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Thavorn Palm Signature, Thavorn Palm Beach Resort Phuket

Thavorn Palm Signature, Thavorn Palm Beach Resort Phuket

Stay with us 5 Nights include A signature island hopping tour to “Mai Thon” Islands [LIMITED], Romantic Beachfront Sunset Dinner (2 persons), Roundtrip Airport Transfer etc.

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Fundraising Websites – Crowdrise

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Take FLYTE: How You Can Help Students Get a Better Education and Travel More

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help students travel overseas with FLYTE
Travel is a powerful agent for change. It broadens our horizons and helps us find our purpose.

Think about the first time you traveled overseas. Remember those feelings of freedom, possibility, and excitement you had? Remember what got you hooked and made you say “I need to do more of this!”?

Think about how travel has been a positive influence on your life and how it’s connected you to people and communities that you never thought you would get to know.

Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to travel — especially young students. Not everyone has parents to take them on round-the-world adventures or send them to study abroad. Most schools don’t have the resources to maintain their art and gym classes, let alone send students on trips outside their community.

For kids, travel can be even more life-changing than for adults, because it exposes them to different ideas, cultures, and people at a crucial developmental time in their life.

Haven’t you ever seen young people while traveling and caught yourself thinking about how lucky they are? I know I have, on multiple occasions. How often do you see families on the road and think about how much that kid is getting out of that trip? How many times do you wish you could help get more kids traveling?

During my travels, I’ve encountered quite a few kids, and I’m astounded at how grounded, positive, culturally sensitive, and open-minded they are. It makes me wonder what the world would look like if more kids traveled.

My thoughts often turn to all the kids who don’t have that chance. They don’t have the opportunity to visit foreign countries, discover who they are in a global context, and bring what they’re learning in school to life.

I’ve dedicated the last eight years of my life to the mission of getting people traveling more.

To further that mission, I’m announcing today the establishment of a new foundation that will help send students overseas. It’s called The Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education, or FLYTE.

FLYTE’s mission is to provide the resources and funding to help high schools in underserved U.S. communities send kids overseas. In the beginning, our focus is on students in rural or economically depressed communities. (One day, with enough funding, I would love to provide grants for college students to study abroad… but one step at a time.)

We are doing this to help students become global citizens, bring life to the subjects they learn in school, and expose them to new ideas and cultures.

There are so many negative stereotypes in the world that are perpetuated by a lack of exposure to different cultures and too much exposure to horrific news stories. Travel breaks down those negative stereotypes and alleviates fears. Remember when you visited a “dangerous” or “scary” place that was completely different from what you imagined it to be? Travel forces us to reevaluate stereotypes, and creates a shift in our typical way of thinking.

That’s why I want to do this. That’s why I want to create an organization that promotes education through travel. The two go hand in hand. The more I’ve traveled, the more I’ve learned about the world, myself, and how interconnected we all are.

Growing up, my family didn’t travel much. We went to see my grandmother in Florida, but never went anywhere that required a passport. My suburban high school never took field trips overseas. As a result, I didn’t learn about the power of travel until I was twenty-three, had a job, and planned my first vacation to Costa Rica. That single two-week vacation opened my eyes to the endless possibilities this world has to offer.

Last fall, a woman emailed me to say she was the small-town Southern girl I debated politics with ten years ago on a site called Xanga. She wrote that after finishing her studies, she went traveling and discovered that the world was much more complex and diverse than she had realized. It completely changed her outlook on the world, and now she wants to center her career around volunteer work. The global context she gained while traveling made it easy for her to choose a life that made a difference in communities that need it.

I often think about the kids from an international school in Rome that I met in Greece who were so mature and intelligent that they were recommending operas to me. I couldn’t believe it when they told me they were only 16! Travel makes more well-rounded students!

FLYTE, our new nonprofit, is going to promote student travel in the United States by providing logistical support, funding, and advice for teachers looking to provide cultural context to what they are teaching through educational trips overseas. Most schools don’t have the money or expertise to run and organize these trips. Lots of students and their families don’t have the resources either. That’s the gap FLYTE is going to fill.

