3 of the world’s best luxury treehouse hotels

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/02/27/3-of-the-worlds-best-luxury-treehouse-hotels/

Remember the sheer joy of hiding out in a treehouse as a child, surrounded by leafy branches and sky? You can share that wonderful feeling with your significant other or your family, yet with the convenience of creature comforts and even a jacuzzi or pool, at these luxury hotels with treehouses. Since these are unique […]

3 of the world’s best luxury treehouse hotels is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

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Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/02/27/3-of-the-worlds-best-luxury-treehouse-hotels/

Remember the sheer joy of hiding out in a treehouse as a child, surrounded by leafy branches and sky? You can share that wonderful feeling with your significant other or your family, yet with the convenience of creature comforts and even a jacuzzi or pool, at these luxury hotels with treehouses. Since these are unique […]

3 of the world’s best luxury treehouse hotels is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post 3 of the world’s best luxury treehouse hotels appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

The 5 most spectacular Hard Rock Cafe locations

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/02/26/the-5-most-spectacular-hard-rock-cafe-locations/

Hard Rock owns countless hotels, casinos and cafes which are sprinkled through 74 countries. 174 cafes have popped up in major cities all over the world. While they serve your typical American fare, like cheeseburgers, ribs and steak, Hard Rock Café is perhaps more famous for its massive rock memorabilia display. In fact, they boast […]

The 5 most spectacular Hard Rock Cafe locations is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post The 5 most spectacular Hard Rock Cafe locations appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/02/26/the-5-most-spectacular-hard-rock-cafe-locations/

Hard Rock owns countless hotels, casinos and cafes which are sprinkled through 74 countries. 174 cafes have popped up in major cities all over the world. While they serve your typical American fare, like cheeseburgers, ribs and steak, Hard Rock Café is perhaps more famous for its massive rock memorabilia display. In fact, they boast […]

The 5 most spectacular Hard Rock Cafe locations is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post The 5 most spectacular Hard Rock Cafe locations appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

The Palm Beaches 4 ways

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/02/25/the-palm-beaches-4-ways/

Blessed with year-round sunshine, brimming with wildlife, teeming with art-galleries and packed with restaurants; it’s no wonder Palm Beach County is no longer just a playground for the wealthy, but a glistening getaway for all adrenaline junkies, nature enthusiasts, food fanatics and art aficionados alike. Here’s how to do The Palm Beaches, four ways… For the […]

The Palm Beaches 4 ways is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post The Palm Beaches 4 ways appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/02/25/the-palm-beaches-4-ways/

Blessed with year-round sunshine, brimming with wildlife, teeming with art-galleries and packed with restaurants; it’s no wonder Palm Beach County is no longer just a playground for the wealthy, but a glistening getaway for all adrenaline junkies, nature enthusiasts, food fanatics and art aficionados alike. Here’s how to do The Palm Beaches, four ways… For the […]

The Palm Beaches 4 ways is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post The Palm Beaches 4 ways appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

How to Visit Malta on a Budget

Posted from http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/malta-budget/

beautiful harbor in malta, photo by Daniel Sjöström (flickr: @damienz)
For centuries, the Maltese archipelago passed between North African Moors and European Crusaders in an epic struggle for control of this important hub. This constant back-and-forth created a unique culture that blended architectural, culinary, and cultural styles (in fact, the Maltese language is a mix of Arabic and Italian) found nowhere but maybe Southern Spain.

Now, the country draws people less with the whole conquering-empires thing and more with its warm summer temperatures, pristine beaches, clear Mediterranean water, ample hiking, friendly locals, and cheap prices.

Though I didn’t spend as much time as I wanted in Malta, I spent enough (literally and figuratively) to get a sense of how to travel the country on a budget. Luckily, the country is already very budget friendly (it’s one of the cheapest Eurozone countries out there) so you don’t need a lot to begin with. Even though I was on a holiday and not being as budget friendly as I wanted, I still never spent a lot of money. My most expensive day cost me 70 EUR ($74), and that’s because I rented a car! Even when I was watching my wallet, at no point did I ever feel as if I was missing out.

Though Malta will never break your budget, I always am one to look for a deal, as I’m a firm believer that every destination has a way to be cheaper.

So here is your in-depth guide to visiting Malta on a budget:

Getting There

While most European carriers operate seasonal flights, there aren’t many airlines that fly to Malta year-round. Ryanair, Air Malta, easyJet, and Lufthansa are the biggest carriers that service the island year-round. One-way flights from the mainland cost 50-100 EUR ($53-106 USD), especially if you book in advance. You can also take the ferry to/from Sicily; it’s 2.5 hours and costs 61-127 EUR ($65-135 USD) each way (depending on the season).

Typical Costs

cars on a colorful street in malta, photo by Tobias Scheck (flickr: @uncloned)
Malta is cheap. While I went in the middle of winter — without the seasonal increase in prices for accommodation, car rentals, and flights — many friends told me that most prices for food, activities, and public transportation stay the same throughout the year. Here is a list of typical costs in the country:

  • Ferry to Valletta from Sliema: Single: 1.50 EUR ($1.60 USD), Return: 2.80 EUR ($2.95 USD)
  • Ferry from Malta to Gozo: Pedestrian: 4.65 EUR ($5 USD), Car and Driver: 15 EUR ($16 USD)
  • Pastizzi (cheap snack): 1-2 EUR ($1-2.10 USD)
  • Breakfast sandwich: 3-4 EUR ($3.15-4.25 USD)
  • Full breakfast: 8-9 EUR ($8.50-9.50 USD)
  • Lunch at a café: 8-10 EUR ($8.50-10.50 USD)
  • McDonald’s value meal: 5-6 EUR ($5.25-6.50 USD)
  • Sandwich: 6 EUR ($6.50 USD)
  • Nice dinner at a sit-down restaurant with wine: 25 EUR ($27 USD)
  • Main meals: 10-14 EUR ($11-15 USD)
  • Pizza: 6-9 EUR ($6.50-9.50 USD)
  • Bottle of water: 1 EUR ($1 USD)
  • Bottle of wine: 8-10 EUR ($8.50-10.50 USD)
  • Beer: 3 EUR ($3.15 USD)
  • Museum entrance: 6 EUR ($6.50 USD)
  • Car rental: 38-48 EUR ($40-50 USD)
  • Taxi prices: 10-20 EUR ($10.50-21 USD)
  • Public bus ticket: 2 EUR ($2.10 USD)

On average, you’ll be able to visit Malta for 30-45 EUR ($32-48 USD) per day, though in the summer I would say you need to budget closer to 50 EUR ($53 USD). At that price, you’re looking at staying in a hostel dorm or splitting an Airbnb with a friend, taking public transportation, mostly sticking to the free activities, cooking your breakfast, and eating at the cheap(er) cafés.

How to Save Money in Malta

Accommodation
beautiful building facade and bright red shutters in malta
There are a couple of hostels on the islands, with dorm prices beginning at 9 EUR ($9.50 USD) per night (though prices double in the peak summer time). Airbnb is ridiculously cheap — I found a whole house for 35 EUR ($37 USD) a night. Most budget hotels cost 40 EUR ($42.50 USD) so I would stick to Airbnb or hostels for accommodation. However, like hostels, the prices for places more than double to around 80 EUR ($84 USD) per night in the summer; budget hotels cost around 40-60 EUR ($42-63 USD) in the summer.

To save money on accommodation, travel off-season and stay in dorms or split Airbnb units with friends. You can use the website eurocheapo.com to find good B&Bs, as they have a robust listing.

Food and Drink
good mediterranean food in Malta, photo by: (flickr: @)
Food prices are relatively inexpensive, though you’ll find higher prices in tourist areas such as Valletta, St. Julian’s, Sliema’s boardwalk, and Marsaxlokk.

To save money on food, stick to the pastizzi (savory filled pastries) for about 1-2 EUR ($1-2.10 USD), eat at the plethora of vegan and vegetarian restaurants throughout the country (see the list below), avoid snacking, and cook as many meals as possible (breakfast will see the biggest wins).

Transportation
ferry from valletta to sliema in malta, photo by Charlie Dave (flickr: @charliedave)
There are three ways to get around the island: buses, taxis, and car rentals. Buses cost 1.50-2 EUR ($1.60-2.10 USD) for a two-hour ticket or 21 EUR ($22 USD) for a weekly pass, while car rentals cost 39 EUR ($41 USD) per day (in the summer they start closer to 50 EUR or $53 USD per day). There are a number of local rental companies, but I used Hertz since it was close to my Airbnb. Many of the local car companies don’t take credit cards and want deposits in cash. Going with bigger companies adds another layer of security.

