Archive for February, 2013

8 of the World’s Most Romantic Cities — Part 2

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

Valentine’s Day may be over, but romance is still in the air.  In last week’s Hot Topic installment of the World’s Most Romantic Cities, we fell in love with Carcassonne, France, Havana Cuba, Fez, Morocco and Buenos Aires, Argentina.  With help from our romance tour guide and TripHackr travel blogger, Clint Johnston, we’re wrapping up our list of eight ideal cities for sweeping sweeties of their feet — That’s Amore!

Dubrovnic, Croatia

Dubrovnic, Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia

It is easy to see why they call it the “pearl of the Adriatic.” Dubrovnik boasts beautiful architecture, museums, fountains, and monasteries. The medieval fortifications will bring out your inner romance. Enjoy the beautiful beaches of the Dalmatian Coast or explore the old cobblestone streets. This city is one you will want to return to for many years to come.

Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, Japan

Imperial gardens, temples, and shrines are the hidden gems of this urban city. What was once the imperial capital of Japan is now a rich cultural epicenter. Enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms, when they are in season, and sip sake as you explore the alluring city of Kyoto.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Often considered one of the sexiest cities in the world, there is plenty of room for romance. Rio has wonderful weather year-round so even the off-season is a wonderful time to visit. Head there around Valentines Day and experience Carnival! You can’t have a bad time in Rio with the beautiful beaches, vibrant city, and friendly people.

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

I don’t care how cliché it might sound but nothing beats a gondola ride through the canals of Venice when you are in love. Gliding through the canals while your gondolier is singing to you is too great to pass up. The historic city offers great food and the prefect backdrop for romance. It has always been a favorite city of mine.

Clint Johnston is author of the travel blog, Travelhackr.com. He offers Travel Hacking for the Non-Travel Hacker -Travel tech, destinations, and photography. He’s travel hacking 50 countries and counting.

8 of the World’s Most Romantic Cities — Part 1

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

Love can be found anywhere in the world, but there are some cities that can bring out the romance in you no matter what type of traveler you are.  According to our friend, Clint Johnston, aka popular blogger, TripHackr, there are eight high-octane romance destinations that will melt even the mightiest of manly men.  Ladies, you may want to take notes, as a trip to any one of these destinations may finally bring lover boy to his knees.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Clint Johnston, TripHackrIt’s ok to admit that special moment wouldn’t be the same without your significant other enjoying it with you.  Sharing experiences is what makes traveling so amazing, so why not enjoy a new city with someone you love?

These are some of my favorites cities along with some lesser-known romantic places around the world.

Carcassonne, France

Located within the Languedoc-Roussillon of Southern France, you will find the fortified French city of Carcassonne. Explore the medieval city on foot by day and enjoy cassoulet within the castle walls for dinner. Carcassonne should be on every romantic’s list.

Havana, Cuba

Havana is not an easy city for Americans to visit, but if you are fortunate enough to make the trip you won’t be

Havanna

Havana, Cuba

disappointed. The Old Havana charm and decaying architecture will make you fall in love immediately. Sip mojitos in the bars Hemingway made famous and dance the night away as you learn to salsa while the Havana night passes you by.

Fez, Morocco

Another ancient fortress, Fez will have you getting lost in the maze-like streets and taking in the architecture of the medina. Stop for a cup of tea, tour the tanneries, and simply let the sites and smells overwhelm your senses. Fez might not seem like a romantic city at first glance, but you will love this old city once you get lost in it.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires combines old and new as it takes you on an incredible journey of food, wine, and tango. Explore the markets or San Telmo, dance the night away in Palermo, and learn to tango. Watching an old couple tango in the cobblestoned streets will make you want to follow their lead. The city is perfect for couples that love to eat, drink, and dance the night away.

My Favorite Romantic Travel Moment

I have cruised down the canals of Venice, kissed under the Eiffel Tower, tried to tango in Buenos Aires, and honeymooned in Africa, but none of them compare to my favorite romantic travel moment. I once took the red eye to London to surprise my girlfriend (now wife) on Valentine’s Day. I arrived with no sleep and flowers in my hand and it was an amazing Valentine’s Day. London may not be the most romantic city in the world, but it doesn’t matter where you are when you are with the one you love. Come back next week for Part 2 of the World’s Most Romantic Cities.  To read more about my travel adventures check out triphackr.com.

 

 

 

 

One-on-One with budget travel expert, blogger, and author, Matt Kepnes –“Nomadic Matt”

In this month’s One-on-One blog, ExpertFlyer talks with popular blogger and travel expert, Matt Kepnes, also know as “Nomadic Matt.”

