7 Travel Books Worth Reading Right Now

Posted from https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/best-travel-books-2017/

Matt reading books at home this month
I’ve been picking up a lot of random books in bookstores lately. This can often be hit or miss. I can’t count the times I’ve picked up books only to go “Well, that was terrible.” However, this current stretch has produced some wonderful books and, since it’s been a while since I’ve done a best-books round-up, I think it’s time again! I spend a lot of time on buses, trains, and planes and use that time to devour books so, without further ado, here are seven books worth your time:

1. All Over the Place, by Geraldine DeRuiter
All Over the Place: Adventures in Travel, True Love, and Petty TheftGeraldine, aka The Everywhereist, is a hilarious writer (and friend). This book chronicles her travels, anxieties, and relationship with her husband Rand (who is as cool as the book makes him out to be). It really is all over the place – but in a good way. Though I found the book to be less about travel and more about her relationship, it more than lived up to all my expectations. I’m a huge fan of Geraldine’s writing, wit, snark, and humor and this book delivered all of that. I mean who else can make a poop story so damn funny? If you love her blog, you’ll love this book. (And if you don’t know about her blog, well, read that too.) This book was wonderful and devoured it in a couple of sittings.

2. The Worrier’s Guide to the End of the World, by Torre DeRoche
The Worrier's Guide to the End of the World: Love, Loss, and Other Catastrophes Through Italy, India, and BeyondI loved Torre’s first book, Love with a Chance of Drowning, about her cross-Pacific adventure with her then-boyfriend. I had the pleasure of getting an advance copy of her second book (and I loved it so much I even wrote a blurb for it!) Whereas the last book was an adventure into the world, this book is an adventure into the self. After meeting the lovely Masha at an event in NYC, Torre meets up with Masha in Europe, where they decide to walk the Via Francigena trail in Italy and then follow Gandhi’s walking route in India. Along the way, Torre encounters snakes, shamans, rude travelers, friendly strangers, and a universe seemingly trying to point her in the right direction. This book is just as fabulously well written and engaging as her first. I grew to love it more with every page — and I can’t recommend it enough.

3. Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World, by Joan Druett
Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the WorldAuckland Island, located 285 miles south of New Zealand, is a place with year-round freezing rain, wind, and little food (but apparently a lot of seals). Simply put, it’s not a place you want to get shipwrecked on. Yet in 1864, Captain Thomas Musgrave and his crew did just that — and a few months later, on the opposite side of the island, so did the crew of the Scottish ship Invercauld. This well-written account of the how the two crews survived (and didn’t survive) was a wonderful juxtaposition on leadership, camaraderie, and coming together in crisis. It’s not a long book. It took me a few days to read but it was compelling, captivating, and an excellent reminder of the importance of keeping one’s composure in a crisis.

4. Dispatches from Pluto, by Richard Grant
Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi DeltaAs a big fan of the state of Mississippi, I was really keen to read this book. The state is an often-overlooked tourist destination with eccentric but wonderful people; beautiful parks, rivers, and swamps; stunning architecture; and a complex and rich history for history buffs like myself. In this book, English writer Richard Grant and his girlfriend move to rural Pluto, Mississippi, to live a better life, escape the big city, lower their cost of living, and try something new. They learn to hunt, garden, fend off wild animals, handle snakes, and befriend interesting characters along the way. Grant dives into the contradictions of this state — from race relations and class to education, food, family, and everything in between. This book was incredible, nails Mississippi, and is a must, must, must read.

5. The Palace of the Snow Queen: Winter Travels in Lapland, by Barbara Sjoholm
The Palace of the Snow Queen: Winter Travels in LaplandBarbara Sjoholm set off one winter to explore this arctic region — then spent two more coming back and learning about it more. In the process, she unearths the region’s rich history and dives into the tension between tourism, mining, and land use. Her book dives deep into the Samis, local indigenous population and their struggle to maintain their culture in the modern era. As a lover of all things Scandinavian, it was really nice to read about an area and people of the region not often given the attention they deserve. As much as I thought I knew about this region, reading this book taught me a lot – and showed me how much I still had to learn. Well written and insightful, you should definitely pick up this book.

6. The Not-Quite States of America, by Doug Mack
The Not-Quite States of America: Dispatches from the Territories and Other Far-Flung Outposts of the USAThe United States of America is more than just 50 states. There’s also the non-states of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. In this funny, detailed, fact-rich book, Doug Mack explores these territories largely forgotten by the rest of the country, which play a more important role in our country than we realize. I had the pleasure of listening to Doug talk about his book in NYC, and he’s a wealth of knowledge — just like his book! This one of those travel books that expands your mind about the place you don’t really know. In many ways it reminded me of The Geography of Bliss in its approach. If you liked that book, you’ll like this book too!

7. The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca, by Tahir Shah
The Caliph's House: A Year in CasablancaInspired by the Moroccan vacations of his childhood, Shah decides to buy a house in Casablanca. He moves his family from England in hopes of breaking out from the monotony of life in London as well as exposing his children to a more carefree childhood. I randomly picked this up in a bookstore and couldn’t put it down. Shah is an engrossing writer and I was glued to every word. While dealing with corruption, the local bureaucracy, thieves, gangsters, jinns causing havoc, and the hassle that seems to come with even the most simple interactions, Shah weaves a story that is simply one of the best I’ve read all year. It’s beautifully written and endlessly enthralling. You must go buy this book!

That’s all for today! Happy reading!

And if you have suggestions, leave them in the comments, as I’m always looking to add books to my Amazon queue that I binge-buy on weekends!

The post 7 Travel Books Worth Reading Right Now appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Posted from https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/best-travel-books-2017/

Matt reading books at home this month
I’ve been picking up a lot of random books in bookstores lately. This can often be hit or miss. I can’t count the times I’ve picked up books only to go “Well, that was terrible.” However, this current stretch has produced some wonderful books and, since it’s been a while since I’ve done a best-books round-up, I think it’s time again! I spend a lot of time on buses, trains, and planes and use that time to devour books so, without further ado, here are seven books worth your time:

1. All Over the Place, by Geraldine DeRuiter
All Over the Place: Adventures in Travel, True Love, and Petty TheftGeraldine, aka The Everywhereist, is a hilarious writer (and friend). This book chronicles her travels, anxieties, and relationship with her husband Rand (who is as cool as the book makes him out to be). It really is all over the place – but in a good way. Though I found the book to be less about travel and more about her relationship, it more than lived up to all my expectations. I’m a huge fan of Geraldine’s writing, wit, snark, and humor and this book delivered all of that. I mean who else can make a poop story so damn funny? If you love her blog, you’ll love this book. (And if you don’t know about her blog, well, read that too.) This book was wonderful and devoured it in a couple of sittings.

2. The Worrier’s Guide to the End of the World, by Torre DeRoche
The Worrier's Guide to the End of the World: Love, Loss, and Other Catastrophes Through Italy, India, and BeyondI loved Torre’s first book, Love with a Chance of Drowning, about her cross-Pacific adventure with her then-boyfriend. I had the pleasure of getting an advance copy of her second book (and I loved it so much I even wrote a blurb for it!) Whereas the last book was an adventure into the world, this book is an adventure into the self. After meeting the lovely Masha at an event in NYC, Torre meets up with Masha in Europe, where they decide to walk the Via Francigena trail in Italy and then follow Gandhi’s walking route in India. Along the way, Torre encounters snakes, shamans, rude travelers, friendly strangers, and a universe seemingly trying to point her in the right direction. This book is just as fabulously well written and engaging as her first. I grew to love it more with every page — and I can’t recommend it enough.

3. Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World, by Joan Druett
Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the WorldAuckland Island, located 285 miles south of New Zealand, is a place with year-round freezing rain, wind, and little food (but apparently a lot of seals). Simply put, it’s not a place you want to get shipwrecked on. Yet in 1864, Captain Thomas Musgrave and his crew did just that — and a few months later, on the opposite side of the island, so did the crew of the Scottish ship Invercauld. This well-written account of the how the two crews survived (and didn’t survive) was a wonderful juxtaposition on leadership, camaraderie, and coming together in crisis. It’s not a long book. It took me a few days to read but it was compelling, captivating, and an excellent reminder of the importance of keeping one’s composure in a crisis.

4. Dispatches from Pluto, by Richard Grant
Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi DeltaAs a big fan of the state of Mississippi, I was really keen to read this book. The state is an often-overlooked tourist destination with eccentric but wonderful people; beautiful parks, rivers, and swamps; stunning architecture; and a complex and rich history for history buffs like myself. In this book, English writer Richard Grant and his girlfriend move to rural Pluto, Mississippi, to live a better life, escape the big city, lower their cost of living, and try something new. They learn to hunt, garden, fend off wild animals, handle snakes, and befriend interesting characters along the way. Grant dives into the contradictions of this state — from race relations and class to education, food, family, and everything in between. This book was incredible, nails Mississippi, and is a must, must, must read.

5. The Palace of the Snow Queen: Winter Travels in Lapland, by Barbara Sjoholm
The Palace of the Snow Queen: Winter Travels in LaplandBarbara Sjoholm set off one winter to explore this arctic region — then spent two more coming back and learning about it more. In the process, she unearths the region’s rich history and dives into the tension between tourism, mining, and land use. Her book dives deep into the Samis, local indigenous population and their struggle to maintain their culture in the modern era. As a lover of all things Scandinavian, it was really nice to read about an area and people of the region not often given the attention they deserve. As much as I thought I knew about this region, reading this book taught me a lot – and showed me how much I still had to learn. Well written and insightful, you should definitely pick up this book.

