TRAVEL
01/01/2014 07:19 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 10:52 EST

14 Reasons Why 2014 Will Be Awesome For Travel (PHOTOS)

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It’s a fresh new year and with it comes a slew of reasons why you should travel and see the world via planes, trains and automobiles. Whether you stick close to home or venture off to far-flung exotic locales, you’ll find your mind and spirit through travel.

It’s not a bunch of psycho mumbo jumbo. Research backs it up.

Employees who take time off are more productive and have better morale. They're less prone to burnout, too, according to a research by the Society for Human Resources Management. Taking off to a new place also stimulates your brain, especially if challenged by a new language, listening to different types of music and meeting new people.

And chances are you’ll be more active when you’re not glued behind a desk or a computer. Climb the Spanish Steps in Rome to tone your calves or soak up healthy doses of vitamin D while you swim up to the swim-up bar at an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean. It’s all good for you.

Take some inspiration from what’s in store for 2014: blockbuster museums opening, new, must-see attractions, events of epic proportions and anniversaries of famous dead people (like Shakespeare).

How much will you love to travel in 2014? Let us count the ways -- 14 to be exact.

  • Canada’s Latest Blockbuster Museum
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    It's been nearly 50 years since a national museum has been built in Canada. The dry spell comes to an end in September with the opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, the first museum ever to be dedicated solely to the topic. The building itself is a stunner, designed by Antoine Predock, at a cost of $351 million.
  • Sochi Olympics (XXII Olympic Winter Games)
    Flickr: rapidtravelchai
    More than 2,500 athletes from 85 nations will head to Russia with love in pursuit of top spots on the podium in 2014. They’ll be shooting, skating, skiing, sledding, luging, curling and snowboarding from February 7-23. Will there be a repeat of Team Canada’s whopper of a victory in the hockey rink? Stay tuned...

    Photo Credit: Stefan Krasowski
  • FIFA World Cup Soccer In Brazil
    Flickr: copagov
    Things will be extra hot and steamy this summer as Brazil hosts soccer’s most illustrious event from June 12 to July 13. It promises to be the biggest sporting event of the year with venues like Sao Paolo’s Arena Corinthians packing in 70,000 fans and millions of soccer fans around the world glued to their TVs to catch the action.

    Photo Credit: copagov
  • World War I's Centennial Anniversary
    Flickr: n8kowald
    August 4th is the day that hostilities broke out and kicked started the world into conflict. The day will be marked in Britain with a candle-lit vigil in London’s Westminster Abbey and the Imperial War Museum will reopen after a makeover with a $57 million price tag.

    Photo Credit: Nathan
  • The Wonderful World Of Disney
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    This year will be a good year for Disney fans, which is pretty much everyone. The lights of Broadway will host a new musical from Disney Theatrical Productions -- the same folks that produced The Lion King and Mary Poppins.

    Then there's music genius and multi-multi-Oscar winner Alan Menken ("Beauty and the Beast", "The Little Mermaid" and "Pocohontas") who will debut his tunes on March 20 at the New Amsterdam Theatre.

    Meanwhile, at Walt Disney World in Orlando, the biggest expansion in Magic Kingdom history wraps up with the completion of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, due to open this spring.
  • The 450th Anniversary Of Shakespeare’s Birth
    Full of sound and fury, signifying something, 2014 marks a big year for lovers of Shakespeare’s rich prose. Cities from New York to Moscow and all points in between are honouring England’s and perhaps the world’s most famous wordsmith with brainy lectures, plays aplenty and festivals. Keep up on it all at shakespeareanniversary.org.
  • XX Commonwealth Games In Glasgow
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    Any excuse to visit Scotland is fine, but this is a good one. And Glasgow knows how to throw a good party. From July 23 to August 3, top athletes from Commonwealth nations gather to show their prowess without the insane pressure experienced at the Olympics. There could be a world record or two shattered, especially if Jamaica’s Usain Bolt hits his stride on the running track.
  • Celebrating 150 Years Since The Charlottetown Conference
    Flickr
    Were you away the day you studied how the Charlottetown Conference of 1864 sowed the seeds for the birth of Canada as a nation? Not to worry. You’ll have plenty of time to catch up when Prince Edward Island marks the 150th anniversary of the conference.

    This summer is the prime time for the festivities, including a major concert and outdoor events. Can you imagine a better place to spend Canada Day? Didn’t think so.
  • A New Entry For World’s Tallest Building
    AOL
    Sorry, Dubai. Your skyline superstar Burj Khalifa will soon be called "the second tallest building in the world" once Sky City One opens some time this year in Changsha, China -- a surefire a booming tourist attraction.

    It will be 10 metres taller at 838 metres, plus contain a hospital, five schools, offices, residences and a hotel to accommodate 1,000 guests. Hope you enjoyed your time as no. 1, Burj Khalifa and thanks for the memories.
  • 25th Anniversary Of The Fall Of The Berlin Wall
    The Associated Press
    On Nov. 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall, an ugly symbol of the political lunacy of the Cold War, came down. A united Germany will celebrate its demise with oodles of events and exhibitions.

    A new contemporary Berlin Wall will be built -- this one made up of thousands of white balloons. If you’re heading to Deutschland this year, time your visit for November and be a part of this momentous occasion.
  • More Harry Potter At Universal Orlando
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    Potter fans rejoice! You’ll have a chance to climb aboard the Hogwarts Express to travel between Hogswarts and Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando this summer.

    It’s part of a giant expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter that’s adding Diagon Alley to the mix. It will have a ride based inside Gringott’s Bank -- a place that every Potter fan knows is run by goblins, plus new restaurants and shops.
  • The Panama Canal's 100th Birthday
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    Considered one of the modern wonder of the world, the Panama Canal changed the world of travel and commerce forever by providing a shortcut through the middle between North and South America.

    It’s in the middle of a $5.25 billion expansion that will introduce new locks for 2015. Events around the centennial will start in August.
  • High On Thrills In Western Canada
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    Need some new ways to juice up your adrenaline levels? You’re in luck with fresh attractions coming to the west. In Jasper National Park, the Glacier Skywalk opening in May features an elevated glass-floored platform that allows visitors to get a bird’s eye view from 280 metres above the Sunwapta Valley. In Squamish, B.C., get ready for the new Sea-to-Sky gondola ride opening around Canada Day.
  • Grand Hotel Openings
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    There’s no shortage of new places to lay your weary head at the end of your travel day come 2014. Here are a handful of highlights to consider: The funky, modern InterContinental Davos opening in the Graubünden Alps, Switzerland; Bath, England’s stunning Gainsborough Bath Spa with direct access to the town’s famous thermal waters.

    Don't forget about Aro Ha, a wellness centre/hotel, designed to get guests on a healthy path; Italy’s newest budget-busting luxury property, Aman Canal Grande Venice; the affordable ALT Hotel Montreal Griffintown; and London’s new Shangri-La Hotel located at The Shard, the city’s newest landmark building, designed by Renzo Piano.

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