TRAVEL NEWS

15 of the United Kingdoms Most Epic Castles

These relics of a bygone age are just as awe-inspiring today as they were centuries ago.

While the age of kings, queens, and knights in shining armor is now largely confined to the realms of fantasy novels and elaborate TV shows, the soaring castles of that distant past are still very much with us. And while the medieval fortresses dotted around the landscape of the U.K. are no longer used for beating off hordes of invading marauders from land and sea, they do function as an epic window into a time when the land really was a Kingdom. Here are 15 of the best examples still with us.

10 Magical Fairy-Tale Towns in a Country Otherwise Known for Being Spooky

While Bram Stoker’s 1897 vampire novel “Dracula” may have painted Romania, or, more specifically, Transylvania, as a dark and scary place, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Eastern European country is brimming with picturesque small towns, complete with grand town squares, riotously colorful buildings, myriad castles and fortresses, and rich forests, making it nothing short of a fairy tale. Here are just 10 to fuel your Romanian daydream.

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.        

10 Gorgeous French Islands You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Get ready to set sail for these off-the-radar Gallic islands.

France may be famous for the Eiffel Tower, Chanel couture, and the Champs Élysées, but the Hexagon, as the French love to call their five-sided country, has plenty of hidden spots, including dozens of glorious little-known islands. Many of them are renowned for gorgeous silk sand beaches or peaceful hidden coves; others are famed for their ancient fortresses and prehistoric sites or brine-fresh seafood and crisp white wines. From exotic Gulf-stream-bathed islands where cars are unwelcome to sun-drenched getaways where celebrities go to chill, here’s our pick of the best.

The 10 Weirdest Things Youll Find in New Jersey

Jersey’s got an attitude, OK? You got a problem with that?

If all you know about the Garden State (yeah, there are lots of farms—wanna make something of it?) is the Parkway and its hideous traffic, the sprawling Bayway Refinery along the Turnpike, The Sopranos or, even worse, the Jersey Shore series, then no wonder you have a skewed view of our nation’s most densely populated state. Because New Jersey is often overshadowed by that bordering megalopolis which also has a “New” in its name, Jerseyans have had to carve out their own identity as tough step-children who get no respect. Which is why if you ever mock a resident’s accent by saying “Joisey,” at best you’ll elicit an eye-roll; at worst, a punch in the face. With nine million people jammed into a mere 8,723 square miles, little wonder then that crankiness and its kissing cousin, eccentricity, abound here. Read on.