6. The Not-Quite States of America, by Doug Mack
The Not-Quite States of America: Dispatches from the Territories and Other Far-Flung Outposts of the USAThe United States of America is more than just 50 states. There’s also the non-states of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. In this funny, detailed, fact-rich book, Doug Mack explores these territories largely forgotten by the rest of the country, which play a more important role in our country than we realize. I had the pleasure of listening to Doug talk about his book in NYC, and he’s a wealth of knowledge — just like his book! This one of those travel books that expands your mind about the place you don’t really know. In many ways it reminded me of The Geography of Bliss in its approach. If you liked that book, you’ll like this book too!

7. The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca, by Tahir Shah
The Caliph's House: A Year in CasablancaInspired by the Moroccan vacations of his childhood, Shah decides to buy a house in Casablanca. He moves his family from England in hopes of breaking out from the monotony of life in London as well as exposing his children to a more carefree childhood. I randomly picked this up in a bookstore and couldn’t put it down. Shah is an engrossing writer and I was glued to every word. While dealing with corruption, the local bureaucracy, thieves, gangsters, jinns causing havoc, and the hassle that seems to come with even the most simple interactions, Shah weaves a story that is simply one of the best I’ve read all year. It’s beautifully written and endlessly enthralling. You must go buy this book!

That’s all for today! Happy reading!

And if you have suggestions, leave them in the comments, as I’m always looking to add books to my Amazon queue that I binge-buy on weekends!

The post 7 Travel Books Worth Reading Right Now appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

5 reasons to celebrate Christmas in Edinburgh

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/09/29/5-reasons-to-celebrate-christmas-in-edinburgh/

Edinburgh is at its most magical around the festive season, which is why it continues to draw visitors who are captivated by the variety of experiences the city has to offer. Here are just five reasons to celebrate Christmas in Scotland’s capital. Light up the town For the past two years Edinburgh’s street of light […]

The post 5 reasons to celebrate Christmas in Edinburgh appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/09/29/5-reasons-to-celebrate-christmas-in-edinburgh/

Edinburgh is at its most magical around the festive season, which is why it continues to draw visitors who are captivated by the variety of experiences the city has to offer. Here are just five reasons to celebrate Christmas in Scotland’s capital. Light up the town For the past two years Edinburgh’s street of light […]

The post 5 reasons to celebrate Christmas in Edinburgh appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

10 Epic Films to Inspire You to Visit Africa

Posted from https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/ten-epic-films-about-africa/

A giraffe in Africa
Welcome to the latest Africa related post by our resident experts Natasha and Cameron from The World Pursuit. While I’ve been to the continent in the past (and I’m actually there right now!), I’ve only seen a few countries, whereas these two spent close a year driving around the continent. This month, they share their favorite films about Africa. (I’ve seen some of them. They are really good.)

For us, learning about where you are in the world is an essential part of traveling. Instead of reading history books and researching your days away online, we’ve found that a fun way to learn is by watching movies. After a year traveling around Southern and East Africa, we’ve logged hours and hours doing just that.

Many of these movies gave us that initial urge to make our way to this less-traveled continent. Scenes of heartbreak, rolling landscapes, and wild animals told us we just had to get to Africa and explore for ourselves. We want to share our favorite movies set in Africa with you, so maybe you will watch them and feel inspired to travel there as well.

The movies below cover a wide range of topics and genres, but all are based on true events that happened in Africa and give a greater understanding of what traveling there is like.

1. Out of Africa

Out of AfricaOut of Africa is that movie about Africa that everyone knows and adores. Romance, rolling plains, and lions — what’s not to love? We couldn’t help mentioning it, because, as clichéd as it is, it is one of our favorite movies about Africa. The scenery and landscapes are entrancing, and the breathtaking cinematography convinced us to get ourselves to the continent. If you want to get a glimpse into colonial times in East Africa, with a bit of romance and drama sprinkled in, then set aside a few hours for this classic. Before the movie came out in 1988, Kenya was a place for the rich and elite to go on safari. After this hit the screen, tourism in Kenya exploded.

2. Gorillas in the Mist

Gorillas in the MistDid you know that there are only 800 mountain gorillas left in the world? Nowadays they are heavily protected in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, just a few decades ago there were no conservation efforts to help these mystical animals. But primatologist Diane Fossey spent 18 years of her life studying the social interactions of mountain gorilla families in the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda; without her efforts, it is a real possibility the animals would have been extinct today. This 1988 drama chronicles her life’s work — both her struggles and achievements — and her mysterious death. The film depicts just how deep a bond between animal and human can grow.

3. The First Grader

The First GraderIn 2003, Kenya made African history by offering free primary education to its citizens. Unlikely hero Kimani Maruge, who had never received an education during British colonial times, decided to go to school for the first time at the ripe old age of 84. The First Grader depicts how Maruge persevered and excelled in elementary school, and how determination truly has no age limit, thus putting the importance of education for all, especially in rural Africa, in front of an international audience.

4. The Last King of Scotland

The Last King of ScotlandThe Last King of Scotland is a must-watch before visiting Uganda. The ruthless Idi Amin became known for human rights abuses, corruption, torture, killing, and ethnic persecution during his brutal regime in the 1970s, causing an estimated 100,000-500,000 deaths, mostly Ugandans. The film’s name is taken from one of Amin’s self-proclaimed titles, the “King of Scotland.” It portrays Amin’s presidency through the eyes of his fictitious physician and conveys a sense of the political turmoil and hardship that the Ugandan people faced.

5. Hotel Rwanda

Hotel RwandaMost people have heard of the 1994 genocide that killed 500,000-1,000,000 Rwandans. During those dark days, Paul Rusembegi, the manager of the prominent Hôtel des Mille Collines in downtown Kigali, took in thousands of refugees, while making it look like the hotel was operating as usual. Although it was a tragic time in Rwanda, the movie at least has happy and uplifting points and showcases how strong the human spirit is. Of course, it’s not 100% factual, but it is a good jumping-off point for those who want to learn more about the Rwandan genocide. (We decided to visit the hotel when we were road-tripping through Rwanda earlier this year and were surprised to find that it is still one of the most beautiful and affluent hotels in Kigali.)

6. Half of a Yellow Sun

Half of a Yellow SunBased on the book of the same name, Half of a Yellow Sun follows two Nigerian sisters as their country’s civil car (also known as the Biafran War) breaks out in the late ’60s. Minute by minute, we watch as the sisters’ lives are decimated: family members die, others starve, and intellectuals become refugees in their own country. Although we haven’t been to Nigeria, the film and book do a great job of showing the atrocities of war, its effect on African women, the role of Western media and expats, and the results of colonialism.

7. Queen of Katwe

Queen of KatweThe Queen of Katwe is an inspirational real-life story about one young girl defying all odds. Phiona Mutesi is growing up in the slums of Uganda’s capital when she is introduced to the game of chess. With the help of her teachers and family, she goes on to be one of Uganda’s best female chess champions. The poverty her family endures and the constant struggles that so many face in Africa make this film a hard one to watch, especially after seeing it in real life.

8. The Good Lie

The Good LieWhen we were in high school, there were two very tall African boys who looked just a tiny bit older than everyone else. We later learned that they were Sudanese refugees, or some of “The Lost Boys of Sudan,” the name given to over 20,000 boys of the Nuer and Dinka ethnic groups who were orphaned or displaced during the Sudanese civil war.A US government program allowed about 3,800 of these refugees to resettle in the United States. The Good Lie tells the story of three of these Lost Boys and their sister, whose lives are torn apart by a terrible war, and how they are relocated and integrated into American society.

9. Long Walk to Freedom

Long Walk to FreedomBased on of Mandela’s own autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom lends viewers a deeper understanding of the politics of South Africa. The movie does a great job at showcasing historical events, but still mixes in the drama and action to keep viewers entertained. During our three months in South Africa, we saw images of the anti-apartheid revolutionary everywhere. From statues and important buildings to street names and street art, you can truly see the impact of Mandela.

10. Endless Summer

Endless Summer
This is not a film you’ll find on many lists about Africa, but it’s one of the most fitting for travelers to the continent. It also happens to be one of the first surf films of all time and led to the birth of a genre. The iconic and classic Endless Summer inspired a generation of surfers and travelers alike. This documentary by Bruce Brown follows two surfers as they leave the cold Californian coast behind in search of an “endless summer” in the Southern Hemisphere. They end up traveling to the coastlines of Senegal, Ghana, and South Africa, showcasing the excellent surf that can still be found in the Western Cape to this day. As world travelers and wanna-be surfers, that’s why we love it so much.

***There are so many great films about Africa that lend a better sense of the continent. Even if you’re not heading that way, give them a watch anyway. They are all entertaining and great works of art.

Natasha and Cameron run the blog The World Pursuit, focusing on adventure and cultural travel. The two of them met in the film industry before they decided to abandon the American lifestyle and travel the world together. They’ve been traveling together for three years across 55 countries and six continents. They bought a 4×4 at the tip of Africa and are traversing the continent while documenting their story on Instagram and Facebook

The post 10 Epic Films to Inspire You to Visit Africa appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Posted from https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/ten-epic-films-about-africa/

A giraffe in Africa
Welcome to the latest Africa related post by our resident experts Natasha and Cameron from The World Pursuit. While I’ve been to the continent in the past (and I’m actually there right now!), I’ve only seen a few countries, whereas these two spent close a year driving around the continent. This month, they share their favorite films about Africa. (I’ve seen some of them. They are really good.)

