Annie Fitzsimmons

Annie Fitzsimmons is Intelligent Travel's Urban Insider, your cosmopolitan culture connection. From great places to stay and one-of-a-kind things to do in her home base, New York City, to tips from locals in the know in cities around the world, Annie is here to get you up to speed. Follow along on the blog and on Twitter @anniefitz and on Instagram @anniefitzsimmons.

At times on Kiawah Island, I wondered if I was in South Carolina or the marshlands of Botswana. A mere 20 miles south of Charleston, Kiawah is a beachy paradise with all the essential resort elements — like cool cocktails and a phenomenal spa. But not every asset is manmade.

My Favorite On-the-Road Apps

When I think back to trips I took ten years ago, I can’t even imagine (or remember) how I got around foreign cities. It must have been a combination of maps and the kindness of strangers. Now, my smartphone is my key to the world — and the way I stay in touch when I’m away. Here’s a list of the apps I use the most when I’m on the road and why.

So many of my travel memories are linked to great food, like street daal at Ravi in Dubai or spaghetti pomodoro at Hotel Cipriani in Venice. But summer always brings me back to my childhood, and to America. Here’s a list of some of the food-place combos that keep me coming back no matter where I am.

The Upper East Side I love, the one that oozes with New York history and tradition, is finally pumping some blood that isn’t blue. I’ve even heard it said that it’s the next Brooklyn. It makes me laugh, but the prediction might not be too far off base as restaurateurs continue bringing exciting new spots to a neighborhood known for its resistance to change.

I had the pleasure of interviewing five high-powered women with rich and varied backgrounds who are leading the charge at exceptional hotels around the world — from Thailand to the Caribbean. Here’s what they had to say about the challenges and rewards of their chosen profession — and their advice to other women who are thinking about following suit.

While my fiance and I are happy to explore the world solo, each trip we take on our own reminds us of how much better it is to travel together. It’s not perfect, of course. Because travel forces you out of your comfort zone, it can bring unexpected challenges as well as unexpected joy. Here’s what we’ve learned from a decade of travel together, from both sides.

Can you go back to the 1820s? In Ireland, you can. (Don’t worry, there is still great WiFi.)

Beyond Philly: The Main Line

As someone who has yet to have kids, I wondered if the Main Line had enough going on to justify recommending it as a weekend getaway. The answer turned out to be, unequivocally, yes.

I just returned from a week in Galway with my entire family. With eight of us, ranging from 20 to 61, there’s bound to be conflicts, alliances, and laughter. Here are my hard-won tips for multi-generational travel!

I seem to gravitate toward nostalgia-driven travel in the summertime. Whether or not you have ties to Connecticut, the drive along its shoreline is one of the most scenic byways in America. Follow my custom itinerary for the ideal weekend road trip. And remember to put the window down.

Being able to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art regularly is one of the perks of living in New York, but it took a tour with the legendary France Pepper for me to become infatuated with it. Here are her picks for five can’t-miss experiences at America’s largest art gallery.

Buenos Aires is a city that needs an exclamation point after its name. And maybe all caps. BUENOS AIRES! seems to capture the city’s exuberant, exhausting, and beautiful urban buzz. I spent a full week in the South American capital and left wanting more.

During the summer season, Florianopolis swells to two million people, nearly five times its usual size. My driver, Leo, tells me it’s the “number one place people wish they could move to in Brazil,” citing a boom in tech start ups along with its natural beauty (“over three quarters of the area is preserved,” he boasted) as reasons. Plus, Brazil’s third-largest university provides a youthful vitality that keeps the city fresh.

Road Trip Through Israel

Deciding against the group-tour-bus approach allows you to map out a customized route based on what you really want to see. For me, it was a mix of ancient sites and pilgrimage spots (along with a good dose of delicious Israeli food along the way).

Mothers don’t always make the easiest traveling companions. Check out these tips for how to survive one-on-one travel.

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Virtuoso’s symposium in Buenos Aires, an annual event that draws hundreds of the top travel advisors, brands, and hoteliers together from all over the world. Virtuoso really rolled out the red carpet for the group, and I was happy to tag along. Here’s what I learned.

Tel Aviv’s creative energy and global influence are on display everywhere you look, but the blending of old and new is also striking. In the growing Tel Aviv Port area, I could indulge my imagination by picturing the icons of history sailing the crashing waves, then indulge my appetite at Kitchen Market, a wholly modern destination for serious foodies.

Whether I’m whizzing down to Washington, D.C. or wending my way through Wallonia, traveling by train is by far my favorite mode of transport — especially when I’m in Europe.

Jerusalem From All Sides

I had planned to write a review of the new hotels and restaurants on the horizon in Jerusalem — a story about the city’s present and future. But when I arrived, I was overwhelmed by the past, and by an intense desire to know something, anything, for sure.

Behind every star is a place, and Liverpool continues to be a pilgrimage site for those obsessed with John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Yet the city holds wider appeal to folks who, like me, have been touched by their music and look back with fondness on the unique brand of swinging creativity and free living the group came to represent.

Three major canals divide Amsterdam’s Central Canal district into nine little streets that are big on personality. While the more casual shopper may breeze through in an hour or two, serious shoppers can spend an entire day (or more) exploring the quaint boutiques and eateries — all with signature Dutch style — down each lane.

As I was preparing for a recent trip to Amsterdam, I did my usual pre-trip rounds of asking for restaurant recommendations from friends and mining relevant articles and blogs for ideas. Surprisingly, the pickings came back very slim. But there was one trend that proved an exception to the rule.

Most people who travel through Belgium make a stop in the northern city of Bruges, but it felt a bit too much like Disneyland to me. Instead, I stumbled upon a hidden travel gem in Wallonia, the southern, mostly French-speaking half of the nation.

Finding the Beat of Brussels

Brussels is far from undiscovered, but it can feel underrated. Here are some highlights from a recent trip to a city that feels more like an inviting village than an anonymous urban expanse — where everything is close by, prices are reasonable, and a decidedly peaceful vibe works its way into your stride.

When we travel, we can become someone else, and in Brussels, I fancied myself a chocolate designer. I’d open a small corner shop just off the Grand Place, where it’s less chaotic and I could create beautiful pieces of art that also happen to be delicious.