Best travel photos of 2018

By law, your carrier has to make it up to you. The rules are very specific. Assuming the airline doesn’t get you to your destination within an hour of your original arrival time, you’re entitled to double the one-way fare, up to $675, according to Department of Transportation regulations. If you arrive more 
than two hours late, it’s four times the fare, up to $1,350. Ask the desk agent nicely and you might be 
able to secure meal vouchers as 
well, though the law doesn’t require that they be provided. Find out why throwing away your boarding pass could make you lose money.
Why you should go: Vancouver is an easy gateway to Canada’s great snow. There are three different mountains—Cyprus, Grouse, and Seymour—just 30 minutes from the city. And when you come home for the night, you can indulge in the Dine Out Vancouver Festival (January through February) and the Vancouver International Wine Festival (February through March).
Why it’s a steal: Flights to Vancouver are about 24 percent lower than the median airfare of North American flights; the average rate is $280 between December and March. You can stay for around $178 per night, a 20 percent discount versus the fall months. 
Where to stay: Set in the former home of the original Vancouver Stock Exchange, EXchange Hotel Vancouver opened in summer 2018. The Gothic exterior hides a well-appointed interior anchored by “pinstripes,” or aluminum louvres that start at ground level and extend upwards. The 202 rooms start at $127.
Slide 1 of 28: Every day, miners hike up Ijen’s 9,000-foot slopes under the cover of darkness before descending another 3,000 feet into the crater to mine sulfur or "devil's gold." Through the toxic fumes and heat, they chip away at the hardened blocks and carry 150 to 200-pound loads back up the crater twice a day, earning an average of five dollars per trip.
This photo originally published in "Striking photos of the men who work in an active volcano" in March 2018.
Slide 2 of 28: Crop circle enthusiasts lie down as part of a ritual in Dorset, England.
This photo originally published in "Inside the mystical world of crop circle tourism" in October 2018.
Slide 3 of 28: A woman dressed as a chondara, a traditional clown from the Japanese island of Okinawa, participates in one of Tokyo's many street festivals.
This photo originally published in National Geographic Traveler magazine in the February/March 2018 issue. Subscribe to Traveler here.
Slide 4 of 28: This five-storied pagoda of Arakurayama Sengen Park in Fujiyoshida City overlooks the beautiful Mount Fuji during cherry blossom season.
This photo originally published in "This man photographed Mount Fuji for 7 years—here's the result" in May 2018.
Slide 5 of 28: At dusk, sheep return from pasture to Lukomir village on Bjelašnica mountain in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This photo originally published in "High in the mountains, this European village stands frozen in time" in November 2018.
Slide 6 of 28: The Brunette Bros family is traveling around Italy to showcase its acts in different circus festivals. Six year-old Marius kisses his mother, Maria.
This photo originally published in "Go Inside the Magical Life of Europe’s Family Circuses" in July 2018.
Slide 7 of 28: In a crowded and technology-driven culture, pay-by-the-hour love hotels have boomed in Japan—more than 30,000 have sprung up throughout the country. Priding themselves in anonymity and discretion, these hotels feature both normal and themed rooms, like school, hospital, or even cave-themed amenities.
This photo originally published in "Peer Inside Japan's Secretive Love Hotels" in January 2018.
Slide 8 of 28: The Cody Nite Rodeo hasn't changed much in the 13 years National Geographic photographer Aaron Huey has been documenting the event. "Every night as the summer sun sets," he says, "kids line up to ride the mechanical bull."
This photo originally published in National Geographic Traveler magazine in the June/July 2018 issue. Subscribe to Traveler here.
Slide 9 of 28: A group of children cross a living root bridge in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya. The bridges are essential for rural connectivity in a vertical landscape.
This photo originally published in "Surreal photos of India's living root bridges" in March 2018.
Slide 10 of 28: A pilot removes the engine covers of a Tupolev-154 in North Korea.
This photo originally published in "See inside North Korea’s retro Soviet planes" in February 2018.
Slide 11 of 28: Fueled by vast oil reserves, Azerbaijan's storied capital, Baku, is remaking itself into a showpiece of bold architecture and regional fashion tempered by traditional ways. A man sits on the banks of Baku.
This photo originally published in "This ancient Silk Road city is now a modern marvel" in April 2018.
Slide 12 of 28: Women wearing traditional Bulgarian folk garb make garlands in the rose fields of Buzovgrad during a rose-picking event organized by the municipality for visitors to the region.