Taxis cost 10-20 EUR ($11-21 USD); while not ideal, they can be ordered ahead of time via Whatsapp and are a good last-minute option if you get stuck because the bus doesn’t turn up.

One thing to note about the buses is that they are infrequent so they fill up fast. We got on one bus, only to have him pull over, kick everyone off, and put us all in another bus, that then waited for 20 minutes to move. It’s a crazy system and, during the summer months when the crowds peak, expect long waits. Don’t be in a rush if you’re using the bus!

Activities
azure window at a beach in malta, photo by Berit Watkin (flickr: @ben124)
When the weather is nice, there are a bunch of free activities to do, such as enjoying the beach, hiking, swimming, and just walking around. Additionally, all the churches are free. You’ll find a lot of companies that will take you around the island in a boat for 25 EUR ($27 USD). Most museums and attractions cost 5 EUR ($5.25 USD) but you can get a Malta tourism card (there’s one for Mdina and a separate one for Valletta) that will save you about 10-20 EUR ($10.50-21 USD) depending on how many attractions you squeeze in.

On a side note, I found the main tourism center in Valletta unhelpful. The staff couldn’t answer a lot of my questions. The smaller, unofficial locations that littered Sliema’s boardwalk had more information on car rentals, things to do, and prices.

Recommended Bars and Restaurants

Restaurants: Rising Sun (Mdina), Loli (vegetarian), The Grassy Hopper (vegan/vegetarian), the Marsaxlokk fish market, Suruchi, Ta Doni, Cuba, Rocksalt, Ta’ Rikardu (Gozo), Electro Lobster Project.

Bars: Hole in the Wall (Sliema), Native (and any bar on that street as it’s the main hub for nightlife), Dubliner, Legligin, The Thirsty Barber

****It’s easy to visit Malta on a budget. I was shocked at how cheap this place. Even with summertime increases in accommodation and tour prices, Malta remains an affordable country. I’ve been to all the Eurozone countries now and I have to say Malta is one of the best — if not the best — value. When you combine it with warm weather, amazing landscape, historic cities, and incredible beaches, Malta because one of the best destinations to visit in Europe if you’re looking to save money.

Looks like all those British retirees were on to something after all!

P.S. BIG NEWS! This year I’m relaunching the Nomadic Matt group tours. You can come travel around with me and other community members! I’ll be doing four over the course of the summer. You can find out more about them and sign up by clicking here

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6

The post How to Visit Malta on a Budget appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Posted from http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/malta-budget/

beautiful harbor in malta, photo by Daniel Sjöström (flickr: @damienz)
For centuries, the Maltese archipelago passed between North African Moors and European Crusaders in an epic struggle for control of this important hub. This constant back-and-forth created a unique culture that blended architectural, culinary, and cultural styles (in fact, the Maltese language is a mix of Arabic and Italian) found nowhere but maybe Southern Spain.

Now, the country draws people less with the whole conquering-empires thing and more with its warm summer temperatures, pristine beaches, clear Mediterranean water, ample hiking, friendly locals, and cheap prices.

Though I didn’t spend as much time as I wanted in Malta, I spent enough (literally and figuratively) to get a sense of how to travel the country on a budget. Luckily, the country is already very budget friendly (it’s one of the cheapest Eurozone countries out there) so you don’t need a lot to begin with. Even though I was on a holiday and not being as budget friendly as I wanted, I still never spent a lot of money. My most expensive day cost me 70 EUR ($74), and that’s because I rented a car! Even when I was watching my wallet, at no point did I ever feel as if I was missing out.

Though Malta will never break your budget, I always am one to look for a deal, as I’m a firm believer that every destination has a way to be cheaper.

So here is your in-depth guide to visiting Malta on a budget:

Getting There

While most European carriers operate seasonal flights, there aren’t many airlines that fly to Malta year-round. Ryanair, Air Malta, easyJet, and Lufthansa are the biggest carriers that service the island year-round. One-way flights from the mainland cost 50-100 EUR ($53-106 USD), especially if you book in advance. You can also take the ferry to/from Sicily; it’s 2.5 hours and costs 61-127 EUR ($65-135 USD) each way (depending on the season).

Typical Costs

cars on a colorful street in malta, photo by Tobias Scheck (flickr: @uncloned)
Malta is cheap. While I went in the middle of winter — without the seasonal increase in prices for accommodation, car rentals, and flights — many friends told me that most prices for food, activities, and public transportation stay the same throughout the year. Here is a list of typical costs in the country:

  • Ferry to Valletta from Sliema: Single: 1.50 EUR ($1.60 USD), Return: 2.80 EUR ($2.95 USD)
  • Ferry from Malta to Gozo: Pedestrian: 4.65 EUR ($5 USD), Car and Driver: 15 EUR ($16 USD)
  • Pastizzi (cheap snack): 1-2 EUR ($1-2.10 USD)
  • Breakfast sandwich: 3-4 EUR ($3.15-4.25 USD)
  • Full breakfast: 8-9 EUR ($8.50-9.50 USD)
  • Lunch at a café: 8-10 EUR ($8.50-10.50 USD)
  • McDonald’s value meal: 5-6 EUR ($5.25-6.50 USD)
  • Sandwich: 6 EUR ($6.50 USD)
  • Nice dinner at a sit-down restaurant with wine: 25 EUR ($27 USD)
  • Main meals: 10-14 EUR ($11-15 USD)
  • Pizza: 6-9 EUR ($6.50-9.50 USD)
  • Bottle of water: 1 EUR ($1 USD)
  • Bottle of wine: 8-10 EUR ($8.50-10.50 USD)
  • Beer: 3 EUR ($3.15 USD)
  • Museum entrance: 6 EUR ($6.50 USD)
  • Car rental: 38-48 EUR ($40-50 USD)
  • Taxi prices: 10-20 EUR ($10.50-21 USD)
  • Public bus ticket: 2 EUR ($2.10 USD)

On average, you’ll be able to visit Malta for 30-45 EUR ($32-48 USD) per day, though in the summer I would say you need to budget closer to 50 EUR ($53 USD). At that price, you’re looking at staying in a hostel dorm or splitting an Airbnb with a friend, taking public transportation, mostly sticking to the free activities, cooking your breakfast, and eating at the cheap(er) cafés.

How to Save Money in Malta

Accommodation
beautiful building facade and bright red shutters in malta
There are a couple of hostels on the islands, with dorm prices beginning at 9 EUR ($9.50 USD) per night (though prices double in the peak summer time). Airbnb is ridiculously cheap — I found a whole house for 35 EUR ($37 USD) a night. Most budget hotels cost 40 EUR ($42.50 USD) so I would stick to Airbnb or hostels for accommodation. However, like hostels, the prices for places more than double to around 80 EUR ($84 USD) per night in the summer; budget hotels cost around 40-60 EUR ($42-63 USD) in the summer.

To save money on accommodation, travel off-season and stay in dorms or split Airbnb units with friends. You can use the website eurocheapo.com to find good B&Bs, as they have a robust listing.

Food and Drink
good mediterranean food in Malta, photo by: (flickr: @)
Food prices are relatively inexpensive, though you’ll find higher prices in tourist areas such as Valletta, St. Julian’s, Sliema’s boardwalk, and Marsaxlokk.

To save money on food, stick to the pastizzi (savory filled pastries) for about 1-2 EUR ($1-2.10 USD), eat at the plethora of vegan and vegetarian restaurants throughout the country (see the list below), avoid snacking, and cook as many meals as possible (breakfast will see the biggest wins).

Transportation
ferry from valletta to sliema in malta, photo by Charlie Dave (flickr: @charliedave)
There are three ways to get around the island: buses, taxis, and car rentals. Buses cost 1.50-2 EUR ($1.60-2.10 USD) for a two-hour ticket or 21 EUR ($22 USD) for a weekly pass, while car rentals cost 39 EUR ($41 USD) per day (in the summer they start closer to 50 EUR or $53 USD per day). There are a number of local rental companies, but I used Hertz since it was close to my Airbnb. Many of the local car companies don’t take credit cards and want deposits in cash. Going with bigger companies adds another layer of security.

