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TravelCon: Come attend the biggest travel media event of the year!

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Travelcon 2020 in New Orleans, United States
Posted: 2/5/2020 | February 5th, 2020

Are you in the travel industry? Want to learn from the best, meet your peers, and make deals with brands?

For those of you who don’t know, in 2018 we created an event called TravelCon. This three-day conference connects you with industry leaders, influencers, and celebrated writers through keynote speeches, small-group writing and photography workshops, breakout tutorial sessions, networking events, and industry panels.

At TravelCon, you’ll:

  • Improve your craft in the four major areas of travel: video, photography, writing, and blogging
  • Learn what’s hot, what works, and what doesn’t
  • Keep current on the best practices in digital travel publishing
  • Learn about new products and services
  • Meet destinations and travel brands
  • Network with experts inside the travel industry
  • Learn from experts outside the travel industry
  • Make connections with other travel lovers
  • Have a ton of fun!

This isn’t just for bloggers — we focus on all sections of the media: photographers, vloggers, podcasters, freelance writers, travel agents, and guidebook authors.

Think of it as a travel version of the professional development doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, and other industries have!

Unlike other events, we’re focused on bringing you intermediate- and advanced-level talks and top-tier talent from inside and outside the travel industry, so you can learn the skills needed to advance your career.

This year’s event is in New Orleans from May 8th to 10th. Since we’re only three months away from TravelCon, it’s time for another update! We’ve been planning a lot in the last few months as we head towards the finish line.

Schedule

We’ve released the schedule! Check out it here. We’re focusing a lot more on monetization, Instagram, freelance writing, and succeeding on social media. I’m so excited about the speakers and the talks we have this year. While the times of the talks are subject to change, you can see what you’ll learn at the event. Here are some of the highlights:

  • How to update content so it ranks better
  • How to succeed on Pinterest in 2020
  • How to run small group tours
  • How to become a travel agent and add new revenue to your business
  • How to build a strong online community
  • The micro-influencer: how to succeed as a small fish
  • The law: legal and IP issues you should know!
  • How to get freelance work
  • All the tax stuff you should know!
  • Affiliate Marketing 101
  • Advanced Google Analytics
  • How to improve your UX and design
  • How to write effective sales pages
  • Making money on YouTube
  • LGBTQ freelance writing
  • Two sessions on improving your writing
  • A guide to self-publishing
  • How to hire people the right way
  • How to run Facebook Ad campaigns
  • SEO best practices
  • How to make money on Instagram
  • And so much more!

All in all, we’re going to have close to 50 sessions to choose from. And don’t worry if you can’t make them all! Included with the ticket is a virtual pass of all the talks. We record every talk and keynote so you can access them after the event to continue to learn!

Speakers

Since our last update, we’ve added some new speakers:

Bani Amor

Travel Writer

Cynthia Andrew

Simply Cyn

Joey Coleman

Author, Never Lose a Customer Again

Adam Groffman

Travels of Adam

Mike and Anne Howard

HoneyTrek

Benet Wilson

The Points Guy

Cal Fussman

Author

Erin Sullivan

Erin outdoors

For a full list, check out our homepage. We’re going to have 60 incredible speakers from inside and outside the travel industry. Many don’t normally talk at other events so TravelCon is one of the only events you can see them at!

Workshops and FAMs

We’ve released our workshop and FAM schedule. This year we’ll be having complimentary FAM trips before and after the event that will allow you to visit New Orleans as well as the surrounding area. You can see a list here, but some highlights include:

  • Demonstration Cooking Class with Crescent City Cooks
  • French Quarter Tour with Historic New Orleans Walking Tours
  • Garden District Food Tour with Fat Tire Tours
  • Glory Days of the Garden District Walking Tour with Ask Arthur
  • Grand Garden District Tour with Two Chicks Walking Tour
  • Harbor Jazz Cruise with Steamboat Natchez
  • French Quarter Ghosts & Legends Tour with Haunted History Tours
  • Cocktail History Tour with Dr. Gumbo

Check out our sponsors!

We’ve been signing tons of sponsors for this year. Our exhibit hall is going to be larger than last year and includes brands that have never attended before. During the event, you’ll be able to book meetings with decision-makers, organize campaigns, and make the deals that will grow your business. Some of the sponsors we have this year

Additionally, though they don’t have their logos up yet, we’re going to have Sony (!!!), TripAdvisor, HostGator, AdThrive, and Moon Travel Guides too! In total, we’re going to have about 40 brands and destinations this year. There’s more to come but, without contracts signed, I don’t want to jinx it!

***

All in all, it’s going to be a fantastic event! We’re going to have an incredible New Orleans–themed opening party with music, performers, and a taste of the new and old New Orleans. We also scoped out venues for our niche meet-ups too.

If you want to attend the conference, tickets to this year’s TravelCon are $399. They include access to the event, parties, meet-ups, FAMs, lunches, a virtual pass, and more! You can click here to learn more and secure your spot today!

We’re capping our event at 800 attendees this year. We’re currently over 50% sold out and expect to sell out soon (we’ve sold out every year). With only three months to go, don’t miss out on the biggest travel media conference of the year.

If you have any questions, leave a comment! See you in NOLA!

– Matt

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 TravelCon: Come attend the biggest travel media event of the year! appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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Reader Survey Results: What We’re Changing This Year!

Posted By : webmaster/ 201 0


a laptop notebook and smartphone
Posted: 02/06/2020 | February 6th, 2020

At the end of 2019, the team and I ran a reader survey. We wanted to see what you liked, didn’t like, and wanted from us in the future. There were some interesting and helpful suggestions in there.

I read through over a thousand responses, as I wanted to see what you wanted from us. You can’t get better without feedback, and we always want to make sure we’re serving your needs.

So, as we make our way through this year, I wanted to share with you some changes you can expect to see on the website:

First, we’re continuing to bring on new voices to write for us. You might have noticed that we’re having more guest posts to more destinations! We’re currently looking for articles about:

  • LGBT content: stories by transgender people, queer couples, and solo gay, lesbian, or bi travelers
  • Africa-related content (bonus points if it’s East or Central Africa)
  • Middle East–related content
  • Central Asia–related content
  • India-related content
  • China-related content
  • Technology- or gear-related content
  • Senior/Older travel
  • Family travel

If you want to write for us, check out our guidelines page.

Second, I plan to write more travel stories this year. We do a lot of brass-tacks, hard-numbers stuff here. The nuts and bolts of travel. Practical information.

But last year, writing my book inspired me to get into more storytelling. So this year, as I make my way around the world, I’m making an effort to create more stories about the places I visit — their history, people, and culture. So you’ll see such content popping up with more frequency.

And you’ll see more history and culture in our how-to posts too. I want to start painting a more holistic view of each destination we write about.

Third, we’re going to be hosting a lot more events this year. We’ve started The Nomadic Network so we can do more in-person events this year. We really want to take this online community offline, so we’re building a great website for that and hosting lots of events.

For more information and ways you can get involved, check this post out.

Fourth, a lot of you suggested topics you wanted to see, so we’re busy making that happen! Some of the topics you’ll start to see more of over the course of the year are:

  • Eco-travel
  • Traveling with pets
  • Family/kid-friendly travel
  • Traveling when you’re older
  • How to make friends when you travel
  • How to make the most of your time
  • How to save more money BEFORE you go
  • Off-beat destinations
  • “Thematic” ways to see a city
  • Reader stories
  • Ways to volunteer
  • Itinerary posts
  • And a bunch more!

Obviously, I can’t write all the time (or expertly on all these topics), which is why we’re going to be bringing in a few more regular contributors and writers now. So not only will you be seeing more content, you’ll be seeing a lot more diverse voices on the website too.

And, as a sidebar to that: since we have so much content now, we’re going to be doing a new redesign in the middle of the year so the site will be easier to navigate.

That’s it! Those are our big plans! We’re super excited about what’s in store for this year.

– Matt

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 Reader Survey Results: What We’re Changing This Year! appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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How to Visit Egypt on a Budget

Posted By : webmaster/ 202 0


Jeremy Scott Foster posing near the pyramids in Egypt
Posted: 2/3/2020 | February 3rd, 2020

One of the countries high up on my “must visit” list is Egypt. As a lover of history, I long to release my inner archaeologist and explore the many ruins of the country. While it might be a long time before I get there, my friend Jeremy Scott Foster from TravelFreak has visited a couple of times. In this guest post, he’ll give you his best tips for saving money on your next visit to Egypt!

I’ve been to Egypt twice. On my first trip four years ago, I solo traveled the Sinai Peninsula along the Gulf of Aqaba, stayed in shared hostels for $5 USD per night and took overnight buses that cost just as little. On my most recent trip last year, I traveled from the very north of Egypt in Alexandria south to Cairo, and then further south along the Nile River to the border with Sudan.

And, throughout it all, I fall deeply in love with this country where foreign perception of violence keeps so many at arm’s length.

The tourism industry in Egypt is still feeling pain as a result of the political upheaval, civil unrest, and terrorism-related activities that have marred its recent history. As tourist numbers have dwindled and competition for the tourist dollar has become fiercer, travel deals have proliferated.

