July 2019

Are You Happy With Your Life?

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black and white photo of a busy crosswalk with blurred people
Posted: 7/29/2019 | July 29th, 2019

I was recently gifted the sci-fi thriller Dark Matter. Without giving too much away, the book revolves around the idea of a multiverse, where every possible outcome of a decision plays out — and each decision thereafter creates another split and so forth and so forth. It’s an infinite multiverse of all the possible outcomes of every decision you could ever make.

But, to me, it’s really a book about regret.

It’s about wondering what would have happened if you had followed the road not taken.

Where would you be if you had stayed with that girl, taken that job, or moved to that new city? Would you be happier as a result?

We map out how we hope our life will unfold.

First this, then that, then this, then that.

But life never unfolds the way we imagine it will. Life isn’t like writing a novel where you can plot out how things will end and ensure the characters behave as you want. Every decision you — and those around — make throughout the day shifts the direction of your life.

Life is what happens when you are busy making plans.

One day, we wake up and find we’re far off from the path we had hoped to traverse. We took a different job; broke up with that girl; suffered a health issue, family death, or financial disaster; moved somewhere new; decided to go back to school; or met someone who inspired us to travel the world.

A million and one things can pull us off the path we envisioned.

When you look back on the whole of your life, it’s easy to see where you deviated from the path you laid out for yourself. You can see the pivotal choices and moments that changed your life for good or ill.

What would have happened if my friend Scott had never convinced me to go to Thailand all those years ago?

Or if I had missed that bus in Chiang Mai where I met those backpackers who ended up inspiring my trip around the world?

What if I had never started this blog?

What would have happened if I had stayed in Taiwan with my girlfriend all those years ago?

Humans are really good at wondering about what might have been. We tend to look at our life in retrospect and judge our past actions by where we are now.

But when we’re in our life, you don’t see the grand vision. We’re just trying to get through the day as best we can. We’re thinking about the tasks at hand — the meeting in an hour, the laundry that needs to be picked up later, what we’re going to make for dinner — not the big picture.

Our brains aren’t hardwired for that kind of thinking.

For all our big talk about how humanity is different because we can think about the future, we’re often just like other animals: only seeing the moment right in front of us.

***

When I moved to Paris, I had big goals. I was going to meet people, attend influencer and tourism events, sightsee every day, and live that #bestlife.

Yet through long lunches and bottles of wine with friends and long days writing my new book, and by catching up on sleep and hosting a lot of friends, I strayed far from those original plans. Looking back, I did little of what I originally planned to do.

In a sense, I failed.

And I could easily look back with regret and wonder what would have happened if I had done what I had planned to do. What would I have learned about the city? Who would I have met?

But then I think back to Dark Matters and the question that sets the whole book in motion:

“Are you happy with your life?”

It’s such a simple but powerful question.

Beyond all the daily complaints and frustrations and minor annoyances, how often do we really ask such a deep and fundamental question?

“Are you happy with your life?”

Day to day, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. To never see the forest through the trees. To look back and think of the goals we made that we never reached.

But what we do every day is a reflection of our values and our goals.

If you’ve lived your values every day, haven’t you really reached those goals?

When you zoom out and ask yourself if you’re happy with your life, what do you say?

We get twenty-four hours to make the right choice.

And if we fail, we get to wake up and try again.

I wouldn’t trade those long meals and writing sessions or those quiet nights in for anything. They helped create a sense of balance in my life the first time in a long time.

When I look back at the what-ifs and see the choices I made, I can’t really regret them — because they brought me to where I am today.

And, when you’re happy with your life, how can you really regret the path that brought you there – even if it’s not the exact one you planned?

P.S. – I just released a new book! It’s called “Ten Years a Nomad” and it’s about my ten years backpacking the world and the lessons I learned from it. It features tons of stories I’ve never told on this blog and is a book that delves into the why of travel! Click here to learn more, grab your copy today, and meet me on my book tour!

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. 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!

The post Are You Happy With Your Life? appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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We Need to Stop Telling Women They’ll Get Assaulted If They Travel Solo

Posted By : webmaster/ 11 0


Kristin Addis walking across sand dunes in the desert
Posted: 7/25/2019 | July 25th, 2019

Kristin Addis from Be My Travel Muse writes our semi-regular column on solo female travel. In this column, she goes deep into the shaming culture surrounding solo female travel and how women are often told it’s not safe to travel (while men are told no such thing). It’s not an easy topic but one that’s very pertinent and needs to be discussed.

Many of us solo travelers receive pushback. Depending on what other people think we should be doing with our lives instead, the pressure can range from mild guilting to quite disturbing warnings.

“You’ll never get another job, never find a partner, never have children (or settle down in time to have them), and never have financial security,” they say.

“You’ll be an easier victim, get robbed, or be killed.”

But one thing sticks out when we consider solo female vs. solo male travelers:

Women are told much more often than men that they will “get raped” if they travel alone.

Based on my own research conducted by polling large, travel-focused Facebook groups, out of nearly 1,000 responses, 69% of female respondents reported being told they’d get raped if they traveled solo vs. 6.6% of men*.

Certainly, if we consider the data on sexual assault of women vs. men, many more women are victims than men worldwide. In the US, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s 2010 report, nearly 1 in 5 women in the US have been raped at some point in their lives. The stats are similar in Canada, where over 600,000 sexual assaults are reported by women per year, which is estimated to only be 5% of cases while the rest go unreported. A 2014 report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights shows similar numbers.

Kristin Addis in a mountain landscape with glaciers

However, when we delve deeper into the numbers, we see that the overwhelming majority of this violence is inflicted by someone the victim knows. According to Statistics Canada, only 16% of violent assaults against women are carried out by a total stranger and in the US it’s estimated at around 22%.

What about when women travel abroad? I found that in countries with a lower socioeconomic status and even higher rates of sexual violence, the likelihood that the perpetrator was someone that the victim did not already know was also low, according to the World Health Organization’s global and regional estimates.

Further, the numbers show that getting sexually attacked abroad is rare. The number one crime is stolen passports. Unfortunately, the US does not report on sexual assault abroad, but the 2014 British Behaviour Abroad report does, and it shows that the government provided assistance to an average of 280 sexual assault victims abroad out of over 19,000 yearly consular assistance cases from 2009 to 2014.

Obviously, many sexual assaults go unreported abroad as well, and the world is generally not a safe place for women. Coercion still happens and the binge drinking culture in hostels doesn’t help keep women safe. However, based on all of the aforementioned research, it appears that most of the rapes that occur abroad take place between people who know each other and does not target tourists.

Kristin Addis posing in front of a bright blue lake in the mountains

This suggests that, by traveling, a woman is potentially putting herself in a less threatening sexual-violence situation than when she’s at home.

This led me to wonder: Why is it that the warning to women that they’ll “get assaulted” if they travel alone is so pervasive, even when the data does not support this? Is it because whenever tragedy does befall a solo female traveler, it’s front-page news that also often suggests that it’s her fault?

Contrast this to when a solo male meets tragedy and is referred to as an adventurer and “lover of life.” Why is the opposite so often true for a woman — who, as many in the comment sections of these articles can’t help but point out, shouldn’t have been traveling alone?

Why are men allowed to travel alone and women aren’t?

Is it simply too threatening, whether consciously — or more likely unconsciously — to see a woman going against the typical status quo and having more self-agency? Is it too abnormal to see a woman deciding that she does not need a partner or a friend or any kind of chaperone on a journey to another country (which, for those from the US, is likely to be statistically safer)?

When a woman goes against the status quo, it triggers people’s fear of change and their discomfort over a life not fully lived. This is why even women caution other women about the dangers of solo travel. The warning almost always comes from someone who has not actually tried to travel alone and does not have any firsthand experience.

Moreover, even though the world population has exploded, women are still guilted about turning away from the traditional gender role of getting married and having babies. But this has only been “tradition” for a few hundred years. Whole villages, including men, used to be involved in child-rearing, but modern motherhood is often a solitary job. That sure does make it easy to take a woman’s — and indeed any human being’s — greatest power, which is giving life, and make it a burden. It takes away autonomy and takes one out of the workforce. It keeps women dependent and out of positions of power.

The results speak for themselves. Women are paid less, on average, than men the world over. There are fewer female CEOs and fewer women in government (except for in Rwanda, which also has the cleanest capital in the world), even though people do better under female leadership.

Kristin Addis backpacking in the mountains

Thankfully, we’re seeing a worldwide shift and a discussion about the patriarchy coming to the forefront of mainstream media — something that’s been a long time coming, after centuries of female subjugation — but we have a long way to go.

Then there is the psychological effect of this pervasive warning given to solo female travelers to consider. Casting doubt on a woman’s sexual safety can powerfully affect her psyche, especially if she experienced sexual trauma at some point in her life already and has an altered emotional response to such threats.

That said, this warning about rape affects women whether they’ve experienced sexual trauma or not. A study conducted at a US university found that women who had not been victims of rape were still more likely to assume typical gender roles after being read a realistic description of a rape that had occurred on their own college campus, where the threat would feel more imminent to them.

