Amy Alipio is features editor at National Geographic Traveler magazine. Follow her story on Twitter @amytravels and on Instagram @amyalipio.

The Best Travel Books of Spring

Though it might not be quite time to hang up your winter coat for good, a bushel of books have sprouted to inspire a bout of warm-weather wanderlust. Check out our top picks for spring, then let us know what’s on your #TripLit list (or recommend a perennial favorite).

Pennsylvania Dutch Country in 7 Bites

Foodies who disdain smorgasbords and sprawling restaurants that feed hundreds of bused-in tourists, feel free to stop reading right now.

If you’re still with me, let’s talk about chicken pot pie. And shoo-fly pie. And whoopie pies, for that matter.

Discover America’s Secret Heroes

What do National Geographic Traveler editors do when they retire? Well, if you’re Paul Martin, you write a book about a subject you’ve been gathering information on for years: little-known Americans—from the first black combat pilot to the agronomist who saved millions in Asia from starving—who helped change history. Martin’s labor of love, Secret Heroes: Everyday…

Much Ado About Suchitoto

The El Salvadoran town of Suchitoto overlooks a blue volcanic lake in a region long considered a place of great natural beauty. But the country’s 12-year civil war ravaged this cobblestoned town, and lingering unemployment and gang violence have left its citizens–especially its young people—without a lot of hope for their future. Enter stage right…

New York City with Little Kids

Vacations are not what they used to be. I spent the July 4th weekend in New York City, my first trip there with kids in tow, and it really hit home for me: I’m a parent. If I weren’t a parent traveling with my kids, I’d be in New York seeing back-to-back Broadway shows, zipping…

Bucks County, PA, with Kids

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Today’s blog is brought to you by the letters B and P. That would be B for Bucks County and P for Philadelphia, where I spent a kid-centric Memorial Day weekend. In less than 48 hours, we got multiple hugs from Elmo and friends, fell into the rabbit hole with Alice in Wonderland, rode two…

Doha Diaries, Part 2

I was only in Qatar for about 60 hours but I surprisingly learned a lot—especially about camel racing. Or, to be precise, dromedary racing. (Dromedaries have one hump and are native to Arabia, while Bactrian camels have two humps and hail from Asia.) We arrived at the camel track just as a large procession of…

Doha Diaries: Part 1

My recent Qatar Airways flight from Washington, D.C. direct to Doha, the capital of Qatar, took almost 14 hours, but it was the most civilized in-flight experience I’ve had in a long time. My only anxiety was how to operate my seat. As we began our descent, I looked out my window to see thumbnail…

What Travelers Can Learn from War Zone Reporters

A couple weeks before leaving for my recent short trip to Qatar, a book came into the office titled How to Avoid Being Killed in a War Zone. Although I had been told Qatar was remarkably safe, I was still going to a part of the world known for turmoil, so I leafed through the book with interest. I was delighted to learn that the book’s author, British journalist Rosie Garthwaite, is based in Doha, Qatar’s capital, so I tracked her down and emailed her asking if she’d have time to meet up when I was there. Over nonalcoholic lime mint drinks at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, we chatted about her book (out in July) and what living in Doha is like. (Little would I know that just a few days after our talk, her book would seem unfortunately timely with the deaths of photojournalists Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros during ongoing combat in Libya.) Here are some excerpts from my Q&A with Garthwaite:

What’s New in Theme Parks: Thomas, Harry, and Elmo

Thomas the Tank Engine turned 65 this past weekend, and my four year old was up bright and early, ready for me to take her to the opening of Thomas Town at Six Flags America in Largo, Maryland. Despite the brutal heat that day, which made the Island of Sodor seem more like Mordor, Controller…

At Home with Louisa May Alcott

Reading Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women was one of Harriet Reisen’s seminal experiences growing up, as it is for many girls the world over (the book has been translated into over 50 languages and has never been out of print). But Reisen, a documentary screenwriter, took her enthusiasm a step (or two) further by…

Amy Tan at National Geographic

Last night, Amy Tan helped launch our new “Journeys” series of live conversations with great writers at National Geographic headquarters here in D.C. The bestselling author of such books as The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen’s God’s Wife, and most recently, Saving Fish From Drowning, was gracious, funny, and inspiring. (And a fabulous dresser!) The…