FLYTE will provide logistical support, funding, and advice for teachers looking to provide cultural context to what they are teaching. We are looking to help the history teacher who wants to show his students the D-Day beaches of France, the Spanish teacher who wants to immerse her students in Spanish culture, or the biology teacher who wants her students to learn about sustainability in the jungles of Costa Rica.

If you’ve ever wondered how you can help others travel more, this is your chance. You can help create a new generation of travelers.

Our goal is to raise $250,000 over the next few weeks to launch the foundation and coordinate five student trips in our first year (and the more funding we get, the more trips we can run).

Today, I am asking you to help us change the lives of students all around the country. We already know the power of exploring the world and how important it is in shaping people’s lives. We’ve seen it in our own lives.

So let’s share that power with those who don’t have the means to take such a journey on their own. Let’s set them on a path of learning and cultural exploration. If you’ve ever thought about how people don’t travel enough and how kids need to be exposed to more ideas, this is a way for you to make a difference. This is a way for you to create educated, well-traveled individuals, especially here in the U.S. (where international travel is not necessarily a priority or often seen as a possibility).

For donations as little as $10 (less than the cost of a meal at Chipotle), you can help students have a life-changing and educational experience.

Even better, your donation will get you access to updates about the student expeditions, their progress, and foundation events, as well as messages from the teachers and students about their travels. Supporters will have more and exclusive access to the latest details on how they are helping change the lives of the next generation.

Plus, if you want to donate more, I’ve included some goodies as incentives for higher donations:

$25 — My two travel e-books (How to Teach English Overseas, the Ultimate Guide to Travel Hacking), and the electronic city guides to NYC, Paris, Bangkok, Amsterdam, Stockholm, and Hong Kong. (Value: $91)

$50 — All of the above PLUS a signed copy of my print book, How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, a FLTYE t-shirt, and one with the saying “Keep Calm and Travel On.”

$100 — All of the above PLUS 30 minutes of travel planning with me, a FLYTE bumper sticker, and a personal thank-you message from the class that your donation helps send overseas.

$500 — All of the above PLUS an hour total of travel planning with me, a souvenir from the students’ trip, and a backpack from REI for your own!

$1,000 — All of the above PLUS a free flight to anywhere in your region of the world and three extra copies of my print book.

$2,000 — All of the above (except the free flight) PLUS I will fly you to NYC for two nights, put you up in an Airbnb, and take you to lunch, and you’ll be listed as a premium donor on FLYTE’s website and be invited to special donor events (U.S. residents only.)


(These higher award packages will be available to those who donate before August 8th! Merchandise and other goodies will be delivered by mid-September!)

This is an exciting new endeavor and a great way for the travel community to give back and make a positive impact on the world. I know this is a big thing to ask, and I’ll be honest — I’ve never run a charity before (luckily, my executive director has), but I’m asking you to trust me on this investment. I already have a board of directors that includes a lawyer, school administrator, and a travel PR professional. Moreover, I already have two partner companies lined up, Context Travel and, who have committed to providing tours for the students! (Special thanks to them for believing in this project from the outset!) Travel shows kids the vast opportunities and possibilities in the world. It exposes them to people, places, and ideas they can’t experience at home. With your help, we can help promote travel and education across the country, have a positive impact on the lives of kids, and pass the importance of a global perspective on to the next generation!


P.S. – Right now, we are waiting for our 501(c)3 status, which means that your donations are not currently tax deductible — but stay tuned, and I’ll let you know when this changes.

P.P.S. – Are you a teacher in a rural or inner-city school that would like to apply to participate in this program? Please email us at and let’s talk!

P.P.P.S. – For those looking for more, visit the FAQ page of FLYTE for information about how we’re choosing schools and for more of the nitty-gritty about the program.

The post Take FLYTE: How You Can Help Students Get a Better Education and Travel More appeared first on Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site.

