Friday, March 1, 2013

8 Places to Go Before You Have Kids

8 Places to Go Before You Have Kids

Opening a child's eyes to the world is a great joy for parents. But there are some places that are best experienced without little ones in tow. Here are eight great destinations to hit before you have to worry about anyone's nap schedule but your own.

By Danielle Contray, Friday, Feb 8, 2013, 3:31 PM,12792/?wpisrc=newsletter

Take that perfectly cliché romantic trip to Paris now.
Having kids doesn't mean you can never travel again, of course. Yet once you've gone from packing a suitcase and two carry-ons to dealing with travel cribs, car seats, strollers, and diaper bags (not to mention the snacks, changes of clothing, and toys needed to make it through a six-hour flight), you'll be asking yourself—why didn't we do this before we had kids? These are not babymoons, per se, which are best spent relaxing on the beach. These eight places are where you'll want to be on your own schedule to get adventurous, sample the local wines, and stay up into the wee hours.

New Zealand

The spectacular natural wonders and cool towns of New Zealand should be at the top of your pre-kids bucket list. Especially since they are a 13-hour flight away—and that's if you are coming from the West Coast (not to mention those flights typically cost more than $1,000 per person). Long haul flights are hard on everyone, and it will likely take kids longer to adjust to such a significant time change, cutting into your actual vacation time. Plus hopping between the North and South Island is mandatory if you want to see all the country has to offer. Do you really want to spend half your vacation repacking all the suitcases and searching under hotel beds for a lost lovey (or worse, realizing it's missing once you're at the next stop)?
Do it: You have a lot of ground to cover, so be sure to give yourself a lot of time see the sites. Start in Auckland on the North Island, where you can take the unbelievable elevator 610 feet up the Sky Tower for 360-degree views. Then either head north to the Bay of Islands for sailing and hiking, or you can go south to the town of Wellington. On the South Island, meet the locals in Christchurch and go wine tasting at the surrounding wineries. Get to know a different type of local in the town of Oamaru, where you can watch the blue penguins march back to their nests in the early evening.

Disney World

Think the magical realm of Mickey and Minnie is just for kids? Think again. Going to Disney as an adult is a totally different experience than if you have toddlers (or even teens) along for the adventure. Some are obvious—not being relegated to the kiddie rides, not having to push a stroller around. Then there's the not having to go back to the hotel for nap and not having to decide between getting the kids dinner, bath, and into bed on time (and avoiding potential meltdowns) versus staying late for the awesome Main Street Electrical Light Parade. Disney has also caught on that they need to keep adults happy, too. That means things like gourmet restaurants. You can now even get a glass of wine with your dinner at Be Our Guest in the new Fantasyland section of the Magic Kingdom.

Do it: Another perk to traveling to Disney without kids is that you aren't beholden to school vacations (when prices are higher and crowds are denser). September and October are good times to go, and the temperatures will be a little more bearable as well. Even so, you might want to stay at a hotel further from the action and less aggressively family-friendly. There is a premium for avoiding characters after-hours, though. The Dolphin is a boat-ride away from Epcot and, though it's not run by Disney, offers perks like Extra Magic Hours and free parking at Disney parks (from $169 a night in late September). The Four Points by Sheraton is on International Drive and closer to Universal Orlando than the Disney Parks, but starts at just $124 a night in late September.


Is there anywhere more romantic than Paris? It's a city where you want to embrace the clichés and roll with them. Strolling the streets, hand-in-hand? Yes! Taking a sunset boat ride down the Seine? Mais oui! Trying to keep the kids from hurling frites at each other at the quaint outdoor café? Not so much. Go now and get all the nuzzling under the Eiffel Tower out of your system. Bring your future children back in a few years to see the amazing museums and historic sites—once they are out of their food-throwing phase, that is.
Do it: Stay in the charming, antique-filled Hotel de la Paixone of our Secret Hotels of Parisin the 14th arrondissement (from $130 per night). The centrally located hotel is within 20 minutes of the sites of Paris by Metro, and within walking distance of cafes and gardens.

Route 66 Road Trip

There are lots of great scenic road trips in the U.S. (California's Route 1, the Blue Ridge Parkway), but why not go back to the original and travel along Route 66. Well, what's left of it (see below). Road trips may not scream romance for some, but there won't be much time after kids to really just enjoy each other's company—and control what's coming out of the car speakers. This also means no kids rolling their eyes at every retro diner you want to stop at for a patty melt and a milkshake. And, most importantly, no chorus of "are we there yet??" from the back seat.

Do it: To really, truly do this trip, you start in Santa Monica, California and drive the more than 2,000 miles to Chicago. It goes without saying that there is a lot to see along the way, from the Grand Canyon to the St. Louis Arch. The midpoint is the town of Adrian, Texas, home to the MidPoint Café and its famous pies and kitschy decor. The longest section of the original Route 66 starts northeast of Oklahoma City. Be sure to stop at the Route 66 Museum in OKC before you head out.

Napa Valley

Quick—why do people go to Napa? The wineries, of course. And there are more than 400 of them. That means days filled with sampling the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Merlot. Which doesn't exactly scream "kid-friendly." Those tastings are best accompanied with the other local bounty. Munch on artisanal treats from Oxbow Public Market during the day, then have dinner at Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bistro. It's not French Laundry, of course, but entrees start around $20.

