Intelligent Travel

About Intelligent Travel

Cultural, Authentic & Sustainable: This is your brain on travel. We showcase the essence of place, what's unique and original, and what locals cherish most about where they live. And we highlight places, practices, and people that are on the front lines of sustainable travel--travel that preserves places' essential uniqueness for future generations.

Our mission is rooted in what the National Geographic Society stands for: inspiring people to care about the planet. Traveler and Intelligent Travel also want you to experience and enjoy the planet. We want to help you journey with greater sensitivity to the impact your trip has on a place and its inhabitants.

Sometimes we celebrate, sometimes we criticize. But we always try to heighten awareness about what's really important about travel: finding great places, experiencing them fully, and leaving them no worse for your visit.

Email: intelligenttravel at ngs dot org

The Tower of Pisa. Machu Picchu. The Palace of Versailles. You know them as UNESCO World Heritage sites—places of such universal cultural value that the United Nations recognizes them. But what about the Mediterranean diet? The Peking opera? Portuguese fado?

Heather Brady, digital editorial specialist at National Geographic, recently returned from a long weekend getaway in Charlottesville, Virginia. Here are some of the high points of her trip, in her own words.

There are some amazing events on tap all over the world, all the time. Here’s a taste of what you can see and do in June.

It’s a big year in city anniversaries around the world. Here are three metropolitan milestones worth celebrating.

Southeastern Utah, marked by huge expanses of sandstone, deep canyons, and striking buttes, is about as close to lunar travel as you can get without leaving the ground.

The family vacation, like the concept of family itself, has evolved. Kids are traveling with grandma or a single parent or an indulgent uncle (or all three). However you define your kin, this Italian itinerary is all relative.

Looking for a little summer travel inspiration? Join @NatGeoTravel and Traveler magazine’s Susan O’Keefe for a Twitter chat on Wednesday, May 20, from 1 to 2 p.m. EDT to get the scoop on the best places to visit this season.

Don’t believe anyone who tells you Havana is sclerotic. Or, worse, that the food is boring. The city is best appreciated on locals’ simple terms: the farmers markets displaying mini-mountains of tropical fruits; the youth gossiping and flirting on the seafront Malecón promenade at night; or ice cream enjoyed beneath the dappled shade of jagüey trees.

#NGTRadar: Travel Lately

Travel Lately—a roundup of the best new dispatches from the travel blogosphere—is a regular feature on Intelligent Travel every other Wednesday. You can play, too. Follow us on Twitter @NatGeoTravel and tag your favorite travel stories #NGTRadar to help us find the crème de la crème on the Web.

The lavender harvest in the Drôme Provençale section of the Rhône-Alpes region rivals that of the more famous—and crowded—fields of the Luberon in Provence to the south. Here’s an inside look at how to make the most of your time in this fragrantly scenic region.

Cosmopolitan, edgy, playful: Oslo serves up Scandinavian cool with heartwarming enthusiasm.

National Geographic’s Andy Coleman and his wife have a tradition of traveling to Maui once a year. “It’s the one vacation destination where we don’t have anything planned, except for a place to stay,” he says. “We wake up each morning in a tropical paradise and let the day play out.” Here are some of the high points of Andy’s trip, in his own words.

Elsewhere in Italy, locals down espresso on the go, but Trieste is a city for lingerers. The ornate, wood-paneled “grand cafés” here honor the legacy of Vienna, not Rome. Though the city has a complicated history—it belonged to Italy, Austria, Germany during World War II, Yugoslavia, and finally Italy again.

#NGTRadar: Travel Lately

Travel Lately—a roundup of the best new dispatches from the travel blogosphere—is a regular feature on Intelligent Travel every other Wednesday. You can play, too. Follow us on Twitter @NatGeoTravel and tag your favorite travel stories #NGTRadar to help us find the crème de la crème on the Web.

Whenever folks hear I’m from Savannah, they want to know if it’s still the same as it was in John Berendt’s best-selling “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” They wonder, does the city still have the book’s romance—the mad artists, the oppressive beauty, the fever dreams of blood and passion?

I tell them, well, not if you just stay downtown.

Surfers and wannabes have been flocking to Costa Rica’s Guanacaste Province since the film “The Endless Summer 2″—documentarian Bruce Brown’s follow-up to his 1966 surf classic—popularized it two decades ago. And for good reason.

I left Vietnam as a child when communist tanks rolled into Saigon and ignominiously ended the Vietnam War for Americans. That was on April 28, 1975. So much has changed, yet my homeland remains an astonishing beauty, a country shaped by mountains and rivers and the eternal sea lapping at her shores.

There are some amazing events on tap all over the world, all the time. Here’s a taste of what you can see and do in May.

America’s National Park System is composed of more than 450 natural, historical, and cultural areas spread across the United States and its far-flung territories. Though Yellowstone deserves all the attention it gets, here are ten lesser-known park properties that are calling out for a visit.

Travel photographer and National Geographic Student Expeditions leader Jill Schneider (on Instagram @jillhsphotography) just got back from a trip to the charming colonial town of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, with two of her best friends. Here are some of the highlights from her adventure, in her own words.

The family vacation, like the concept of family itself, has evolved. Kids are traveling with grandma or a single parent or an indulgent uncle (or all three). However you define your kin, this island-hopping itinerary is all relative.

In Amsterdam, paint the town orange for King’s Day—when the whole city turns out to toast the lord of the land.

#NGTRadar: Travel Lately

Travel Lately—a roundup of the best new dispatches from the travel blogosphere—is a regular feature on Intelligent Travel every other Wednesday. You can play, too. Follow us on Twitter @NatGeoTravel and tag your favorite travel stories #NGTRadar to help us find the crème de la crème on the Web.

A northern extension of the Appalachian range, the White Mountains attract visitors with the highest and windiest peak in the Northeast—Mount Washington—and the oldest network of high-altitude huts in the nation.

Do you love America’s national parks? Join @NatGeoTravel this Friday, April 17, at 2 p.m. EDT for a Twitter chat with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel and Nat Geo’s own parks guru, John Francis.