09/20/2010 03:26 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Top 5 Countries to Visit on the U.S. State Department's Warning List (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

I've met a thousand very wise lifetime travelers with unofficial Ph.Ds in globetrotting -- and not one of them worked for the State Department. Who are these State Department folks making up most people's minds about where it's safe for Americans, and invariably many others, to visit? I do realize that the State Department knows creepy things most of us never will -- and like doctors not ruling out all symptoms, they're eternally evading political malpractice.

These incredible countries are either on the US State Department's travel warning list, recently revalidated, or hop-scotching that assertion -- they're all also a bargain.

5 Countries to Visit on State Department Warning List

Although I was theoretically forewarned, my recent forays to Zimbabwe, two Islamic nations, Honduras (just prior to the coup-inspired warning) and the northern Philippines all proved vacation-friendly. In that same timeframe, at home last Labor Day weekend, I was robbed by a vicious gun-pointing duo on New York City's Williamsburg Bridge pedestrian walkway. No municipal caveat for that?

When a country is politically ripped apart, only a shred of balanced news escapes. So if you visit any of these parts of the world, be sure to find yourself in situations... instead of getting into them.

Bruce Northam's wandering continues on

NOTE: Travel Insurance? In the UK, if the Foreign Office says 'don't go,' travel insurance companies won't pay. Brave Brits insure via German travel insurance companies.