Do it: You can actually bike through—not just past—vineyards with a tour from Napa Valley Bike Tours ($154 per person, not including tastings). Or use your two feet to walk around Downtown Napa. The Wine Tasting Card gets you samples at 12 tasting rooms ($25, plus 10 cents per taste). Either way, you'll be pretty tired at the end of the day. Retire to one of the 13 rooms at Yountville's Maison Fleurie, where the day starts with blueberry pancakes or artichoke quiche (from $150 per night).


In general, trips to destinations where casinos are a big part of the draw are hard with kids (since this is an 18-and-up activity done in smoky surroundings, after all). Chances are there will be a chance for a guys' weekend or a girlfriend getaway to Vegas in the future. So why not go for it and try your luck in Macao? This former Portuguese colony is about 40 miles from Hong Kong and has grown to be one of the top gambling destinations in the world (a cameo in the latest Bond flick helped raise its profile, as well).

Do it: Outposts of Vegas hotels like the Venetian and the Wynn have opened in Macao in the last decade. Instead, try the Hotel Lisboa (from $120 per night). The hotel has expanded greatly since it opened way back in 1970 and now has more than 1,000 rooms, 15 restaurants, plus a casino on site. Its most famous feature? The roulette-wheel roof.

Angkor Wat

The world's most sacred temples are meant for quiet contemplation and obviously should be treated with the utmost respect. Something that even the most angelic children might find difficult. Which is why now is the time to take a journey to Angkor Wat, outside Siem Reap in northern Cambodia. The complex spreads over a stunning 494,000 acres with archaeological relics dating back to the 9th century and iconic Cambodian Khmer architecture. You will want to give yourself three days to see the complex, and keep in mind that heat and humidity will keep your days short.
Do it: Angkor Wat is just a couple miles from Siem Reap, and easily reached by taxi (about $25). There are many hotels in Siem Reap. Spend a little bit more than your usual budget and stay at the Shinta Mani (from $170 per night). The boutique hotel is part of the Shinta Mani Foundation, which supports local education, health care, and small-businesses initiatives, and a portion of your room fee goes to the organization.

Transatlantic Cruise

Cruises usually make the top of lists for family travel. But a transatlantic cruise is different. They are usually more than a couple weeks in length, and involve many days and nights at sea. While to you that means more time to lay by the pool and do absolutely nothing more strenuous than ordering a cocktail, the kids could get a little stir crazy (no matter how awesome the kids' club is). The shore excursions are obviously minimal with these cruises as well, of course, but they often stop at lesser-used ports, adding to the adventure.

Do it: Princess Cruises's 17-day Passage to Europe on the Crown Princess launches from Galveston, TX and ends in Southampton, England (from $1,089 per person). After calling in Fort Lauderdale, the next stop is Ponta Delgada in the Azores. 


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

5 Easy Overnight Adventures for Kids

5 Easy Overnight Adventures for Kids

Nothing raises the bar for a family sleepover like bunking next to Babe Ruth.

By Daniel McGinn, Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011, 4:00 AM,7570/?wpisrc=newsletter
As a boy in suburban Boston, Craig Nichols idolized Red Sox left-fielder Carl Yastrzemski—even choosing Yaz's No. 8 for his Little League uniform. That fandom reached new heights just after 6 a.m. one Saturday last March when Nichols, now a 51-year-old Little League coach, awoke in a sleeping bag directly beneath Yastrzemski's copper plaque in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. "We were sleeping on hallowed ground," says Nichols, whose son Ryan, 10, dozed nearby. "You know that when Yaz visits Cooperstown, he stands right where I slept."

See 5 places where kids can spend the night.

Nichols, along with 37 other fathers and Little League players from Westborough, Mass., was taking part in a Hall of Fame program called Extra Innings Overnights—basically, Night at the Museum with baseball uniforms. The program, offered five times a year, began at 6:45 p.m. on Friday, when the group, which included me and my three children, laid out sleeping bags in the Plaque Gallery. For the next two hours, we had the museum to ourselves, looking at exhibits including Curt Schilling's bloody sock and Lou Gehrig's locker (a Yankee!). After snacks and a movie (Rookie of the Year), the group bedded down in the plaque room, a long, soaring space with thinly carpeted alcoves. (Key advice: If you don't bring an air mattress, you'll envy those who do.)
The trip was a bonding experience for all. The dads told stories about long-retired players; the boys sometimes roamed in packs, feeling like they owned the place—which, basically, they did. At lights-out, there was the usual horsing around, along with the 21st-century pastime of texting across the room. But at its core, the trip was a throwback to the old-fashioned pleasures of the father-son sleepover, where surviving for a night without the comforts of home—namely, Mom—lets each generation see the other in a new way. And hear each other: In the morning, the talk focused on the identity of the mysterious high-volume snorer.
Our group left the Hall around 8 a.m. so the staff could clean up and reentered after 9 a.m.—the second day's admission is included in the program's cost. Driving home, I reflected on my biggest concern: how my 12-year-old daughter had fared as the sole female in the group. But as we pulled into the driveway, she asked the question every parent wants to hear at the end of a trip: "Can we do that again next year?" That's what I call a home run.
Extra Innings Overnights, Baseball Hall of Fame, 888/425-5633,, tickets $40 adults and $50 children ages 7 to 12 (breakfast included).

