Annual GO/noGO Lists

The World’s Greatest Travelers™ know that the world is in a constant state of flux. Humans are so unpredictable, and shit happens as they say; things change and evolve into something new--for good and bad: travel trends come and go, a place’s mojo fades as quickly as it becomes the next hot spot, extraordinary events happen, generals take over, wars occur, weather wreaks havoc, volcanoes erupt, a country labels you persona non grata for some vaguely plausible reason. Whatever…  

Annually we take a good hard look at the world around us, and the year ahead of us. We then assemble all the facts, check dates, analyze the weather, consult with our cadre of roving international ambassadors-at-large, and publish our, infamous to some, but essential to others, annual GO/noGO list of places to visit and experiences to partake in for the coming year—and what to avoid too! We try to be positive about travel, but gosh darn if there aren’t always a few spots that just muck it up…

A few caveats: we don’t do cruises or spas, and we are not politically correct either; fact is we're serious travelers who believe that each person should seek and understand the destinations they travel to on their own independent terms and make up their own minds about it… So, sue us, or just boycott us if we’re not politically correct enough for you!

If we’ve missed something, or feel we need to know something we don’t, please let us know what’s on your mind and why!

(last updated - 2 January 2014)

Los Angeles, CA (17 December 2013)  The travel website WorldsGreatestTravelers.com has  published their 11th annual travelers Christmas wish list and 2014 New Year resolutions. The 2014 Travelers GO/no-GO List is created for "serious travelers" looking for something a bit different in 2014.

"We tally all the publications and examine all the trends. We found that serious travelers want authentic, challenging and participatory adventures," says the website spokesperson Pamela Finmark, "They want to visit places offering them authentic experiences, destinations that offer them participatory experiences, and travel experiences that take them outside their comfort zones. People like to be challenged."

The 11th annual WorldsGreatestTravelers.com 2014Travelers GO/no-GO List is a tad fresher, offering serious travelers who continue their 21st century search for new utopias—think Paris in the 20s, Bali in the 70s, and Prague circa 1990—the 2014 list does offer some rather fresh and exciting takes on travel destinations:

1. Uganda...Isn't it finally time to see those gorillas? Congo is out of the question, but things in Uganda remain calm and the old English colonial infrastructure remains intact. A small and stunning African destination: the Nile source, Mountains of the Moon and the gorilla haunt of Bwindi National Park.

2. Burning Man...Who hasn't wanted to see for themselves what this annual gathering of tribes is all about. 2014 might be the perfect year to do. Mark the dates Aug 25-Sept 1, 2014 off limits...and start working on your alter-ego costume. 

3. The FIFA World Cup...There is a reason it is called "the greatest show on earth" and this year it is in Brazil where you can multitask and visit natural wonders that are Iguazu Falls, the Amazon and world's largest wetlands ecosystem Pantanal too! Clear your calendar for 30 days between June 12-July 13, 2014.

4. Scotland...Over 27 million Americans have Scottish ancestry and 2014 is the official Scot Year of Homecoming. And why not too, the Scottish independence referendum is slated for September, the Commonwealth Games (July 23-Aug 3) and the Ryder Cup (Sept 26-28). Show your colors and go on a family roots pilgrimage.

5. The Global Scavenger Hunt...Like Burning Man, a travelers-in-the-know cult-like institution celebrating their 10th anniversary. It's a daring adventure for one, A Blind Date with the World for two, a real-life around the worldAmazing Race-like competition for three, and philanthropic opportunities abound for four—where’s the bad? The 10th annual three-week travel adventure event is scheduled between Apr 11-May 3, 2014.(GlobalScavengerHunt.com)

6. Morocco...A North African treasure trove of culture, color, architecture and natural beauty. From the coastline to the High Atlas Mountains to the never-ending Sahara, Morocco is all things to all adventurous travelers. Take the Marrakesh Express from Casablanca and be transported back in time to  ancient souks, towering minarets, the gathering of tribes, colorful gardens and plush relaxing riads.

2014 Travelers GO/no-GO List honorable mentions include: Nicaragua, Croatia, Bhutan and the Maldives.

Now for the always entertaining no-GO portion of the list. Forget all those hyper-sensitive (and highly-politicalized) State Department travel advisories, warnings and bulletins. And remember, those annual insurance company risk assessment lists are only trying to save them payouts on K&R (kidnapping & ransom) insurance policies. Heck, the world is a 95% conflict free zone. So, aside from the middle seat on a long-haul flight, here is the 2014 Travelersno-GO List

 Obvious you got: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Central African Republic, Sudan, Congo, and Somalia.