But what most visitors miss is what you can gain — free of crowds and for little money too.

From the chaos of Cairo to the more laid-back vibe of Luxor, Egypt is an ideal destination for budget travelers.
 

1. How to Save Money on Accommodation

The balcony of a local hotel in Cairo overlooking the pyramids in Egypt
Generally speaking, accommodation in Egypt is relatively affordable. However, there are a few helpful tricks that can cut down your expenses.

Stay in hostels instead of hotels – Typically, you can expect to find a bed in a shared dorm room (with 4+ beds) for between $5-8 USD per night, or a comfortable private single room for about $15 USD per night. You will likely have to share a bathroom, but at least you have your privacy.

Use Hostelworld to look for the best prices. I recommend Dahab Hostel in Cairo and Al Salam Camp in Luxor.

Use Booking.com to compare prices for hotels – If you’re looking for cheap hotels or guesthouses in Egypt, I recommend checking Booking.com. A private room in a guesthouse or hotel goes for about $40 USD per night.

Prices are generally listed per room, not per person. So, if you are traveling with a friend, you can save even more money by splitting the cost.

Look for accommodations that add offer a little extra – I also found that, coupled with accommodation, it was pretty common for hosts in guesthouses to offer extras such as breakfast and local tours at very reasonable prices. One of my incredible hosts cooked a traditional hot breakfast with tea and coffee for just $1 USD. Best of all, he was more than happy to recommend some inexpensive local places to eat and buy food.

Look beyond the standard hotel rooms for accommodation options – Vrbo and HomeAway are great Airbnb alternatives, as they’ve been connecting budget travelers and homeowners since the ’90s. HomeAway is geared towards people wanting a proper vacation rental, so you can expect a fully furnished home to live in which is great for longer stays.

Vrbo lets you stay in a local’s house, but at a slightly increased cost. You can usually find some pretty luxurious apartments starting from $50 USD per night.

The upside is that you’ll have full access to your own kitchen, which means you can further cut your costs by cooking at home.
 

2. How to Save Money on Food

Traditional tea on a platter in Egypt
Stick to the local eats and street food – If you want to save money on food while traveling in Egypt, do yourself a favor and steer clear of the Western chain food joints. While a cheeseburger is about half the price of what you pay at home, it’s still more expensive, less tasty, and far less adventurous than experiencing the local cuisine.

Why bother with a burger when you can eat the most delicious falafel in the world for $1 USD?

Navigate the narrow alleyways of any bustling Cairo market (like Khan El Khalili or Mohammed Ali Street) to seek out the best shawarma ($2 USD). Or grab a stuffed falafel sandwich from a street vendor on your way from one ancient relic to another ($2 USD). You can literally find Arabic bread for 5 cents. It’s all cheap and very filling.

And, the hummus. It’s so. Darn. Good.

If you’re staying at a guesthouse, it’s common practice for them to offer full dinners for about $10 USD. The truth is that they’re actually just sourcing the food from restaurants in the neighborhood and taking a cut, so by seeking out your own food options, expect to spend about ¼ of the price.

With that said, don’t be afraid of street food or street vendors, especially if the food is cooked in front of you. And if there is a crowd of locals waiting, then chances are you’re onto a good thing.

Eat at a kosheri – A kosheri is a small, local restaurant that serves up generous portions of pasta, chickpeas, lentils, etc. often for less than $1 USD! There’s no menu, you just select the size of your portion and then you’re served this mishmash of deliciousness.

Cook your own meals – As mentioned, preparing your own meals while traveling is also a great money saver. If you have access to a kitchen, just ask your host to point you in the direction of the nearest market. They also have the lowdown on where to eat for cheap, so take advantage of their local knowledge!
 

3. How to Save Money on Transportation

A small local sailboat on the Nile in Egypt
Bargain with your taxi driver – In most Egyptian cities, taxis are an inexpensive and convenient way to get around.

Now, when I say convenient, I mean they’ll get you to where you need to go relatively quickly. But I would be remiss if I didn’t add a few disclaimers.

Taxi drivers can be aggressive on the road, leaving you white-knuckled from hanging on for dear life. I’ve never experienced a more heart-stopping journey than a Cairo taxi ride.

Furthermore, while Cairo does have metered taxis, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. Meters are notoriously unreliable or rigged, and drivers frequently “forget” to turn them on. It’s one of the oldest travel scams in the book.

The best practice is to use an unmetered taxi and agree on a price with the driver before getting in. (Outside Cairo, most taxis are unmetered, so no matter what, always agree on a price upfront.)

If you’re not sure how much is an acceptable price, ask someone at your hostel or guesthouse for a pricing recommendation, and then start your bargaining at about ½ that price. Oftentimes even they will give you a higher estimate than is normal (it’s locals helping locals), but the real price should be about ¾ of what you’ve been recommended.

For longer-distance trips, hiring a car with a driver is the most cost-effective option. The price will be the same whether you’re traveling by yourself or with a group of four, so round up some travel buddies and split the cost.

But of course, be prepared for some aggressive haggling to get the best price. Be clear about where you want to go and for how long you will need the driver. Don’t worry if negotiations break down, though. When it comes to haggling over price, never be afraid to walk away. There are plenty of drivers available, so just move on to the next one.

Take the local train – Taking the train between Alexandria, Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan is the most popular mode of transport for this route.

If time or budget is a concern, you can take an overnight train. By taking the sleeper train from Cairo to Luxor or Aswan, you’ll save a night’s worth of accommodation in a hotel. A deluxe sleeper cabin for one is about $110 USD, while a two-berth cabin is $80 USD per person. Cabins are secure, and fares include an airline-style dinner and breakfast. The food is basic, but it’s edible.

But for a real bargain, you can book the day train between Cairo and Luxor or Aswan for as little as $10 USD. However, there’s one caveat: for safety reasons, the Egyptian government prohibits foreigners from purchasing day train tickets for this route. Officials say this is because only the night trains have armed guards in case of a terrorist attack, but this is an incredibly rare occurrence.

It’s easy to get around this, though. You’ll need to book tickets online at enr.gov.eg (you’ll have to register an account but it’s easy to do) or ask your guide, host, or driver to book the tickets for you. They will likely oblige for a small fee.

There are no reports of ticket attendants kicking any foreigners off the day train, so you’ll be fine. And if not, you’re only out $10 USD.

Get the Flight Pass – The fastest way to travel around Egypt is by plane. Egypt Air is the national carrier and Star Alliance Member serving most major domestic destinations. Its Flight Pass is a cost-effective option that allows you to lock in low fares for domestic flights even if you haven’t determined your travel dates.

All you have to do is purchase a minimum of four flights (or credits) and choose a time when you’d like to travel in the next 12 months. You can then book your flight up to seven days before departure.

On the downside, you’ll have to always fly back to your original departure point. That is, instead of flying from Cairo to Luxor and Alexandria, you’ll need to fly Cairo to Luxor and back to Cairo before going to Alexandria. That said, the Flight Pass is still about 30% cheaper than booking the same multi-destination flights with other airlines.

The Flight Pass is super customizable. You can select the number of flights (e.g. four, which is two round-trip flights) for a period of time (e.g. within one month), and also how early you can book your flights (e.g. one week before travel). This means that if you pick Cairo as your origin, you can select two round-trip flights to Aswan, Luxor, Alexandria, Sharm E Sheikh, or Hurghada. Each flight is $73 USD one-way.

But if I were to book a flight from Cairo to Luxor for one week from now, that same leg would cost at least $142 USD!

You can play around with this pass. For example, if you purchase a similar pass to the one above but select “one month” for how early you can book, the flights become $66 USD each per one-way.

If that’s too much of an inconvenience for you, there are plenty of other airlines offering affordable flights. When it comes to finding cheap flights on other airlines, I use Skyscanner. By being flexible with your dates, you can save up to 50%. Keep in mind, though, that you might be traveling at inconvenient times, like the middle of the night.

In the Skyscanner search bar, instead of entering specific dates, select the “Entire Month” option. This will show you a calendar with fare prices for departing and returning flights for every day of the month. This also works for one-way flights. However, it does not work for multicity flights.
 

4. How to Save Money on Tours and Guides

Massive pillars near the pyramids in Egypt
The best money-saving tip I can offer here is to avoid booking online before you arrive in Egypt.

If you’re a Type A traveler who needs a plan in hand before you even arrive, you’re not going to like this. But online agencies charge massively inflated prices, and you will end up paying a lot less if you deal directly with the tour company or guide locally on the ground.

Add in the feel-good factor of your money going directly to your guide, their family, and community (and not to some middle person, agency, or large corporation) and you’ve got yourself a win-win situation.

You may need to be a little more flexible with your dates. But you will have the added advantage of being able to negotiate (haggle, in reality), which translates to overall savings.

Tours, private drivers, and the quintessential cruise down the Nile can all be booked locally at significantly lower prices than booking in advance. So, if you can stomach it, wait until you get your boots on the ground before booking your tours.

Guides, in my experience, are an invaluable source of local knowledge and information. They have the inside scoop on the best vantage points for photos at all the epic landmarks. In addition, they’re great at dealing with those persistent and sometimes aggressive street vendors.

