Features // Novelty

Love is in the air: new app connects travellers on the same flight
Love is in the air: new app connects travellers on the same flight

New business traveller networking app MileHi is raising some eyebrows among travellers. MileHi aims to connect business travellers on the same flight for networking (or should we say, jetworking?) purposes. Before you fly, you download the app, enter your flight number and see a list of registered users on the same plane as you. However, the…

Crowdfunding your holiday: the trend that’s gone too far?
Crowdfunding your holiday: the trend that’s gone too far?

Travel is increasingly driven by the sharing economy: we can sleep in strangers’ beds, eat in other peoples’ homes and take tours led by locals. These experiences help us see the world from a new perspective and make new friends at every turn. But has this movement been taken too far? You’ve got your itinerary set, decided which hotels you’ll stay in…

A bar in London wants you to get tipsy by inhaling a cloud of gin
A bar in London wants you to get tipsy by inhaling a cloud of gin

Drinking alcohol is so passé. In 2015 London, it’s all about inhaling vapourised booze through your lungs and eyeballs. Set in the basement of an ancient monastery near Borough Market, Alcoholic Architecture is the latest installation from Willy Wonka-esque design firm Bompas and Parr, who have previously made an entire steamship out of jelly and…

18 things everyone should know before visiting the USA
18 things everyone should know before visiting the USA

If there’s one constant about the USA, it’s change. The country’s pioneer spirit is reflected in its bold outlook and ever-evolving nature, which extends to all corners of the land, from the gleaming skyscrapers of New York to star-saturated Hollywood – and even beyond, to the first human landing on the moon. Here are 18…

22 places you have to see to believe
22 places you have to see to believe

Photos don’t do justice to some places on Earth – you just have to go and see them. From the ancient pyramids and the Taj Mahal to the Golden Rock and the Colca Canyon, some sights are too stupendous to appreciate on screen. Get your bucket list at the ready, these are 22 natural and man-made…

Tomato warfare: Spain hosts the world’s biggest food fight this week
Tomato warfare: Spain hosts the world’s biggest food fight this week

Thousands of people. Truckloads of tomatoes. The world’s biggest food fight. In case you didn’t realise, this is Grade A bucket list material. In the last week of August in the in the Valencian town of Buñol, cheering crowds assemble around a tall greased pole erected in the Plaza del Pueblo. A hoofed leg of pork…

Check in with a dinosaur at Japan’s first robot hotel
Check in with a dinosaur at Japan’s first robot hotel

Often the “weird Japan” trope seems like just another tired travel cliché – but then someone opens a robot hotel. In this case, hotel owner Hideo Sawada beat international journalists to the punch by straightforwardly calling it Henn-na Hotel, meaning “Strange Hotel”.  The idea behind it isn’t actually that weird, though. Sawada’s aims are eminently reasonable:…

Offbeat America: 7 weird and wonderful things to do in the USA
Offbeat America: 7 weird and wonderful things to do in the USA

It’s hard to encapsulate the full depth and variety of the USA – any nation that can marry cities as life-filled as New York, San Francisco and LA with landscapes as breathtaking as those of Alaska, Arizona and Hawaii is beyond easy summary. Its rewards come in droves, from all-American icons like baseball, blues and bourbon to…

Quiz: are these really Australian place names?
Quiz: are these really Australian place names?

From Uluru to the Great Barrier Reef, Australia has many wonders. But some of the country’s most unbelievable highlights are its weird and wonderful place names. Doo Town and Tittybong might sound downright ridiculous, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Do you think you can tell real place names from ones we’ve made up? Take the quiz to find…

Eerie film shows the ghost city of Pripyat, 30 years after Chernobyl disaster
Eerie film shows the ghost city of Pripyat, 30 years after Chernobyl disaster

A swimming pool lies empty, plants encroach through broken windows, hospital bed frames are red with rust and Soviet signs and murals are faded ruins of what was once art from another world. This is Pripyat, Ukraine, and it’s been abandoned since 1986. This eerie video shot using a drone shows the near post-apocalyptic destruction caused by the…

9 things you learn as a travel writer
9 things you learn as a travel writer

As a travel writer you spend lots of time giving people travel tips on destinations, but also dispensing advice on how to make the whole experience run more smoothly. From a life working on the road you learn many lessons – lessons that everyone can benefit from. So join us now as we take you…

Quiz: Can you identify these cities from their nicknames?
Quiz: Can you identify these cities from their nicknames?

