If you've already seen the monuments of Paris and the pyramids of Egypt, you might consider one of these up-and-coming travel destinations when planning your next trip.
Ecuador's capital has seen a recent surge of tourists -- and for good reason. With the best preserved historic center in Latin America, Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage site surrounded by dramatic volcanic peaks, which can be reached by gondola. A recent and extensive restoration of the old city fixed up Quito's beautiful colonial churches and buildings and made its narrow, cobbled streets safer for tourists to explore.The city is served by an international airport.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
One of the richest, most modern and rapidly growing cities, Abu Dhabi offers tourists much to gawk at -- its large gardens and parks, white-domed mosques, shiny new high-rise buildings, luxury shopping malls, the fastest roller coaster on Earth, and some of the world's most expensive hotels. Although the rich Persian Gulf city is cosmopolitan and multicultural, visitors should be wary of the United Arab Emirates' strict customs. For example, homosexuality is illegal and alcohol can only be served in hotels. Travelers can arrive via the city's international airport.
The Balkans is fast becoming a major tourist destination after recovering from regional conflict in the 1990s. The tiny country of Montenegro -- less touristy than its neighbor Croatia -- offers visitors craggy coastlines, Adriatic beaches, mountainous inland landscapes and charming historic towns. The country's main airport in its capital, Podgorica, can be reached by several regional airlines. Croatia's larger airport in Dubrovnik is also only a half-hour drive from the Montenegro border.
In step with its economic explosion, China has seen a tourism boom and many visitors to the country are venturing outside Shanghai and Beijing. Frommers named Pingyao one of its top up-and-coming Chinese destinations. The city is often considered China's best ancient walled city and its buildings date almost entirely from the Ming and Qing dynasties, but Western tourists are only just catching on. The nearest airport is about 50 miles away in Taiyuan and from there, Pingyao can be reached by train, bus or taxi.
More than a year after Japan's devastating tsunami, tourism in the country is regaining momentum and Naha, considered the "Hawaii of Japan," on Okinawa Island is becoming a hot travel spot. With a tropical climate, white sand beaches, diving, kite boarding and other water sports, Naha was named one of Asia's "Fresh Destinations" by Agoda.com, a hotel booking site. World War II buffs can also pay a visit to Naha's museums and peace parks observing the Battle of Okinawa. To get to Naha from Tokyo, you can hop on a 2.5-hour flight or take a two-day ferry ride.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Ahead of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, both of which Brazil is hosting, Rio de Janeiro has seen a crackdown on crime and a makeover of its historic port. And this year, Rio topped MasterCard's list of fastest growing destination cities by visitor numbers. As a tourist, you can enjoy the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, drink Caipirinhas in the city's samba clubs and climb the hundreds of steps to get to the iconic Cristo statue to enjoy the breathtaking harbor landscape. You might want to plan your trip around Brazil's Carnival, two weeks of parades and partying, which usually begins in February.