For us, learning about where you are in the world is an essential part of traveling. Instead of reading history books and researching your days away online, we’ve found that a fun way to learn is by watching movies. After a year traveling around Southern and East Africa, we’ve logged hours and hours doing just that.

Many of these movies gave us that initial urge to make our way to this less-traveled continent. Scenes of heartbreak, rolling landscapes, and wild animals told us we just had to get to Africa and explore for ourselves. We want to share our favorite movies set in Africa with you, so maybe you will watch them and feel inspired to travel there as well.

The movies below cover a wide range of topics and genres, but all are based on true events that happened in Africa and give a greater understanding of what traveling there is like.

1. Out of Africa

Out of AfricaOut of Africa is that movie about Africa that everyone knows and adores. Romance, rolling plains, and lions — what’s not to love? We couldn’t help mentioning it, because, as clichéd as it is, it is one of our favorite movies about Africa. The scenery and landscapes are entrancing, and the breathtaking cinematography convinced us to get ourselves to the continent. If you want to get a glimpse into colonial times in East Africa, with a bit of romance and drama sprinkled in, then set aside a few hours for this classic. Before the movie came out in 1988, Kenya was a place for the rich and elite to go on safari. After this hit the screen, tourism in Kenya exploded.

2. Gorillas in the Mist

Gorillas in the MistDid you know that there are only 800 mountain gorillas left in the world? Nowadays they are heavily protected in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, just a few decades ago there were no conservation efforts to help these mystical animals. But primatologist Diane Fossey spent 18 years of her life studying the social interactions of mountain gorilla families in the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda; without her efforts, it is a real possibility the animals would have been extinct today. This 1988 drama chronicles her life’s work — both her struggles and achievements — and her mysterious death. The film depicts just how deep a bond between animal and human can grow.

3. The First Grader

The First GraderIn 2003, Kenya made African history by offering free primary education to its citizens. Unlikely hero Kimani Maruge, who had never received an education during British colonial times, decided to go to school for the first time at the ripe old age of 84. The First Grader depicts how Maruge persevered and excelled in elementary school, and how determination truly has no age limit, thus putting the importance of education for all, especially in rural Africa, in front of an international audience.

4. The Last King of Scotland

The Last King of ScotlandThe Last King of Scotland is a must-watch before visiting Uganda. The ruthless Idi Amin became known for human rights abuses, corruption, torture, killing, and ethnic persecution during his brutal regime in the 1970s, causing an estimated 100,000-500,000 deaths, mostly Ugandans. The film’s name is taken from one of Amin’s self-proclaimed titles, the “King of Scotland.” It portrays Amin’s presidency through the eyes of his fictitious physician and conveys a sense of the political turmoil and hardship that the Ugandan people faced.

5. Hotel Rwanda

Hotel RwandaMost people have heard of the 1994 genocide that killed 500,000-1,000,000 Rwandans. During those dark days, Paul Rusembegi, the manager of the prominent Hôtel des Mille Collines in downtown Kigali, took in thousands of refugees, while making it look like the hotel was operating as usual. Although it was a tragic time in Rwanda, the movie at least has happy and uplifting points and showcases how strong the human spirit is. Of course, it’s not 100% factual, but it is a good jumping-off point for those who want to learn more about the Rwandan genocide. (We decided to visit the hotel when we were road-tripping through Rwanda earlier this year and were surprised to find that it is still one of the most beautiful and affluent hotels in Kigali.)

6. Half of a Yellow Sun

Half of a Yellow SunBased on the book of the same name, Half of a Yellow Sun follows two Nigerian sisters as their country’s civil car (also known as the Biafran War) breaks out in the late ’60s. Minute by minute, we watch as the sisters’ lives are decimated: family members die, others starve, and intellectuals become refugees in their own country. Although we haven’t been to Nigeria, the film and book do a great job of showing the atrocities of war, its effect on African women, the role of Western media and expats, and the results of colonialism.

7. Queen of Katwe

Queen of KatweThe Queen of Katwe is an inspirational real-life story about one young girl defying all odds. Phiona Mutesi is growing up in the slums of Uganda’s capital when she is introduced to the game of chess. With the help of her teachers and family, she goes on to be one of Uganda’s best female chess champions. The poverty her family endures and the constant struggles that so many face in Africa make this film a hard one to watch, especially after seeing it in real life.

8. The Good Lie

The Good LieWhen we were in high school, there were two very tall African boys who looked just a tiny bit older than everyone else. We later learned that they were Sudanese refugees, or some of “The Lost Boys of Sudan,” the name given to over 20,000 boys of the Nuer and Dinka ethnic groups who were orphaned or displaced during the Sudanese civil war.A US government program allowed about 3,800 of these refugees to resettle in the United States. The Good Lie tells the story of three of these Lost Boys and their sister, whose lives are torn apart by a terrible war, and how they are relocated and integrated into American society.

9. Long Walk to Freedom

Long Walk to FreedomBased on of Mandela’s own autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom lends viewers a deeper understanding of the politics of South Africa. The movie does a great job at showcasing historical events, but still mixes in the drama and action to keep viewers entertained. During our three months in South Africa, we saw images of the anti-apartheid revolutionary everywhere. From statues and important buildings to street names and street art, you can truly see the impact of Mandela.

10. Endless Summer

Endless Summer
This is not a film you’ll find on many lists about Africa, but it’s one of the most fitting for travelers to the continent. It also happens to be one of the first surf films of all time and led to the birth of a genre. The iconic and classic Endless Summer inspired a generation of surfers and travelers alike. This documentary by Bruce Brown follows two surfers as they leave the cold Californian coast behind in search of an “endless summer” in the Southern Hemisphere. They end up traveling to the coastlines of Senegal, Ghana, and South Africa, showcasing the excellent surf that can still be found in the Western Cape to this day. As world travelers and wanna-be surfers, that’s why we love it so much.

***There are so many great films about Africa that lend a better sense of the continent. Even if you’re not heading that way, give them a watch anyway. They are all entertaining and great works of art.

Natasha and Cameron run the blog The World Pursuit, focusing on adventure and cultural travel. The two of them met in the film industry before they decided to abandon the American lifestyle and travel the world together. They’ve been traveling together for three years across 55 countries and six continents. They bought a 4×4 at the tip of Africa and are traversing the continent while documenting their story on Instagram and Facebook

The post 10 Epic Films to Inspire You to Visit Africa appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Visiting France with Brittany Ferries

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/09/25/visiting-france-with-brittany-ferries/

Last year we travelled to Spain with Brittany Ferries and you may recall it was a rather eventful experience to say the least! This time we were looking to a somewhat more leisurely build-up to our crossing to France. Travelling out of Plymouth, we broke our journey up with a very relaxing stay at Whatley Manor […]

The post Visiting France with Brittany Ferries appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/09/25/visiting-france-with-brittany-ferries/

Last year we travelled to Spain with Brittany Ferries and you may recall it was a rather eventful experience to say the least! This time we were looking to a somewhat more leisurely build-up to our crossing to France. Travelling out of Plymouth, we broke our journey up with a very relaxing stay at Whatley Manor […]

The post Visiting France with Brittany Ferries appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

How to Travel Anywhere in the World (From Start to Finish) for $1,000

Posted from https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/how-to-travel-anywhere/

traveling the world on a tight budget
Wouldn’t it be great to travel anywhere in the world for $1,000 or less? And I don’t mean just the cost of getting there. I mean your entire vacation from the time you step out your door to the time you get back. How great would it be to take a one- or two-week trip anywhere for that?

Decades upon decades of marketing by expensive hotels, cruises, and resorts has left us with the cultural notion that travel is expensive. Despite all the blogs, apps, websites, and Instagram accounts out there, too many people still don’t believe that travel can be cheap.

I get that. We’ve been conditioned by big brands and companies for ages to believe this repeated message, and it takes awhile to shed that belief.

But we’re currently in a golden age of travel, thanks to cheap flights, travel hacking, and the sharing economy. We are seeing a revolution in travel that is allowing people to bypass the traditional travel gatekeepers of old — the ones who kept prices high — and travel frugally without sacrificing comfort.

It’s no longer a stark choice between cheap backpacker hostels and fancy resorts.

In fact, it’s actually really easy to travel well on a budget these days.

Today, I want to introduce the concept of the $1K trip. A thousand dollars can get you far — no matter where you want to go.

While there are many ways to travel cheaply, thanks to traveling hacking or extreme budgeting, this concept is about something more middle-of-the-road. It’s not about going away with no money or traveling on $10 or $20 a day. It’s for those of us in the middle, who have day-to-day jobs and want to travel more but always feel like we lack the resources to do so.

A thousand dollars is a lot of money, but it’s not an impossible amount of money for most of us. It’s saving $2.74 per day for a year. Most of us can save $2.74 a day.

So how do you begin?

First, flip the script. I know I’ve said this before, but if you wake up today and tell yourself, “I can’t travel because of X,” you’ll never look for ways to start traveling. You will only see roadblocks: bills, flight costs, car payments, other obligations, or whatever your “But…” is. I’m not trying to be patronizing — and I definitely recognize not everyone has the means or desire to travel — but you have to ask yourself in earnest, “How do I make travel a reality?”

You need to wake up tomorrow and say, “Yes, I can travel, too — and I am going to make it happen!”