4 More Action-Packed Overnights to Try With the Kids

Aquarium Sleepovers
Features: Animal encounters, behind-the-scenes tours, 3-D movie, and breakfast. Ages 7 to 14.
Price: $96 ($72 for members).

Family Science Camp-Ins
Features: Science or planetarium show, Omnimax movie, activities, pizza, and breakfast. Ages 6 and up.
Price: $38 ($35 for members).

Overnight Adventures
Features: Tours of Discovery Room, snack, and breakfast. Ages 6 to 14.
Price: $40 per person.

Operation Secret Slumber
Features: Code breaking, disguise making, spy games, and breakfast. Ages 9 to 13.
Price: $115 ($105 for members).

Monday, February 25, 2013

To Go or Not to Go: 2013

To Go or Not to Go: 2013

Some of the world's most beautiful and historic destinations are, at least temporarily, off-limits because of natural disasters, crime, or political unrest. Here, we warn you away from the real trouble spots—and debunk some of the bad press.

By Robert Firpo-Cappiello, Wednesday, Feb 6, 2013, 5:16 PM,12774/?wpisrc=newsletter

Intrepid travelers like to push their limits—they'll test their stamina, language skills, and culinary daring in far-flung destinations around the globe. But we don't like to see anyone risk their personal safety on an ill-researched sojourn. So, each year Budget Travel gives you the lowdown on some spots that should, at least for the near term, stay on your "don't bother" list, some that are a definite "maybe," and a few that you may be surprised to hear get a definite "yes."

Jersey Shore

Sure, you know that Superstorm Sandy hit the New Jersey coastline last fall, tearing up boardwalks, hotels, vacation homes, and beaches. What you may not know, however, is that "the shore" will be open for business this summer. In fact, Lori Pepenella, Long Beach Island's destination marketing coordinator, recently told the Newark Star-Ledger, "As businesses are investing and rebuilding, we're getting the message out that we're open right now." While rebuilding post-Sandy is a challenge, especially for areas such as Seaside Heights, whose boardwalk sustained serious damage, New Jersey's $38 billion hospitality industry depends on a thriving shore and everyone is sprinting toward a successful Memorial Day weekend. For those of you who thought this might be the summer to skip New Jersey's miles of family-friendly beaches, legendary boardwalks and amusement parks, and notorious party scene, local boosters are working hard to change your mind: Atlantic City is telling anyone who will listen that contrary to rumor, its boardwalk was not destroyed by the hurricane, and Long Beach Island has produced a video to promote its open-for-business status at There's no quick fix, and the reopening of seaside businesses is only part of the to-do list (for the shore to truly roar back, neighboring vacation homes and hotels will have to be in good repair as well), but if optimism and hard work can carry the day, you should probably start making your Memorial Day weekend reservations... now!
To Go or Not to Go: Go.


For those of us who grew up during the Cold War, the question may still seem fanciful: Want to visit Cuba? But whereas the Caribbean island was once off-limits except to the most adventurous of American travelers (who would typically enter Mexico or Canada before flying to Cuba), it is now possible for U.S. citizens to see this amazing country by booking with a licensed tour operator that performs "people-to-people" trips. A package will include interaction with Cubans and classes in Cuban culture and history and should also include a visa, airfare, hotel, meals, and an experienced tour guide. They don't come cheap—week-long trips are often more than $2,000 per person—but are the best way to ensure that you comply with U.S. law and that you see the island in the safest way. While accurate crime statistics are not available from Cuba yet, the U.S. Department of State cautions visitors to be alert for pickpocketing, purse-snatching, and burglaries, but traveling with a licensed people-to-people tour guide will help minimize any danger.
To Go or Not to Go: Go, if you can afford a U.S.-approved people-to-people tour.


It's a sign of the economic times that a nation of Spain's stature could even make our list of questionable destinations. The final quarter of 2012 saw Spain's economic output drop 1.8 percent compared with last year, its worst performance since the global economic meltdown of 2009. As the country embraced an austerity program to bring down its budget deficit, demonstrators took to the streets, often meeting an aggressive response from the police. In Barcelona, some demonstrators even demanded independence. It's important to keep all this in perspective, though: The U.S. Department of State has not issued a warning against visiting Spain, and the country still poses only the crime threats one might expect in any developed region: You need to be as aware of the potential for pickpocketing, mugging, and break-ins as you would when visiting, say, Italy or France. In addition, some of the advice the State Department has issued for visiting places like Greece and Israel, where the potential for spontaneous public demonstrations is high, should be heeded when visiting Spain: Stay away from demonstrations (they are not spectactor sports, and passersby have been swept up in police actions in Barcelona), and check with your hotel's concierge for updates on the potential for unrest in your destination.
To Go or Not to Go: Go.


