There are so many amazing and beautiful vacation spots in the world in can be difficult to decide where to spend your hard won vacation days. In the end, your choice will depend on a number of personal preferences including amount of sun, temperature, number of beaches, cost of drinks etc, and so general recommendations are difficult to make as individual preference varies greatly.
What we can easily recommend, however, is where you would most definitely NOT want to go, and so hopefully by assisting you in narrowing down your choices we can help plan and execute a fantastically amazing vacation.
Photo credit: ebmorse, Flickr
With beautiful wide sandy beaches and breathtaking blue waters, the coast of Somalia beckons to tropical beach lovers. Few would likely heed this call, however, as in recent years the escapades of Somali pirates have became nearly as notorious as those of Lindsay Lohan. So unless you have a strong desire to be held for ransom or can afford a squad of well-armed contractors, stay clear of the entire country.
Iraq has everything: sun, sand, and culture. It is the cradle of civilization, with a history spanning thousands of years (although most of its historic artifacts are scattered all about the world now). And the war is over, right? Totally. But getting there is still going to be a bit tricky, as airlines continue to be touchy about the occasional suicide bomb and what not. So its better to just to avoid it all together. At least for a decade or two as democracy gains a foothold. And when has democracy not been totally peaceful?
5 Baltimore, Maryland
If you have seen The Wire, you surely have a strong association between Baltimore and flowers. As in flowers on caskets. And while some question the TV series’ authenticity, others say it’s accurate. So if you were thinking about slumming it in “Balmer” for a night out with the guys, consider going some where a bit safer, like The Bronx. Or North Korea.
4 Pretoria, South Africa
There are many reasons to visit South Africa, which boasts beautiful natural attractions, a booming wine industry, and heaps of culture. And after all, the murder rate in South Africa recently was reported do have dropped from 50 to 46… per day. So while we would not say “Don’t visit South Africa,“ we can comfortably say “Don’t visit many parts of South Africa” because this country lays claim to some of the highest rates of murder and rape in the world. If you do plan to visit, and there are plenty of reasons to do so, put some serious research time in before you go.
3 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Like South Africa, Brazil has a great deal of interesting attractions along with some seriously dangerous urban war-zones. An absolutely stunning cityscape with incredible beaches, picturesque lagoons, perfect weather, and thousands of street gangs armed with military grade weaponry battling police and each other. The urban drug war which rages in Rio’s poor neighborhoods has claimed thousands per year for several decades in a row. They sure do know how to party, however.
With thousands of square miles of rugged wilderness, Afghanistan is an adventurer’s paradise. That is, if you are a “private contractor,” CIA operative, or a crazy hillbilly bent on putting Bin Laden’s head on your mantel. Even with the increase in US troops in the past year, violence has steadily increased, and shows no sign of improving.
Mexico has always been a popular destination for Americans on vacation, but during the last decade its also became a popular shipping lane for drug smugglers, and in the last couple of years parts of Mexico have become virtual war zones, tallying body counts higher than any individual theatre in the War on Terror. While the popular tourist destinations are still relatively safe (more so that your local downtown in all likelihood), other parts of the country witness the display of headless bodies on a weekly basis. Don’t be one of those bodies sans head. Stick to the safe zones.
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