Friday, May 29, 2020 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

Top Places to Avoid in 2018. Number 4 Might Really Surprise You.

A simple internet search of the top-rated travel destinations for 2018 will have you eenie, meenie, miny, moeing which link to click. But if you follow several of those links you’re going to notice some differences of opinion. It’s all subjective. Where some people wouldn’t let a particular places dust settle on their sandals, others may consider it a Utopia.

A lot depends on which factors the person or company putting the list together is taking into consideration. Are they considering budget-minded travelers or are they scoping out only the finest of 5-star digs? For sanity’s sake, some vacationers may need to chill in the seclusion of a mountain cabin. Unplug. Others may find destroying brain cells in Miami’s non-stop party capital of South Beach more to their liking. I repeat. Subjective.

This in mind, taking the opposite approach of letting folks know where they shouldn’t go in 2018 makes much better sense. Once those places are eliminated, the rest of the world is their oyster.

Obviously, any place where there is unrest won’t factor into the equation. Everyone should already know to not catch the next midnight train to Kabul. Pray for peace instead.  But you’re going to be surprised of where else you should steer clear of, and possibly even more so by the reasons.
1    Amsterdam

As of a fairly recent census, 813,562 people reside within Amsterdam’s city limits. The urban areas house another 1.1 million, and if you want to count the greater metropolitan area, you’ll find yet another 1.6 million.  All together were looking at a little over 3.5 million pairs of clogs.

Amsterdam plays host to over four-times the number of its residents, receiving 15 million visitors a year. This ranks it as Europes eighth most popular city to visit, and the 27th most popular internationally. Tourism provides those said residents with loads of financial opportunities. Both legal, and, not so much.

There have been cases of tourists being offered cookies by seemingly friendly locals on the street. Taken as a sign of hospitality the cookies are accepted. However. They are laced with some form of a drug. The person is then followed until the drug serves it purpose, at which time the naive tourist is robbed and left lying in a heap until they awaken. There is little the police can do.

Attractions and museums have become way overpriced so plan on leaving an arm and at least one leg behind. If a cop pulls you over or stops you on the sidewalk, immediately ask for identification and hope what they’re showing you is legit. There’s a rampant problem with crooks impersonating the law.

Amsterdam is still an exciting city with much to see, do, and inhale, so if it’s a bucket-list must-do, go with a group of friends and you’ll have a great time. Just don’t do it alone.
Amsterdam  Travel Destinations To Avoid In 2018
2    Honduras

Honduras has improved over the last several years but it is still considered one of the deadliest places on earth with a frighteningly high murder-rate. The U.S. Department of State has never lifted the travel warning which has remained in effect since 2012. No area in the country is deemed safe and the bulk of serious crimes never get solved.

To create a better understanding, though the notoriously violent street-gang MS 13 consists largely of Salvadorian immigrants, a great and growing number of them are Hondurans. Get the picture?

There has been nothing to suggest westerners are targeted any more than other nationalities. Honduran criminals act without prejudice. They don’t care who you are. But if you’re bull-headed enough to ignore validated advice, dress way down and look over your shoulder so often you get a crick in your neck. It has been said mission groups and those traveling with tours experience less crime. It’s the safety in numbers thing. Do not go alone. If you do, please update your will prior to what could be your last great adventure. It’s that bad.
3    Cuba

It was incredibly exciting when the age-old barriers came crashing down allowing U.S. travel to Cuba. Families were reunited with loved ones and tourist wishing to view the magic of this long-hidden jewel finally had their chance. But that was then.

American’s are still allowed to travel to Cuba, just not as freely as they could during that wide open window of opportunity. New laws and regulations from the current administration have tightened the requirements as relations are once again becoming strained.

According to the U.S. Department of State, credit and debit cards do not work in Cuba. Travelers must bring cash and any amount over $5000 must be declared. Though the Cuban government does not do this with any other currency, a 10% fee is charged to convert U.S. dollars.

Travelers to Cuba must purchase non-USA medical insurance which can be taken care of the airport upon arrival. Individual licenses to travel to Cuba must fall under one of the following twelve categories:

  • Family visits
  • Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
  • Journalistic activity
  • Professional research and professional meetings
  • Educational activities
  • Religious activities
  • Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
  • Support for the Cuban people
  • Humanitarian projects
  • Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
  • Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials
  • Certain export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing regulations and guidelines

Because of the unexplained medical issues being experienced by U.S. Embassy workers, extreme caution has been advised. We can only hope a better day is coming.
4    Taj Mahal 

The Taj Mahal has stood tall and proud as a distinguished piece of architecture since the 17th century, and many travelers have an unquenchable desire to feast their eyes on its majesty. What could be cooler than posting a selfie in front of the worlds most famous mausoleum?

Well. You better do it fast. While some people fork out untold amounts of money to have mud smeared all over their face, and sometimes their entire body, starting in March 2018, the government of India will apply the identical technology to the dome, and four spires, of the Taj Mahal. It’s getting a long-term mud-pack to remove the surface yellowing which has accumulated over the years.
 Taj Mahal
You can narrow your choices for your next travel adventure by scratching these four places off your list of travel destinations for 2018. Happy travels.

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