10 Things I Really Wish I Knew Before I Moved to Japan

Future ex-pats, you have been warned.

Japan has been a hot destination for ages and, even now, everyone’s still clamoring over each other to snag a temporary visa. Back in 2016, I was one of those thirsty hopefuls, disembarking at Narita Airport eager to write a chapter in my story that would go something like this: Clumsy Lost In Translation Westerner who doesn’t know Hello Kitty from Pikachu (hopeless, bless him), meets guys with futuristic haircuts who lure him into drag racing (cars, not queens) and is crowned in a glitter-filled ceremony as the Tokyo Drift King and nation’s sweetheart. As is probably evident, the information I’d garnered beforehand did nothing to set realistic expectations. All the travel guides I’d read and advice from pals who climbed Mount Fuji once contained zero mention of workplace culture or grocery stores. It was all hedgehog cafés, Shibuya Crossing, and geishas. So, my advice to new ex-pats is to stop scrolling through cherry blossom photos and watching YouTube videos on Tokyo. Here are 10 things that I think will actually benefit you before departure–but just because these were my experiences, doesn’t mean they happen to everyone, and certainly doesn’t mean they’ll actually happen to you. From one ex-pat’s perspective, here are some things I was surprised to learn:

Beat the Heat With These 11 Water Safety Tips

As temperatures rise, so do the number of people heading to beaches and pools to cool down. Here's how to stay safe next time you head to the water.

The dog days of summer are here, and a number of areas around the U.S. (and the world) are experiencing record high temperatures, which means people are heading to water in droves to beat out the heat. Whether it’s the pool, the ocean, a river, or a water park, it’s good to keep water safety tips in mind, especially if you’re traveling with children. According to the American Red Cross, drowning is the number one cause of death for children. Here are 11 tips on how to stay safe as you cool down this summer.

The World’s Greatest Glamping Experiences Might Be Found in These Gorgeous Desert Camps

A mere hour drive from Marrakech, the Agafay Desert boasts dusty-but-luxurious desert lodgings.

It’s hard to believe the Agafay Desert is just a one-hour taxi ride away from the bustle of Marrakech’s medina. The moon-like landscape is made of small stones and hills the color of bone and parchment. The High Atlas Mountains shimmer in blue and purple hues on the horizon and are even capped with snow, depending on the season. Admittedly, most people who dream of visiting the desert envision the Sahara and its dramatic sand dunes. But, reaching the Sahara is an ambitious journey from Marrakech, which can take eight hours of driving best spread over multiple days. As an alternative, the Agafay Desert has emerged in recent years as a popular option for Morocco-bound travelers who are short on time but still yearning to spend a night in an otherworldly environment. The gorgeous glamping experiences available to travelers—ranging from stylish tents to luxury lodges—are by no means a compromise.

10 New Paris Hotels That You’ll Definitely Want to Check Into

From cinema-themed rooms to the city's first yoga hotel, these new Paris hotels are worth a stay.

The City of Light is shining more brightly than ever. Doors to first-class restaurants have reopened, café terraces are filling up, and culture is back with a bevy of new and noteworthy venues. These include the highly anticipated department store la Samaritaine fusing Art Nouveau with Art Déco, and neighboring contemporary art museum Bourse de Commerce featuring the Pinault Collection. At Place de la Concorde, Hôtel de la Marine offers a glimpse into 18th-century French Art de Vivre, while the refurbished Carnavalet Museum is dedicated to the history of Paris. The only question is where to stay while exploring the cultural side of Paris? Check-in at one of these four and five-star design-savvy hotels and enjoy la vie Parisienne!

You Can Walk to These 15 Magical Islands. But Only When the Tide Is Low

You're not seeing things, these islands come (and go) depending on the tides.

Believe it or not, there are some islands around the globe that are technically only islands when the tide is in, allowing visitors to literally walk across a causeway when the tide is ebbing. These tidal islands can be connected with the mainland either by a sandy, natural path, or even a more secure causeway, suitable for cars–so long as the tide is out! Here are some of our favorite “sometimes-islands” worth exploring.