Memorial Day weekend is a fine opportunity to catch up on reading, and for us, that means sitting down with a good travel story. We’ve bookmarked a number of noteworthy pieces over the past few weeks just for the occasion. Here, in no particular order, are some of the best:
Family travel doesn’t have to be expensive, as evidenced by a new series in The New York Times written by freelance writer (and AFAR contributor) Freda Moon. Frugal Family, which launched last week and will appear regularly throughout the year, spotlights family travel on a budget, and Moon’s first few articles made a splash. The longest of the bunch, a narrative about bringing a baby to a destination wedding in Mexico, informs with service-oriented details and charms with its honesty. Perhaps the most endearing moment comes at the end of the piece when the author cops to a planning failure that forced her and her partner to keep their daughter up way past the child’s bedtime. All traveling parents have been there; few have the courage and confidence to admit their mistakes.
There are many different markets in Japan to buy fresh fish, but Tsukiji, in the Chuo ward of Tokyo, is widely considered the best. In a colorful feature for BBC Travel, Jenna Scatena profiles this quirky 100-year-old commercial center, which will soon be relocated to another part of the city. Scatena’s story is packed with descriptions of “waving” crabs, cigarette-smoking teenage truck drivers, and men cutting frozen fish with jigsaws that bring the market to life. The story indicates the new market will be less rough around the edges and more geared toward tourists. Thankfully, this article and others like it will help keep the past alive.
The state of Hawaii recently celebrated the return of two of its most sacred artifacts: a red and yellow feathered cloak (‘ahu ula), and a feathered helmet (mahiole). As Kyle Ellison explains in a short-but-sweet piece for Matador Network, these garments originally belonged to Chief Kalaniōpu‘u of Hawaii Island, who gifted them to Captain Cook when Cook arrived in Hawaii in 1779. The story gives the history of the items and chronicles their journey from Wellington back to Honolulu. Along the way, the author does a masterful job of explaining the garments’ cultural significance.
Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor based in Healdsburg, California. In more than 18 years as a full-time freelancer, he has covered travel for publications including TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Sunset, Backpacker, Alaska Airlines, and more. He is a senior editor for the Expedia Viewfinder blog and writes a monthly food column for Islands magazine. Villano also serves on the board of the Family Travel Association and blogs about family travel at Wandering Pod. Learn more about him at Whalehead.com.