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Last month, a report claimed that a fifth of the 720 UNESCO World Heritage Sites could be at risk of drowning due to climate change and rising sea levels. In the spirit of not taking these sites for granted, we’ve rounded up a few of the landmarks on the list that may not be as well known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Statue of Liberty – but are just as stunning and worthy of any traveler’s bucket list. See them while they still exist…

Kinderdijk - Lucas Hirschegger - 620

Kinderdijk-Elshout Mill Network, Netherlands
Kinderdijk, a low-lying town in the Netherlands, had been kept dry since the 1940s by a network of 19 windmills together with more modern pumping stations, storage basins, and sluices. The risk of flooding for the still-operational mills is obvious. While you can, we highly encourage driving along the neighboring trail – it feels like stepping onto the set of a perfectly scenic Dutch movie. Read more

KabukichoGreat cities are always changing, and as property developers and big businesses move in, often the first neighborhoods to lose their character are those that operate on the margins – places where economies are decidedly underground. Even though a lot of that gritty neighborhood character is lost to history, there are audioguides out there that capture the essence of times gone by.  Next time you’re headed to New York, London, Tokyo, or Paris, plug in to one of these guides to experience a different, seamier side of city life.

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Elvis Diner JerusalemStuck forever in the era of boat-sized convertibles, Elvis memorabilia, and red-checkered tablecloths, these American-themed diners offer a nostalgic ride into ‘50s Americana while satisfying rumbling tummies. Although commonplace throughout the fifty states, you don’t tend to come across these neon-lit, chrome-plated structures anywhere else in the world. So if you happen to be abroad and craving a burger and a milkshake, here are twelve diners around the world that’ll transport you back home.

Visit the full slideshow here.

tokyonightWhile Tokyo is not nearly as unaffordable as common wisdom would have it, it’s certainly not a cheap place to visit – starting with the four-figures-and-counting price of the airfare to get there. But with a little bit of insider knowledge, you can enjoy Tokyo – including some of its ritizier trappings. Here’s how to do it.  Read more

Whether you’re looking for a tropical escape or windswept remoteness, the following destinations are perfect for island-hopping. From there, your biggest challenge is choosing your favorite beach…

Inner and Outer Hebrides, Scotland
Despite their wild and remote image, getting around these archipelagos in western Scotland can be straightforward. A few of the most accessible islands include Skye, where the geologically diverse landscape includes lochs (lakes), forests, and glens (valley) and Islay, with its whiskey distilleries. Iona has white sandy beaches, and Lewis has mysterious standing stones.  Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne runs services to 22 islands, most year-round. Visitors planning to travel extensively around the islands can purchase an Island-Hopping pass, which can save you some money. For example, one pass includes ferry rides from the mainland and to the islands of Skye, Harris, and Lewis, and back to the mainland. For car and passenger, the pass costs $30 per person in the summer ($28, or $56 total, in the winter). By comparison, the total price for a car and passenger making the same trip by buying single tickets would be $202 in the summer.
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Helsinki AirportAh, airport layovers. Few of us will ever actually look forward to them, but there are some airports where top-notch facilities make waiting for a connection much easier. Here’s a list… Read more

firecrackers-chinese-lunar-new-year-Luica-MakTraveling in Asia, or to an Asian community, this week? You’re in luck. The Lunar New Year, typically falling at the end of January or the end of February, is arguably the most festive and also the most interesting time of the year. Big events like lion dances and firecrackers aside, this is when communities everywhere come alive with cheer and tradition, with good wishes and ancient folklore at top of mind.

While it’s unlikely that anyone would expect a traveler to follow all the customs, we can’t think of a better way to get to know a destination’s culture. Plus, helping to usher in auspiciousness is a great way to delight a kind host or helpful friend. Here’s our guide to the general dos and don’ts – there’s naturally an overlap between the traditions of different ethnic groups and countries – as well as a gift guide for visits and meet-ups.  Read more

move.shetland.orgLast month we gave you a pictorial run-down of 11 Otherworldly Snow and Ice Festivals Around the Globe. Now, in honor of the brave folks who are dealing with the snow and cold that’s cutting directly through the northeast, we bring you another slideshow that’s a little toastier: Fire Festivals from Around the World.

Included are festivals from Scotland, to Japan, to Guatemala. A few of these festivals are celebrated to mark the beginning of spring – such as Iran’s Sadeh festival, which honors fire and light over darkness. So settle in, warm up, and remind yourself: there are less than 40 days until the end of winter.