This photo originally published in "Beautiful pictures from Europe's Valley of Roses" in August 2018.
Slide 13 of 28: All fresh and local, this shellfish platter on ice includes sea eggs, sea urchins, Dubrovnik deep water prawns, wild oysters, wild mussels, Noah's Ark shell, limpets, and just one Coquilles St Jacques.
This photo originally published in National Geographic Traveler magazine in the February/March 2018 issue. Subscribe to Traveler here.
Slide 14 of 28: Giovanni Crea opens the window of the Vatican Museum early in the morning during his 5:30 a.m. shift. "Each morning when I enter the Sistine Chapel I experience a string of emotions," Crea says. "I have the keys, figuratively speaking, of the history of Christianity—both Christian history and the history of art."
This photo originally published in "Meet the man with the keys to the Vatican" in July 2018.
Slide 15 of 28: After the last classes of each school year, hundreds of students flock to Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, to celebrate by jumping into the fountain spray.
This photo originally published in "In this city, students take over on the last day of school" in July 2018.
Slide 16 of 28: Hacienda Patron in Jalisco, Mexico, is one of the country's most profitable Tequila Distilleries. The "pineapple" of the Blue Agave plant is delivered by truck to the large ovens in "Casa Patron". Workers chop the pineapples in half, then load them into large walk-in ovens that will cook the agaves until they are soft and brown.
This photo originally published in "Tequila rocks" in May 2018.
Slide 17 of 28: A young girl explores a crop circle near Sixpenny Handley in northeast Dorset, England.
This photo originally published in "Inside the mystical world of crop circle tourism" in October 2018.
Slide 18 of 28: Three graduates walk through one of the many underpasses in the center of Kiev.
This photo originally published in "In this city, students take over on the last day of school" in July 2018.
Slide 19 of 28: Harris and Eleanor Phelps collected over a thousand souvenir photographs of their travels, like this picture of a temple near Kyoto. Their son donated their 27 photo albums to National Geographic in 1953.
This photo originally published in "Vintage pictures from a dramatic, five-year honeymoon around the world" in May 2018.
Slide 20 of 28: Traditional healer María Dolores Domínguez reads corn kernels to help a person maintain physical and spiritual well-being.
This photo originally published in National Geographic Traveler magazine in the December 2018/January 2019 issue. Subscribe to Traveler here.
Slide 21 of 28: Naftalan Petroleum Medical Center, about three and a half hours west of Baku, offers petroleum baths to patients with various conditions, ranging from arthritis to skin rashes. Naftalan oil is believed to have antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties.
This photo originally published in "This ancient Silk Road city is now a modern marvel" in April 2018.
Slide 22 of 28: Manila is just one destination witnessing "slum tours,” a practice which long sparked debate about the impact and intention of tourism in marginalized communities.
This photo originally published in "Inside the controversial world of slum tourism" in April 2018.
Slide 23 of 28: Lukomir is home to 17 families and medieval traditions. Here a man takes a cigarette break with a view outside the village.
This photo originally published in "High in the mountains, this European village stands frozen in time" in November 2018.
Slide 24 of 28: Jimadores, or harvesters, cut blue agave for the Jalisco distillery Tequila Ocho. After the carbohydrate-rich piña is cut from its stalk, its long, spiky leaves are cut away from the heart.
This photo originally published in "Tequila rocks" in May 2018.
Slide 25 of 28: A young boy watches an oncoming storm in Lake Balaton, which Hungarians nickname the "Hungarian Sea," once an important destination for families split by the Iron Curtain.
This photo originally published in "See colorful summer photos of Hungary’s beloved 'sea'" in June 2018.
Slide 26 of 28: A traditional Omani rider performs at the Bahla horse festival. The horses ridden at Bahla festival are a variety of breeds—Anglo, Arabian, English, and Desert breeds (a mix of local Arabian mares with an English blood line).
This photo originally published in "A lifelong dream fulfilled in Oman" in November 2018.
Slide 27 of 28: Son Bui stands outside his Palace of Revelation, a hotel based completely on the New Testament Book of Revelation. He designed his own "World Flag of Peace" (pictured above) to represent one human family.
This photo originally published in "Step Inside This Apocalypse-Inspired Palace" in August 2018.
Slide 28 of 28: Children play in Tondo, home to a slum community in Manila and one of the most densely populated places on earth.
This photo originally published in "Inside the controversial world of slum tourism" in April 2018.