With some of the world's holiest sites, sacred to Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike, Israel is a one-of-a-kind destination. From the ancient streets of Jerusalem to the nightlife of Tel Aviv, this is a place where the past rubs elbows with the present like no other. Unfortunately, all that elbow-rubbing comes with a downside, and Israel has been the scene of religious tension, terrorist attacks, and flat-out war over the course of its 60+ years. The U.S. Department of State strongly warns Americans not to visit the Gaza Strip and most areas of the West Bank (other than Jericho and Bethlehem), due to ongoing tensions and risks that can range from rock-throwing to rocket fire. On the other hand, major cities such as Haifa and Tel Aviv are as safe as any in the world, and Jerusalem, as long as you observe some common-sense rules, is an unforgettable experience that shouldn't be missed. While in Jerusalem, avoid street protests and approach religious sites with caution on holy days, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays because of potential congestion and security restrictions. As with any troubled region, you will feel most supported and informed if you travel with an experienced tour operator and stay in touch with the staff at your hotel about the potential for political and religious demonstrations.
To Go or Not to Go: Go, but avoid the West Bank and Gaza.


Yes, millions of U.S. citizens visit Mexico safely each year, but as the U.S. Department of State points out, it's best to stick to major cities such as Mexico City and popular resort areas such as Los Cabos and destinations in Quintana Roo such as Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, and Tulum, where the crime rate can actually be lower than in some U.S. cities. But more adventurous travelers should spend some time at reviewing the warnings about visiting border regions and some Mexican states (including Tamaulipas, Michoacan, Sonora, Chihuahua, and others) that have seen heavy drug-trafficking activity, including daytime gun battles, carjackings, and kidnappings. Regardless of where you travel in Mexico, be prepared for the same risks you might encountering when visiting any American city.
To Go or Not to Go: Go, but only to major cities and resort towns.


2012 saw an increase of 30 percent in tourism to Japan over the preceding year, according to the Japan National Tourist Organization. It's no wonder people stayed away in 2011: In March of that year the nation was rocked by the largest earthquake in its history, a magnitude 9 quake that destroyed buildings and triggered a tsunami on the island's northeast coast, causing the deaths of thousands and a meltdown at a major nuclear-power plant, including a release of dangerous radiation. But millions have returned to Japan in the past year, buoyed by the nation's swift recovery efforts. Today, major destinations such as Tokyo are completely safe and 2013 may even set a record for visitors.
To Go or Not to Go: Go, as long as you avoid the area around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant.


The political unrest that rocked Egypt two years ago, including public uprisings against then-president Hosni Mubarak, certainly put Egypt front-and-center on the world stage, and inspired some to delay travel plans to the north African nation. But sites such as the pyramids and Great Sphinx at Luxor, museums and historical sites in Cairo, and the beauty of the Lower Nile (now enjoying a resurgence in river cruises) still inspire waves of visitors, and the U.S. Department of State does not explicitly warn Americans away from Egypt. It does suggest that you stay away from public demonstrations, which can be unpredictable and sometimes turn violent. Visiting Egypt with an experienced tour guide, or staying in a major hotel whose concierge regularly monitors the potential for unrest, is your best bet.  
To Go or Not to Go: Go, but, for now, stick with well-trod tourist sites such as Cairo and Luxor.


There's no sugar-coating it: The economic downturn and austerity measures have inspired strikes and public demonstrations in Greece, especially in major squares in the capital city of Athens. While they are usually peaceful and pose no threat to the democratic government, some demonstrations have turned violent, including fire-bombings and vandalism. It's best to avoid ogling demonstrations because of their potential to turn ugly. Americans visiting Athens should be aware that anti-migrant sentiment can make some visitors targets of aggressive behavior—and even police sweeps. The U.S. Department of State especially cautions Americans of African, Asian, Hispanic, and Middle Eastern descent to be on guard because they may be mistaken for migrants. All Americans should carry a copy of a passport or photo ID at all times. That said, tourism to Greece is still a booming business—major hotels in Athens, resorts on the islands, and other destinations with knowledgeable staff and on-site security are not only safe but among the most rewarding vacation spots you could choose.
To Go or Not to Go: Go to the islands, stick to the beaten path in Athens.


When we say a travel destination "has it all," we usually don't mean crime, cholera, damaged infrastructure, and limited police and medical resources. Unfortunately, that is the situation in Haiti three years after a magnitude-7 earthquake demolished much of the already-impoverished nation (which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic), killing more than 300,000 people. While Haiti has spent billions just to maintain basic services, risks are high and resources for visitors are slim—traveling there as anything but a volunteer will only add to the strain. The U.S. Department of State warns that Americans have been victims of murder and kidnapping, including attacks on arriving visitors that have occurred right outside the Port-au-Prince airport.
To Go or Not to Go: Don't go.


Sure, Syria boasts some of the most dramatic ruins and landmarks in the Middle East, but this one's a no-brainer: "No part of Syria should be considered immune from violence," reports the U.S. Department of State, warning Americans not to visit the troubled nation (and those Americans who remain in Syria are urged to leave immediately). Anti-government activity and the Syrian government's use of deadly force—including aerial bombing of civilian areas, armed clashes between government and opposition groups, and the arrest, detention, and torture of individuals—have made Syria one of the most dangerous places on earth. And once inside, it can be difficult to get a flight out or to cross the border into neighboring countries, which include Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Israel.
To Go or Not to Go: Don't go.

