Home to natural wonders like the Amazon, beautiful beaches in Ipanema, and thriving cities like Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is always a great place to visit, especially in 2014.
This year, the city of Porto Alegre will play host to the 2014 FIFA World Cup from June 12th thru July 13th, an event that vacation rentals guru HomeAway says has already brought a 41 percent increase in vacation rentals to the country.
If you're visiting Rio de Janeiro, don't forget to pay a visit to the spectacular Sugarloaf Mountain Aerial Tram, named by Budget Travel as one of the world's most beautiful cable car rides.
Looking for an unforgettable tropical vacation to a land of beautiful beaches, impressive volcanoes, and rich culture, that's not as crowded and touristy as Costa Rica? Try visiting Nicaragua, an up-in-coming travel destination offering visitors a more authentic Central American experience.
This intriguing destination is located less than two hours from Miami, 2.5 hours from Houston, and accessible by direct flights to Managua from major U.S. cities like Miami, Houston, L.A., San Francisco, New York City, New Orleans, Atlanta, Dallas, and Washington D.C.
Once you arrive, hotels, restaurants, and attractions are super-affordable, beaches are largely unspoiled, and you can try your hand at anything from surfing and snorkeling to zip-line canopy tours and sandboarding down the Cerro Negro volcano. What's not to love?
There's a lot going on in the U.A.E., from the world's fastest roller coaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi to the expected opening of The Louvre Abu Dhabi in December of 2015 on Saadiyat Island.
(Andrea La Corte/Dreamstime.com)
While this region is typically known for being a glamorous playground for the international rich and famous, the good news is hotels and attractions are actually pretty affordable.
An iconic image of Dubai's coastline. The other six Emirates—Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras al-Khaimah, and Umm al-Qaiwain are also worth visiting for their rich history and cultural experiences.
Mexico is making quite a comeback in recent months. The basic facts stay the same: tourists and locals alike are sometimes caught in the crossfire of rival drug cartel battles, or can become the victims of "express kidnappings,"—a scheme similar to the popular "String Trick" in Paris.
Basically, if you stick to major tourist areas or cities that are for the most part not border towns, you'll encounter roughly the same amount of crime you can expect in any other major city. The best part: affordable hotels, attractions, family fun, and beaches are up for grabs.
The Riviera Maya is a great spot for taking the family on vacation due to the variety of budget-friendly all-inclusive resorts, while the Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit areas offer similar perks on the Pacific side.
On November 8th, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines as a Category 5 with winds at 147 miles per hour, causing unimaginable damage and devastation to the region.
But the people of the Philippines are as resilient as ever—10 days after the storm, the country's Department of Tourism issued a statement ensuring travelers that popular destinations like Boracay, Cebu, Bohol, Iloilo, and Bacolod, were still open for business.
The country's tourism board stresses that their main tourist destinations have remained intact and accessible to visitors despite the storm.
Moscow. St. Petersburg. Sochi. Three popular places full of Russian art, history, and culture, and now, Sochi will be playing host to the 2014 Winter Olympics.
While the country remains a must-see on most travel bucket lists, visiting Russia nowadays can be an adventure steeped in controversy and bureaucratic red tape.
As of right now the U.S. Department of State has issued a Travel Alert, mainly reminding visitors to the Olympics to remain vigilant during the events and to be aware that such popular games may seem like a nice target for terrorist-related activity, so pay attention to safety updates if you go.
While the country is known for its vast history and culture, impressive temples, the iconic Taj Mahal, and for holding a must-see spot on most people's travel bucket lists, in recent years, it's also made news for being a hotbed of violence and aggression towards women.
According to an article by the New York Times, visits in 2013 by female travelers declined 35 percent in early 2013 after the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old New Delhi student in December 2012.
We'd suggest traveling with a group or at least taking a self-defense course if you decide to go to India anytime soon.
On last year's To Go or Not to Go list, Haiti was designated as a "don't go." This year, we are thrilled to change the country's status to "Go," citing the island nation's recent foray into international tourism.
New flight service to Port-au-Prince from New York City and Fort Lauderdale via JetBlue started in December of 2013, and several major international hotel chains have also returned to Haiti, including Best Western, Occidental, and Marriott.
The country overall seems to be in the midst of a comeback.
We were really hoping this would be the year we were able to upgrade Egypt to "maybe" status. Unfortunately, we saw more news reports about violence in the streets over the weekend marking the third anniversary of the country's recent revolution, so maybe it's best to wait until things settle down again.
If you do travel to Egypt, the U.S. Department of State warns against participating in demonstrations—even seemingly peaceful ones—as you could wind up getting caught in the middle or inadvertently become a target because you are a foreigner.
The U.S. Department of State released an official Travel Alert on Jan. 14th cautioning travelers about ongoing political and social unrest, however it also states that "the security situation in most tourist centers, including Luxor, Aswan, the Luxor-Aswan Nile cruise routes, and Red Sea/Southern and Western Sinai resorts has been calm."
Beautiful beaches, brilliant culture, and a delicious culinary repertoire are usually what comes to mind when you think of Thailand, but in recent weeks, large political demonstrations and protests have become increasingly unpredictable.
Although the activity has been primarily occuring in and around Bangkok and Chiang Mai, the demonstrations have generally been centered around major tourist sites and attractions, popular shopping malls, and other areas where visitors frequent.
Only time will tell what happens when the elections actually do take place on Feb. 2nd. Best to wait until things calm down a bit, we say.