The best guides can be found by asking for recommendations from other travelers who have used their services, but I always recommend my Egyptian brother, Rami.

Back in 2015, on my first trip to Egypt, Rami and I connected by way of a mutual friend. We hit it off, and ever since then, I’ve helped him to grow the little tour business he and his family-run. It feels good to be able to help a local family in such a positive way.

He’s honest, affordable, reliable, incredibly communicative, well connected, and did I mention honest? That’s one of the difficult parts about traveling in places like Egypt: when people are selling you things, it’s hard to know who you can trust.

But Rami is my man. Send him an email at [email protected] and let him know Jeremy sent you (there are no commissions here — this is just a helpful referral to a well-deserving friend). He will sort you out or put you in touch with someone else in your preferred destination.
 

5. How to Save Money on Entrance and Admission Fees

Ancient stone monuments in the Egyptian desert
Get the International Student Identity Card – Entrance and admission prices for almost all monuments and attractions in Egypt are set as advertised. However, you can get discounted tickets with an International Student Identity Card, including 50% off some of Egypt’s best museums (including the Luxor).

Get a travel pass – You can get a Cairo Pass or a Luxor Pass (multi-entrance discount passes) from the Ministry of Antiquities, the Egyptian Museum, or the Giza Plateau for about $80 USD. You’ll save about 50% off entries to over 30 attractions in Cairo and Giza. You’ll find very little information about these passes online, however, so your best bet is to just show up at one of those locations and inquire there.
 

Suggested Budgets for Traveling in Egypt

The bustling streets of Cairo, Egypt full of locals
While you can spend money on luxury resorts or private tours, it’s entirely possible to travel through Egypt on the cheap. In fact, you can easily spend as little as $30-$35 USD a day.

The biggest way to reduce costs is to stay in dorm rooms or hostels. If you opt for a private room or mid-range hotel, you can expect to spend $30-40 USD more per night.

Where and what you eat also adds to your daily budget. For example, street food is an affordable and filling option for dining in Egypt. You can eat everything from falafel and sandwiches to shawarma and koshari noodles for as little as $1 USD.

Eating in a restaurant is more expensive, but still relatively cheap compared to Western countries. Meals in a mid-range restaurant start at $4 USD, while international dishes can be around $10 USD.

Transportation is another added cost. Train travel can be cheap but may not be the most efficient option if your time is limited. So, if you plan to fly between your destinations, expect to add $50-$100 USD to your budget for each flight.

Of course, your daily budget will also increase if you book private guides or splurge on souvenirs and gifts.

And remember, haggling is one of the most important skills if you’re looking to save money in Egypt. Taxis, excursions, and other services can usually be bargained down to a lower rate than what is initially quoted. So, if you have a high tolerance for haggling, your daily budget could easily be less.

Regardless, it’s always better to go slightly over budget, especially somewhere with as many must-see sights and experiences as Egypt!

***

The key to budget travel in Egypt is to be generally well informed and to have a good sense of humor (the latter goes a long way when dealing with vendors). Haggling and scammers are all part of everyday travel life in Egypt. There are very few goods and services that can’t be bargained for.

Most importantly, always, ALWAYS ask for and agree on a price first before accepting any goods or services. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to politely say no and walk away.

Now it’s time to start planning your trip to Egypt for maximum adventures at minimum cost in the land of Pharaohs, pyramids, and wonders of the ancient world. Get to it!

Jeremy is the adventurous traveler behind TravelFreak, a website dedicated to helping people create lives they are passionate about. You can check out his blog to learn more or find him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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. Some suggested hostels to stay at are:

    Dahab Hostel (Cairo) – The rooms are basic but the owner is friendly and helfpful and the hostel is in a great location.
  • Al Salam Camp (Luxor) – Great location and incredible staff. it’s away from the noise of the city and a great place to relax and meet other travelers.

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 How to Visit Egypt on a Budget appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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How to Travel on a Budget in 2020

Posted By : webmaster/ 925 0


A solo female traveler standing on a mountain
Posted: 1/30/2020 | January 30th, 2020

A new year brings a new sense of possibility as we create new goals to help us get closer to that ideal self we have in our mind.

And one of those goals usually involves trying to travel more.

But when you are starved for time and money, travel can seem like a pipe dream. A wish that might never be fulfilled.

Luckily, there’s a wave of positive developments for those who want to travel more: cheaper airfare, more deal-finding websites (and other information) online, free walking tours in more cities, and more opportunities to bypass the traditional travel infrastructure and connect directly into the local way of life via the sharing economy.

So, as we get deeper into 2020, I want to share some suggestions on how to travel on a budget this year so you can check off that New Year’s resolution! Here are some of my top tips to help you:
 

1. Change Your Mindset

Changing your mindset might not be a traditional budget tip, but it’s important nonetheless. Action begets action and, as you think of ways to travel cheaper, it becomes a game where you try to keep finding ways to save money. The first step makes all the other steps easier.

Start with a “yes, I can” mindset. Don’t think “I can’t travel” — think “What’s one thing I can do today to make my trip closer to reality?”

Life is a mental game. Do one thing every day that gets you closer to your trip and you’ll find yourself building an unstoppable momentum.
 

2. Come Up with a Savings Plans

Unless you’re Bill Gates, we all need to save more money. But how do you do that? While life is expensive, I do believe there are always ways to save a little more. There’s always something you can cut. A little bit of savings adds up a lot over time.

Get into the habit of putting money into your travel fund regularly — even if it’s just a few dollars a week. Every little penny will help. The more you save, the more you want to save. It sort of becomes a game. It’s no longer a chore.

Here are some posts on how to save money:

 

3. Score a Flight Deal

One of the things that people always tell me holds them back from traveling more is the cost of flights. But, let me tell you, we live in an age of cheap airfare.

If you can be flexible with your plans, there are always deals. Sure, maybe you can’t take advantage of that sale to Europe next week, but you can still find a date and a destination that work for you at a great price if you’re flexible about one or both factors.

I like to use Google Flights. I type in my home city and then “everywhere” and see what the cheapest results are. I then base my plans around where I can fly to for the least amount of money.

However, if you don’t want to do that (I think it’s a perfect Friday night activity), you can check out some of the following websites that search for deals and email them to you:

  • Scott’s Cheap Flights – The best website for finding flight deals from the US
  • The Flight Deal – Incredible deals for flights all around the world
  • Secret Flying – Another site with amazing flight deals from around the globe (they find a lot of Asia/Africa/South America deals not found elsewhere)

 

4. Get Points!

Travel hacking, the art of collecting points and miles, is a great way to save money. By getting point-yielding credit cards and using a few ninja techniques, you can get hundreds of thousands of miles without spending any extra money, thus getting you free flights, free accommodation, and added cash back. It’s what all serious travelers do. There’s no excuse not to do it! I mean you’re spending the money anyway, so you might as well get some treats for it. Here are some resources to help you begin:

Even if you aren’t American, you still have options, as points and miles have gone global:

 

5. Use the Sharing Economy

A group of budget backpackers relaxing at a pool in a hostel in Central America
The sharing economy has led to a plethora of new money-saving and community-building platforms that have made travel even more affordable, personal, and accessible. It’s never been easier to get off the tourist trail, connect with locals, and experience their pace of life. I live by these websites when I travel! You should too. My favorites include:

  • Airbnb – The best platform for finding rooms, apartments, and homes for rent by locals.
  • Couchsurfing – Great for finding free accommodation (often on people’s couches) and meeting travelers/locals. The hangout feature on the app is my favorite, as you can see who is around to meet up.
  • Trusted Housesitters – The most comprehensive website to find house-sitting gigs. You watch a place on vacation while the homeowner is on vacation.
  • EatWith – Allows you to eat home-cooked meals with locals (it’s the Airbnb of food). It always leads to interesting encounters, so it’s one of my favorite things to do.
  • BlaBlaCar – A ridesharing app that pairs riders with verified locals who have a spare seat in their car.

 

6. Find the Free!

The world is awash with amazing free travel resources (like this website) that can help you travel on a budget. No matter where you are going, there’s probably a blog post on what to do and see there for free or cheaply. Someone has been there and they’ve written about it! Make the best use of all them to help you plan your trip.

My favorite search term is “free things to do in X.” You’ll always get a result!

Additionally, don’t be afraid to walk into a hostel — even if you aren’t staying there — and ask them what to do for cheap. Their clientele is budget sensitive, so they always know what to do and where to go for little money.
 

7. Stick to Public Transportation

Old tuk-tuks parked together in Sri Lanka
If you’re on a budget, skip the taxis and rideshares like Lyft or Uber. Unless you can lower your cost by sharing a ride with other passengers, public transportation is going to be the most cost-effective way to get around. Not only will it save you money but you’ll get to see how the locals travel too.

Google Maps usually can give you a basic overview of the public transportation options and prices available. You can find information about day passes and/or multiday passes local tourism offices which will save you even more money. (See the next tip for more about that).
 

8. Use Local Tourism Offices

Local tourist offices are a wealth of knowledge. They exist solely to provide you with information on what to see and do. They often have tons of discounts not found anywhere else and can also keep you updated on local events, free tours, and the best spots to eat. They can help you find public transportation discounts and/or multiday passes too.

