What All the Recent Changes in Frequent Flier Programs Mean for Travelers

Many of you may have noticed the many changes to frequent flier programs lately. Delta has completely revamped their program to be revenue-based instead of distance based, United has devalued their reward chart and added a revenue requirement, Air Canada devalued their rewards last year (twice), and American Airlines has made a number of unannounced changes to their program, including adding two new reward tiers. The North American frequent flier market isn’t looking so good. Across the world, frequent flier […]

How to Find a Cheap Hotel Room: Sites to Use and Sites to Avoid

As much as I love hostels and other forms of cheap accommodation, there is something nice about the luxuriousness of hotels. They are clean and quiet, feature comfy beds, strong showers, and lots of soap I can take for later. But luxury comes at a price. Hotels certainly aren’t cheap and I hate spending a lot of money for a room I am only going to be in for a few hours. It’s why I mostly avoid hotels – I […]

The Evolution of a Long Term Traveler

There are downsides to long-term travel: the five-hour friends, the quick relationships, the solitude that leads to loneliness. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns. But then nothing ever is. Despite those occasional downsides, I think long-term solo travel is something people should try at least once in their life. Even if you don’t like it, try it—it will teach you a lot about yourself. It’s made me a far better and more awesome person, and I’ll go to the grave […]

Why There is No Right Answer

In travel, everything depends on your individual needs and desires. What travel credit card should you sign up for? Depends on your goals. Should you buy a rail pass? Depends on how you travel. Backpack or carry on? Maybe. There is no “right” answer in travel. Beginner travelers always seem to be looking for the right answer. Should they do X or Y? What’s the solution to their problem? My answer is always “it depends,” because there are no universal […]

Reader Stories: How DJ Made All His Dreams Come True

In our last reader story, I highlighted the story of Vikram and Ishwinder, an Indian couple who navigated a complex visa system in order to travel the world. Indians face a lot of restrictions on where they can visit and, for most countries in the world, face an extensive visa process. So do Filipinos. It took a Filipino friend in Bangkok four years to obtain an EU Shengen Visa, despite having a good job, a fiancé, and lots of roots. […]

How I Finally Came to Terms with the Homebody Inside Me

After a few exhausting months on the road, I’m finally back in New York City. I’ve spent the last three months on the move, leading tours, attending conferences, and giving talks. It was draining, and I’m happy to finally be back home with no plans other than to enjoy spring’s return to the city. A few weeks ago, while checking my email somewhere over America (I love in-flight Wi-Fi), I opened a question about my article, “Home: The Death of […]

Ko Lanta: The Thai Island That Remains Paradise

It all started with two French girls. It was 2006, and I was five months into my first round-the-world trip. I’d arrived in Thailand two weeks before, run into a friend, and jetted off to Ko Phi Phi, a place I didn’t enjoy. Another friend emailed me about a beautiful, out of the way, hidden island near the Malaysian border called Ko Lipe and suggested I come. It sounded perfect. “I’ll be right there,” I replied. But then I ran […]

Launching Nomadic Matt’s Community Forums (and a Blogging School!)

Today is a big day for this site and the start of many changes and improvements. After spending the winter on the road, I’m back in New York City with no trips planned until mid-May. I plan to rest, take advantage of spring, explore this amazing city, and start tweaking and improving this website. I have a lot of ideas and projects in my head, some of which will require your help! You’ll be hearing about them in the next […]

How to Play, Feed, Bathe, and Protect the Elephants in Thailand

Elephants have long been important in Thailand, where they are a symbol of religion, history, royalty, and power. According to Buddhist legend, Queen Maya of Sakya, Lord Buddha’s mother, dreamed that a divine Bodhisattva on a white elephant touched her side. She later became pregnant, and since then, elephants have had a strong connection to divinity and royalty in Buddhism. As Thailand is a Buddhist society, elephants are held in high esteem (the old kings of Thailand rode around on […]

See Something Different and Visit the Stone Carving Hermit of Nicaragua

Nicaragua is a place that attracts visitors with its surf, beaches, hiking, volcanos, and delicious food. You’ll never be short of something to do. But if you’re looking for something different and personable, travel north to Esteli and search out Alberto Guiterrez, the town’s stone-carving hermit. He’s not easy to get to but he’s worth the trek. I got lucky. A friend of mine connected me with a local named Rodney McDonald, who runs a great program teaching communities about […]