Have you wandered the streets of the City of Dreams, sought fortune in the City of Gold or partied in Sin City? If so, you’ll find this quiz a breeze. We’ve picked eight cities around the world – can you identify them from their nicknames alone?

Poll: would you wear this to save suitcase space?
Poll: would you wear this to save suitcase space?

We’ve all done it: put on a few extra layers to save space in our hand luggage or worn hiking boots to the airport so we didn’t have to pack them in our carry-on bags. But how desperate are you to take that extra outfit on your next trip? With tight budget airline hand baggage restrictions,…

This magical film will make you fall in love with Hong Kong
This magical film will make you fall in love with Hong Kong

Think of Hong Kong and what image comes to mind? Crowded streets? Skyscrapers? A forest of neon signs? Filmmaker Stephane Ma wants to challenge your preconceptions. In this beautiful three-minute film he uses drones to put the city in perspective, sweeping above the central high-rises and out over the beaches and mountains in a series of…

8 unexpected reasons to visit the Florida Keys
8 unexpected reasons to visit the Florida Keys

Unexpected sums up the Florida Keys. Just one road, the Overseas Highway, connects these long, narrow islands, strung out between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. With names as varied as No-Name Key, Fiesta Key and Fat Deer Key, this coral cay archipelago has North America’s only coral barrier reef, indigenous Key Deer and…

5 things you didn’t know you could do in Yorkshire
5 things you didn’t know you could do in Yorkshire

Yorkshire, it has been said, is “a country in a county”. The very name brings countless images to mind – wild moors, headlands and cliffs; rugged dales and enormous beaches; medieval cities, churches and monasteries; formal estates and vast steelworks; coal mines and woollen mills. This diversity is part of the county’s appeal – its…

9 tips for adjusting to life after travelling
9 tips for adjusting to life after travelling

Anyone who has been travelling knows how difficult coming home can be. You’ve just spent months abroad, being stimulated every day by new sights, people and experiences; then suddenly you’re back to the old life – and it’s boring! Maybe you were looking forward to coming home, seeing friends, your comfortable bed and all those…

12 things you didn’t know you could do in Europe
12 things you didn’t know you could do in Europe

Some sights are touristy for a good reason. They’re the ones you go to Europe to check off: a wobbly gondola on the canals of Venice, or a mandatory Eiffel Tower selfie. Europe has countless sights all worth a visit in their own right, but there’s so much more to the continent than cathedrals and beaches –…

8 of the weirdest things you’ll see in Vietnam
8 of the weirdest things you’ll see in Vietnam

Governed by Chinese dynasties for over a thousand years, ruled by the French for a century and occupied by American troops for over a decade, Vietnam has – remarkably – managed to uphold a vast array of cultural practices. To the rest of the world, some of these traditional customs seem pretty strange, but they’re still prevalent throughout this…

16 things everyone learns travelling with children
16 things everyone learns travelling with children

There’s no denying that life BC, before children, is very different from life after. Setting off on your travels with kids in tow doesn’t have to mean swapping Costa Rica for Center Parcs, you just need to be prepared and, like every good traveller, go with the flow. Here are 16 lessons you’ll learn along…

Sleeping in the sky: Peru’s epic suspended lodge
Sleeping in the sky: Peru’s epic suspended lodge

If Peru’s Sacred Valley wasn’t epic enough already, now you can sleep in transparent capsules suspended 300metres from one of its towering cliff faces. With a panoramic view overlooking the mystical Andes, the rapids of Rio Urubamba and the Sacred Valley itself, Skylodge (bookable through Airbnb) is not only the world’s first hanging lodge: it might…

Door to the world: 20 inviting entrances
Door to the world: 20 inviting entrances

