June 2019

The 7 Best Travel Insurance Companies in 2019

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A lone commercial airliner flying over Australia
Posted: 6/17/2019 | June 17th, 2019

Planning a trip can be a lot of fun. Researching amazing bucket list activities, daydreaming about picture-perfect beaches and epic hikes, booking the cheap flights that will take you to the world’s most amazing destinations — it’s the fun part of planning. It gives you ownership of your trip and lets you imagine all the amazing adventures you’ll get into.

What is significantly less fun (yet equally important) is searching for the right travel insurance plan for your trip.

Reading through the fine print, searching out reviews you can trust, picking the best plan — it can all be a little tedious.

And if you’re a new traveler, it can also be a little overwhelming.

There are hundreds of companies out there – all offering the “same” plans. They all have different prices too. Which one is the best? Which review is right?

To help you stay safe during your next trip, I wanted to share my thoughts on the best travel insurance companies on the market. I’ve been backpacking since 2004 and researching companies for a living since 2007. I’ve spent a lot of time reading the fine print (have you ever read NY’s insurance compliance laws? Well, don’t.)

To save you time, I’ve compiled a list of the best travel insurance companies. Whether you’re heading south to escape from work or traveling abroad on a round-the-world trip, this list will help you find a company that works for your trip – and your budget.

Table of Contents

  1. Best overall insurance: World Nomads
  2. Best company for medical evacuation: Medjet
  3. Best company for older travelers: Insure My Trip
  4. Best company for students: STA
  5. Best company for expats: IMGlobal
  6. Best supplemental coverage: Clements
  7. Honorable Mention: Your travel credit card

 

OUR TOP PICK: World Nomads

I’ve been using World Nomads for the past decade and have never been disappointed. Their plans are comprehensive and great for travelers visiting more than one country in a single trip. It’s easy to read their policies and see what’s covered (and what isn’t), and their customer service is top notch. And if you want to learn more before you purchase or have questions after you sign up, their customer support is there to help.

This company is perfect for adventurous travelers who plan to do things like hiking, kayaking or canoeing, and even some extreme sports like rock climbing bungee jumping. With 100 different activities are covered, World Nomads is the best choice for the active traveler.

Here’s a quick overview:

  • Emergency medical and dental coverage
  • Coverage for trip cancelations, delays, and interruptions
  • Baggage protection
  • Emergency evacuation (for medical emergencies and non-medical emergencies such as natural disasters)
  • Medical transportation
  • 24/7 customer assistance

They are the perfect company if you’re a backpacker or long term traveler. The company was founded by backpackers so they keep people who travel long term in mind in their plans and customer service. This is my go-to insurance company and one I’ve been using for years. If it sounds like the company for you, you can use the widget below to get a quote:

 
(Want to learn more? Check out my comprehensive World Nomads review!)

Medjet

Medjet is the premier membership program for medical transportation. Their extensive plans focus on crisis response and emergency transportation and they have amazing staff on hand to help you through it all.

While many insurance companies will just evacuate you to the nearest hospital in an emergency, MedJet goes above and beyond to ensure that you’re repatriated and not stuck in a foreign medical facility away from your friends and family.

They have both short-term and annual plans, too, so no matter what your travel plans are you’ll be able to find the affordable coverage that you need.

Here’s a quick overview of MedJet:

  • Extensive medical transport coverage
  • Limited time spent in foreign medical facilities
  • Both short-term and annual plans
  • Available for residents of the US, Canada, and Mexico

Medjet is the perfect company for anyone looking to avoid time spent in foreign medical facilities should an emergency or crisis occur.

Insure My Trip

Insure My Trip isn’t actually an insurance company that issues its own plans. Rather, they recommend plans and help you compare prices so you can buy the plan that’s best for you.

With Insure My Trip, you can compare plans from almost 30 different insurance providers. They are the go-to company for senior travelers as well, since many travel insurance companies won’t cover travelers over 65. Insure My Trip provides comparisons from insurance companies that cover older travelers, making them the best option for retirees and other senior adventurers.

Here’s a quick overview of Insure My Trip:

  • Guaranteed low prices
  • Coverage for senior travelers over 65
  • “Anytime advocates” ask the insurer to give your claim a second look if you think it was unfairly denied.
  • Comparisons from 28 different companies to ensure you get the best plan

Insure My Trip is the best choice for older travelers looking for comprehensive coverage over the age of 65.

STA

STA is an online travel agency that is known for its flights and travel packages. But they also sell affordable travel insurance too. STA provides budget-friendly plans for students and teachers, offering coverage for as little as $99 USD for 1 year.

It’s the best choice for anyone studying abroad or teaching overseas. You’ll also get an ISIC card, which includes tons of additional perks and discounts!

Here’s a quick overview of STA Travel Insurance:

  • Budget-friendly plans
  • ISIC card benefits in over 125,000 locations
  • Basic coverage options
  • Great for students/shoestring backpackers.

STA is the best choice for student travelers and teachers working overseas who only need basic travel insurance coverage.

IMGlobal

IMGlobal provides insurance plans that are more akin to your standard US health insurance. They have comprehensive coverage for long-term travelers, plans for non-US citizens, and affordable plans for visitors to the US as well. They have basic plans for students and budget-conscious travelers as well as more robust plans for families and expats.

Their plans cover single trips; however, they also have multi-trip plans for travelers heading out on more than one trip per year.

Here’s a quick overview of IMGlobal:

  • Best for expats and long-term travelers
  • The closest option to normal US health insurance
  • Available for non-US residents
  • 16 different plans to choose from

IMGlobal is the best insurance company for expats and long-term travelers who want coverage beyond medical emergencies.

Clements

Clements focuses on insurance coverage for expats as well as coverage for high-end gear (such as laptops, smartphones, and cameras). Many travel insurance companies only provide minimal coverage for your expensive electronics, which means you’ll have to pay a lot of money out of pocket to replace them should they get lost, damaged, or stolen while you’re abroad. They also offer plans with low or no deductibles so you can rest assured that, should the worst happen, you can replace your valuables without breaking the bank.

Here’s a quick overview of Clements:

  • High-end electronics coverage
  • Low (or no) deductibles
  • Premium plans with unlimited coverage
  • Available both inside and outside of the US

Clements is the best insurance option for anyone traveling with expensive electronics who need comprehensive coverage.

Honorable Mention: Credit Card Coverage

While not the most comprehensive, many travel credit cards will include some degree of travel insurance. Coverage is often limited and might only apply to trips or items purchased with the card. And there may be limited dates of coverage too.

However, something is better than nothing! But while it can be tempting to go for a free insurance plan from your credit card company, their plans are usually not that comprehensive and have minimal coverage and/or limited compensation. These free plans are best used as supplemental coverage in addition to a plan from one of the companies above.

