Sunday, June 30, 2013

Latest Post from Travel Wonders of the World

Latest Post from Travel Wonders of the World


Wildflower Carpet (Canada)

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 02:48 PM PDT

In late spring, Canada is awash with spectacular wildflowers.

Read the full story at http://www.travel-wonders.com.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Latest Post from Travel Wonders of the World

Latest Post from Travel Wonders of the World


R.I.P. Google Reader

Posted: 27 Jun 2013 04:49 PM PDT

For those of you who faithfully read Travel Wonders of the World through an RSS subscription utilising Google Reader, the service is finishing up on 1 July, 2013 (in a few days). The good news is there are some quick and easy ways to move your favourite feeds over to a new service with little more than a click of a mouse button. The most popular and preferred is Feedly, with a clean, simple...

Read the full story at http://www.travel-wonders.com.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: I’m Going on Vacation (And Other Important News and Updates)!

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: I’m Going on Vacation (And Other Important News and Updates)!


I’m Going on Vacation (And Other Important News and Updates)!

Posted: 25 Jun 2013 08:51 AM PDT

vacation timeFor the past month, I’ve been trying to play catch up and I’ve failed at doing so, in part because I was enjoying finally being home in NYC and in part because I had friends from Sweden visiting for two weeks. Now that they are gone and I look at all the projects and stories I want to write, I feel stressed out. I’m excited to finally get a lot done and launch a few amazing projects that will help you travel better and save money.

But at the same time, I’ve been slammed since I launched my book back in February and need to recharge my batteries and gain focus again.

So, I decided to do what I did last year when faced with this situation – I’m going on vacation. From now until July 7th, there will be no updates on this blog. I’m going to take a break and catch up on life, writing, and everything in between.

I’ll still be releasing my weekly newsletter as well as updating Facebook and Twitter but there will be no new articles on the site.

But before I sign off for two weeks, I want to update you on two things:

1. You know what I love? Saving money. I bet you do too. That’s why you are going to love this annoucement. Starting right now, everyone can get 10% off  of G Adventure tours. I used to offer this discount only for select giveaways but now this coupon is open to everyone, all the time. This is completely exclusive to you guys, too – no one else anywhere has a high discount like this with this company. It will save you HUNDREDS of dollars off their tours.

Use the code “nomadicmatt2013” when you book your tour. It is valid for bookings made before December 31st, 2013. (Yes, it will be updated next year too.)

2. As a reminder, on July 1st, Google will be shutting down Google Reader. That means you’ll no longer have easy access to all the great travel tips and stories featured on this blog  – but here are two easy things you can do so you don't miss any posts:

(You can use Feedly, which is an awesome free site.)

OR:

  • Join 35,000 other people on my weekly email newsletter, where you can get my posts, awesome tips not found on this blog, exclusive discounts, and money saving travel deals I find each week.

And, if you sign up below, I'll even send you the first chapter of my book for free!

Sign up here: http://www.nomadicmatt.com/newsletter/first-chapter/

Finally, before I go, I want to let you know what is in store when I come back from vacation:

  1. A big giveaway of train passes to Europe worth over $6,000 USD!
  2. A budgeting travel app for your phone.
  3. A new book – I’m finishing a how-to guide on travel hacking!
  4. A major, major update to my book on teaching English overseas!
  5. A ton of articles on but not limited to: how to spend your time in Madrid, what to do when you only have a few days in a city, tips for traveling to Las Vegas, how to deal with family/friends who don’t support your trip, more reader stories, and a budget guide to Bermuda.

There is a lot of great stuff coming down the pipeline and rather than just publish for the sake of publishing, I’m going to take my time, relax, and make sure what I give is amazing.

Plus, since I spend my entire life telling everyone to go travel, take a break, and relax, I might as well do it too!

Which is why I’m heading to Bermuda for the next 5 days. (I’ve never been, so any tips are welcome!)

Best,

Matt

The post I’m Going on Vacation (And Other Important News and Updates)! appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Latest Post from Travel Wonders of the World

Latest Post from Travel Wonders of the World


A War Ship Made of Ice? (Jasper, Canada)

Posted: 24 Jun 2013 04:41 PM PDT

The delightful arrow shaped town of Jasper is surrounded by glacial lakes. A meandering road through the rolling hills leads to two of the prettiest – Patricia and Pyramid Lakes. With a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, surrounded by thickets of Douglas fir and with crystal clear waters, today the two lakes make for idyllic picnic locations with panoramic vistas but during World War II, Patricia...