Several similar studies referenced in the same book, Sex, Power, Conflict: Evolutionary and Feminist Perspectives, edited by David M. Buss and Neil M. Malamuth, found that just the threat of rape eroded trust of men by women and negatively affected women’s self-esteem and self-agency.

The threat of rape is a psychological weapon that is likely to discourage her not just from traveling but from trusting herself and her own abilities.

If a woman is mistrustful of men, and even worse, of her own self and abilities, then how in the world is she supposed to work up the courage to travel the world, especially solo? It’s much easier to keep a woman “in her place” if she doesn’t become independent, experience other cultures, and come to believe in herself and her abilities.

How, in light of this information, can we see telling a woman she’ll “get raped” as anything other than cruel and manipulative?

Kristin Addis standing in front of the Grand Canyon with some light snow

None of this is to lay blame on men, but rather lay out the facts: it’s false that a woman is more likely to get raped by traveling than she is by staying home.

We need to ask why female autonomy is such a scary concept in modern society. We need to recognize that by holding a woman back from her independence, even well-meaning friends and parents are killing her budding sense of self.

It’s up to all of us to support women who wish to grow and flourish in whatever ways they choose, including by traveling the world, especially solo. It’s the one thing in my life that built up more self-confidence and bravery than anything else I’ve done. I hope everyone gets to experience that at least once.

(Note: Unfortunately, there is a dearth of data on those who identify as nonbinary. Apart from the option I included in my own data collection — which still has too few responses to be statistically helpful — I didn’t see this group referenced in governmental research numbers. With that in mind, this post uses the data I do have access to, which focuses on those who identify as male or female.)

Conquering Mountains: The Guide to Solo Female Travel

conquering mountains: solo female travel by kristin addisFor a complete A-to-Z guide on solo female travel, check out Kristin’s new book, Conquering Mountains. Besides discussing many of the practical tips of preparing and planning your trip, the book addresses the fears, safety, and emotional concerns women have about traveling alone. It features over 20 interviews with other female travel writers and travelers. Click here to learn more about the book and start reading it today!

Kristin Addis is a solo female travel expert who inspires women to travel the world in an authentic and adventurous way. A former investment banker who sold all of her belongings and left California in 2012, Kristin has solo traveled the world for over four years, covering every continent (except for Antarctica, but it’s on her list). There’s almost nothing she won’t try and almost nowhere she won’t explore. You can find more of her musings at Be My Travel Muse or on Instagram and Facebook.

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 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.

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!

The post We Need to Stop Telling Women They’ll Get Assaulted If They Travel Solo appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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What Does Travel Insurance ACTUALLY Cover?

Posted By : webmaster/ 16 0


A commercial jet flying high in the bright blue sky
Posted: 7/12/2019 | July 12th, 2019

Travel insurance is probably the most boring topic when it comes to planning a trip. Nobody wants to focus on the worst-case scenario before they even leave home.

Plus, researching insurance is just plain tedious. There is a lot of fine print to scour, requiring you to read over the minutiae of each insurance plan before you pick the one that’s best for you.

But it’s also the most important topic too. Should something terrible happen while you’re on the road, you want to have the confidence that your insurance plan will cover you.

While none of us want to imagine getting hurt or robbed or having to cancel our plans, the fact of the matter is that these things happen. It’s rare, but shit you don’t expect does happen when you travel.

I never expected to break my camera in Italy.

I never expected to rupture my eardrum scuba diving in Thailand.

I never expected to get stabbed in Colombia.

And while these unfortunate events are few and far between, it’s always better to be safe than sorry (trust me!). Medical bills aren’t cheap. Emergency evacuations cost tens of thousands of dollars. Unless you have a stockpile of disposable income, chances are you’ll want to buy travel insurance for your next trip.

There are a lot of misconceptions about travel insurance, so you’ll also want to learn everything you can about your plan and the company that is covering you.

Will your plan cover pre-existing conditions? Is there an age limit or a limit on how long you can be out of your home country? Will you be able to see doctors for non-emergency visits? What about dental coverage?

There is a lot to learn, and it can be overwhelming if travel insurance is new to you.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be!

In this post, I’ll go over what is ACTUALLY covered by reputable travel insurance plans, so you know what to look for.

 

What Travel Insurance DOES Cover

Medical Emergencies
Chances are when you think of travel insurance, you’re picturing a medical emergency.

While accidents or serious illnesses while traveling abroad are rare, here’s what you can expect to be covered by a reputable insurance company:

  • Your hospitalization fee
  • Surgery costs
  • Outpatient treatment costs
  • Visits to registered medical practitioners (relating to your emergency injury)
  • Prescribed medicines (relating to the injury)
  • Medical evacuation (usually this is just to a local medical facility unless you have a more comprehensive plan from a company like MedJet. See below for more on evacuation.)

Emergency Evacuation
Medical evacuations due to accidents or natural disasters can cost upwards of $500,000. Naturally, this is where having a solid insurance plan comes in handy. Most insurance plans will evacuate you to a local hospital in case of injury or a nearby location in the case of a natural disaster.

In some cases, you will be repatriated back to your home country as well (though this is rare and usually only occurs in cases where local medical staff can’t provide the assistance you need).

Dental Emergencies
As with other medical emergencies, what’s covered here is accidental injury and sudden pain. For example, chipped teeth or a sudden infection.

General checkups are not covered, nor is major dental work that doesn’t relate to an injury or accident sustained abroad. And if you just want your teeth cleaned or a new filling, you’ll have to pay for that out of pocket.

Death Overseas
I know it’s never fun thinking about something like this happening, but knowing that you’re covered will give you and your loved ones peace of mind.

Should the worst happen, most insurance plans will cover the costs of a family member coming to get your body to take it home. Some policies will also include cremation services or burial overseas, should that be preferred.

Common exclusions would include death from alcohol or illicit narcotics, suicide, or pre-existing conditions not covered by the plan.

Flight Delays and Cancellations
If your flight gets delayed or canceled, you can apply for compensation from your travel insurance provider (assuming the airline doesn’t provide coverage for you). As long as the cancellation or delay is not your fault, you can apply for reimbursement. However, if you miss your flight because you slept in, that doesn’t count as a valid reason!

Be sure to keep all emails, receipts, and correspondence from your airline regarding the delay or cancellation, as you’ll need them to verify your claim and get reimbursed.

Trip Cancellation
If you need to cancel your trip — either before you depart or during your trip — for a verified medical reason, the death of a close relative, or the death of your travel partner, you can apply to get reimbursed from your insurance company.

To verify your claim, be sure to get a note from your doctor if you’re canceling due to illness. If you’re canceling due to a death, you’ll need to submit a copy of the death certificate (as well as other supporting documentation).

Lost or Stolen Property
If your bags get stolen while you’re traveling, most travel insurance companies will reimburse you for some or all of the items (there are usually limits on gear like laptops and cameras unless you buy a comprehensive plan with additional coverage). Be sure to file a police report. It will be necessary for making a claim.

Coverage will usually include compensation for delayed baggage or baggage that’s damaged in transit as well.

If your wallet or passport is stolen, some plans will cover the cost of having a new passport or credit card mailed to you (this usually will depend on your residency). If your wallet is stolen with cash in it, most plans won’t reimburse you for the cash. One exception is the Explorer Plan from World Nomads, which covers up to $200 USD in cash compensation.

Damaged or Stolen Gear
Most travel insurance plans will include coverage for lost or stolen gear, such as laptops, cameras, and mobile phones. However, these high-ticket items usually have a cap on how much you’ll get back (usually under $1,000 USD per item). If you’re traveling with expensive gear, you’ll want to pay for supplementary coverage to make sure it’s sufficiently covered.

Be sure you have receipts for all your gear as well. Keep copies of them in your inbox, so if something happens, you can file your claim without having to track down copies.

What Travel Insurance Does NOT Cover

While every plan is different, here is a list of the most common things that will not usually be covered by your standard or basic travel insurance plan:

  • Accidents sustained while participating in extreme activities, like hang gliding, paragliding, or bungee jumping (though you can often upgrade to plans that do cover those activities)
  • Technical climbing or alpine hiking (again, some plans can be upgraded to cover these activities)
  • Alcohol- or drug-related incidents (including death)
  • Carelessness in handling your possessions and baggage
  • Pre-existing conditions. For example, if you have diabetes and need to buy more insulin, you won’t be covered
  • General checkups for non-emergencies
  • Stolen cash (usually not covered by the standard “theft coverage,” though some companies, like World Nomads, can insure a limited amount of your cash)
  • Missed flights or connections for reasons under your control

A few other notes about standard policies:

  • If civil unrest makes your destination unsafe but your government hasn’t called for an evacuation, most insurance companies won’t evacuate you. (MedJet is the exception here. They have the best evacuation coverage.)
  • Changing your mind about your trip, unfriending or breaking up with your travel partner, and pre-existing medical conditions don’t qualify for most trip cancellation plans
  • If your visa is refused, you likely won’t be reimbursed if you decide to cancel your trip

Suggested Companies

To help you stay safe on your next trip, here’s a list of the best travel insurance companies:

travel insurance nomadic mattMy favorite company is World Nomads. I’ve been using them since I started traveling all the way back in 2003. They are reliable, and claims are processed quickly and fairly. The company was built by an ex-nomad so he gets the traveler mindset and knows what travelers need to stay safe.

