How to not be a Jerk when Traveling in Poor Countries

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Or; Nomadic Matt Needs to Check his Privilege Have you ever witnessed a tourist haggling vigorously with a local over what amounts to a few bucks – or worse, five cents? I’ve seen this. Literally – five cents. If you’ve traveled in poor countries, I’ll bet you have, too. Haggling becomes a game for tourists, [...]

Travel Recommendation Engine: A Quiz!

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Sometimes you know that you gotta get out of here, but you don’t really know where to travel to. What is the best country, really? That is when you want to sit down your well-traveled friends and ask them which place is the best. The problem with your well-traveled friends (or at least with us) [...]

Travel Hygiene for Cleanish Vagrants

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Travel hygiene isn’t really something we like to think about, because it’s sometimes better not to remember how gross you get while backpacking. But you can’t make friends if you smell like a horse, as we learned through many sad, sad experiences. Fortunately, unlike backpackers of the olden times, you don’t have to spend two [...]

Shit Tourists Say

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After you’ve been in a foreign country for long enough, hearing English is a bit jarring. Even in large crowds, the English voices seem to stand out, and it’s hard not to overhear. Sometimes, a shared language is a great starting point to make friends with a fellow traveler, and if you overhear them sounding [...]

To Avoid Parasites; or: Parasites I Have Met

Speaking of parasites, the locals didn't just swim in this river, most of them also drank from it, too.

I am pretty safe and pretty careful while traveling, but somehow I can’t seem to avoid parasites. I’m a woman traveling alone, so I never walk by myself at night, I avoid creepy strangers, and I never travel without telling someone my whereabouts. Being careful is enough to avoid the big dangers. I just wish [...]

Helping and Being Helped by Strangers

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Yesterday I met a very sad looking young street kid. He wasn’t asking for money, he was asking for advice. He was in San Francisco for a criminal trial, and looking at 2-4 years in prison. To make matters worse, he is from Montreal and doesn’t know a thing about American law. His crime? “Oh, [...]

Skills I Learned on the Road

I couldn't bear to kill this spider after he played me a song on my ukulele.

Here’s one for all the people who see travel as a whimsically self-indulgent waste of time; send it to your conservative grandparents and your boyfriend’s snobby cousins. Sure, sometimes travel can make people do irresponsible things they wouldn’t dream of doing in their home countries (sorry for riding on the roof of a Nepali bus, [...]

When to Hire a Guide

The Hagia Sophia

Sometimes it may be worthwhile for you to hire a guide. Tours get a bad rep, and it’s partially deserved. What could possibly be less cool than walking around a foreign city with a bunch of people from your home country, all snapping photos, speaking your mother tongue, carrying multiple maps and multiple cameras, and [...]

Wandering Poor

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  Travel is expensive. People who tell you otherwise are probably lying. How frustrating is it to hear from budget travelers who brag about slumming it, then mention their $10,000 savings account or how their around-the-world trip was really a gift from their parents? We promise to never do that to you. The authors of [...]

Writing a Perfect Couchrequest

Or, if sleeping on couches is to boring for you, you could take a couch for a road-trip. [credit]

Everyone on Couchsurfing.org has their method. That perfect way of asking for a couch that results in the maximum number of yeses. This is my method, one that I have developed over many hundreds of rejections. Sometimes you only have a half hour at a rented computer to send as many requests as humanly possible. [...]