Once you start believing it’s possible, you start looking for ways to make it possible. I’m not talking about that BS from The Secret, where you manifest a winning lottery ticket. I’m talking about thinking of the practical steps you can take from day one that will bring you closer to your travel goals.

Look at your day-to-day spending and the spending choices you make.

How much would you save if you bought a Brita filter instead of a daily bottle of water? Or gave up Starbucks, cooked more of your own food, and drank less alcohol? What if you gave up cable? Downgraded your phone plan? Walked to work? Sold your unneeded stuff on eBay?

Even if it takes you a year to save, it’s better to start today than tomorrow.

I always look at expenses and go, “I can have these new jeans or another fancy dinner — or I could have another week on the road.” I have friends who complain about not being able to travel then go buy $300 sunglasses. Not everyone can save a ton of money or even has the means to travel all the time, but with enough time and dedication, the majority of us can get somewhere. When I worked with Dianne during our case study program, she was a big casual spender but prioritizing travel in her mind helped her dramatically increase her savings.

Second, it’s important to remember that traveling on a limited budget requires planning.

For example, a few years ago I took a trip to London for $700. I knew I had ten days, didn’t care where I slept, and was content with drinking only a little, taking public transportation, and sticking to the free attractions. I only cared about eating and having fun with friends. Everything else was secondary. Knowing myself allowed me to make the most of my limited funds — and figure out how much I needed in the first place. I could plan the exact amount I needed to save because I had a rough idea of how much I would spend.

Break your trip down into small manageable goals. Don’t think about the 1,000 steps it takes to get to where you want to go. Think about the step right in front of you. What is ONE thing you can do today to get closer to your trip? What about the ONE thing you can do tomorrow?

Once a trip is broken down into smaller steps it becomes a lot more doable.

I want to use two example trips — a week in French Polynesia and two weeks in Australia — to illustrate the concept of the $1K vacation. (I’m picking expensive places so no one thinks I’m trying to cop out by using cheap destinations!) The same techniques I used to go to London for $700 are the same ones that apply to the trips below.

Example 1: French Polynesia

How to travel anywhere
OK, French Polynesia here we come! Well, French Polynesia is an expensive destination that has many rich residents and caters to higher-end tourists, and as such, even if you want to be basic and live like a local, you’ll find that prices for everything are at a premium.

But where there is a will, there is a way.

Flights
The cornerstone of budget travel is collecting points and miles, i.e., travel hacking. Reducing the cost of a flight to zero is the best way to reduce the cost of your trip. And, for any expensive destination, you will definitely need to travel hack. With flights running $1,600-1,950, French Polynesia under $1K is impossible without using miles to cover your expenses.

(Note: I won’t go into much detail in this post on how to get airline miles for your flight because that’s a whole other long post, which can be found here or here or here. I talk a lot about travel hacking on this website, and while the idea of collecting miles can be intimidating, it’s quite easy to do in relatively few months — even if you don’t fly a lot! For the purpose of this article, I’m going to assume you have or know how to get miles.)

To get to French Polynesia from the US, you can fly one of two airlines: Air France or Air Tahiti Nui (both have direct flights).

You can book Air France flights on any one of the below carriers. Here’s how many miles you’ll need:
award chart for tahiti flights

If you want to fly Air Tahiti Nui, you’d need this many miles:
award chart for tahiti flights

The only downside to using miles: award availability isn’t abundant on these flights. The above numbers are for “saver” awards (award tickets that need fewer miles) but sometimes only regular award tickets with higher mileage requirements are available, so you’ll need to keep that in mind.

Accommodation
Hotel award redemptions are often expensive in French Polynesia because the resorts are so luxurious. Therefore, I’d suggest lowering your overall accommodation costs by mixing up your stay with hotels, Airbnbs, or B&Bs. After all, you’re not going to French Polynesia without at least spending a night or two at a fancy resort, so we have to include at least a few nights there! Here are the typical award prices (you earn these points the same way you do as airline miles):

award chart for tahiti flights
(Note: Air Tahiti Nui offers a free ferry shuttle from the airport for anyone who isn’t staying at a fancy resort. Most guesthouses offer free transfers from where the shuttle drops you off.)

After a couple of nights redeeming hotel points for a fancy bungalow (if you have tons of hotel points, then by all means, keep staying for free!), I would switch to an Airbnb. Airbnb private rooms cost 4,000-6,000 XPF ($40-60 USD) per night, while an entire apartment (most come with pool access) will only cost you 6,000-9,900 XPF ($60-100 USD) per night. The only thing is, the Airbnbs are pretty much all located in and around the capital, so you’re not going to get too many luxurious beachfront places.

How this would apply elsewhere: Use a mix of points, hostels, Airbnbs, Couchsurfing, or even house sitting to lower your costs. More information can be found here.

Food
Food isn’t cheap in French Polynesia since most has to be expensively imported and those who visit tend to have money to burn. If you eat at the resorts and hotels, you’ll pay at least 2,500 XPF ($25) or more for a meal. At an upscale restaurant, expect to pay around 4,500 XPF ($45). A meal in a casual restaurant will cost around 2,200 XPF ($22 USD). A fast-food meal is about 1,000 XPF ($10) while a beer is around 600 XPF ($6 USD). However, by eating from the local snack bars on the road, you’ll only pay around 1,000 XPF ($10 USD) per day for food. If you plan on buying your own groceries, expect to spend at least 8,000-10,000 XPF ($80-100 USD) per week on food.

I’d avoid drinking, stick to as many local snack bars as possible, make picnic lunches, and eat out only at dinner to keep costs down.

How this would apply elsewhere: Drink less, eat local food, grocery shop, skip fancy restaurants, and avoid eating in touristy areas. More information can be found here.

Activities
Not surprisingly, activities in French Polynesia are not cheap either. Diving and other single-day water activities start at 11,000 XPF ($110 USD), with a two-tank dive costing 14,900-18,900 XPF ($150-190 USD). Surfing lessons, which generally last a few hours, cost around 13,000 XPF ($130 USD). Bike rentals are available almost anywhere and will cost 1,500-2,000 XPF ($15-20 USD) for a day. Whale-watching tours will cost around 11,500 XPF ($112 USD). I’d focus on one or two activities while here.

Sample Budget for French Polynesia
How to travel to tahiti budget

You could save more points, drink less, and even add more money to your food budget. Point is: French Polynesia suddenly became a lot more affordable! It’s pretty easy to go to French Polynesia for $1K. Using a mix of travel hacking, local restaurants, Airbnb, and doing only a few activities, you can visit here without sacrificing comfort.

Example 2: Australia

How to travel anywhere
Australia is often a place where budgets go to die — but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can still get you pretty far if you know a few tips and tricks. With your flight out of the way (see below), you would have $71 USD (88 AUD) per day ($1,000 divided by 14 days). You have to be a little bit more frugal than in French Polynesia but it’s doable.

Flights
First, I would use points for the flight the way I would for French Polynesia. That takes care of your flight, and even though award flights are not abundant, you can still find some availability. Here is a list of airlines — and the miles needed — to fly directly to Australia:

award chart for tahiti flights

In reality, saver award tickets for direct flights to Australia are hard to come by. They aren’t there often. You might be better off going indirectly. There are a lot of ways to get to Australia if you look at having a connection than going direct. I connected through Abu Dhabi, while a friend connected through Hong Kong, and another through Japan. I even had a friend fly via Chile once to save on miles.

Accommodation
Accommodation in Australia is pricey: even hostel dorms can be as high as 30-40 AUD ($24-32 USD) per night. Luckily, once you get out of the big cities, prices drop, and there are a lot of Couchsurfing hosts in the country. If that’s not your jam and you don’t want dorms, you can find rooms on Airbnb for 44-75 AUD ($35-60 USD) per day.

To keep your accommodation costs down, I would use a mix of hostels, Couchsurfing, and Airbnb. If you’re traveling in a group, Airbnb will allow you to really lower your per person costs the most. You can find entire apartments for as low as 164 AUD ($132 USD), and if you can squeeze 3-4 people into that, your per person price is only 41 AUD ($33 USD)! If you’re alone or a couple, then I would try to Couchsurf as much as possible (plus you get a kitchen too!)

How this would apply elsewhere: Use a mix of points, hostels, Airbnbs, Couchsurfing, or even house sitting to lower your costs. More information can be found here.

Food
Food isn’t cheap in Australia, and keeping this cost down is going to be the hardest part of your trip. However, if you lower your food (and drink) expenses, you can stay under $1K. Most decent restaurant entrees cost at least 20 AUD ($16 USD). Grab-and-go places cost around 8-10 AUD ($6.50-8 USD) for sandwiches. Fast food is around 15 AUD ($12 USD) for a meal (burger, fries, soda). The best value foods are the Asian and Indian restaurants, where you can get a really filling meal for under 10 AUD ($8 USD).

The best way to reduce your costs is to cook as many meals as possible. If you do so, expect to pay 100 AUD ($80 USD) per week for groceries (pasta, vegetables, chicken, and other basic foodstuffs). Moreover, with drinks running 8-15 AUD ($6.50-12 USD) each, I’d avoid drinking out if possible. Buy beer at the store.

How this would apply elsewhere: Drink less, eat local food, grocery shop, skip fancy restaurants, and avoid eating in touristy areas. More information can be found here.