Taxis cost 10-20 EUR ($11-21 USD); while not ideal, they can be ordered ahead of time via Whatsapp and are a good last-minute option if you get stuck because the bus doesn’t turn up.

One thing to note about the buses is that they are infrequent so they fill up fast. We got on one bus, only to have him pull over, kick everyone off, and put us all in another bus, that then waited for 20 minutes to move. It’s a crazy system and, during the summer months when the crowds peak, expect long waits. Don’t be in a rush if you’re using the bus!

Activities
azure window at a beach in malta, photo by Berit Watkin (flickr: @ben124)
When the weather is nice, there are a bunch of free activities to do, such as enjoying the beach, hiking, swimming, and just walking around. Additionally, all the churches are free. You’ll find a lot of companies that will take you around the island in a boat for 25 EUR ($27 USD). Most museums and attractions cost 5 EUR ($5.25 USD) but you can get a Malta tourism card (there’s one for Mdina and a separate one for Valletta) that will save you about 10-20 EUR ($10.50-21 USD) depending on how many attractions you squeeze in.

On a side note, I found the main tourism center in Valletta unhelpful. The staff couldn’t answer a lot of my questions. The smaller, unofficial locations that littered Sliema’s boardwalk had more information on car rentals, things to do, and prices.

Recommended Bars and Restaurants

Restaurants: Rising Sun (Mdina), Loli (vegetarian), The Grassy Hopper (vegan/vegetarian), the Marsaxlokk fish market, Suruchi, Ta Doni, Cuba, Rocksalt, Ta’ Rikardu (Gozo), Electro Lobster Project.

Bars: Hole in the Wall (Sliema), Native (and any bar on that street as it’s the main hub for nightlife), Dubliner, Legligin, The Thirsty Barber

****It’s easy to visit Malta on a budget. I was shocked at how cheap this place. Even with summertime increases in accommodation and tour prices, Malta remains an affordable country. I’ve been to all the Eurozone countries now and I have to say Malta is one of the best — if not the best — value. When you combine it with warm weather, amazing landscape, historic cities, and incredible beaches, Malta because one of the best destinations to visit in Europe if you’re looking to save money.

Looks like all those British retirees were on to something after all!

P.S. BIG NEWS! This year I’m relaunching the Nomadic Matt group tours. You can come travel around with me and other community members! I’ll be doing four over the course of the summer. You can find out more about them and sign up by clicking here

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6

The post How to Visit Malta on a Budget appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

23 Reader Questions. 23 Attempted Answers.

Posted from http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/community-travel-questions/

mailboxes abroad , photo by: Blondinrikard Fröberg (flickr: @blondinrikard)
Not every issue needs a long, drawn-out blog post to answer, so I like taking your questions now and then and helping solve some travel problems. So let’s take a break from our regularly scheduled articles for another round of Q&A!

A few weeks ago, I put a call out on social media for reader questions on travel, life, and anything in between. There are usually a few questions I’ve never answered before, weird ones about life, and just funny pop culture ones! Today’s blog post is my attempt to answer these questions. Some of them overlapped, so I trimmed the duplicates down, got rid of the really inappropriate ones (haha), and put the rest here. Hopefully, in answering someone else’s question, I’ll also be able to help you too.

What are your thoughts on train travel vs. flying between cities in Europe?  – John

I love train travel in Europe. It’s scenic and relaxing, and the trains are way more comfortable than economy class on planes. It’s a lot less stressful than flying too. That said, it takes a lot longer, and tickets are often more expensive than some of the budget airlines in Europe.

I think it basically comes down to time and money (doesn’t everything?). For me, it depends if I’m in a rush. If I need to get someplace quick, I’ll fly. But, if I have time, a rail pass, or just find the ticket prices to be similar to flights, I’ll take the train over flying.

How do you feel about staying in hotels vs. Airbnbs?Eric

I rarely ever stay in a hotel unless I am using hotel points, as I find them to be very expensive. I’d much rather be in an Airbnb, even if it is just for one night. I like the homey feel, the cheaper prices, and being able to ask questions of a local who knows the area. You make more friends staying with a local from a site like Couchsurfing than at a hotel. Here is a guide to Airbnb if you want more info on that service!

What are your thoughts on traveling to the European countries that have been hit by terrorist attacks? – Alexander

There’s nothing you can do to predict the future. Whether you go to a movie theater or club in the US or somewhere in Europe, you never know when violence will strike. Terror attacks occur randomly, so while I would be more vigilant, I wouldn’t let this change your travel plans. That’s what they want: they want us to cower in fear and be suspicious. I’d never let them control my life. (That said, I do avoid war zones.)

Do you have any advice on traveling solo? – Rod

That’s my whole website! Just click here to learn my best tips. This is the best starting point to learn the A-to-Z of planning your trip!

What was the transformative moment when you knew you wanted to make travel (and travel blogging) a career? – Dora

I’ve always described myself as an accidental travel writer. There was never a magic moment where I said, “I am going to do this.” But there were inflection points when I realized, “Wow, this business is growing. That’s cool. I guess I’ll keep riding this wave.”

How and when did you find that travel is your passion? – Jegan

I feel in love with travel on a tour to Costa Rica; it was the first time I was traveling as an adult. I loved the freedom and the sense of endless possibility. I just knew I wanted to keep doing it. Over time and a few more trips, it just became the only thing I wanted to do. I loved traveling and wanted to share that love with others.

When people say, “Go find your passion,” I always cringe a bit. It’s not like you can go out and just stumble upon it, like finding a lost set of keys. I think finding your passion is what happens when you end up doing something you love. If you talk to people who are passionate about their job, often it’s because they have been doing it so long that they are just good at it!

I love cooking. LOVE IT! But I’ve done it long enough to know it’s not my passion. It doesn’t make me feel the way travel does. I think you just have to explore your interests, and one day, one will have become your passion without your even noticing.

What are your thoughts on the Peace Corps? Have you met people abroad who are or were in the Peace Corps? What are or were their experiences like? – Jillian

I’ve never done the Peace Corps, but I think it is an amazing initiative. I was going to apply a few years ago after my first trip around the world. After I came home, I knew I needed to go travel again, so this was one of the things I looked into.

I’ve met many people over the years who have done it, and most of them have said it was one of the best experiences in their lives. Maybe someone can leave a comment here and share their first-hand experience.

Can we also use your blog’s Intrepid discount code with Geckos? – Geneviève

Sadly, it only works with Intrepid. You can get the 10% discount by clicking here.

What would be the best step to take for a 21-year-old who really wants to travel but doesn’t have enough money? – Alyiah

I’d go work overseas. You’re 21 and probably fresh out school. You have your whole life ahead of you! Get yourself a working holiday visa for New Zealand or Australia and get a job over there. Or go teach English overseas! There’s no reason why you have to have a certain amount of money. Just go with the money you have. There’s nothing holding you back at the moment. The world is your oyster.

Here’s an article on how to find work overseas and why being broke is the best time for you to travel.

I have three questions: What do you do for health insurance? Do you have a favorite credit card? What phone service do you use? – Susan

When I travel, I use World Nomads as my insurance provider. They are my favorite insurance company (and in my opinion, the best out there). I’ve been using them since I started traveling and highly recommend them. (When I’m home, I have coverage here in Texas).

For credit cards, I love the new Chase Sapphire Reserved. There’s a high annual fee but the rewards and travel credit make the fee worth it. For phone service, I use T-Mobile — but if you are going to be out of the country for a while, it’s better to get unlocked SIM cards as you go. It will work out cheaper than T-Mobile, and you can just top off as needed.

Do you have any advice for those who want to start a travel blog? – Ali

Sure, I have a ton! I would simply start with these two blog posts because they are more robust than any quick reply I write here. Here are the links:

How do you keep costs down when traveling to expensive countries? – Liza

It’s easy to save money in Thailand but a lot harder to save money in Switzerland or Norway or Japan. Traveling to those countries on a budget takes a lot of work. Sometimes, you just can’t do it (I’m looking at you, Bermuda!). On the other hand, I think expensive countries are sometimes easier to travel to because locals, who face high costs, have invented smart ways to stay on a budget. It varies from country to country ,but for the most part, when I’m in an expensive country, I drink less, cook more, eat cheaper (not so healthy) food, take local transportation, and look into the sharing economy more: Couchsurfing, ride-sharing, meal-sharing, and everything in between. You have to get more creative, but I believe 99% of the world can be visited on a budget. It all depends on how much you’re will to do what you need to do.