As someone who is often traveling, I prefer World Nomads because I can purchase and renew my insurance policy online in a matter of minutes (it’s super easy). They have a very friendly and responsive staff who answer questions and help solve problems via social media, they have great customer feedback, and most importantly, they provide a lot of coverage at a fair price.

They are also endorsed by Lonely Planet and National Geographic, which tells you how good they are!

Other good travel insurance companies to consider

  • Best high-end electronics coverage.
  • Affordable deductables.
  • Up to 5 million in coverage.
  • Available inside and outside of the USA.
  • Best for people living overseas.
  • The closest thing to normal health insurance.
  • Available for non-US residents.
  • 25 different places to choose from.
  • Short-term and annual plans.
  • Extensive medical transport coverage.
  • Available for residents of USA, Canada, and Mexico
  • Limited time spent in foreign medical facilities.
  • Affordable plans.
  • Basic coverage options.
  • Great for students/shoestring backpackers.
  • Applicable accounts include a free student discount card.
  • Compare plans from 28 providers.
  • Best company for over 65.
  • “Anytime advocates” ask insurer to give your claim a second look if you think it was unfairly denied.
  • Guaranteed low prices.

 

***

These days, I never leave home without travel insurance. Having had to make emergency claims a few times over the years, I’ve learned the hard way that it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry.

Just remember that travel insurance is a for-profit industry, which means you really need to do your research before you purchase a plan. Be sure to read your plan and the fine print so you know what exactly is covered and what they expect if you try to make a claim.

Keep any receipts, emails, and documentation relating to your trip in a separate folder in your email inbox. That way, you can easily make a claim if you need to.

While the cost can seem like a lot up front, when you compare it to the potential cost of an emergency evacuation or a hefty medical bill, it’s peanuts.

Most insurance plans will only cost you a few dollars per day, providing you — and your friends and family — peace of mind in the process. If you ask me, that’s money well spent.

 

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:

The post What Does Travel Insurance ACTUALLY Cover? appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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How to Road Trip Around Israel Like a Pro

Posted By : webmaster/ 19 0


The view of Tel Aviv's beachfront from Jaffa
Posted: 7/22/2019 | July 22nd, 2019

This guest post from Anastasia Schmalz and Tomer Arwas of Generation Nomads. They have spent an extensive amount of time traveling Israel and today are going to share their knowledge to help you road trip around Israel on a budget!

Having visited Israel regularly and completed three road trips across the country, we can confidently say that there is no better way to explore it than in your own car.

The road infrastructure is well maintained throughout the country, and distances between destinations are short. You can start your day floating in the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, and watch the sunset a couple of hours later from the porch of your wooden cabin in the Golan Heights or on a Mediterranean beach.

Additionally, having your own vehicle means that you can visit places off the beaten path that buses and trains don’t reach. For example, on our route from Masada to Tel Aviv, we took a spontaneous detour to visit a traditional Bedouin desert village, which wouldn’t have been possible if we didn’t have a rental car.

Over the years, we have built up know-how and resources that help us to make our road trips a smooth and wallet-friendly experience.

Budgeting: What will your daily costs be like?

Israel has become one of the most expensive tourist destinations in the world in recent years and, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the cost of a visit can exceed expensive cities such as Zurich, Paris, London, and Moscow. Here are some average costs:

Accommodations (per night):

  • Hostel: 85 NIS ($24 USD) per bed in a 4-bed dorm room
  • Hotel: 300 NIS ($83 USD) per room
  • Airbnb: 300 NIS ($83 USD) per room or for the entire place

Food:

  • Main course on the menu of a restaurant: 60 NIS ($17 USD)
  • Street food meal (e.g., falafel or shawarma sandwich, with a drink): 25 NIS ($7 USD)

Car rental:

  • Rental: 80-140 NIS ($22-39 USD) per day
  • Gas: Although prices vary, expect to spend 6–7 NIS ($1.67–1.95 USD) per liter of gasoline

How to Rent a Car in Israel

Anastasia Schmalz and Tomer Arwas of Generation Nomads at Jaffa during sunset
As you’re planning to explore the country in your own wheels, renting a car at the airport might seem like the most logical step to take. However, if you plan to spend a couple of days in Tel Aviv first, we advise renting the car later, in the city center. The reason is that by picking up and returning the car at the airport, the rental price will be subject to an additional tax. Furthermore, you will avoid the headache of parking in Tel Aviv, where finding a parking spot feels like being Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible.

There are many car rental agencies in Tel Aviv that can help arrange your rental, or you can select the pickup location online if you decide to reserve a car before your trip. We recommend comparing prices on sunnycars.com, or calling or walking up to brokers directly. Rental fees are dependent on the seasons and typically start around 80 NIS ($22 USD) per day.

There are plenty of options for renting your car in the city center. Most rental companies are located on HaYarkon Street near the Dan Tel Aviv Hotel, where you can walk from one to another to do some price comparison before choosing the one that suits you best.

There are several smaller car rental agencies that have more attractive prices than the large players. We have frequently rented cars from those companies without any issues.

These are some of our recommended rental agencies:

  • Auto Shay, HaYarkon St 130, Tel Aviv-Yafo
  • TIR, HaYarkon St 132, Tel Aviv-Yafo
  • Eldan, Kaufmann St 10, Tel Aviv-Yafo
  • Hertz, HaYarkon St 144, Tel Aviv-Yafo
  • Shlomo Sixt, HaYarkon St 122, Tel Aviv-Yafo
  • Europcar, HaYarkon St 80, Tel Aviv-Yafo

When comparing deals, be sure to take into account the type of insurance policy as well as the number of kilometers included; for the itinerary suggested below, you can expect to log a total of 850 to 1,000 kilometers. Also, check ahead if your driver’s license is valid in Israel by calling a rental agency and verifying the requirements directly with them.

Driving Safety Tips for Israel

Anastasia Schmalz at the Dead Sea in Israel
Driving in Israel is generally safe and comfortable. The road infrastructure is in good condition, with good signage. Nonetheless, Israeli drivers tend to be impatient and pushy, which should be taken into account if you are not used to driving under these conditions.

One important factor to consider in the planning of your trip is driving (or not driving) in the Palestinian territories, consisting of the West Bank and Gaza. There are set regulations to adhere to when entering the area. You will have to pass through army checkpoints on your way in and out and elaborate on the reasons why you wish to drive through. Moreover, do not rely on your GPS as may not work properly. Although the West Bank is now considered to be relatively safe, you should check with local authorities and your own country’s travel warnings for the latest travel advice.

Our Suggested Driving Route

a map for the suggested driving route around Israel

Start: Tel Aviv-Yafo —> Jerusalem —> Bethlehem —> Jericho —> Ein Gedi Nature Reserve —> Masada —>Dead Sea —> Tel Aviv —> Caesarea —> Zichron Ya’akov —> Haifa —> Acre —> Rosh Hanikra —> Galilee —> Golan Heights —> Beit She’an —> Tel Aviv-Yafo

How to Navigate Around Israel

Car rentals usually charge an extra fee for renting a GPS system. To save money, get an Israeli SIM card instead. For 50 NIS ($14 USD), you can get a two-week unlimited data package from local provider Partner. This also allows you to stay connected with family and friends, check out restaurant reviews, and keep your Insta story going.

With internet on your smartphone, there are several helpful apps you can use to navigate Israel during your road trip. iPhone’s built-in Maps app and Google Maps work quite well, but when in Rome, do as the Romans do: Waze is Israel’s most popular navigation app, as well as a social platform that monitors traffic and connects drivers on the road. The advantage of Waze is that it’s based on the most accurate traffic monitoring system in Israel and will always find you a best alternative route to skip traffic jams or inform you about speed cameras.

How to Park Your Car in Israel

Generation Nomads in Jerusalem
In major cities like Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, or Haifa, parking can be problematic. Finding a parking spot might require cruising around for 20 or even 30 minutes. When booking an accommodation in one of those cities, try to inquire whether they offer on-site parking. This will save you time and frustration.

If you do find street parking, make sure to comply with the rules. The curb of the streets is marked with the following color codes:

  • Blue + white = Paid parking
  • Red + white = No parking allowed
  • Solid gray = Free parking
  • Gray + yellow = Kiss and drive (you may not leave the car)

Another option in major cities is parking lots. They are more expensive and may charge a fixed price for the full day or by the hour.

Good news: On Shabbat (Friday sunset to Saturday sunset) parking is free of charge everywhere.

Here are some apps you can use to navigate your way around cities:

  • Moovit – This is the locals’ app for checking real-time bus arrival information and planning trips.
  • Google Maps – It is getting more accurate in recent years and can also be used to check real-time bus arrivals.
  • GetTaxi – The Israeli version of Uber, it’s a taxi-booking app that allows you to pay with a credit card.
  • Uber – Uber made its appearance in Israel several years ago and is becoming more popular.