But it’s always great to have options (especially free ones). Be sure to learn more about the best travel credit cards before your next trip (you’ll have to read the fine print).

***

Nobody plans on getting hurt when they travel. And in a perfect world, we wouldn’t. But we all know that this isn’t a perfect world.

My bags were stolen when I was traveling in South Africa.

I popped my eardrum while diving in Thailand.

And I was even stabbed while backpacking in Colombia.

Obviously, I didn’t plan for any of these things to happen.

But they did.

And I was lucky I had travel insurance to help me cover the costs. So before you head out on your next trip, make sure that you’re covered. Invest in your own safety and peace of mind. I promise you, it’s worth the money.

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the largest inventory. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. I use them all the time.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

Looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all the ones I use to save money when I travel – and that will save you time and money too!

The post The 7 Best Travel Insurance Companies in 2019 appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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Announcing My Summer Book Tour

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driving down a road with tall trees hanging overhead
Posted: 6/19/2019 | June 19th, 2019

Last month, I announced the release of my next book, Ten Years a Nomad: A Traveler’s Journey Home.

It’s about how I became a traveler, my life as a backpacker, all the lessons I learned, and what those lessons mean for travelers. It features stories I’ve never told and goes deeper into my philosophy on travel than I ever have on this blog.

This book follows the “emotional” journey of a trip around the world: getting the bug, the planning, setting off, the highs, the lows, the friends, what happens when you come back — and the lessons and advice that come with all that.

And the early reviews have been pretty good!

Ten years a nomad book cover“In his heartfelt explanation and exploration, Matt runs through just why he’s been out there, backpacking the world for 10 years. By the end we’ve definitely realized, like Matt, how important travel is and how getting out there, on the road, can make you, me and the world a better place. It’s a great pity certain people at the very top of the world’s power pyramid never had just a little taste of the nomadic experience.” – Tony Wheeler, founder of Lonely Planet

“Throughout his ruminations on how travel affected him, Kepnes interweaves his tales of friends, girlfriends, and great loves discovered among exotic backdrops and how starting a blog (nomadicmatt.com) about his adventures altered the way he traveled. His story is one of heartbreak, self-discovery, and the constant travel itch he had to scratch in order to become the man he was supposed to be. An entertaining, quick read by a man who did what many of us only dream about.” – Kirkus Book Reviews

10 Years a Nomad book review

The book comes out July 16th and I’ll be doing a book tour across the United States and Canada over the course of the summer!

If you want to join the book tour, here are our dates:

Ten Years a Nomad Book Tour

July 16 New York, NY: The Strand Bookstore @ 7pm EVENT DETAILS
July 17 Boston, MA: The Harvard Coop @ 7pm EVENT DETAILS
July 18 Philadelphia, PA: Penn Book Center @ 6:30pm EVENT DETAILS
July 22 Washington DC: Politics and Prose at the Wharf @ 7pm EVENT DETAILS
July 23 Miami, FL: Books & Books @ 8pm EVENT DETAILS
July 24 Tampa, FL: LOCATION TBD EVENT DETAILS
July 30 Detroit, MI: LOCATION TBD EVENT DETAILS
July 31 Chicago, IL: City Lit Books @ 6:30pm EVENT DETAILS
August 1 Dallas, TX: LOCATION TBD EVENT DETAILS
August 5 Austin, TX: Book People @ 7pm EVENT DETAILS
August 6 Houston, TX: Brazos Bookstore @ 6:30pm EVENT DETAILS
August 7 Denver, CO: Tattered Cover – Historic Lodo @ 7pm EVENT DETAILS
August 8 San Diego, CA: Warwick’s @ 7:30pm EVENT DETAILS
August 12 Los Angeles, CA: The Last Bookstore @ 7:30pm EVENT DETAILS
August 14 Portland, OR: Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing @ 7:30pm EVENT DETAILS
August 15 San Francisco, CA: Book Passage at Corte Madera @ 7pm EVENT DETAILS
August 16 Seattle, WA: Third Place Books @ 6pm EVENT DETAILS
August 19 Vancouver, BC: LOCATION TBD EVENT DETAILS
August 22 Calgary, AB: LOCATION TBD EVENT DETAILS
August 26 Toronto, ON: LOCATION TBD EVENT DETAILS
August 28 Montreal, QC: LOCATION TBD EVENT DETAILS

Hope to see you on the tour! It’s my first one in over four years and I’m very excited about it. It’s going to be a whirlwind!

And, as a reminder, I’m doing a pre-sale bonus so if you order the book in advance you can get free copies of my other books, one-on-one travel planning advice, free attendance at TravelCon, blogging courses, free hostel stays and flights, and more!

The packages are listed below. All you need to do to claim your bonuses is email me a copy of your receipt at matt@nomadicmatt.com.

The Basic Package (cost: $18, value: $48)
Purchase one copy of the book and get:

  • How to Build a Travel Blog ebook (value: $9.99)
  • The Ultimate Guide to Travel Hacking ebook (value: $9.99)
  • 27 Ways to Be a Master Traveler PDF (value: $5)
  • 50 Inspiring Travel Books and Movies PDF (value: $5)

***BEST VALUE*** The Tenner (cost: $182, value: $794)
Buy 10 copies of my book and get ALL THE ABOVE plus:

  • My 12 city and country guides (value: $150)
  • A signed copy of my book How to Travel the World on $50 a Day (value: $15)
  • A 15-minute planning call with me (ask me anything)! (value: $200)
  • The Business of Blogging course (value: $199)

The Bullseye (cost: $900, value: $2,493)
Buy 50 copies of my book and get ALL THE ABOVE plus:

  • One ticket to TravelCon in Boston (value: $399)
  • A 30-minute planning call with me (ask me anything)! (value: $400)

SUPER BONUS! The Centennial (cost: $1,800, value: $7,193)
Buy 100 copies of my book and get ALL THE ABOVE plus:

  • Lunch on me! I’ll come to your city and we’ll have lunch on me! (limited to those in the United States and Canada) (value: $2,000)
  • Round-trip airfare to TravelCon in Boston (from within the US and Canada) (value: $500)
  • One additional ticket to TravelCon in Boston (value: $399)

Conversely, if you’re not a blogger and don’t care about TravelCon, you’ll get four nights at any hostel in the United States and one round-trip domestic airfare.

SUPER BONUS! The Big Kahuna (cost: $4,500, value: $19,293)
Buy 250 copies of my book and get ALL THE ABOVE plus:

  • I’ll come to speak at your event for free! (value: $5,000)
  • You’ll be flown to NYC (from within the US and Canada) the book launch party, put up in a hotel for two nights, and get dinner with me! (value: $3,000)

Note: All digital bonuses will be sent when you send the receipt. Travel arrangements will be worked out between you and me and are valid for six months after purchase (i.e., you have to make a booking by then).

Order the book today, get your bonuses, and share your love of travel!

An amazon blue purchase button A blue Barnes and Noble purchase button 

Want to Help Me Spread the Word About This Book?

I’m always looking for more opportunities to talk travel. Here’s how you can help me spread the word about the new book:

Want to interview me?
If you have a blog, podcast, vlog, or Instagram channel and want to interview me about the book and travel, let me know at matt@nomadicmatt.com using the subject line “Book Interview.” I’d love to talk with you!

Are you in the media and want to cover the book?
If you work for a major media outlet and want to interview me about the book or would like to review the book, let me know at matt@nomadicmatt.com using the subject line “Media Request.”

Know anyone that I should reach out to for promotion?
If you have suggestions on people who would love a copy of this book and would be a good fit for promoting the book, let me know in the comments, or feel to email me at matt@nomadicmatt.com with the subject line “Book Promotion Help.”

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the largest inventory. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. I use them all the time.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

Looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all the ones I use to save money when I travel – and that will save you time and money too!

The post Announcing My Summer Book Tour appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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Is Southeast Asia Safe for Travelers?

Posted By : webmaster/ 8 0


A bright shot at night of tuk-tuks in Southeast Asia
Posted: 6/22/2019 | June 22nd, 2019

Southeast Asia is one of the most popular regions in the world for backpackers and budget travelers. It’s home to a well-worn travel trail that dates back to the 1960s and ’70s, stretching across Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Singapore.

I’ve been visiting the area regularly since 2004 (I even spent a few years living in Thailand). It really does have something for everyone: bustling cities, delicious food, spectacular diving, lots of outdoor activities, historic sites — the list goes on.

Best of all? It’s budget friendly!

But is Southeast Asia safe?

That’s a question I get asked often, especially by solo travelers (or their worried families).

Generally speaking, Southeast Asia is incredibly safe. In fact, it’s one of the safest regions in the world.

You aren’t going to really face any physical danger, and it’s rare to even get robbed or mugged. People are nice, respectful, and friendly.

That said, here’s everything you need to know to stay safe in Southeast Asia!

 

11 Ways to Stay Safe in Southeast Asia

Staying safe in Southeast Asia doesn’t take a lot of work. Southeast Asia is an incredibly safe place to backpack and travel – even if you’re traveling solo, and even as a solo female traveler. Violent attacks are rare. There are some common scams around, like the motorbike scam where vendors try to charge you for damage to their bike, but for the most part, this is a safe place to travel. People are nice and helpful and you’re unlikely to get into trouble. The people who do tend to be involved with drinking or drugs or sex tourism. Stay away from that stuff and you’ll be fine. That said, here are 11 ways to ensure nothing is going to happen on your trip:

1. Watch for purse-snatchers – Purse-snatching is rare, but it does happen. To avoid the most common types of theft, don’t wear your purse or bag over just one shoulder — instead, wear it across the front of your body. Also, many purse-snatchers will be on a scooter, so take particular caution when walking alongside traffic.

2. Be extra careful in traffic – Most injuries in Southeast Asia are caused by vehicles. Be especially careful walking in hectic cities like Hanoi or if you are driving (especially scooters).

3. Don’t do drugs – Drugs like marijuana are easily accessible in Southeast Asia (especially in party locations, like the Full Moon Party). But they are illegal! Fines are heavy — and if you get caught, expect to spend time in jail or pay a hefty bribe. Save yourself the hassle and don’t do any drugs while you’re in the region.

4. Wear a helmet – If you’re renting or riding a scooter or motorbike, be sure to wear a helmet. Also wear proper clothing and footwear. I’ve seen a lot of road rash during my time in Southeast Asia!

5. Look out for bedbugs – Unfortunately, bedbugs are a reality in Southeast Asia. Though rare, you will likely encounter them at some point if you’re traveling around the region for any length of time. Always check your accommodation in advance. If it looks dirty, simply move on. Also, never put your backpack on your bed. That way, if the bed is contaminated, at least your backpack won’t also be contaminated.

6. Bring a lock – While theft in dorm rooms is rare, you don’t want to take any chances. Hostels almost always have lockers available. Bring a lock so you can store your possessions safely while you’re out and about.

7. Hide your valuables – When you’re out exploring, keep your wallet and valuables hidden in your backpack (or leave them loved up in your accommodation). Carry some cash in your pockets, but keep your cards and other valuables out of reach. Most theft is opportunistic, so if you’re vigilant, you’ll have nothing to worry about!

8. Don’t party solo – Make sure if you’re out partying that you do it with friends or people you can trust. Don’t get so drunk that you can’t get home safely. (If you’re taking part in the Full Moon Party in Thailand, you can find specific safety tips in this blog post.)

9. Keep your passport – Never give away your passport as a deposit when booking things like accommodation or rentals. Always make sure you get it back, or else you might not see it again. (And be sure to keep a digital scan of your passport in your email inbox just in case.)

10. Stay away from animals – Stray dogs (as well as monkeys) often carry diseases, such as rabies (which can be fatal). To avoid getting bitten, don’t pet stray dogs or wild monkeys.

11. Buy travel insurance – While Southeast Asia is generally safe, unexpected incidents can still occur. Cover yourself by buying travel insurance. It has the potential to save you thousands of dollars while also giving you peace of mind. I never leave home without it!
 

5 Common Scams in Southeast Asia

While Southeast Asia is generally quite safe, there are still a few common travel scams. Here are four of the most common scams — and how you can avoid getting fooled by them!

1. The Taxi/Tuk-tuk Overcharge
This is one of the most common travel scams out there — you’ll encounter it all across Southeast Asia. Either the driver will tell you the taxi meter is broken and try to charge you a high rate, or you’ll see the cost on the meter skyrocket faster than Superman!

For tuk-tuks, you’ll need to negotiate in advance, because drivers will quote a price much higher than what the ride should cost. To avoid being ripped off, you’ll first need to know how much your ride should cost. The best way to figure this out is to ask your hostel or hotel staff for a quote so you have a frame of reference (or google it, if you’re just arriving).

If the driver tries to negotiate the rate with you, offer them the correct rate. If they refuse, just leave and find someone who will put the meter on. (Then, if the meter seems to be going up too quickly, have them pull over and get out.)

Many tourism boards let you report bad cab drivers, so be sure to always make a mental note of their ID number when you get in the cab.

2. Motorbike Scam
Southeast Asia is a great place to rent a scooter or motorcycle and get off the beaten path. But there is a common scam you’ll want to be aware of.

Here’s how it goes: You’ll rent a bike and then when you bring it back, the owner will demand additional payment or expensive repairs because there is some “damage” you didn’t know about. Sometimes the owner will send someone to mess with the bike or steal it so you have to pay.

To avoid this, take photos of the bike first to document any previous damage. Go around it with the owner so they know what you are taking pictures of.

Once you rent it, use your own lock and keep the bike out of sight and off main streets when you park it.

Also, always make sure you buy travel insurance so you can make a claim if there is an issue.

3. Your Attraction is Closed for Lunch
I admit, I have fallen for this one before. A friendly local will approach you and inform you that the attraction you want to visit (often a temple) is closed for any number of reasons (religious ceremony, holiday, etc.).

They’ll then try to guide you to a different attraction (or often a shop), where you’re heavily pressured to purchase something or pay a high admission price.

To avoid this scam, be sure to ask your accommodation staff before you leave to confirm that the attraction is open. Then find the main entrance or ticket counter and see for yourself. Opening and closing times are almost always available online too, so you can often look them up just to be safe.

Generally speaking, most attractions in Southeast Asia don’t close for lunch. They either close for the day or not at all.

4. The Drug Deal Gone Bad
This scam is common anywhere there is a party in Southeast Asia. You’ll be in a popular tourist area (usually a party place) and someone will offer you drugs.

If you say yes, before you know it, a real cop is will be on the scene! They’ll insist that they are going to arrest you unless you can pay a hefty fine right there (i.e., a bribe).

Caught red-handed, you’ll probably pay the bribe rather than go to jail. Simply put: Don’t buy drugs in other countries!

5. The Taxi Scam
Only use taxis that use a meter. If the meter is rigged or they refuse to use it, just get out and find a new taxi (more on this below!).
 

Is the Food Safe in Southeast Asia?

If the food weren’t safe here, I’d likely never come back. Street food is almost always safe (it’s important to the cultures of the locals). In fact, it’s usually more safe than restaurants, because the operation is so simple and the turnover so fast.

When looking for somewhere to eat, find a place with a crowd, as well as one with children — if parents think it’s safe for the kids, then it’s safe for you! Anywhere with a lot of people (specifically locals) is a good indicator that the food is both good and safe.

Be sure to wash your hands before eating (hand sanitizer is good for that), as you’ll likely have been out and about all day and may have picked up all sorts of germs.

 

Can You Drink the Tap Water in Southeast Asia?

The tap water in Southeast Asia will vary from country to country, but as a general rule I would not recommend you drink the water unless you have a water purifier like the Lifestraw or Steripen.

 

Are Taxis Safe in Southeast Asia?

Taxis in Southeast Asia are safe — but they also have a reputation for overcharging (see above) or taking longer routes to dive up the fare.

Always make sure your driver is using the meter (and that the meter is not moving overly quickly). If you encounter a problem, simply get out and find a new taxi.

A better option is Grab or Uber (depending on where you are). You’ll be able to see your driver, track your ride, and make complaints if you have a problem. It’s the best way to get around, when available.

 

Is Southeast Asia Safe for Solo Travelers?

Southeast Asia is one of the best places in the world for solo travelers. There are tons visiting the region each and every year, many of them traveling solo for the first time (it’s great for both new and veteran travelers alike).

With a little common sense, a solo traveler won’t have to worry much about safety here. There is a well-worn backpacker trail, so you’ll never be far from other travelers. That means it’s easy to meet people in case you decide you’d rather travel in a group for some (or all) of your trip.

 

Is Southeast Asia Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Female travelers have additional safety concerns they need to be aware of. That being said, Southeast Asia is still one of the best (and most safe) regions for solo female travel.

By following the tips above, as well as the same precautions you’d take at home (such as not wandering alone at night intoxicated, keeping an eye on your drink while at the bar, etc.), a solo female traveler will be able to have an amazing visit to Southeast Asia without worrying too much about her safety.

And as mentioned above, with so many solo travelers — including many women — in the region, it’s easy to find others to spend time with in case you’re feeling insecure or unsafe.

 

Should You Visit Southeast Asia?

So, is Southeast Asia safe?

Absolutely!

It’s super unlikely that anything will happen. And even less so if you follow the advice listed above.

Be sure to get travel insurance just in case something goes wrong. The past is not prologue and you always want to play it safe. Travel insurance was there when I lost my bag, broke my camera, and popped an eardrum while diving in Thailand. I never expected those things to happen and was glad I had insurance! You can use the widget below to look up the travel insurance policy that is right for you (or just click here to go to their website directly):

 

Book Your Trip to Southeast Asia: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe, so you always know no stone is being left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the largest inventory. If you want to stay somewher eother than a hotel, use Booking.com, as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. I use them all the time. Some suggested places to stay in the region are:

  • Golden Mountain Hostel (Bangkok) – This is a new hostel with dorm beds built into the wall for added privacy. Each room sleeps eight people and the décor is super beautiful and well thought out. The mattresses are soft too!
  • Sla Boutique Hostel (Phnom Penh) – This is a nicer hostel that’s well designed and great for meeting like-minded travelers. The staff are super helpful and it’s located near lots of bars, attractions, and restaurants (but the hostel itself is pretty quiet).
  • Coral Hostel (Singapore) – With all day breakfast, fast Wi-Fi, and AC, this is a great choice for the budget-savvy traveler. Everything is new and clean, and they also have female-only dorms.
  • Kememai Hostel (Ubud) – This hostel is small and cheap, but the staff are friendly and it has everything you need for a comfy budget stay.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it, as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

Looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all the ones I use — and I think they will help you too!

Looking for more information on visiting Southeast Asia?
Check out my in-depth destination guide to Southeast Asia with more tips on what to see and do, costs, ways to save, and much, much more!

The post Is Southeast Asia Safe for Travelers? appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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Is Colombia Safe to Visit?

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A colorful narrow street in Colombia
Posted: 6/22/2019 | June 22nd, 2019

Colombia is one of the most popular countries in South America for backpackers and travelers. In 2017 (the last year there were figures), it saw over three million visitors — three times as many as there were 10 years ago!

Over the past few decades, Colombia has been working hard to dispel the violent image it earned thanks to the drug cartels that once ravaged the country.

While Colombia still isn’t perfect, it’s come a long way since our parents’ generation.

Violent crimes that were once common here, such as murder and kidnapping, are no longer everyday concerns for travelers. Kidnapping has declined 92% and homicides are down by 50% over the past two decades.

Slowly but surely, conditions in Colombia are improving for locals and tourists alike.

But a lot of people still ask me: is Colombia is safe?

 

My Experience in Colombia

Before I went to Colombia, I’d heard countless stories of petty theft. While there, I heard even more. A friend of mine had been robbed three times, the last time at gunpoint while on his way to meet me for dinner.

