The Buck Stops Here: 11 Travel Destinations Ethical Travelers Refuse To Visit

At some point in our lives, many of us have had the urge to go where we’re not allowed. But, according to an online forum, it’s different for this list of places travelers consider off-limits. While these areas have become the forbidden fruit for the wanderlust-stricken, traveling to such locations is still mostly a hard no—even to the most seasoned tourists.

1. Belarus

Panoramic view of the historical center of Minsk. Belarus. Sunset. Autumn
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Aside from the declining population and the presence of the Russian military on its border, Belarus is one spot travelers are urged to avoid. The UK, US, and Canadian governments all have issued an “Avoid all travel” policy due to such political tensions, with all of them saying that they have limited ability to support their citizens should there be any problems in the country. Harsh restrictions on media and freedom of speech add to the concerns.

2. North Korea

Old blue car driving in Pyongyang Street with North Korea Flag
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North Korea has been a staple of where not to visit for a long time. From how the government treats its citizens to restrictions on tourism and a thoroughly corrupt system involving their supreme leader, Kim Jung Un, this makes it an awful place to travel if you are allowed in. Some people believe that North Korean citizens would have trouble adjusting to having tourists, as one travel enthusiast relates: “It’s hard for locals to communicate the effect tourism has, so I would probably avoid that.”

3. Iran

Freedom Monument known as Azadi Tower or Borj-e Azadi tower and cultural complex reflecting in a pond at sunset, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
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The threat of terrorism is flagged as the main reason tourists avoid Iran at all costs. Iran has a very high rate of violence, along with kidnapping. When Americans get arrested or detained, it has been shown that the punishment is much worse for Americans due to their hatred towards the U.S.

4. Hawaii

Kauai, Hawaii
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While many travelers consider this their go-to destination spot, recently, there has been a flood of wildfires throughout the islands due to volcanic eruptions and lightning strikes. In response, Hawaiian residents have requested that people stop taking trips there while they rebuild and recover.

5. Russia

Oymyakon, Russia
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Russia is still at war with Ukraine, which causes this to be a difficult place to travel for now. The Russian government has also shown that they will put a harsher sentence on an American than anyone else due to their dislike of America.

6. Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia
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This country has many threats of terrorism, missiles, and drone attacks. There are also stringent rules on hand-holding, how you dress, and the consumption of alcohol. Saudi Arabia also tends to hate the United States and treats U.S. citizens differently than anyone else. The active threat of war is also a significant factor, as this traveler states, “Sometimes the ethics and politics get entangled with legitimate safety concerns,” implying that the political temperature can threaten one’s safety.

7. China

Forbidden city in Beijing from above
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Even though China has plenty of gorgeous places, the pollution makes it a tough place to travel, especially for those with pre-existing respiratory conditions. China has a reputation for having a very strict law enforcement system, which may result in you being banned from the country or a wrongful detention if you don’t follow the rules. 

8. Antarctica

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You may not believe it, but plenty of people travel to this frigid place yearly. The problem with people visiting is that it does not help preserve wildlife, and humans tend to destroy beautiful, natural areas. One globetrotter stated, “Leave nature alone and unspoiled by humans as much as possible.”

9. Poland

Warsaw, Poland
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Even though Poland may seem beautiful on the internet, some areas give it a bad reputation. Poland has contributed significantly to the world’s carjackings, muggings, and pocket-picking. Even though Poland is an excellent country to visit, you should stay away for now.

10. Israel

Jerusalem, Israel old city at the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock.
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This historic country is the wrong place to travel right now due to a spike in conflicts with other nations. While many places assure travelers that popular sites such as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are safe, some travelers experience petty crimes such as mugging or carjacking.

11. U.S Virgin Islands

U.S Virgin Islands
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Another popular vacation spot, these beautiful islands have seen a rise in crime rate, causing this to become a destination to stay away from. Along with minor crimes, the weather can turn deadly with hurricanes and tropical storms. 

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