When it comes to planning a holiday, the possibility of facing any risk or danger while in a foreign country doesn't really come to mind until you reach the destination.

But new research obtained by news.com.au shows simply typing a country into Google could put you at a serious risk before you've even left home for your holiday.

Computer security software company McAfee has released new data showing how cybercriminals are taking advantage of Google searches for accommodation, package deals and activities in various tourist "hot spot" destinations.

According to the study of 1000 participants, travellers are being scammed through harmful links and fake websites that are tricking unsuspecting travellers who are searching for and booking holiday deals in their favourite locations.

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Mind the gap: The UK capital is one of the most rife destinations for travel scams. Photo / Getty Images
Mind the gap: The UK capital is one of the most rife destinations for travel scams. Photo / Getty Images

With a growing number of websites tailored to comparing fares and rates before booking, the research shows around 32 per cent of those surveyed were likely to use a website they were unfamiliar with because it offered bigger savings.

"We strongly advise people to validate deals, holiday rentals and flights directly via trusted websites instead of clicking on links and pop-ups offering bargains," McAfee chief scientist Raj Samani said.

"Once they've validated its authenticity, all communication and payment should be conducted via that trusted platform to help keep personal and financial information out of hackers' hands."

On your guard: New Delhi police will be able to do little to protect you from buggy websites. Photo / Getty Images
On your guard: New Delhi police will be able to do little to protect you from buggy websites. Photo / Getty Images

Mr Samani said what was particularly concerning was more and more travellers were willing to prioritising a cheap deal over the security of their personal information, with around 25 per cent of people looking to book a holiday on an unfamiliar website.

After booking, more than a quarter of holiday scam victims said they only realised the site or reservation method they used was fraudulent when they turned up to their holiday rental to find the booking wasn't actually valid.

Five most buggy holiday searches

According to the research, the top five most dangerous holiday destinations to Google on your device are:

1. New Delhi, India
2. Bangkok, Thailand
3. London, England
4. Phuket, Thailand
5. Manila, Philippines

After determining the top travel destinations from Skyscanner's Travel Trends Report 2018, an overall risk percentage was calculated for each top destination using the total number of risky websites divided by the number of search results returned.

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McAfee's consumer online safety advocate Alex Merton-McCann said bargain hunters needed to be more vigilant with online bookings and not get swept up in cheap deals and discounts.

"If it looks too good to be true, it probably is," she said.

Cyberthreat: When abroad, it's not just your material goods that are vulnerable to theft. Photo / Getty Images
Cyberthreat: When abroad, it's not just your material goods that are vulnerable to theft. Photo / Getty Images

"[Travellers] should exercise caution when booking holidays online just as they would when making any other online purchase.

"The unfortunate truth is a third of us would willingly risk our personal information or privacy by using an unfamiliar website to book holidays, all in the name of snatching up a great deal and saving money."

Travel Risk Map: At the beginning of the year International SOS mapped out the most dangerous countries. Photo / Supplied
Travel Risk Map: At the beginning of the year International SOS mapped out the most dangerous countries. Photo / Supplied

Earlier this year, International SOS, the world's largest medical travel security services operation, released their Travel Risk Map to provide advice about medical and travel security to people who work around the world.

In a nutshell, the map tells you whether you may need to research your destination more thoroughly and find out what the risks are.

For security, the list of countries with the lowest risk profile all fell within Europe, including Norway, Finland, Denmark, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovenia as well as Greenland and Iceland.

Out of harm's way: The most dangerous countries close to New Zealand are PNG and Antarctica. Photo / Supplied
Out of harm's way: The most dangerous countries close to New Zealand are PNG and Antarctica. Photo / Supplied

The areas to exercise "extreme" caution branch across most of Africa, with much of north and central Africa falling into the red zone. The safer places in Africa are Zambia, Namibia and Botswana, with Morocco being the only country where the risk is "low".

In the map, the closest country to New Zealand with a "high" security risk is Papua New Guinea. (Although the map does note that the risk of travel to Antarctica is Very High.)

When it comes to travelling abroad, password manager and digital service Keeper Security revealed the worst holiday destinations for cybersecurity, based on the number of "mobile threats" a country has had. Basically, their research shows the number of times someone's phone or online data has been hacked and stolen.

Destinations with worst cybersecurity scores

According to the research, the worst destinations for cybersecurity include:

1. The US — 5 million mobile threats
2. The UK — 2 million mobile threats
3. Spain — 1.7 million mobile threats
4. France — 700,000 mobile threats
5. Poland — 475,000 mobile threats