Don’t skip the local tourist office! They are serverly underutilizted resource.
 

9. Get Cheap Accommodation

Cozy bunk beds in a hostel dorm room in Europe
Accommodation is one of the biggest fixed costs travelers have, so reducing that cost can lead to big savings on the road. I’m sure many backpackers would sleep in a barn if it were the cheapest accommodation they could find! Heck, I’ve slept in hammocks in national parks to save a buck!

Since you have to stay somewhere every night, reducing this expense can save you a lot of money off the total cost of your trip. Stay in hostels, use Couchsurfing, get last minute hotesl on Hotels Tonight, stay at universities (yes, you can do that), or try an Airbnb. Since there’s a lot of ways to cut your accommodation costs, here are my posts on how to get accommodation deals:

And here are the websites I use to book cheap places to stay:

  • Booking.com – For finding budget hotels and guesthouses.
  • Hostelworld – The best site for finding hostels.
  • Agoda – Another great hotel website, specifically for Asia.
  • Hotel Tonight – Offers discounted last-minute hotel stays.
  • Airbnb – For finding private rooms, entire apartments, and homes for rent by locals.

 

10. Eat Cheap

Other than accommodation, food is one of the biggest travel costs. After all, everyone needs to eat. But there are lots of ways to eat on the cheap:

Also, use the five-block rule. There seems to be this magical wall that surrounds tourist areas. Most people don’t go past it. It’s been my experience that if you walk five blocks in any direction from a major tourist area, you end up losing the crowds and finding the local restaurants. Tourist restaurants don’t care about quality since tourists aren’t coming back. Residents do care so places catering to them need to be better — and more affordable – or they go out of business. Those are the places you want to eat at. Use the above resources to find where the locals eat and avoid crappy food! Moreover, check out these articles for tips on eating cheap around the world:

 

11. Travel Like You Live

The majority of people in your destinations don’t spend lots of money per day, like tourists do. Neither do you in your day-to-day life. So take that mentality with you. Walk, take public transportation, grocery shop, spend a day in a park, and look for deals. Do the things you do at home every day to keep your costs down.

Too many people get into this mindset that when they go on the road, they just have to spend, spend, spend, spend. That’s not true at all. There’s no law that says you have to spend more. Be smart with your budget — just like you are at home. That will help you save money and prevent you from going home early broke.

***

The world is full of different ways to travel on a budget once you know where to look. This year, make travel happen. It doesn’t matter if you save only a dollar a week. What matters is that you take the first step! Action begets action. Once you take the first step, all the other steps will be easier.

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.

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 How to Travel on a Budget in 2020 appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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The 9 Best Places to Teach English Overseas

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Teaching English Overseas in Asia
Updated: 01/26/2020 | January 26th, 2020

Every year, tens of thousands of people go overseas and teach English. Young and old, they go for many reasons: to learn about a new culture, make some money to travel, seek adventure, or just experience something new.

The time I spent teaching English overseas in Asia was life-changing. In Thailand and Taiwan, I learned that I could make friends and start a life in a strange place, as well as adapt and thrive in a different culture. It gave me a confidence that nothing else before had ever done. It helped make me a better version of me.

Yet, with seemingly millions of places to teach, most people often wonder: where are the best places to teach English overseas? What countries provide the best experience, pay, or benefits? Here’s my list of where to score a fun, rewarding, and well-paying job teaching English overseas:
 

 

1. South Korea

The view overlooking the city of Seoul, Korea with tree branches in the foreground
South Korea is one of the best places — if not the best — to teach English overseas. Jobs are abundant, the pay averages $1,600-2,600 USD per month, and you get awesome benefits, like a contract completion bonus, free housing, and airfare reimbursement.

A lot of recent college graduates are attracted to Korea because of the money, benefits, and the fact that Korea takes many first-time teachers. If you don’t have any experience, this country is one of the best options for you. As a place to live, Korea has plenty of things going for it: the food is delicious, the country is dirt cheap, and the people are friendly.

Plus you will find lots of other international young expats there. Since you earn so much money in a country with such a low cost of living, most people leave having paid off a substantial portion of their debts! You could easily walk away after a year of teaching with your loans (school or non-school) paid off AND money for travel!

2. Japan

The view overlooking Mount Fuji in Japan with a temple in the foreground
Japan has a reputation for good jobs which means it also attracts as many people as South Korea. Though the years of easily teaching in Japan and making quick cash are long, long over, people willing to stay at least a year can generally save a substantial sum of money.

While the cost of living can eat up a lot of your salary, especially in Tokyo, there are a number of programs out there (including the government’s JET program) that reward long-term teachers with generous benefits and completion bonuses.

Additionally, the Japanese are incredibly friendly and polite, the food is endless gourmet heaven, and the culture is unique. It’s one of my favorite countries in the world.

3. The Middle East

The massive Burj Khalifa and surrounding skyscrapers and roads in Dubai at sunrise
The Middle East lures many teachers in for one reason: its salary packages. Middle Eastern countries offer incredibly large salaries (up to $70,000 USD per year for an experienced teacher), lots of benefits, and no taxes. A teacher can walk away with around $40,000 USD after one year.

However, this is no place for the recent college graduate. These countries want certified and experienced teachers. If you couldn’t teach at a public school in your home country, you have little chance of getting a job in this part of the world. As such, most of the teachers here are older and more settled and have families.

Dubai, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, and Saudi Arabia are the most popular destinations for teaching English in this region.

4. Thailand

The longtail boats of Koh Phi Phi parked in the sand in front of a bright blue sky in Thailand
Thailand attracts lots of young and new teachers with its cheap cost of living, warm beautiful weather, tropical beaches, mouth-watering food, and party atmosphere.

Most of the language school teachers are ex-travelers looking to save for future travels…or travelers who thought they were doing that but ended up never leaving. The pay in Thailand isn’t that high ($1,000–1,500 USD per month), unless you teach in Bangkok or at an international school.

However, teaching English in Thailand isn’t about making lots of money — it’s about everything else: the ease of getting a job, the food, the fun-loving atmosphere, the weather, and everything in between. It’s one of the best destinations for young, new teachers, especially in a larger city, since you’ll fit right in.

5. China

The massive city of Shanghai, China lit up at night
As China rises in global stature, its need for English teacher grows as more and more citizens need to know the language for their job. Moreover, the culture puts an emphasis on learning it. As such, it is one of the easiest places to find work. No matter where you go, you can find work, even in saturated cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

You can earn a decent salary teaching English here (upward of $1,500-2,000 USD a month), and many jobs give completion bonuses, free housing, and airfare reimbursement.

China is the brave new world and a country in constant change. It’s a good location for teachers of all abilities — there’s something for everyone there!

6. Prague

The many old and medieval buildings of Prague, Czechia
Prague has a seemingly abundant supply of teaching jobs. The city has grown in size over the last few years, attracting a variety of tech start-ups and expats, which has created a lot more job opportunities for teachers.

While it’s very hard to get a job in the public school system or a university, there are plenty of language schools in the city to choose from. The pay isn’t as high as other countries in the world and there are few benefits (especially when compared to Asia or the Middle East), but you’re a stone’s throw away from everywhere in Europe.

The city is one of the most beautiful, vibrant, fun, and popular cities in Europe, which makes Prague an excellent central base from which to explore the continent.

7. Spain

A narrow and winding alley in a traditional area of Cataluna, Spain
Teaching in Spain is one of the best opportunities for anyone looking to work in Europe. There are plenty of jobs, the government has an active program for attracting teachers, and your visa means you can freely travel around Europe.

There are also many opportunities to teach private lessons on the side. You don’t get many benefits (or high pay compared to Asia or the Middle East), but the pay is still enough to live off of.

8. Taiwan

Overlooking the massive city of Taipei, Taiwan on a cloudy day
Taiwan is an excellent country to teach English in, thanks to lots of job opportunities (though they tend to be with young kids), high salaries, benefits similar to South Korea, and lots of other young teachers to share a social life with. The country places a high importance on learning English, and you’ll be able to find freelance tutor opportunities besides your regular, steady teaching job!

I loved my time in Taiwan, made some wonderful friends, and adapted to a completely new culture.

9. Teaching English Online

A man sitting alone on a couch working on his laptop
This was something that didn’t exist when I was teaching. Thanks to the Internet, you no longer have to be tied to one location to teach Teaching online is becoming more popular as a way to make money while working remotely. Platforms like Cambly and italki don’t require any teaching degrees either. The pay isn’t great but it’s something that can have you earn enough money to keep traveling.

***
I had a lot of fun teaching English overseas. It was on my favorite experiences on the road and it taught me so much about myself. You gain a lot of perspective on life by living in another culture.

While there is an opportunity to teach wherever English isn’t the native language, the destinations above draw the biggest crowds, offer the best pay, the best perks, and are the most fun.

If you are thinking about becoming an English teacher overseas, my advice is to head to one of these destinations and just do it!

Ready to Make Money Overseas? Get My Comprehensive Guide

This digital guide will put you ahead of your competition, help you land a high-paying job with a reputable company, and give you first-hand knowledge from real teachers! Get started today with this downloadable PDF (for your computer, e-reader, or mobile device) with the book PLUS 12 interviews about life as a teacher, plus job advice from one of the industry’s top recruiters!
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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.

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

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

The post The 9 Best Places to Teach English Overseas appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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Here Lies America: An Interview With Jason Cochran

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Jason Cochran
Posted: 01/27/2020 | January 27th, 2020

In 2010, I decided to spend the summer in NYC. I was two years into blogging and was making enough where I could afford a few months here. Still new to the industry, NYC was where all the legends of writing lived and I wanted to start making connections with my peers.

It was that summer I met Jason Cochran, a guidebook writer from Frommers, editor, and the man I would consider my mentor.

Though we never had any formal mentor/mentee relationship, Jason’s writing philosophy, advice, and feedback, especially on my first book, How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, has been instrumental in shaping me as a writer. Much of his philosophy has become mine and I don’t think I would have grown to where I am without him.

Last year, he finally published the book he’d been working on about tourism in America, called Here Lies America. (We featured it on our best books of 2019 list).

Today, we’re going to go behind the scenes of the book and talk to Jason on what does lie in America!

Nomadic Matt: Tell everyone about yourself.
Jason Cochran: I’ve been a travel writer for longer than I’ve felt like an adult. In the mid-‘90s, I kept a very early form of a travel blog on a two-year backpacking trip around the world. That blog became a career. I’ve written for more publications than I can count, including for a prime-time game show.

These days I’m the Editor-in-Chief of Frommers.com, where I also write two of its annual guidebooks, and I co-host a weekly radio show with Pauline Frommer on WABC. For me, history is always my way into a new place. In many ways, time is a form of travel, and understanding the past flexes a lot of the same intellectual muscles as understanding cultural differences.

So I have come to call myself a travel writer and a pop historian. That last term is something I just made up. Dan Rather made fun of me once for it. “Whatever that is,” he said. But it seems to fit. I like uncovering everyday history in ways that are funny, revealing, and casual, the way Bill Bryson and Sarah Vowell do.

What made you want to write this book?
Before I began researching, I just thought it would be funny. You know, sarcastic and ironic, about Americans going to graveyards and places of suffering just to buy lots of tacky souvenirs, eat ice cream, and wear dumb t-shirts. And, that’s still in there, for sure. We’re Americans and we like those things. Key chains will happen.

But that changed fast. For one, that would have become a very tired joke. It wouldn’t carry for three hundred pages. Things clicked for me early on, on the first of several cross-country research drives I took. I went to a place that I wasn’t taught about at school, and it clicked. I was at Andersonville in rural Georgia, where 13,000 out of 45,000 Civil War prisoners died in just 14 months. It was flat-out a concentration camp.

Yes, it turns out that concentration camps are as American as apple pie. The man who ran it was the only Confederate officer who was executed after the war. Southerners feared the victors would hang their leaders by the dozen, but that vengeance never materialized. Not for Jefferson Davis, not for Robert E. Lee—the guy who ran this camp poorly got the only public hanging. And he wasn’t even a born American. He was Swiss!

But that’s how important this place was at the time. Yet most of us have never even heard of it, except for a really bad low-budget movie on TNT in the ‘90s in which all the characters bellowed inspirational monologues as if they thought they were remaking Hoosiers.

So just getting my head around the full insanity of Andersonville’s existence was a big light bulb—our history is constantly undergoing whitewashing. Americans are always willfully trying to forget how violent and awful we can be to each other.

And Andersonville wasn’t even the only concentration camp in that war. There were a bunch in both the North and the South, and most of them had survival rates that were just as dismal. So that was another light bulb: There’s a story in why our society decided to preserve Andersonville but forget about a place like Chicago’s Camp Douglas, which was really just as nasty, except now it’s a high-rise housing project and there’s a Taco Bell and a frozen custard place where its gate once stood.

And did you know that the remains of 12,000 people from another Revolutionary War concentration camp are in a forgotten grave smack in the middle of Brooklyn? We think our major historic sites are sacred and that they are the pillars of our proud American story, but actually, how accurate can our sites be if they’re not even fairly chosen?

Here Lies America book coverWhat was one of the most surprising things you learned from your research?
In almost no instance was a plaque, statue, or sign placed right after the historic event in question. Most of the monuments were actually installed many decades after the event. In the case of the Civil War, most of the memorials were erected in a boom that came a half-century after the last bullet was fired.

If you really get close to the plaques and read past the poetic inscriptions, it quickly becomes clear that our most beloved historic sites aren’t sanctified with artifacts but with propaganda placed there by people who weren’t even witnesses to the event. There was a vast network of women’s clubs that would help you order a statue for your own town out of a catalog, and they commissioned European sculptors who cashed the checks but privately grumbled about the poor taste of the tacky kitsch they were installing all over America.

We’re still dealing with what they did today. It’s what Charlottesville was about. But most people don’t realize these statues weren’t put there anywhere near the time of the war, or that they were the product of an orchestrated public relations machine. By powerful women!

Arlington Cemetery

I wrote a line in the book: “Having a Southern heritage is like having herpes—you can forget you have it, you can deny it, but it inevitably bubbles up and requires attention.” These issues aren’t going away.

Places we think of as holy ground, like Arlington National Cemetery, often have some pretty shocking origin stories. Arlington started because some guy got pissed off at Robert E. Lee and started buying corpses in his rose garden to get back at him! That’s our hallowed national burial ground: a nasty practical joke, like the Burn Book from Mean Girls. Dig a little and you find more revolting secrets, like how the incredible number of people buried under the wrong headstone, or the time the government put the remains of a Vietnam soldier in the Tomb of the Unknowns. They pretty much knew his identity, but Ronald Reagan really wanted a TV photo op. So they sealed all the soldier’s belongings in the coffin with him so that no one would figure it out.

They eventually had to admit they’d lied and gave the soldier’s body back to his mom. But if a thing like that happens in a place like Arlington, can the rest of our supposedly sacred sites be taken at face value at all?

It goes a lot deeper. At Ford’s Theatre and the surrender house at Appomattox, the site we visit isn’t even real. They’re fakes! The original buildings are long gone but visitors are rarely told that. The tale’s moral is what’s valued, not the authenticity.

What can visiting these sites teach us about how we remember our past?
Once you realize that all historic sites have been cultivated by someone who wanted to define your understanding of it, you learn how to use critical thinking as a traveler. All it takes is asking questions. One of the most fun threads in the book kicks off when I go to Oakland, a historic but touristy cemetery in Atlanta. I spot an ignored gravestone that piqued my interest. I’d never heard of the name of the woman: Orelia Key Bell. The info desk didn’t have her listed among the notable graves. She was born around the 1860s, which was a very eventful time in Atlanta.

So I took out my phone and right there on her grave, I Googled her. I researched her whole life so I could appreciate what I was seeing. It turned out she was a major poet of her time. I stood there reading PDFs of her books at her feet. Granted, her stuff was dreary, painfully old-fashioned. I wrote that her style of writing didn’t fall out of fashion so much as it was yanked down and clubbed by Hemingway.

But reading her writing at her grave made me feel wildly connected to the past. We almost never go to old places and look deeper. We usually let things remain dead. We accept what’s on the sign or the plaque as gospel, and I’m telling you, almost nothing ever reaches us in a state of purity.

Grave of Stonewall Jackson

I figured that if I was going to probe all these strangers, I had to be fair and probe someone I knew. I decided to look into an untimely death in my own family, a great-grandfather who had died in a train wreck in 1909. That was the beginning and the end of the tale in my family: “Your great-great grandfather died in a train wreck up in Toccoa.”

But almost as soon as I started looking deeper, I discovered something truly shocking—he had been murdered. Two young Black men were accused in rural South Carolina for sabotaging his train and killing him. You’d think at least someone in my family would have known this! But no one had ever looked into it before!

Here Lies America follows their trail. Who were these guys? Why would they want to kill him? I went to where their village used to be, I started digging into court documents from their murder trial. Let me tell you, the shockers came flooding. Like, I found they may have killed him because they wanted to protect a sacred old Cherokee burial mound from destruction. There was this crazy, larger-than-life forgotten story happening in my own damn family.

My experience with that poet’s grave has a happy coda. Last week, someone told me that Orelia Key Bell and her companion are now officially part of the guided tour of Oakland. The simple act of looking deeper had revived a forgotten life and put her back on the record. That’s what visiting these sites can do—but you have to look behind the veneer, the way I do with dozens of attractions in my book. This is the essence of travel, isn’t it? Getting to a core understanding of the truth of a place.

A lot of what you wrote showed how whitewashed many of these historical sites are. How do we as travelers dig deeper to get to the real history?
Remember that pretty much everything you see at a historic site or museum was intentionally placed there or left there by someone. Ask yourself why. Ask who. And definitely ask when, because the climate of later years often twists interpretation of the past. It’s basic content analysis, really, which is something we’re really bad at in a consumer society.

