Last week, we wrote about the record number of tourists flocking to Mexico despite the country’s ongoing drug violence. And while that fact is true, it’s not a permission slip to naively stumble down to Mexico without any idea of where you’re headed and what’s happening there. This week, the U.S. Department of State issued a very detailed travel alert for the entire country of Mexico, reporting on which states you should avoid and which states are relatively safe. Headed to Chihuahua or Durango? Let’s hold off on that. Looking to visit Guanajuato or Cancun? All clear in those states. Thinking of traveling to Monterrey? Go ahead, but be careful.

It’s a reminder that before traveling abroad you should always check in at http://travel.state.gov/ to get the very latest information about what’s happening on the ground. It’s smarter than relying on what your friend tells you or what you hear through the grapevine.

Speaking of places you may or may not want to visit right now, how about the Middle East? It is a great travel destination with so much history and phenomenal culture to discover, but it’s obviously a region of the world that has a nasty tendency to get violent. But Zora O’Neill of Lonely Planet has a common sense reminder for travelers – you need to realize that the “Middle East” is not one big country; it’s a huge region of the world made up of countries with their own distinct cultures and issues. This means that you can safely travel to some of those Middle East countries, as O’Neill is this month. You should avoid Egypt and Syria right now, but destinations such as Oman, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates are safe choices. Again, do your homework before going.

Now, for some fun stuff….

Imagine an elevator that makes you feel like you’re at the bottom of the ocean. Imagine one that rises more than 600 feet in 40 seconds. Those are two of this slides in the presentation the 12 coolest elevators in the world.

At the Wall Street Journal, Jeff Chu tells the tale of how he circled the globe in eight days… for less than $3000.

And, here are some last chance ideas for quick Valentine’s Day trips. The Washington Post has some good ideas for quick zips out of the country for a few romantic days that you likely haven’t thought of. Like maybe a quick jaunt to the spectacular scenery of Iceland.

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About The Author

John Miller is president of ScribeWise. He is an avid traveler and web-surfing junkie. Visit www.scribewise.com.

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