1. Mauritania...The slave capital of the world. Yea, slavery! An estimated 4% of the population are bona fide slaves. Then there is the sand, the nasty nomads, land mines, the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Adrar "red zone" region and indiscriminate attacks on everything foreign. Other than that it's beautiful!

Sadly, the whole Sahel region stretching from west Africa to east Africa has become the world's last remaining lawless pocket of resistance: Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia. You could say they are in transition between modernity and medieval times, between the Arab/Berber Muslim north and black African/Christian south. Terrorism, arms trafficking, khat smuggling, slavery, and a "nastybrutish, and short" life awaits the 50 million people living here in what maybe the poorest place on the planet!

2. Saudi Arabia...Not that you could actually get in as a tourists—no spiritual pollution here allowed in this modern-day medieval kingdom. It is a country rich in potentially amazing heritage sites, but when you have what maybe the most restrictive travel policies in the world (even worse than USA's), they don't want you to see any of it. As the great unifier King Abdul Aziz bin Saud once said "My Kingdom will survive only insofar as it remains a country difficult to access, where the foreigner will have no other aim, with his task fulfilled, but to get out." Nuff said. So, I guess we all miss out on their lethal driving and sexual harassment.

3. Russia...We usually promote the Olympic spirit...but not this year for the Putin Games at Sochi (Which is a Black Sea resort area with actually very little snow!). This $50+ billion boondoggle of corruption (Putin's Palace nearby is estimated at upwards of $350 million—not bad on a life time civil servant salary!) will be no fun for a lot of reasons: extensive paranoid security, meaningless bureaucracy, $140 visas, lack of amenities, probably lack of snow, bad food, bad service...and worse, there will be good parties because Russia has a law against homosexuals! They won't even let Gandalf in the country!

4. Turkmenistan...This tightly controlled police state has some of the most arduous  tourist visa requirements on the planet. And they have succeeded too—only 7,000 tourists visited the place in 2012. Aside from the 11PM curfew in this not so party central country, it is not a good place to get into a political discussion or walk with a woman on the street. Trust me, stay away!

5. Venezuela...We thought it might make it off this annual no-GO list after Chavez died. It is such an amazing country to visit. But, nope. It only got worse! Caracas is the closest thing to modern day dystopia that Kurt Russell could make a movie called "Escape from Caracas" not set in the future, but now! It is the murder capital of the world, and other violent crime like kidnappings, car-jacking (of taxis!), the spiking of drinks, and daylight muggings are a constant—kind of like New York City in the 70s! Just stay away.

6. Nigeria...Speaking of modern-day the dystopias, Nigeria maybe be one of Dante's original rings of hell! Overcrowding, corruption, clogged sewers, traffic beyond belief, sectarian violence, etc... They make it easy enough to enter their country—although touts will start badgering you as the aircraft door opens; but leaving is another thing. In what maybe be, no is, the world's most corrupt country, you will be repeatedly asked to pay bribes to get to the airport to leave...many bribes. And you will happily pay them too!   

7-10. Galapagos Islands...Leave it alone, it needs a rest. There are just too many eco-tourists wrecking havoc on the environment. In fact, let's round out this last spot with a few other tourist destinations that we are clearing ruining (aka Loving it to Death Syndrome) with our industrial-strength tourism, including: Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, Petra and Venice. We are indeed short-sightedly killing the goose that lays the golden egg. They all should begin a limited daily visitor policies via a lottery system. They, and many other global sites are in dire need of  hardcore sustainable tourism polices and aggressive protection/preservation management techniques. Heed this warning


“Serious travelers want authentic, exciting and participatory adventures nowadays,” says the website, “they want to visit places that are exotic, places that are new on the horizon, and that offer them a chance to get out of their comfort zones and have a real adventure.”

The World’s Greatest Travelers™ annual 2012 Travelers GO/noGO List:

The 2012 GO List:

Colombia...is the hottest of South American hot spots with its rich colonial past, modern safe boulevards, gorgeous beaches, and 14% of the world's rainforest...see why Shakira call's it home!

Nepal...experience how magical and mysterious life used to be in this mountainous Hindu kingdom with a view of Everest...sunsets have never been so surreal!

The Dalmatian Coast, Croatia... forget the French, Italian and Mexican Rivera's, this place is hot. From Zadar to Dubrovnik you can't beat the beaches, scenery, food and nightlife...the dollar goes a long way too!

The Great American Road Trip...get off the generic Interstate and see the real America that lives along the side roads and byways, like: Route 1 along the West Coast, the Blue Ridge Parkway back East, or the Million Dollar Highway high in the Rockies.

