These are the most dangerous places to travel during the second wave

dangerous places to visit

The second wave of COVID-19 is here. Travel is even riskier than ever. So I’ve researched a list of the most dangerous places to travel during the second wave of coronavirus.

Daily new COVID cases have soared past the 50,000 mark in the United States. This is hardly time for a vacation. But it’s been a long lockdown, and some people need to get away.

If they do, they don’t need someone to tell them where to go — they need someone to tell them where not to go. So if you’re wondering where the most unhealthy places are to visit during the coronavirus outbreak, here’s a definitive guide.

What are the most dangerous places to travel during the second wave of COVID-19?

Any destination with lots of COVID cases. If you want to know where the hotspots are, check out this map from the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. Avoid dark red areas. The university also publishes a world map where you can quickly find the hotspots. Want to know what the map will look like in the future? Try the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a research center at the University of Washington. For example, here’s what U.S. infections will look like in a few months. Also, look for the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Safe Travels stamp to assure the destination is doing everything it can to contain the virus.

Any place with large gatherings or lots of people. Concerts, fairs, and other social gatherings, including outdoor venues such as theme parks, are off-limits, says Sheela Shenoi, medical director, general infectious diseases at Yale Medicine. “Any travel plans should emphasize spending time in settings where you can avoid or minimize contact with other people,” she adds.

Any destination you’re not allowed to visit as an American. Obvious, right? Well, no. I’m only mentioning this because clever travelers have found ways around the travel bans. So most of Europe is off-limits now, for example. And that’s especially true now, with COVID cases spiking in France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Any place with a returning quarantine. Take Aruba, for example. If you visited the Caribbean island earlier this month and came home to Kansas, you needed to quarantine for 14 days. Why? Since early September, Aruba’s coronavirus case rates have increased to more than four times the Kansas rate, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment The Centers for Disease Control warns that the risk of contracting COVID-19 risk in Aruba is high. So if you were thinking of taking a tropical vacation this fall, you might want to think twice about Aruba.

Here are some of the most dangerous places to travel during COVID-19

But where should you avoid during the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak? That depends. I talked to experts about their travel plans, and they shared their “do not travel” lists with me:


“I recommend not visiting the country during the COVID-19 outbreak for a number of reasons,” says Pedro Richardson, a former hotel manager who now publishes a travel blog. “I was born in Brazil and it feels strange to ask people to avoid it.’

Richardson says he was supposed to travel to Brazil recently to visit family.

“But I decided against it when I saw that, from day one, the president denied the severity of the virus,” he says. “He said it was a ‘little flu’ and encouraged people to continue with their daily lives. There was never a proper quarantine or lockdown in the country, and the virus spread very quickly. To date, over 150,000 people lost their lives to the virus and more than 5 million have been infected.”

Indeed, Brazil is the number-three country for the number of total COVID cases, according to the World Health Organization.

Another reason Richardson is steering clear of Brazil: The Ministry of Health removed the COVID-19 infection numbers from its website. So you don’t know how dangerous it is — or isn’t.

“That seemed to be an attempt to hide the numbers,” says Richardson.


Ryan Reiffert had plans to attend a destination wedding in Mexico, but it was canceled. Probably just as well. This event had three strikes against it.

“First, Mexico’s infection rate is unmonitored but high,” says Reiffert, an attorney from San Antonio, Texas. “Second, because large social gatherings, in general, are not a wonderful idea just now. And third, because putting a bunch of older folks on an airplane is a uniquely terrible idea.”

Well said. Stay out of Mexico.


In case you missed it earlier in the story, Europe is struggling with a second-wave COVID outbreak.

“One place I can recommend that people don’t travel to is, unfortunately, where I live — Madrid, Spain,” says Peter Lavelle, who works for an online visa service. He cites a recent news report that Madrid is Europe’s “worst infection hotspot” for COVID-19, with 859 cases per 100,000 people.

“There’s confusion at a governmental level about how to resolve this,” he adds. “Last week, the central government placed Madrid in a citywide quarantine, which regional president Isabel Ayuso then took to the courts to derogate. The central government has since declared a citywide state of emergency to impose the quarantine again.”

Not that you could get to Spain. It’s off-limits to most U.S. travelers, and for good reason.

Here’s what’s on my personal “do not visit” list during the second wave

My personal “do not visit” list is anything that crosses a state line, at this point. I’m back home in Sedona, Ariz., for a few months and have made weekend trips to Scottsdale and Tucson, but I’m wary of going too far, and my three kids and I are taking every precaution we can. We don’t want to become another statistic.

That’s more or less the right call, says Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue. “The safest places are remote and outdoors,” he says. “Avoiding metropolitan destinations where travelers have to depend on public transportation or move through crowded areas is best.”

Even safer, of course, is staying home. I may have mentioned that a few months ago. I said it again in my latest USA Today column. Yes, I’m beginning to repeat myself.

But it’s worth repeating: If you can avoid travel until the pandemic is over, you’ll reduce the risk of an infection. Because the most unhealthy place to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic could be anywhere.


Posted in On Travel Tagged , , ,

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t. He’s the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, and the Washington Post. If you have a consumer problem you can’t solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

Underwritten by

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Global Rescue

Global Rescue is the world’s leading provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services. Founded in 2004, Global Rescue has exclusive relationships with the Johns Hopkins Emergency Medicine Division of Special Operations and Elite Medical Group. Global Rescue provides best-in-class services that identify, monitor and respond to client medical and security crises. Learn more about Global Rescue.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Generali Global Assistance

Generali Global Assistance has been a leading provider of travel insurance and other assistance services for more than 25 years. We offer a full suite of innovative, vertically integrated travel insurance and emergency services. Generali Global Assistance is part of The Europ Assistance (EA) Group, who pioneered the travel assistance industry in 1963 and continues to be the leader in providing real-time assistance anywhere in the world, delivering on our motto – You Live, We Care.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Seven Corners

Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Arch RoamRight

Arch RoamRight is one of the fastest growing, most-highly rated travel insurance companies in the United States. Travel advisors love working with us, and travelers feel protected with our trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage. We also make it easy to file a claim online with our fast, paperless claims website. Learn more about RoamRight travel insurance.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

VisitorsCoverage is one of the world’s most trusted providers of travel insurance for millions of global travelers in over 175 countries. Working with top-rated travel insurance partner providers, VisitorsCoverage’s award-winning search, compare and purchase technology simplifies the travel insurance process and finds the best deals for the coverage you need to explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at VisitorsCoverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International,, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Generali Global Assistance

Generali Global Assistance has been a leading provider of travel insurance and other assistance services for more than 25 years. We offer a full suite of innovative, vertically integrated travel insurance and emergency services. Generali Global Assistance is part of The Europ Assistance (EA) Group, who pioneered the travel assistance industry in 1963 and continues to be the leader in providing real-time assistance anywhere in the world, delivering on our motto – You Live, We Care.

%d bloggers like this: