Thursday, October 31, 2013

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: Help Me Improve This Website

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: Help Me Improve This Website


Help Me Improve This Website

Posted: 31 Oct 2013 02:27 PM PDT

Now that I am home and settling down, I am making some long awaited improvements to this website. Over the next month, I'll be making some design and navigation changes and I want your feedback on what I can do to make your experience better.

I often run surveys to get your input and gauge how I’m doing in helping you travel.

It's time for more feedback.

What articles are missing? What stories and tips would you like to see? Is the site easy to navigate? What would you change?

You can tell me the good, bad, and ugly — I want to hear it all.

Please take this 9 question, 3 minute, anonymous survey and let me know how to improve this website:

Take the survey here.

Your opinion matters. I read every answer and take all constructive criticism seriously.

Please take three minutes to help me know how to better help you!

Notes on things coming down the pipeline

  • I know navigation is a problem and I've included a "start here" button in the navigation bar to make it easier to find content. Additionally, I lightened the search feature to make it more noticeable.
  • I am currently working on a F.A.Q. section as a resource.
  • I'm writing a few posts on how families and older travelers can use these tips offered on my site as well as working a few articles that are more geared towards those in the non-hostel set. If you have article ideas or want specific topics addressed, please let me know in the survey.
  • All the country and city guides are going to get a massive update (and major edit) and will soon include more links, descriptions, photos, and video. (It’s this winter’s major project.)

Okay, with that, fire away! Tell me what changes you'd like to see. I'll post a follow-up addressing your feedback in a few weeks.

Take the survey here.

P.S. – If you are in New York City, I’ll be hosting a meet-up on November 14th. I’ll announce details on Monday, but mark the day in your calendar!

The post Help Me Improve This Website appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Latest Post from Travel Wonders of the World

Latest Post from Travel Wonders of the World


Invasion! International Navy Fleet Review (Sydney, Australia): Part Two

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 02:13 PM PDT

While the centrepiece of the Australian Navy centenary were naval vessels from around the world (see a photojournal of the naval ships), the grace of a flotilla of wooden tall ships reminded everyone of the golden age of sea travel. While wooden ships sailed from as far afield as Canada and the Netherlands, popular locally are the Endeavour, a replica ship to that sailed by Captain Cook on his...

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

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: Home: The Death of a Nomad

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: Home: The Death of a Nomad


Home: The Death of a Nomad

Posted: 29 Oct 2013 08:37 AM PDT


When I decided to move to New York City, I had this vision of what would happen: I would move to NYC, settle down into my own amazing apartment, decorate it with lots of cool stuff, join a gym, take cooking classes, and, in between all that, take numerous trips to JFK airport and jet set around the world. I’d come back, stay for a few weeks, and do it all over again.

I'd be able to balance my twin desires – settling down and my love of travel.

I was naive.

Since moving here in January, I never managed to spend more than a couple weeks in New York City before having to leave again. When I moved into my own apartment in July, I left the next day. I came back for a week before leaving again for two months.

I never got to settle down.

I never took those cooking classes.

I never joined that gym.

My apartment is still bare with curtainless windows, books longing for a bookcase, and walls longing for art and paintings.

The famed — and much desired — end to my travels never really materialized as I've spent much of the last year on the road.

"I thought you were slowing down," people would say to me.

"I'm trying. I'm trying," I'd reply.

No matter how hard I tried, slowing down never seemed to happen.

There were many false starts.

But last month while in Europe, I began to feel really homesick. I was tired of traveling and just wanted to be home in my comfy bed.

I realized I was tired of delaying my roots.

Roots, after all, can only take hold if they are in the ground. I've been trying to develop habits and routines without giving my roots time to grow. I keep uprooting them, and then trying to replant them in hopes they would grow.

But it doesn't work that way.

You need to till the earth, plant the seed, and let the roots take hold.

You can't uproot them.

It's time I give my roots a chance.

I'm tired of saying "Ok, I'll do it next time." Each time I’m about to hit my stride in New York City, it's time to get on a plane again.

Except this time.

I’m not traveling until the end of December when I go to the Philippines.

There’s a lot to do in NYC and it’s finally time to do it.

I’ve purposely filled my schedule with things that will keep me in the city. This week I joined a gym, got a trainer, and paid for a desk at a co-working space.

I’m having friends visit.

I'm here.

I'm home.

It's time to grow some roots.

Nothing will stop me now.

The post Home: The Death of a Nomad appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Latest Post from Travel Wonders of the World

Latest Post from Travel Wonders of the World


Undiscovered Virgin Islands

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 02:32 PM PDT

by Katie Bauer Let's avoid the big crowds!  Why not veer off the main path towards lesser-frequented shores?  St. Thomas' Magens Bay is quite beautiful, but that's no secret – which means you'll be sharing its views with thousands of cruise ship passengers.  Take advantage of a charter yacht captain's deft maneuvering to work your way into the Virgin Islands' smaller coves that are both beautiful...

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

Friday, October 25, 2013

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: My Love Note to The Irish

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: My Love Note to The Irish


My Love Note to The Irish

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 01:36 PM PDT

a castle in ireland near galwayA couple of years ago, I had a twenty-four hour layover in Dublin. I crammed in as much sightseeing as I could and, though I got to see the sights, I never got to know the city. I vowed to come back.

The Emerald Isle has always held a certain allure: Guinness, friendly locals (never met an Irishman (or woman) I didn't like), rolling verdant green hills, leprechauns, pots of gold, lucky charms, hearty food, and ancient castles.

Last month, I went back to Ireland for a travel conference.

But, sadly, I didn't get to stay as long as I wanted. My trip had to be cut short due to a commitment in the US, and many of the things I tried to do were rained out  (but what's Ireland without the rain?).

I guess that long road trip around Ireland will just have to wait.

But while I didn't get to see much of the country, I did get to meet a lot of locals — and I have to tell you while Ireland itself is beautiful, the Irish make Ireland the wonderful country it is.

The Irish are some of the most amazing, friendliest, warmest, outgoing people I've ever met. I've met Irish travelers before and one of my close friends is Irish (probably the only vegetarian, non-drinking Irishman in the world!), but that’s nothing compared to experiencing the Irish in their own country.

a castle in ireland near galway

First, there are the Dublin cab drivers. When I arrived in Dublin a few years ago, the cab driver chatted my ear off as we drove to town from the airport, telling me all about how his daughter was now thirty-three (spoken in an Irish accent, which sounds more like “tertee tree”), every neighborhood we passed through, and which Irish food I needed to eat during my visit.

His warm, friendly nature made that taxi ride one of my favorites.

Because of that experience, I took cabs wherever I could during my recent visit. I generally avoid cabs (they are expensive compared to the local bus) but every cab ride was like learning about a slice of life in Ireland. Each ride was a new chapter of a very long story.  I had one driver make fun of me for being American ("here's your change, DUDE"), one gave me the lowdown on Irish politics and an upcoming election, another talked about how Ireland has developed since he was a kid, and others just chatted my ear off about life in Dublin.

Taxi drivers in Dublin are a league apart. I highly recommend taking at least a couple of cab rides during your visit.

Next, there was my Airbnb host in Galway (probably the best host I've ever had). He helped out by getting me a free tour, showed me some pubs, and overall made my time in the city spectacular. He went out of his way to accommodate me during my stay.

the ocean near the west side of ireland in galway

During dinner one night in Galway, two Irish men sat beside me and my friend, looked over, and after a simple "Where are you from?," chatted our ears off all night, even asking us to take their picture to show their wives they were having a great time. We enjoyed wine and some laughs, and I enjoyed a thick Irish accent I couldn't always understand.

I loved the abundant friendliness and hospitality I was constantly shown. Whether it was asking questions on the street, interactions in stores, or banter in the bars, the Irish were always happy, helpful, and energetic. They have an infectious charisma that just makes you happy.

a castle in ireland near galway

Their demeanor, their attitude, and their willingness to share a pint and tell jokes with you – the Irish are incredibly hospitable hosts and left a lasting impression on me.

Ireland is a beautiful country, with verdant hills and castle ruins around every corner, but what will bring me back to Ireland is the people and a desire to learn more about their history and culture.

Visit Ireland for the beauty, stay for the people.

The post My Love Note to The Irish appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Latest Post from Travel Wonders of the World

Latest Post from Travel Wonders of the World


Invasion! International Navy Fleet Review (Sydney, Australia): Part One

Posted: 21 Oct 2013 05:36 PM PDT

One hundred years ago in early October, Australia’s first seven Navy ships triumphantly entered Sydney Harbour marking a significant stride in Australia’s youthful history. With a sense of foreboding, within a year, these vessels were shipping young men to savage war fronts in Europe (see a video and more history). To celebrate the centenary, seven Australian naval ships led by HMAS...

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

Monday, October 21, 2013

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: How to Travel Anywhere For Free

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: How to Travel Anywhere For Free


How to Travel Anywhere For Free

Posted: 21 Oct 2013 02:51 PM PDT

the guide to travel hacking by nomadic mattImagine being able to fly anywhere in the world as often as you want — for free. Imagine staying in an overwater bungalow in the Maldives for free. Wouldn't that be great? Wouldn't never paying flights and accommodation allow you to travel more?

Well, it’s possible — and I know because I do it all the time.

What's kept me traveling for so many years is not great riches, but lots of frequent flier miles and hotel points.

Every year I collect hundreds of thousands of miles that keep me in first class flights and W hotel suites……without ever stepping foot on an airplane or in a hotel.

Hello! My name is Matt and I'm a travel hacker.

What's a travel hacker?

A travel hacker is a person who uses loyalty rewards systems to gain hundreds of thousands of miles per year without traveling.

That number of points is enough to take you and your family anywhere in the world multiple times a year.

This year alone I have already collected over 400,000 frequent flier and hotel points (it’s been a slow year). That’s enough to keep even this nomad traveling for years.

The biggest reason people say they can’t travel more is money. They don’t have enough of it, they say. Well, I don’t either so I remove money from the equation by using the system to collect points to travel for free.

Because when travel is free, the world is truly your oyster.

I know travel hacking can be a confusing topic – all those reward programs, redemptions, flight alliances, credit card bonuses, and offers. There's a lot of moving parts.

My friend Dave is trying to travel to South Korea with his girlfriend and was recently complaining about the cost of airline tickets.

"Why don't you travel hack?" I said.

"That stuff is too complicated." he said. "And I don't want to ruin my credit."

"It's not, and it won't," I said. I quickly laid it out for him how, with minimal effort, he and his girlfriend could earn enough points to get to South Korea in six months.

I want to help you like I helped my friend so you can travel cheaper and more often.

I will remove the biggest roadblock to your travels.

The Ultimate Guide to Travel Hacking

the guide to travel hacking by nomadic mattToday I'm releasing my newest book, The Ultimate Guide to Travel Hacking, so that you can be like Dave and countless others who have the ability to go anywhere without spending added money.

This book will unlock the secrets to using the system to gain free flights or accommodation using your everyday spending.

The more points you have, the more free travel you can enjoy.

By not doing what is in this book, you are saying no to free money.

Why would you do that? I've been a travel hacker for many years and by devoting a couple of hours a week to it, I've accumulated a plethora of points without leaving my couch.

How this book will help you become a travel ninja:

  • Learn how loyalty programs work – Get the ins and outs of hotel and airline loyalty programs and how to use them.
  • Obtain detailed information on using credit cards – Learn how to navigate the complex world of credit card sign up bonuses, minimum spending requirements, annual fees and much more. (All without ever denting your credit score).
  • Earn points without cards – There is more to travel hacking than signing up for lots of credit cards. Get a list of all the ways and places to earn points without signing up for credit cards!
  • Fake minimum spending requirements – Can't meet the minimum spending requirements for those credit card bonuses? Don't worry! There are a few (legitimate and legal) ways to fake it!
  • Break down mileage and mattress runs – Get extra miles to pad your account and increase your elite status by taking of advantage of unpublicized, extremely low fare deals. I’ll tell you where to find those fares.
  • Find promotions and other resources – Get a complete list of resources on where to find deals. Let others do the work so you don't have to.
  • Redeem points for the most value – Learn how to make the most of all those points you just earned.
  • And a ton more – this book is jam-packed with information!

By investing a couple of hours per week in this, you’ll be able to collect enough points to travel as often as you want.

And you don’t need to be a frequent traveler either – you can use the tips in this book even if you only travel once or twice a year.

BUY NOW

Bonus Offers!

This book also includes interviews with some of the world's biggest travel hackers:

brian kelly the points guyBrian Kelly, author of The Points Guy, and considered one of the foremost experts on this subject, sits down in this audio (and video) interview and talks about finding, using, and maximizing credit cards. He regularly appears on television discussing the subject.

 

Daraius Dubash, author of Million Miles SecretDaraius Dubash, author of Million Miles Secret, explains how to get started with travel hacking and the importance of setting goals in a written interview. Daraius’s advice has also been featured on CNN, Flyer Talk, New Media Expo, and more.

 

Scott MacKenzie from Hack My TripScott MacKenzie from Hack My Trip, an expert in redemptions and manufacturing spending, contributed his knowledge to this book and explains just how to to redeem all those great points you’ve earned in the book!

 

When you purchase this book, you'll also be signed up for regular updates for deals and promotions so you can keep earning vast amounts of points. I find the deals, you save money! (Opt out any time you want!)
 

START TODAY

This book is $49 USD and available as an instant download.

LIMITED TIME LAUNCH OFFER: PURCHASE THIS BOOK WITHIN THE NEXT 48 HOURS, GET IT FOR ONLY $37 USD!!

Add to Cart

180 Day No-Risk Refund Policy
If you don't earn enough miles for at least one free flight by following the advice in this book in the first six months, I'll refund your money. That's a 180 day guarantee.

Travel hacking may seem complicated, it may seem perplexing, and it may seem too good to be true, but it's not. This system may change and it may not last forever, but while it exists, saying no to it and avoiding earning even one point is saying no to free travel. It's turning down that family vacation or first class honeymoon you've always wanted.

This book will get you there and teach you how to keep getting anywhere.

A lot of people say they don't have the money for travel. With the tricks you'll learn in this book, you'll never need to say that again.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will I get this book?
You’ll be e-mailed a download link and you’ll be able to open the file on your computer, Kindle, Nook, iPad, or phone.

I don’t fly a lot. Should I buy this book?
Whether you fly once or ten times per year, this book will help you get free flights and hotel rooms. There are no restrictions. Use the advice in this book as much or as little as possible.

The book is expensive. I don’t want to spend $49!
This book is full of information and bonuses that make it worth the price. You’ll be traveling for free for years to come. Spending $49 is a lot better than spending $2,000 to fly your family to Disney World for a week.

Add to Cart

The post How to Travel Anywhere For Free appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Latest Post from Travel Wonders of the World

Latest Post from Travel Wonders of the World


Iconic Bridge of the Month: Ponte Vecchio (Florence, Italy)

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 03:54 PM PDT

PONTE VECCHIO QUICK FACTS Location: Florence, Italy River: Arno Built: circa 1345 Length: 84 metres Style: Segmental Arch Bridge One of the most famous bridges in the world, Ponte Vecchio was initially lined with butchers shops but now houses overpriced shops such as jewellers, art dealers and trinket sellers to attract tourists. Its unusual backshops were added later but it has always been a...

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

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: Thoughts on Becoming a Tour Guide (And Highlights From Europe)

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: Thoughts on Becoming a Tour Guide (And Highlights From Europe)


Thoughts on Becoming a Tour Guide (And Highlights From Europe)

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 11:02 AM PDT

nomadic matt's reader tour through europe group shotI knew it was going to be hard. I knew it was going to be a lot of work. I just didn't realize how much work or how stressful it would turn out to be. Earlier this year, I decided to start organizing tours. In May I put together a tour through Europe and planned to take ten readers on an epic two week journey through Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Stockholm.

