We live in a turmoiled world and many of us to relegate our travel to domestic cities or western Europe because of it. That is a shame really because there is simply so much to see out there and it is just as safe as anywhere else.

Here is a list of 8 places you should go visit, might be scared to, and why you shouldn’t be.

  • Morocco, in particular Marrakesh [photos] and Fes. Rabat (Morocco’s largest city) could be put on the list as well – though I’ve heard there isn’t much to do in Casablanca. The nice thing about Morocco is you can find nice package deals beginning from Barcelona, Spain, down the Costa del Sol with a short flight over to Fes. A bus then takes you to the cities I just mentioned. Hotel, flight, and breakfast included from the US east coast runs you about $700 for 10 days. Find out more here and get the essentials here to have a good trip.
    • 1.5 million tourists visit Morocco each year.
    • Avoid the Western Sahara region (almost all tours do).
  • India is a huge place. In fact you could make an entire 7 day vacation out of one or two cities. Start any trip there to New Delhi and enjoy a very, very favorable exchange rate if you’re traveling with US dollars or the Euro. India has a population over 1 billion people with the average person earning $500 per year which means the streets are very crowded and you’ll see poor people everywhere. If you can get over that you’ll have opened up yourself for a vacation to one of the world’s most mystical and culturally dense places (that happens to have English as one of its national languages). If you have Indian friends (we all do), catching an Indian wedding is a must.
    • Just don’t rent a car and drive yourself.
    • Wash your hands frequently.
    • Drink only bottled water.
  • South Africa, one of the most politically stable African nations, offers good food, entertainment, and wildlife. A trip to the Wild Coast should be on you itinerary. The plane ride may be expensive but once you get there the dollar and Euro will be in your favor. Remember their motto: South Africa it’s impossible.
    • Hold your bag close to you and be aware of pickpockets on the subway.
  • The Philippines is an Asian destination that often gets overlooked by tourists. Fly into Manila and enjoy the vibrant city life, tours of the old Spanish churches and buildings, then book your flight to the resort island of Boracay. For around $300 you can get your plane ticket from Manila, 3 days in a fine hotel, and breakfast and dinner. Those are all great reasons to go, but these pictures say it all.
    • Pickpockets are the usual warning for tourists here.
    • The US does caution travelers to the Philippines, however this is misleading. The travel warning is directed to the southern most islands. You won’t be there – no tours get anywhere close.
  • [North] Cyrpus is a place that is not familiar to most travelers. Certainly you’ll have a better exchange rate than if you were visiting the south. The only drawback is that you must fly through Turkey to get there. Wait, is that a drawback? Istanbul, Izmir, and Antalya are beautiful in the summer.
    • You can read this post for the history, personal accounts, and the history of this Mediterranean island.
    • Turkey welcomed a record 500,000 tourists from the US alone in 2006.
  • Argentina gets a bad rap because of its location in South America and economic troubles of late. Argentina is a fascinating place with art, fine dining, and European flavor. The prices are moderate and public transportation is readily accessible.
    • As with any place, keep your expensive items out of sight (iPods and their flashy white headphones, watches, etc.).
    • Keep a close eye on your bags as pickpockets have been know to use the ‘snatch and run’ method of stealing backpacks.
  • Russia, or even better the Ukraine. I am always amazed at the look on people’s faces as they venture from western Europe into the east. It is almost like they can believe they are part of the same continent. Ukraine does *not* use the Euro so you’ll find the exchange rate favorable. In fact you should combine both and fly from Kiev to Moscow to get the full experience.
    • A good list of travel tips and info can be found here.
    • (Good) medical care can be hard to find, so talk to your doctor if you have serious medical conditions before going to either place.
  • France is a part of western Europe I know but many people (at least in the US) are scared to travel here. The people are just as friendly as Americans are to tourists who come up to them and ask them questions in a foreign language.
    • Learning a few words in French will get you *very* far.
    • Parisians tend to be rude and snooty to an extent.
    • There are just too many aspects of French culture to let go to waste due to fear of the occasional rude person. In fact, have you ever been? How do you know they are rude? Go find out for yourself, sheesh! This logic goes for every place – you have to go there to make your own impressions.
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Make sure that you check this list of international faux paus and do your research before leaving.

If you’ve been to any of these places or have places you think should be on this list or similar, contact us with your stories or leave some love in the comments!