Travel Writing

This Is What Happens When You Damage Priceless Art

When I was 16, my French class was fortunate enough to visit France. We immediately went to the Louvre upon arrival in Paris, but I was so wiped out by jet lag, I sat down and fell asleep. The spot I had chosen, however, was actually an ancient work of art. Here’s what would have happened had I broken it. It’s a nightmare scenario. You wander through a gallery of gorgeous artwork only to trip and accidentally punch a hole through a priceless painting. It actually does happen. In fact, a 12-ye

11 Things That Can Get You Kicked Off a Plane and How to Handle It

When it comes to flying, crew members do whatever it takes to make a flight comfortable, pleasant, and most importantly, safe for their passengers. Anything, or anyone, that stands in the way of them doing their job gets removed. Like this stuff, for example. Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of stuff you can do on a plane that can earn you the boot. Why? Well, the flight crew basically gets the last say. They don’t have to report an expulsion to the FAA, so they won’t hesitate to yank out any wr

The Countries That Are Actually the Most Dangerous for Tourists

The world can be a dangerous place, especially for careless travelers. The U.S. State Department does its best to alert tourists of the risks, but those warnings don’t always paint a clear picture. Turns out, the countries issued the most travel warnings aren’t always the most dangerous. Is traveling to countries that have been issued alerts and warnings, like Mexico, Mali, Israel, and Pakistan, deadly for American tourists? Sort of. Data gathered by Data.World and Priceonomics shows there is d

What "Personal Space" Means to the Rest of World

We all have an invisible bubble around us we like to call our “personal space.” If someone hovers inside too long, you feel uncomfortable. But everyone’s bubble size is different from culture to culture. Here’s what those bubbles look like around the world. A recent study, published in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, shows that culture plays a significant role when it comes to personal space. Using a graphic-based survey, researchers asked 9,000 participants from 42 different countr

How to Pick the Perfect Travel Shoes for Your Adventures Around the World

Epic journeys call for top-notch footwear that can handle anything. You need a pair of shoes that are so comfy, protective, and versatile you won’t even think about them the entire trip. Here’s what you need to know before you go. To get this guide started on the right foot, I got some help from another worldly traveler, Henrik Jeppesen. He’s the popular Dane that traveled to every country in the world before he turned 28, and is currently in the process of visiting every territory in the wor

The Best Ways to Ask for Compensation When Something Goes Wrong On Your Flight

While most flights go off without a hitch, annoying things do happen. Delays, diversions, busted tray tables, malfunctioning entertainment consoles, and spotty wifi can turn a run-of-the-mill flight into an unpleasant experience. When bad stuff happens, consider asking for compensation like this. Before we get into the details, keep in mind that airlines are only required by law to compensate you for a few things. Namely, involuntary bumps, unreasonable delays on the tarmac, and lost luggage.

Airport Time Is a Welcome State of Limbo

For many, the airport is a place filled with frustration and anxiety. But for others, the airport is a peaceful place where you don’t exist—no one does—and I love it. You’re allowed to do absolutely nothing, and sometimes, that’s exactly what the soul of a weary traveler needs. There was a great piece about airport layovers in the New York Times recently by Sasha Chapin. In it, Chapin expressed praise for the layover, calling it a “healthful, restorative bore,” and I couldn’t agree more. Long

How to Avoid Vacation Rental Scams Online

Vacation home rentals are a fun, and often affordable, alternative to hotels, but they’re also less regulated and more prone to scams. Crooks have come up with plenty of schemes to make a quick buck off of oblivious vacationers using nice photos of non-existent rentals and up-front cash security deposits. That’s why it’s important you know how to spot fraudulent listings online. Not only are vacation rental scams possible, they’re big business for criminals. According to fraud protection comp

Not Declaring Food to Customs and Border Protection Could Cost You Big Time

When you travel internationally, there’s a whole song and dance of answering questions and declaring items you have to go through before re-entering the U.S. When Customs asks you if you have any food to declare, declare every food item you have—just in case. It all comes down to Question 11, Part A: “Are you bringing fruits, vegetables, plants, seeds, food or insects into the United States?” Most of the time, I hastily check off “no” because I don’t even stop to think about pre-packaged stuf

Here Are the Countries U.S. Citizens Can Visit Without a Visa

If you’re a U.S. citizen with a valid passport, you’re able to freely travel to more places in the world than most other countries’ citizens, and it’s probably a lot more than you realize. All you need are some vacation days and a plane ticket. As of right now, holders of a valid United States passport can travel to 177 different countries and territories around the globe without having to apply for a travel visa before departing. That’s out of about 218 possible destinations, meaning you can