Indonesia

Every day, miners hike up Ijen’s 9,000-foot slopes under the cover of darkness before descending another 3,000 feet into the crater to mine sulfur or “devil’s gold.” Through the toxic fumes and heat, they chip away at the hardened blocks and carry 150 to 200-pound loads back up the crater twice a day, earning an average of five dollars per trip.

This photo originally published in “Striking photos of the men who work in an active volcano” in March 2018.

England

Crop circle enthusiasts lie down as part of a ritual in Dorset, England.

This photo originally published in “Inside the mystical world of crop circle tourism” in October 2018.

Japan

A woman dressed as a chondara, a traditional clown from the Japanese island of Okinawa, participates in one of Tokyo’s many street festivals.

This photo originally published in National Geographic Traveler magazine in the February/March 2018 issue. Subscribe to Traveler here.

Japan

This five-storied pagoda of Arakurayama Sengen Park in Fujiyoshida City overlooks the beautiful Mount Fuji during cherry blossom season.

This photo originally published in “This man photographed Mount Fuji for 7 years—here’s the result” in May 2018.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

At dusk, sheep return from pasture to Lukomir village on Bjelašnica mountain in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This photo originally published in “High in the mountains, this European village stands frozen in time” in November 2018.

Italy

The Brunette Bros family is traveling around Italy to showcase its acts in different circus festivals. Six year-old Marius kisses his mother, Maria.

This photo originally published in “Go Inside the Magical Life of Europe’s Family Circuses” in July 2018.

Japan

In a crowded and technology-driven culture, pay-by-the-hour love hotels have boomed in Japan—more than 30,000 have sprung up throughout the country. Priding themselves in anonymity and discretion, these hotels feature both normal and themed rooms, like school, hospital, or even cave-themed amenities.

This photo originally published in “Peer Inside Japan’s Secretive Love Hotels” in January 2018.

United States

The Cody Nite Rodeo hasn’t changed much in the 13 years National Geographic photographer Aaron Huey has been documenting the event. “Every night as the summer sun sets,” he says, “kids line up to ride the mechanical bull.”

This photo originally published in National Geographic Traveler magazine in the June/July 2018 issue. Subscribe to Traveler here.

India

A group of children cross a living root bridge in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya. The bridges are essential for rural connectivity in a vertical landscape.

This photo originally published in “Surreal photos of India’s living root bridges” in March 2018.

North Korea

A pilot removes the engine covers of a Tupolev-154 in North Korea.

This photo originally published in “See inside North Korea’s retro Soviet planes” in February 2018.

Azerbaijan

Fueled by vast oil reserves, Azerbaijan’s storied capital, Baku, is remaking itself into a showpiece of bold architecture and regional fashion tempered by traditional ways. A man sits on the banks of Baku.

This photo originally published in “This ancient Silk Road city is now a modern marvel” in April 2018.

Bulgaria

Women wearing traditional Bulgarian folk garb make garlands in the rose fields of Buzovgrad during a rose-picking event organized by the municipality for visitors to the region.

This photo originally published in “Beautiful pictures from Europe’s Valley of Roses” in August 2018.

