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November 15: The week’s best travel stories

The Traveling Reporter has scanned the web and gathered this week's best travel reporting and longreads.

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Appalachian Wonderland: Pisgah National Forest

National Geographic

North Carolina met our criteria of minimal crowds and no flying. We drove south from New York City to the Outer Banks, then headed west all the way to the Appalachian Mountains. There, we found the highlight of our trip, reports Booker Mitchell.

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Taking the High Road

The New York Times

For a few disconcerting moments, the gridlock that ensnared our minivan on the highway linking China to Pakistan sent my mind reeling to the countless hours I’d wasted on Beijing’s perpetually congested, smog-choked ring roads. But then I stepped out of the vehicle and saw that we were facing an entirely different nemesis, reports Andrew Jacobs from his trip along Karakoram Highway, southern China.

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Top 10 budget restaurants and cafes in central London

The Guardian

Eating out in London doesn’t have to leave your wallet empty. Updating his last budget eats guide to central London, Tony Naylor discovers that, particularly in and around Soho, the capital is home to a thriving, affordable casual dining scene.

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Crossing the Mongolian steppe

South China Morning Post

The last leg of a London to Ulan Bator road trip is as unpredictable as it is wonderful, reports Robin Ewing.

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World’s Strangest New Year Traditions

Travel + Leisure

From swinging fireballs to gobbling grapes, here is the list of the wackiest ways of welcoming the New Year around the world.

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The editor of the Traveling Reporter works as a business news editor, and is a frequent traveler. When not doing any of that, he spends time on his boat and tries to figure out where to travel next. Two of his top destinations are the Philippines and San Francisco. Email Erik! Follow the Traveling Reporter at Stumbleupon, Tumblr, Chime In, Pinterest, Google+, Weibo, Storify, Facebook, Traveldudes, Myspace.