Read the full story at http://www.travel-wonders.com.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: Airline Review: Air Berlin

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: Airline Review: Air Berlin


Airline Review: Air Berlin

Posted: 21 Jun 2013 12:09 PM PDT

air berlin tail and logoMany, many years ago I caught a cheap flight from Berlin to Bangkok on a carrier called Air Berlin. It was a joyless flight. Back then, Air Berlin was a budget airline that offered the bare minimum to fly people internationally. You had an uncomfortable seat, no movies, and food only if you bought (or brought) it. The nine hours to Bangkok were hell, especially since this was before I discovered the wonders of Ambien.

But over the years, Air Berlin has grown up. They now fly new planes, offer more in-flight services (they've even introduced lie-flat business class seating), and they joined my favorite airline alliance, Oneworld. They are no longer a cheap budget airline but instead a major and expanding player.

In the past year, I've heard good things from other travelers so on my recent trip to Europe, I decided that I'd fly Air Berlin. I wanted to see how much the airline has changed since I flew them all those years ago. Since I was flying through Berlin on this trip, it made logical sense.

My thoughts? Three out of four stars. I liked flying Air Berlin and prefer them to rival Lufthansa, with whom I flew to Africa in December. Lufthansa has harder seats, worse food, and an utterly awful movie selection.

air berling a330 interior

Air Berlin has a fleet of 134 planes with an average age of 5 years, so the planes are pretty new and comfortable inside. They aren't some of those old pieces of junk that many American carriers fly. (Looking at you, United, US Airways, and American!) The interiors are comfortable and clean, the seat cushions are thick, there was ample legroom, and all seats have individual screens on which to watch a very robust movie selection. (Movie reviews: Cloud Atlas sucks, Life of Pi was wonderful, Broken City was average.)

The food, while impressive in business class (quinoa salad, shrimp, delicious beef!), was lacking in economy. Was it awful? No. But was it good? No. It's exactly what you would expect from airline food. The chicken didn't taste that good, the potatoes had an interesting consistency, and the portions were a bit on the small side. I felt like I was getting a school lunch.

air berlin food in economy class

See? That doesn’t look too bad, does it? (But not amazing, either.)

While I was disappointed there were no power plugs in economy, USB ports are available so I could still charge my phone.

However, while I enjoyed Air Berlin's service, my experiences with their low-cost carrier, Niki Air, were hell. My connecting flights (two of them) to Lisbon were on a Niki Air plane and I can honestly say it was pure crap. I mean, look at the photo:

niki airway

My bag can't even fit beneath the seat! And it's just a regular backpack! I had such an awful time on that flight that I would dare say I would rather fly United — and you all know how I feel about United.

Moreover, when I sat down, there was soda all over my seat. I informed the flight attendant, but she just looked at me and said "Well, clean it up." I sat down in another seat and she came over, dabbed at the soda a bit, scowled, and walked away.

Maybe I found her on a bad day but even if she was super friendly, the wear and tear on the plane plus the extremely small space just put me off from flying them again. Niki takes discomfort to an extreme.

If you book with Air Berlin, make sure to look at who operates the planes as to avoid Niki Air.

Overall, I like — but not love — Air Berlin. I would much rather fly with them than the other major German carrier, Lufthansa. Since I'm part of Oneworld (I'm an American Airlines fanboy), the fact that this airline is part of that alliance means I'll probably end up on another of their flights soon and be perfectly happy about it.

There are many blow-your-mind airlines in the world, but I measure an airline by a certain checklist every time: good movie selection, nice staff, modern planes, comfort, and food. If you get me from point A to B and most of those boxes can be checked off, I'd fly you again.

Air Berlin, I'll fly you again… for all the reasons on my checklist plus the fact that you offer flights to Europe that are hundreds of dollars cheaper than most of your competitors (even alliance partners like American Airlines and British Airways). With flights to Europe so expensive, that’s a huge plus for me.

Editor's note: I met the Air Berlin team at a travel meetup in New York City and when they heard I was going to Europe, they offered to pay for my flight to and from Europe. I accepted since I wanted to try them again.

