Where Americans Feel Safest Traveling After The Pandemic

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Air travellers wearing a protective face masks, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, at JFK International airport in New York
Air travellers wearing protective face masks, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, walk at JetBlue Terminal 5 at JFK International airport in New York, U.S., November 16, 2021.

After the COVID-19 Pandemic wreaked havoc on travel plans for Americans and others around the globe, many are looking ahead and trying to plan trips to new destinations, but the places where Americans may find themselves feeling safest have changed over the course of several years.

According to a new survey, a “State of Travel Insurance Report” by Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection (via CNBC), American views on Asian cities have changed, with six places in Asia all rising in the annual safety rankings, while former favorites from Europe and the Caribbean have all fallen in the rankings.

By asking a survey of 1,500 travelers in November 2021 about their perceptions related to crime, terrorism, transportation, health and the safety of female travelers, people of color and LGBTQ people, the report found that South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, China and Vietnam all rose in the rankings, while Italy, Bahamas, Spain, Jamaica and the United Kingdom all saw declines.

Coming out on top was Canada, with a composite score of 71.94 in all categories for the safest country, with the city of Montreal also toping the safest cities list, with a composite score of 80.17. Japan placed fourth on the list of countries, with a score of 68.58, and saw Tokyo finish 5th on the cities list, with a score of 68.15. Australia also performed well, landing in the number 10 spot for countries (which was a drop from previous rankings), but also seeing Sydney come in at 7th for cities.

Other Asian countries in the Top 10 were South Korea, which came in 7th and Thailand, which came in 8th. For European countries, Iceland, Sweden, Ireland and Switzerland all ranked in the Top 10, with New Zealand rounding off the entire list. With cities, Singapore was the only Asian city besides Tokyo to top the list, coming in at number 3. European destinations of Amsterdam (2), Rome (4), London (8) and Paris (9) also cracked the Top 10, with the American cities of Las Vegas and Miami also placing in the ranking.

As for why Asian countries likely saw a rise in their rankings while European ones fell, Carol Mueller, vice president of Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, told CNBC that priorities have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic, with terrorism and violent crime no longer ranking as top safety concerns. While still important, many respondents indicated that their top concerns were about whether or not they would have the freedom to move around a destination, be safe from contracting illnesses and risk of getting stuck in a country.

“It became a concern of... Okay, I’m going to travel. I’m vaccinated, I feel comfortable,” Mueller said. “But...what happens if I get stuck?”

Of course, where Americans may travel could come down to other factors as well, such as popularity and price. Previous studies on destinations that were searched for often found that Bali, Indonesia, the Maldives, Santorini, Greece, Singapore, Stockholm, Berlin, Dubai and Kelowna, Canada were all high.

Those who have no qualms about price could find themselves looking for more luxe accommodations wherever they travel as well, with Forbes recently releasing a new list of luxury travel destinations around the world, and some of the safest countries also have some of the largest numbers of luxury hotels. Japan had 44 hotels on the list, followed by Canada, with 32 total locations throughout the country. Switzerland also ranked well, with 24 hotels, Thailand with 19 hotels, South Korea with 14 hotels, Australia with 13 hotels and New Zealand with 5 hotels.


Air travellers wearing a protective face masks, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, at JFK International airport in New York

Photo: Reuters / SHANNON STAPLETON

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