I traveled Europe for a month and got pretty homesick toward the end. Do you ever get homesick? What would you recommend for those who do? – Jacob

I get homesick all the time. I’ve met many people who have too. In fact, I’ve met many people that have gotten so homesick, they’ve gone home. There’s nothing wrong with that.

There’s a certain flow to travel. A lot of people get homesick right away, but for most people, it’s around the 3-4-month mark and then again closer to the year mark. These milestones are when you seem to become more untethered your past, and for many people, that feeling makes them want to retreat back into their familiar bubble. They feel themselves changing.

But I say you should just power through it. It’s natural and will pass. Embrace the change! Since this feeling so often relates to travel fatigue, I say sit down, relax, enjoy the city you are in, take a deep breath, and then move on when you’re ready.

Are visas a big issue for you, if you’re in the middle of a trip outside of the US and you decide to go to a country that requires a visa? – Carl

You can get visas as you go. While some nationalities are required to get tourist visas in their home countries, for the most part, all you need to do is get the visa from the local embassy or consulate in the country you are in. There’s no magic to it. Need a Vietnam visa while in Germany? Head to the local Vietnamese embassy or consulate and apply (making sure you have all the appropriate documents). That’s about all there is to it.

Is it safe to travel to the US at this juncture? I have a long-term tourist visa but now I’m scared with the hate crime reported by the media. – Kanian

This question makes me sad, and I feel I could go on forever about it. For starters, the media always reports the stories that are negative. “If it bleeds, it leads” is why you think hate crimes are rampant and American conservatives think Muslim terrorists are everywhere and Paris is burning. Everything is always so negative all the time.

But the US is a country of 350 million people with great diversity. While there was a slight uptick in hate crimes after the election, the America that existed before Trump is still essentially there and is filled with good people who care about other people. That has not changed. Look at all the marches that happened against the travel ban. Just like I would say you have nothing to fear by going to Europe, you have nothing to fear by coming to the US.

I am planning my trip to Europe currently and would like to know how you handled the proof of future travel that countries require for visas. – Kim

Assuming you’re from a developed country, they will never check. They’ll never say, “Let me see that flight/bus/train ticket.” Well, the UK and Ireland might because those countries are strict, but no one else does. Outside of those two places, I rarely ever have proof of onward travel (and it’s usually the airline that asks), especially if I’m traveling long-term. It’s a risk I’m comfortable taking.

But if you’re not comfortable with that risk, you can simply buy a refundable plane, bus, or train ticket to get you past border control. When you get into your destination, just cancel the ticket.

For other non-Western nationalities, you usually need a visa ahead of time and to get it, you’re required to have proof of onward travel anyways.

I would appreciate advice about hot springs and thermal baths in the USA. Thank you. – Helena

I’ve never been to one in the US and don’t know of any. For questions like this in general, Google is usually the best resource. When I ever I am looking for the “best in….”, I usually turn to Google.

Which of your destinations, if any, have most challenged your values as an American? – Nomadic Planet 

I don’t think anything challenges my values as an American. Many places challenge my values as a human, but nothing ever made me question my American values. I don’t think a country has much to do with values. If anything, traveling has made me appreciate the greatness of America — but also that there are many things we have to work on.

What is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything? – Jason 

42.

Why don’t you organize trips with your followers? – Jorge

Actually, this year I am going to start doing group tours again! Check this post out to see all my 2017 tours!

Is Costa Rica safe? What is the best way to find a good travel buddy? – Wendy

Yes, it’s very, very safe. I have no safety concerns about that country.

To find a friend, there are a lot of places to do so. Check out this article where I list a ton of ways to meet people when you travel.

Any tips on how to travel with a dog? – Sally

I’ve never traveled with a pet, but these resources are really good and can help you plan your trip:

Where do you get your hair done? – Raimee

I’m glad you asked. I love my hair. It’s completely on fleek. I’m glad you like it too. I get it done when I visit NYC at this cheap barber on the west side of town. I think he does a good job for the price. Then again, I have a simple haircut, so I’m not sure how he could screw it up. Not like this one time in Taiwan, where they accidentally shaved my entire head so quickly I couldn’t protest in time. I was bald for a solid month. (No, I won’t be putting a picture of that online though!)

Photo credit: 1

P.S. BIG NEWS! This year I’m relaunching the Nomadic Matt group tours. You can come travel around with me and other community members! I’ll be doing four over the course of the summer. You can find out more about them and sign up by clicking here

The post 23 Reader Questions. 23 Attempted Answers. appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Posted from http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/community-travel-questions/

mailboxes abroad , photo by: Blondinrikard Fröberg (flickr: @blondinrikard)
Not every issue needs a long, drawn-out blog post to answer, so I like taking your questions now and then and helping solve some travel problems. So let’s take a break from our regularly scheduled articles for another round of Q&A!

A few weeks ago, I put a call out on social media for reader questions on travel, life, and anything in between. There are usually a few questions I’ve never answered before, weird ones about life, and just funny pop culture ones! Today’s blog post is my attempt to answer these questions. Some of them overlapped, so I trimmed the duplicates down, got rid of the really inappropriate ones (haha), and put the rest here. Hopefully, in answering someone else’s question, I’ll also be able to help you too.

What are your thoughts on train travel vs. flying between cities in Europe?  – John

I love train travel in Europe. It’s scenic and relaxing, and the trains are way more comfortable than economy class on planes. It’s a lot less stressful than flying too. That said, it takes a lot longer, and tickets are often more expensive than some of the budget airlines in Europe.

I think it basically comes down to time and money (doesn’t everything?). For me, it depends if I’m in a rush. If I need to get someplace quick, I’ll fly. But, if I have time, a rail pass, or just find the ticket prices to be similar to flights, I’ll take the train over flying.

How do you feel about staying in hotels vs. Airbnbs?Eric

I rarely ever stay in a hotel unless I am using hotel points, as I find them to be very expensive. I’d much rather be in an Airbnb, even if it is just for one night. I like the homey feel, the cheaper prices, and being able to ask questions of a local who knows the area. You make more friends staying with a local from a site like Couchsurfing than at a hotel. Here is a guide to Airbnb if you want more info on that service!

What are your thoughts on traveling to the European countries that have been hit by terrorist attacks? – Alexander

There’s nothing you can do to predict the future. Whether you go to a movie theater or club in the US or somewhere in Europe, you never know when violence will strike. Terror attacks occur randomly, so while I would be more vigilant, I wouldn’t let this change your travel plans. That’s what they want: they want us to cower in fear and be suspicious. I’d never let them control my life. (That said, I do avoid war zones.)

Do you have any advice on traveling solo? – Rod

That’s my whole website! Just click here to learn my best tips. This is the best starting point to learn the A-to-Z of planning your trip!

What was the transformative moment when you knew you wanted to make travel (and travel blogging) a career? – Dora

I’ve always described myself as an accidental travel writer. There was never a magic moment where I said, “I am going to do this.” But there were inflection points when I realized, “Wow, this business is growing. That’s cool. I guess I’ll keep riding this wave.”

How and when did you find that travel is your passion? – Jegan

I feel in love with travel on a tour to Costa Rica; it was the first time I was traveling as an adult. I loved the freedom and the sense of endless possibility. I just knew I wanted to keep doing it. Over time and a few more trips, it just became the only thing I wanted to do. I loved traveling and wanted to share that love with others.

When people say, “Go find your passion,” I always cringe a bit. It’s not like you can go out and just stumble upon it, like finding a lost set of keys. I think finding your passion is what happens when you end up doing something you love. If you talk to people who are passionate about their job, often it’s because they have been doing it so long that they are just good at it!

I love cooking. LOVE IT! But I’ve done it long enough to know it’s not my passion. It doesn’t make me feel the way travel does. I think you just have to explore your interests, and one day, one will have become your passion without your even noticing.

What are your thoughts on the Peace Corps? Have you met people abroad who are or were in the Peace Corps? What are or were their experiences like? – Jillian

I’ve never done the Peace Corps, but I think it is an amazing initiative. I was going to apply a few years ago after my first trip around the world. After I came home, I knew I needed to go travel again, so this was one of the things I looked into.

I’ve met many people over the years who have done it, and most of them have said it was one of the best experiences in their lives. Maybe someone can leave a comment here and share their first-hand experience.

