Travel Mapping: Designing Your Off-the-Beaten-Path Itinerary with Noah Charney & Virginia DiGaetano - Atlas Obscura Experiences

Travel Mapping: Designing Your Off-the-Beaten-Path Itinerary with Noah Charney & Virginia DiGaetano

4 sessions
$70 per person
See Dates
$70 per person
$70 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do


This course has already started! However, you can still join if you’d like to (and we hope you will!). Students enrolling after the course start date and time will have access to a recording of the first session (which will be emailed to participants within 72 hours) as well as the option to attend remaining sessions live. Please select the “Join Late” ticket type to enroll after the course has begun. 


In this four-part lecture series, learn how to transform your dream trip into reality, designing an itinerary of your own from scratch.

Course Description

In this course, we’ll explore the why as well as the how of traveling in the modern age. Join professional guides Noah Charney and Virginia DiGaetano for a crash course in translating your travel visions into concrete plans. We’ll first trace the complex history of travel, exploring how it’s been understood and approached across cultures. Then we’ll pivot to dreaming up and giving shape to our own itineraries, with Noah and Virginia sharing professional tips, travel hacks, planning guidelines along the way. 

This course is open to anyone hoping to explore traveling more deeply or bring a specific experience to life. Whatever your pull—if you’re looking to understand more about sustainable and responsible travel, or want to build more meaningful experiences—this course will offer practical tips, tools, and guidelines. 

Syllabus at a Glance

This course includes four total sessions, each lasting for 1.5 hours on four Tuesdays beginning January 23.

Session 1 (Tuesday, 1/23, 4:00–5:30 PM ET) | The Roots of Travel

Our first session will explore the origins and evolution of tourism, looking at transcontinental travel; the invention of planes, trains, and cars; and travel culture today. 

Session 2 (Tuesday, 1/30, 4:00–5:30 PM ET) | Tour of Tours

We’ll look at different iterations of tours, looking at how to navigate which one might be right for you.

Session 3 (Tuesday, 2/6, 4:00–5:30 PM ET) | The Travel Toolbox

In this class, we’ll delve into designing your own trip. We’ll cover Insider hacks, things to avoid, when to travel, what to trust, and more. 

Session 4 (Tuesday, 2/13, 4:00–5:30 PM ET) | A Better Way of Traveling

In our last week together, we’ll look at conscious travel, develop a responsible vocabulary around tourism, and what it might mean to be sustainable tourists.

Course Materials

No supplies are required; students will be given resources and optional assignments, which will be easily accessible via the web or pdf handouts.

 Between Sessions

Students will be given optional assignments between sessions, including starting a travel journal. You can spend as much or as little time on assignments as you'd like—this class is what you make of it!

Pricing Options

This course is available at three ticket prices. This tiered pricing model is designed to increase access for a wider range of students as well as to support our instructors. In addition to tiered tickets, we offer a limited number of no-pay spots for students who would not otherwise be able to take this course. No-pay spots are selected via a randomized drawing two weeks before each section begins. For more information and to apply for a no-pay spot, please click here. To learn more about our pricing model and randomized selection process for no-pay spots, please visit our FAQ page.

Community Guidelines for Students

Please take a moment to review our community guidelines for students, which aim to share our classroom ethos and help set the stage for the best possible learning experience.

Atlas Obscura Online Courses

Atlas Obscura Courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit For answers to commonly asked questions, check out our FAQ page here.

Founded in 2009, Atlas Obscura created the definitive community-driven guide to incredible places across the planet and is now an award-winning company that shares the world’s hidden wonders in person and online.

Where We’ll Be

Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to each class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access all sessions of your course via Zoom.

About Your Instructor
Noah Charney & Virginia DiGaetano
Noah Charney & Virginia DiGaetano

Noah Charney

Dr. Noah Charney is the internationally best-selling author of more than a dozen books, translated into fourteen languages, including The Collector of Lives: Giorgio Vasari and the Invention of Art, which was nominated for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Biography, and Museum of Lost Art, which was the finalist for the 2018 Digital Book World Award. He lives in Slovenia with his wife, children and their hairless dog, Hubert van Eyck (believe it or not), and sometimes leads Atlas Obscura trips!

Noah has written dozens of travel articles. He covers Slovenia for the Travel section of The Guardian, and has written travel features for The Washington Post, Fine Dining Lovers, Salon, the Atlantic, Atlas Obscura (whoop-whoop!) and many other venues. His travel books include Museum Time (a series of guidebooks to museums in Spain), Slovenology: Living and Traveling in the World’s Best Country, Slovenian Cuisine: From the Alps to the Adriatic in 20 Ingredients, and Gold Wine. 


Virginia DiGaetano

Virginia has had a big life. Originally from New York, she spent her teenage years in squats and poetry readings, where Allen Ginsberg was one of her first mentors. She began traveling soon afterwards, working her way through Asia while simultaneously aiding and abetting some very friendly fugitives as well as becoming a very good bartender. This skill set would become useful when she went on to study political science at the New School for Social Research, McGill University, and the Sorbonne. She became a “fixer” for the kinds of people that you don’t really believe would exist, and along the way she learned how to make a pretty fine omelet.

Virginia would eventually leave her PhD program to work on a farm in the middle of Italy after one too many adventures and far too many omelets, but she wouldn’t stay hidden for long. She continues to work as a fixer, albeit for much tamer sorts these days, and is a writer for Lonely Planet, primarily in the Mediterranean and Caucasus regions, as well as numerous other publications and books. Her friends call her Ginger and you can too, although some do jokingly call her Mr. Wolf. Only half jokingly. 

What Else You Should Know

This lecture series is designed so students can participate live or watch a recording of each session, after it airs, at a time that is convenient for them. Sessions will take place live over Zoom, with dedicated Q&A segments for students to ask questions via video or chat. Within 72 hours after each session meets, students will receive access to a recording of the live session, which they can watch for up to two weeks after the course concludes.

Instructors may use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Google Classroom, instructors may use this platform to post resources, discussion questions, or assignments. This platform also offers a space for students to connect with one another about course material between sessions.

We provide closed captioning for all of our courses and can share transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at if you have any questions, requests, or accessibility needs.

Dates and Availability

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