Transportation
Traveling around the country is tough given the long distances. The easiest way to get around the country in such a short period of time is to fly. There are often some last-minute flight deals on Tiger Airlines and Virgin. But even regular fares are pretty good. For example, Brisbane to Cairns is only 107 AUD ($86 USD) and Melbourne to Sydney is only 67 AUD ($54 USD).

Compare that to bus fares via Greyhound:

  • Brisbane – Cairns: 320-374 AUD ($258-300 USD)
  • Melbourne – Sydney: 120 AUD ($96 USD)
  • Sydney – Cairns Unlimited Pass (i.e., the whole eastern coast, 44 stops): 429 AUD ($345 USD)

If you had more time and could stop often along the way, the unlimited pass would be better — but you don’t have that time, so cramming that $429 USD into two weeks doesn’t make sense.

I’d also consider ridesharing via websites like Gumtree or Jayride, or hostel message boards. Lots of people rent vans and are always looking for people to split the cost of gas. You can also drive yourself. Campervan rentals start at 60 AUD ($48 USD) per day and can also double as places to sleep (thus saving more money). If you are traveling with friends, it’s smart to buy a used car or campervan (or rent a new one from one of the many rental companies) and split the cost of gas.

I’d probably take a few flights and then a few rideshares. If I were in a group or liked driving, I’d rent a van to lower the cost per person. That way you save time on the long distances and still enjoy the country from the ground too! As much as I love driving across Australia, it’s better suited when you can break up the journey when you have more time.

Activities
Activities will really ruin your budget in Australia. For example, a one-day trip to the Great Barrier Reef can cost 230 AUD ($185 USD), while a two-night sailing trip around the Whitsunday Islands can cost upwards of 540 AUD ($435 USD). A three-day trip to Uluru from Alice Springs is around 480 AUD ($386 USD). Luckily, there’s a bunch of free walking tours and activities in cities, but if you’re looking for that once-in-a-lifetime adventure, you’re going to pay for it!

To lower costs, I’d do a lot of solo hiking and trips, free walking tours, and one or two big-ticket items.

Sample Budget for Australia
How to travel to australia budget

Again, this is a sample budget and it takes a little more effort to watch the pennies in Australia, but it’s doable to travel there and not spend a lot of money. There are incredible free activities, cheap groceries, and ways to get around on a budget. I’m not saying it will be easy, but I am saying it’s not impossible.

***

When you travel like you live, you can visit anywhere. Taking an entire vacation for less than $1,000 is completely doable. Stop thinking about travel as this big, expensive thing and start thinking about it more practical terms. Think about the steps to make your trip happen. A thousand dollars isn’t nothing – and it may take a long time to save that amount – but it’s not the multiple thousands the media makes travel out to be!

“I don’t have the money to go” is a limiting belief.

When you start looking for ways to say yes, when you start breaking travel down step-by-step and look for ways to save, the world is truly your oyster.

Matt’s Addendum: After some feedback, I want to clarify something: Yes, this requires points and miles that have to be earned prior to your trip. However, since those can be earned without spending extra money, I don’t view that as an added cost since it doesn’t require to spend more money than you would to get them. Additionally, I picked two expensive destinations that require points and miles but if you were to go closer to home or to a cheaper place, the need for points would be far less. I recently saw a $450 R/T flight from the US to Thailand. At $50 a day, you could still go for 12 days, use no points, and not break the $1k barrier.

P.S. – Want to find out how you can meet more locals AND find free accommodation when you travel? Check out our Q&A with Couchsurfing on September 28th at 6pm EST!

The post How to Travel Anywhere in the World (From Start to Finish) for $1,000 appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Posted from https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/how-to-travel-anywhere/

traveling the world on a tight budget
Wouldn’t it be great to travel anywhere in the world for $1,000 or less? And I don’t mean just the cost of getting there. I mean your entire vacation from the time you step out your door to the time you get back. How great would it be to take a one- or two-week trip anywhere for that?

Decades upon decades of marketing by expensive hotels, cruises, and resorts has left us with the cultural notion that travel is expensive. Despite all the blogs, apps, websites, and Instagram accounts out there, too many people still don’t believe that travel can be cheap.

I get that. We’ve been conditioned by big brands and companies for ages to believe this repeated message, and it takes awhile to shed that belief.

But we’re currently in a golden age of travel, thanks to cheap flights, travel hacking, and the sharing economy. We are seeing a revolution in travel that is allowing people to bypass the traditional travel gatekeepers of old — the ones who kept prices high — and travel frugally without sacrificing comfort.

It’s no longer a stark choice between cheap backpacker hostels and fancy resorts.

In fact, it’s actually really easy to travel well on a budget these days.

Today, I want to introduce the concept of the $1K trip. A thousand dollars can get you far — no matter where you want to go.

While there are many ways to travel cheaply, thanks to traveling hacking or extreme budgeting, this concept is about something more middle-of-the-road. It’s not about going away with no money or traveling on $10 or $20 a day. It’s for those of us in the middle, who have day-to-day jobs and want to travel more but always feel like we lack the resources to do so.

A thousand dollars is a lot of money, but it’s not an impossible amount of money for most of us. It’s saving $2.74 per day for a year. Most of us can save $2.74 a day.

So how do you begin?

First, flip the script. I know I’ve said this before, but if you wake up today and tell yourself, “I can’t travel because of X,” you’ll never look for ways to start traveling. You will only see roadblocks: bills, flight costs, car payments, other obligations, or whatever your “But…” is. I’m not trying to be patronizing — and I definitely recognize not everyone has the means or desire to travel — but you have to ask yourself in earnest, “How do I make travel a reality?”

You need to wake up tomorrow and say, “Yes, I can travel, too — and I am going to make it happen!”

Once you start believing it’s possible, you start looking for ways to make it possible. I’m not talking about that BS from The Secret, where you manifest a winning lottery ticket. I’m talking about thinking of the practical steps you can take from day one that will bring you closer to your travel goals.

Look at your day-to-day spending and the spending choices you make.

How much would you save if you bought a Brita filter instead of a daily bottle of water? Or gave up Starbucks, cooked more of your own food, and drank less alcohol? What if you gave up cable? Downgraded your phone plan? Walked to work? Sold your unneeded stuff on eBay?

Even if it takes you a year to save, it’s better to start today than tomorrow.

I always look at expenses and go, “I can have these new jeans or another fancy dinner — or I could have another week on the road.” I have friends who complain about not being able to travel then go buy $300 sunglasses. Not everyone can save a ton of money or even has the means to travel all the time, but with enough time and dedication, the majority of us can get somewhere. When I worked with Dianne during our case study program, she was a big casual spender but prioritizing travel in her mind helped her dramatically increase her savings.

Second, it’s important to remember that traveling on a limited budget requires planning.

For example, a few years ago I took a trip to London for $700. I knew I had ten days, didn’t care where I slept, and was content with drinking only a little, taking public transportation, and sticking to the free attractions. I only cared about eating and having fun with friends. Everything else was secondary. Knowing myself allowed me to make the most of my limited funds — and figure out how much I needed in the first place. I could plan the exact amount I needed to save because I had a rough idea of how much I would spend.

Break your trip down into small manageable goals. Don’t think about the 1,000 steps it takes to get to where you want to go. Think about the step right in front of you. What is ONE thing you can do today to get closer to your trip? What about the ONE thing you can do tomorrow?

Once a trip is broken down into smaller steps it becomes a lot more doable.

I want to use two example trips — a week in French Polynesia and two weeks in Australia — to illustrate the concept of the $1K vacation. (I’m picking expensive places so no one thinks I’m trying to cop out by using cheap destinations!) The same techniques I used to go to London for $700 are the same ones that apply to the trips below.

Example 1: French Polynesia

How to travel anywhere
OK, French Polynesia here we come! Well, French Polynesia is an expensive destination that has many rich residents and caters to higher-end tourists, and as such, even if you want to be basic and live like a local, you’ll find that prices for everything are at a premium.

But where there is a will, there is a way.

Flights
The cornerstone of budget travel is collecting points and miles, i.e., travel hacking. Reducing the cost of a flight to zero is the best way to reduce the cost of your trip. And, for any expensive destination, you will definitely need to travel hack. With flights running $1,600-1,950, French Polynesia under $1K is impossible without using miles to cover your expenses.

(Note: I won’t go into much detail in this post on how to get airline miles for your flight because that’s a whole other long post, which can be found here or here or here. I talk a lot about travel hacking on this website, and while the idea of collecting miles can be intimidating, it’s quite easy to do in relatively few months — even if you don’t fly a lot! For the purpose of this article, I’m going to assume you have or know how to get miles.)

To get to French Polynesia from the US, you can fly one of two airlines: Air France or Air Tahiti Nui (both have direct flights).

You can book Air France flights on any one of the below carriers. Here’s how many miles you’ll need:
award chart for tahiti flights

If you want to fly Air Tahiti Nui, you’d need this many miles:
award chart for tahiti flights

The only downside to using miles: award availability isn’t abundant on these flights. The above numbers are for “saver” awards (award tickets that need fewer miles) but sometimes only regular award tickets with higher mileage requirements are available, so you’ll need to keep that in mind.

Accommodation
Hotel award redemptions are often expensive in French Polynesia because the resorts are so luxurious. Therefore, I’d suggest lowering your overall accommodation costs by mixing up your stay with hotels, Airbnbs, or B&Bs. After all, you’re not going to French Polynesia without at least spending a night or two at a fancy resort, so we have to include at least a few nights there! Here are the typical award prices (you earn these points the same way you do as airline miles):

award chart for tahiti flights
(Note: Air Tahiti Nui offers a free ferry shuttle from the airport for anyone who isn’t staying at a fancy resort. Most guesthouses offer free transfers from where the shuttle drops you off.)