Locals and expats alike told me the same thing: the rumors of petty theft are true, but if you keep your wits about you, follow the rules, and don’t flash your valuables, you’ll be OK.

There’s even a local expression about it: “No dar papaya” (Don’t give papaya). Essentially, it means that you shouldn’t have something “sweet” out in the open (a phone, computer, watch, etc.) that would make you a target. Keep your valuables hidden, don’t wander around places you shouldn’t at night, don’t flash money around, avoid coming out of nightlife spots alone at night, etc. Simply put: don’t put yourself in a position where people can take advantage of you.

I heeded such advice. I didn’t wear headphones in public. I didn’t take my phone out unless I was in a group or a restaurant, or completely sure no one else was around. I took just enough money with me for the day when I left my hostel. I warned friends about wearing flashy jewelry or watches when they visited.

But the longer you are somewhere, the more complacent you get.

When you see locals on their phones in crowded areas, tourists toting thousand-dollar cameras, and kids wearing Airpods and Apple Watches, you begin to think, “OK, during the day, maybe it’s not so bad.”

Suddenly, you step out of a café with your phone out without even thinking about it.

You’re giving papaya.

And someone wants to take it.

Which is how I ended up getting mugged and knifed. (I’m OK.)

This was also just a matter of being unlucky and not specific to Colombia. A wrong-time-wrong-place situation. It could have happened to me anywhere where I didn’t follow the safety rules that help you minimize risk.

The experience reminded me of why you can’t get complacent. I gave papaya. I shouldn’t have had my phone out. It didn’t matter the time of day. That’s the rule in Colombia. Keep your valuables hidden. (Especially in Bogotá, which does have a higher rate of petty crime than elsewhere in the country.) I didn’t follow the advice.

And I got unlucky because of it. I’d been having my phone out too often and, with each non-incident, I grew more and more relaxed. I kept dropping my guard.

What happened was unlucky, but it didn’t need to happen if I had followed the rules.

This is why people warned me to be careful.

So, if you follow the rules, you’re unlikely to have a problem. All those incidents I talked about earlier? All involved people breaking the ironclad “no dar papaya” rule and either having something valuable out or walking alone late at night in areas where they shouldn’t have.

I’m not going to let this freak incident change my view of such an amazing country. I’d go back to Colombia the same way I’d get in a car after a car accident. In fact, I was terribly upset to leave. I was having an amazing time. I still love Bogotá. I still have plans to go back to Colombia.

Colombia is amazing.

Learn from my mistake. Not only for when you visit Colombia but when you travel in general.
 

10 Safety Tips for Colombia

You can’t get complacent in Colombia. Once you do, bad things happen. You have to stay vigilant. To help you stay safe during your trip, here are a few tips you’ll want to keep in mind as you travel around the country:

1. Stay somewhere with 24-hour security – You always want someone around in case you need assistance. Most hostels and hotels have security cameras or guards. If you don’t feel safe somewhere, don’t hesitate to move on. This way you always have someone to talk to in case something goes wrong.

2. Don’t flash your belongings while you’re out and about – Keep your phone out of sight, and don’t wear any jewelry or watches. If you need to use your phone, do it inside and not out on the street. This is where people get in the most trouble. This is how I got into trouble. Put everything away so you don’t stand out.

3. Don’t travel alone at night – Try to go out with other travelers if you’re going out at night. If you do plan to go out alone or party late, be sure to take an Uber home or have someone call you a cab. Don’t walk alone really late at night.

4. Learn some Spanish – Even just a few phrases can help you in an emergency. Download Spanish on Google Translator so you have it offline as well, just in case.

5. Download an offline map of the city – Having a map will be helpful in case you get lost and need to guide yourself (or a taxi driver) back to your accommodation. If you use your phone at night, be sure to not use it out in the streets.

6. Don’t do drugs – The drugs cartels have crippled this country. Don’t support them by buying drugs. Locals don’t like it because drugs have so devasted the country and doing it just further cripples the country. It’s really disrespectful. Additionally, getting involved with drugs here increases your chances of getting into trouble. Also, doing drugs here is illegal, and you don’t want to end up in a Colombian prison.

7. Keep your valuables separate – Never carry all of them together. When you’re going out for the day, leave some credit cards and cash in locked in your accommodation. That way, if you lose your wallet, you’ll still have cash and cards back at your hostel. Also keep some emergency funds in your main backpack too, just in case.

8. If the worst happens, just give the attacker your stuff – Handing over your things is much better than risking the alternative (trust me). If you have travel insurance, you’ll be able to get reimbursed (just be sure to save all of your receipts).

9 . Download the Prey app to your phone and laptop – If either device gets stolen, for a small fee you’ll be able to track it and remotely turn on your camera to photograph the thief (you can also wipe the data and message the thief too). The app is free to download and only costs $5 USD for additional support should you get robbed.

10. Buy travel insurance – If something does go wrong, you want to be sure you’re covered and someone has your back. Travel insurance can help you find medical treatment and give you money to buy replacements for what was stolen. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially in a country where petty crime is still a problem.

 

So, is Colombia Safe for Solo Travelers?

Colombia is safe for solo travelers. While petty crime is still a problem, as long as you don’t flaunt your valuables, you’ll likely not run into any problems. When you go out, only take what you need for the day and leave your other valuables in your hostel or hotel room.

If you’re not feeling comfortable, try to meet other travelers so you can explore together. That way you’ll never be alone and will avoid being a target for pickpockets and petty criminals.

At night, make sure you’re never traveling alone and that you have your ride home planned in advance. Don’t get into sketchy cabs. Avoid wandering around non-touristy areas at night and alone.

I never felt really unsafe in the country during the day or in public places. You’ll see locals with phones out and, generally, going about their life. It’s really at night that you have to be careful.
 

Is Colombia Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

While solo female travelers will want to take some extra precautions in Colombia, the country should definitely still be under consideration.

Whenever possible, avoid traveling alone — especially at night or in areas where there are not many people. Don’t flaunt any valuables, and avoid taking taxis alone at night. Always have a downloaded map and translator so you can find your way home or ask for help if you need it.

By taking some precautions and planning accordingly, solo female travelers will be able to have a rewarding time traveling Colombia. Just make sure to follow the advice and tips above!

Here are a couple of helpful posts on safety written by our solo female travel experts:

 

Is it Safe to Take a Taxi in Colombia?

Taxis are safe here, but always make sure you call your taxi in advance. Never get into a random vehicle. Even if it looks like a taxi, it might not be one. It’s always better to play it safe.

Get your hostel or accommodation to call a cab for you, or download a taxi app (Uber is in Medellín, Cali, and Bogotá) so you can order your own. Avoid taking taxis at night as well (especially as a solo female traveler).
 

