For some people, traversing infrequently-used jungle paths and encountering wildlife is what travelling is all about. For others, coming face to face with a creature that may or may not want to bite or sting you, or an adorable-until-it-steals-your-iPhone primate is enough to make you want to tear up your passport and adopt a staycation-only policy until, well, forever. Sound familiar? Then you’ll definitely want to take a peek at these alternate destinations for the snake, spider and natural disaster-averse travellers.
Hate the poisonous snakes in Costa Rica? Go to Seychelles.
It’s weird how your friend won’t stop talking about his or her ‘AH-maze‘ trip to Costa Rica, but never mentions the fact that it’s home to the venomous Fer de Lance pit viper (a snake that loves hanging out near humans and has a couple dozen babies per litter — eep). If you prefer taking your beach vacay without having to deal with all that snake paranoia, head to the subtropical paradise of Seychelles instead for island hopping, an incredibly diverse culture and some of the best beaches and diving in the world. Bonus tip: If you never want to see another snake ever again, consider moving to Iceland. It’s 99% per cent snake-free.
Bug-phobic? Opt for Joshua Tree over Australia.
Travel writer Bill Bryson once wrote that Australia “has more things that will kill you than anywhere else. Of the world’s ten most poisonous snakes, all are Australian. Five of its creatures — the funnel web spider, box jellyfish, blue-ringed octopus, paralysis tick, and stonefish — are the most lethal of their type in the world. This is a country where even the fluffiest of caterpillars can lay you out with a toxic nip.” Translation: For the bug-fearing traveller, it might not be a top choice. If you want the outback experience (with less creepy-crawly stuff that could kill you) try Joshua Tree, California. In the infinitesimal chance you run into one of the park’s tarantulas, know that their bites definitely aren’t deadly.
Petrified of California’s earthquakes? Surf Tofino.
California and surfing go together like California and earthquake movies. So if you have no desire to feel the earth move under your feet, but you’d still like to hang ten, British Columbia’s coast is also a surfer’s paradise. With 35 gorgeous kilometres of surf-friendly beach, Tofino is the capital of surfing in Canada. Temperatures don’t drop much below 10C, which means with a decent wetsuit, you can ride the waves all year long. No passport required.
Freaked out by Zika? Skip South America and head to Croatia.
For most people, the mosquito-transmitted Zika virus has only a mild to unnoticeable effect. That said, there’s a real danger for pregnant women travelling to Zika-infected countries like Brazil. If you’re pregnant or just being cautious, forgo Rio de Janeiro and head to the gorgeous coastlines of Croatia instead. Novalja is the perfect spot for anyone looking for beach time in the day and Rio-esque nightlife after the sun sets. For a more secluded spot with a laid-back vibe, try the island of Hvar.
Paranoid about hurricanes? Try Barbados or Aruba.
After two spots in North Carolina, Grand Bahama Island is the most hit-by-hurricanes place on the planet. If you love the tropics but tropical storms freak you out, book your trip for Aruba or Barbados instead. Both islands are out of the hurricane belt and rarely struck by disastrous storms. One of the best parts of both destinations is that year-round, you’ll find calm ocean waves as warm as bathwater.
Sat through one too many viewings of Jaws? Forget Florida, head to France
The waters off the coast of Florida are some of the most shark-infested in the world. As a result, the state is also the site of the highest number of attacks, although Australia has had more fatalities. If, contrary to Jaws‘ tagline, you would like to go into the water again, check out Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes — the resort’s French Riviera-adjacent pool has been voted one of the best in the entire world. One look and you’ll be like ‘Who needs the ocean?’
Don’t want to get mugged by a monkey? Skip Malaysia.
Monkeys stealing from tourists really is a thing — especially in Malaysia’s tourist hotspot, Bako National Park. The park itself is gorgeous, and the monkeys are entertaining. Until they steal your iPhone and hold it ransom. Don’t believe us? Watch this. If IRL Planet of The Apes isn’t your thing, but the great outdoors is, choose Puerto Vallarta as your destination. The Sierra Madre is packed with adventure (think ziplining, rock climbing and horseback riding) and wildlife — but no monkeys. Phew.
Anti-avalanche? Keep your ski trip domestic.
Sure, Austria and Switzerland are legendary spots for skiers, but the trails on European mountains aren’t managed like they are in North America — and are, therefore, far more avalanche-prone. While U.S. and Canadian destinations used to be thought of as too manicured, the truth is, they’re home to some of the best skiing ever. Stay in Canada and head to Whistler or cross the border to try the famous (and for good reason) ski trails in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Tsunamis on your mind? Rest easy in Singapore.
When you think about big waves, Japan and Thailand are likely to come to mind, but Peru and Chile are actually even more prone to tsunamis. Our recommendation? Singapore. Ranked as one of the safest spots for travellers (the crime rate is shockingly low), when tsunamis do hit that part of the world, the country is protected on each side by Borneo and Malaysia — the waves that hit the coast are perfect for surfing, but don’t pose a risk for flooding.