The post Airline Review: Air Berlin appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Latest Post from Travel Wonders of the World

Latest Post from Travel Wonders of the World


Mysterious Stone People (Canada)

Posted: 19 Jun 2013 04:58 PM PDT

Wandering the northern climes of Canada, visitors may be greeted by mysterious stone figures or inukshuk. Recently a symbol of the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games (2010) and used by the Inuit people for many hundreds of years, many temporary ones are seen around scenic areas as an acknowledgement of the beauty of nature. Each inukshuk feels like it has its own character with the shape, colour and...

Read the full story at http://www.travel-wonders.com.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: How to Get the Perfect Travel Credit Card

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: How to Get the Perfect Travel Credit Card


How to Get the Perfect Travel Credit Card

Posted: 19 Jun 2013 01:12 PM PDT

This week’s travel video is on travel related credit cards. It’s a subject I’ve brought up a lot on this blog but since I haven’t in awhile, I thought reposting this video from Youtube would be helpful for many of you.

Here is a basic primer on the subject:


(Want more travel videos? I now update my YouTube channel each week with a new video. Subscribe here and get free videos!)

I’ve also written in depth about the subject here too: Picking a travel credit card

If you have any questions about this topic, ask in the comment section!

The post How to Get the Perfect Travel Credit Card appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: Success Stories: How Dan Readjusted to Life Back Home

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: Success Stories: How Dan Readjusted to Life Back Home


Success Stories: How Dan Readjusted to Life Back Home

Posted: 18 Jun 2013 10:09 AM PDT

dan slater blogger success storyTwo months ago, Erin told us about how she readjusted to life after spending two years traveling the world. This month, continuing our reader story series, Dan shares his story about how he readjusts to life back home after spending enormous amounts of time on the road. What makes Dan’s story a little different is that he doesn’t permanently return – he comes home, works, then goes out and travels more.

Dan, tell everyone about yourself.
I’m English, and my first trip was a month spent inter-railing around Europe in 1991. I was 18. It didn’t actually go that well and I wasn’t hooked until my trip to India in 1998. There was something about being immersed in the culture of a developing nation that really fascinated me (that and the fact that I could survive on about 5 GBP a day)! That’s where my low-budget ethos was born and from then on I was a bona fide traveler. Now, I move countries every few years with long, overland trips, working in-between. I currently live in Sydney, Australia with my like-minded wife.

What inspires your trips?
We were most recently traveling Southeast Asia. This particular leg was chosen because it was between Cape Town, where we had been living, and Sydney, our current residence. After our last trip through the heart of Africa, we needed a more enjoyable, relaxing trip and we knew that Southeast Asia was going to be a lot more “fun” given that it’s a backpacker mecca.

Where did you go on your trip?
We started in Bangkok and did a clockwise loop north through Laos, Vietnam, and back through Cambodia to Bangkok, then we headed south down the Malay Peninsula, across to Indonesia and along the chain of Indonesian islands as far as Bali before flying back to Sydney. That took 5 months. We would have liked to continue east to East Timor or Papua New Guinea but we ran out of money.

lonely planet guidebook

Were there any scary parts to your trip?
Probably the scariest parts of this trip were the drunken antics of the backpackers in Vang Vieng (Laos) and Ko Pha-ngan (Thailand), several of whom died or disappeared during the respective Tubing and Full Moon Parties while we were there. In terms of traditional third-world scaremongering though, all the people were wonderful and we had no troubles at all. After living on a knife’s edge in Africa for three years, Southeast Asia was a doddle.

Did you have a plan for when you came back from your first trip? If so, what was it?
The first time I went away was only a month around Europe so it didn’t impact much on my home life, so that’s probably not a very interesting answer. My second trip was more major – a year in Australia when I finished university. Before I left, I booked a place on a post-grad course intending to earn the fees during my year away. I slaved in a supermarket for six months earning enough to support me for the next year, but then I went travelling and blew most of it. D’oh!

As far as practical plans went, I was just going to stay on a mate’s floor until I found a room in a shared house, and from there look for a part-time job. It all went as planned. It’s never taken me long to find a job. Despite the unemployment figures, if you really want a job, you’ll find one. My theory is that the sort of person who is willing to drop everything and travel long term will have the same mindset and will rarely have trouble finding work.

lonely planet guidebook

What was the hardest part of coming home?
Having to cook for ourselves again! No, we (my wife and I) move countries entirely so we have to organise somewhere to live, some work, collecting our worldly goods from the port and storing them.

