02/21/2014 11:29 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Don't Pet Rabid Dogs (and Other Smart Travel Advice)


Andrew Evans wants to be everywhere. And he is. "I'm a travel addict," he says. Best known as National Geographic's Digital Nomad, Evans never stays in one place for very long. Last year he was on the road 300 days, racking up 175 hotel stays. His trips range from the impossibly long, like 10,000-mile bus trip to Antarctica, to a short two-hour run across Liechtenstein. "I enjoy sharing every moment with readers, like the time I live-blogged from the top of Kilimanjaro or tweeted a cheetah hunt in Mpumalanga," he says. You can find out more about him at his site.

What makes him the world's smartest traveler? Evans doesn't like being called a "smart" traveler. "I wish I could claim to be smart, but I'm not -- I only travel enough to make a lot more mistakes than the rest of you," he told me. "I've been arrested in three countries, ruined rental cars in four, and destroyed no less than five cameras in some of the most beautiful places on Earth." If I had to say why I think he's smart, it's that he's all over the map with interesting travel advice. I will now let him talk.

"Don't pet rabid dogs. Avoid Florida in August. Use the free bikes in Paris. Make peace with diarrhea. Take your shoes off before entering a mosque. Always say 'thank you' in the local language. Brake for small-town museums. Rather than follow the crowd to some red-hot destination, go to the country next door (Greenland instead of Iceland, Laos instead of Thailand, Panama instead of Costa Rica). Leave your dietary hang-ups at home. Always go swimming. When in doubt, tip. Always ask for a room with a view. Pack laundry detergent. Go to the top of the Empire State Building at midnight (there's no line). Global Entry and Pre-Check will make your life easier. Tweeting your airline gets you a quicker response than calling them. On safari, handpick the other people in your jeep (you want quiet, patient animal lovers). Don't taunt the hippos. Send postcards."

The World's Smartest Traveler is a weekly series about the visionaries who inspire us to travel smarter. Its curator, Christopher Elliott, is the author of the upcoming book, How to Be The World's Smartest Traveler (National Geographic Books).