2 Final Tips on Driving Around Israel

the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, Israel

First, the best time of year for a road trip around Israel is during spring (April-June) and autumn (September-October), when weather is most pleasant. Unfortunately, the good weather also means that these the busiest months. Additionally, these are also the months with the most Jewish holidays, which are the busiest and most expensive times to visit (see below for more info). Winter months are rather unpredictable, and you won’t be guaranteed beach time, unless you had down south to Eilat. July and August are the hottest months of the year — even locals don’t spend much time outdoors, instead going from one air-conditioned space to another. Although rental cars are equipped with A/C, the heat and humidity can become unbearable during those months, and sightseeing can seem like a chore.

Second, Shabbat is the Jewish holy day of the week, from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday, and, besides weekly Shabbat, there are also many Jewish, Christian, and Muslim holidays throughout the year.

So how will these affect your trip?

First, Jewish holidays (many of which fall in the spring and autumn) are usually busy periods in Israel, and prices of accommodations and car rentals rise. Second, Israel is a Jewish state, meaning that during Shabbat and other holidays, many businesses (besides non-kosher restaurants) are closed. This may include some car rental companies, as well as shops, grocery stores, and museums. This is especially true in more religious cities and towns, such as Jerusalem. On Yom Kippur, Judaism’s most somber holiday, it is forbidden to drive. Moreover, there are observant Jewish neighborhoods where driving on Shabbat is unwelcome and even dangerous, such as Jewish Ultra Orthodox neighborhood in Jerusalem: Mea She’arim.

Lastly, Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter attract many tourists and pilgrims to holy sites such as Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Bethlehem. Muslim holidays are not officially part of the national holiday calendar, but are still celebrated by the large Muslim population residing in Israel. Muslims observe Friday as the holy day of the week, meaning that Muslims sites and businesses are closed.

***

Having done three cross-country road trips over the last two years, our experience is that there is hardly any better way to explore Israel than in your own car! A well-maintained road infrastructure and short distances between (most) destinations make Israel a road trip–friendly country.

Planning your trip outside of the main Jewish holidays, renting your car from less expensive agencies, and using useful apps for navigating and parking in cities will give you the smoothest experience possible while helping you to save money.

Anastasia Schmalz and Tomer Arwas are travel coaches with the mission of helping millennials realize the life-transforming benefits of travel by designing a trip to be the journey towards a fulfilling lifestyle. In their blog generationnomads.com they write about topics related to the nomadic lifestyle, share pre-reads of their upcoming book, and offer guidance to travellers on how to make the most out of their travel. In their Friday newsletter and Instagram (@generationnomads) they offer free giveaways of their coaching tools & techniques.

Book Your Trip to Israel: 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!

The post How to Road Trip Around Israel Like a Pro appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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12 Things Every Person Who Wants to Travel with Their Dog Should Know

Posted By : webmaster/ 16 0


Boogie the pug and Marcelo the chi at the beach
Posted: 7/18/2019 | July 18th, 2019

This is a guest post from Candy Pilar Godoy, who blogs about pet travel at Boogie The Pug. She travels the world with her pug, Boogie, and her tiny chihuahua, Marcelo. She’s here to tell you how you can do the same with your dog!

Many people assume that it’s supremely difficult — if not impossible — to travel with dogs. So most assume that they’ll need to fork over a truckload of cash to cover the dog-sitting costs of leaving their pooches behind while they travel.

However, I learned that, with research and a little extra planning, you can take your furry friends along with you on most travel adventures — and it’s not as difficult as you might think.

According to the 2017–2018 National Pet Owners Survey, 68% of US households own a pet. That’s 89 million dogs, an increase of 56% since 1988.

And of that number, about 37% of pet owners actually travel with their pets every year, up from just 19% a decade ago. The International Pet and Animal Transportation Association reported that, worldwide, more than four million live animals are transported on planes every year.

The travel industry has had to adapt to this growing demand, and today, traveling with your dog is easier than ever.

As someone who is extremely passionate about traveling AND dogs, I wanted to share what I’ve learned on the road about this emerging trend.

1. Don’t assume it’s a no

Boogie the pug in Rio de Janeiro
Travel with animals increases every year, and it’s taken establishments time to catch up, meaning lots of places don’t have dog policies in place just yet (or their policies have yet to be thoroughly fleshed out). I’ve heard plenty of stories of restaurants and hotels whose websites and/or social media have listed themselves as dog friendly, when in reality they’re not. It happens.

When in doubt, always ask. Never assume that dogs are or are not allowed. It’s great to look for a “No Pets Allowed” sign or a “Pet Friendly” notice, but whether a place has one or not, it’s always best to double-check. A quick email or phone call can save you a lot of time, confusion, and frustration. For example, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to learn that dogs are welcome in most shopping malls in Rio de Janeiro. Who knew?

2. Make copies of pet-related documents

Boogie the pug kayaking in Vermont
If you’re planning to cross borders or travel internationally, you’ll need your dog’s health records on hand (sort of like us humans and our passports). These are necessary to prove that your dog is healthy and vaccinated. Officials ask to see them, and depending on who you deal with, they’ll either keep the originals or make a copy. Additionally, if you need to visit a new vet abroad, you’ll be able to provide them with your furry friend’s medical history.

For these reasons, I like to keep multiple copies of my dogs’ medical records and vet information on us at all times. This includes both a virtual copy on my phone and printed copies in my day bag.

3. Use dog-friendly apps

Boogie the pug in Philadelphia
There are plenty of apps that can help when on the road with your pup. It’s become a lot easier than when I used to travel the world sans iPhone. My favorites include:

  • All Trails This has the largest collection of trail maps (over 50,000). Browse photos and reviews, and filter your search by dog-friendly trails so you know which hikes to hit with your dog.
  • Bring Fido The Yelp of the dog world. Bring Fido helps you locate nearby hotels, attractions, and restaurants that welcome pets.
  • Pet First Aid by American Red Cross This app helps you locate the nearest emergency animal hospital, and provides step-by-step instructions for common pet emergencies.

4. Skip hotel fees


Many hotels charge additional fees to accommodate your pet. These can range from a one-time fee of $50–$250 to a daily charge of $10–$50 on average. These extra costs add up, increasing the price of your trip and putting pressure on your budget. If you book a hotel with a $50/night pet fee for a week, that’s an additional $350!

There are some hotel chains, however, that welcome your pets without asking for any extra cash — no additional fees, no deposits, and no one-time charges. Consider one of these hotels when you’re booking your next trip. My favorite pet-friendly hotels with no extra fees include:

  • Kimpton – With no additional fees or deposits, Kimpton Hotels rank high in terms of pet-friendliness. Plus, there’s no size or weight limit, and no limit on the number of pets allowed.
  • Red Roof Inn – This upscale economy chain has over 580 locations in the US, and additional locations in Brazil and Japan. They allow all family pets weighing 80 lbs. or less.
  • Motel 6 – Motel 6 hotels are a great option for anyone on a US road trip, with over 1,400 locations across the United States and Canada. They welcome all well-behaved pets, with a maximum allowance of two pets per room.

Can’t find a good hotel in the area? Try airbnb.com. They have an easy search function that filters for pet-friendly homes. We often use Airbnb when traveling internationally.

Pro tip: Before booking with any hotel, ask these questions to ensure that your stay is comfortable.

5. Take a pet carrier

Boogie the pug in a backpack
There are many options on the market when it comes to pet carriers. My favorites include the k9 Sport Sack, a dog carrier backpack that fits dogs of up to 40 lbs. (psst — use the promo code BOOGIE for 10% off). It comes in multiple colors and can be personalized with patches. I also use The Roodie, a pet-carrier hoodie that holds dogs weighing up to 15 lbs.

6. Be respectful of the people you meet

a dog playing in a water sprinkler in Berlin
No matter where you go with your dog, be honest and considerate with those around you. Some people love animals, while others can be terrified of even a tiny puppy. Be polite and know your dog’s limits.

Remember that human relationships with dogs vary incredibly across cultures. For example, in Guatemala, we saw more street dogs than pets. People were often surprised to learn that our dogs travel on planes, and even more taken aback to learn that they sleep in our bed. Try to be aware of these cultural differences, and be sensitive to the human-canine boundaries to which people are accustomed.

Moreover, if your pet tends to be unfriendly with humans (or other dogs), make that very clear to anyone approaching. You don’t want to end up in a situation that could have been avoided with a clear warning. After all, dogs are animals — as owners we are the ones responsible for them.

7. Triple-check airline pet policies

Boogie the pug and Marcelo the chi in Paraty, Brazil
When flying, especially internationally, we always double-check, if not triple-check, airline pet policies. Policies are constantly in flux, and rules are always changing. You want to make extra certain that you and your dog are both welcome on that flight. I usually check the airline’s website, give them a call, and send an email confirmation when I’m bringing my dogs on a flight.

Policies and prices for flying with your pet also vary according to a few factors. They usually depend on the airline, the country you’re traveling to, and the size and breed of your pet. There’s also the option of air travel in the cabin, in cargo, and in baggage. (Want to know the difference between these three? Click here.)

Some of my favorite dog-friendly airlines include American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Air France, and JetBlue.

8. Countries differ

Boogie the pug and Marcelo the chi at the beach
When it comes to crossing borders, countries differ in their rules and regulations for allowing your pup entry. Some only ask for a rabies vaccine and paperwork from your vet, while others require a pet quarantine and high fees. There’s also a list of banned breeds for whom some countries won’t allow entry at all.