After a couple of nights redeeming hotel points for a fancy bungalow (if you have tons of hotel points, then by all means, keep staying for free!), I would switch to an Airbnb. Airbnb private rooms cost 4,000-6,000 XPF ($40-60 USD) per night, while an entire apartment (most come with pool access) will only cost you 6,000-9,900 XPF ($60-100 USD) per night. The only thing is, the Airbnbs are pretty much all located in and around the capital, so you’re not going to get too many luxurious beachfront places.

How this would apply elsewhere: Use a mix of points, hostels, Airbnbs, Couchsurfing, or even house sitting to lower your costs. More information can be found here.

Food
Food isn’t cheap in French Polynesia since most has to be expensively imported and those who visit tend to have money to burn. If you eat at the resorts and hotels, you’ll pay at least 2,500 XPF ($25) or more for a meal. At an upscale restaurant, expect to pay around 4,500 XPF ($45). A meal in a casual restaurant will cost around 2,200 XPF ($22 USD). A fast-food meal is about 1,000 XPF ($10) while a beer is around 600 XPF ($6 USD). However, by eating from the local snack bars on the road, you’ll only pay around 1,000 XPF ($10 USD) per day for food. If you plan on buying your own groceries, expect to spend at least 8,000-10,000 XPF ($80-100 USD) per week on food.

I’d avoid drinking, stick to as many local snack bars as possible, make picnic lunches, and eat out only at dinner to keep costs down.

How this would apply elsewhere: Drink less, eat local food, grocery shop, skip fancy restaurants, and avoid eating in touristy areas. More information can be found here.

Activities
Not surprisingly, activities in French Polynesia are not cheap either. Diving and other single-day water activities start at 11,000 XPF ($110 USD), with a two-tank dive costing 14,900-18,900 XPF ($150-190 USD). Surfing lessons, which generally last a few hours, cost around 13,000 XPF ($130 USD). Bike rentals are available almost anywhere and will cost 1,500-2,000 XPF ($15-20 USD) for a day. Whale-watching tours will cost around 11,500 XPF ($112 USD). I’d focus on one or two activities while here.

Sample Budget for French Polynesia
How to travel to tahiti budget

You could save more points, drink less, and even add more money to your food budget. Point is: French Polynesia suddenly became a lot more affordable! It’s pretty easy to go to French Polynesia for $1K. Using a mix of travel hacking, local restaurants, Airbnb, and doing only a few activities, you can visit here without sacrificing comfort.

Example 2: Australia

How to travel anywhere
Australia is often a place where budgets go to die — but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can still get you pretty far if you know a few tips and tricks. With your flight out of the way (see below), you would have $71 USD (88 AUD) per day ($1,000 divided by 14 days). You have to be a little bit more frugal than in French Polynesia but it’s doable.

Flights
First, I would use points for the flight the way I would for French Polynesia. That takes care of your flight, and even though award flights are not abundant, you can still find some availability. Here is a list of airlines — and the miles needed — to fly directly to Australia:

award chart for tahiti flights

In reality, saver award tickets for direct flights to Australia are hard to come by. They aren’t there often. You might be better off going indirectly. There are a lot of ways to get to Australia if you look at having a connection than going direct. I connected through Abu Dhabi, while a friend connected through Hong Kong, and another through Japan. I even had a friend fly via Chile once to save on miles.

Accommodation
Accommodation in Australia is pricey: even hostel dorms can be as high as 30-40 AUD ($24-32 USD) per night. Luckily, once you get out of the big cities, prices drop, and there are a lot of Couchsurfing hosts in the country. If that’s not your jam and you don’t want dorms, you can find rooms on Airbnb for 44-75 AUD ($35-60 USD) per day.

To keep your accommodation costs down, I would use a mix of hostels, Couchsurfing, and Airbnb. If you’re traveling in a group, Airbnb will allow you to really lower your per person costs the most. You can find entire apartments for as low as 164 AUD ($132 USD), and if you can squeeze 3-4 people into that, your per person price is only 41 AUD ($33 USD)! If you’re alone or a couple, then I would try to Couchsurf as much as possible (plus you get a kitchen too!)

How this would apply elsewhere: Use a mix of points, hostels, Airbnbs, Couchsurfing, or even house sitting to lower your costs. More information can be found here.

Food
Food isn’t cheap in Australia, and keeping this cost down is going to be the hardest part of your trip. However, if you lower your food (and drink) expenses, you can stay under $1K. Most decent restaurant entrees cost at least 20 AUD ($16 USD). Grab-and-go places cost around 8-10 AUD ($6.50-8 USD) for sandwiches. Fast food is around 15 AUD ($12 USD) for a meal (burger, fries, soda). The best value foods are the Asian and Indian restaurants, where you can get a really filling meal for under 10 AUD ($8 USD).

The best way to reduce your costs is to cook as many meals as possible. If you do so, expect to pay 100 AUD ($80 USD) per week for groceries (pasta, vegetables, chicken, and other basic foodstuffs). Moreover, with drinks running 8-15 AUD ($6.50-12 USD) each, I’d avoid drinking out if possible. Buy beer at the store.

How this would apply elsewhere: Drink less, eat local food, grocery shop, skip fancy restaurants, and avoid eating in touristy areas. More information can be found here.

Transportation
Traveling around the country is tough given the long distances. The easiest way to get around the country in such a short period of time is to fly. There are often some last-minute flight deals on Tiger Airlines and Virgin. But even regular fares are pretty good. For example, Brisbane to Cairns is only 107 AUD ($86 USD) and Melbourne to Sydney is only 67 AUD ($54 USD).

Compare that to bus fares via Greyhound:

  • Brisbane – Cairns: 320-374 AUD ($258-300 USD)
  • Melbourne – Sydney: 120 AUD ($96 USD)
  • Sydney – Cairns Unlimited Pass (i.e., the whole eastern coast, 44 stops): 429 AUD ($345 USD)

If you had more time and could stop often along the way, the unlimited pass would be better — but you don’t have that time, so cramming that $429 USD into two weeks doesn’t make sense.

I’d also consider ridesharing via websites like Gumtree or Jayride, or hostel message boards. Lots of people rent vans and are always looking for people to split the cost of gas. You can also drive yourself. Campervan rentals start at 60 AUD ($48 USD) per day and can also double as places to sleep (thus saving more money). If you are traveling with friends, it’s smart to buy a used car or campervan (or rent a new one from one of the many rental companies) and split the cost of gas.

I’d probably take a few flights and then a few rideshares. If I were in a group or liked driving, I’d rent a van to lower the cost per person. That way you save time on the long distances and still enjoy the country from the ground too! As much as I love driving across Australia, it’s better suited when you can break up the journey when you have more time.

Activities
Activities will really ruin your budget in Australia. For example, a one-day trip to the Great Barrier Reef can cost 230 AUD ($185 USD), while a two-night sailing trip around the Whitsunday Islands can cost upwards of 540 AUD ($435 USD). A three-day trip to Uluru from Alice Springs is around 480 AUD ($386 USD). Luckily, there’s a bunch of free walking tours and activities in cities, but if you’re looking for that once-in-a-lifetime adventure, you’re going to pay for it!

To lower costs, I’d do a lot of solo hiking and trips, free walking tours, and one or two big-ticket items.

Sample Budget for Australia
How to travel to australia budget

Again, this is a sample budget and it takes a little more effort to watch the pennies in Australia, but it’s doable to travel there and not spend a lot of money. There are incredible free activities, cheap groceries, and ways to get around on a budget. I’m not saying it will be easy, but I am saying it’s not impossible.

***

When you travel like you live, you can visit anywhere. Taking an entire vacation for less than $1,000 is completely doable. Stop thinking about travel as this big, expensive thing and start thinking about it more practical terms. Think about the steps to make your trip happen. A thousand dollars isn’t nothing – and it may take a long time to save that amount – but it’s not the multiple thousands the media makes travel out to be!

“I don’t have the money to go” is a limiting belief.

When you start looking for ways to say yes, when you start breaking travel down step-by-step and look for ways to save, the world is truly your oyster.

Matt’s Addendum: After some feedback, I want to clarify something: Yes, this requires points and miles that have to be earned prior to your trip. However, since those can be earned without spending extra money, I don’t view that as an added cost since it doesn’t require to spend more money than you would to get them. Additionally, I picked two expensive destinations that require points and miles but if you were to go closer to home or to a cheaper place, the need for points would be far less. I recently saw a $450 R/T flight from the US to Thailand. At $50 a day, you could still go for 12 days, use no points, and not break the $1k barrier.

P.S. – Want to find out how you can meet more locals AND find free accommodation when you travel? Check out our Q&A with Couchsurfing on September 28th at 6pm EST!

