Megan Heltzel

of National Geographic Travel

Megan Heltzel is an associate producer on the National Geographic Travel digital team. Follow her on Twitter and on Instagram @MeganHeltzel.

Traveling at a young age can be a transformative experience that leads to a lifetime of wanderlust. To celebrate the power of travel (and perhaps inspire a few parents out there), we asked our @NatGeoTravel Facebook fans to tell us about trips that made a lasting impression on them during their early years.

Nothing screams vacation quite like a sandy beach, clear blue water, and a fruity drink. To inspire a bit of summer wanderlust (or to help with your winter escape plans), we recently asked our Facebook fans to tell us their favorite island getaways in the world. Their answers ranged from large archipelagos to tiny islands we had to look up on a map, but one thing is for sure—their picks will keep you daydreaming for days.

Music festival season is in full swing. To help our readers wade through the ever-growing list of options, we asked our Facebook fans to give us the lowdown on their favorite aural extravaganzas. So, turn up your favorite tunes, and join us on a tour of stand-out summer music festivals around the world.

To toast the warm weather–and to provide inspiration for all those last-minute vacation planners out there–we asked our Facebook community to share their picks for the best beach town in the world. Our readers didn’t disappoint. Recommendations ran the gamut–from St. John to Singapore–so grab a beach chair and a fruity drink and explore standout seaside spots with Nat Geo Travel.

More than five years ago, Enric Sala left a tenured position at prestigious Scripps Institution of Oceanography and showed up at Nat Geo’s doorstep to outline his vision for protecting the last wild places in the ocean. Today, with support from the Society, the audacious marine ecologist remains the driving force behind the Pristine Seas Project, an epic effort to establish marine reserves–underwater national parks–around the world. I recently got the chance to chat with Sala about his hometown in Catalonia, his favorite place to scuba dive, and more. Here’s what he had to say.

The beauty of America’s 59 national parks, from the crystal clear waters of Glacier to the sharp silhouette of the Grand Tetons, is something you should experience firsthand–and this is the perfect time to do it. Why? It’s National Park Week. To pay homage to the amazing natural splendor of America’s best idea, we asked our Facebook community to share their favorite national park with us–and what makes it so special. Here’s what they had to say.

I don’t know about you, but for me, indulging in authentic, local cuisine while traveling—and finding the most authentic establishment to patronize—is a must. With warm-weather wanderlust upon us, we asked our Facebook fans to give us the inside scoop on their city’s signature dish, and where to go if you want to try it for yourself. Here’s what they had to say.

With spring travel just around the corner, we asked our Facebook fans to share the best travel advice they’ve ever received. Their responses ranged from practical tips to inspirational musings.

This month National Geographic Traveler announced 2014′s must-see places in the annual Best of the World feature. From Argentina to Oz, the final lineup reflects what’s authentic, culturally rich, and sustainably minded. Discover what makes these destinations worthy of a visit—and how they ended up on the list.