Category Archives for "Travel"

11 Fun Summer Date Ideas For The Couple Who’s Broke

With summer just around the corner, most of us cant wait to soak up those beautiful rays of sunshine, dive into the deep blue, and plan weekend trips with bae and our girlfriends.

Our wallets, though, arent entirely thrilled about the idea of dishing out cash to satisfy those glorious summer feels.

When you and bae are simply broke AF, the struggle can be all too real.

But, date night doesnt have to cost a fortune, and odds are, youll have a great time with your main squeeze no matter what youre doing. Embrace those summer vibes and let the sparks fly, without breaking the bank.

Here are 11 fun summer date ideas for every couple whos broke.

1. Plana backyard campfire and movie night.

Set up a picnic blanket or comfy outdoor chairs, and watchthe sun set together before you turn on your movie. Dont forget the popcorn and smores, too!

2. Savor a romantic potluck picnic in the field.

Lay out at your go-to favorite spot together, or choose a beautiful park or garden neither of you have been to before.

Bae can surprise you with a delightful main course, and you can whip up something delicious for dessert. Chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne, anyone?

3. Have an at-home dinner date.

Whether youre whipping up a couple of yummy pizzas, or putting together some sushi rolls, the best part is that youre working together to create something awesome (and delicious).

4. Hit up a free local music or art festival.


Soak up the exquisite art, dance to the live music, and let the good times roll.

5. Go on a hike.

If you have dogs at home, feel free to bring the fur babies along with you. Dont forget to pack some snacks and, of course, several pouches of wine to toast when you reach the top.

6. Grab a six-pack and watch the sun set at the beach.

This one never gets old, and its just as romantic every damn time.

7. Go surfing or paddle boarding.

If either you or your honey have a surfboard or paddle board, go to your favorite beach, chill out, and shred up the waves for the day.

8. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or animal shelter.

Youll feel amazing experiencing this together. And, who knows, maybe youll end up adopting a sweet puppy in need of a forever home.

9. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge, and treat yoselves to pizza on the other side.


If youre based in New York City, of course, this is a perfect option. And if you call the West Coast home, bike ride or walk over the Golden Gate Bridge.

10. Plan a scavenger hunt around your city or town.

Explore spots youve never been before in your city, and have fun getting lost together.

11. Go to a local carnival.

Revert back to your childhood, indulge in some cotton candy, and hit up the ferris wheel. Real talk: We all low-key still love the carnival.


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New Budget Travel Guides and Book Updates!

guy on a mountain
Back in September, I announced the release of a series of travel guides, beginning with five cities around the world. They were handy resources for travelers that got to the point, included off the beaten path destinations, and directed people to more local restaurants and bars. But like all first editions, there was room for improvement. After getting some feedback and suggestions from readers, I took them offline and, though revised versions have been reuploaded and available since January, I wanted to wait to announce the new editions until a new guide was ready.

Today, I’m officially announcing the (re) launch of the existing guides and the release of a new guide to Hong Kong.

These new editions include updated prices, suggest activities, maps, restaurants, and much more. Here is a breakdown of what you get:

  • Suggested budgets
  • In-depth ways to save money
  • Suggested itineraries
  • Expanded things to do and see (with a focus on budget and off-beat attractions)
  • MORE local places to eat
  • MORE places to sleep
  • Nightlife suggestions
  • Practicalities (business hours, transportation, emergency information, visa guidelines, best times to visit, etc.)
  • A history section
  • Books and movie suggestions for the destination
  • Transportation maps

This may appear to be a list of the essential elements all guidebooks offer, but what makes my guides different is that they are written with the budget traveler in mind. My guides are for those of you who want to break the mold, get off the well-trodden tourist path and experience travel more organically. I’ve included ideas for activities that you might not see in any other publications. These guides are for the people who want adventure on a budget. If you are looking for information on those big hop-on, hop-off again buses, these guides are not for you!

I wanted to create guides that you’ll use from cover to cover, so I’ve tried to keep them brief while still including as much information as possible. Instead of just creating lists of things to do and see, I‘ve also included information on how to see a city – itineraries that maximize time, money-saving tips, and other practical advice that helps you get the most out of your visit. My guides take what you love about this site and supercharge it. Plus, they include my favorite hostels, restaurants, and bars – spots you probably won’t find listed elsewhere!

Here are the guides:

Kindle | PDF Kindle | PDF Kindle | PDF
Kindle | PDF Kindle | PDF nomadic matt's guide to hong kongKindle | PDF

Each guide is $ 6.99.

The new editions of these guides go into further detail than any destination guide on this website, will help you get off the beaten path, and will point you to all the best inexpensive attractions in each city. They feature all the places I love to eat, drink, and visit!

I also plan to launch guides for Thailand, the Virgin Islands, and road tripping the United States around the end of May!