The post How to Travel Anywhere in the World (From Start to Finish) for $1,000 appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

7 climbs to get stunning scenic photos in Florence

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/09/21/7-climbs-to-get-stunning-scenic-photos-in-florence/

Cameras have evolved into a permanent must-have part of our mainstream culture. Whether it is a part of a smart phone, or a high-end DSLR, we use them to communicate online and off, for email and social media, for business and education. When traveling, cameras have become as ubiquitous as a passport. Even more so, […]

The post 7 climbs to get stunning scenic photos in Florence appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/09/21/7-climbs-to-get-stunning-scenic-photos-in-florence/

Cameras have evolved into a permanent must-have part of our mainstream culture. Whether it is a part of a smart phone, or a high-end DSLR, we use them to communicate online and off, for email and social media, for business and education. When traveling, cameras have become as ubiquitous as a passport. Even more so, […]

The post 7 climbs to get stunning scenic photos in Florence appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

4 pleasant, short trips around Lake Geneva

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/09/20/4-pleasant-short-trips-around-lake-geneva/

The city of Geneva is renowned for its multicultural treasures as well as a hub for foreign politics and business. The high life quality of the city can’t be contained by the streets alone. It spills over to the lush surroundings, most notably the Lake Geneva. So if you want to escape the thrilling city […]

The post 4 pleasant, short trips around Lake Geneva appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/09/20/4-pleasant-short-trips-around-lake-geneva/

The city of Geneva is renowned for its multicultural treasures as well as a hub for foreign politics and business. The high life quality of the city can’t be contained by the streets alone. It spills over to the lush surroundings, most notably the Lake Geneva. So if you want to escape the thrilling city […]

The post 4 pleasant, short trips around Lake Geneva appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

How this Boomer Canadian Couple Traveled the World for a Year

Posted from https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/boomer-sabbatical-travel/

Esther and her husband
As a solo backpacker, there are are certain areas of travel I’m not yet an expert in. Fortunately, there are plenty of experts in our community who can share their travel experiences! Lately, there’s been a growing trend among boomers taking sabbaticals, early retirements, and buying vans and just saying “Screw it! Let’s go!” when the kids move out. More and more of my emails come from boomers looking for advice – not young college kids! It’s an awesome trend. So, today I wanted to share an interview with Esther and Peter. They’re are couple from Canada traveling the world on a year-long sabbatical. They share their advice on health issues, budgeting, and much more!

Nomadic Matt: Hi Esther! Thanks for doing this interview. Tell us about yourself!
Esther: I am an elementary school principal who has taken a self-funded leave for one year. I remarried a few years ago, and my husband, Peter, is my travel partner. I celebrated my 52nd birthday at the Pyramids of Giza, and Peter celebrated his 58th at a variety show in Bangkok. We call North Delta (a suburb of Vancouver) home.

How did you get into travel?
I think it happened in stages. When I was still in elementary school, my parents bought me a desk that had a map of the world on the top. I used to stare at that and dream of all the incredible places there are to explore in the world. Then, when I was thirteen, my parents bought a time-share. This allowed our family to travel to Mexico and Hawaii, which were my first tropical experiences. I loved the sounds and smells and the exotic feel of it. As a university student I studied languages in both Freiburg, Germany, and Bordeaux, France. During those two years I traveled in Europe, and I think that is when the travel bug really bit me. I have yet to recover from that bite!

Where have you been?
Before this round-the-world tour, I had already traveled extensively in Europe, Mexico, Hawaii, Cuba, China, and Canada. Since August 2016, my husband and I have visited Holland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Sri Lanka, India, and Nepal, and we are currently in Thailand. We still have three or four months of traveling ahead of us, and the current plan is to explore Southeast Asia, but we are open to other possibilities, too. Ironically, as we travel, my list of places to visit is growing longer rather than getting shorter!

What’s been the biggest lesson so far?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that the world is simultaneously small and big. By this I mean that it is small enough to explore. It is big, however, in that there is an abundance of everything we require to sustain ourselves. If we were to put aside politics and borders and simply focus on ensuring that we distribute the riches of the world, there would, I honestly believe, be more than enough of everything for everyone. Living out of a carry-on suitcase has taught me that we actually “need” very little.

What’s your number one piece of advice for new travelers?
Plan, plan, and plan some more. It is not only necessary but exciting! Then be prepared to abandon your carefully made plans for unexpected opportunities that will arise. This trip we decided to forego a portion of Eastern Europe to serve as crew on a sailboat in the Dodecanese Islands, and we blew our budget to sail down the Nile on a dahabiya (passenger boat). We don’t regret those decisions one bit.

A second piece of advice would be to document your journey. I am not normally one to journal, but I do while traveling, and it is tremendous to look back on even now. We also are sharing our travel adventures through blogging and social media. I am confident that the digital and hard copies will become treasured memories when the trip is over.

Esther and her husband

How do you travel on a budget?
We basically draw from three pots of money: my salary, Peter’s pension and savings for the trip, and the income from renting our house. We are fortunate that all three sources of income come in monthly, which makes it easy to budget. We also have savings to dip into should the need arise, but so far we haven’t had to.

We look for budget accommodation. Hotels.com is where I do most of our bookings; because I write reviews of our stays, I get a percentage off subsequent stays and a free night for every ten paid nights. We have also used Airbnb on occasion.

We have been fortunate to spend some time with my relatives in Austria and also with many Couchsurfing hosts. I hesitate to put either of these in the budget category though, because we don’t use these to save money but rather because it is such an enriching experience. We have been fortunate to have had wonderful hosts in the past eight months.

What budget tips do you have for other travelers?
Track every penny you spend. While Peter tracks things electronically using an app called Andromoney, I try to keep a running total in my head. Often my total is WAY off, as it is easy to forget a taxi ride, a cup of coffee, a snack at a roadside stand. We go over our $150 [Canadian] for the two of us some days, knowing we need to make it up on others.

Your husband has some health issues. How do you handle that on the road?
While we have been planning this round-the-world trip for a few years, our resolve became greater when Peter had a stroke two years ago. He worked hard to recover, but it was a reminder that life is uncertain and that we don’t know how many days or years any of us have ahead of us, so we should fill them doing what we love.

We delayed our trip by one year while Peter worked on recovering. Originally, we planned on driving around Iceland so we could hike to the natural hot springs. Peter’s high blood pressure and hot springs aren’t a good combination, so instead we decided to sign up for a bike and barge tour in Holland.

His medical condition also caused us to think carefully about which travel insurance would cover pre-existing conditions. Peter packed a year’s worth of medication and his blood pressure cuff, and he monitors his blood pressure regularly. Additionally, I have a bad hip, and the doctor has told me I will eventually require a hip replacement. We strive to live a healthy, mainly vegetarian lifestyle while traveling, but it is difficult in many countries.

Between the two of us, we are mindful of our physical limitations and that some activities we might have undertaken in our twenties simply aren’t for us now. That is the reality of growing older (for us at least). We are still able to do all of the activities we enjoy…just scaled back a bit.

Esther and her husband posing for a photo
Have you had to see any doctors on the road? Was getting a year’s worth of medicine difficult?
I had a really bad cold while in Sri Lanka over Christmas so we went to the hospital. The hospital visit and medications were only $25. I also had to have a doctor make a house call to the hotel while in India due to vertigo caused by a buildup of water in the ear, and he charged $23 for the house call and medication. For both of these medical interventions we paid cash, because it wasn’t enough to send to our medical insurance.

As far of the year’s worth medication, through the Canadian medical plan you can only purchase six months’ worth, so the other half was out of pocket. Apparently, we could have picked up these medications cheaply in some countries but found that out too late. I am not sure we would want to have counted on that though because we find that even trying to get baby aspirin in the right dosage can be a challenge.

Do you meet a lot of travelers your age on the road? If so, how?
This has been tricky. Most of the travellers our age are on group tours so they don’t tend to seek to expand their circle of friends. I make a point to start conversations with people wherever and whenever I can. Hostel and hotel lobbies are often good spots to connect with people.

The most significant meetings have definitely been through Couchsurfing. When looking for a host, I don’t focus too much on the age, as our age bracket makes up a small percentage of the Couchsurfing world. Besides, I can enjoy the company of someone regardless of their age. Connecting with younger people has also been great and is quite rejuvenating. We have definitely made friendships on the road that I am confident will endure.

Do you find being older travelers makes it harder to find Couchsurfing hosts? A lot of older travelers worry that the site is “just for young people”.
I don’t think our age has been an issue at all with Couchsurfing. If you make it clear that the Couchsurfing will be mutually satisfying, then age should not be an issue. I’d say more than 50% of the “surfers” are younger than us and we have had wonderful experiences. Actually, I think that a lot of the younger Couchsurfers take a lot without giving back by either not hosting themselves or just being a guest that sees it as a free hotel room. So being young could sometimes be viewed as a disadvantage in finding a host, in my mind.

Esther and her husband

What’s one mistake you’ve made that you could have avoided?
Today we were robbed by our cabbie. My husband had been to the bank earlier in the day. Usually, we split up the money between us and also stash some in some secret places so as not to have all our money in one spot. Today, we were in a hurry, hot, and tired, and we were going to do it once we got back to the hotel. It was a perfect storm. In the end, the cabbie got about 3,000,000 dong ($180 USD) by feigning outrage and then grabbing a bunch of bills from my husband’s open wallet. Not knowing what he was going to do next, we got out of his cab as soon as he hit the unlock button. He was acting quite irrational, so we were happy to remove ourselves from that situation without greater loss. It has rattled us a bit and reminded us to follow all the common-sense safety measures.

What advice do you have for travelers your age?
GO NOW! Many people are waiting for retirement or the economy to improve or their children or grandchildren to be older. There is always something that will hold you back. Independent traveling won’t get easier as the years pass. Some people might feel it is a selfish indulgence, but perhaps that isn’t such a bad thing. We have spent decades dedicating ourselves to working, raising children, and dreaming about “one day.” It is OK to decide that day is today—pack your bags and go!