The hardest countries to enter tend to be islands, like Australia, Japan, Fiji, and Iceland. The easiest are countries in the European Union (if your pup has an EU passport!). Research the rules of your destination country thoroughly and far enough in advance to ensure that you can meet all the requirements.

9. Make dog friends

Boogie the pug and Marcelo the chi
As I said earlier, dogs are social animals. When you’re out walking or spending time at the local park, befriend other dogs and their owners. They’ll let you in on their favorite hangouts, the best dog-friendly restaurants in the area, and which vets they trust. Dog owners know best, and they’re a great resource to have. Here are the best ways to find a local dog community online or IRL:

  • Go on a walk – Grab your pup and head out for a walk around the neighborhood. Stop to sniff a butt or two, and talk to dog people. Speaking to local dog owners is the best way to get the lowdown on the area, and all of the dog-friendly places around town.
  • Instagram – These days, dogs everywhere have their own Instagram profiles. Look up hashtags, like #dogsof and enter in your location. You’ll find dogs all over the world. Find some local pups and send them a message asking for tips.
  • Visit a dog park – Dog parks are a great place to exercise and socialize. Many major cities have them. If there aren’t any official dog parks in your area, ask local dog owners or people online about unofficial places where your dogs can romp around.
  • Find an online community – Online platforms host a myriad of groups based on things like breed, location, dog size, and activity level. I recommend searching Facebook and Meetup.com. Many online communities host meetups and social gatherings that you and your pup can join. They’re also a great place to ask questions.
  • Go to a pet store – Local pet shops are great resources for information. Many post flyers for local dog services, or information on nearby dog-related activities for you and your four-legged friend.

10. Pack the essentials

Boogie the pug and Marcelo the chi at the beach
As much as you’d like to just grab your dog and go, there are a few things you’ll definitely need to bring along. Poop bags, a leash and harness, and ID tags are just a few. Pack your pup’s essentials in case you can’t find them on the road (not every location has a good pet store!).

Here’s a checklist of things you might need. It includes things like:

  • Dog food and water
  • Collapsible bowls
  • Toys
  • A bed
  • Flea and tick medicine
  • Medical records and travel documents

Also, make sure your dog is microchipped and always up to date on standard vaccinations.

11. Teach your dog manners

Marcelo the chihuahua in Guatemala
Before you hit the road, it’s best if your dog knows a thing or two. Basic commands, like “sit” and “stay,” will make managing a dog while traveling easier. A well-trained dog can be left behind in a hotel room or rental to rest for a few hours while you have a nice dinner or visit a museum.

Plus, you’re more likely to get a “yes” to your requests if people see that your dog is well behaved. No one wants to be around a barking or rowdy dog who won’t listen!

Work on obedience and manners, and make sure your pup always puts their best paw forward.

If you need help, working with a certified trainer is best. There are also many resources online to help ensure that your dog is obedient and ready to venture out into the world. I recommend the AllThingsPups training tips — they have a YouTube channel, Instagram account, and podcast.

12. Say hello!

Boogie the pug getting lots of attention in Guatemala
Seeing a dog always puts a smile on a stranger’s face. Be polite to people you encounter with your pup. Kindness goes a long way.

On a recent flight, a friendly exchange with a dog-loving airline worker led to my pups and me getting a whole row to ourselves. Extra legroom and seat space are always welcome!

I’ve also gotten free treats, lots of useful tips, and other upgrades all because of a smile, some amicable banter, and of course, my friendly pups.

***

Travels with my dogs are more colorful and locally focused, and force me to explore parts of my destination that I would have never experienced had I been dogless. My dogs help me meet more people, see more places, and live in and cherish the present. There’s no better way to appreciate a new place than with a dog!

Candy Pilar Godoy has visited almost 40 countries across six continents, and speaks three languages. She often travels with her dogs, and writes about pet travel on her blog Boogiethepug.com. Candy currently lives in Rio de Janeiro with her two dogs, Boogie and Marcelo, and cat Kitty. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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. 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!

The post 12 Things Every Person Who Wants to Travel with Their Dog Should Know appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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Ten Years A Nomad

My new book, Ten Years a Nomad, is out TODAY!

Posted By : webmaster/ 25 0


10 Years a Nomad by Matt Kepnes
Posted: 7/16/2019 | July 16th, 2019

IT’S HERE!

After eighteen months of writing and editing, my new book, Ten Years a Nomad: A Traveler’s Journey Home, is on sale now.

The book is a memoir about my ten years traveling and backpacking the world, philosophy on travel, and the lessons I learned that can help you travel better. It takes you on a trip around the world from start to finish: 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.

It features lots of stories I’ve never told on this blog.

I poured my heart and soul into this book. It’s very personal. In fact, my friends have been really surprised at how personal I got (there’s going to be some awkward conversations after my family reads this book).

But this is not all about me.

This is about what I learned and how you can apply it to your travels. How you can get inspired, work through your fears, meet people, and become a better traveler. Unlike my previous books, this is not a “how to guide” but a collection of tips, advice, and stories from the road that can be used no matter where you are in the world or how long you’ll be away.

This book gets to the heart of wanderlust and what extended travel around the world can teach us about life, ourselves, and our place in the world. (Or at least tries to.)

In this book, you’ll find:

  • Crazy hostel stories
  • What it’s like to travel the world for ten years
  • My philosophy on travel
  • Lessons learned from the road
  • How to cope with travel burnout
  • How to make friends
  • Inspirational stories and insights

If you want to know what it’s like to travel the world and live out a backpack, this book will tell you. If you want to be inspired to travel and better understand how you can do it too, this book is for you.

If you just want a good travel book to read on the beach, this book is for you.

You can get the book online at the following places:

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

(Or walk into your local independent bookstore and pick up a copy!)
 

5 Early Reviews of the Book

So what are people saying of the book?

“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

“Inspirational” – Cheryl Strayed

10 Years a Nomad book review

 

Buy a Copy, Get Free Stuff!!

If you order my book within the first week it’s out, 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: $594)
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: $100)
  • The Business of Blogging course (value: $99)

The Bullseye (cost: $900, value: $2,193)
Buy 50 copies of my book and get ALL THE ABOVE plus:

  • One ticket to TravelCon in New Orleans (value: $399)
  • A 30-minute planning call with me (ask me anything)! (value: $200)

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).
 

The “Ten Years a Nomad” Book Tour

I’m going on book tour! Come join me, talk travel, get a signed book, and hang out! Here are the dates:

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: Oxford Exchange @ 6:30pm EVENT DETAILS
July 30 Detroit, MI: Pages Bookshop @ 6:00pm EVENT DETAILS
July 31 Chicago, IL: City Lit Books @ 6:30pm EVENT DETAILS
August 1 Dallas, TX: Half Price Books (Flagship) @ 7:00pm 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 @ 7:00pm 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: Indigo (Robson) @ 7:00pm EVENT DETAILS
August 22 Calgary, AB: LOCATION TBD EVENT DETAILS
August 26 Toronto, ON: LOCATION TBD EVENT DETAILS
August 31 Montreal, QC: Indigo (Place Montreal) @ 1:00pm EVENT DETAILS

P.S. – There will be an afterparty in NYC after the initial book launch. It will be at Solas. Click here for details!
 

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.”

****

Thank you so much for your support and love over the years. I really hope you love this book. I wanted to write something that would appeal to a wider range of readers. Please help spread the word, get a copy, and I hope to see you on the book tour.

– Nomadic Matt

Once again, here are links to get the book today:

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

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 My new book, Ten Years a Nomad, is out TODAY! appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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brazilsafe

Is Brazil Safe to Visit?

Posted By : webmaster/ 20 0


The stunning view overlooking the city of Rio in Brazil
Posted: 7/13/2019 | July 13th, 2019

Offering pristine nature and access to the Amazon rainforest, historic cities and colonial architecture, and lots of affordable food and activities, Brazil will have some something for every traveler.

A popular destination for revelers looking to party hard at Carnival as well as a hot spot for adventure junkies and beachgoers, Brazil is a country known for its amazing weather and pristine landscapes.

But is it safe?

Brazil has a reputation for being a rough and tumble destination, one where travelers need to be extra cautious and on their guard at all times.

Due to rising inequality, unfortunately, this is the case. Petty theft and street crime are a common occurrence in Brazil. The crime rate in Brazil has been on the rise for many years now (it was up almost 50% between 2015 and 2016) so travelers here will need to be on vigilant

But that doesn’t mean you should avoid the country. You just need to be a smart traveler. Millions of people visit the country every year and don’t have a problem. As long as you follow the suggested safety tips, you’ll minimize the likelihood anything bad will happen to you!

Here is everything you need to know to stay safe and make the most out of your next trip to Brazil.

 

13 Safety Tips for Brazil

To help you stay safe in Brazil, here are 13 tips that will keep both you and your possessions out of harm’s way:

1. Walk with purpose – When out exploring, always walk with purpose. Look like you’re heading somewhere in specific, even if you’re not. Pickpockets and muggers look for travelers who are unsure of themselves. Don’t look like a target.

