The Best of Intelligent Travel

We publish new travel stories all the time on the Intelligent Travel blog network, but there are a few that really got your attention this year.

In case you missed them, here are the 13 most popular posts of 2013:

> Then + Now: Machu Picchu

National Geographic Adventures team lead and accomplished photographer Jonathan Irish shows us how the striking citadel in the clouds of today stacks up to the way it looked when Hiram Bingham “rediscovered” the Inca masterpiece more than a century ago. 

> How to Photograph Strangers 

National Geographic Traveler Director of Photography Dan Westergren tackles this burning question for Intelligent Travel readers. Check out the rest of his crazy helpful photography tips series.

> For Women Who (Want to) Travel Alone 

Traveling solo can be risky–especially if you’re a female. National Geographic Student Expeditions leader Jill Schneider shares her experience…and encourages women everywhere to “Be bold, be smart, and be safe. But go.”

> The 10 Best BBQ Joints in America 

This article certainly got your attention–and sparked a heated debate! So much so that we followed up with a whole post dedicated to reader recommendations

> Being Black in China

Who says travel writing can’t tackle serious subjects? Traveler of the Year Heather Greenwood Davis‘s thoughtful download on her family’s experience in China provided the perfect jumping off point for discussing the joy and pain of being different in a far off place.

> The 10 Best Hotels in Barcelona

Our Urban Insider Annie Fitzsimmons taps Barcelona-based travel writer Sònia Graupera for her take on the best homes away from home in the Catalan capital.

> Plane Etiquette 101

Not sure who should lay claim to the middle armrest, how to handle overhead-bin wars, or what to do about those pesky OPKs (Other People’s Kids) sitting behind you on your flight? Traveler magazine’s consumer travel guru Christopher Elliott is here to help.

> Make Way for the Penguin Parade

National Geographic Society staffer Emily Shenk traveled all the way to Phillip Island (about 50 miles south of Melbourne) to see the famous little penguins (Eudyptula minor) totter ashore to burrow into the sand for the night..and all we got was this (adorable) post.

> A Guide to Singapore’s Hawker Food Culture

Star freelancer Erik Trinidad pulls back the curtain on Singapore’s unique pop food scene in this funny primer. Anyone else feeling hungry all of the sudden?

> How to Pack Mindfully

When you’re on the road, you should spend your time being present to your surroundings instead of searching through that overstuffed bag for your camera. Pack more mindfully in 2014 with Jared Gottlieb’s great tips.

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> On the Rails With Young Americans

Find out what happens when our special correspondent Robert Reid hops on a train with a couple dozen millennials and rides the rails cross-country all the way from San Francisco to Washington, D.C.

> How to Turn Your Car Into a Camper

When Annie Agnone received a National Geographic Young Explorer grant to drive around documenting “America at Night” for months on end, she knew she needed a reliable sleeping situation that would be both efficient and cost-effective. Here’s how she solved her dilemma–and how you can follow her lead before you embark on your next epic road trip.

> The Road to Discovering Your Roots

This past year saw an explosion in travelers interested in reconnecting with their places of origin. Ireland even hosted “The Gathering” “to celebrate Irish culture, history and genealogy” in 2013. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, get started on the road to discovering your roots this year. You might be surprised at what you turn up!

> Related: The Best of Intelligent Travel: 2012

What was your favorite story on Intelligent Travel in 2013? Is there any topic you’d like to see us cover in 2014? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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