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

Despite its size, London is a very kid-friendly city. Almost 40 percent of the capital is dedicated to parks and public spaces, and major museums are free. The only problem is there’s so much to see. Here are some of the highlights.

The plains? Hardly. A solo drive through the Dakotas proves big on personality.

Itching to cash in on some of that well-deserved vacation time in the near future? Join @NatGeoTravel for our next Twitter chat to get the inside scoop on the best fall trips. In addition to hearing from National Geographic Traveler’s own Amy Alipio, who will be unveiling our brand new Best Fall Trips list, we’ll also be welcoming Laura Begley Bloom, executive editor for Yahoo Travel. Use #BestFallTrips to join us!

There’s a reason that the Wright brothers picked the Outer Banks to take their first flight: reliable breezes, wide open, non-vegetated spaces, and 100-foot dunes—the tallest on the Atlantic coast—where even novices can fly safely before alighting in soft sand. Your first flight in a hang glider “might just change your life,” says Andy Torrington, who has been teaching the sport near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, since 1991.

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 September.

#NGTRadar: Travel Lately

The Radar—the latest and best 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. Here are our newest picks.

Tea reigns in Darjeeling, where life is marked by the four harvest seasons: first flush in spring, the second flush in June, monsoon season (yes, it’s a tea season) July-August, and the autumn flush from October into November. No matter how you take your cuppa, here’s a short and sweet guide to visiting this world-renowned tea mecca.

Virginia may be for lovers, as the commonwealth famously claims on its license plates, but it’s also for travelers eager to experience the simplicity of the country life. Here are three rural paradises worthy of enthusiastic praise.

If there is one aroma that unifies Liguria—the region that arcs along Italy’s northwestern coast, joining France to Italy, Alps to sea—it’s Genovese basil.

Georgians say that when God divided Earth’s land among its peoples, the Georgians showed up late, drunk. They’d been toasting and praising him, they claimed. God so liked this excuse that he gave them his own land: the most fertile of all. Here’s a brief insider’s guide to this cultural crossroads in the Caucasus.  …

When the Birthplace of Country Music opened in August of 2014, the Smithsonian-affiliated museum let the world in on a secret musicians have known for generations: The roots of American music run deep in Bristol, a onetime Appalachian railroad boomtown straddling the Tennessee-Virginia border.

Forget Nordic noir. I’m on the Bohuslän Coast, puttering between smooth gray granite islands topped by red cottages. This 112-mile stretch from Gothenburg to the Norwegian border on Sweden’s west coast—or the “best coast,” as some call this playland of villages and 8,000 islands and islets—has always been a summertime magnet for locals.

#NGTRadar: Travel Lately

The Radar—the latest and best 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. Here are our newest picks.

Spending an art-filled day museum-hopping in New York City with my twin girls is even better than front-row seats at a Laurie Berkner concert—an equal thrill for the three of us with none of the jostling.

Hoping to witness democracy in action in D.C.? Head to Union Market, a new seat of culinary power northeast of the U.S. Capitol that’s as much of a throwback as it is progressive. Here in an up-and-coming neighborhood known as NoMA, what was once a gloomy warehouse has been transformed into a bright gathering place.

The fastest-growing water sport in the world, stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) was born in the Hawaiian Islands, and with calm jungle rivers and 50 miles of beaches, Kauai is one of the best places for the sport. Here’s the why and how.

“Mama, do you see that echo? On the wall there, looking at me.” It was my three-year-old’s first visit to Phnom Penh, the city of my birth. “Why are there so many?” I followed her gaze, where she had spied a gecko clinging to a high corner. In her innocent mispronunciation, she’d touched on something I felt was hauntingly apropos: Despite its breathtaking pace of transformation, this is still a city of echoes, reverberations of the past.

A favorite of the late Ingrid Bergman, the Bohuslän Coast feels a bit like a secret French Riviera. What the high-latitude region lacks in American tourists it makes up for with plentiful seafood and bright seasonal sunshine. Here’s the low-down on visiting this Swedish wonderland.

#NGTRadar: Travel Lately

The Radar—the latest and best 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. Here are our newest picks.

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 August.

No need for an umpire’s call: Cooperstown, New York, runs on baseball. And as the Baseball Hall of Fame celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2014, baseball lovers can cheer more than one milestone. July 27 also brings a new batch of inductees (including star players Frank Thomas and Tom Glavine) following last year’s steroids-disqualified dry spell.

Central Park is the ultimate Manhattan playground. Here’s where to go and what to do in this 843-acre family-friendly wonderland.

When World War I broke out, the Dolomites became a treacherous front line for Austrian and Italian soldiers. Here among the jagged peaks and sheer pastel walls of this ancient range of the Alps, where many cultures had coexisted for centuries, soldiers on both sides built networks of bolted-down steel cables, called via ferrata, to move supplies quickly—and for other missions, too.

It’s fish boil time on Wisconsin’s scenic Door Peninsula. Like its cousin, the New England clambake, the tradition grew out of a community coming together to celebrate local bounty. Poaching the day’s catch with potatoes was a custom brought over by the region’s Scandinavian settlers and no doubt sustained many a soul on these rocky, wind-whipped shores. Here’s where to sample the best fish boil in Wisconsin.

Have you ever wondered what makes an award-winning photograph? Here’s your chance to find out. Join the judges of the 2014 Traveler Photo Contest for a Google+ Hangout On Air, and get the inside scoop on how they chose this year’s winners (they’ll be announced at the end of July!) from more than 18,000 submissions.