Take FLYTE: How You Can Help Students Get a Better Education and Travel More

If you need a bangkok airport transfer
look no further offers the most reliable, competitive deals (all rates are inclusive of tolls).

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Bangkok Airport Hotel 3 of the most popular Bangkok Airport Hotels – great deals, all hotels within 10 minutes of the airport terminal, 24 hour reception and transfer service – instant confirmation and secure payment.

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How to Shoot the Perfect Travel Photograph

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­Today, professional photographer Laurence Norah of Finding the Universe, continues his five part series on taking better travel photos. Photographs are important for the memories they represent. You look at a picture and it conjures up thoughts, feelings, and smells that take you back to a long forgotten place so Laurence is here to help us take better pictures! Part two of the series is on how to get the perfect shot.

In my first post in this series, I talked about the key compositional rules that you can use to create better travel photos. If you’re new to this series, I recommend you start there.

Today I’ll be covering how to deal with challenging light and some introducing some advanced ideas for controlling your composition, including being selective with your focus and making objects seem closer together than they are.

Then I’m going to get into specific tips for common travel scenes to get you taking better photos faster.

I’ll begin, though, by talking about the most crucial element of photography — the light. Here’s a shot from where I grew up and first got into photography, the Seychelles Islands, taken at one of my favorite times of day for shooting — sunset!

Stunning travel photo of a boat in the sunset

When to shoot

The middle of a sunny day might seem perfect for photography. In truth, it’s the worst time to take pictures — the light is harsh, shadows are challenging, and your photos will not do your subjects justice.

The best times to shoot are closer to sunrise and sunset, when the light is soft and warm. These times are known as “the golden hour”.

Dealing with bad light

You can’t be everywhere at the right time for the perfect light, especially when traveling. Here’s how to get the best shot from a bad lighting situation.

Be aware of the sun. This is the most important tip of the lot. Ideally you want the sun behind you. If you can, position yourself so you are between the sun and your subject, as I did in this shot from my journey around New Zealand:

beautiful travel photograph of a snow capped mountain in New Zealand

Be creative. That harsh light can be used to your advantage. Try shooting into the sun to create silhouettes, or use a high aperture to create a starburst effect, like in this Napa Valley balloon photo:

Dazzling picture of hot air balloons in Napa Valley, CA

Use the weather. When the sun is behind clouds, the light is diffused. Clouds also add interest and scale to otherwise plain, boring skies, as in this shot of the Painted Desert in Australia:

Using weather to a photographers advantage when taking a pic of the mountains and sky Painted Desert

Seek shade. If you’re taking pictures of people, find somewhere shady. Here the light will be more even, with fewer harsh shadows on faces, such as in this shot in the middle of the day in Sri Lanka:

Remote worker working on a laptop traveling to a beach location

Getting Creative with Depth of Field and Compression

Now I want to share with you two concepts that will let you shoot more creatively.

Depth of Field

Depth of field is all about controlling which parts of the shot are in focus. Check out this shot of a monkey:

Cute monkey photographed while traveling

As you can see, only the monkey is in focus. This is known as a “shallow” depth of field and is used to isolate subjects and make the shot about them.

A wide depth of field is for shooting landscapes and scenery. Here’s a shot from New Zealand where I used a wide depth of field to get much more of the scene in focus:

Stunning travel photo of a mountain range in New Zealand

To manipulate depth of field on your camera you need to change the aperture — check your manual for how to do that. Typically it will be marked as “Av” or “A” on your mode dial.

Some smartphones allow you to manually set your aperture, either through the built-in camera app, or by downloading an advanced app from your device’s app store.

A wide-open aperture (f/4 and lower) produces a shallower depth of field (less of the shot will be in focus), and a smaller aperture (f/8 and higher) puts more of the scene in focus.

There are plenty of tutorials on the Internet about depth of field; take a look here for a more detailed explanation, and here for a depth of field simulator to get more of a handle on what it is.

