The Top 10 Ways Americans Die on Vacation


Despite what the nightly news and an over-protective mother would have you believe, kicking the bucket while you're on vacation is a rare occurrence; statistically speaking, you're more likely to have your luggage stolen or get screwed over by the airline. Still, it does happen, which raises a burning question: what's the most common way people die overseas?

In search of the answer, we pulled State Department data on all reported cases of an American citizen dying in a foreign country from a non-natural cause, from October 2002 to December 2014 -- a grand total of more than 10,000 fatalities.

After correcting for the inevitable typos, errors, and redundancies found in any collection of information compiled by people on government salaries (taxpayer zing!), we found the top 10 causes of death for traveling Americans, and the countries where they've died most frequently. Check out the results below!

SPOILER ALERT: A lot of people go to Mexico and die.


10. Maritime accidents - 116

Country with the most: Mexico (15)

Flickr/Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

9. Natural disasters - 164

Country with the most: Haiti (121)
Note: Most came from the 2010 Earthquake.

Flickr/Cabrera Photo

8. Drug-related - 273

Country with the most: Mexico (48)


7. Terrorist action - 335

Country with the most: Iraq (166)


6. Air accident - 336

Country with the most: Mexico (33)

Flickr/Mark Sebastian

5. Drowning - 1,244

Country with the most: Mexico (283)

Flickr/Roberta Romero

4. Other Accidents (hiking, rafting, etc) - 1,251

Country with the most: Mexico (196)


3. Suicide - 1,383

Country with the most: Mexico (209)


2. Homicide - 1,913

Country with the most: Mexico (670)

Flickr/Moreno Berti

1. Vehicular accidents - 3,004

Country with the most: Mexico (900)

Gianni Jaccoma is an editorial assistant for Thrillist Travel, and he’s proud to say he's never once died on vacation. Follow his immortal tourism on Twitter @gjaccoma