Can we also use your blog’s Intrepid discount code with Geckos? – Geneviève

Sadly, it only works with Intrepid. You can get the 10% discount by clicking here.

What would be the best step to take for a 21-year-old who really wants to travel but doesn’t have enough money? – Alyiah

I’d go work overseas. You’re 21 and probably fresh out school. You have your whole life ahead of you! Get yourself a working holiday visa for New Zealand or Australia and get a job over there. Or go teach English overseas! There’s no reason why you have to have a certain amount of money. Just go with the money you have. There’s nothing holding you back at the moment. The world is your oyster.

Here’s an article on how to find work overseas and why being broke is the best time for you to travel.

I have three questions: What do you do for health insurance? Do you have a favorite credit card? What phone service do you use? – Susan

When I travel, I use World Nomads as my insurance provider. They are my favorite insurance company (and in my opinion, the best out there). I’ve been using them since I started traveling and highly recommend them. (When I’m home, I have coverage here in Texas).

For credit cards, I love the new Chase Sapphire Reserved. There’s a high annual fee but the rewards and travel credit make the fee worth it. For phone service, I use T-Mobile — but if you are going to be out of the country for a while, it’s better to get unlocked SIM cards as you go. It will work out cheaper than T-Mobile, and you can just top off as needed.

Do you have any advice for those who want to start a travel blog? – Ali

Sure, I have a ton! I would simply start with these two blog posts because they are more robust than any quick reply I write here. Here are the links:

How do you keep costs down when traveling to expensive countries? – Liza

It’s easy to save money in Thailand but a lot harder to save money in Switzerland or Norway or Japan. Traveling to those countries on a budget takes a lot of work. Sometimes, you just can’t do it (I’m looking at you, Bermuda!). On the other hand, I think expensive countries are sometimes easier to travel to because locals, who face high costs, have invented smart ways to stay on a budget. It varies from country to country ,but for the most part, when I’m in an expensive country, I drink less, cook more, eat cheaper (not so healthy) food, take local transportation, and look into the sharing economy more: Couchsurfing, ride-sharing, meal-sharing, and everything in between. You have to get more creative, but I believe 99% of the world can be visited on a budget. It all depends on how much you’re will to do what you need to do.

I traveled Europe for a month and got pretty homesick toward the end. Do you ever get homesick? What would you recommend for those who do? – Jacob

I get homesick all the time. I’ve met many people who have too. In fact, I’ve met many people that have gotten so homesick, they’ve gone home. There’s nothing wrong with that.

There’s a certain flow to travel. A lot of people get homesick right away, but for most people, it’s around the 3-4-month mark and then again closer to the year mark. These milestones are when you seem to become more untethered your past, and for many people, that feeling makes them want to retreat back into their familiar bubble. They feel themselves changing.

But I say you should just power through it. It’s natural and will pass. Embrace the change! Since this feeling so often relates to travel fatigue, I say sit down, relax, enjoy the city you are in, take a deep breath, and then move on when you’re ready.

Are visas a big issue for you, if you’re in the middle of a trip outside of the US and you decide to go to a country that requires a visa? – Carl

You can get visas as you go. While some nationalities are required to get tourist visas in their home countries, for the most part, all you need to do is get the visa from the local embassy or consulate in the country you are in. There’s no magic to it. Need a Vietnam visa while in Germany? Head to the local Vietnamese embassy or consulate and apply (making sure you have all the appropriate documents). That’s about all there is to it.

Is it safe to travel to the US at this juncture? I have a long-term tourist visa but now I’m scared with the hate crime reported by the media. – Kanian

This question makes me sad, and I feel I could go on forever about it. For starters, the media always reports the stories that are negative. “If it bleeds, it leads” is why you think hate crimes are rampant and American conservatives think Muslim terrorists are everywhere and Paris is burning. Everything is always so negative all the time.

But the US is a country of 350 million people with great diversity. While there was a slight uptick in hate crimes after the election, the America that existed before Trump is still essentially there and is filled with good people who care about other people. That has not changed. Look at all the marches that happened against the travel ban. Just like I would say you have nothing to fear by going to Europe, you have nothing to fear by coming to the US.

I am planning my trip to Europe currently and would like to know how you handled the proof of future travel that countries require for visas. – Kim

Assuming you’re from a developed country, they will never check. They’ll never say, “Let me see that flight/bus/train ticket.” Well, the UK and Ireland might because those countries are strict, but no one else does. Outside of those two places, I rarely ever have proof of onward travel (and it’s usually the airline that asks), especially if I’m traveling long-term. It’s a risk I’m comfortable taking.

But if you’re not comfortable with that risk, you can simply buy a refundable plane, bus, or train ticket to get you past border control. When you get into your destination, just cancel the ticket.

For other non-Western nationalities, you usually need a visa ahead of time and to get it, you’re required to have proof of onward travel anyways.

I would appreciate advice about hot springs and thermal baths in the USA. Thank you. – Helena

I’ve never been to one in the US and don’t know of any. For questions like this in general, Google is usually the best resource. When I ever I am looking for the “best in….”, I usually turn to Google.

Which of your destinations, if any, have most challenged your values as an American? – Nomadic Planet 

I don’t think anything challenges my values as an American. Many places challenge my values as a human, but nothing ever made me question my American values. I don’t think a country has much to do with values. If anything, traveling has made me appreciate the greatness of America — but also that there are many things we have to work on.

What is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything? – Jason 

42.

Why don’t you organize trips with your followers? – Jorge

Actually, this year I am going to start doing group tours again! Check this post out to see all my 2017 tours!

Is Costa Rica safe? What is the best way to find a good travel buddy? – Wendy

Yes, it’s very, very safe. I have no safety concerns about that country.

To find a friend, there are a lot of places to do so. Check out this article where I list a ton of ways to meet people when you travel.

Any tips on how to travel with a dog? – Sally

I’ve never traveled with a pet, but these resources are really good and can help you plan your trip:

Where do you get your hair done? – Raimee

I’m glad you asked. I love my hair. It’s completely on fleek. I’m glad you like it too. I get it done when I visit NYC at this cheap barber on the west side of town. I think he does a good job for the price. Then again, I have a simple haircut, so I’m not sure how he could screw it up. Not like this one time in Taiwan, where they accidentally shaved my entire head so quickly I couldn’t protest in time. I was bald for a solid month. (No, I won’t be putting a picture of that online though!)

Photo credit: 1

P.S. BIG NEWS! This year I’m relaunching the Nomadic Matt group tours. You can come travel around with me and other community members! I’ll be doing four over the course of the summer. You can find out more about them and sign up by clicking here

The post 23 Reader Questions. 23 Attempted Answers. appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Announcing My 2017 Group Tours!!

Posted from http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/tours-2017/

Last year, I took a break from running tours. There was a lot going on behind the scenes, too many friends got married, and a lot of personal things I had to deal with. But this year the Nomadic Matt tours are back –  and I’m doing FOUR tours! I’m pretty excited because we’re going to a bunch of new destinations!

These tours represent my style of travel: we stay in hostels, we use local transportation, avoid the super touristy stuff, and try to get under the skin of a city. I’ll show you how I travel and I will take you to all my favorite sights, restaurants, bars, and off-the-beaten-track attractions at each destination. I’ve spent considerable time in each location and know places you won’t find in any guidebook. We’ll also meet up with some of my local friends along the way (where they will probably try to embarrass me but hey, that’s part of the fun!!). I’ve been running these tours for years and have gotten into quite the groove with them! Each year gets better and better and, after taking a year off, I’m really excited to start doing them again!

I do small groups so we can have an intimate and friendly environment. So if you’re looking to travel with like-minded people, this tour is for you. People on my tours often become fast friends and remain in touch long after the trip ends. It’s true that these tours are more expensive than traveling solo, but you’ll get way more value out of these tours than you would if you tried to do all the included activities alone. I pack stuff in them because there’s always so much I want to show everyone!!

Below you’ll find more information about the tours and how to book them:

Note: Some of the below descriptions are vague on purpose. Part of the vagueness is because I want things to be a surprise. In each destination, I know a lot of cool bars, restaurants, comedy clubs, and funky attractions. We’re going to hit a lot of them. Where’s the fun in knowing everything beforehand? The other reason is because a lot will depend on how the group feels and the weather. You’ll just have to trust me! Additionally, you can see the FAQ for more information about the logistics.