The Global Scavenger Hunt...let’s see—it's a daring adventure, A Blind Date with the World, an around the world real-life Amazing Race-like competition—where’s the bad? The 8th annual 2012 event is scheduled to begin April 13th—visit GlobalScavengerHunt.com.

London Calling...and the Summer Olympics begin in the illustrious British city July 27th with the whole world watching—join the fun in person!

Schedule a flight onboard a brand new state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner and see if getting there is once again half the fun?

Cairns, Australia...sure, see the Great Barrier Reef while you can, but double-down and catch the total eclipse that occurs there on June 6th and in good weather—because the next one isn't until 2017!)

Tallinn, Estonia...hang out in Pikk jalg, the old town's medieval city centre sipping coffee or a locally-brewed Saku as the sky turns pink and the most beautiful people in the world stroll by.

Istanbul, Turkey…our favorite city in the world circa 2012…a criminally underrated multi-cultural and exotic destination!

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Past GO Lists:

The World’s Greatest Travelers™ 2011 Go List

Ischia Island, Italy…take a hydrofoil across the Bay of Naples to the so-called Green Island, the most beautiful of Italian islands, to enjoy therapeutic hot-springs, chic laid back beaches, and limoncello.

Haiti…go to lend a hand, nothing more, nothing less—they still really need your help!

Iquitos, Peru…sure you’ve seen Machu Picchu, but the truly adventurous fall off the map at the last outpost on earth in deep Amazonia to visit jungle people’s they’ve only ever seen in documentaries.

Byblos, Lebanon
… located just south of the revitalized (and safe!) city of Beirut, this entire Phoenician-era town is a World Heritage Site; enjoy the social lifestyle, the ancient souks, and romantic Lebanese seaside meals.

Chittagong, Bangladesh…isn’t it time to visit Cox's Bazar—a 100-mile long white sandy beach, explore exotic Buddhist villages along the Burmese border, and share some smiles with people that will melt your heart!

Marrakesh, Morocco…‘come on board the Marrakesh Express’ to a place far out of mind and enjoy tasty kebobs, mint tea-induced conversation, and relaxing hammams, before hitting the High Atlas Mountains trial.

Salta, Argentina…from the dense mountain jungle floor, chew coco leafs while taking the Train to the Clouds to this high Andes Argentinean town, filled with colonial architecture and a growing international flair. 

Canary Islands…nestled off the coast of North Africa the Canaries enjoy the world’s best climate and is a windsurfer's Mecca, a walker's paradise, and a dancing queen’s dream, with its late, late-night club scene.

Cuenca, Ecuador…visit this colonial city truly off the beaten path to buy a handmade Panama hat in the amazing flower market before taking a rainforest trek or fishing for dinner in a tranquil nearby lake.


The World’s Greatest Travelers™
2010 Go List:
The Winter Olympics, Vancouver, BC (12- 28 Feb)…always a great time!
Damascus, Syria…one of civilizations oldest places!
Dalmatian Coast, Croatia…forget the Riviera, this place is hot!
Havana, Cuba…before it changes too much, too soon!
Udaipur, India…magical, mystical, simply amazing!
Beirut, Lebanon…it's back and ready for action!
Basque Country, France & Spain…food, wine, relax and siesta!
World Cup, South Africa (11 June - 11 July)…a global happening!
Scotland's Highland…the sky, the expanse, they glens!
Monument Valley National Park, AZ-UT, USA…see it with snow!
Southern Chile & Argentina (11 July)…5 minute+ solar eclipse

The World’s Greatest Travelers™ 2009 Go List:
Salvador, Brazil...the ultimate tropical city.
Paris...Because it's been a while!
Cartagena, Colombia...where old meets the sea.
Scotland's Highlands...the ultimate hike.
Aurora Borealis...Isn't it time you did?
Prince Edward Island's Summer Festival...Canada's island.
NBA Finals @ Staple's Center
Libya...exotic.
Sri Lanka...
Live somewhere, anywhere, abroad like a local for a month.

The World’s Greatest Travelers™ 2008 Go List:
Mozambique Coast
India (Southeastern Coastal area)
Ecuador still, go now!
Ethiopia
Oregon's Coast
Vladivostok, Russia
Portugal
Panama from coast to coast
Sicily
Summer Olympics in China (Hmm, the jury is still out...?)

The World’s Greatest Travelers™ 2007 Go List:
Mendoza wine region, Argentina
Labrador, Newfoundland, Canada
Blarney Castle, Ireland
Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Bulgaria
Panama's Rain Forest
Amalfi Coast in the late Spring, Italy
Greenland (before it melts!)

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The World’s Greatest Travelers™ Team can be reached at:

comments [at] worldsgreatesttravelers.com

Thank you!