Americans have it drilled into them to never question the tropes of our patriotism. If we learned about in grade school, we assume it’s a settled matter, and if you press it, you’re somehow an insurgent. Now, more than any other time in history, it’s easier than ever to call up primary sources about any era you want. If you want to go back to what our society really is, if you want to try to figure out how we wandered into the shattered shambles we’re in today, you have to be honest about the forces that created the image that, until recently, many of us believed we really were.

Gettysburg

Do you think Americans have a problem talking about their history? If so, why is that?
There’s a phrase, and I forget who said it—maybe James Baldwin?-but it goes, “Americans are better at thinking with their feelings than about them.” We go by feels, not so much by facts. We do love to cling to a tidy mythology of how free and wonderful our country always was. It reassures us. We probably need it. After all, in America, where we all come from different places, our national self-belief is our main cultural glue. So we can’t resist prettying up the horrible things we do.

But make no mistake: Violence was the foundation of power in the 1800s, and violence is still a foundation of our values and entertainment today. We have yet to come to terms with that. Our way of dealing with violence is usually to convince ourselves it’s noble.

And if we can’t make pain noble, we try to erase it. It’s why the place where McKinley was shot, in Buffalo, lies under a road now. That was intentional so that it would be forgotten by anarchists. McKinley was given no significant pilgrimage spot where he died, but right after that death, his fans paid for a monument by Burnside’s Bridge in Antietam, because as a youth, he once served coffee to soldiers.

That’s the reason: “personally and without orders served hot coffee,” it reads—it’s hilarious. That is our national mythmaking in a nutshell: Don’t pay attention to the place that raises tough questions about imperialism and economic disparity, but put up an expensive tribute to a barista.

What is the main takeaway you’d like readers to take away from your book?
You may not know where you came from as well as you think you do. And we as a society definitely haven’t asked enough questions about who shaped the information we grew up with. Americans are finally ready to hear some truth.

Jason Cochran is the author of Here Lies America: Buried Agendas and Family Secrets at the Tourist Sites Where Bad History Went Down. He’s been a writer since mid-1990s, a commentator on CBS and AOL, and works today as editor-in-chief of Frommers.com and as co-host of the Frommer Travel Show on WABC. Jason was twice awarded “Guide Book of the Year” by the Lowell Thomas Awards and the North American Travel Journalists Association.

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.

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 Here Lies America: An Interview With Jason Cochran appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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Life at Home: New Year, New You

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The State Capitol building in Austin, Texas on a bright summer day
Posted: 1/23/2020 | January 23rd, 2020

If you’re like me, you know how hard New Year’s resolutions are to keep. “New year, new you” starts with the best intentions, but after a couple of months, it’s back to new year, old you.

Old habits die hard, but they can be broken if they are replaced with good ones.

We’re at the start of a new year (and decade), so — as someone who loves a good cliché — I’m going to use this time to build the habits that create a better version of me.

After many years of trying (and writing copious and annoying blog posts about it), last year I finally slowed my travels and moved to Austin. I have a furnished apartment, plants (only two have died so far!), and a recently purchased car (my first ever!).

My days are filled with routine. I wake up, make breakfast, head to WeWork, go to the gym, head home, read, cook dinner, read some more, and go to bed.

My life is the proverbial suburban 9-to-5 I tried to escape from for so many years.

And, for the first January in years, I’m not on the road.

I’ve been enjoying it so much I’ve even begun to dread heading to the airport the same way children dread the dentist.

I used to think routine was a bad thing. It was the thing that killed spontaneity and adventure.

But I’ve come to learn that routine actually creates the framework for excitement and adventure. By scheduling my days and following a routine, I can ensure that I make time for what’s important and for all the things I want to do and goals I hope to accomplish.

So I wrote a list of things to do this year called “Stop Being Boring” with all the things I want to do while in Austin this year: get out more, volunteer, attend city council meetings (first one is next month!), join some social clubs to meet new people, host more meet-ups, and explore more of the city. Now that I have a car, I also plan to see more of Texas and the American South.

Rather than try to read more, I’m going to be a reader.

Rather than try to go to the gym, I’m going to be the person that does.

While I’ve already made some good strides toward eating better and going the gym, the true test will be when I start traveling in February. Will I fall back into old habits? Maybe. But I’m motivated to break them.

This year is also going to be all about focus for me.

I want to focus on work without getting sidetracked by phone calls or Facebook, so I can end my workday earlier.

The internet makes it easy to stretch it from four productive hours to ten unproductive ones, especially when you work for yourself. Now I’m already sitting, undistracted from my tasks, and getting them done quicker!

Next month, I’m going to Hawaii and Taiwan for three weeks before heading back to Paris and Berlin. In the summer, when the weather in Austin is too unbearable, I’m thinking about the Balkans, and maybe some of the ’Stans in the fall. And then in November, I’d like to finally get to Peru.

And while I’ll travel less this year, what trips I do take will be done with more focus. As they say, what’s old is new again, and this year, I’m going to travel without my computer again. Last year, all my travels were just a backdrop for work — and that’s not how I want to see the world.

***

Study after study has shown that by imagining yourself as your desired self, you unconsciously start acting like that person.

I’m determined to make “new year, new me” last the full year. And if I don’t, you’re free to remind me of this post and hold me accountable!

So that’s what I’ve been up to these last few quiet months.

What are your goals for the new year?

Book Your Trip to Austin: 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 elsewhere, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.

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!gho

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

Photo credit: 1 – Evgenii

The post Life at Home: New Year, New You appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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Flight Shaming: Is Flying Bad for the Environment?

Posted By : webmaster/ 921 0


A commercial airplane high in the sky, cutting the the clouds and a blue sky
Posted: 1/21/2020 | January 20th, 2020

As people become more conscious of their environmental impact on the world, there’s been an increased focus on air travel — and, over the past year, a corresponding increase in “flight shaming”. The term is coined from the Swedish flygskam, which means “flight shame” i.e. you personally feel shame about flying but, unsurprisingly, it has devolved into shaming others for flying due to its carbon footprint.

After all, there is no denying that flying increases your personal carbon footprint — a lot. My carbon footprint is undoubtedly through the roof because of all my intense flying habits.

But what can we do? And is focusing on this issue really the best use of our efforts? Just exactly how bad is flying really?

Air travel accounts for only 2.5% of global carbon emissions. In the US, flying accounted for 9% of transportation emissions, but only 3% of total carbon emissions. It’s a drop in the bucket when compared to other industries in the United States:

  • Transportation: 29%
  • Electricity 28%
  • Industry 22%
  • Commercial/Residential 12%
  • Agriculture 9%

So, when looking at the math, flying isn’t really the worst climate offender out there. There are far worse industries out there. Shouldn’t we focus on them?

Cutting down carbon emissions from flying isn’t going to make a big dent in total emissions.

And you can’t just shut off air travel. The world economy relies on it to function. We live in a globalized economy — and benefit from that — because of air travel. Ending all flights would end our modern economy.

Moreover, there are instances where flying is required. I mean, are we going to take boats across the ocean all the time? What if we have to rush to a sick loved one’s side? Driving might take too long.

To me, it seems that we could get bigger wins elsewhere.

But I’m not a scientist. So I called one up to ask about the environmental impact of air travel.

Michael Oppenheimer is a professor at Princeton University, co-founded the Climate Action Network, and has been a leading scientist on climate change for over 30 years. He was one of the principal participants of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He said:

If you’re a traveler, you have to worry about four things from aviation. One is just the carbon dioxide emissions…number two, you have to worry about the fact that particulate matter from jets can provide surfaces for the formation of clouds, and that that reflects some sunlight…the third thing would be…the production of tropospheric ozone [a greenhouse gas] through the emission of nitrogen oxides…and then there’s a fourth thing, which is that high-flying jets that actually enter the stratosphere can produce some…ozone, and at some altitudes, they may release particulate matter, which would encourage the destruction of ozone.

My conversation with Prof. Oppenheimer gave me pause. It’s just not our carbon footprint we need to worry about when we fly, which makes the total cost of our flights pretty bad. (But, since the carbon effect is the easiest documented, we’re going to focus on that here.) Further research showed that flying is pretty bad.

Most of the time.

While you can say that, generally speaking, flying is worse than any other mode of transportation, the science is tricky because, since there is a surprising number of variables, there’s really no good apples-to-apples comparison. Depending on the make, model, distance, and the number of passengers in your car, driving might be better — or worse — than flying. The same is true with a bus. How many passengers are on that bus?

According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a round-trip flight from NYC to LA produces 1,249 lbs. (566.4 kg) of carbon per person. A car getting an average of 20 miles per gallon produces 4,969.56 lbs. (2,254.15 kg) for the same trip for one person.1

If you’re driving alone, especially over a long distance, it might better to fly. Yet, on that same trip, if you carpool with three other people, you can get your numbers down by a fourth, making driving the better option.

So it turns out there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. You can’t say “flying is bad, never fly” because sometimes it’s better to fly.

That said, a round-trip flight from Paris to London creates 246 lbs (111.5 kg) of carbon while taking the Eurostar (train) will create about 49 lbs (22.2 kg) of carbon.