Nomadic Matt’s Tour of New York City (NEW TOUR! Come explore my home with me!)

The Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline at sunset, photo by Anthony Quintano (flickr: @quintanomedia)

  • Length: 6 days
  • Number of people: up to 12
  • Dates: May 8–13, 2017

Day 1

  • Arrival day (come when you please but if you arrive early, I’ll have some activities)
  • Welcome meeting and dinner (starts at 6:30pm)

Day 2

  • Morning food tour with Walks of New York
  • Lunch, if you’re still hungry (not included)
  • Visit to the High Line
  • Free afternoon to explore on your own (I’ll have a list of suggested attractions and activities)
  • Optional group dinner
  • Fun underground comedy event (shhh, it’s a surprise!)

Day 3

  • Trip to the famous Cloisters
  • Central Park picnic (weather permitting)
  • Explore nearby museums like the Met, Frick, or Natural History Museum (on your own)
  • Optional group dinner
  • Broadway show (sorry, not Hamilton!)

Day 4

  • Walking tour of Lower Manhattan and a visit to the 9/11 Museum
  • Free afternoon to explore your own (I’ll have a list of suggested places)
  • Prohibition bar crawl featuring my top bars in NYC (drinks not included)

Day 5

  • Free morning (sleep off your hangover!)
  • Optional lunch at my favorite Japanese place
  • Trip into Brooklyn (details TBD)
  • Sunset drinks on the Hudson River and final group dinner

Day 6

  • Morning breakfast at one of my favorite places in the city
  • Departure day (I’ll be hanging around for those staying, too)

Cost: $950 USD

BOOK NOW AND SECURE YOUR SPOT

Nomadic Matt’s Tour of Paris and Amsterdam

Statue near fountains at Versailles in Paris, photo by Carlos Reusser (flickr: @carlosreusser )

  • Length: 9 days
  • Number of people: up to 14
  • Dates: May 27–June 4, 2017

Day 1 – Amsterdam

  • Arrive in Amsterdam (come when you please, but if you arrive early I’ll have some activities)
  • Welcome meeting and group dinner (starts at 6:30pm)

Day 2 – Amsterdam

  • Breakfast at my favorite Dutch pancake spot
  • Historical walking tour of the city (led by me!)
  • Free time to explore (I’ll have suggestions or join me at some interesting places)
  • Optional group dinner and drinks

Day 3 – Amsterdam

  • Canal tour though the city
  • Picnic in Vondelpark
  • Free afternoon to explore Amsterdam on your own (or join me in exploring the city)
  • Optional group dinner

Day 4 – Amsterdam/Paris

  • Morning art tour in Amsterdam
  • Afternoon train to Paris
  • Included group dinner in Paris

Day 5 – Paris

  • Historical walking tour through Paris (led by me!)
  • Free afternoon to see the city’s museums on your own (I’ll have a list of suggestions)
  • Optional group dinner

Day 6 – Paris

  • Day trip to the epic Palace of Versailles (with a tour guide)
  • Optional group dinner

Day 7 – Paris

  • Morning food tour of the Paris markets with Context Travel
  • Afternoon free time to explore Paris on your own
  • Optional group dinner / night out

Day 8 – Paris

  • Explore Paris on your own (optional visit to the Catacombs of Paris and Père Lachaise Cemetery with me!)
  • Boat tour on the Seine
  • Final included group dinner

Day 9 – Paris

  • Departure day (though I’ll be around all day to hang out!)

Price: $1,600 USD

BOOK NOW AND SECURE YOUR SPOT

Nomadic Matt’s Tour of Austin, Texas (NEW TOUR! Explore my other home with me!)
the capitol building in austin, tx

  • Length: 5 days
  • Number of people: up to 12
  • Dates: June 21–25, 2017

Day 1

  • Arrival day (come when you please, but if you arrive early I’ll have some activities)
  • Welcome meeting and group dinner (starting at 6:30pm)

Day 2

  • Walking tour of the city by me
  • Trip to Zilker Park and Barton Springs for some outdoor fun and swimming
  • Beer tour of Austin
  • Two-step dance class (not by me! Ha!)
  •  Group dinner and night out in the city (food and drinks not included)

Day 3

  • Visit to the very unique Cathedral of Junk
  • Food tour (led by me): BBQ, tacos, food trucks, and more
  • Afternoon on Lady Bird Lake
  • Sunset by the water to see the bats
  • Optional group dinner
  • Night out to get a taste of the music scene Austin in known for

Day 4

  • Day trip to a ranch outside of Dallas to do “cowboy stuff” (My friend owns a ranch so we’re going to go up and see that side of Texas)
  • Final included group dinner

Day 5

  • Group goodbye breakfast at my hostel
  • Departure day (I’ll be around to hang out with, too)

Price: $700 USD

BOOK NOW AND SECURE YOUR SPOT

Nomadic Matt’s Tour of Vienna and Prague
Belvedere Palace in Vienna

  • Length: 9 days
  • Number of people: up to 14
  • Dates: September 30–October 8, 2017

Day 1 – Vienna

  • Arrival day (come when you please, but if you arrive early I’ll have some activities)
  • Welcome meeting and dinner (starting at 6:30pm)

Day 2 – Vienna

  • Historical walking tour of Vienna
  • Group lunch (not included)
  • Visit to Schönbrunn Castle and Gardens
  • Optional group dinner

Day 3 – Vienna

  • Free time to explore the city on your own (or come hang with me — we’ll explore the cafés, the Freud Museum, maybe hit some new attractions, or visit the art museums)
  • Optional group dinner (and maybe wild night out)

Day 4 – Vienna

  • Bike trip into the countryside to visit the local wineries
  • Optional group dinner at a heuriger (traditional eatery that’s like a mini-Oktoberfest)

Day 5 – Prague

  • Morning train to Prague
  • Historical walking tour of the city (led by me)
  • Group dinner at one of my favorite spots

Day 6 – Prague

  • Half-day trip to the famous Bone Church in Kutná Hora
  • Free afternoon to explore Prague on your own (I’ll have a list of possible suggestions for you)
  • Optional happy hour at my favorite wine bar, followed by dinner

Day 7 – Prague

  • Morning historical walking tour with Context Travel
  • Free afternoon to explore Prague on your own (or optional river walk to the castle ruins)
  • Optional group dinner

Day 8 – Prague

  • Free day to explore on your own or come explore with me. We’ll hit up an underground tour, visit a botanical garden, eat lunch, drink in the beer garden, and who knows what else! We’ll be playing it by ear based on the weather!
  • Final included group dinner

Day 9 – Prague

  • Group breakfast
  • Departure day (You can leave at anytime. For those staying the day, I’ll have some optional activities going on.)

Price: $1,550 USD

BOOK NOW AND SECURE YOUR SPOT

What’s included in all the tours?

  • All accommodations (NYC: HI-USA; Paris: Las Paulis; Amsterdam: St. Christopher; Austin: HK Austin; Prague: Miss Sophie’s; Vienna: Wombats)
  • Listed activities including admissions
  • Guided walking tours
  • Intercity transportation
  • Local city transportation when traveling as a group
  • Group meals listed above (except those listed as optional)
  • For the Paris/Amsterdam tour, a Paris Museum Pass
  • In NYC, you’ll get an unlimited ride subway pass

What’s not included in all tours?

  • Airfare
  • Applicable visa fees
  • Food outside the meals listed above
  • Optional activities
  • Alcohol
  • Souvenirs
  • Anything not listed

F.A.Q.

Will I have any time to myself?
Of course! I hate tours that book every minute of your day. While we will be busy, there will also be plenty of time for you to explore on your own! Travel is about adventure and discovery, so I emphasize that on my tours. I want you to break out of your comfort zone and see stuff that interests you specifically.

What am I going to do on my own?
After you’ve signed up for a tour, you’ll be sent a list of potential activities you can do on your own (or you can ask me for suggestions on the tour, too). You’ll always have things to do – and if you don’t want to go off and explore stuff on your own, you can always come around with me!

These tours seem to cost a lot. Why this price?
These aren’t backpacking trips, and tours always cost more than traveling solo. I make a big effort to pack a lot of activities and meals into these tours — I’ll take you to my favorite sights, restaurants, and bars — thus the price. Because I include so much, that drives the price of these tours up. If you want to do it cheaper, doing it solo is the way to go. However, I think the tours offer great value for your money. You will get a lot of bang for your buck!

