The No-Travel List: Six Destinations To Sit Out This Year

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Travel planning time always brings with it a host of decisions. This year’s destinations include dreamy getaways, adventurous trips off the beaten track, fun-filled vacations, and magical places that hopefully, will help us glean more insight into how connected we really all are. As with each passing year, this year’s travel list has the same woes – a list that’s too long, a timeframe that’s too short, and a budget that’s sadly not unlimited.

For a restless traveller like myself, there’s always that insatiable wanderlust that brews right underneath the surface, full of places we are yearning to be and explore. The list is inexhaustible. But while I may be an idealistic globetrotter, I am also a realist, a mother, and a woman. 

With the way the world is going, it comes of no surprise that we have to be extra cautious when making our yearly travel plans. That brings me to my no-travel list – a short log of a few destinations that I have no intention of visiting; at least not this year. The reasons they’ve made it onto my no fly list vary, but what they do have in common is a compromised travel experience.

Here are the six destinations at the top of my list:

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Venezuela is one of the most beautiful, geographically diverse countries in the world. Its spicy Latin cultural, warm and vibrant people, and delicious cuisine make for a fantastic travel spot. 

Unfortunately, its civil disturbances and high rate of violence, added to a wide-scale economic crisis and scarcity of basic consumables, makes traveling to Venezuela a rather uneasy and tense experience. Especially if you plan to visit its capital city Caracas, the epicenter of the chaos.

As there is no realistic end in sight to Venezuela’s tumultuous situation, sitting this destination out for a bit is a sound travel decision.   

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It must seem strange to feature a city as tourist-friendly as Dubai on a no-travel list? But this year, Dubai will be on a tight – more like dizzyingly ambitious – schedule. As hosts of the 2020 World Expo, Dubai will be racing against the clock (albeit with an incredibly hefty budget) to deliver all the infrastructure they’ve promised, by 2018.

This means that in 2017, Dubai will quite literally be buried under construction. Many of the city’s iconic structures and key places of interest may be inaccessible to visitors, as Dubai once again goes through a metamorphosis. My recommendation is to sit this destination out this year, and instead, visit the refurbished city in 2019.    

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These two sunny, diverse destinations sadly make my no-travel list in 2017. While they are both places I have yet to visit, I am totally looking forward to doing so some day. Both countries abound in beauty, enticing ancient cultures, and historical significance.

Even though the wider travel community seems to have mixed verdicts on visiting these two countries, there is no debate that the security and safety of tourist is a genuine cause of concern. Living in Paris, it is all too easy to say that no destination is safe, but the number of recent terrorist attacks have caused justifiable feelings of unease and apprehension around travel to these countries right now.

While there has been a significant decline in visitors to both destinations, tourism has not stopped. So if these destinations are on your travel list, ensure that you are well informed about all the safety and security advisories, and that you remain vigilant.

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It’s been called the “airpocalypse” and in China, a “nuclear winter.” The question everyone’s asking is this: are high levels of air pollution harmful to tourists? The answer, it seems, is yes; even minimal exposure to dirty air could have adverse effects on visitors’ health.

It’s unsurprising that both cities have reported a significant slowdown in tourism due to their record-breaking levels of pollution. While wearing masks and monitoring real-time air quality on airvisual.com can be helpful while visiting, avoiding your exposure altogether is the best remedy.

Breathing in muggy smoggy air inadvertently is certainly something I never want to worry about, let alone knowingly place myself in the midst of it. So until these countries get a handle on their dirty air I will take a “smogcheck” on traveling to them.

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These six destinations by no means exhaust my no-travel list for 2017. Syria, Yemen, and the Democratic Republic of Congo all spring to mind with warning signs. But what’s the likelihood of any of us voluntarily choosing to visit them in 2017?

If by some miracle, they do happen to be on your travel list, then I consider you way more qualified and experience in this area than I. In this case, don’t hesitate to send me some of your tips.

Wherever you roam this year, remember to be safe and alert, because 2017 looks like it’s shaping up to be a great year for travel.

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