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Coffee Addict's Guide to the World

A Coffee Addict's Guide to the World
Would you mix your joe with cheese? Butter? Whiskey? Most of the world loves coffee, but you might be surprised by how they take it. Bring your morning cup on a world tour with 25 popular regional spins on the caffeinated classic.
By Nicholas DeRenzo, Friday, Dec 9, 2011, 1:00 PM

Choosing a cup of coffee is about more than just milk or sugar. From the Ethiopian countryside where coffee was first discovered to the baroque cafes of imperial Europe to the high-tech streets of Tokyo, coffee has adapted to almost every culture—even infiltrating tea-loving strongholds such as India and Hong Kong. Here's your global guide to regional coffee styles: some that have caught on across the globe, some that represent a unique link to the area—and some that are just plain weird. 

Italy: Espresso
Description: The perfect cup should have a caramel-colored crema layer on top that is thick enough to support a spoonful of sugar for a few seconds before breaking.
Sip Tip: Espresso should be downed in one gulp while standing at the bar; if you sit at a table, that privilege will cost you up to four times more than standing.
Cafe: Experts claim you can find Rome's best espresso near the Pantheon, where water is sourced from springs by the Aqua Virgo, an aqueduct built in 19 B.C. The most popular with locals is at Caffe Sant'Eustachio, where Romans have been stepping up to the stainless-steel bar since 1938 for their morning brew—always presweetened here. Piazza Sant'Eustachio 82,, espresso $1.50.

Austria: Melange
Description: The most popular drink in Viennese cafes, Austria's take on cappuccino combines espresso and steamed milk, topped with milk foam or sometimes whipped cream.
Sip Tip: Cafes usually serve a glass of water with coffee, meant to be drunk between sips to hydrate and cleanse the palate.
Cafe: With its elegant rococo interiors and elaborate sugar displays in the front window, it's no wonder that the Demel cafe once served as the official confectionary of the Hapsburg imperial court. Don't skip a slice of Vienna's signature dessert, Sacher torte (chocolate cake, apricot jam, and dark chocolate icing). Kohlmarkt 14, demel.atmelange $5.40.

Ethiopia: Buna
Description: In the birthplace of coffee, the drink may be served with salt or butter instead of milk and sugar (and a side of popped sorghum kernels) in the countryside, but sugar has become increasingly popular since the 1930s Italian occupation.
Sip Tip: If invited into someone's home for the elaborate hours-long coffee ceremony, don't stop drinking until you've had cup number three (called bereka), which is considered a blessing.
Cafe: Addis Ababa's Habesha Restaurant brings Ethiopia's rural traditions to the heart of the capital city: The coffee ceremony is performed throughout the day in a thatched hut in its outdoor dining area. Bole Rd. (next to the Sabit Building), 011-251/11-551-8358.

Mexico: Café de Olla
Description: Traditionally drunk at all-night Mexican wakes, the spiced drink is brewed in an earthenware pot with cinnamon sticks.
Sip Tip: Don't add extra sugar—the drink comes presweetened with piloncillo (unrefined dark brown sugar).
Cafe: Mexico City's El Bajío is widely considered one of the top spots for home-style Mexican cooking in the world. The original location is a bit off the tourist path in the northern district of Azcapotzalco, but their Polanco branch sits squarely in the city's upscale boutique-and-gallery district. Alejandro Dumas 7,é de olla $1.50.

Saudi Arabia: Kahwa
Description: A hallmark of Bedouin hospitality, the cardamom-infused drink is almost always offered with sweet dried dates, which counter the bitterness of the coffee.
Sip Tip: A younger person is always expected to pour coffee for his elders.
Cafe: Note that women are typically not welcome in Riyadh's traditional coffee and shisha (water pipe) shops. To get your caffeine fix as a Western tourist, you'll want to stick to the capital's more upscale hotels. At the Caravan Stop in the Hotel Al Khozama, you can sip coffee with traditional desserts like rosewater custard and almond puff pastry. Olaya Rd.,, desserts from $9.

Turkey: Türk Kahvesi
Description: A remnant of Ottoman coffeehouse culture, this thick brew is made in a copper cezve (a long-handled pot) and often served after meals with chewy Turkish delight candy.
Sip Tip: Don't drink the thick layer of sludge on the bottom of the cup. You won't want to end up chewing on leftover grounds; besides, they can be used for a special form of fortune-telling called tasseography.
Cafe: Founded in 1923 in Istanbul's Kadıköy market, Fazıl Bey'in Türk Kahvesi offers its small cups of Turkish coffee in flavors like cardamom, vanilla, or mastic—an aromatic resin used in Mediterranean desserts. Serasker Cad.Tarihi Kadıköy Çarçısı 1a, fazilbey.comTürk kahvesi $2.50.

Hong Kong: Yuanyang
Description: An East-meets-West mix of coffee and tea (and milk), this unlikely pair is named for the Mandarin duck—a species in which the male and female look totally different but mate for life.
Sip Tip: A proper cup should be made with Hong Kong–style milk tea, a strong blend of black tea filtered through a fabric bag that looks remarkably similar to pantyhose (in fact, it's sometimes nicknamed "silk stocking tea").
Cafe: The most popular places to find Hong Kong comfort food and milk tea are the 24-hour, retro-style diners called cha chaan tengs. Among the best is Tsui Wah, a spot known for its giant neon sign and its all-hours crowds. 15–19 Wellington St., tsuiwahrestaurant.comyuanyang from $1.90.

