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I love traveling (and appreciate it all the more after a year of not being able to do so!). But as a woman of color, I know that not all places are hospitable to people who look like me.

Author with trekking poles standing on a mountain trail.


Michelle No / BuzzFeed

I have the bad travel experiences to back it up. 🙃

So recently, I’ve started wondering: Which destinations are safe* for travelers of color?


NBC

*I define “safe” as destinations that are queer-friendly, fat-friendly, religiously tolerant, and/or welcoming to people of color and women. Of course, I know not all destinations can tick off all boxes, but I am seeking the most all-encompassing and intersectional definition of “safe” as possible. 

To get the best answers, I turned to four travel experts who have all traveled extensively and have first-hand experience visiting these destinations.

It’s important to note that none of these experts can speak for everyone reading this — their recommendations are based on *their experiences alone* and traveling to the same destination might feel different for you.

If you’ve had a traumatic travel experience, I know how hard it can feel to feel safe venturing out into unknown places. My hope for this list is that it serves as a helpful jumping-off point for anyone researching for their next travel adventure.

And if your future travel destination isn’t on this list, don’t let it deter you from taking that trip! Other peoples’ opinions never stopped me from having fun, and it shouldn’t stop you either. Just remember to do your research before you go.

And one last note: We can all be better about making travel a positive experience for everyone. As Tomiko Harvey reminded me, people across the travel industry have a responsibility to watch out for their own prejudices. “The onus is on the tourism board, the hotels, and the restaurants to ensure the employees have bias training. Because we all have [bias],” she says.

Without further ado, here are 14 of the best safe destinations for travelers of color:

1.

Cusco, Peru

A tourist in Peru


Andresr / Getty Images

Apart from hosting Machu Picchu, one of the world’s New 7 Wonders of the World, Cusco is also one of the most hospitable places to travelers, according to Kareemah. “The first place that’s ever made me feel safe is Cusco, Peru,” she said. “I was wearing a headscarf and I never felt people staring at me rudely.”

The sights here range from hiking Rainbow Mountain and trekking to Salkantay to trying world-class Peruvian cuisine and experiencing the ancient ritual of a coca leaf reading.

2.

Istanbul, Turkey

View of Istanbul with the seaside in the background.


Shihan Shan / Getty Images

Historically, Istanbul served as a center of trade along the Silk Road and played a big role in east-west relations. Today, the city is known for its astounding architecture, a cosmopolitan population, a thriving nightlife, and of course, historical sites — like Hagia Sophia — that harken back to its days as Constantinople, the capital of a huge empire.

“They’re used to people visiting, that’s the history of their country,” said Kareemah. “There’s a mix of people from Europe and Asia, so you won’t get weird looks if you look ‘different.'” 

3.

Chefchaouen, Morocco

Man walks up the blue steps of a narrow street in the blue-washed Chefchaouen, Morocco. This town is known for being painted in exclusively one color (blue).


Photography By Jeremy Villasis. / Getty Images

Known as the “blue city,” this visually striking destination will have you living behind your camera the entire time you’re there. Everything from the roads, doors, and buildings are all colored blue, and it’s worth taking at least a day or two to wander around and take it all in.

As a small Moroccan village situated in Northern Africa, it’s again a locale that’s frequented by a huge mix of global travelers, and as long as you can remember to dress conservatively, it’s a safe place for women to travel to, says Kareemah.

4.

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

5.

Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia

Man with hiking backpack climbs the mountains of Tbilisi.


Maya Karkalicheva / Getty Images

From the majestic mountain views and magnetic Black Sea beaches to the hearty comfort food, what’s there not to love about the country of Georgia? Apparently, you can add warm hosts to that list. As De Jesus puts it, “I was told by someone in Georgia that here, they see travelers as sent from heaven. You’re like a good luck charm. And I felt it. I felt very welcome.” She said the level of trust between her and the locals felt mutual, and that that’s what led her to moments where she almost “forgot her skin color.” 

6.

Bhutan

7.

Mexico City, Mexico

8.

India

9.

Thailand

A street foot-vending woman smiles broadly at the camera. She is surrounded by various ingredients and holds a serving of noodles.


Enviromantic / Getty Images

Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for novice or beginner backpackers, beach lovers, and street food aficionados. It’s got everything from world-class beaches and picturesque islands to ancient ruins and a thriving night life — all at budget prices. “I love the metropolitan city vibe and the Black community here. Thailand can be fatphobic but it’s actually more inclusive for me than the states,” Richmond says.

Overall, it’s a place where many will feel at home. “Thailand has a welcoming reputation,” De Jesus sums up. “The people are kind and friendly.”

10.

Tokyo, Japan

11.

Amman, Jordan

A woman floats along the Dead Sea facing up, and reads a magazine as she floats.


Max Shen / Getty Images

Jordan is an accessible point of entry to this part of Western Asia (referred to by some as the Middle East). There are desert landscapes and the Dead Sea, but for history buffs, there’s also the world’s oldest continuously inhabited place (the Amman Citadel), the Temple of Hercules, and tons of hikes. 

“I was nervous because as a woman, I dress pretty liberally. So I went into Jordan thinking I’m going to be oppressed, but it didn’t feel that way at all,” says Richmond. “Black people: Get out to Jordan. It’s beautiful, it’s lovely. And women: Don’t be afraid to go,” 

12.

Praiano, Amalfi Coast

13.

Olomouc, Czech Republic

Aerial view of Olomouc, showing a grand plaza with various charming architecture on show.


Luis Dafos / Getty Images

This charming, walkable town is pretty unknown outside of Czech Republic, but it’s the epitome of a quaint European city. It’s known for its architecture, baroque fountains, delightfully smelly cheese, beautiful churches, and its many breweries. 

Harvey loved the respite Olomouc offered from the touristy areas of Czech Republic. “If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Prague and still see the architecture and beautiful scenery, it’s absolutely gorgeous.” She also said the only time she felt that being a foreigner was a challenge was in the train, when she couldn’t get by just on her English. 

14.

Turks & Caicos

Are you a person of color or a traveler who identifies with the situations or categories above? Where have you felt especially comfortable traveling abroad? Share in the comments below.





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