A black bear in Sequoia National Park. Photo © Nstanev/Dreamstime.

Wilderness Safety in Northern California

If you’re planning a backcountry expedition in northern California, follow all rules and guidelines for obtaining wilderness permits and for self-registration at trailheads. National and state park visitors centers can advise in more detail on any health or wilderness alerts in the area. Additionally, brush up on your wilderness safety; here’s how to prepare for temperature changes, high altitudes, and all manner of local wildlife.

A row of draft beer spigots line in the bar in a traditional English pub.

Tipping in London

When you first come to another country, it is difficult to know when, who, or how much you should tip the service provider. Certainly here in the United Kingdom there isn’t the strong tipping culture that you get in the United States, where tips are considered part of a service provider’s pay. With this ambiguity in mind, here is a quick guide to tipping in London.

Two of Iceland's natural wonders–the midnight sun and waterfalls. Photo © Phyletto/Dreamstime.

Discover Iceland

Scale the heights of soaring mountaintops. Dive into some of the clearest water in the world. Hike the rim of a remote volcano that rises from an Arctic desert. Witness a rainbow materialize over a thundering waterfall. Iceland is a place not just to see, but to experience.

CCTV cameras adorn an iron stand in France.

Staying Safe in France

It isn’t very likely you’ll become a crime statistic if you live in France, but if you do run into trouble, the police can help with matters as varied as finding a lost animal to giving you directions to helping you when your pocket is picked on the Paris Métro. Here’s who to contact and what you need to know.

Savory baked goods on display at a French boulangerie.

Planning Your Fact-Finding Trip to Paris

It’s easy to fall in love with the surface image of France, but there’s only one way to find out whether the Parisian personality meshes with yours and whether there’s hope for a long-term relationship, and that’s to come visit and stay awhile. Find out what you need to know to prepare for your trip.

Adults supervising children at a soccer training session on a grassy field in front of school buildings.

Planning a Fact-Finding Trip to London

Moving across the Atlantic to settle in London is a big step and not one that should be taken lightly. Most people find it useful to make at least one short trip to the capital before they make the big move so they can become acquainted with the city.

Restroom sign in Nicaragua. Photo © Tara Joyce, licensed Creative Commons usage.

A Guide to Nicaragua’s Restrooms

Make your day-to-day a lot easier in Nicaragua–and anywhere else for that matter–by having a good grasp on the absolute basic of all basics: toilet and shower facilities. Expert author Elizabeth Perkins presents this handy guide on the full range of potential bathroom situations, from mastering the manual flush to avoiding cold showers, to keep your day from going down the drain.

Los Amigos Youth Hostel in Flores. Photo © John Barrie, licensed Creative Commons usage.

Tips on Staying in Guatemala on a Budget

Guatemala is a major stop along the Central American backpacking circuit, so it’s no surprise that there are a plethora of low-budget hotels to choose from, and most national parks allow camping. Expert author Al Argueta gives an overview on what sorts of rooms you’ll find and to look for to ensure your stay is comfortable.

La Iglesia El Calvario in Chinandega. Photo © La Iglesia El Calvario in Chinandega. Photo © Otto Dusbaba/123rf.

Discover Nicaragua

For travelers, Nicaragua is a gem hidden in the rough. Tropical rainforests and soaring volcanoes offer endless opportunities for hiking and exploring. Sandy beaches with shimmering waters allow for languid beachcombing and swimming, while surfers flock to the shores for some of the best waves in the region. Charming cities have thriving dining and nightlife scenes and flourishing café cultures set amidst grand cathedrals and centuries-old Spanish colonial architecture.

A red door in a pale green wall surrounded by graffitied names.

Crime in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is considered one of the safer countries in Central America. Tourism-related crime like petty theft and scam artists (and the occasional robbery and assault) sometimes occur, usually at night and involving alcohol. Stay safe during your travels by keeping informed, following these tips, and most of all, know where and how to avoid a sticky situation.