Is the Food Safe in Colombia?

The food in Colombia is quite safe. Just make sure to avoid any food that’s been sitting out in the sun all day. Look for places with lots of patrons — that’s how you can tell the food is fresh and delicious.

Also, make sure any fruit you eat has a peel to avoid it getting contaminated.

If you’re a vegetarian or have other dietary concerns, you might be hard pressed to find food here, as most dishes are meat-based. Learn some basic phrases (or download Google Translate) to help you ask questions and find foods suitable for your diet.

Lastly, always wash your hands before you eat. That’s the best way to avoid getting sick!
 

Can You Drink the Tap Water in Colombia?

While improvements in water treatment are coming along, you can’t really drink the water outside of Bogotá and Medellín.

I’d suggest you travel with a Lifestraw or Steripen so you can purify water no matter where you are. That will help you save money and reduce your reliance on single-use plastic. Double win!
 

Should You Visit Colombia?

So, is Colombia safe?

Yes.

While petty theft is a growing concern, the country has so much to offer the intrepid traveler. There is amazing nature, vibrant cities, a fun nightlife, and a growing community of entrepreneurs and digital nomads who call Colombia home.

It’s cheap and easy to navigate, and as long as you follow your instincts and use common sense, you will avoid trouble.

Even if you’re a solo female traveler, Colombia still has a lot to offer.

So, while my personal experience in Colombia didn’t end well, I am definitely planning on going back.

Because it’s just too amazing a place not to visit.

Just be sure to get travel insurance just in case something goes wrong. The past is not prologue and you always want to play it safe. Travel insurance was there when I lost my bag, broke my camera, and got knifed in Colombia. I never expected those things to happen and was glad I had insurance! You can use the widget below to look up the travel insurance policy that is right for you (or just click here to go to their website directly):

 

Book Your Trip to Colombia: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. I use them all the time.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

Looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all the ones I use to save money when I travel – and I think will help you too!

Looking for more information on visiting Colombia?
Check out my in-depth destination guide to Colombia with more tips on what to see, do, costs, ways to save, and much, much more!

The post Is Colombia Safe to Visit? appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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The Best Tour Companies in Italy

Posted By : webmaster/ 5 0


The historic architecture of Italy at sunset
Posted: 6/22/2019 | June 22nd, 2019

Italy is home to incredible food (give me all the gnocchi and wine), rolling green hills, cultivated vineyards, incredible lakes and mountains, a long rich history dating back thousands of years, and welcome culture.

It is one of the most dynamic countries in the world and will live up to all the hype you’ve heard. It’s composed of 20 different regions, each with its own unique culture, cuisine, wine, and landscape. Italy is basically a confederation of different regional “countries and cultures.”

Because there’s so much to see and do in Italy (and not everyone has a lot of time), many travelers decide to take tours when they visit Italy.

I’ve done Italy on my own and with tour companies.

And there are A LOT of tour companies in Italy. Like way, way, way too many.

It can be very overwhelming deciding which Italy tour company to pick. I know. I’ve spent hours upon hours researching them all.

To help you plan your trip and really get beneath the surface of this amazing destination, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite tour companies in Italy.

Whether you’re looking for a basic walking tour or a multi-week excursion, these companies are the ones I think offer travelers the best experience at the right price.

Here are the nine best tour companies in Italy:

1. Rome Free Walking Tour

One of the best ways to get introduced to a destination is by taking a free walking tour. Rome Free Walking Tour offers a couple of different free tours each day, allowing you to tailor your visit to your interests. Each tour is around two hours.

The tours will give you a solid introduction to the history and culture of the Eternal City without overloading you with tons of extraneous details, and the guides are knowledgeable and can answer any questions. If you just want a quick overview of the city, this is the tour for you. Since the tours are free, be sure to tip your guides!

—> Click here to learn more about booking a tour with Rome Free Walking Tour!

2. Strawberry Tours

For free walking tours in Rome and beyond, check out Strawberry Tours. They organize tours (or collaborate with companies that run tours) in Rome, Florence, Milan, and Venice. You’ll be able to get a solid overview of each iconic city thanks to expert local guides. These free tours are 2-3 hours long, making them a great introduction to each destination. They also offer more in-depth paid tours if you’re looking to do something more unique, such as priority-access tours to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence or fully guided day trips to sites such as Pompeii. Paid tours start around 30 EUR per person, depending on the tour.

—> Click here to learn more about booking a tour with Strawberry Tours!

3. Context

Context offers comprehensive history, food, and cultural tours in half a dozen cities across Italy. These are intellectual walks packed with history, perfect for anyone looking to really get below the surface.

Context only hires experts to lead their tours, which is why their tours are some of my favorites. You’ll really get an in-depth look at each destination, and while their tours aren’t cheap, they are worth every penny if you’re serious about getting a nuanced and educational tour. Tours can range from a two-hour introduction to an eight-hour, full-day tour, so there’s something for every taste and interest level.

—> Click here to learn more about booking a tour with Context!

4. Italy Food Tours

This is one of the most highly rated food tour companies in Italy. They’ve been featured by Lonely Planet, National Geographic, Forbes, and many other popular publications. In short, they’re a perfect choice for anyone looking to really dig in and learn about Italy’s world-famous food cuisine. The food tours, drink tours, and pasta-making classes are guaranteed to give you an authentic local experience guided by experts who truly know their topics. They offer tours in Rome and Florence, with each generally lasting 3-4 hours. Tickets start at 75 EUR per person. They sell out fast, so be sure to book in advance!

—> Click here to learn more about booking a tour with Italy Food Tours!

5. Divina Cucina Culinary Experiences

Judy is an American expat who has been eating and drinking her way around Italy since the 1980s, and she has crafted some unique experiences for anyone looking to get under Italy’s culinary skin. Her private “Morning at the Market” tours in Florence will give you a nuanced look at Italy’s food culture and history, during which she shares her cooking tips and expertise. Judy also offers weeklong cooking intensives if you’re looking to really step up your Italian cuisine.

—> Click here to learn more about booking a tour with Divina Cucina Culinary Experiences!

6. Walks of Italy

If you’re looking for something a little more in-depth than a free tour, my favorite walking tour company in Italy is Walks. They are one of the largest day tour companies in Italy and offer tours in Rome, Milan, Florence, Venice, Pompeii, and the Amalfi Coast. What makes them so special is that they get access to places other people don’t, including before- or after-hours visits to some of the most popular sites in Italy (such as the Vatican or the Colosseum). In addition to historical tours, they also conduct food tours, vineyard tours, and even pasta-making classes. They are true experts and I love their tours. They are my favorite tour company in Italy.

Most tours last around four hours and start at around 60 EUR per person.

—> Click here to learn more about booking a tour with Walks of Italy!

