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

Itching to get out and about after a long winter? Join @NatGeoTravel for our next Twitter chat on Thursday, March 19, from 1 to 2 p.m. EDT to get the scoop on the best places to visit this spring.

Nat Geo Travel just unveiled its list of this season’s best trips, so we asked our Nat Geo Travel Facebook fans to share spring break escapes that go beyond the warm-weather clichés. Here’s what they had to say.

More than anywhere else I have been, Seville resists change. From its passion for bullfights to its fondness for the pageantry of the Catholic religion, the capital of Andalusia always has reveled in its traditional way of life. Here’s a primer on making the most of your time in this stunning city.

The Texas capital’s many music clubs host live performances every night of the year—and multiple times an evening during March’s annual SXSW festival. But Austin’s HOPE Outdoor Gallery showcases a very different creative output: artists legally spray-painting on a three-story abandoned construction site.

While strife-weary Middle Eastern grandes dames Beirut, Cairo, and Tehran have all seen better days, Sharjah—glitzy Dubai’s demure neighbor in the United Arab Emirates—is a cultural doyenne with a vision.

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.

In 1911, skiers first completed the Haute Route: a six-day, 46-mile traverse through the skyscraping peaks between Chamonix, France, and Zermatt, Switzerland. Since then, the Haute Route has become a rite of passage for adventurous skiers.

Some years ago Alexander McCall Smith started to write a serial novel, “44 Scotland Street,” set in Edinburgh. “In this series—now in its ninth volume—I wanted to explain why it was that this city should so beguile those who come to know it, why each morning makes me feel as if I am waking up to a continuing love affair with the place in which I live.”

Planning a roots travel trip can yield rewarding, and surprising, results. “For some people, the thrill of just being there is enough,” says Marion Hager, owner of genealogy travel company Hager’s Journeys. Here’s how she says you can get the most out of a trip.

Nat Geo Travel associate producer Megan Heltzel recently returned from a trip to Music City. Here are some of the high points of her trip to the Tennessee capital, in her own words.

“No matter how successful you are or what you have seen, you can’t be jaded when you walk in your ancestors’ footsteps,” says genealogy expert Megan Smolenyak. “Getting there requires a great deal of patience and detective work, but I can assure you, it’s well worth it.” Here are eight steps to get you started from National Geographic’s new book “Journeys Home.”

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 March.

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.

March 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of National Geographic’s cartographic division—which has created maps, globes, and atlases of the ocean floor, the night sky, and everywhere in between. Here are a few highlights from our map-making history.

Just Back: Lisbon

Traveler editorial assistant and California native Kevin Kunitake recently made his first hop across the pond. Where did he land? Portugal. In addition to the trip being his first to Europe, it also marked his debut as a solo traveler. And compact, friendly Lisbon ended up being the perfect introduction to both. Here are some of the high…

Photographing landscapes well is harder than one might think. National Geographic Your Shot community member Christoph Schaarschmidt solved this by waiting patiently to get this time-lapse shot of Trollstigen Mountain Road in Norway.

Bananas Foster was invented at Brennan’s of New Orleans in 1951. After the restaurant’s 2013 closure and expansive refurbishing, the flammable, rum-soaked dessert will once again light up the French Quarter.

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.

National Geographic Traveler researcher Christine Blau touched down in Austin, Texas, hoping to take a break from winter. Instead, she was greeted with uncharacteristically cold and rainy weather that shocked locals. While visions of frolicking in beloved green spaces like Barton Springs or Pedernales Falls State Park were dashed, Christine discovered that the Austin area exudes year-round charm. Here are some of the high points of her trip, in her own words.

What do National Geographic staffers bring back from their travels? Here’s a peek into our baggage.

Truth is stranger than fiction. Here are five travel factoids to help prove it.

The Danish word smørrebrød translates simply as buttered bread, but anyone familiar with the open-face sandwich devoured at lunchtime throughout Copenhagen will consider that pure Nordic understatement.

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 February.

Just Back: Jackson Hole

Nat Geo staffer Erin Block just returned from a winter adventure in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. “As a rule, I’m a warm-weather person,” she says. “But one day I decided it was high time I stepped far out of my comfort zone.” That’s how she decided to try her hand at skiing for the first time—on some of the biggest and steepest slopes in the United States. The last word? “There was no better place to bundle up and leave the warm behind.”

Just Back: Paris

Nat Geo Travel associate producer Megan Heltzel (on Twitter and Instagram @MeganHeltzel) recently returned from a trip to Paris. Though it was her second visit to the French capital, this trip was especially memorable because she returned home engaged to be married! Here are some of the high points of her trip (besides the ring on her finger), in her own words.