Croatia

All fresh and local, this shellfish platter on ice includes sea eggs, sea urchins, Dubrovnik deep water prawns, wild oysters, wild mussels, Noah’s Ark shell, limpets, and just one Coquilles St Jacques.

This photo originally published in National Geographic Traveler magazine in the February/March 2018 issue. Subscribe to Traveler here.

Italy

Giovanni Crea opens the window of the Vatican Museum early in the morning during his 5:30 a.m. shift. “Each morning when I enter the Sistine Chapel I experience a string of emotions,” Crea says. “I have the keys, figuratively speaking, of the history of Christianity—both Christian history and the history of art.”

This photo originally published in “Meet the man with the keys to the Vatican” in July 2018.

Ukraine

After the last classes of each school year, hundreds of students flock to Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, to celebrate by jumping into the fountain spray.

This photo originally published in “In this city, students take over on the last day of school” in July 2018.

Mexico

Hacienda Patron in Jalisco, Mexico, is one of the country’s most profitable Tequila Distilleries. The “pineapple” of the Blue Agave plant is delivered by truck to the large ovens in “Casa Patron”. Workers chop the pineapples in half, then load them into large walk-in ovens that will cook the agaves until they are soft and brown.

This photo originally published in “Tequila rocks” in May 2018.

England

A young girl explores a crop circle near Sixpenny Handley in northeast Dorset, England.

This photo originally published in “Inside the mystical world of crop circle tourism” in October 2018.

Ukraine

Three graduates walk through one of the many underpasses in the center of Kiev.

This photo originally published in “In this city, students take over on the last day of school” in July 2018.

Japan

Harris and Eleanor Phelps collected over a thousand souvenir photographs of their travels, like this picture of a temple near Kyoto. Their son donated their 27 photo albums to National Geographic in 1953.

This photo originally published in “Vintage pictures from a dramatic, five-year honeymoon around the world” in May 2018.

Mexico

Traditional healer María Dolores Domínguez reads corn kernels to help a person maintain physical and spiritual well-being.

This photo originally published in National Geographic Traveler magazine in the December 2018/January 2019 issue. Subscribe to Traveler here.

Azerbaijan

Naftalan Petroleum Medical Center, about three and a half hours west of Baku, offers petroleum baths to patients with various conditions, ranging from arthritis to skin rashes. Naftalan oil is believed to have antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties.

This photo originally published in “This ancient Silk Road city is now a modern marvel” in April 2018.

Philippines

Manila is just one destination witnessing “slum tours,” a practice which long sparked debate about the impact and intention of tourism in marginalized communities.

This photo originally published in “Inside the controversial world of slum tourism” in April 2018.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Lukomir is home to 17 families and medieval traditions. Here a man takes a cigarette break with a view outside the village.

This photo originally published in “High in the mountains, this European village stands frozen in time” in November 2018.

Mexico

Jimadores, or harvesters, cut blue agave for the Jalisco distillery Tequila Ocho. After the carbohydrate-rich piña is cut from its stalk, its long, spiky leaves are cut away from the heart.

This photo originally published in “Tequila rocks” in May 2018.

Hungary

A young boy watches an oncoming storm in Lake Balaton, which Hungarians nickname the “Hungarian Sea,” once an important destination for families split by the Iron Curtain.

This photo originally published in “See colorful summer photos of Hungary’s beloved ‘sea'” in June 2018.

Oman

A traditional Omani rider performs at the Bahla horse festival. The horses ridden at Bahla festival are a variety of breeds—Anglo, Arabian, English, and Desert breeds (a mix of local Arabian mares with an English blood line).

This photo originally published in “A lifelong dream fulfilled in Oman” in November 2018.

Vietnam

Son Bui stands outside his Palace of Revelation, a hotel based completely on the New Testament Book of Revelation. He designed his own “World Flag of Peace” (pictured above) to represent one human family.

This photo originally published in “Step Inside This Apocalypse-Inspired Palace” in August 2018.

Philippines

Children play in Tondo, home to a slum community in Manila and one of the most densely populated places on earth.

This photo originally published in “Inside the controversial world of slum tourism” in April 2018.

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