Greece: Frappé
Description: The ubiquitous foam-topped iced drink is made with Nescafé instant coffee, cold water, sugar, and evaporated (or regular) milk—and always served with a straw.
Sip Tip: Any self-respecting Greek knows a frappé should always be shaken, not stirred.
Cafe: A great place to sip the cool stuff is Thessaloniki, Greece's seaside Second City and the drink's hometown—it was reportedly invented here in 1957 at the Thessaloniki International Fair by a representative of the Nestle company. For the best views, stop by the stylish Kitchen Bar, which sits on the harbor overlooking the city's famous White Tower. B Port Depot,, frappé $2.70.

India: Kaapi
Description: Brewed with chicory, this South Indian variety comes with a layer of foam formed during the cooling-down process: The server pours the coffee back and forth between two stainless-steel tumblers in long, sweeping arcs to aerate it.
Sip Tip: You might see this coffee referred to on menus as "meter coffee" or "coffee by the yard," a reference to the desired height from which the coffee should be poured between tumblers.
Cafe: Opened in the 1950s by a coffee workers' cooperative, the Indian Coffee House is a popular national chain, well-known for its extremely cheap eats. Perhaps the most famous of the branches is Kolkata's College Street location, which has attracted its fair share of students, intellectuals, and even revolutionaries, such as the founders of the Indian Communist Party. 15 Bankin Chatterjee St., indiancoffeehouse.comkaapi 16¢.

Vietnam: Ca Phe Sua Da
Description: Made tableside by pouring hot water through a stainless-steel filter (phin) balanced over your glass, the coffee drips slowly onto a layer of sweetened condensed milk.
Sip Tip: If the beans are too finely ground, the coffee will drip through the filter too quickly, making for a weak brew.
Cafe: Hotel Continental's La Dolce Vita Cafe, with its whirring ceiling fans and wicker terrace chairs, will immediately call to mind colonial Saigon. 132–134 Dong Khoi St., phe sua da $3.

Cuba: Café Cubano
Description: This Italian-style espresso shot gets its unique taste from adding raw demerara sugar, resulting in a sweet brown foam on top called espumita.
Sip Tip: The best way to achieve the perfect espumita is by mixing the first few drops of coffee with the sugar—creating a sugary sludge—before adding the rest of the coffee.
Cafe: The coffee daiquiri on the menu may not be the most traditional, but everything else at Café el Escorial, which is housed in a colonial mansion overlooking Havana's Plaza Vieja, screams Old Cuba. Mercaderes No. 317, 011-53/868-3545, café cubano from 75¢.

Indonesia: Kopi Luwak
Description: This infamous brew starts its trip to the cup by passing through the digestive tract of the civet, where enzymes are said to make the beans smoother, richer, and less bitter. The catlike mammal eats the ripest coffee berries and then excretes the undigested inner beans, which farmers harvest from their droppings. (This may not be any comfort, but the beans are then thoroughly washed!)
Sip Tip: The world's most expensive coffee (it's often sold for hundreds of dollars per pound) has spawned a slew of counterfeiters. Be wary if you see the coffee being sold at a deep discount—chances are no civets were used in the making of this bean.
Cafe: Located in Jakarta's Chinatown, the city's oldest coffee shop, Warung Tinggi, opened in 1878 and traces its history back to Indonesia's days as a Dutch colony. Bonus: Jakarta sits on the island of Java! Jl. Batu Jajar No. 35B, warungtinggi.comkopi luwak $150 per pound.

Malaysia: Pak Kopi/Kopi Putih/Bai Ka-fe
Description: Introduced to the Perak region by 19th-century Chinese tin miners, this lighter brew—also called Ipoh white coffee after the town where it was developed—is made by roasting coffee beans in palm-oil margarine. Traditional Malaysian black coffee (kopi o) is roasted with both margarine and sugar, resulting in a darker roast.
Sip Tip: Unlike in most other countries, in Malaysia the term "white coffee" does not mean that milk is included—it simply refers to the lighter color of the roast. Nevertheless, like the rest of Southeast Asia, Malaysians will most often serve white coffee with condensed milk. 
Cafe: With its stark tiled interiors and Coca-Cola sign over the door, Sin Yoon Loong in Old Town Ipoh is decidedly no-frills, but this is the original white coffee cafe. Try the specialty for breakfast with toast and homemade coconut jam. 15A Jalan Bandar Timah, 011-60/05-2414-5601, white coffee 45¢.

Argentina: Cortado
Description: Taking its name from the Spanish word for "cut," this drink is a simple espresso "cut" with a small splash of milk. The connection to Italian espresso is no coincidence—Buenos Aires is the Latin American city with perhaps the closest ties to Europe and its old-world cafe culture.
Sip Tip: If you like your coffee (much) milkier, order a lágrima ("tear" or "teardrop" in Spanish), which reverses the ratio: a lot of hot milk with a splash of coffee. 
Cafe: Founded in 1858 by a French immigrant, Buenos Aires's Cafe Tortoni is the country's oldest cafe, offering nightly tango shows in its simple basement venue. Avenida de Mayo 825, $2.50.