7. Busabout

Busabout is a hop-on/hop-off bus service that has routes all around Europe. It’s a popular choice with the backpacker crowd, as you can not only explore the country but also get to meet and connect with other travelers. They offer routes around Italy, ranging from three to seven days, as well as routes around Europe that include Italy in their itinerary, so you can likely find something to suit your budget as well as your travel plans. Their stops in Italy include Rome, Ravello, Amalfi, Sorrento, Capri, and Pompeii. If you are looking to meet lots of people and not spend too much time worrying about your itinerary, then this is a great affordable option.

—> Click here to learn more about booking a tour with Busabout!

8. Travel Italian Style

My friend Cassandra runs this incredible bespoke travel company that creates customized trips to Italy. She’s been working in the tourism industry for well over a decade and has been to every single region of Italy. In short, she knows her stuff and can plan the perfect getaway for you. Vineyard tours, cooking classes, boutique accommodations — you’re guaranteed to experience life as a local with Cassandra’s tours. If you’re looking for an immaculately curated vacation to Italia, this is the tour company for you.

—> Click here to learn more about booking a tour with Travel Italian Style!

9. Intrepid Travel

This is my go-to travel company when I’m looking for multi-day or multi-week trips. They employ local guides with incredible insight and appreciation for the communities they take you to, and the groups are never too big. Plus, they only run ethical tours with a small environmental footprint. They last 8-15 days (including sailing trips!), with prices starting at 695 EUR per person. I’ve gone on some amazing tours with Intrepid over the years, including to Jordan, Morocco, and Madagascar, and have never been disappointed.

—> Click here to learn more about booking a tour with Intrepid Travel!

(As a Nomadic Matt reader, you’ll also get an exclusive discount; click on the link for the latest deals.)

***

Tantalizing food tours, charming visits to historic vineyards, deep dives into ancient history — you can find it all in Italy. Whether you’re looking for a quick introduction or an in-depth, multi-day adventure, these awesome Italian tour companies will help you have the trip you’ve always wanted.

Book Your Trip to Italy: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. I use them all the time. My favorite places to stay are:

  • The Yellow (Rome) – This is a great party hostel if you’re looking to have fun and meet people. The hostel is right above a nightclub, so if you’re looking for a quiet trip, don’t stay here!
  • Ostello Bello (Milan) – This hostel is in a great location, the staff are wonderful, and they have free breakfast included.
  • Ostello Archi Rosso (Florence) – This is a basic budget hostel that’s affordable and in a great location. The staff are friendly and there is a restaurant onsite as well.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

Looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all the ones I use to save money when I travel – and I think will help you too!

Want More Information on Italy?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Italy for even more planning tips!

The post The Best Tour Companies in Italy appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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13 Off-the-Beaten-Path Things to See and Do in Paris

Posted By : webmaster/ 6 0


One of the many narrow cobblestone streets near Montmartre, Paris
Posted: 6/24/2019 | June 24th, 2019

Paris is filled with famous attractions: the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Versailles, the catacombs, the Pantheon, the Arc de Triomphe, Sacre-Coeur. The list goes on. There are so many amazing sites here that you could spend days (heck, even weeks) just seeing the main, most well-known ones.

But there’s more to Paris than the sites that attract thousands upon thousands of visitors each day.

While I was living Paris the past few months, I made it my mission to see some of the more unusual, lesser-known (but equally awesome) attractions (that didn’t come with the aggravating crowds that make so many of Paris’ attractions unbearable).

And, while some of the things on the list below might not be “super secret” attractions or activities, they do fall into the category of “overlooked attractions” so I included them.

Here are some of the best off-the-beaten-path things to see and do in Paris:

1. Le Manoir de Paris

This is where macabre museum meets haunted house. Numerous rooms highlight some of the more unsettling aspects of Paris’s long and often dark past, such as the Phantom of the Opera, vampires, or the crocodiles in the sewers. Using real actors as well as animatronics, the city’s gruesome and unsettling history is brought to life in an interesting way. In addition to their museum, they also have escape rooms as well as different levels of intensity depending on how scared you get!

18 Rue de Paradis, +33 6 70 89 35 87, lemanoirdeparis.com. Open Fridays 6pm-9:30pm and weekends 3pm-6:30pm. Admission is 29 EUR for adults and 20 EUR for children 10-15.

2. Musée Édith Piaf

Édith Piaf is perhaps the most famous French singer from the 1930s to the 1960s, and know around the world for her songs La vie en rose and Non, je ne regrette rien (which appeared in the movie Inception). She lived in a little apartment in the Ménilmontant district at the start of her career, which has been turned into a tiny museum dedicated to her. You get a glimpse at her life through her gold and platinum records, photographs, clothing, letters from fans, posters, recordings, and sheet music.

5 Rue Crespin du Gast, +33 1 43 55 52 72. Open Monday-Wednesday 1pm-6pm and Thursdays 10am-12pm. Admission is free, but you’ll need to make an appointment. You’ll also want to either speak decent French or go with someone who does.

3. Musée Curie

The interior of the Curie Museum in Paris, France
Marie Curie was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize (and the only woman to win it twice) for her research into radioactivity (a word that she invented). She was the first female professor at the University of Paris as well as the first woman to be entombed in the Panthéon on her own merits. Located in the 5th arrondissement, this museum, in her old laboratory, highlights her radiological research. It’s insightful and eye-opening for anyone unfamiliar with her historic discoveries.

1 Rue Pierre et Marie Curie, +33 1 56 24 55 33, musee.curie.fr. Open Wednesday-Saturday 1pm-5pm. Admission is free.

4. Archives Nationales

The exterior of the National Archives on a sunny day in Paris, France
Opened in 1867, the National Archives houses thousands of historical documents dating back to 625 CE. One of six national archives in the country, the museum sheds light on France’s turbulent past, providing nuanced historical details and context through permanent and temporary exhibitions.

Built by the order of Napoleon I, the building itself (known as the Hôtel de Soubise) is absolutely stunning. It is in the late Baroque style, embracing long columns and lots of statues and sculptures. It features immaculate grounds and gardens as well. They always hold a lot of good exhibitions too.

59 Rue Guynemer, +33 1 75 47 20 02, archives-nationales.culture.gouv.fr/en. Open Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm. Admission is 8 EUR per person.

5. The Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy

A massive skull from a T-Rex in a museum in Paris, France
Opened in 1898, this museum is home to over 1,000 animal skeletons from around the world, including complete skeletons of elephants, large cats, and even dinosaurs. It’s as interesting as it is unsettling: all the animals are facing the same way, making it look like you’re in the midst of some undead stampede!

