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December 30, 2013

Tripologist’s Top 13 Articles of 2013

2013 has been a great year for both as well as me personally. While I haven’t traveled as much as I would have liked, I’ve had the opportunity to share some great content, start up the Tripologist Travel Planning Service, and start a new site focused on travel around the US state of Pennsylvania.

Looking over the articles that have done really well in 2013 has produced a few surprises, but overall, I think that some of the site’s best content is on this page. There were even two guest posts that made the list!

So, take a look at the list, starting with number 13, and work down to the most read (and commented on) article in 2013.

Here’s to a great 2013 and an even better 2014!

#13 – 5 Light Packing Tips for Long-Term Travelers

5 Light Packing Tips for Long Term Travelers.

5 Light Packing Tips for Long-Term Travelers.

The thought of traveling for several weeks, several months, or even longer with just one small bag can be intimidating. After all, you’re trying to pack for weeks in a suitcase or backpack that you would normally use for a weekend trip away. However, when you’re on the road, the convenience of traveling with a light bag can’t be overstated. They are easier to carry, to store, and to manage in crowded places.

When I first bought a backpack and started to get my things together, I tried to bring way too much. However, after having completed two major trips with just a backpack, I’ve learned a few things about packing light.

Here are my top five light packing tips. Continue Reading…

#12 – The Most Beautiful Subway System in the World: Moscow, Russia

A mural inside Komsomolskaya Station showing the hard work of the proletariat.

A mural inside Komsomolskaya Station showing the hard work of the proletariat.

Having grown up in America at the tail end of the Cold War, I always assumed that Moscow was a dark and dirty city. But, when I visited Moscow last August, I was really blown away with the beauty of the city’s architecture. It’s not that I wasn’t aware of buildings such as Saint Basil’s Cathedral, I just didn’t realize how much grandeur and beauty was present throughout the city.

However, this beauty isn’t just present above ground. Venturing underground, the Moscow Subway System is truly breath-taking. Grandiose chandeliers, fantastically painted murals, and high-marble ceilings were hard to reconcile with images of Russia I had growing up. Continue Reading…

#11 – Sochi Russia: Beaches, Bikinis, and …the Winter Olympics?

Sochi, Russia has miles and miles of beautiful pebble beaches.

Sochi, Russia has miles and miles of beautiful pebble beaches.

In less than a year, the 2014 Winter Olympics will put the Black Sea resort town of Sochi, Russia on the map. Despite being one of the most popular tourist destinations for Russians, Sochi barely registers on the international travel radar. So, when Sochi, Russia was named the host city for the 2014 Winter Olympics in 2007, most people let out a collective, “Where?”.

However, to many Russians, Sochi is very well-known town, bringing to mind relaxing summer vacations along the Black Sea, palm trees, and swimsuits. In much the same way that Europeans think of the south of France or Americans think of Miami, Russians see Sochi as a summer getaway. Continue Reading…

#10 – Is South Korea Safe to Visit?

Joint Security Area Dividing the North Korean and South Korean DMZ

Visiting North Korea is possible at the Korean DMZ.

Lately, the Korean peninsula has been in the news a lot. With threats of war from North Korean and joint military exercises between South Korea and the Americans, I’ve been asked a few times recently if it’s safe to visit South Korea. And, with the insane amount of news coverage the area has been receiving, you’d be forgiven for thinking for the peninsula is on the brink of war.

But is it safe to visit South Korea?

In short, the answer is yes, South Korea is a very safe place to visit. I wouldn’t even hesitate to take a tour into North Korea.

However, let me delve into it a bit more and explain a little of the region’s history. I’ll even give you a few things to watch for so you know whether or not the situation on the Korean peninsula has changed in regards to traveler’s safety. Continue Reading…

#9 – 5 Reasons You Should Visit Turkey on Your Next Trip

The ruins of Ephesus and the Library of Celsus in southern Turkey.

The ruins of Ephesus and the Library of Celsus in southern Turkey.

Without a doubt, Turkey is one of the world’s hottest tourist destinations. Ranking as the 6th most visited country in the world in 2011, the total number of international tourists nearly doubled between 2004 and 2011. During my travels, I constantly heard rave reviews for the country, and was super impressed myself by the beauty and diversity of the country.

Despite spending two weeks in the country and visiting five different cities, I feel like I only scratched the surface of what Turkey has to offer. And, with fabulous beaches, awesome ruins, delicious food, and a variety of cultures, Turkey has something to offer everyone.

Here are five great reasons why you should visit Turkey on your next trip. Continue Reading…

#8 – 5 Can’t Miss Places to Visit in Southern Laos

Wat Phou is one of the ancient cities of the Khmer. Located in Laos, Wat Phou is the older, less touristed cousin of Angkor Wat.

Wat Phou is one of the ancient cities of the Khmer. Located in Laos, Wat Phou is the older, less touristed cousin of Angkor Wat.

While I loved everywhere I visited in Southeast Asia, I have a special place in my heart for Southern Laos. One of the least visited areas in the region, Southern Laos has a ridiculous amount of awesomeness to offer travelers. From breathtaking scenery to ancient temples; relaxing islands to cheap food and lodging, there is something for every traveler in this under-visited region.