There’s something fascinating about doorways. Whether it’s the idea of the unknown, the promise of a warm welcome, or simply the frame for a perfect view, something makes us feel compelled to photograph them again and again. From the mesmerizing arches of the Mezquita in Córdoba to ornately carved frames in Tibet, here are 20 of our favourite…

15 mistakes we’ve all made while travelling
15 mistakes we’ve all made while travelling

Travelling is a learning curve. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don’t. Mistakes are inevitable along the way – from overpacking your bags to getting a regrettable tattoo – but you’ll always learn a lot from them. We reckon these are 15 mistakes everyone’s made while travelling…. 1. Packing so much stuff that your…

15 things everyone learns travelling in India
15 things everyone learns travelling in India

India varies greatly between its 29 states. Yet there are some things you’ll discover no matter where you are or how long you stay in the vast Subcontinent. If you’ve been to India at least once, you’ll relate to a few of these lessons we’ve learned over the years… 1. The street food is incredible…

Quiz: how serious is your travel bug?
Quiz: how serious is your travel bug?

Are your feet a little bit itchy or has your travel bug rendered you completely incapable of getting on with everyday life? If you relate to any of these feelings, you might be in serious trouble… But don’t worry, you can do a self-diagnosis using this simple test. Answer these questions to find out how…

Quiz: can you locate these national parks?
Quiz: can you locate these national parks?

National parks are some of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural places, taking in mountains, glaciers, waterfalls and forests (sometimes all in the same one), but how much do you know about them? Can you tell these national parks apart? Compare flights, book hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go. 

11 things every gaijin learns in Japan
11 things every gaijin learns in Japan

Japan is one of those countries you can’t really prepare for – the famously impenetrable etiquette, complex traditions and bitingly modern pop culture combine to make a place which could wrongfoot the most experienced traveller. Here are just a few of the things which any gaijin (foreigner) can expect to find out on their first…

14 signs you need to book your next trip
14 signs you need to book your next trip

Travel sickness can be caused by bumpy bus and boat rides, but too much time at home may also lead to uncomfortable symptoms, from excessive daydreaming to green-eyed jealousy. Here are 14 sure-fire signs that you need to make a trip abroad. 1. You’ve become a green-eyed monster You’re normally such a positive soul. But…

The world’s longest pizza has been baked in Milan
The world’s longest pizza has been baked in Milan

Proving that revenge doesn’t taste sweet so much as tomatoey, Italy has officially reclaimed the title of “World’s Longest Pizza” from previous record-holders Spain. They took the title at the Expo Milano 2015 by baking a 1596.45m-long pizza – that’s nearly a mile of doughy, cheesy goodness. The massive margherita comes with some impressive stats: 1.5…

Quiz: can you name these ancient wonders?
Quiz: can you name these ancient wonders?

In a world over four billion years old there are thousands of ancient sites to be explored. From ruined cities to mysterious monoliths, can you name these ten ancient wonders? Compare flights, book hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go. 

Is this gadget the ultimate cure for jet lag?
Is this gadget the ultimate cure for jet lag?

Jet lag. We’ve all had it, we all hate it, and yet we’re all none the wiser on how to get rid of it. But now there’s a new way alleviate that 3pm slump after a long flight – apparently. The latest in wearable technology is the crowd-funded Ayo, a “light-based, energy-boosting” pair of glasses.…

Quiz: can you name these famous American landmarks?
Quiz: can you name these famous American landmarks?

Do you know the National Mall from Independence Hall? How many national parks can you name? Whether you’re an avid tourist or a well-researched resident, put your knowledge of the USA‘s landmarks to the test with our quiz… Explore more of America with the Rough Guide to the USA. Compare flights, book hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget…

Quiz: can you complete these famous travel quotes?
Quiz: can you complete these famous travel quotes?