Australia/New Zealand: Flat White
Description: Though the Aussies and the Kiwis still feud over who invented the drink, they agree on one basic fact: It's not a latte! A flat white is coffee mixed with steamed milk, served in a ceramic cup with a handle; a latte also includes froth on top and should be served in a tall glass.
Sip Tip: A flat white shouldn't be made with just any milk—the recipe calls for micro-foam, the non-frothy steamed milk at the bottom of the vessel. (Macro-foam, or dry foam, comes from the top of the steaming pitcher, includes more bubbles, and is used in cappuccinos.)
Cafe: First they tackled wine. Now they're onto coffee. Both Australia and New Zealand have turned into countries of caffeine connoisseurs (snobs even!) and have followed by opening a slew of sleek, urban cafes. Campos Coffee, a tiny timber espresso bar in Sydney's Newtown neighborhood, is known for its crowds, the speed of its baristas (up to 200 coffees served per hour), and its quirky house blends: The Obama includes beans from both Kenya and the Americas (193 Missenden Rd.,, flat white $3.55). In Auckland,Espresso Workshop ups the coffee-snob quotient with an on-site roastery, barista lessons, and coffee-appreciation classes (19 Falcon St.,, flat white $4.15).

Spain: Café Bombón
Description: This sweet combination of equal parts espresso and condensed milk originated in Valencia and has since become popular throughout the country. 
Sip Tip: The drink is most often served in a small glass (similar to a shot glass) to show off the distinct layers of the black coffee and the off-white condensed milk. In order to keep the layers separate, the espresso must be poured into the glass very slowly, often over the back of a spoon.
Cafe: If you're in search of a café bombón, chances are you have a serious sweet tooth. Don't miss one of Madrid's famous churrerias, where you can dip sugary sticks of fried dough into insanely thick and rich hot chocolate. Locals prefer Chocolat, an unassuming churro spot tucked into a neighborhood side street a 10-minute walk from the Museo del Prado.Santa Maria 30, 011-34/914-294-565, café bombón $2.30.

Morocco: Café des Épices
Description: A delicious by-product of Morocco's spice markets, this brew can incorporate a number of flavors depending on the whims of the cafe owner, including ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper, cinnamon, sesame, cumin, and cloves. 
Sip Tip: The sweetness of your cup of coffee is often dictated by the occasion, with sweet coffee served symbolically at happy occasions like weddings and bitter, black coffee served at funerals. 
Cafe: Aside from the spiced coffee—hence the name Café des Épices—this cafe in the Marrakech medina offers mint tea, fresh-squeezed orange juice, flatbread sandwiches, and rooftop seating from which to gaze out over the buzzing market. 75 Lakdima Rahba, cafedesepices.netcafé des epices, $1.80.

France: Café au Lait
Description: This quintessential morning drink made with hot (but not steamed) milk is often served in a wide-mouthed bowl to accommodate the dunking of baguettes or croissants. A similar drink you may see on menus is café crème; many say the drinks are nearly identical, but crème is more often ordered in the afternoon. 
Sip Tip: If you'd like only a little milk in your coffee, do as the locals do and ask for café noisette (hazelnut coffee)—it has nothing to do with hazelnut flavoring, but instead takes its name from the toasty, nutty color imparted by the dash of milk. 
Cafe: Situated in the 6th arrondisement on Paris's Left Bank, the Café de Flore looks much the same as it did when Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir argued about existentialism here during World War II, with its famous red-leather booths, mahogany paneling, and mirrored walls. 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain,, café crème $7.

Finland: Kaffeost
Description: Especially popular among the local Sami population in the eastern region of Kainuu, this dish/drink is made by submerging chunks of leipäjuusto (a cow- or reindeer-milk cheese curd with a caramelized crust that makes it look like bread) into a cup of black coffee, fishing them out, and then drinking what's left.  
Sip Tip: If you're looking to make the treat yourself, the distinctive cheese is sold under a number of different names: leipäjuusto (bread cheese), juustoleipa (cheese bread), andnarskujuusto (which refers to the squeaky sound the curds make on your teeth). 
Cafe: This rural treat is more often made at home rather than purchased at a cafe, especially in cosmopolitan Helsinki. You can pick up leipäjuusto at most markets and dunk it yourself. Or head to Zetor, a Finnish-countryside-themed restaurant that is decorated with tractors and milk jugs and serves classic dishes like reindeer and leipäjuusto with cloudberry jam.Mannerheimintie 3–5,, cheese $10.75.

Ireland: Irish Coffee
Description: Served in a stemmed whiskey goblet with a heaping dollop of whipped cream, this warming drink—more classic cocktail than morning pick-me-up—is made with hot coffee, sugar, and Irish whiskey and was reportedly invented by Chef Joseph Sheridan in 1942 to warm up arriving passengers at what is now Shannon Airport.
Sip Tip: Don't stir the cream into your coffee! The hot coffee is meant to be drunk through the cold whipped cream.
Cafe: Though the Irish coffee may be a relatively recent addition to the centuries-old pub scene, the drink has become all but ubiquitous across the Emerald Isle. In Dublin, sipping an Irish coffee is all about the atmosphere, and it doesn't come much more authentic than the Brazen Head. Established in 1198, the pub claims to be the country's oldest—although the present building dates back to the still-impressive 17th century. Plus it's only a 10-minute walk to the Irish whiskey motherlode: the Jameson Distillery. 20 Lower Bridge St.,, Irish coffee $8.