Fly Early If You Want to Depart and Arrive On Time

Flight delays occur fairly regularly, but they’re a lot less likely to happen at certain times of the day. If you need a flight that’s almost guaranteed to stay on schedule, you better put on a pot of coffee—you’ll need to leave bright and early. According to stats from The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report for February, morning flights are the most punctual options. In terms of scheduled departure times, the rate of on-time flights starts around 92-95% in the ear

How to Make Sure a Budget or Foreign Airline Is Safe

Budget airlines are a decent option for cheap travel, but they’re also known to be uncomfortable, they nickel and dime you for every little thing, and now, people are questioning the overall safety of these low-cost flights. These four tips will help you pick a budget or foreign airline that meets all the right safety standards. Look, flying is pretty darn safe. The odds of you being involved in an incident are incredibly small, and the odds of you dying in said event are even smaller. But wh

What to Do When You Get Pulled Over In Another Country

Getting pulled over in America is already nerve-wracking, but when it happens somewhere far from home it can be even scarier. Laws are different, customs vary, and you may have to pay a fine on the spot. Here’s what you need to know before you get behind the wheel outside of the U.S. This should be obvious, but in case it isn’t, you absolutely need to do research on driving in the country you’re visiting. You need to know the basic laws and customs for the area, as well as be aware of the ite

When You Can Cancel Flights and Hotels and Still Get a Full Refund

Things don’t always go according to plan when you’re traveling, and that can be a big problem for many reasons, chief among them that changing plans usually means paying fees. Let’s keep that money in your pocket. Here’s what you need to know when it comes to canceling flights or hotel reservations. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, you can cancel a non-refundable ticket and receive a full refund of any airfare booked in the United States, without cancellation fees or penalt

How to Take Full Advantage of Airport Bars

I’m a bit of a nervous flyer, so I always get to the airport early to sip on some courage at the bar. It helps me keep calm and, well, it’s hard to pass up a good Bloody Mary. Over the years, I’ve learned a few tips to ensure the airport bar is always a good experience. Drinks are expensive at airport bars. They know you have no other option for alcohol, so they charge a few extra bucks for every beer, cocktail, or glass of wine. That’s why you have to go for the deals whenever you can. Usua

The Cheapest Places to Stay in Japan

I keep telling people that traveling to Japan is way more affordable than they think, especially if you book the right accommodations. We’re talking as little as $20 to $50 a night if you know where to look! These obviously aren’t five-star resorts, but they’re worth it for the money you’ll save. Staying at a capsule hotel—pictured above—may have been one of the oddest travel experiences I’ve ever had, but not in a bad way. Yes, you’re basically sleeping in an oversized coffin (this is not for

How to Poop When You’re Traveling

Traveling really takes it out of you—except when it comes to poop. That can stay with you for days, making your vacay a lot less enjoyable. Here’s what causes that constipation frustration, and what you can do to keep that from happening. If you’ve ever gone on a trip and failed to drop a load for a few days straight, you’ve experienced vacation-induced constipation (VIC), or travel constipation. You feel backed up, look bloated, and want nothing more than to unleash the crappin’. It’s basica

How to Stash Your Luggage for a Couple of Hours When Traveling

You’ve just landed at your travel destination, but the Airbnb won’t be available for a few hours. What to do? You could start exploring the city, but nothing ruins that exhilarating experience more than having to drag around heavy luggage. Sure, you could drop your bags off at some places in airports and train stations, or perhaps rent a luggage locker somewhere, but there are other, sometimes cheaper options out there. Over at the New York Times, Stephanie Rosenbloom suggests travelers use

If You’re Visiting Japan, ‘Konbinis’ Are Your New Favorite Thing

Traveler, let me give you my most useful tip for visiting Japan: the “konbini” is life. It’s a one-stop shop for literally anything a wide-eyed tourist such as yourself may need while you explore the brightly lit corridors of Tokyo, or get swallowed by the serene silence of temples and shrines in Kyoto. A “konbini,” or “conbini,” is a convenience store, minimart, or bodega. We have them all over the place here in the States, but after you visit one in Japan, you realize how much ours suck. Co

How to Prevent Getting Hookworms on Your Next Beach Vacation

Is there anything better than digging your toes into the warm sand on some beautiful, exotic beach? Well there is if that beach is riddled with hookworms that hope to burrow into your feet and make their way to your small intestine. If you do a lot of traveling to warm, humid locales, here’s how you can avoid these nasty little things. Hookworms, if you haven’t already guessed, are a parasite. They pass from person to person by one of two ways: walking barefoot on soil contaminated with infecte
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