2. Don’t carry cash – Carry only the minimum cash needed for the day. Keep the rest locked up back in your accommodation.

3. Separate your cards – If you have more than one credit or debit card, keep them separate. Bring one with you for the day (if you think you’ll need it) and leave the other one locked up in your room. That way, should something happen, you always have at least one card.

4. Don’t bring valuables to the beach – When you go to the beach, don’t take anything unnecessary. Towel, bathing suit, and a small amount of cash. That’s it! Anything else you bring is likely to disappear!

5. Dress to fit in – When out and about, dress down and try to fit in. Leave any valuables or jewelry at home. Don’t walk around flashing your camera or phone. If you need to use them, be discreet.

6. Carry a spare wallet – Bring a spare wallet with a small amount of cash in it. That way, if you get robbed or pickpocketed they won’t get your real wallet (where you’ll keep the rest of your cash and cards).

7. Avoid outdoor ATMs – If you need to withdraw cash, only use ATMs inside buildings. Always be aware of your surroundings before you take out your wallet.

8. Double check your accommodation – No matter where you are staying, be sure to check the doors and windows before leaving for the day and before settling in at night. Don’t leave anything valuable lying around your room; lock everything up.

9. Don’t accept free food/drinks – Never accept drinks or food from strangers. Drugging victims before they are robbed is common, so decline free food or drinks from strangers.

10. Watch out for distractions – Thieves will often try to distract you before they rob you. Be mindful of this common scam to help you stay vigilant.

Don’t walk around at night alone – If you have to, avoid city beaches, parks, and empty streets.

11. Take precautions when driving – If traveling by car, always keep your doors locked. By on guard at stop signs or red lights, especially at night. Many Brazilians won’t even stop for them to avoid the risk of a carjacking. Buy travel insurance before you go just in case you run into trouble. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Is Street Food in Brazil Safe?

Yep! You’ll find all sorts of amazing street food stands in cities like Rio as well as near the beaches and you’d be missing out if you didn’t try them! Just make sure to stick to places where there are a lot of locals gathered. That’s how you know the food is not only safe but delicious too!

I’d suggest avoiding anything with shrimp of seafood as it spoils quickly. But definitely try the mate as it can be quite refreshing (it’s served as an ice tea and is really good).

For the most part, you’ll encounter places that sell various kinds of meat. As long as it is fully cooked and hasn’t been in the sun all day, dive in and give it a try!

Don’t hesitate to ask your hotel or hostel staff for street food or restaurant suggestions too. They’ll no doubt have some delicious — and safe — options for you to try.
 

Is the Tap Water in Brazil Safe?

The water in Brazil is generally safe to drink, though most Brazilians still use filters or drink bottled water. The tap water generally has something of an odd taste, due to the purification process, so while it’s fine for brushing your teeth, it can taste odd if you’re just drinking it when you’re thirsty.

If staying in a hostel or Airbnb you’ll likely have access to a filter but it’s always a good idea to bring your own as well. Lifestraw and Steripen are two great products to help keep your water safe and potable.
 

Are Taxis in Brazil Safe?

Taxis in Brazil are safe and plentiful. They use meters as well, though it’s always a good idea to ask your hotel or hostel staff for an approximate fare before you head out. There are always a few bad apples who will try to rip you off, so just be sure to pay attention to the meter and make sure it isn’t rising abnormally quick.

Also, it’s always best to call your taxi in advance. Never flag a taxi on the street (this is especially true at night).
 

Is Brazil Safe for Solo Travelers?

Brazil is safe for solo travelers, though I would only suggest solo travelers visit here if they have some experience traveling solo already. By following the tips above, solo travelers will be able to have an amazing time in Brazil while staying safe.

If you are concerned as a solo traveler, try to meet-up with other travelers at hostels. Traveling together, you can keep each other company and deter any potential petty theft or robberies.
 

Is Brazil Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Brazil faces real issues of poverty and crime so solo female travelers will need to be on guard. This is not a destination for new travelers and I would only suggest solo female travelers visit here if they are experienced solo travelers. Even then, you’ll want to make sure you take every precaution that you can.

Check with your hostel or hotel staff to find out if you should avoid any specific areas. Also, learn as much as the local language as you can so you don’t stand out.
***
So, is Brazil Safe?

Brazil is an amazing, vibrant country. But it’s not without its risks. Travelers here will need to be on guard and keep their wits about them. Petty theft and muggings are common, but if you follow the tips above you should be able to have an incredible visit while still staying safe.

Trust your gut, use common sense, and make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance. Do that, and you’ll be able to stay safe in Brazil have a memorable visit to this energetic country.

Heading to Brazil? Use the widget below to get a free travel insurance quote from World Nomads! That’s the company I’ve been using since I started traveling back in 2003!

Book Your Trip to Brazil: 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 hostels in Brazil are:

  • Discovery Hostel (Rio) – This award-winning hostel has everything the budget backpacker needs: a full-equipped kitchen, patio, lounge, and tons of social activities. It’s a great place to meet other travelers!
  • Geckos Hostel (Florianopolis) – This ec-friendly hostel is powered by solar panels and has a rustic charm to it. They have a pool and lots of room to lounge and relax. It’s a great hostel for chilling out and soaking up the sun.

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

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





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11 Travel Podcasts That Will Give You Serious Wanderlust

Posted By : webmaster/ 18 0


A pair of headphones on a bright orange background
Posted: 7/12/2019 | July 12th, 2019

I love podcasts. As someone who travels often, they’re a great way to stay informed and entertained while you’re on the go. To help me highlight some of the best podcasts in the industry, I’ve invited Debbie from The Offbeat Life to share her favorites. She’s a podcaster herself and knows what it takes to run a great travel podcast!

Podcasts have exploded in popularity in recent years, especially in the travel niche. After all, who doesn’t love to travel?

Unique travel stories, helpful tips, information on creating a nomadic lifestyle, and inspiration on the go — there are podcasts for them all!

I started my own podcast, The Offbeat Life, to discuss the stories of the people I met during my travels who were able to become location independent and create their ideal lifestyle. I was in awe of their adventurous nature and wanted to inspire myself and others to follow in their footsteps, take more chances, and learn what it takes to create a balanced life.

As a podcaster and traveler, I often look to other podcasts for inspiration. To help you get inspired for your next trip or your foray into nomadic life, here are the 11 best travel podcasts of 2019!

1. The Thought Card

Hosted by Danielle Desir, this podcast focuses on world travel, paying off debt, and building wealth. Danielle gives her audience the confidence to make smart financial decisions that will allow them to accomplish both their travel and financial goals.

Where to Start: Give the episode with Denis O’Brien a listen. He is the founder of Chain of Wealth and shares his tips on how to create passive income.

2. JUMP

Formerly known as the Budget-Minded Traveler, Traveling Jackie inspires others to get out and see the world through travel and adventure. She provides valuable, actionable information that will allow you to take the leap and explore.

Where to Start: Check out her interview with the Bensons, a family of five who were able to travel the world after they sold all their belongings. They explain the impact of travel on their lives and how it changed them upon returning home.

3. Andy Steves Travel Podcast

This podcast features wanderers from all over the world who highlight how travel has affected their perspectives, habits, and lives.

Where to Start: Listen to the episode, Cagefighting in Peru with Rollie Peterkin, who left a secure 9-to-5 job to become a mixed martial arts fighter! His inspiring story is full of wonderful anecdotes and practical tips that you will find both informative and entertaining.

4. Chronicles Abroad

Hosts Nubia Younge and Frantzce Lys highlight their experiences living abroad as well as those of others who took risks to live their dream to be location independent.

Where to Start: Don’t miss the episode with Yan and Lee, a couple who decided to pay off their debts and live abroad. They had graduated from college but found it difficult to find jobs in the United States, so they took matters into their own hands — they got jobs overseas!

5. Extra Pack of Peanuts

This is a great podcast for travelers who want to stay on a budget while on the road. Travis, who hosts the show, interviews nomads, bloggers, and entrepreneurs who give insight and firsthand tips on how to embark on your own affordable adventures.

Where to Start: Give the “7 Lessons Learned” episode with Travis and Heather a listen. They share what they have learned from living a location independent life for seven years.

6. On She Goes

This is a wonderful podcast that helps women of color become more confident travelers, giving them the tools they need to take the leap and see the world. The interviewees share fresh perspectives and shed light on their travel experiences and challenges.

Where to Start: Listen to the episode with Georgina Miranda, the founder of She Ventures and an adventure travel expert. Georgina discusses her experiences working in a male-dominated industry.

7. Women on the Road

This biweekly podcast dives into the life of solo female travelers who are living the #vanlife. Host Laura Hughes interviews these fearless women and creates a unique spin on their nomadic lifestyle.

Where to Start: A listener favorite is an interview with Abbi Hearne, an adventure wedding photographer. From practical tips to the challenges she has faced in building her dream business, Abbi’s story will inspire you to start making your own dreams a reality.

8. As Told by Nomads

Host Tayo Rockson features incredible stories from individuals who are nomads and entrepreneurs, with a focus on leaders in business, culture, travel, and global affairs.

