Are you an avid Black solo traveler or thinking about taking one of your very first solo trips? Then you will hopefully find this article interesting and helpful.
After reading countless travel experience articles and watching videos, we came up with a list of just 5 worst cities for Black solo travelers. Of course, there are other travel destinations that are not very friendly to Black travelers, but these 5 countries stood out as the worst offenders.
Italy has been a much loved travel destination for years, but some research shows that it might not be such an ideal place to travel alone if you’re a black traveler. That is especially true in Northern Italy. Much of the negative feedback we have seen about traveling in Italy is concentrated in Northern Italy.
It is no secret that racism exists in Italy, but some regions are worse than others. From our research, it appears that most Black travelers have pretty good experiences in Southern Italy but had some negative things to say about Northern Italy. And if you are a Black traveler from Africa, opposed to let’s say America, your travel experiences might be a lot worse.
There is a lot of illegal immigration from Africa into Italy that has faced fierce opposition and that could be the source of much of the mistreatment of Black travelers in Italy.
A region that has been mentioned by Black travelers repeatedly is the Veneto region, which is the North Eastern region of Italy.
African and South Asian workers fill the need for low-paid labor in the region and are exposed to discrimination.
In some instances, the racism that’s experienced is through crass comments of soccer fans after a heated game or strange looks from locals. On YouTube commentators shared their experience of being mistreated at a pizza shop in Rome while another mentioned not being given the necessary attention for safety while riding a lift up a mountain.
So when planning to travel through Italy, it might be a good idea to do it with a travel buddy just to feel more secure.
China is in general a place where you have to know what you’re getting yourself into and that’s why it’s a popular destination for group tours. The biggest complaints from Black travelers about China is the amount of uncomfortable attention Black people get doing simply everyday things like walking down the street or dining at restaurants. If personal space is an important thing for you, then this is probably not a place you will want to go to. Some black travelers have compared it to feeling like an attraction at a zoo.
Locals might come up to you and want to take photos with you or touch your hair. Most of this attention might not come from a bad place or out of bad intentions, but it is easy to see why it can get irritating when you’re simply looking to relax and explore a new place.
Similar to Italy, if the locals think you are from Africa versus a Western country, the treatment you will receive is worse.
We have read stories of African travelers who were straight up refused services at some restaurants. But China is a massive place so different cities will yield different experiences. You might have a better experience in major cities that might be used to seeing tourists from all over the world.
More recently, some places in China have been very unfriendly to Black travelers since the outbreak of Covid-19 due to many Chinese people believing covid came from Africa. This was actually reported on by Abc news.
One Youtube commentator said they would never go back to China after going there once for work. They complained about not being served at some restaurants and not being able to go anywhere without a guide. The security measures they experienced were also much tighter than other destinations.
Again, the moral of the story is that maybe China is a place you should experience with a group, especially if it’s your first time.
3/4. Morocco and Egypt
For the number 3 and number 4 spots, we are putting Morocco and Egypt together because the two North African countries have so much in common. And most of the complaints about these two countries came from Black women traveling alone.
One YouTuber shared her story of being followed by several different men while traveling in Morocco. She expressed feeling uneasy while venturing out anytime after sunset while in Marrakesh. Another YouTuber also expressed being sexually harassed on the streets of Morocco by aggressive men even though she was traveling with her brother. They also yelled out things like Obama family and other things to refer to them being Black. That YouTuber still mentioned how beautiful Morocco is but highly recommended that females not travel there alone.
The same goes to Egypt.
Egypt, like Morocco, has a very male dominated culture and can be overwhelming for solo female travelers. The markets can be mazes where aggressive shop keepers will pull you every which way to sell you their items. In the mix of that, there is plenty of catcalling.
All travelers recommended dressing more conservative when traveling to these two countries.
Another Black traveler complained about facing racism when traveling in Egypt, from dirty looks to monkey noises being made at her while she walked by.
Both Egypt and Morocco are highly recommended to be explored in groups, especially for female travelers.
India is another giant place that can easily overwhelm even those traveling in groups. But if you’re a solo traveler and visiting for the first time, get ready to have all your senses overpowered, from the level of noise to the pollution.
You will likely receive a combination of all the negative things we talked about on this list when visiting India solo, from staring and pointing to sexual harassment. Traveler Ashley Butterfield, who has traveled to countless countries around the world, put her experience in India as follows:
“The attention I received was not always extreme, but sometimes the energy changed when I was with other travelers. There was a clear difference in the type of attention that I received when walking with fellow white or Asian travelers, versus when walking alone or with another black person.
When with the former, people still noticed me, but their reactions were more indifferent than negative, as if the other travelers validated my being there. When alone or with another black person, however, a large majority of the reactions toward us were decidedly negative – expressed through frowning faces, laughter, pointing, staring, making jokes or hurrying away from us.”
Colorism is a huge problem in India even among the population there so it is easy to see how that mentality can be transferred to mistreating tourists as well.
Several travelers have shared their experiences of getting their hair pulled and even being asked crazy questions while traveling in India.
A lot of Africans in Mumbai are considered drug dealers and you might have trouble getting into certain places like clubs because you’re black.
People might walk up to you and take your picture and claim it’s for their social media.
When traveling in India, be very cautious and don’t travel solo, especially if it’s your first time.
Remember that bad experiences are as much part of traveling as good experiences. Bad people, racism, sexism, and every other ism can be found in any country and that should not stop you from going to any of these locations. This article is just to share the experiences of other travelers in hopes of making your travel experiences better.