Traveling the world since 2004 with little more than a backpack, Matt’s adventures, travel wisdom, and aspirational lifestyle have been catalogued by him on his popular website, NomadicMatt.com.  With more than 200,000 site visitors per month and nearly 45,000 Twitter followers, Matt has succeeded in his goal to help the “average Joe” travel better, cheaper and longer.  His new book, “How to Travel the World for $50 a Day” is a testament to Matt’s inspiring and comprehensive advice that only an experienced wanderer could know.

Matt Kepnes, Nomadic Mike“I’m here to push you, motivate you, show you how to travel and how to do it without needing to win the lottery.  Travel doesn’t have to be expensive nor does taking a long-term trip have to uproot your entire existence.”

— Matt Kepnes, budget travel expert, blogger and author of “How to Travel the World for $50 a Day”

After more than six years, your blog, Nomadic Matt, continues to receive high praise from the media and travel enthusiasts.  Now that you’ve announced that your days of traveling solo are over and you’ve given up your nomadic life for an apartment in Manhattan, what does the future hold for Nomadic Matt?

Travel will always be a part of my life. I love it too much and have a hard time sitting still. And since I’m cheap and like to get value for my money, I’ll always continue to travel on a budget. But instead of constantly being on the road, I’m going to have a home base. I’m going to take shorter trips using NYC as my hub. After close to 7 years of being on the road, I’m ready for a routine and the new adventures that will come from being in one place for longer than a week.

Tell us about your newly released book, “How to Travel the World for $50 a Day,” and where it will lead you next?

This book is the culmination of my knowledge and is my guide for people planning a long term trip or how to travel to that dream destination without breaking the bank. It contains a step by step guide on how to plan your trip, general money-saving advice, and in-depth destination guides based on my own travels about how to make even the most expensive places more affordable.

Now that the book is out, I hope to begin running some of my own tours later in the year.

Can you give our readers a few nuggets of the proven worldly advice that’s in your book so they can travel better, cheaper and longer?

For starters, I think that it’s important that travelers remain flexible. The difference of a day can mean hundreds of dollars in savings. If you are adamant about going to X place on Y days, you’ll never save any money because you won’t be able to catch deals. Other than that I think it’s important that travelers use airline branded credit cards to get free miles for flights and avoid major hotels and stay in apartment rentals, homestays, or small guesthouses to save money (Trip Advisor is great for finding these places). Never eat anywhere near the main attractions as prices will be a lot higher, use the tap water when you can (water bottles add up!), and get rail passes to reduce the cost of train travel!

About a year ago, you wrote a post advising folks that they shouldn’t be loyal to their frequent flier program.  What’s the best practice now – is there a way to be smarter about leveraging frequent flier programs more effectively?

For the casual price conscience traveler, I think being loyal isn’t worth it. If you aren’t flying enough to get status and the benefits that come with it, travel on whatever airline is cheapest and save money. If you really want some modicum of special treatment, you can get a branded airline credit card that will give you free checked bags, priority access and boarding.

If you are traveling at least 25,000 miles per year, which is enough to make the lowest status tier on any airline, it might be beneficial for you to stay loyal to one carrier.

Do you have a best and worst airplane story?

My worst story happened recently. I was flying from New York to the Bahamas when the cabin depressurized, the oxygen masks came down, and we had to make an emergency landing. For a good 10-15 minutes, I thought I might die. It really gives you perspective on how helpless you really are up there.

My best trip was first class on British Airlines from LHR to JFK. That was an amazing flight. It was just after they upgraded their cabins too so it had that “new plane smell” to it.

You seem to favor the Far East as a nomadic traveler.  Any particular reason?

It’s cheap, it’s warm, the people are friendly, the food is wonderful, and there are lots of other people traveling there, so it’s easy to find travel friends and meet people from around the world. It’s really the budget traveler’s dream region.

Was there ever a time when you were concerned that you would run out of money or not be able to get to your next destination – how did you manage?

No, I always travel with more than I need. When I first started traveling, I decided I wanted to extend my trip so I taught English in Thailand for a while. If you are worried about making money overseas, don’t be, there are plenty of ways to work abroad for money.

How do you decide when and where to travel?

There’s no rhyme or reason to how I pick destinations. I’m basically throwing darts on a map. I basically go where I haven’t been and do regions of the world at a time when I feel I can get the most out of where I’m going.  I’ll try to do the Caribbean or South America or Asia in one trip instead of just flying back and forth a lot.

Is there still a place that exists that you want to visit — Where does someone like Nomadic Matt go on their honeymoon?

I’d love to go to either the Maldives or the Seychelles for my honeymoon. I’m a beach guy.