Travel

Least Popular Countries to Travel to According to Baby Boomers: Ranked

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Many people have a travel “bucket list” of their dream destinations, but if you ask, you’ll find out they also have an “anti-bucket list” of places they would never visit. That includes Baby Boomers, an important demographic with the time and disposable income to travel. What are those worst-of-the-worst countries for people born between 1946 and 1964? To find out, we consulted YouGov.com to find out which countries are least popular with that generation. See if you agree with their choices as we present the bottom 10 choices out of 197 countries in descending order. 

10. Russia

Source: Mordolff / E+ via Getty Images
A military parade in Red Square, Moscow, with a Kremlin tower in the foreground and St. Basil’s Cathedral in the background.

Boomer Rank: 187th

Boomer Popularity: 6%

Where is it? Eastern Europe, Northern Asia

What’s to Love? Walking in the snow, gorgeous onion-domed churches, ballet, riding the Trans-Siberian railroad.

What’s Not to Love? Currently under heavy international sanctions for invading Ukraine, has anti-American attitudes and policies, and is under a U.S. State Department travel advisory.

9. Nauru

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
Nauru is a tiny remote island that has been stripped by phosphate mining.

Boomer Rank: 188th

Boomer Popularity: 5%

Where is it? South Pacific

What’s to Love? An island nation with gorgeous ocean views, walks on the beach, splendid isolation, and hardly any tourists.

What’s Not to Love? Few tourist amenities, impoverished economy, devastated by phosphate mining operations, used as a detention site for undocumented immigrants to Australia, so bad that residents have considered relocating the whole population to a different island.

8. East Timor

Source: gaborbasch / iStock via Getty Images
A pristine deserted beach in East Timor.

Boomer rank: 189th

Boomer Popularity: 5%

Where is it? South Pacific, on an island split with Indonesia

What’s to Love? The official currency is the U.S. dollar. You’ll walk on white sand beaches and see dolphins cavorting in crystal-clear tropical water. The coral reefs are spectacular.

What’s Not to Love? It’s hard to get to. You have to fly in from Bali or Australia to West Timor, Indonesia, then go overland by an uncomfortable lurching bus to East Timor. It’s still a developing country with few amenities and political instability. 

7. Guinea-Bissau

Source: JooCalvet / iStock via Getty Images
Guinea-Bissau is a tropical country in West Africa.

Boomer rank: 190th

Boomer Popularity: 5%

Where is it? West Africa

What’s to Love? It’s warm all year round, has a lot of ethnic and religious diversity, and is reportedly religiously tolerant.

What’s Not to Love? It is one of the poorest countries in the world, has a severely damaged environment, is a major center of drug trafficking, and has been politically unstable since independence.

6. North Korea

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North Korea is, without a doubt, the most paranoid and reclusive authoritarian state in the world.

Boomer rank: 191st

Boomer Popularity: 5%

Where is it? East Asia

What’s to Love? Wildlife and scenery, unspoiled by commercialism or globalization.

What’s Not to Love? Where to begin? A one-party communist state with a cult of personality and quasi-religion built around the dictator, mass starvation, prison camps, foreigners immediately arrested, beaten, and held for years, rogue nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program, the constant threat of war with South Korea, Japan, and the United States, refugees try to escape to relative freedom in neighboring communist China. Need we say more?

5. Kiribati

Source: EvaKaufman / Getty Images
Kiribati was formerly a British colony in the South Pacific.

Boomer rank: 192nd

Boomer Popularity: 5%

Where is it? South Pacific

What’s to Love? Tropical paradise, former British colony, English is one of the official languages, allied to and protected by the United States and Australia.

What’s Not to Love? One of the most vulnerable nations in the world to climate change from extreme weather and rising sea levels. Some of the islands are heavily overpopulated. There have been proposals to relocate the population to Australia or New Zealand.

4. Iraq

Iraq | File:5628442718 b10fc2c47f o.jpg
Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
Nearly two decades after Saddam Hussein was deposed and executed, Iraq is still a dangerous and unstable place.

Boomer rank: 193rd

Boomer Popularity: 4%

Where is it? Middle East

What’s to Love? Archaeological sites from one of the earliest cradles of civilization, architecture spanning millennia, including the golden age of the Islamic Caliphate.