From Vienna to Brussels, a flight will create 486 lbs (220.4 kg) while the new night train (which takes around 14 hours) will create 88 lbs (39.9 kg) per person.

The International Council on Clean Transportation also came to the same conclusion when they looked into it. It turns out figuring out what mode of transport is quite complicated. As you can see from their chart, no one transportation option is the best every time:

A carbon emissions chart from the ICCT

So what’s a traveler to do? I felt overwhelmed just researching this article and doing the math on all these example trips. I didn’t realize how complex this was. And, as I explain later, depending on the carbon calculate you use, your numbers can be wildly off. So what can you do? Here are some tips I learned in this process to help reduce the carbon footprint of flying:

1. Avoid short-haul flightsA report from NASA showed that about 25% of airplane emissions occur during takeoff and landing, so if you go on a lot of short-haul flights, you tend to have a higher per-pound footprint. So, flying nonstop rather than a bunch of connecting flights is the better option environmentally.

The longer the distance, the more efficient flying becomes (because cruising altitude requires less fuel than any other stage of flying). If you’re flying a short distance, consider driving or taking a train or bus instead.

2. Buy carbon offsets (or don’t actually) – Carbon offsets offer a way to balance out your pollution by investing in projects that reduce emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. If you used one ton (2,000 pounds) of carbon, you can support a project like planting trees or clean water initiatives that would produce a saving in carbon equal to what you use (so the scale balances).

Websites such as Green-e, Gold Standard, and Cool Effect can give you a list of good projects to support.

But, while these programs help, they aren’t super effective. For example, it takes 15-35 years for trees to grow big enough to capture carbon.

And carbon offsets just shift the burden of what you’re doing to somewhere else. It’s not an actual reduction in carbon emissions; you’re just investing in something that you hope will take as much out as you put in.

In fact, in a 2017 study of offsets commissioned by the European Commission found that 85% of offset projects under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) had failed to reduce emissions.

Much of my conversation with Prof. Oppenheimer centered on carbon offsets. He said,

Offsets are good if, and only if, they’re accountable, that is, you’re sure they’re producing the greenhouse gas benefit that they’re advertised at, and that’s sometimes hard to figure out because the emissions are not direct, they’re somewhere else…so, you want to only do offsets and count that as part of your greenhouse gas budget if they’re from an accounting system that’s comprehensive and reliable. Secondly, offsets are good if some have been designed to stimulate technological change or other changes that would not have happened so easily without the offset.

He also said that he could “imagine situations where offsets are fine, even beneficial, but there are a lot of situations where they are not and where they’re…far worse than doing the reduction at…the direct emission site.”

I think this is the point. Offsets don’t have strict controls, so you don’t know if they are really working. And it’s far better to force more efficiency from airlines and build up alternatives to flying in the first place. Much of my research showed that offsets, while making you feel good, aren’t as effective as fighting for reductions directly at their source.

So, you can buy them, but be really careful and do your research into the projects you’re supporting.

3. Fight for better flying – We need to put the pressure on airlines to improve fuel efficiency through new aircraft designs and operations, like implementing the usage of biofuels and planes that run on clean electricity, plus modernizing their fleets. For example, the new Dreamliner has very fuel-efficient engines that reduce CO2 emissions by about 20% in comparison to the planes it replaced. Pressure airlines and fly newer, more fuel-efficient planes when you can. Additionally, try to fly an airline that is generally fuel-efficient.

4. Calculate your footprint – As we’ve seen, sometimes it’s better to fly. Sometimes it’s not. Use a carbon calculator for your trip to see which mode of transportation has the lowest carbon footprint for your trip. If flying is a bad option, look for alternatives like trains, ridesharing like BlaBlaCar, or the bus. Some suggested carbon calculators are:

However, I want to put a big caveat here. My team and I used a lot of calculators for this article. We each found a bunch and tested them ourselves to see if our numbers matched. Like peer review scientific papers, we kept checking each other’s work. We were incredibly shocked to find out just how much variation there was between the carbon calculators. My suggestion is to use multiple calculators to find out what your exact footprint is.

Prof. Oppeniemer concurred, saying, “If the calculator shows that the car is worse, I would believe that, because all this is very sensitive to the load factor. And also…since a lot of fuel is burned on takeoff and landing, the longer the flight, you may sort of amortize the trip if you’re in an airplane.”

5. Fly less – At the end of the day, flying less is the best way to reduce your carbon footprint. Taking lots of flights a year, even if you do some of the lifestyle changes we mention below, is still going to cause your personal footprint to be huge. While the above methods will work, the best you can really do is to look for alternatives as much as possible.

***

I think we should all fly less. I look for ways to fly less all the time. We all need to be more aware of our carbon footprint. But it’s also important to understand, total flight emissions are small compared to other industries. There are so many factors that go into personal carbon footprints that I think we can make a bigger difference through the day-to-day actions we take since, as we’ve seen, most industries have a bigger impact on emissions! Do things like:

  • Buy things that last a long time
  • Buy secondhand
  • Buy local, not online (so much packaging waste)
  • Reduce your plastic consumption
  • Drive less
  • Switch to a hybrid or electric car
  • Eat less takeout to avoid the plastic and other waste that comes with it
  • Eat less meat or go vegetarian or vegan
  • Switch your home heating to renewable energy
  • Change your incandescent light bulbs to LEDs
  • Install low-flow showerheads and toilets

If you don’t fly a lot generally, the things you do every day can have a huge impact on your carbon footprint and help the environment. Let’s not lose the forest through the trees.
***

In today’s “cancel culture,” we’re all supposed to be perfect people — but those who cast the most stones are imperfect too.

We all are.

I don’t believe in flight shaming because, when does shaming someone ever work?

When people feel like their values are attacked, they harden their positions. If you shame someone, they will just do more of the same and become entrenched in their positions. Study after study has shown this to be true.

Telling the person they are bad – when no one ever wants to think of themselves as a bad person – won’t get you anywhere.

That’s not how human psychology works.

Instead, I believe in finding and presenting alternatives.

That’s how you affect change.

I’m not going to judge people who fly. Nor will I judge people who have decided the best way to live their values is to fly less.

If you’re worried about the environmental impact of flying, reduce your own footprint, educate your friends on why they should fly less and find alternative transportation, and contribute to some good organizations that are out there fighting for a greener world:

The world needs immediate action. And there’s a lot you can do to to help. If you want more effective change, donate to NGOs and sociopolitical groups that are pushing climate change action immediately — because the longer we wait, the worse it will get.

Support green-energy projects.

Fund the planting of trees.

Donate to land reclamation.

Fast action will get you more bang for your buck than anything else.

But whatever you do, don’t shame people for flying. That’s not going to do anything.

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.

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!

Footnotes
1. There are a lot of emissions calculators out there, and many vary wildly. For flights, I went with the ICAO as it’s the most scientific. For car emissions, I used the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Sources:
We did a lot of research for this post. While we linked to some in our articles, here’s some of the other sources we used for this post:

The post Flight Shaming: Is Flying Bad for the Environment? appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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My 4 Favorite Hostels in Seattle

Posted By : webmaster/ 229 0


The skyline of Seattle featuring the Space Need and Mount Rainier in the background
Posted: 1/18/2020 | January 18th, 2020

Tucked away in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is the birthplace of Starbucks and grunge music and home to some of the biggest tech companies in the world. But it’s also surrounded by stunning landscapes, with both the ocean and the mountains within easy reach. It’s known for being a laid-back, eclectic city — and an expensive one too.

Since Seattle can be a little pricey, budget travelers will likely want to stay in a hostel. Even with the prevalence of Airbnb, hostels in Seattle are still the cheapest form of accommodation — and they’re usually perfect for meeting other travelers too.

Seattle only has four hostels, and to help you plan your visit and save money, here are my reviews of each of them:
 

1. Green Tortoise Seattle Hostel

A sign outside of the Green Tortoise hostel in Seattle, Washington
This is my favorite hostel in Seattle. The dorm beds have privacy curtains, and there are enough outlets to charge everything you might bring. The rooms aren’t very large though, and the luggage storage is under the bottom bunk, so if you’re sleeping there and your bunkmate needs something, you’ll definitely hear it. You’ll also hear music and people late at night, given its central location, so bring earplugs.

That said, the bathrooms here really set this hostel apart from others: they have rainfall showerheads and heated tile floors. The hostel also provides free breakfast, complete with eggs, cereal, fruit, and bread. There is a communal kitchen and common room with foosball and other games. They also run free walking tours and pub crawls and even host weekly ice cream socials!

Green Tortoise is located across the street from the iconic Pike Place Market (as well as the first-ever Starbucks). It’s also not far from other well-known sites, like the Great Wheel and the Crocodile (a bar famous for its live music — Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and other famous bands have played here). If you want the best hostel experience in the city, stay here.

Beds from $35 USD, rooms from $98 USD a night

—> Book your stay at Green Tortoise Seattle Hostel!
 

2. HI Seattle at the American Hotel

A small dorm room at the HI Seattle hostel at the American Hotel
The HI Seattle at the American Hotel offers same-sex dorm rooms (there are no co-ed dorms here) with shared bathrooms, as well as private rooms, some with en suite bathrooms. Rooms here are basic, but the beds are comfortable.

