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Travel Has Never Been Safer, Complains Top Danger Traveler

July 2, 2012 at 2:21 PM | by | ()

Jaunted writers have been blogging about dangerous travel guru Robert Young Pelton almost as long as there's been a Jaunted. We first linked to his Come Back Alive site in 2006 after it was listed by the Times as one of their Top 100 Travel sites.

Then he popped up a few years later when he brushed off the CDC's swine flu bulletin about Mexico travel and told CNN that "people can and should travel wherever they want to, regardless of warnings."

Now, via Tim Leffel, we discover this wonderful interview with Pelton, where he half-reassuringly half-plaintively muses that the world is running out of places where travelers can get made dead. "It's putting me out of business," he says, complaining that "there aren’t wars anymore." This is all in the context of producing the new edition of his book The World's Most Dangerous Places, which originally had 26 countries and now is barely going to get up to a dozen.

Pelton points out that most of Eastern Europe has become simply safe, which is true, and that the same can be said for parts of Africa and South America. He acknowledges that travelers still need to be aware of their surroundings, but points out that "don't go there," "watch out," and "don't go out at night" are totally different from—in our words now—something like "be careful not to get hit by any of the mortars being launched by the warlords who are besieging town today."

It's a fair point, and one we heartily endorse. We've directed you toward massive hotel and airline discounts in the aftermath of Greek riots, and we've advocated that you score travel deals by availing yourself more generally of Europe's economic turmoil. The world has never been quite as dangerous as people are led to believe. There are even academic studies on this question.

That said, let's not get crazy. Around the same time we were suggesting that you take advantage of the riots in Greece, we were gently but firmly steering you away from the riots in Thailand. It's a simple matter of math: count up the number of people who are getting killed in any given destination, and if it crosses a certain threshold don't go to that destination. There are, after all, limits, and there are plenty of perfectly nice tourism destinations where people aren't throwing Molotov cocktails. There's nothing wrong with going to one of those.

[Photo: MAClarke21 / Flickr]

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