrorist threats towards the West, so non-essential travel is not advised. In addition, the northern and eastern regions of the country are at risk of violence and kidnapping due to Tuareg rebels and extremists coming out of neighbouring Mali due to the French intervention.
- Nigeria: There is a risk of terrorism, crime, and other violent clashes throughout the country. Calabar and Lagos are safer but you should still use caution. However, there are many Northern and Middle Belt states where the risk of terrorism and kidnapping is higher so travel to these regions is not recommended for any reason. Finally, various Niger Delta states also have high rates of kidnapping and should not be visited.
- Pakistan: The unpredictable political situation and threat of terrorism have caused the Canadian government to advise against non-essential travel to Pakistan. In addition, you should not travel for any reason to areas with ongoing military/militant activity, all border regions, Kashmir, Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and the tribal areas.
- Sudan: The security situation in parts of the country is unstable as armed conflict and crime continue. Additionally, you should not travel for any reason to Darfur, Abyei administrative region, Southern Kordofan State, Blue Nile State, the Eritrea border in the Red Sea State, and portions of Northern Kordofan and White Nile states located south of the Kosti-El Obeid-En Nahud road.
The above countries were just the ones where travel was either completely advised against, or not recommended for non-essential reasons. To see the complete list, including countries with any sort of precaution – including regional dangers such as Crimea and parts of Western Ukraine – check out the official travel advisory site administered by the Government of Canada. There is also much more information on the aforementioned countries and additional threats or caveats.
As the Government of Canada says, “you are solely responsible for your travel decisions” – so make the right choice and stay safe, no matter where in the world you are!
Stay informed. Stay Current.
(Note: Bookmark this page and check back prior to booking any exotic vacations, we’ll be updating this article with any major new travel advisories as they are announced.)