The kitchen is the best thing about the hostel, as it’s large and perfect for cooking your own meals (there’s also an international grocery store a quick walk away). Free continental breakfast is included, though it’s nothing fancy.

The hostel is only minutes away from both the BoltBus and Amtrak stations, and its location in Chinatown/International District means there are lots of affordable restaurants nearby. It’s also close to historic Pioneer Square (which is home to tons of hip coffee shops, art galleries, and restaurants), as well as the Pinball Museum, Smith Tower (the oldest skyscraper in the city), the ferry terminal, and the Underground City. It’s just over a mile from Pike Place Market too.

Beds from $31 USD, rooms from $75 USD a night

—> Book your stay at HI Seattle at the American Hotel!
 

3. HotelHotel Hostel

A black and white photo of the exterior of the HotelHotel hostel in Seattle
HotelHotel Hostel offers a laid-back atmosphere and clean, comfortable dorms, which come with either en suite or shared bathrooms. It has a small kitchen and a basic free continental breakfast, both of which can help lower your budget if you plan on cooking your own meals. There is no common room though, so it’s not super easy to meet people. Also, there is a limited number of bathrooms and showers, so sometimes you may have to wait to get in.

It’s located in the quirky neighborhood of Fremont, where you’ll find the Fremont Troll, a massive statue underneath the Aurora Bridge, as well as a year-round Sunday market offering antiques, art, and food trucks.

Beds from $30 USD, rooms from $89 USD a night

—> Book your stay at HotelHotel Hostel!
 

4. City Hostel

One of the many cool locally-painted murals in City Hostel, Seattle
If you like art, you’ll love City Hostel, as its 40+ rooms were recently redesigned, renovated, and repainted by local artists. Most rooms have squeaky bunk beds, and some rooms can get loud because of the bars and clubs nearby, but everything is quite clean.

Free breakfast is included, and there’s an outdoor patio and BBQ, a communal kitchen, a fireplace, and a 20-seat theater too. It’s a great place for being social and meeting people.

City Hostel is a 10-minute walk to Pike Place Market and nearby attractions like the Space Needle, .

Beds from $30 USD, rooms from $89 USD a night

—> Book your stay at City Hostel!

***

Whether you’re looking for a quiet hostel or somewhere social and lively, Seattle has it. The prices are reasonable (relative to other US hostels), and there are tons of awesome activities and amenities to keep you entertained and help you meet other travelers.

And with Vancouver to the north and Portland to the south (each only a few hours away), Seattle is the perfect base to explore the Pacific Northwest.

Just be sure to book your stay in advance. With only four hostels in the city, rooms disappear fast. Book early, save money, and have an awesome trip!

Book Your Trip to Seattle: Logistical Tips and Tricks

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

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

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 they will help you too!

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

Photo credit: 1, 2, 3, 4

The post My 4 Favorite Hostels in Seattle appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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The 7 Best Hostels in Montreal

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Montreal street view from eye-level
Posted: 1/18/2020 | January 18th, 2020

Montreal is one of the world’s best cities (at least in my opinion). From its lovely parks and historic downtown to its incredible music, art, and foodie scenes, Montreal is amazing.

It also has robust hostel offerings, with dozens to choose from. In my visits to the city, I’ve stayed at numerous hostels but always come back to my favorites listed below. To me, these are the best!

1. M Montreal

M Montreal's rooftop patio with one of its jacuzzis
M Montreal is huge, with nearly 500 beds. The facilities are pretty great: there’s a rooftop terrace, two jacuzzis, nightly activities in a basement bar open from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m., a café, and free breakfast (though it’s not anything special). The hostel is a quick 10-minute walk from Old Montreal and also close to both the popular Latin Quarter and Festival District.

M Montreal’s super clean rooms run the gamut from female dorms to private apartments, and all have en suite bathrooms. I liked the pod feeling to the beds: they include a curtain so you can get some privacy, as well as outlets and a light. The mattresses are pretty uncomfortable (basically a gym mat), but the social vibe, plethora of activities, and friendly staff more than make up for that.

Beds from $22 USD, rooms from $83 USD a night.

—> Book your stay at M Montreal!

2. HI Montreal

HI Montreal hostel dorm rooms
HI Montreal is a pretty standard hostel but perhaps one of the best situated in town: it’s a two-minute walk from the metro, which delivers you straight to breathtaking Old Montreal. The hostel offers both spotless dorms and private rooms that are clean and comfortable.

The common room comes with a pool table, plus the hostel has a large kitchen stocked with basics so you don’t have to lug them around with you, a café, a bar, and free breakfast daily. It also offers daily activities, including bike tours, walks, a pub crawl, and even poutine tastings.

Beds from $19 USD, rooms from $61 USD a night

—> Book your stay at HI Montreal!

3. Samesun Montreal Central

Samesun Montreal hostel dorm rooms
Samesun Montreal Central is what some would consider a party hostel, thanks to its happy hour and bar getting a lot of action. Rooms here are clean and comfortable, and each features a microfridge, plus reading lights and outlets for each bed. The recently renovated private rooms are some of the best for the price and include cable, a fridge, and a desk.

There’s complimentary breakfast that includes freshly made muffins, waffles, and eggs. Located in the same area as M Montreal, this hostel is smaller and has a more community, homey feel to it. If you’re looking for something more old school and traditional, stay here.

Beds from $22 USD, rooms from $38 USD a night

—> Book your stay at Samesun Montreal Central!

4. Le Gîte du Plateau Mont-Royal

Le Gîte du Plateau Mont-Royal hostel dorm rooms
Le Gîte du Plateau Mont-Royal is a five-minute walk to Rue Saint-Denis, only 10 minutes to Old Montreal, and 20 to the famous Parc du Mont-Royal.

The hostel itself is bright and colorful, and offers clean and cozy rooms and shared bathrooms. Rooms range from dorms to studios and have sinks; if you opt for a dorm, take note that there are only two bathrooms per floor, so sometimes there’s a wait. There’s a common area to chill out in, plus a rooftop terrace to enjoy when the weather warms up. Breakfast with pancakes and maple syrup is free.

Beds from $18 USD, privates from $51 USD a night

—> Book your stay at Le Gîte du Plateau Mont-Royal!

5. Auberge Saint-Paul

Auberge Saint-Paul hostel dorm rooms
Exposed brick and stone in the rooms give Auberge Saint-Paul a historic feel, which adds to its charm. Located near Montreal’s Old Port, this hostel is clean and bright and includes a state-of-the-art (and magnificent) kitchen, free Wi-Fi, a basic complimentary breakfast, air conditioning, and a common area for mingling with others.

There’s a bar below the hostel playing loud music until late, so bring earplugs. If you don’t want to drop $5 on a lock to secure your belongings, be sure to bring your own. While the bathrooms could use a little refresh, Auberge Saint-Paul has everything you need in a hostel: cleanliness, space, a large kitchen, and a great location.

Beds from $16 USD, rooms from $58 USD a night

—> Book your stay at Auberge Saint-Paul!

6. The Alternative Hostel of Old Montreal

Alternative Hostel of Old Montreal hostel dorm rooms
If you’re looking for a place with a boho feel, this is it. Located in the historic area of the city and a short jaunt to the city center, this vibrant hostel is in a restored warehouse that was built more than a century ago (1857) and has retained the quirks that make it special, like high ceilings, arched windows, exposed stone, and hardwood floors.

Besides its eclectic and artsy vibe, the hostel includes a common room, a kitchen, complimentary continental breakfast, and Wi-Fi that reaches up to its top floor. What it doesn’t have is an elevator — and rooms start on the third floor, so it’s a walk up with your gear.

Beds from $16 USD, rooms from $43 USD a night

—> Book your stay at The Alternative Hostel of Old Montreal!

7. Alexandrie-Montreal

Alexandrie-Montreal hostel dorm rooms
Alexandrie-Montreal offers basic dorms on the cheap (you’ll have to go to the basement to use the bathroom, which can mean four flights of stairs), renovated dorms with en suite bathrooms, and private double rooms with shared bathrooms. It features a huge kitchen with plenty of storage (a whopping five refrigerators), a lounge in its basement that’s open all the time, and a rooftop terrace. It’s also close to many Montreal attractions, including Chinatown and the Latin Quarter, and there are tons of markets and restaurants nearby.

This is a budget hostel and it doesn’t camouflage it. Not all of the rooms have air conditioning, and the Wi-Fi is spotty at best throughout the hostel. But Alexandrie-Montreal does have some perks, like a basic free breakfast and free use of its washer and dryer.

Beds from $18 USD, rooms from $49 USD a night

—> Book your stay at Alexandrie-Montreal!

***

If you’re looking for the best hostels in Montreal, stay at one of those listed above. If there’s one you stayed in and liked that’s not listed, let me know in the comments. Tell us why you like it!

Book Your Trip to Montreal 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 elsewhere, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.

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 travel tips for Montreal?
Check out my in-depth Montreal travel guide for more ways to save money, costs, tips on what to see and do, suggested itineraries, reading, packing lists, and much, much more!

The post The 7 Best Hostels in Montreal appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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