Is Saudi Arabia safe? Security advice for travelersby | September 28, 2023
Saudi Arabia is a country renowned for its extensive desert terrain, its historical and religious significance as the birthplace of Islam, and its status as one of the world's leading oil producers. There are so many things to do in Saudi Arabia that are waiting for you.
Before traveling to Saudi Arabia, you might wonder: Is Saudi Arabia safe to visit? How safe is Saudi Arabia? Make sure to read our guide on safety in Saudi Arabia so you travel confidently there.
Is Saudi Arabia safe?
Saudi Arabia is relatively safe for the Middle East, since the overall rate of crime is low. Nevertheless, you should exercise a high degree of caution.
Although you should always be aware of your belongings, theft is not common. Pickpocketing is concerning specifically during pilgrimages. In order to not be mugged, we recommend carrying only what you need, leaving other valuables in a secure place and not showing your valuables.
One of the biggest threats you will find in Saudi Arabia is drivers. You will need to be more vigilant than usual when walking on a busy road.
In addition, there are areas of Saudi Arabia that are more unsafe than others. The most unsafe area is the border with Yemen. You should not travel to areas within 30 km of the border with Yemen. You should also avoid the border with Iraq.
It is advisable to avoid Abha airport and Qatif in the Eastern Province and its suburbs, including Awamiyah due to missile and drone attacks and terrorism. Other areas to avoid are the cities of Abha, Jizan, Najran and Khamis Mushayt.
We recommend you to visit: Ad Damman, Medina, Riyadh, Taif and Jeddah.
How safe is Saudi Arabia to travel alone?
Solo travelers must exercise the same level of caution they would in any foreign country. Saudi Arabia is not more dangerous than any other country if you visit it alone. We recommend you to stay alert in crowded areas, keep an eye on your belongings and revise local customs before your visit to Saudi Arabia.
Is Saudi Arabia safe for woman?
Women can travel to Saudi Arabia alone. Although it is very culturally embedded, you do not need a guardian to travel to Saudi Arabia. A woman traveling alone to Saudi Arabia can enjoy seeing the beautiful cities, natural landscapes and more.
Saudi Arabia is safe for solo female travellers, but there are some “laws” to remember. Women should dress conservatively and cover as much as possible. It is not mandatory to wear abayas everywhere you go. Inside mosques you will need to cover yourself and wear a scarf on your head.
Women should also avoid public displays of affection and should not engage in any activities that are considered inappropriate or offensive.
Lastly, we recommend to not travel alone at night in Saudi Arabia, as it can be dangerous. Additionally, it would be ideal if you have a local contact in Saudi Arabia to contact in case of emergency.
Is Saudi Arabia safe for members of the LGBTQ+ community?
Saudi Arabia is not a LGBTQ+ friendly country.
While Saudi Arabia has said to welcome LGBTQ visitors, the reality is that Saudi Arabia has a strict rule that forbids all LGBTQ+ activity. Saudi Arabia criminalises same-sex sexual activity and gender expression of trans people. Sentences include a maximum penalty of death.
For your own safety, travel to Saudi Arabia is not recommended if you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
Is Saudi Arabia safe for American tourists?
Saudi Arabia is safe for American tourists, although you should travel there with caution. Anyone traveling there should be aware of the possible missile and drone attacks on facilities, so increased caution in Saudi Arabia is a must.
It is absolutely forbidden to travel within 50 miles of the border with Yemen, to Abha airport and to Qatif since the risk of terrorist attacks is high.
Crime in Saudi Arabia is far below most major metropolitan areas in the US. In comparison to the States, vandalism, violent crimes such as armed robberies and worries about being mugged, attacked or insulted is low in Saudi Arabia.
Here is the contact number of the US embassy in Riyadh if you need assistance during your trip:
Abdullah Ibn Hudhafah As Sahmi Street
Roundabout no. 9, Diplomatic Quarter
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Telephone: +(966) (11) 488-3800
Emergency: +(966) (11) 488-3800
Email: [email protected]
Are there natural disasters in Saudi Arabia?
There are some natural disasters in Saudi Arabia. The most frequent ones are sandstorms and dust storms. These storms can reduce visibility and cause allergies and breathing problems.
Flash floods are another natural disaster that can occur in Saudi Arabia, especially during periods of heavy rainfall and in the western and southwestern regions.
Although Saudi Arabia can experience other natural disasters, these are the two main ones. We can also add that due to the extreme hot Saudi Arabia weather, especially from June to August and with temperatures of over 50°C, there can be heatwaves and droughts.
Overall safety tips
Here we present to you some of the most important tips for Saudi Arabia:
- Follow the religious customs and laws. Dress conservatively, avoid public displays of affection, and do not consume alcohol. You can discover more about the local culture in our Saudi Arabia travel guide.
- Avoid conflict areas such as the border with Yemen and Iraq.
- Do not possess or traffic drugs. It can lead to harsh penalties including the death penalty.
- Be aware of your surroundings and belongings.
- Be aware of reckless drivers.
- Don’t criticize the government or make any comments towards the country’s leaders.
- Remember to have all your documents in order such as the Saudi Arabia tourist visa and meet Saudi Arabia entry requirements.