United States: Frappuccino
Description: Starbucks has become synonymous with American cafe culture, and this milkshake-coffee hybrid has become the ultimate symbol of the brand: a ubiquitous, endlessly customizable, massive seller tailored to the country's sweet tooth. Taking into account the bottled version sold in supermarkets and convenience stores, annual Frappuccino sales have exceeded the $1 billion mark. 
Sip Tip: Looking for an extra boost? Frappuccinos can be ordered "affogato-style," which means they come topped with a shot of espresso. But you won't see this drink listed on any menus. In addition to the 87,000 combinations advertised by the brand in the past, the truest Starbucks connoisseurs speak in a language of off-menu secret specialties (a "Short," for example, is a third smaller than a Tall and comes at a cheaper price). Remember that, though relatively common, these drink orders are not official, so don't get too mad if your barista doesn't know what you're talking about! 
Cafe: Whether or not you're a Starbucks skeptic, you can't miss Seattle's Pike Place Market location. The first link in the ever-expanding global chain opened here in 1971. 1912 Pike Pl.,, Tall from $2.95.

Netherlands: Bakkie Troost
Description: Literally translating to "cup of comfort," the Dutch bakkie troost usually comes black and served alongside a single spice cookie (you may also commonly see the drink simply referred to as kaffe). If you want a latte, you'll have to order koffie verkeerd, or "coffee wrong."
Sip Tip: Know your terminology! A bruine kroeg (brown cafe) is a tobacco-stained, pub-like bar, known for its untranslatable sense of gezelligheid (similar to coziness); a koffieshop (or simply "coffee shop") is the infamous Amsterdam shop that sells marijuana products; a koffiehuis will sell coffee and light meals; and a cafe is similar to a restaurant with a bar. You can find a good cup of coffee in any of them, but you should know what you're getting yourself into before going inside.
Cafe: Amsterdam is a city of coffeehouses, from less than savory to gleaming and grand. Often, the most rewarding spots are those steeped in centuries of history. Situated in one of Amsterdam's oldest wooden houses, Cafe In 't Aepjen (literally "In the Monkeys") gets its odd name from the tavern's storied history as a sailor's haunt. Reportedly, men returning from Asia in the 16th century sometimes paid out their tabs with monkeys they had picked up in their travels. Zeedijk 1, cafeintaepjen.nlkaffe $3.17.

Brazil: Cafezinho
Description: The diminutive name of this drink (meaning "a little coffee" in Portuguese) belies a big fact about Brazil's coffee economy—the country produces almost a third of all the world's coffee beans. The national coffee is filtered through a cloth strainer and often served in tiny plastic or china cups, and comes very sweet and very strong. 
Sip Tip: A cafezinho often comes free at the end of a meal in a restaurant.
Cafe: Skip the European-style grand cafes and head to one of Rio de Janeiro's botequins (neighborhood bars) like Café Gaúcho. At this popular sidewalk spot, guests must follow a few steps to fit in like a local: Pass coins to the cashier, get a small receipt, bring it to the man behind the circular counter, and receive your distinctly bitter cup of coffee. Rua São José 86, 011-55/25-339-285, cafezinho 50¢.

Poland: Kawa Parzona
Description: Also called kawa naturalna, this traditional Polish-style coffee is made by simply mixing ground coffee beans and boiling water directly in a glass with no filter.
Sip Tip: If you want to steep your coffee the traditional way, look on the label for drobno mielona, which is an extra-fine, Turkish-style ground. If the label just reads mielona, these beans have been ground and are suitable for a regular drip coffee pot or an espresso machine. 
Cafe: Finding traditional Polish coffee is becoming increasingly difficult in the country's major cities, but it's simple to make the drink yourself once you buy the correct grounds. Though the coffee may come out of a copper pot rather than brewed in your individual glass in the traditional manner, Warsaw's Cafe Blikle serves up one of the most classic Polish cafe experiences. While most of the capital was damaged or destroyed during the two world wars, this spot has been going strong since 1869, thanks in no small part to its world-famouspączki (doughnuts). Nowy Świat 35, 011-48/022-826-0569, kawa $2.75.

Japan: Kan Kohi
Description: Introduced by the Ueshima Coffee Co. in 1969, canned coffee (which became kan kohi through Japan's system of adapting foreign phrases) is found in most grocery stores and vending machines, from which it is dispensed hot in the winter and cold in the summer.
Sip Tip: Though canned coffee is perfectly portable, that doesn't mean you should bring it everywhere. Eating or drinking on Japanese subways, for instance, is generally considered rude. 
Cafe: Searching for the best place to find canned coffee in Japan is akin to searching for the best place to buy Coca-Cola in the United States—it's everywhere. The country operates an estimated 6 million vending machines (that's about one for every 23 people).