Tricking your viewer: Perspective and compression

You’ve probably used a camera with a zoom, letting you get closer to faraway objects.

A zoom lens can also be used to trick your viewer into thinking objects are closer to each other than they are. This is known as compression. Here’s an example, using a Coke bottle as the subject:

Triple photo of a coke light using the zoom lens

These three photos show the same Coke bottle in the same spot. The difference between the shots is where I stood, and how far I zoomed in. On the left hand shot I stood close to the Coke bottle and zoomed out, and then I moved further away and zoomed in.

By the far right image, it seems the Coke bottle is almost next to the houses in the background.

Compression can be used to bring your subject closer to the background, such as in the shot below of a friend against a huge setting sun. Zoom out, as with the leftmost Coke bottle above, and you can isolate your subject from a distracting background.

Woman walking in the sunset on vacation

Shooting for different scenes

When traveling, we often find ourselves in similar locations. Here’s a guide to getting better shots in common travel scenes.

Street scenes

Street photography is about capturing moments — immersing yourself in environments and finding interesting stories.

Patience and politeness are key to successful street shots involving people — not everyone wants to have their photograph taken, and it may be illegal to do so without explicit permission.If no one wants their photo taken, try wider crowd shots, or focus in on market goods — colorful spice piles or unusual-looking goods are always interesting subjects. Alternatively, shoot the streets themselves. Doorways or intriguing architecture are a nice starting point — take this street in Bologna, Italy, for example:

Stunning travel photo of gorgeous street in Bologna, Italy

As for the settings, use a wider depth of field (smaller aperture) for general street scenes.


If you’re looking for portraits, your best bet is to make friends with people. Learn about them and their stories, then ask for that permission.

I prefer taking pictures of people I know, as I generally don’t have to worry about permission problems.

My favorite style of people photos is “candid,” unposed shots. This is the best way, in my opinion, of capturing the personality of people.

Candid travel picture of two people hugging at a party

The key to the art of unobtrusive photography is persistence, patience, and keeping your eyes open to the photographic possibilities around you. Anticipating the moments that might be about to happen is key.

I’d advise a shallow depth of field (wide aperture) and fast shutter speeds for portraits and action shots of people.


Beaches are one of my favorite spots to shoot sunsets — nothing quite beats the sun setting over the sea! The water and the wet sand make for great reflection opportunities.

Think carefully about your composition, and in particular the foreground and mid-ground of your shot, as I talked about in the composition post. Try different angles, and maybe get above your subject to present the beach in the context of its environment, like this shot of Hellfire Beach in Western Australia:

Shot of sunny Hellfire Beach in Western Australia

Outside of sunset, beaches can be very bright environments, so you may need to adjust your exposure to compensate. Most cameras and phones let you shift exposure left or right manually with a button that looks like +/-, or from inside the app.

If you are shooting friends and can’t find shade, consider setting your camera’s flash to “fill” setting to compensate. This uses the flash to light up the shadows caused by the sun, and can make portraits shot into the sun look more pleasing.

Finally, take care of your gear. Fine sand and salt water don’t agree with most camera equipment! Here are some more beach photography tips to get you started.


There are two things that helped my landscape photography improve: a tripod and a polarizing filter (if you’re interested in my photography equipment, here’s a full list of my travel photography gear).

Controlling depth of field is a key part of landscape photography. Unfortunately, as you increase the aperture the shutter speed becomes slower — to the point where your hand movement can result in a blurry image. This is why you need a tripod.

Read more about how shutter speed, ISO (light sensitivity setting), and aperture are linked in this article on the exposure triangle.

A polarizing filter is fantastic for making blue skies and clouds pop, and for controlling reflections. It also reduces the amount of light entering the camera, so that tripod is even more helpful.

If the above two sound like too much effort, don’t worry. You can improve your landscape photography no end by thinking seriously about your composition. Leading lines, the rule of thirds, and finding a sense of scale by putting subjects in your foreground or mid-ground are key.