What’s Not to Love? War-torn, unstable, constant terrorist threat, U.S. State Department travel advisory, used as a transit zone for terrorists and weapons from Iran to its allies in Syria and Lebanon. 

3. Burkina Faso

Source: DmitryTrashchenko / Getty Images
This is a traditional village in Burkina Faso.

Boomer rank: 194th

Boomer Popularity: 4%

Where is it? West Africa

What’s to Love? It has a lot of natural resources, a growing technology sector, and a growing economy. It has the largest craft market in Africa and the largest elephant population. It has 24 national parks, reserves, and protected lands.

What’s Not to Love? Two recent coups have left it unstable and dangerous. After Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia, it is the 4th most affected country by terrorism in the world. 

2. Iran

Source: dynamosquito / Wikimedia Commons
Iran’s architectural treasures include centuries-old ornate mosques.

Boomer rank: 195th

Boomer Popularity: 4%

Where is it? Middle East

What’s to Love? Ancient Persian culture and language, large number of younger people curious and friendly toward Westerners.

What’s Not to Love? Strict Islamic state imposing rigid codes of dress and behavior, working on nuclear weapons, sponsors terrorism, arbitrarily arrests foreigners and uses them as pawns in international power politics, antagonistic attitude toward the United States.

1. Azerbaijan

Source: saiko3p / iStock via Getty Images
Flame Tower is an impressive part of the skyline of Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku.

Boomer rank: 196th

Boomer Popularity: 3%

Where is it? Middle East

What’s to Love? Increasingly pro-western politics, aligning with the U.S., Turkey, and Israel. Reportedly friendly to tourists and relatively safe in the capital.

What’s Not to Love? An authoritarian dictatorship wedged between dangerous countries Iran and Russia, perpetually on the verge of war with neighboring Armenia.

What Boomers Got Right

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Be happy, flower children! You may have literally dodged a bullet with your travel anti-bucket list choices.

The data from YouGov shows that Boomers very rightly don’t care for some pretty dangerous places like Iraq, North Korea, and Iran. And they also made a pretty good call putting Russia on the reject list. Even though Russia has a history and culture that make it a really awesome place to travel, these days, not so much. The whole reviving-the-Evil-Empire thing they have going on is just not tourist-friendly.

What Boomers Got Wrong

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Saying “OK, Boomer” is not nice. Not nice at all. But if we WERE going to say it, your choosing North Korea over almost half a dozen other countries would be a pretty good reason.

Our polled Boomers have sprinkled all through this bottom-10 list some amazing tropical paradises in Africa and the Pacific. Why? WHY? They ranked Kiribati, a former British colony allied with the U.S. and Australia, below North Korea. Which is, well, you know: NORTH KOREA! And putting Azerbaijan dead last just doesn’t make sense. It’s true this Islamic country wedged between Russia and Iran is a dictatorship. But it’s an increasingly pro-Western one, aligning with the U.S., Turkey, and Israel against its neighbors. And it’s tourist-friendly. And most importantly, IT’S NOT NORTH KOREA! Anyplace NOT NORTH KOREA is better than NORTH KOREA!

Some Countries That Should Be in the Bottom 10

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The unsettled security situation in Israel, particularly in the Gaza Strip, makes it a place to avoid traveling to for now.

The Boomer country-hate list is also remarkable for some of the countries that aren’t in the bottom 10 but probably should be. Afghanistan and Somalia are unstable, conflict-ridden, and among the most terrorism-prone countries in the world. Haiti is in a perpetual state of crisis, disaster recovery, corruption, and civil unrest. In recent years, humanitarian workers have been targeted for kidnapping and robbery. Under its socialist government, Venezuela has declined into poverty. Millions of citizens have fled abroad. The government has cracked down violently on protests and has detained Americans without notifying the American embassy. Due to ongoing armed conflict within their borders, even American allies Israel and Ukraine are unsafe travel choices.

A World Too Big, Even for Boomers

Source: cybrain / Getty Images
We have a bigger world than even the biggest generation can keep track of.

Here’s what we think. Americans of all generations don’t excel at geography. Arguably, Boomers might do better than most with their traditional educational foundation, world-changing news events they have witnessed, dedicated military service, and international travel. But we think they just don’t know very much about some of these countries. And that just reminds us all that we have a world so big, so diverse, so awesome that even in a long lifetime, we just can’t take it all in. But we sure can try! 

 

 

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