Amazing World Events Worth Traveling For

If you've gotten a little tired of attending the same old events out in your neck of the woods, perhaps it's time to think about hitting the bricks or flying the friendly skies in search of world events that are sure to curl your toes. Here are just a few that are bound to impress even the most seasoned of world travelers.

1. Carnivale. If you thought Mardi Gras in New Orleans was crazy, just wait until you visit Rio (Brazil) for the pre-Lent celebration known as Carnival. Occurring seven weeks before Easter Sunday annually, this debacle of debauchery is a chance for Catholics to let loose en masse before the forty days of fasting and piety that traditionally mark Lent. Ostensibly, this is one last hurrah before strict religious observance. But for most people it's just a chance to don a costume and mask and eat, drink, and be merry in what is perhaps the largest street festival in the world.

2. Dubai Shopping Festival. If you love to shop, there's no better place to be during the month of January than the bustling Middle Eastern city of Dubai. The slogan for this spending free-for-all is "One world, one family", and if your family was millions strong and came from every conceivable corner of the world, it might look something like this festival. Initially designed as a method of attracting tourist trade back in 1996, this annual festival has likely exceeded the government's wildest expectations, drawing hordes of globe-trotting buyers and sellers to a month-long spectacle of spending. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 3 million visitors flood the city during the month of January in order to sell their wares or snag some killer deals. It's one event that avid shoppers won't want to miss.

3. Burning man. You don't have to be a pot-smoking Phish-lover to attend this celebration of radical self-expression. What you do have to be is semi-self-reliant, because the festival takes place in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada during the last week of August and attendees are encouraged to use the barter system rather than cash. As festivals go, this one is a doozy, with 50,000 people living in what virtually amounts to a tent city; creating art, driving mutant vehicles, and then leaving without a trace. There may be music, as with other festivals, but the only planned activity is the burning of the wooden effigy on the last night of the festival, the occurrence from with the event draws its name.

4. La Tomatina. With everyone up in arms lately about the ill treatment of animals, the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona has become kind of taboo. But if you're looking for a reason to visit Spain, why not check out the annual day of La Tomatina? This odd festival is a one-day event that occurs in the tiny western town of Buñol on the last Wednesday of August each year (since about 1945) and it's basically a giant tomato fight. Although the town normally houses only about 9,000 residents, on the day of La Tomatina the streets may be packed with as many as 30,000-40,000 bare-chested visitors spoiling for a food fight of epic proportions. If you want to let your inner child out, this is your chance. Goggles are recommended.

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5. The Olympic Games. There are other sporting events that people from all over the world travel for;
the World Cup, the Super Bowl, and so on. But none come with more global appeal than the Olympic Games, where nearly every country in the world sends their top athletes to compete in a slew of events over the course of several days. You might attend nearby events at the Mohegan Sun Arena, Wrigley Field, or Madison Square Garden, but none can compare to the size, scope, and global appeal of the Olympics.

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