The best things to do in Nara, Japan

The picturesque city of Nara lies in the Kansai region of Japan, forming a triangle with its more famous neighbors of Kyoto and Osaka. As the country’s first permanent capital, it’s a city with a huge historical and cultural significance — as is evidenced by its eight impressive UNESCO World Heritage sites. Yet somehow Nara … [Read more…]

Transylvania’s fortified churches

One of the three historical provinces of Romania, Transylvania features a vast tableland dominated by undulating hills covered with orchards, vineyards, and huge untouched forests. In this picturesque scenery, countless fortified churches tucked away in side valleys create a unique architectural style present only in this part of Europe. A fast way to visit a … [Read more…]

National parks, monuments, forests

Gaze up at Half Dome, and it’s obvious why Yosemite has national park status. Witness the wildflower bloom in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park during spring, and it may be less clear why California’s largest state park doesn’t. The United States’ parks and public lands fall under a number of designations. Most of us have probably … [Read more…]

Best candy not sold in the US

People in the United States love candy. According to the US Census Bureau, each American eats 22 pounds of candy a year. Compare that to around 25 pounds per year of apples, the most consumed fruit in the US, of which nearly 14 pounds comes from apple juice. This is, by almost every measure, a … [Read more…]

Ethical Airbnb animal experiences

Animal tourism is… dicey, to say the least. While getting out in nature and appreciating wild animals in their natural habitat is all well and good, other practices like elephant rides, tiger encounters, and even zoos have come under fire in recent years, causing many to shun the practice of using animals as a tourist … [Read more…]

Travel on a budget, not backpacking

Budget travel does not necessarily mean living from a backpack and sleeping in crowded hostel dorm rooms. With a little planning, it is possible to travel on a budget while still enjoying the sights, sounds, and flavors — even the creature comforts — of any destination. The low-season travel months are just around the corner … [Read more…]

How to visit Lake Orta from Milan

At a time when the major northern Italian pre-alpine lakes — Maggiore, Como, and Garda — are overrun with tourists and VIPs like George Clooney, nearby Lake Orta is experiencing quite the opposite. This lake is starved for attention, though that’s probably because locals are working hard to keep it all to themselves. Nineteenth-century French … [Read more…]

LAX to ban ride shares from curbside

The convenience of booking your ride from the airport as you swipe your gear from the baggage claim at LAX and head towards the exit will come to an end on October 29. As of that date, Uber and Lyft drivers will no longer be permitted to pick up passengers curbside outside of the airport’s … [Read more…]

History of pumpkin beer in America

There are few things we can be sure of in this world. One of them is that pumpkin beer will take over the shelves of American grocery stores from October to November, and then disappear just as quickly. This doesn’t happen in other beer-loving countries, making it a beloved (or hated) tradition that’s special to … [Read more…]

What are electric mountain bikes?

Electric mountain bikes, or eMTBS, are the high-altitude version of the pedal-assisted e-bikes you’ve seen cruising through hipster neighborhoods for the past few years. These trail runners have a similar battery pack and motor like their big-city brethren. Likewise, they’re also capped by a governor that prevents the rider from going full-bore down a trail … [Read more…]