Updates to The Ultimate Guide to Travel Hacking
Besides these new city guides, I’ve relaunched The Ultimate Guide to Travel Hacking. Travel hacking is the art of the collecting points and miles to get (nearly) free travel. By using the airline and hotel loyalty programs against themselves, you can artificially increase your mileage balance without leaving the comfort of your own home. You don’t need to travel a lot to do this.

Travel hacking is about using loopholes, and the thing with loopholes is that they are constantly changing. Tips and advice that worked months ago can become useless in the blink of an eye, which is why I’m announcing the release of the third edition of my book. (If you’ve bought the book already, you should have received a new copy by now because you get updates for life. If you haven’t, email me!)

If you’re interested in getting into travel hacking, now is the perfect time to get the most update to information all in one place.

What’s new with this edition?

  • Updated content
  • More details on how credit cards work, new offers, and what to do if you have poor credit.
  • Updated info on how to manufacture spending (i.e. how to fake spending for points).
  • More and new creative ways to earn multiple miles per dollar spent.
  • Expanded resource section.
  • Step by step instructions for putting the advice into practice.
  • Expanded section on how to redeem points.
  • More tips on using gift cards.

There’s over fifty new pages of content in this guide!

Moreover, there are also TWO NEW levels options to go along with the book, what I like to call business and first class. The goal behind these new offerings is to provide more hands-on and consistently up-to-date information for people who want to more helpful updates with their travel hacking adventure.

In “business class“, you’ll get access to monthly webinars (and all archived webinars) that go into more detail than the book. We’ll have special guest, community Q&A, travel hacking news, and in depth webinars explaining the book!

In “first class“, you get all of that PLUS a private Facebook group to share deals and tips, and two strategy session phone calls with me. On the phone, we’ll map out a strategy for you and follow up to ensure you are sticking to it and get the free travel you deserve!

If you are interested in learning how to travel hack or want to take your travel hacking to the next level, you can click here to order the book.

I’m constantly working to try to improve the services and products offered on this website to help everyone learn the dark arts of being a travel ninja so travel becomes more accessible and easier to achieve…..and I think these updates help get you closer to becoming a master traveler.

P.S. – If you bought a previous edition of any of these books, you should have received an updated copy already. If you haven’t, please email me at and I’ll send you a copy. Everyone gets free updates for life when you buy one of my books!

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Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site

17 Tech Related Travel Questions and Answers!

On the first Tuesday of each month, Dave Dean from Too Many Adapters gives us great tips and advice on travel tech and gear. In this month’s column he answers all your tech related questions.

I get asked a lot about travel technology every day, especially since I started writing on this website. So this month, rather than devoting an article to a single topic, I decided to answer many of your travel tech questions. We cover a wide range of topics – gear, security, apps, staying connected and many more. Without further ado, here are your questions and best answers!

Is a laptop or a tablet preferable when blogging/working from the road?
For working/blogging travelers, I don’t recommend a tablet – go for a laptop or a hybrid device instead. While it’s possible to work using just a tablet and a few accessories, it’s frustrating – apps are more limited, as are processor speeds and storage. Typing is slower than on a real keyboard, and even copying files and printing documents is more frustrating.

Given you can pick up a good laptop or hybrid that weighs 2-3lbs for under $ 1000, the time and hassle you’ll save is worth the extra few hundred bucks. I don’t suggest a Chromebook for working from the road, however – even the better ones suffer from app limitations similar to tablets, need a decent Internet connection to be truly useful, and have little built-in storage. My current recommendations for laptops and hybrids are here.

If you could only buy just a couple pieces of gear, what would you buy?
You can do it all with a decent smartphone. Recent iPhones and higher-end Android phones are pretty good for both video and stills as long as you’ve got enough storage. Internet access isn’t a problem, especially if the phone is unlocked. As phone screens get bigger, reading ebooks on them is fine unless you’re in direct sunlight. Journalling will be a bit painful if you’re typing lots of text, but if you find that’s a major problem once you’re on the road, you can always pick up a little Bluetooth keyboard.

Since you’ll be using your phone for everything, I’d suggest adding a portable battery as well – something like the Mazzo Powerdrive if you also want extra storage space, otherwise anything with a capacity of around 8000mAh or more is fine.

What suggestions do you have for protecting your information while using Wi-Fi at hostels, cafes, etc? 
You should absolutely be using a VPN and anti-virus software. I have AVG Free on my laptop, phone and tablet. As far as VPN goes, I’ve used Witopia for a few years now and been happy with it. Tunnelbear is another good option that includes a basic free plan. If you travel with multiple devices, just make sure that whatever VPN you use will work on all of them (ideally, simultaneously). Here’s much more on data security for travellers.

What are your top 5 travelling apps that really help you save time and money?
Top five… hmm, that’s tough! Let’s go with Tripit (accommodation and transport bookings all in one place), Here Maps (the best offline maps software I’ve found), Triposo (free, detailed travel guides), Google Translate (translates text, voice and photos) and XE Currency (know the exchange rate when negotiating prices). Even better, they all work partially or completely while offline.