Can I do a payment plan and pay in installments?
Yes, you can! We can work out something specific to your needs. Just send me an email at matt@nomadicmatt.com and we can talk. I’m flexible.

How many spots can I buy at once?
Reservations on the tour are limited to a maximum of 2 per person to ensure everyone gets a chance to go!

What kind of rooms are we staying in?
We will be staying in dorm rooms: males in one room, females in another. (If you are traveling as a couple, you can get a private room together for an additional cost.) Additionally, the hostels we are staying in will all have elevators.

What if I want a single room or a room with my friend/significant other?
That’s possible, but you’ll need to pay extra. Costs will vary depending on what you specifically want. Please email me.

Is airfare provided?
No, you’ll be responsible for your own airfare to and from the tour.

Will I need travel insurance?
Yes, all guests will be required to have travel insurance for the duration of the trip. I’ll be asking for proof before departure. If you don’t have it, you won’t be able to come.

Is there an age requirement?
You must be 18 years old or older. For the United States tours (NYC and Austin), you must be 21 years old or older.

Will I need to fill out any release forms? 
Yes, you’ll be required to fill out and sign a liability waiver releasing me and Nomadic Matt, Inc. from any and all liability related to the tour.

What about visas?
If you require a visa to enter any of these destinations, you’ll need to get that in advance at your own expense. We do not offer any help in this area.

What if I change my mind? What is your refund policy?
I’ll cry but understand. Plans change. The refund policy is as follows: if you cancel at least 90 days before departure, you’ll get 100% of your money back. If you cancel between 60-89 days before departure, you’ll receive a 50% refund. If you cancel between 30-59 days before departure, there’s a 25% refund. Cancellation less than 30 days before departure will result in a 0% refund.

Note: Since the NYC tour is so soon, you can cancel within 60 days for a full refund and 30 days for a 50% refund. Anything less than 30 days will result in a 0% refund. 

Is there a waiting list?
If the tour is full, don’t worry. People sometimes rush to secure the spot, but often don’t get the time off work and so many people cancel. Therefore, we have a waiting list, on a first-come, first-served basis. If the tour is full and you’re still interested, email me at matt@nomadicmatt.com and I will put you on the waiting list.

I still have questions. Can I contact you?
Of course! My email is matt@nomadicmatt.com.

1, 2

The post Announcing My 2017 Group Tours!! appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Posted from http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/tours-2017/

Last year, I took a break from running tours. There was a lot going on behind the scenes, too many friends got married, and a lot of personal things I had to deal with. But this year the Nomadic Matt tours are back –  and I’m doing FOUR tours! I’m pretty excited because we’re going to a bunch of new destinations!

These tours represent my style of travel: we stay in hostels, we use local transportation, avoid the super touristy stuff, and try to get under the skin of a city. I’ll show you how I travel and I will take you to all my favorite sights, restaurants, bars, and off-the-beaten-track attractions at each destination. I’ve spent considerable time in each location and know places you won’t find in any guidebook. We’ll also meet up with some of my local friends along the way (where they will probably try to embarrass me but hey, that’s part of the fun!!). I’ve been running these tours for years and have gotten into quite the groove with them! Each year gets better and better and, after taking a year off, I’m really excited to start doing them again!

I do small groups so we can have an intimate and friendly environment. So if you’re looking to travel with like-minded people, this tour is for you. People on my tours often become fast friends and remain in touch long after the trip ends. It’s true that these tours are more expensive than traveling solo, but you’ll get way more value out of these tours than you would if you tried to do all the included activities alone. I pack stuff in them because there’s always so much I want to show everyone!!

Below you’ll find more information about the tours and how to book them:

Note: Some of the below descriptions are vague on purpose. Part of the vagueness is because I want things to be a surprise. In each destination, I know a lot of cool bars, restaurants, comedy clubs, and funky attractions. We’re going to hit a lot of them. Where’s the fun in knowing everything beforehand? The other reason is because a lot will depend on how the group feels and the weather. You’ll just have to trust me! Additionally, you can see the FAQ for more information about the logistics.

Nomadic Matt’s Tour of New York City (NEW TOUR! Come explore my home with me!)

The Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline at sunset, photo by Anthony Quintano (flickr: @quintanomedia)

  • Length: 6 days
  • Number of people: up to 12
  • Dates: May 8–13, 2017

Day 1

  • Arrival day (come when you please but if you arrive early, I’ll have some activities)
  • Welcome meeting and dinner (starts at 6:30pm)

Day 2

  • Morning food tour with Walks of New York
  • Lunch, if you’re still hungry (not included)
  • Visit to the High Line
  • Free afternoon to explore on your own (I’ll have a list of suggested attractions and activities)
  • Optional group dinner
  • Fun underground comedy event (shhh, it’s a surprise!)

Day 3

  • Trip to the famous Cloisters
  • Central Park picnic (weather permitting)
  • Explore nearby museums like the Met, Frick, or Natural History Museum (on your own)
  • Optional group dinner
  • Broadway show (sorry, not Hamilton!)

Day 4

  • Walking tour of Lower Manhattan and a visit to the 9/11 Museum
  • Free afternoon to explore your own (I’ll have a list of suggested places)
  • Prohibition bar crawl featuring my top bars in NYC (drinks not included)

Day 5

  • Free morning (sleep off your hangover!)
  • Optional lunch at my favorite Japanese place
  • Trip into Brooklyn (details TBD)
  • Sunset drinks on the Hudson River and final group dinner

Day 6

  • Morning breakfast at one of my favorite places in the city
  • Departure day (I’ll be hanging around for those staying, too)

Cost: $950 USD

BOOK NOW AND SECURE YOUR SPOT

Nomadic Matt’s Tour of Paris and Amsterdam

Statue near fountains at Versailles in Paris, photo by Carlos Reusser (flickr: @carlosreusser )

  • Length: 9 days
  • Number of people: up to 14
  • Dates: May 27–June 4, 2017

Day 1 – Amsterdam

  • Arrive in Amsterdam (come when you please, but if you arrive early I’ll have some activities)
  • Welcome meeting and group dinner (starts at 6:30pm)

Day 2 – Amsterdam

  • Breakfast at my favorite Dutch pancake spot
  • Historical walking tour of the city (led by me!)
  • Free time to explore (I’ll have suggestions or join me at some interesting places)
  • Optional group dinner and drinks

Day 3 – Amsterdam

  • Canal tour though the city
  • Picnic in Vondelpark
  • Free afternoon to explore Amsterdam on your own (or join me in exploring the city)
  • Optional group dinner

Day 4 – Amsterdam/Paris

  • Morning art tour in Amsterdam
  • Afternoon train to Paris
  • Included group dinner in Paris

Day 5 – Paris

  • Historical walking tour through Paris (led by me!)
  • Free afternoon to see the city’s museums on your own (I’ll have a list of suggestions)
  • Optional group dinner

Day 6 – Paris

  • Day trip to the epic Palace of Versailles (with a tour guide)
  • Optional group dinner

Day 7 – Paris

  • Morning food tour of the Paris markets with Context Travel
  • Afternoon free time to explore Paris on your own
  • Optional group dinner / night out

Day 8 – Paris

  • Explore Paris on your own (optional visit to the Catacombs of Paris and Père Lachaise Cemetery with me!)
  • Boat tour on the Seine
  • Final included group dinner

Day 9 – Paris

  • Departure day (though I’ll be around all day to hang out!)