I’m a very practical person so I don’t let emotions interfere with my rehabilitation into society. When the trip is over, it’s over, and it is time to get back to work. Sure, I miss the road but I know I’ll be back and besides, I like living in the city too, so there is plenty to look forward to at home. On my first trip, I met a lovely young lady whom I travelled with for nearly two months, and I missed her enormously when I left. (Matt’s Note: Check out this article on love on the road.)

To be honest, after returning from that first trip to Australia, I went through a period of sadness. Her letters combined with my fabulous memories and new, unglamorous student existence got me down for a while, but I soon pulled myself together. In all the trips I’ve done since, I’ve learned to cope better emotionally. Practice makes perfect, right?

Do you find it hard to adjust to “normal life” after being on the road so long?
I’m pretty level-headed so I didn’t find it difficult, plus I’ve done it several times before. In fact, I love getting back into the city and catching up on the food, movies and music that I’ve missed. Being away for so long means you can miss entire seasons, memes and explosions in popular culture. A news event or trend that flared up and died, then is referred to years later can leave you perplexed until you work out that it must have happened during your year in South America. Imagine if you’d missed Gangnam Style and then saw it on a Review of 2012 five years later. You’d be gobsmacked.

lonely planet guidebook

Did you find employers looked at your travels as a negative or does it help in securing a job?
In my field, it was definitely a positive. Travel shops need staff with world experience who can relate to (and impress) their customers, and so are understanding when you express your need to travel further. I work at an independent shop called Trek & Travel in Sydney, Australia, where we sell hiking and travel clothing and equipment. I’m currently the assistant manager. In Cape Town, South Africa I worked for an outdoor clothing manufacturer called Capestorm that had a chain of stores. Although working in retail is never something to which I aspired, my understanding boss does let me take months off at a time to feed my travel habit, and being surrounded by the paraphernalia of travel and like-minded people every day keeps the excitement of the world simmering. If it gets too boring I’ll just quit, go travelling, and find another job upon my return. Although, I have to say, this process does get slightly more daunting as I get older.

lonely planet guidebook

What advice would you have for people coming home after a long trip?
Don’t panic. Take things step by step. Find somewhere to crash, either with friends, family or at a cheap hostel. Next, grab the first available job. Do anything; don’t be fussy. I usually start work within a week of arrival. Use that money for the bond on a rental place, then look for a better job. Obviously it’s wise to finish your trip with some start-up capital, tempting though it may be to stretch that last dollar as far as possible. Set aside a couple of hundred dollars and don’t touch it. After that, you’re up and running.

*******************************
Dan’s story shows that while coming home can be an adjustment, you learn to adjust quickly and returning from subsequent trips becomes easier and easier. Thanks for doing the interview, Dan!

You can read more about Dan on his blog and in his self-published book about Africa, This is Not a Holiday.

Next month, I’ll be profiling a couple who sold everything on their fiftieth birthday, and traveled around the world for two years.

The post Success Stories: How Dan Readjusted to Life Back Home appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: IMPORTANT and URGENT Message for All RSS Readers!

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: IMPORTANT and URGENT Message for All RSS Readers!


IMPORTANT and URGENT Message for All RSS Readers!

Posted: 16 Jun 2013 02:24 PM PDT

Do you read this site via RSS like Google Reader? Then I have an important message for you that requires urgent action. On July 1st, Google will be shutting Google Reader down.

That means you won’t have easy access to all the great travel tips and stories featured on this blog but here are two easy things you can do so you don't miss any posts:

1. Find another feed reader and add this: http://feeds.feedburner.com/MattsTravelSite

You can use Feedly, which is an awesome free site.

2. Join 35,000 other people on my weekly email newsletter, where you can get my posts, awesome tips not found on this blog, exclusive discounts, and money saving travel deals I find each week.

And, if you sign up below, I’ll even send you the first chapter of my book for free!

Sign up here: http://www.nomadicmatt.com/newsletter/first-chapter/

If you read this site via RSS, you have an automatic way to stay up-to-date with this blog. Don’t let Google take away that ease. If you want to keep reading my newest articles, move to a new feed reader or take your savings to the next level and join my newsletter where you will get all my great posts plus tons of other goodies.

Thanks for reading!

The post IMPORTANT and URGENT Message for All RSS Readers! appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.