Where to Start: Check out the episode with Zahra Rasool, who discusses authenticity, diversity, and collaborative journalism in storytelling.

9. Wild Ideas Worth Living

Host and journalist Shelby Stranger interviews impactful explorers, experts, and entrepreneurs who have taken their wild ideas and made them into a reality, people who have climbed the tallest mountains, written best-selling books, and stood up for what they believe in.

Where to Start: Start listening to this incredible podcast’s interview with Alex Honnold, the most recognized climber in the world and the first person to ever free-solo El Capitan.

10. The Globetrotter Lounge

This podcast is hosted by Jet Set Lisette, an award-winning travel expert and host. Lisette interviews amazing and inspiring women who have found creative ways to travel the world.

Where to Start: Be sure to check out the episode with Jess Sanchez, who shares her experiences traveling the world with her family. Jess and her husband decided to leave their 9-to-5 to embark on a life of travel with their two young children and have chronicled their life through their blog, YouTube channel, and podcast.

11. The Offbeat Life

Hosted by me, this podcast highlights the stories of digital nomads and location-independent entrepreneurs. It digs deep into the realities of starting a remote business and how to create a sustainable nomadic lifestyle.

Where to Start: To get started, jump into my episode with Joni Sweet. She is a remote writer and gives valuable insights on surviving as a freelancer. She also discusses how to build a portfolio that will land you writing gigs that can take you all over the world!

***

Now that you have the list of the best travel podcasts, go ahead: download them and satiate your wanderlust! You may even feel inspired to book a ticket and leap into the unknown!

Debbie Arcangeles is the host of The Offbeat Life, a podcast that highlights individuals who are location independent and nomadic entrepreneurs. Her podcast has been featured on Refinery 29 and Mic, among other sites. When Debbie is not writing or interviewing guests for her show, you can find her hiking and exploring new destinations.

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 11 Travel Podcasts That Will Give You Serious Wanderlust appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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Paris tour

The Best Walking Tours in Paris

Posted By : webmaster/ 26 0


The Arc de Triomphe against a bright blue sky in Paris, France
Posted: 7/8/2019 | July 8th, 2019

I love visiting Paris. I’ve been going there for over nine years and have yet to tire of the history, the charm, or the food (and wine!).

Over the years, I’ve taken a million different tours of this amazing city to learn more about what makes it tick. For four months earlier this year, I lived in Paris, and had the opportunity to check out even more walking tours.

And there were a lot to check out!

There are dozens upon dozens of companies covering all aspects of life in Paris, and it can be hard to make a sense of all those endless Viator and Tripadvisor listings. It’s obscene how many tour companies there are. (I mean I’ve tried so many tour companies and I STILL have more on my list to try (and some to retry).)

But, I still feel like I’ve done enough to warrant a post on some of the best walking tour companies in Paris, so, today, I want to share with you my top favorites:

1. New Europe Tours

The crowded steps of Sacre Coeur atop Montmartre in Paris, France
New Europe is one of the most popular free walking tour companies in all of Europe. Their main free tour takes you around the center of Paris and gives you a historical overview of the city. They also run a good (but paid) tour of Montmartre, and they have a really fun pub crawl as well if you’re looking to hit the bars with other travelers.

The basic tour will last around three hours and is free, though you’ll want to tip your guides. Some tours cost 15-35 EUR per person.

—> Click here to book your tour with New Europe!

2. City Free Tour

The sun shining over the historic Pantheon in Paris, France
This free-tour company, like New Europe, offers a couple great general tours to help you get familiar with the City of Light, led by a local expert who can answer your questions. They also offer a few specialized tours so you can really focus on different neighborhoods. For example, the Montmartre tour does a great job of showing you just what life is like in this famous bohemian neighborhood, while the Latin Quarter tour highlights some of the most famous landmarks in town.

Tours are free and last around three hours. Just be sure to tip! Private tours are available upon request for an additional fee.

—> Click here to book your tour with City Free Tour!

3. Discover Walks

Tourists exploring the exterior of the Louvre in Paris, France
Discover Walks offers free walking tours, as well as paid options if you’re looking for something more focused and in-depth. With almost 30 tours on offer in Paris, chances are you’ll be able to find something to pique your interest. They have a great free tour of the Latin Quarter, and there’s even a vegetarian and gluten-free food tour! For something more unique, try the photography tour.

Free tours last around 90 minutes. A recommended tip of 13 EUR is suggested. For the paid tour options, prices start at 25 EUR per person.

—> Click here to book your tour with Discover Walks!

4. Localers

Walking down a path surrouned by trees near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
Localers are a great choice if you’re looking for a unique tour option and want something more nuanced than just a free walking tour. They tend to specialize in more niche tours like literary, art or historical tours. I enjoyed their tours a lot. I hadn’t heard of them before I moved here and was bummed their tours had flown under my radar for so long.

The World War II tour is particularly insightful and does a great job of illuminating the war’s true cost to Paris. I also really liked the Scandalous Paris tour, which highlights Paris’ brothels and more colorful past. There’s also an insightful literary tour too that takes you through the literary history of the city’s left bank. This is a solid mid-range tour company for travelers looking for value.

Tours last 2-5 hours. Tickets start at 58 EUR per person.

—> Click here to book your tour with Localers!

5. Context Travel

The ornate golden gates of the Palace of Versailles near Paris, France surrounded by tourists
Context Travel hires experts in their fields so that every tour is an incredible educational experience and you’ll go much deeper than any free walking tour does. I am always shocked by how much I learn! I particularly love the Paris Market Tour and the Versailles Tour (which is four hours long, but you learn a ton). Context isn’t cheap, and the tours are usually long — but they’re worth every penny if you’re serious about really learning a lot.

Tours start at 100 EUR per person. They include a maximum of six people at a time.

—> Click here to book your tour with Context!

6. Walks

The empty courtyard of Les Invalides in Paris, France
What makes Walks amazing is that they get better access than most tour companies and hire specialized guides. You get to skip the line, go before or after other tours so you have the space to yourself, and get fun guides who are knowledgeable in their field. They also have a nine-hour full-day tour of the city for anyone looking to really explore (it’s a great option if you’re short on time but still want to see everything).

Their tours are reasonably priced, and their guides always know their stuff. I’ve gone on three of their tours and loved them all.

Most tours last 2-3 hours, though some take the entire day. Tickets start at 55 EUR per person.

—> Click here to book your tour with Walks!

7. Fat Tire Tours

A single Fat Tire Tour bicycle parked on the sidewalk in Paris, France
Offering cycling tours of Paris, Fat Tire Tours are probably the best bike tour in town. I don’t think I’d go with anyone else. Their bike tours are the best. Do their Versailles tour – and try to do it on Sunday or Tuesday when they stop at the market that is open then) and, if you can, check out their Monet’s Garden tour where you can cycle around the gardens of the famous impressionist while exploring the charming village of Giverny.

Most tours last 2-3 hours, though there are several full-day options available too. Tickets start at 34 EUR per person.

—> Click here to book your tour with Fat Tire Tours!

8. Paris by Mouth

A delicious plate of local food in Paris, France
Paris by Mouth company offers a handful of neighborhood tours that highlight the best food in Paris. The groups are kept small (no more than eight people) and they are really focused on providing a lot of information on food, history, and culture. It’s like a mini-class more than it is a chance to just eat food (though you do that too).

The tours aren’t super budget friendly but if you’re looking for a really detailed food tour, this company would be it. And if you’re a diehard fan of French cheese like I am, they also have an entire workshop just for cheese. It’s amazing.

Tours usually last around three hours. Tickets start at 110 EUR per person.

—> Click here to book your tour with Paris By Mouth!

9. Secret Food Tours

A display case full of colorful macaroons in Paris, France
While not the cheapest, Secret Food Tours offers neighborhood-specific food tours. They also have a dangerously delicious pastry and chocolate tour that will take you around to half a dozen bakeries and shops to give you a firsthand experience of Paris’s love of decadent desserts. You’ll get A LOT of food during the tour, so come hungry. Be sure to avoid Monday tours, when most markets are closed and you end up just eating in one location instead of going from shop to shop.

Tours last 2-3 hours. Tickets start at 89 EUR per person. They can sell out weeks in advance, so be sure to reserve early!

—> Click here to book your tour with Secret Food Tour!

10. Eating Europe

Bakers working in a popular cafe in Paris, France
Eating Europe’s Paris food tour, Hip Eats and Backstreets, is one of the most sought-after food tours in town. You’ll have the opportunity to try some of the best foods in Paris while also getting to chat with the chefs and entrepreneurs who have brought the dishes to life. It’s not just a tour where you get to eat amazing food but rather an experience during which you’ll learn about the culinary traditions and innovations firsthand from local artisans. It’s the perfect tour for any die-hard foodies.

Tours last four hours and they depart at 12:30pm Tuesday through Saturday. Tickets are 95 EUR per person.

—> Click here to book your tour with Eating Europe!

11. Street Art Tour Paris

A large street art portrait painted on a wall in Paris, France
For an insider, niche tour about Paris’s art scene, check out Street Art Tour Paris. Their guides are all artists and will take you around various neighborhoods to show you the best and most interesting works of street art (and murals) that Paris has to offer. They also have a tour that focuses exclusively on female artists.

