Pirates, Monks, and Deer: The Fascinating Stories Behind Asias Former Capital Cities

Relive some pretty interesting glory days.

Once they were imposing hubs of their nations, home to emperors, kings, and sultans. Now they exist in the shadow of current national capitals and tourist magnets like Tokyo, Bangkok, Beijing, Seoul, and New Delhi. Asia is littered with former capitals, many of which are unappreciated tourist destinations despite possessing rich remains of their glory days. From the Japanese city dominated by deer, to an abandoned Thai citadel, India’s British-influenced hill station, and the Malay kingdom that sprouted from a fishing village, here are 10 of Asia’s most intriguing former capitals.

You Can See These (Replicas of) International Tourist Attractions Right Here in the U.S.A.

Get a taste of these famous sights before heading abroad.

Every traveler fantasizes about their day standing atop the Eiffel Tower, looking down and around at the stunning Parisian architecture. They imagine the moment they’ll get to explore the ancient wonders of the Parthenon as they see history before their own eyes. For now, however, this remains a daydream for many. While you might not be able to pose in Pisa with the famous Leaning Tower, you can still embark on your bucket-list sightseeing tour all while staying local. Throughout the U.S., you’ll find recreations of famous landmarks that, though a bit out of place (as well as smaller and made in the 1900s), will be the perfect travel placeholder you need. So, fill your gas tank and get ready to embark on your national landmark journey all without ever renewing your passport.

10 Royal Retreats Where Monarchs Vacation(ed)

Who needs Airbnb when you have Heir-bnb?

You know how it is. You spend all year holding court (literally) at your primary palace and now you can’t wait to finally kick up those well-heeled heels of yours at your vacation palace. OK, so the experience of owning a secondary palace might not be the most universal, but we all share the need to have a vacation. The royals just tend to do it with a lot more flair and square footage. Here are where monarchs and royalty (past and present) have gone when they were in need of a little “me” time.

13 Traditional National Costumes From Around the World

Discover the stories fashion can tell about a place’s culture and history.

Every country retains its national identity through its unique clothing that has been passed on from generation to generation. This clothing represents the history, cultural traditions, design sensibilities, craft traditions, as well as an adaptation to local weather. It can also represent social, marital, or religious status. It’s often rooted in rich traditions and gives people a sense of continuity.  In many countries, national costumes are now only worn during festivals, ceremonies, and special occasions, but in others, like Bhutan, traditional clothing is worn in everyday life even today. Here are 13 traditional outfits and signature items of clothing from countries and cultures around the world.

10 Spectacular Buddhist Monasteries in Himalayan Cold Deserts

Discover this unique region’s beautiful monasteries and otherworldly landscapes.

The Buddhist monasteries that are found in the cold deserts of the Himalayan region are awash in centuries of fascinating history, traditions, and legends. While exploring these incredible places, you’ll discover everything from ancient documents and colorful festivals to 75-foot statues and tales of levitating monks.

Where Can You Travel? What’s Open? What’s Closed? Here’s the Current Status for All 50 States

The states are starting to reopen. But is it wise to venture out?

[Editor’s note: This is an updated version of an article that originally ran on May 19.] Disclaimer: This is meant to be a general overview of how each state is reopening. It is not intended to provide every last detail regarding guidelines and restrictions; please refer to the government website of each state for specifics. In addition, please remember that even if a state has been given the green light for a category of businesses to reopen, individual businesses may choose to remain closed. As such, please be sure to contact each business or site before visiting to ensure that it is open. As the United States begins to relax its shelter-in-place orders and some emerge from their homes, many are counting the days when we can get back out there and travel, even if it’s by car to a neighboring community or state. But as we know, a very different landscape awaits out there than the one we left earlier this winter at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. There are things travelers must consider that we never did before, including social distancing and personal sanitization. The big question is: Is it safe to travel in the United States? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is pretty clear in its stance. It’s recommended that you stay home as much as possible, especially if your trip is not essential. Social distancing still needs to be practiced, especially if you are in a higher risk category or an older adult. You shouldn’t travel if you feel sick, or travel with someone who is sick. And you need to protect yourself and others by knowing how to prevent the virus from spreading.  Perhaps the most hopeful advice comes from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. According to him, summer travel “can be in the cards.” He urges caution, since we risk COVID-19 spreading rapidly if proper precautions are not taken. “When infections start to rear their heads again,” he says, “we have to put in place a very aggressive and effective way to identify, isolate, contact trace, and make sure we don’t have those spikes we have now.” As long as we’re aware that “getting back to normal is not like a light switch that you turn on and off,” he says, we should be able to get back to some sort of normalcy. So the answer is: We’re not quite there yet. The best thing to do is pay attention to the several-phase reopening plans that each state has developed, outlining when hotels, restaurants, retail businesses, outdoor areas, etc., should be open for business and what precautions they must take. Some states are freer than others—and that’s something to consider. Do you really want to be on a beach where social distancing guidelines aren’t being maintained? It’s a whole new world that we’ll be navigating, literally. The guidelines are fast-changing and it’s hard to keep up, but here’s where they stand today, state by state.