Price: $1,600 USD

BOOK NOW AND SECURE YOUR SPOT

Nomadic Matt’s Tour of Austin, Texas (NEW TOUR! Explore my other home with me!)
the capitol building in austin, tx

  • Length: 5 days
  • Number of people: up to 12
  • Dates: June 21–25, 2017

Day 1

  • Arrival day (come when you please, but if you arrive early I’ll have some activities)
  • Welcome meeting and group dinner (starting at 6:30pm)

Day 2

  • Walking tour of the city by me
  • Trip to Zilker Park and Barton Springs for some outdoor fun and swimming
  • Beer tour of Austin
  • Two-step dance class (not by me! Ha!)
  •  Group dinner and night out in the city (food and drinks not included)

Day 3

  • Visit to the very unique Cathedral of Junk
  • Food tour (led by me): BBQ, tacos, food trucks, and more
  • Afternoon on Lady Bird Lake
  • Sunset by the water to see the bats
  • Optional group dinner
  • Night out to get a taste of the music scene Austin in known for

Day 4

  • Day trip to a ranch outside of Dallas to do “cowboy stuff” (My friend owns a ranch so we’re going to go up and see that side of Texas)
  • Final included group dinner

Day 5

  • Group goodbye breakfast at my hostel
  • Departure day (I’ll be around to hang out with, too)

Price: $700 USD

BOOK NOW AND SECURE YOUR SPOT

Nomadic Matt’s Tour of Vienna and Prague
Belvedere Palace in Vienna

  • Length: 9 days
  • Number of people: up to 14
  • Dates: September 30–October 8, 2017

Day 1 – Vienna

  • Arrival day (come when you please, but if you arrive early I’ll have some activities)
  • Welcome meeting and dinner (starting at 6:30pm)

Day 2 – Vienna

  • Historical walking tour of Vienna
  • Group lunch (not included)
  • Visit to Schönbrunn Castle and Gardens
  • Optional group dinner

Day 3 – Vienna

  • Free time to explore the city on your own (or come hang with me — we’ll explore the cafés, the Freud Museum, maybe hit some new attractions, or visit the art museums)
  • Optional group dinner (and maybe wild night out)

Day 4 – Vienna

  • Bike trip into the countryside to visit the local wineries
  • Optional group dinner at a heuriger (traditional eatery that’s like a mini-Oktoberfest)

Day 5 – Prague

  • Morning train to Prague
  • Historical walking tour of the city (led by me)
  • Group dinner at one of my favorite spots

Day 6 – Prague

  • Half-day trip to the famous Bone Church in Kutná Hora
  • Free afternoon to explore Prague on your own (I’ll have a list of possible suggestions for you)
  • Optional happy hour at my favorite wine bar, followed by dinner

Day 7 – Prague

  • Morning historical walking tour with Context Travel
  • Free afternoon to explore Prague on your own (or optional river walk to the castle ruins)
  • Optional group dinner

Day 8 – Prague

  • Free day to explore on your own or come explore with me. We’ll hit up an underground tour, visit a botanical garden, eat lunch, drink in the beer garden, and who knows what else! We’ll be playing it by ear based on the weather!
  • Final included group dinner

Day 9 – Prague

  • Group breakfast
  • Departure day (You can leave at anytime. For those staying the day, I’ll have some optional activities going on.)

Price: $1,550 USD

BOOK NOW AND SECURE YOUR SPOT

What’s included in all the tours?

  • All accommodations (NYC: HI-USA; Paris: Las Paulis; Amsterdam: St. Christopher; Austin: HK Austin; Prague: Miss Sophie’s; Vienna: Wombats)
  • Listed activities including admissions
  • Guided walking tours
  • Intercity transportation
  • Local city transportation when traveling as a group
  • Group meals listed above (except those listed as optional)
  • For the Paris/Amsterdam tour, a Paris Museum Pass
  • In NYC, you’ll get an unlimited ride subway pass

What’s not included in all tours?

  • Airfare
  • Applicable visa fees
  • Food outside the meals listed above
  • Optional activities
  • Alcohol
  • Souvenirs
  • Anything not listed

F.A.Q.

Will I have any time to myself?
Of course! I hate tours that book every minute of your day. While we will be busy, there will also be plenty of time for you to explore on your own! Travel is about adventure and discovery, so I emphasize that on my tours. I want you to break out of your comfort zone and see stuff that interests you specifically.

What am I going to do on my own?
After you’ve signed up for a tour, you’ll be sent a list of potential activities you can do on your own (or you can ask me for suggestions on the tour, too). You’ll always have things to do – and if you don’t want to go off and explore stuff on your own, you can always come around with me!

These tours seem to cost a lot. Why this price?
These aren’t backpacking trips, and tours always cost more than traveling solo. I make a big effort to pack a lot of activities and meals into these tours — I’ll take you to my favorite sights, restaurants, and bars — thus the price. Because I include so much, that drives the price of these tours up. If you want to do it cheaper, doing it solo is the way to go. However, I think the tours offer great value for your money. You will get a lot of bang for your buck!

Can I do a payment plan and pay in installments?
Yes, you can! We can work out something specific to your needs. Just send me an email at matt@nomadicmatt.com and we can talk. I’m flexible.

How many spots can I buy at once?
Reservations on the tour are limited to a maximum of 2 per person to ensure everyone gets a chance to go!

What kind of rooms are we staying in?
We will be staying in dorm rooms: males in one room, females in another. (If you are traveling as a couple, you can get a private room together for an additional cost.) Additionally, the hostels we are staying in will all have elevators.

What if I want a single room or a room with my friend/significant other?
That’s possible, but you’ll need to pay extra. Costs will vary depending on what you specifically want. Please email me.

Is airfare provided?
No, you’ll be responsible for your own airfare to and from the tour.

Will I need travel insurance?
Yes, all guests will be required to have travel insurance for the duration of the trip. I’ll be asking for proof before departure. If you don’t have it, you won’t be able to come.

Is there an age requirement?
You must be 18 years old or older. For the United States tours (NYC and Austin), you must be 21 years old or older.

Will I need to fill out any release forms? 
Yes, you’ll be required to fill out and sign a liability waiver releasing me and Nomadic Matt, Inc. from any and all liability related to the tour.

What about visas?
If you require a visa to enter any of these destinations, you’ll need to get that in advance at your own expense. We do not offer any help in this area.

What if I change my mind? What is your refund policy?
I’ll cry but understand. Plans change. The refund policy is as follows: if you cancel at least 90 days before departure, you’ll get 100% of your money back. If you cancel between 60-89 days before departure, you’ll receive a 50% refund. If you cancel between 30-59 days before departure, there’s a 25% refund. Cancellation less than 30 days before departure will result in a 0% refund.

Note: Since the NYC tour is so soon, you can cancel within 60 days for a full refund and 30 days for a 50% refund. Anything less than 30 days will result in a 0% refund. 

Is there a waiting list?
If the tour is full, don’t worry. People sometimes rush to secure the spot, but often don’t get the time off work and so many people cancel. Therefore, we have a waiting list, on a first-come, first-served basis. If the tour is full and you’re still interested, email me at matt@nomadicmatt.com and I will put you on the waiting list.

I still have questions. Can I contact you?
Of course! My email is matt@nomadicmatt.com.

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The post Announcing My 2017 Group Tours!! appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

A Perfect Winter Day in Vancouver (Finally!)

Posted from http://www.everintransit.com/winter-in-vancouver/

Winter in Vancouver CanadaTouch down in Vancouver and it was raining. Listening to friends from the Pacific Northwest talk, I always kind of suspected that they were lying when they complained about how grey it was and how much it rains. I’d been to the region four or five times, at across all time of the year and always […]

The article A Perfect Winter Day in Vancouver (Finally!) originated at EverInTransit.com

Posted from http://www.everintransit.com/winter-in-vancouver/

Winter in Vancouver CanadaTouch down in Vancouver and it was raining. Listening to friends from the Pacific Northwest talk, I always kind of suspected that they were lying when they complained about how grey it was and how much it rains. I’d been to the region four or five times, at across all time of the year and always […]

The article A Perfect Winter Day in Vancouver (Finally!) originated at EverInTransit.com

Lima, Peru: a culinary journey with 10 delectable stops

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/02/17/lima-peru-a-culinary-journey-with-10-delectable-stops/

Many people call Lima Peru the “Culinary Capital of Latin America,” and there are plenty of reasons for such a title. In this Andean city, one finds a celebration of ancient techniques and avant-garde practices that seamlessly merge inside the local kitchens of Lima’s highly diverse restaurants and bars. Successive migrations (African, Chinese, Italian, Japanese […]

Lima, Peru: a culinary journey with 10 delectable stops is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post Lima, Peru: a culinary journey with 10 delectable stops appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/02/17/lima-peru-a-culinary-journey-with-10-delectable-stops/

Many people call Lima Peru the “Culinary Capital of Latin America,” and there are plenty of reasons for such a title. In this Andean city, one finds a celebration of ancient techniques and avant-garde practices that seamlessly merge inside the local kitchens of Lima’s highly diverse restaurants and bars. Successive migrations (African, Chinese, Italian, Japanese […]

Lima, Peru: a culinary journey with 10 delectable stops is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post Lima, Peru: a culinary journey with 10 delectable stops appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.