What’s one gadget you can’t leave home without?
As boring as it sounds, it has to be my smartphone (a Nexus 5). I’ll use at least the camera and a navigation app every day on the road, and it’s become an indispensable travel aid for me. Of course, that doesn’t mean I never turn it off.

What two-factor authentication methods you use on your accounts (email, banking, other) while you travel?
I use Google Authenticator on my phone whenever I can – it doesn’t need to be connected to the Internet to work, and gives me two-factor authentication for things like Facebook, Dropbox, Gmail and more.

My banking situation was a problem until recently – my main bank is in Australia, and would only accept an Australian mobile number to send SMS codes to. I needed to keep a prepaid Australian SIM with a little credit on it just for that purpose, and swap it out every time I needed to transfer money online. I switched to a different Australian bank recently, and it lets me use an international number – so I now use a (US-based) Google Voice number and receive SMS codes through the Hangouts app on my phone or laptop instead. Much better!

I plan on trying (TRYING) to use Amazon Prime image storage when I’m traveling internationally. Is there a better service for this? Is there a way to get a better, more reliable connection?
If you’re already a Prime member, its unlimited photo storage system is as good as any other cloud service. Since Internet connections are often unavailable or very slow, I always recommend having a local backup option as well (portable hard drive, high-capacity USB stick or similar). Other than the WiFi optimisation tips I mentioned above, there isn’t much more you can really do to improve the upload speeds unless you reduce the photo sizes first, which you may not want to do.

I currently have an iPhone – should I be looking at another brand? What would you recommend?
If you’re happy with the iPhone you have, there’s no need to change it. If not, take a look at my smartphone recommendations page – there are options for various budgets there. The Motorola Moto G, for example, is a good choice and costs under $ 200 unlocked.

Is there a universal/inexpensive Mi-Fi that will work wherever I travel to?
If you’re looking for one with an inexpensive international data plan, not really. You might be able to put something together with a Mi-Fi hotspot, and a SIM and plan from T-Mobile in the US or Three in the UK, but to be honest I’d probably just buy local data SIM cards in each country and use them in an unlocked hotspot like this. You’ll get faster speeds and larger data caps for less money.

Are there certain hotel chains that have better Wi-Fi than others?
Not really – it’s pretty variable, even in hotels belonging to the same chain.

When uploading images to the cloud, is there something I should be doing (VPN, encryption)?
It depends on the software and service you’re using to do it, and how much you trust it. I use Crashplan for both local and cloud backups, and as the data is encrypted before leaving my laptop, I don’t bother using a VPN or additional encryption.

Do you travel with a laptop locking cable? Is there a smarter way to lock down my laptop when traveling, like better, more secure locking software?
I don’t use a locking cable – I just lock my laptop in my bag when I’m leaving it behind, and sit with my back to a wall and as far from the door as possible when I’m working in cafes. A strong password and full-disk encryption is the best way to protect the data on your laptop if it does get stolen, along with automatic backups and good travel insurance.

Is there software out there that duplicates your computer 100%? I will be traveling with a Macbook.
I don’t use a Mac, but it looks like Super Duper does what you’re after. I’d suggest using it alongside a standard Time Machine backup.

What do you use to charge your laptop while flying?
I don’t. If there isn’t power available onboard, I turn the brightness down, keep it in flight mode and work until the battery runs out. There are portable batteries that can charge a laptop, but they’re heavy and quite expensive, so I haven’t bothered with them.

Is there a way to split an Ethernet connection (network cable) in the room to two Ethernet connections, in case there isn’t any Wi-Fi?
There is, but I’d probably approach the problem differently. Both Windows and MacOS let you share an Ethernet connection over Wi-Fi – they create their own wireless network that you connect your other devices to, and all Internet traffic goes over the network cable.

Do you have a Skype phone number? Or are you using Google Voice, or do you just use your own phone?
I don’t have a Skype phone number, although I’ve considered it a few times. I use a Google Voice number for banking (see above) and to receive occasional calls from the US. Since I usually buy local SIM cards, I also give out my local number to whoever needs it at the time. Most of the time, though, I just make and receive calls through the Skype desktop or mobile app.

Do you change out the SIM card of your phone or just buy a local phone?
I always buy unlocked smartphones, and swap out the SIM cards when I’m going to be in a new country longer than a week.

If you have any other questions, I’ll be happy to answer them in the comments.

Dave runs Too Many Adapters, a site devoted to technology for travellers. A geek as long as he can remember, he worked in IT for fifteen years. Now based out of a backpack long term, Dave writes about travel and tech from anywhere with half-decent Internet and a great view. You can also find him talking about the life of a long-term traveller at What’s Dave Doing?

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