2 Rue Buffon, +33 1 40 79 56 01, www.mnhn.fr/en/visit/lieux/galerie-paleontologie-anatomie-comparee-paleontology-and-comparative-anatomy-gallery. Open daily 10am-6pm (closed Tuesdays). Admission is free.

6. The Vampire Museum

Paris has a long history with the esoteric, one that is brought to life in this fascinating (if not macabre) museum founded by an eccentric scholar to showcase his knowledge of the undead and esoteric. Here you’ll find vampire-killing kits, rare texts on demonology, and mysterious ancient relics. It’s a busy, eclectic, creepy museum that’s a feast for the eyes and one worthy of a visit if you’re at all interested in more obscure (and fanciful) tales. It’s a fun, kitschy museum.

14 Rue Jules David, +33 1 43 62 80 76, artclips.free.fr/musee_des_vampires/MuseeVampires1.html. You’ll need to make an appointment in advance by phone. (Don’t worry if the voicemail greeting is in French — the curator speakers perfect English).

7. Petite Ceinture

The Petite Ceinture abandoned train tracks in Paris, France
In use from 1862 through 1964, the railway circling Paris was abandoned when the city expanded beyond its limits. It’s mostly hidden behind buildings and covered in wild plants and grass now, though some sections are now officially open to the public. You’ll find all sorts of flowers and street art along the tracks.

While some sections are illegal to visit, near Parc Georges Brassens you’ll find a section of the tracks known as the ‘Passage de la Petite Ceinture’ that is both free and legal to visit. It’s located in the 15e arrondissement.

8. The Salvador Dalí Sundial

An up-close shot of the Salvador Dali sundial in Paris, France
This surrealist sundial was created by world-renowned artist Salvador Dalí. Located on Rue Saint-Jacques, it’s is a mix of a human face and a scallop shell (the symbol of the Camino to Santiago, since the street is named after the saint). While the sundial doesn’t actually work, it’s nevertheless an easy way to see a piece of artwork by one of the most famous artists in the world.

27 Rue Saint-Jacques. Open 24/7 with no admission.

9. Montmartre Cemetery

One of the many statues located in the Montmartre Cemetery in Paris, France
While the Père Lachaise Cemetery is the largest and most popular in Paris, for a more secluded stroll, check out the Montmartre Cemetery. Plenty of people visit the top of Montmartre for Sacré-Coeur and the view, but few take the time to wander this cemetery sitting at the foot of the district. It opened in 1825 and is home to many cobwebbed mausoleums, as well as a handful of stray cats. You won’t see many people here, so you can explore in peace.

20 Avenue Rachel, +33 1 53 42 36 30, paris.fr/equipements/cimetiere-de-montmartre-5061. Open Monday-Friday 8am-6pm, Saturdays 8:30am-6pm, and Sundays 9am-6pm.

10. The Museum of Counterfeiting

The sign of the Museum of Counterfeiting in Paris, France
Opened in 1972, this museum is home to counterfeit items that have been collected by France’s customs agents and police (as well as donated items from brands and consumers alike). There are over 500 items in the museum, ranging from counterfeit art and luxury goods to more mundane items, like cleaning supplies. While some knockoffs are impressive in their duplicity, it’s also funny to see just how bad some counterfeiters were!

16 Rue de la Faisanderie, +33 1 56 26 14 03, musee-contrefacon.com. Open Monday-Saturday 2pm-5:30pm. Admission is 6 EUR per person for adults and 5 EUR for students and seniors.

11. Promenade Planteé (Coulée verte René-Dumont)

The green Promenade Planteé in Paris, France on a sunny day
This tree-lined walkway is a greenbelt that extends almost 5km along the old Vincennes railway line. The railway line ceased functioning in 1969, with the park being inaugurated a few decades afterward. Until New York built their High Line, it was the only elevated park in the entire world. (And, honestly, this is way nicer then the NYC High Line).

You’ll find lots of trees, flowers, ponds, and places to sit along this long path that stretches from Bastille to the edge of Paris. It’s a long, easy, and beautiful walk. You won’t find many people here. Even on a nice day, it’s rather empty. It quickly became one of my favorite things to do in Paris and I can’t recommend coming here enough!

1 Coulée verte René-Dumont (12th arrondissement). Open daily from 8am-9:30pm. Admission is free.

12. Canal Saint-Martin

The calm waters of the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris, France
Stretching 4.5km, the Canal Saint-Martin is a man-made waterway commissioned by Napoleon. Construction finished in 1825, connecting the Canal de l’Ourcq to the Seine via both above ground locks and underground tunnels. While not any secret spot (on a nice day, you’ll find the canal lined with people), it’s mostly a spot for locals who want to have a picnic and relax. So, say no to the Seine, and come have your outdoor picnic along the canal. It’s more relaxing and there will be fewer people!

The canal starts at Place de Stalingrad and ends at Quai de la Râpée. Canal cruises last 2.5 hours and cost around 16 EUR per person.

13. Museé de Montmartre

The queen gardens of the Montmartre Museum in Paris, France
Founded in 1960, this museum is located throughout two building that dates back to the 17th century. Over the years, the buildings were home to many famous writers and painters. The gardens of the museum were actually renovated to look more like the gardens in Renoir’s paintings (there is also a vineyard nearby that dates back to the Middle Ages but it makes horrible wine). The museum’s permanent collection includes a wide variety of paintings, posters, and drawings.

12 Rue Cortot, +33 1 49 25 89 39, museedemontmartre.fr/en/le-musee. Open daily from 10am-6pm (7pm in the summer). Admission is 12 EUR for adults, which includes an audio guide. Discounts are available for students, children, and persons with disabilities.

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While the main sights in Paris are always worth checking out, if you want to be more than a tourist and develop a greater appreciation for the City of Light’s unique and complex history, visit these unconventional and unusual attractions in Paris.

Book Your Trip to Paris: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. I use them all the time. Some of my favorite places to stay in Paris are:

  • St. Christopher’s Canal – Comfy spot on the canal. During the summer months, the terrace is hopping!
  • 3 Ducks Hostel – This hostel has one of the cheapest bars in the city, and it’s just a 10-minute walk to the Eiffel Tower.
  • Les Piaules – Fantastic chimney lounge, a cool bar, and a rooftop space. It’s a great place to meet people!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

Looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all the ones I use to save money when I travel – and I think will help you too!

Looking for more information on visiting Paris?
Check out my in-depth destination guide to Paris with more tips on what to see, do, costs, ways to save, and much, much more!

Photo credit: 4 – Adrian Grycuk, 5, 8 – Guilhem Vellut, 6 – Jim Linwood, 9 – Joanna Penn, 10 – Son of Groucho, 12 – PPun, 13 – advencap, 15 – Museé de Montmartre

The post 13 Off-the-Beaten-Path Things to See and Do in Paris appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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