Unfortunately, many people skip the southern half of Laos entirely while traveling in Southeast Asia. And, while the northern part of the country has some great destinations like Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, and Vientiane, there is something magical about the beautiful scenery and crumbling French-colonial architecture in the south. Continue Reading…

#7 – 5 Things To Do in Yangon, Myanmar

(Editor’s Note: I was excited to see that this guest post from Laura Gibbs did so well on the site this year. It is the first of two guest posts to make this list.)

The Top 5 Things to Do in Yangon, Myanmar

The Top 5 Things to Do in Yangon, Myanmar

Myanmar is Southeast Asia’s newest must visit location. Relatively untouched by tourism for many years, the whole country seems to still be in the past.

Yangon (formerly Rangoon) has been an exotic and romantic name for centuries and has been inspiration to the likes of George Orwell and R. Kipling.

However, things are changing rapidly as fast food, mobile phones, and Coca-Cola are all establishing themselves and preparing to fast track Burma into the 21st century. Continue Reading…

#6: The Ins and Outs of Budget Travel in Sri Lanka

(Editor’s Note: This is the second of two guests posts to make this list and was written by Rosalie Reynolds.)

A spectacular view from the train of Sri Lanka's tea plantations.

A spectacular view from the train of Sri Lanka’s tea plantations.

Sri Lanka can be thoroughly enjoyed by all types of budget travelers because it has attractions for everyone, a rich history and culture, and a wide variety of water sports that are becoming increasingly popular with tourists. Our month-long travel through Sri Lanka saw us encounter some of the cheapest food and transport in Asia, but it also had the most overpriced accommodation choices.

First and foremost, when you arrive in Sri Lanka, my advice is get out of Colombo! Continue Reading…

#5 – 5 Things You Must Do Before Traveling Internationally

Planning your long-term travel is easy with the Tripologist Travel Planning Service.

Planning your long-term travel is easy with the Tripologist Travel Planning Service.

Any vacation is exciting and needs to be planned for, but extra planning is necessary when traveling internationally. When you arrive, you’ll likely be confronted with a completely new culture, maybe even a new language, and you don’t want to have trivial planning mistakes hanging over your head.

Here are five things that you must do before you leave on your international trip.

Call Your Bank

In the past, traveler’s cheques and cash were the most common source of funds for oversees travelers. However, with the increase number of ATM machines around the world, more and more people are choosing to use their ATM cards while traveling abroad. Continue Reading…

#4 – The World’s Most Disappointing Tourist Attraction: Xian’s Terracotta Warriors

(Editor’s Note: This article has generated a fair bit of controversy and has quickly become the 2nd most commented on article on The comments are definitely worth reading if the topic interests you.)

Despite their large numbers, there is just something about the Terracotta Warriors that doesn't excite.

Despite their large numbers, there is just something about the Terracotta Warriors that doesn’t excite.

The Colosseum in Rome. Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Chichen Itza in Mexico. Some sites around the world were absolutely amazing to see in person no matter how many times I’d seen pictures of them or how much I’d built them up in my head. However, the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, China, definitely do not fall into this category. In fact, I don’t think that it’s a stretch to call them the most disappointing and overrated tourist attraction in the world.

I realize that many of you must think that I’m crazy. It’s very possible that you have been there and thought that the Warriors were amazing. Or maybe, they are near the top of your “must-see” list, and you can’t imagine being anything but wowed. And honestly, a year ago, I would have been right there with you. Continue Reading…

#3: Reader Mailbag: What to Do with 5 Days in Seoul, South Korea

Downtown Seoul, South Korea at Gwanghwamun Plaza

Downtown Seoul, South Korea at Gwanghwamun Plaza

One of the reasons that I started was because I love helping others plan their travels. Recently, I was asked the following question on Twitter:

“Hi! Can you suggest a five day itinerary in Seoul? Thanks.”

Having lived just outside of Seoul for two years, I feel like I know that city fairly well. However, my first instinct was to take the easy way out and simply find something already put together online. Unfortunately, my search turned up very little. It seems that most of the itineraries for Seoul are either badly put together or are too short.

So, I figured that I would put together my own itinerary. Continue Reading…

#2 – 5 Must-See Korean Destinations Outside of Seoul

A fishing boat waits for high tide on Seonudo Island in South Korea.

A fishing boat waits for high tide on Seonyudo Island in South Korea.

Seoul, South Korea is one of my favorite cities in the world. With ultra-modern architecture, historic homes and fortresses, trendy night clubs, and spacious parks, the city has something for everyone. However, if you only visit the Korean capital, you’re definitely missing out on some of the country’s best sights.

I’m often asked what my favorite places are throughout South Korea. While some of them are located in Seoul, such as Gyeongbokgung, and some are simple day trips from the city center (the DMZ and Namhansanseong), others are located several hours from the city. Continue Reading…

#1: 5 Countries that are Ridiculously Hard for Americans to Visit

(Editor’s Note: Not only was this the most read article published in 2013, but it also generated the most comments.)

If there is one thing that infuriates the traveler in me more than anything, it’s countries that require visas for tourism. There is really no good reason to require a visa from someone wanting to come into your country to travel.

Fortunately, there are very few countries Americans cannot visit. However, some countries out there still insist on making a visit to their country more difficult than teaching a llama to dance Gangnam Style.

Here are five of the hardest countries for Americans to enter. Continue Reading…


Click here if you want to see Tripologist’s Top 10 Posts of 2012!

One Comment

  1. Looks like you had an amazing year. The article about Xians Terracotta warriors is very interesting. I have never been so do not know but do know the feeling “that’s it”? Have a fabulous 2014

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