NestleOne of the joys of the ubiquitous Japanese konbini (convenience store) is the candy section and its myriad varieties of Kit Kat. In fact, you can find more than 200 flavors of the chocolate-covered wafer bar in Japan, and they go far beyond the basic chocolate kind you get here in the U.S.. Pear, strawberry cheese cake, potato, soy bean, pumpkin, green tea, corn, and wasabi are just a few of the 200 flavors that have appeared on Japan’s konbini shelves over the years, many as limited-edition or regional specials. Now, you can visit a dedicated Kit Kat store: the Kit Kat Chocolatory, located in the basement of the Seibu Department Store in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district, opened on January 17… Read more

Cruise Ship in Sydney HarborWelcome to wave season! At the very end and beginning of every year, cruise lines roll out promotions for sailings through the next year – sometimes even two – in hopes of booking passengers early. The deals can take the form of steep discounts over 50 percent, 2-for-1 fares, onboard credits, free airfare, and other special packages. For you, this means that there’s no better time to go big – or at least dream about it. Here, we offer eight unbelievable cruises for the ultimate nautical adventure… Read more

beef noodle soupThis winter, there isn’t a more delicious way to warm up than with one of many specialty noodle soups across Asia. Tender, red-braised oxtail is the long-simmered star of Taiwan’s beef noodle staple (pictured above), with a dark broth fragrant with five-spice and bean paste. Best of all, a steaming bowl will only set you back by 150-180NT or $5-$6. For more photos of slurptastic noodle soups in Asia, plus the best restaurants to try them, keep reading here.

620x400_GoogleEarthJapanYou may have heard about the political storm brewing over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in the South China Sea. China has recently declared the airspace above these islands as part of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), meaning that they effectively control the airspace over this Japanese territory. If you’re planning a trip to China, you’re probably wondering what this means for your flight, which will likely pass through the disputed air space. The good news, if you are flying on a U.S. carrier at least, is not much. Read more

Winter predictably sees travelers heading to tropical islands for their vacations, but what about the cooler weather islands? There are a few advantages to heading someplace where you’ll be packing a sweater rather than a swimsuit: less crowds, better deals, and plenty of interesting things to do.

Here are a few of our favorite cold-weather island getaways.

Shetland Islands, Scotland

Up Helly Aa, ShetlandYou’ll have to wrap up warm if you’re planning to visit Shetland in winter, but you may be rewarded with a sight of the Northern Lights; its far-north location makes it the best place in the British Isles to see them. Besides the aurora borealis, winter brings unique festivals, such as Up Helly Aa, a Viking fire festival held in Lerwick on the last weekend of January.

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Hard to believe, but the movie Lost in Translation was released exactly 10 years ago today. For many, it was the first in-depth look at filmmaker Sofia Coppola’s work – and at the city where it’s set: Tokyo. If you have a trip to Japan on your wish list – or the movie in your Netflix queue – here’s a quick look at some of the film’s famous locations.

Park Hyatt Tokyo, Shinjuku
Park Hyatt, TokyoIn the movie: This is the hotel where Charlotte and Bob stay, and much of the movie takes place.

What you can do there: Even if you don’t choose to stay in this luxury hotel (October rates start at $430 a night), make sure you hit up the 52nd-floor New York Bar for panoramic city views from the floor-to-ceiling windows ($23 cover charge after 8pm), or the New York Grill for Sunday morning jazz brunch ($70). Read more

As the city with the most Michelin rated restaurants in the world, Tokyo is an instant hit with most food lovers. But what if you’re looking for something a little more…unusual? The bustling Japanese metropolis doesn’t disappoint there either, with a plethora of themed restaurants perfect for the adventurous eater. At the following five places, it’s as much about the experience as the food itself, so it’s probably best not to show up expecting a gourmet feast (of course, if it’s top-notch ramen you’re after, that shouldn’t be too hard to find.)

1. Alice in Wonderland Cafe.

Alice In Wonderland Cafe

Fans of the Lewis Carroll story will love this quirky restaurant chain, which has several locations throughout Tokyo, and is popular with groups of young Japanese women. Servers come dressed in French maid-style Alice costumes, and the Wonderland-themed decor is unique to each restaurant (picture a Cheshire cat hovering over the doorway, or giant pages of Carroll’s novel plastered on the walls.) Meanwhile, as you sit there nibbling on pizza molded into the shape of the Cheshire cat’s tail, your Wonderland experience will be complete.  Average Price: ¥3,500 (about $35.35) Read more

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