I organized day tours, meals, hostel accommodations, train tickets, walking tours, and nights out on the town.

And when the tour began in Paris last month, all my assumptions about being a tour guide were thrown out the window.

I now have a new appreciation for every tour guide I've ever met in the world. You don't realize it when you’re part of a group, but, after being on the other side, I see just how much work goes into being a guide.

You're constantly checking on everyone, keeping an eye out so no one gets lost, and having to keep everyone together and on task. It’s not easy.

Throw in having to deal with messed up reservations, closed attractions, and lost phones, and you end up dealing with endless stress and fatigue. You are "on" from morning to night and it's incredibly draining. I never imagined I'd be so ready for bed by 9 at night. (To every tour guide who runs trips for months on end, I salute you!)

And it was because of all of that stuff that I loved leading the tour.

I loved every minute of it.

Planning a tour for ten strangers is a lot different than planning a trip with your friends, but in both situations I’m getting people excited about travel and sharing something I’m passionate about with others.

And I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people.

We had a great group of diverse ages (from 19 to 69) that got along fabulously. I suppose we had an advantage – everyone reads this blog so we all had the same views on traveling.

We hit it off right away and I believe that everyone on my tour will stay in touch with each other for a long time to come. Some highlights from our trip include:

  1. Karaoke in Denmark! (We rocked out hard that night!)
  2. Our boat cruise in Amsterdam:
  3. nomadic matt's reader tour through europe group shot

  4. Cooking dinner in our hostel in Stockholm:
  5. nomadic matt's reader tour through europe group shot

  6. Our crazy night out in Amsterdam (Too hot to write about online!)
  7. Our Stockholm Archipelago tour (even if it was freezing cold!):
    nomadic matt's reader tour through europe group shot
  8. Our food tour in Paris.
  9. All our group dinners (especially the never-ending cheese plate in Paris!).
  10. And, of course, getting to know all these amazing and beautiful people:
  11. nomadic matt's reader tour through europe group shot
    (I’ve already met up with one of the tour participants in Chicago. He took me to a great Japanese market (Tensuke) for sushi.)

But this was my first tour, and like anything done the first time, you learn how to make things better. Mistakes were made and notes were taken. At the end of the tour I asked everyone to fill out a survey and their comments echoed my thoughts. I'll be making many changes to my future tours including:

  1. Creating print-outs of local attractions each day along with their cost.
  2. Streamline ticket buying (there's only so much you can get in advance, though).
  3. Printing  maps with highlighted attractions ahead of time for each destination.

Even though this was my first time leading a tour, my group and I were both very happy about how the tour ended. It wasn't perfect, but I learned how to improve it and make operations smoother in the future.

That's probably to be expected, and maybe I’m being overly harsh on myself (many people on my tour told me to relax and that things were fine), but I'm a perfectionist and it's important that your holiday with me is flawless.

Guiding a tour group is exhausting — but fun – work. There's a lot of pressure – you're in charge of these people and their holiday; if you mess up, you mess up their holiday. They put their faith into your hands and while you can only do your best with some things being out of your control, it's still stressful.

I had imagined a lot more down time. But that never happened (you might have noticed the blog and newsletter were non-existent for a while). The time I’d planned for writing on trains? Nope. Working after everyone went to bed? Way too tired. Being a tour guide is a 24/7 job.

But I enjoyed sharing my love of travel with others (one person on the tour had never traveled as an adult and is now planning adventures all over the world!). It’s challenging but fulfilling work.

My tour guiding days are only just beginning and I look forward to leading more trips in the future.

****************

Want to come on tour with me? In February, I'm taking twelve people around Thailand for 18 days of amazing fun through my favorite places in the country (I’ve been visiting Thailand since 2004 and lived there for over a year). There are five spots left!

The post Thoughts on Becoming a Tour Guide (And Highlights From Europe) appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.