Become the Next Success Story

One of my favorite parts about this job is hearing people’s travel stories. They inspire me, but more importantly, they also inspire you. I travel a certain way but there are many ways to fund your trips and travel the world. I hope these stories show you that there is more than one way to travel and that it is within your grasp to reach your travel goals. Here are more examples of people who found work overseas to fund their trips:


P.S. – We are hosting a Q&A with Couchsurfing on September 28th. Come join and find out how to crush it on Couchsurfing and meet locals on your travels!

The post How this Boomer Canadian Couple Traveled the World for a Year appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Posted from https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/boomer-sabbatical-travel/

Esther and her husband
As a solo backpacker, there are are certain areas of travel I’m not yet an expert in. Fortunately, there are plenty of experts in our community who can share their travel experiences! Lately, there’s been a growing trend among boomers taking sabbaticals, early retirements, and buying vans and just saying “Screw it! Let’s go!” when the kids move out. More and more of my emails come from boomers looking for advice – not young college kids! It’s an awesome trend. So, today I wanted to share an interview with Esther and Peter. They’re are couple from Canada traveling the world on a year-long sabbatical. They share their advice on health issues, budgeting, and much more!

Nomadic Matt: Hi Esther! Thanks for doing this interview. Tell us about yourself!
Esther: I am an elementary school principal who has taken a self-funded leave for one year. I remarried a few years ago, and my husband, Peter, is my travel partner. I celebrated my 52nd birthday at the Pyramids of Giza, and Peter celebrated his 58th at a variety show in Bangkok. We call North Delta (a suburb of Vancouver) home.

How did you get into travel?
I think it happened in stages. When I was still in elementary school, my parents bought me a desk that had a map of the world on the top. I used to stare at that and dream of all the incredible places there are to explore in the world. Then, when I was thirteen, my parents bought a time-share. This allowed our family to travel to Mexico and Hawaii, which were my first tropical experiences. I loved the sounds and smells and the exotic feel of it. As a university student I studied languages in both Freiburg, Germany, and Bordeaux, France. During those two years I traveled in Europe, and I think that is when the travel bug really bit me. I have yet to recover from that bite!

Where have you been?
Before this round-the-world tour, I had already traveled extensively in Europe, Mexico, Hawaii, Cuba, China, and Canada. Since August 2016, my husband and I have visited Holland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Sri Lanka, India, and Nepal, and we are currently in Thailand. We still have three or four months of traveling ahead of us, and the current plan is to explore Southeast Asia, but we are open to other possibilities, too. Ironically, as we travel, my list of places to visit is growing longer rather than getting shorter!

What’s been the biggest lesson so far?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that the world is simultaneously small and big. By this I mean that it is small enough to explore. It is big, however, in that there is an abundance of everything we require to sustain ourselves. If we were to put aside politics and borders and simply focus on ensuring that we distribute the riches of the world, there would, I honestly believe, be more than enough of everything for everyone. Living out of a carry-on suitcase has taught me that we actually “need” very little.

What’s your number one piece of advice for new travelers?
Plan, plan, and plan some more. It is not only necessary but exciting! Then be prepared to abandon your carefully made plans for unexpected opportunities that will arise. This trip we decided to forego a portion of Eastern Europe to serve as crew on a sailboat in the Dodecanese Islands, and we blew our budget to sail down the Nile on a dahabiya (passenger boat). We don’t regret those decisions one bit.

A second piece of advice would be to document your journey. I am not normally one to journal, but I do while traveling, and it is tremendous to look back on even now. We also are sharing our travel adventures through blogging and social media. I am confident that the digital and hard copies will become treasured memories when the trip is over.

Esther and her husband

How do you travel on a budget?
We basically draw from three pots of money: my salary, Peter’s pension and savings for the trip, and the income from renting our house. We are fortunate that all three sources of income come in monthly, which makes it easy to budget. We also have savings to dip into should the need arise, but so far we haven’t had to.

We look for budget accommodation. Hotels.com is where I do most of our bookings; because I write reviews of our stays, I get a percentage off subsequent stays and a free night for every ten paid nights. We have also used Airbnb on occasion.

We have been fortunate to spend some time with my relatives in Austria and also with many Couchsurfing hosts. I hesitate to put either of these in the budget category though, because we don’t use these to save money but rather because it is such an enriching experience. We have been fortunate to have had wonderful hosts in the past eight months.

What budget tips do you have for other travelers?
Track every penny you spend. While Peter tracks things electronically using an app called Andromoney, I try to keep a running total in my head. Often my total is WAY off, as it is easy to forget a taxi ride, a cup of coffee, a snack at a roadside stand. We go over our $150 [Canadian] for the two of us some days, knowing we need to make it up on others.

Your husband has some health issues. How do you handle that on the road?
While we have been planning this round-the-world trip for a few years, our resolve became greater when Peter had a stroke two years ago. He worked hard to recover, but it was a reminder that life is uncertain and that we don’t know how many days or years any of us have ahead of us, so we should fill them doing what we love.

We delayed our trip by one year while Peter worked on recovering. Originally, we planned on driving around Iceland so we could hike to the natural hot springs. Peter’s high blood pressure and hot springs aren’t a good combination, so instead we decided to sign up for a bike and barge tour in Holland.

His medical condition also caused us to think carefully about which travel insurance would cover pre-existing conditions. Peter packed a year’s worth of medication and his blood pressure cuff, and he monitors his blood pressure regularly. Additionally, I have a bad hip, and the doctor has told me I will eventually require a hip replacement. We strive to live a healthy, mainly vegetarian lifestyle while traveling, but it is difficult in many countries.

Between the two of us, we are mindful of our physical limitations and that some activities we might have undertaken in our twenties simply aren’t for us now. That is the reality of growing older (for us at least). We are still able to do all of the activities we enjoy…just scaled back a bit.

Esther and her husband posing for a photo
Have you had to see any doctors on the road? Was getting a year’s worth of medicine difficult?
I had a really bad cold while in Sri Lanka over Christmas so we went to the hospital. The hospital visit and medications were only $25. I also had to have a doctor make a house call to the hotel while in India due to vertigo caused by a buildup of water in the ear, and he charged $23 for the house call and medication. For both of these medical interventions we paid cash, because it wasn’t enough to send to our medical insurance.

As far of the year’s worth medication, through the Canadian medical plan you can only purchase six months’ worth, so the other half was out of pocket. Apparently, we could have picked up these medications cheaply in some countries but found that out too late. I am not sure we would want to have counted on that though because we find that even trying to get baby aspirin in the right dosage can be a challenge.

Do you meet a lot of travelers your age on the road? If so, how?
This has been tricky. Most of the travellers our age are on group tours so they don’t tend to seek to expand their circle of friends. I make a point to start conversations with people wherever and whenever I can. Hostel and hotel lobbies are often good spots to connect with people.

The most significant meetings have definitely been through Couchsurfing. When looking for a host, I don’t focus too much on the age, as our age bracket makes up a small percentage of the Couchsurfing world. Besides, I can enjoy the company of someone regardless of their age. Connecting with younger people has also been great and is quite rejuvenating. We have definitely made friendships on the road that I am confident will endure.

Do you find being older travelers makes it harder to find Couchsurfing hosts? A lot of older travelers worry that the site is “just for young people”.
I don’t think our age has been an issue at all with Couchsurfing. If you make it clear that the Couchsurfing will be mutually satisfying, then age should not be an issue. I’d say more than 50% of the “surfers” are younger than us and we have had wonderful experiences. Actually, I think that a lot of the younger Couchsurfers take a lot without giving back by either not hosting themselves or just being a guest that sees it as a free hotel room. So being young could sometimes be viewed as a disadvantage in finding a host, in my mind.

Esther and her husband

What’s one mistake you’ve made that you could have avoided?
Today we were robbed by our cabbie. My husband had been to the bank earlier in the day. Usually, we split up the money between us and also stash some in some secret places so as not to have all our money in one spot. Today, we were in a hurry, hot, and tired, and we were going to do it once we got back to the hotel. It was a perfect storm. In the end, the cabbie got about 3,000,000 dong ($180 USD) by feigning outrage and then grabbing a bunch of bills from my husband’s open wallet. Not knowing what he was going to do next, we got out of his cab as soon as he hit the unlock button. He was acting quite irrational, so we were happy to remove ourselves from that situation without greater loss. It has rattled us a bit and reminded us to follow all the common-sense safety measures.

What advice do you have for travelers your age?
GO NOW! Many people are waiting for retirement or the economy to improve or their children or grandchildren to be older. There is always something that will hold you back. Independent traveling won’t get easier as the years pass. Some people might feel it is a selfish indulgence, but perhaps that isn’t such a bad thing. We have spent decades dedicating ourselves to working, raising children, and dreaming about “one day.” It is OK to decide that day is today—pack your bags and go!

Become the Next Success Story

One of my favorite parts about this job is hearing people’s travel stories. They inspire me, but more importantly, they also inspire you. I travel a certain way but there are many ways to fund your trips and travel the world. I hope these stories show you that there is more than one way to travel and that it is within your grasp to reach your travel goals. Here are more examples of people who found work overseas to fund their trips:


P.S. – We are hosting a Q&A with Couchsurfing on September 28th. Come join and find out how to crush it on Couchsurfing and meet locals on your travels!

The post How this Boomer Canadian Couple Traveled the World for a Year appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.