Tours operate 2-3 times per week based on interest (usually on the weekends) and last around 2.5 hrs. Tickets start at 20 EUR per person.

—> Click here to book your tour with Street Art Tour Paris!

12. Paris Bar Crawl

The patio of a busy bar a night in Paris, France
If you’re looking for a more rambunctious way to spend an evening, head out on a pub crawl. Paris Bar Crawl is one of the most popular ones (it tends to be just for tourists and visiting students though). You’ll meet a bunch of new people while seeing what nightlife in Paris is all about. The tour visits three bars and one club.

Tours start at 8:30pm Thursday-Saturday and last until you decide to go home! Tickets are 15 EUR per person and include three shots as well as admission to a club.

—> Click here to book your tour with Paris Bar Crawl!

***

Walking tours are a great way to get below the surface of Paris. Every time I visit, I always make sure to try a new one. Having an expert guide to answer your questions while providing in-depth, local knowledge is the best way to deepen your experience as a traveler.

These walking tour companies are the best in Paris and will be able to provide you with the insight and information you need to really make the most out of your next visit to this incredible city.

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: 8 – David McKelvey, 11 – Bex Waltn, 12 – Jeanne Menjoulet, 13 – Thomas Sauzedde

The post The Best Walking Tours in Paris appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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central safe

Is Central America Safe to Visit?

Posted By : webmaster/ 30 0

The small and colorful buildings of Central America
Posted: 7/6/2019 | July 6th, 2019

Central America is one of my favorite regions for backpacking. While it can be challenging to get around, it also offers incredible beauty, abundant nature, picturesque beaches, and affordable prices.

Political upheaval and civil unrest kept tourists at bay for a long time, however. But these days the area has developed into something of a hotspot for travelers, surfers, and retirees.

Why?

Because Central America has something for everyone!

But is it safe?

Yes — but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to take precautions.

In this post, I’ll go over everything you need to know to stay safe and have an amazing trip in this incredibly diverse region!

What Countries are in Central America?

There are seven countries in Central America:

Click on the map for country guides:

Central America Placeholder
Central America

8 Important Safety Tips for Central America

While Central America is considered generally safe for traveling and backpacking, there’s no denying that some precautions should be taken.

  • Be aware of your surroundings – It can be easy to stop paying attention and let your guard down. But that’s when disaster strikes. Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Avoid isolated areas – If you’re somewhere isolated, you’ll be at a greater risk for getting robbed, especially at night and in big cities. Try to stay where the crowds are. That’s the best way to avoid being singled out by potential muggers.
  • Don’t wear flashy items – Petty theft is the most common threat here, so remove any jewelry or watches, and don’t wave your phone around. Do your best to blend in, so you don’t become a target for pickpockets.
  • Separate your cash – Keep only the money that you need for the day on you. Keep the rest locked away safely at your accommodation.
  • Take taxis at night – If you need to get somewhere at night, take a taxi. It will be safer than any public transportation. Have your accommodation call the taxi for you, so you can be sure you’re getting a reputable driver.
  • Be careful on public transit – If you have to take public transit, keep your valuables on you and keep them well secured, especially on chicken buses (colorful, modified, and decorated buses that transport goods and people). Petty theft is common on night buses, so avoid them if you can.
  • Don’t do drugs – The cartels here have really made life difficult for the local population. Don’t support them by buying their products. Drug penalties are also harsh in the region, and you don’t want to end up in jail here!
  • Buy travel insurance – Travel insurance will keep you protected if you get injured or ill, are a victim of theft, or have to deal with delayed or canceled flights. It’s a worthwhile investment and can save you thousands of dollars. Don’t risk traveling without it!

At the end of the day, you’ll just need to always trust your gut instinct. If a taxi driver seems shady, stop the cab and get out. If your hotel is seedier than you thought and seems unsafe, get out of there and find a new place to stay. You have every right to remove yourself from such situations, so do what you need to do to feel safe.

What is the Northern Triangle? Is it Safe?

The Northern Triangle comprises Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. It’s the region of Central America that traditionally (and currently) has the most crime and violence. This is usually concentrated in the larger cities, and particularly in specific neighborhoods. If you’re going to be in the capital cities of any of these three countries, you’ll want to talk to your hostel or hotel staff for the most up-to-date safety advice.

That being said, if you’re visiting tourist areas or going on nature excursions, then you won’t have any issues here as long as you follow the safety advice above.

What is the Safest Country in Central America?

Costa Rica, which provides safety and stability alongside incredible natural beauty. Of course, prices are also much higher and reflect the country’s status as “the Switzerland of Central America.”

If you’re new to backpacking and want to start off somewhere that offers a good mix of adventure and safety, go for Costa Rica. It was the first country I ever backpacked in, and I absolutely loved it!

In terms of safety, the next best place is Panama. It’s home to a growing community of expats and retirees, which is giving the country an economic boost and making it a bit more gringo friendly. That means you’ll be able to get lots of great tips and suggestions (including specific, local safety tips) from the expat community while still having yourself an adventure.

Coming in strong behind Panama is Belize. It does a great job of balancing safety with plenty of things to see and do!

Is Central America Safe for Solo Travelers?

Central America is quite safe for solo travelers. As long as you avoid isolated areas and don’t travel alone at night, you’ll be able to avoid the most common issues tourists face, such as petty crime.

If you’re worried that you won’t feel safe, try to join a group of other travelers or invite people from your hostel to join you when you go out. That way, you’ll be able to feel safe while also getting to connect with other people.

As a solo traveler, be sure to scan your passport and other important documents and email them to yourself in case you do happen to run into trouble.

Additionally, be sure to download offline maps and offline language apps so you can look up directions if you get lost or communicate with the locals in an emergency. If you can, try to learn some Spanish before you go too. Even a few key phrases can go a long way!

Is Central America Safe for Solo Female Travelers in Particular?

Solo female travelers will need to be more on guard during their time in Central America. Costa Rica, Panama, and Belize are the safest countries in the region. If you’re new solo female travel, stick to these countries.

Outside of those three countries, I’d suggest new solo female travelers stick to group travel or tours, just to be safe. However, experienced solo female travelers should be able to navigate the region without too much additional concern.

Women should be extra careful in large cities, though, especially at night. Beyond that, as long as you follow the usual precautions, you’ll be able to have an amazing time!

Are Taxis Safe in Central America?

The taxis in Central America are safe and reliable, though you’ll always want to make sure you’re getting in marked taxi. Never get in an unmarked car.

During the day, you can hail a taxi from the street safely, but you’ll want to be aware of the local custom, as some countries’ taxis use meters and others require you to negotiate a price in advance.

If taking a taxi at night, have your accommodation call it for you. Never hail a random taxi at night.

Can You Eat the Street Food in Central America?

You bet you can! You’ll find all sorts of amazing street food stands and local restaurants in Central America, and you’d be missing out if you didn’t try them! Just make sure to stick to places where there are a lot of locals gathered. That’s how you know the food is not only safe but delicious too!

For the most part, you’ll encounter places that sell various kinds of chicken. As long as it is fully cooked (not pink on the inside) and hasn’t been in the sun all day, dive in and give it a try! A lot of food here will also be deep-fried, which will almost always be safe (just not healthy).

Don’t hesitate to ask your hotel or hostel staff for street food or restaurant suggestions. They’ll no doubt have some delicious — and perfectly safe — ones for you.

Can You Drink the Water in Central America?

As a general ruled you’ll want to avoid the tap water in Central America, although it’s likely fine in Costa Rica and Panama.

The best way to make sure your drinking water is safe is to bring a Steripen or Lifestraw for your reusable water bottle. This way you’ll be able to purify the tap water so you don’t get sick — and avoiding single-use plastic bottles in the process.

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With so many affordable accommodation and transportation options, stunning landscapes, plentiful outdoor adventures, and beautiful beaches, it should come as no surprise that Central America is one of the most backpacked regions of the world.

Sure, it might get a bad rap due to its violent history and economic struggles, but that doesn’t mean it’s categorically unsafe. By following the tips above, you’ll be able to stay safe and healthy during your next visit!

P.S. – Did you know I wrote a new book? It’s called “Ten Years a Nomad” and it’s all about the lessons I’ve learned from a life of travel. It features tons of stories and misadventures I’ve never told on this blog as well! It comes out July 16th! Click here to learn more and grab your copy today! (I’ll be going on a book tour too!)

Book Your Trip to Central America: 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
To find the best budget accommodation, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the most comprehensive inventory. Some of my favorite places to stay in Costa Rica:

  • Dirty McNasty (Caye Caulker, Belize) – This is one of the biggest hostels in the country and a hub for party-goers. If you’re looking to let loose, this is the hostel for you!
  • Rocking J’s (Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica) – This an institution in Central America. The hostel has been there for ages and there’s a beautiful white sand beach in front of it. They have nightly BBQs.
  • The Naken Tiger (San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua) – Located in San Juan del Sur, the Naked Tiger is an incredible property nestled a bit far out of town but on top of a hill with a beautiful view of the entire area.

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 Central America?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Central America for even more planning tips!

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