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 colonial towns along Route 7 in western Massachusetts are quintessential New England any time of year. Summer festivals bring out cultural crowds, while late September swarms with leaf-peepers. Here’s a guide to this American classic, no matter when you visit.

In Naples perhaps more than anywhere else in Italy, craftsmanship is the fruit of ancient knowledge, handed down through the centuries.

Like a fine wine, Australia’s Barossa Valley is aged perfection. An hour north of Adelaide, wineries here are housed in sandstone cottages built circa 1860, and multigenerational families still use Old World techniques and fruit from century-old vines planted in the shadow of ancient gum trees.

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.

When someone mentions ramen, you probably think of those store-bought dried noodles you bring to life with boiling water and a packet of spices.

In Tokyo, ramen noodle soup is not fast food; it’s an art form.

Meet the Editor: Isabella Brega

Isabella Brega, the executive editor of Traveler’s Italian partner magazine, put together a buyer’s guide to authentic goods in Italy, highlighting 20 places in five different cities where you can witness craftsmanship in its highest form–from marionettes to mandolins. “The story of Italian artisans is one of valuables and values,” she writes. Here’s a brief look at Touring’s creative maven and her singular view of the world.

#NGTRadar: Travel Lately

The Radar–the best of the travel blogosphere–is a regular feature on Intelligent Travel every other Wednesday. Follow us on Twitter @NatGeoTravel and tag your favorite travel stories #NGTRadar to help us find the crème de la crème on the Web. Here are our latest picks.

If these cliffs look familiar, it’s because they brood over the key crime scene in the transatlantic TV hit Broadchurch. Rising as if ripped from Earth’s crust, the formation has always seemed positioned for dramatic effect. In fact, show creator Chris Chibnall calls the murder mystery a love letter to his home in West Dorset, a classic British seaside town served up in one of England’s most family-friendly settings.

Whether you’re hoping to get in some grade-A scuba time or explore a tropical forest, the Caribbean has you covered. Here are three petite lodges that pack a real luxury punch in paradise.

Land of peaks, valleys, and monasteries, Yunnan is home to the largest number of ethnic groups in China. The gateway towns of Shangri-La (much of which, sadly, burned in January 2014) and Lijiang showcase area traditions and cultures, but many interesting sites lie in the countryside. Here’a an insider’s guide to this wondrous region.

Amy Alipio is an associate editor–and in-house #TripLit guru–at National Geographic Traveler magazine. Here are a few fun facts about this erudite explorer.

With an art deco skyline of gargoyles and spires, Tulsa, Oklahoma, has long been rich in the arts, from Cain’s Ballroom—displaying paraphernalia from famous headliners including Bob Wills, the Sex Pistols, and Wilco—to a glassblowing school and the 19,000-seat BOK Center. Now the Woody Guthrie Center, which made its debut in April 2013 in the Brady Arts District, makes this sleepy city an even bigger draw for music fans.

U.S. Highway 101 stretches 300 miles between San Francisco and Santa Barbara, roughly tracing a footpath of 1760s Spanish explorers and connecting the 21 missions they founded. You’ll want to set aside at least three days to do this region justice–especially if you’re a oenophile. Here’s some insider intel to help you navigate this fertile zone.

The hallmarks of Italy’s artisanal tradition–creativity, innovation, craftsmanship–go back at least 3,000 years, to when Etruscans fashioned extraordinary works with bronze and Romans excelled in mosaics and glass. As we ramp up to Carnival season, we’re spotlighting artisans who are producing distinctive souvenirs with a strong sense of place, tradition, and style in Venice–including the best place to snag a primo Venetian mask.

Go on assignment with Nat Geo Travel’s director of photography Dan Westergren in the charming mountain town of Whitefish, Montana, and get real-time tips about how to get the shot…in the snow. Join Dan and other Nat Geo Travel staffers back in D.C. for a Google Hangout On Air on Monday, February 10.

“When I first met Andrew McCarthy, he had never been published,” recounts National Geographic Traveler Editor-in-Chief Keith Bellows. “He convinced me to take a chance on him.” The wager paid off. For the past several years, McCarthy has been raking in accolades and awards for his distinctive storytelling and delivering brilliant prose again and again for Traveler, where the actor-director is now an editor at large. Here’s a brief peek at the life and times of Andrew McCarthy.

#NGTRadar: Travel Lately

The Radar–the best of the travel blogosphere–is a regular feature on Intelligent Travel every other Wednesday. Follow us on Twitter @NatGeoTravel and tag your favorite travel stories #NGTRadar to help us find the crème de la crème on the Web. Here’s our latest picks.

Planning a trip with that special someone? We asked our Facebook fans to share their favorite romantic destinations, and they came through in a big way. Whether you’re looking for a tried-and-true classic or something more off the grid, our travel community has got you covered.

Italy’s capital for fashion and design, Milan weds imagination with precision, beauty with utility, and emotion with technique–a drive for excellence fueled by an ongoing dialogue between Milan’s many creative minds and skilled craftspeople. This dynamic has played out for more than a century at the Compagnia Marionettistica Carlo Colla & Figli, one of the oldest marionette companies in the world.

As dawn breaks in Paris, doughy smells permeate the air, and locals line up at neighborhood boulangeries for freshly baked croissants to enjoy alongside their morning coffee–and as an afternoon goûter, or snack. These yeast-leavened pastries from Vienna—known there as viennoiseries—reportedly arrived in France in the 18th century when Queen Marie Antoinette, originally from Austria, introduced them…

In 1921, Osa Johnson, and her husband, Martin, both natives of Kansas, took off for faraway East Africa determined to document on film a land they know almost nothing about. Following up on an insider tip, the couple crossed the Kaisut Desert in search of a lake “nobody knows about.” Nearly a century later, writer David Lansing and photographer Pete McBride trekked out to the wilds of northern Kenya to see if it was still there.

Award-winning essayist and travel writer Pico Iyer has been a part of the National Geographic Traveler family since the magazine’s earliest days. “He has a singular ability to capture both a moment and a mood, root them firmly in a place, and render it all on the page,” says Traveler Executive Editor Norie Quintos. “The result is that the reader is transported.” Here’s a brief peek into the life and times of Pico Iyer.

Whether you’re exploring the Galápagos or visiting glaciers, South America is just the place to unplug from routine life. Consider staying at one of these lodges for a truly unforgettable nature experience.

Huckleberry Finn and Jim had their raft. Modern adventurers have their cars and the Great River Road. Now in its 75th year, this national scenic byway follows the Mississippi for 2,069 miles and ten states.

Celebrated journalist Todd Pitock started his family and effectively his working life in Johannesburg. He left in 1993, but having returned yearly since then, he now realizes that Johannesburg got really good only after it wasn’t his city anymore. Here’s his take on the South African city’s new golden age in the wake of losing its most celebrated native son.