Inspirational travel quotes come from many sources. Great writers, noted scientists and political figures have all waxed lyrical about the joys of being on the road – and our list of quotes to travel by just keeps growing. We’ve put together some of our favourites to put you to the test. Can you complete these ten famous travel…

10 of the world’s creepiest abandoned amusement parks
10 of the world’s creepiest abandoned amusement parks

There’s something tragically beautiful about an empty, rusting roller coaster, condemned to spend the rest of its life as a useless hunk of metal. You can almost hear the joyous screams of the children who once rode its tracks. Abandoned amusement parks have piqued travellers’ interest all over the world – so from Malaysia to the…

20 baffling menu mistakes from around the world
20 baffling menu mistakes from around the world

Restaurants often go to great efforts to translate their menus for English speakers. But sometimes their best intentions, well, just don’t quite go to plan. Detonation eggplant, curried grab and crap sticks sound delicious? That’s just the start of it. We’ve rounded up some of the funniest menu fails from around the world below. 1. We had to try…

Where should you go on holiday this year?
Where should you go on holiday this year?

It’s never too late to plan a holiday. Summer might be nearly here, but don’t fret if you’ve not booked a trip yet – we’re on hand to help. Whether you’re dreaming of lazing on a tropical beach, getting into the great outdoors or partying all night, we’ve devised a quiz to guide you to the perfect…

Quiz: can you identify these natural wonders?
Quiz: can you identify these natural wonders?

The world is a beautiful place. From gigantic glaciers to other-worldly rock formations, there’s a whole load of weird and wonderful landscapes to explore. But how many natural wonders have you ticked off your bucket list? Take this quiz to put your knowledge to the test:

You can now zip line through Wales at 100mph
You can now zip line through Wales at 100mph

If you’ve ever dreamed of flying through the air at high speed, or wondered what it might be like to jump off a large metal platform and leave your fate in the hands of some rope and wires, then Zip World Titan is for you. Rough Guides editor Rachel Mills visited the disused quarry in…

Quiz: can you guess the city from its street plan?
Quiz: can you guess the city from its street plan?

If you’ve spent hours poring over Rough Guides maps you might be whizz at this carto quiz – but there’s only one way to find out. We’ve taken ten of our city maps from around the globe and stripped off all street names, park labels, station makers and area stamps. Reckon you’re a map magician? Or are you…

The eeriest ghost towns in the USA
The eeriest ghost towns in the USA

Emerging above the rolling tumbleweed of prairies or hidden below modern cities, hundreds of eerily desolate former towns are scattered across the United States. Many of the USA’s ghost towns were once thriving settlements: they grew quickly, but disappeared just as fast in the boom and bust Gold Rush years, while others have a more shadowy…

A Godzilla-themed hotel has just opened in Tokyo
A Godzilla-themed hotel has just opened in Tokyo

Because robot restaurants and themed cafés aren’t enough: Tokyo is now home to a Godzilla-themed hotel. Towering thirty storeys above Shinjuku in the Japanese capital, the Gracery Hotel revealed a new permanent resident last Friday – an enormous Godzilla head that menacingly overlooks the streets below. In a bid to cash in on the Godzilla hype…

R2-D2 takes to the skies
R2-D2 takes to the skies

As if Thursday’s new trailer for December 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn’t enough, Japanese airline ANA have risked sending Star Wars fans’ mental equilibrium into a galaxy far, far away by launching a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner painted like beep-talking robot R2-D2. OK, it’d look lame next to the Millennium Falcon or Death Star – and why…

A giant underground trampoline has opened in a cave in Wales
A giant underground trampoline has opened in a cave in Wales

Rough Guides editor Rachel Mills goes deep underground in the heart of Snowdonia National Park to discover the latest, and craziest, adventure activity in North Wales. A Victorian slate mine close to the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog was once where miners wielded hammers and chisels to eke out a hard living from the rock. Today, it’s…

14 magical sunrises that prove it’s worth getting up early
14 magical sunrises that prove it’s worth getting up early

Looking through the Rough Guides photography archive, one kind of shot stands out again and again: pictures captured at sunrise. Sure, there’s nothing more tempting than sleeping in until noon while you’re on holiday. But if you can bring yourself to brave the odd early morning, you’ll discover a magical world as dawn breaks. From…

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