World's Ultra-Safe Destinations

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Chances are, you have a good idea where the world's most dangerous places are (you only need to turn on the news for this information). But what about the safest places?

We set out to answer that very question by analyzing piles of data–everything from the latest United Nations survey on global crime to the Mercer rankings of the world's safest cities. We also looked at other fear factors: natural disasters, social or political unrest, warfare and terrorism.
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Worlds Ultra-Safe Destinations

Chances are, you have a good idea where the world's most dangerous places are (you only need to turn on the news for this information). But what about the safest places?

We set out to answer that very question by analyzing piles of data–everything from the latest United Nations survey on global crime to the Mercer rankings of the world's safest cities. We also looked at other fear factors: natural disasters, social or political unrest, warfare and terrorism.

Here, we present the highlights of our findings. Some of our choices, such as bucolic New Zealand, were obvious. Others are surprising–who knew that Dubai, in the center of the Middle East, would clock in so high on the security scale?

Click on, and see how many selections surprise you.

Worlds Ultra-Safe Destinations

Given some Caribbean islands' reputation for violent crime and the high-profile Natalee Holloway case in Aruba, it may seem counterintuitive to include the Dutch ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao) on a list of the world's safest places to travel.

But the stats don't lie: Crime rates on the three islands are low, political unrest is virtually unknown, they're too far south for hurricanes, and in 2008 the trio ranked lowest in the Caribbean in felonious incidents against visiting yachts. In fact, Aruba was the only place in the region to achieve a perfect score on the yacht crime survey.

Worlds Ultra-Safe Destinations

The happiest place in Asia (according to one recent survey) is also one of the safest. What the homogenous Himalayan kingdom lacks in material wealth it more than compensates with strong Buddhist faith, family values and the economy fueled by Gross National Happiness (GNH) rather than cash accumulation. Did anyone say Shangri-La?

Worlds Ultra-Safe Destinations

Kiwis are much more into harming themselves (via rugby or bungee jumping) than assaulting others. As a result, New Zealand boasts among the lowest violent crime rates in the Western world. The islands are too far south to attract tropical cyclones, too far north for Antarctic blizzards. The last fatal earthquake was 1968.

Worlds Ultra-Safe Destinations

Are the Irish all talk and no action? Maybe it's movies like Gangs of New York and guilt by association with the ongoing troubles across the border in Ulster, but the Irish have always had a rather gruff reputation.

But you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. A recent World Health Organization study named the Emerald Isle the least violent country in Europe.

Worlds Ultra-Safe Destinations

Proactive security, thousands of surveillance cameras and a government obsessed with economic and social stability counterbalance the fact that Dubai lies in the eye of the Middle East's political hurricane. How secure is the little emirate? An increasing number of the rich and powerful from all around the region, as well as Russia and Central Asia, are purchasing homes in Dubai as insurance against chaos in their own lands.

Worlds Ultra-Safe Destinations

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