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6 Incredible Challenging Destinations for American Travelers

Discover the most challenging destinations for American tourists!

When you want to explore the world and go on an adventure, you will likely feel drawn to unfamiliar cultures and remote corners. This is why you might end up facing some challenging destinations, especially for American tourists.

It doesn’t matter how much you want to go on an adventure and explore the world; there are some countries where Americans can’t travel that easily for various reasons. And this is not because they are not allowed to enter the country; it can be difficult for them to enter, and sometimes it is advised to not go there at all.

From diplomatic relations and bureaucracy to safety concerns and war-torn landscapes, we want to present you with some of the most challenging destinations for American travelers. Read on and find out all you need to know about international travel.

challenging destinations
Photo by Michal Knitl from Shutterstock

1. Turkmenistan

This is a former Soviet socialist republic that is well known for its eccentric ruler and difficult-to-obtain tourist visas. If you want to embark on a journey to visit the landscapes of Turkmenistan, keep in mind that you will need to prepare well in advance, as this is one of the most challenging destinations for Americans.

And this doesn’t apply only to Americans; getting a visa for this country is a burden for any other nation around the globe; this is just how things work there. The visa regime is tightly controlled, and you will need to visit the consulate or embassy first in order to obtain a visa from them.

Furthermore, acquiring a tourist visa sometimes requires an official letter of invitation from a local sponsor. Also, if you want to go there individually, keep in mind that it is impossible. You will need to book a guided tour for the duration of your stay. Turkmenistan is a beautiful country, but getting access can be a real hassle, and it might not be for many.

2. Cuba

Maybe you’ve been dreaming for a while to visit this tropical paradise called Cuba. This place is full of hidden treasures, palm trees, and incredible beaches. But did you know that Cuba is another one of the most challenging destinations for Americans?

There is a decades-long history of tensions and a trade embargo that is still going on between the two countries, the USA and Cuba. This tropical destination used to be hard to access for anyone, but in later years, it has become more accessible for most people, except Americans. They are still subject to various restrictions.

Particularly, travel to Cuba for tourism reasons is still restricted by US law, mandating meeting one of twelve recognized classifications, such as academic or cultural exchanges. Also, obtaining a travel authorization or visa is a tough process for Americans because there is a lot of paperwork and extra fees that people from other countries don’t need to pay.

3. Saudi Arabia

If we look at the Middle East, we will see that Saudi Arabia is one of the allies of the United States in this region, but there are still some obstacles that make it one of the most challenging destinations for American tourists.

The main reasons that make this destination inaccessible are the strict visa regulations and the cultural obstacles.

If you are trying to obtain a tourist visa, you need to know that this is a complex process and that you will most probably need support from a local entity. Also, if there is no essential purpose, you have a high chance of getting your visa rejected since the availability is limited.

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia’s traditional Islamic principles require rigorous regulations of conduct and attire, which may conflict with Western standards and customs. Combine this with the bureaucracy needed to get access to this country, and you get one of the most challenging destinations for tourists coming from the US.

4. Bhutan

This is truly a breathtaking destination, and it can lure many tourists and explorers hungry for adventure. Unfortunately, if you want to visit Buthan, you need to have money. A trip here can break the bank, and if you are not prepared, you can’t make it.

This is due to the daily tariff the tourists need to pay and also because the only way to get there is through authorized tour operators. Bhutan is a country that has a “high-value, low-impact” tourism policy, and this makes visiting it incredibly regulated.

Even more, there are not so many flights to Buthan. The flights are exclusive to Paro Airport, and they are also limited. If you want to get a visa, you need a pre-arranged itinerary, and besides that, you need to plan your whole trip with a licensed guide.

This whole process is complex and complicated, and because of this, Buthan is for sure one of the most challenging destinations for American tourists.

5. Venezuela

This is one of the richest countries in South America, but it is also a country that doesn’t have the best diplomatic relations with the United States. The U.S. Department of State has issued a travel advisory, actually a level 4 one, and this is probably the first factor that can challenge tourists.

This travel advisory was issued because of the high crime rate and civil unrest. Also, the diplomatic tension between these two countries complicates the matter even more, which is why it is hard to find consular assistance and there is a lack of diplomatic representation for American tourists.

Furthermore, acquiring a visa to enter Venezuela is infamously hard for Americans, with strict restrictions and bureaucratic procedures set forth by Venezuelan officials. So, next time you think about visiting Venezuela, remember that it is one of the most challenging destinations for those coming from the US.

challenging destinations
Photo by Chintung Lee from Shutterstock

6. North Korea

This list can’t be complete without North Korea. This country is infamous for its socialist-communist regime and because no one knows what is happening there. It is a country that is closed off to the world, and this is why it is one of the most challenging destinations for Americans and the rest of the world.

The government carefully controls travel to North Korea, with guests subjected to strict surveillance and restricted access to the world outside. Also, this country has one of the most heavily fortified borders, but this doesn’t stop people from visiting it, despite the risks that come with all of this.

Between the United States and North Korea, there are ongoing political tensions, and this makes this destination even harder to access. Americans who go to North Korea without legal passports from the Department of State face arrest and long-term incarceration.

Have you ever visited any of these countries? How was your experience? Tell us in the comments section!

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You should also read: Tourist Traps Alert: 8 Places to Avoid While Exploring New York City

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