Travel tips

How to Journal When You Travel


A reader named Bill dropped me a line last week to ask about how I journal when on the road. I’d never thought about it before, but it’s a really great question, and it depends a lot on your goal. When I went to Central America in 2000, I knew I wanted to write the book that would become Vagabond Dreams, and so I took very detailed notes right from the start. I learned a lot on that trip, and I...

A New Anthropology of Drink


Me and Tomoko were shopping in Prenzlauer Berg early one evening this past Fall. And when the time was right, we walked down a quiet street until I found the blank steel door that I’d been searching for. There was no sign. Just a photo of the Irish playwright Samuel Beckett in a dark window. I reached out and rang the bell. A crack of light appeared moments later, and a head poked out. I gave my...

How to Go Deep — Doing Your Pre-Trip Homework


The topic of pre-trip reading came up on my Facebook page the other day when we were discussing Iceland. I want to share a little of my process, because I think you’ll find it helpful. I usually end up writing about my journeys, so I do a lot of research before a trip. I start by reading a couple volumes of history about that place or region to get oriented.  And then I read early travel accounts...

Is This Europe’s Best Long Haul Airline?


I don’t write airline or hotel reviews on my site. My focus is travel literature. But I had such a great flight on Turkish Airlines last week that I wanted to share it with you. If you haven’t flown Turkish Airlines, then I recommend you give them a try. In my opinion, they are the best long haul airline in Europe in terms of hard product, catering and service. I flew Turkish economy class last...

How to Make 2016 YOUR Big Year


I guess this is the day when you’re supposed to bid good riddance to the old year and shake off the hangover going into the new. ​But I have no complaints, because 2015 was a really good one for me… A year of much travel. I think 13 countries in all, several more than once: Chad expedition, Germany (2x – Cologne and Berlin), Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, the Åland islands...

Are You Missing Out on the Best Travel Hacks?


I’ve never been the sort of traveler to obsess over frequent flier points, or to spend hours trying to game the system. Where my time is concerned, quite frankly, I’d rather have more of it than save a few bucks or get the occasional free upgrade. But my friend Craig Ballantyne of Early to Rise recently turned me on to a couple of cool “mileage hacker” newsletters. And when an opportunity came up...

My Top 5 Tips for Jet Lag


Jet lag is the price we pay for traveling at high speeds. The technical term for it is a “circadian rhythm sleep disorder”, which just means your internal clock is messed up because you hopped time zones faster than Phileas Fogg could inflate his balloon. Jet lag seems to affect different people to different degrees. And I find it easier to adjust when flying east to west than going west to east...


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