Captivating photograph of a stone wall door and mountain range in rainy Europe

Low light

So often we’re out with friends at night and want to capture those moments together, but we can’t seem to get anything other than a blurry mess.

This is because most cameras aren’t great when working with the amount of light that’s available at night —they use slow shutter speeds that turn movement into blurs.

More expensive equipment can make a real difference for low-light photography. All is not lost if your pockets aren’t deep enough, though. First, you can increase the ISO setting on your camera. While this will reduce the quality of your shots, they will look better than blurry photos.

Another idea is to find something to rest your camera on. If you don’t have a tripod, try and find an alternative — anything that is stationary and not prone to shake like your hand does. Then, use your camera’s timer function to take the shot. If you’re taking pictures of people, get them to stand as still as possible!

Romantic photo of a nighttime street and canal in Europe


For better action photos, you have two options. One is to use a fast shutter speed to “freeze” the action — such as a shot of a hummingbird in flight, or a surfer on a wave.

The other option is show the motion by using a longer shutter speed — the resulting blur will convey a sense of action to your viewer.

In this shot of a train, I manually set the shutter speed to 1/30th of a second, slow enough that the trees at the edge of the shot would seem to be rushing past as I leaned out of the window, yet fast enough that the train itself would remain sharp, even handheld. I think this worked pretty well!

Photo from a fast train passing by a lush landscape


Waterfalls are a fantastic photography subject. My favorite way to shoot them is with a slow shutter speed, creating a soft and fluffy effect. Shutter speeds of 1/15th of a second and slower give the best results — you’ll need to use a tripod or rest your camera on something to avoid blur from your hand movement.

Another good way to shoot waterfalls is from far away using a long lens, using compression to create a sense of drama around your subject. Or, go the other way, and shoot super-wide, taking in the full glory of the scene.

Finally, don’t forget to use the light. All that flowing water can cause beautiful rainbows, as seen in this shot of Vernal Falls in Yosemite:

Breathtaking photo of the Vernal Falls and a rainbow in Yosemite Nation Park, USA


I believe that taking better photos is a combination of three factors — being in the right place at the right time, knowing how your gear works, and knowing how to compose a great shot. Shutter speed and aperture are two key settings in the photographer’s toolbox, and you need to learn how to access and control those modes on your camera. When you do, you will have much greater creative control over your photography.

I’ll be sharing more with you in the coming weeks to help you improve your photography, including picking the right gear for your needs and why post-processing is so important. In the meantime, if you have any questions for me, hit me up the comments below!

Laurence started his journey in June 2009 after quitting the corporate life and looking for a change of scenery. His blog, Finding the Universe, catalogs his experiences and is a wonderful resource for photography advice! You can also find him on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Flickr.

P.S. – If you are a blogger looking to improve your website or someone looking to start one, be sure to check out the blogging course I released two weeks ago! It’s filled with expert interviews, case studies, suggested reading, and ton more goodies!

The post How to Shoot the Perfect Travel Photograph appeared first on Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site.

How to Shoot the Perfect Travel Photograph

If you need a bangkok airport transfer
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Bangkok Airport Hotel 3 of the most popular Bangkok Airport Hotels – great deals, all hotels within 10 minutes of the airport terminal, 24 hour reception and transfer service – instant confirmation and secure payment.

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My 27 Favorite Places to Visit in the US

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From sea to shining sea, the United States is home to a diverse landscape — both culturally and physically. Spending months traveling across its vast landscape gave me a deep appreciation for all my country has to offer.

After travelling 13,000 miles across the continental United States this spring (and more, if you count my previous road trip in 2006), I wanted to share some of my favorite destinations with you. I’ve already talked about my favorite restaurants and lessons learned, so it only seems proper to end the road trip posts with my favorite 27 destinations:

(Note: This list is based only on where I myself have been. There are a lot more incredibly breathtaking places — like Yosemite or Hawaii — I haven’t explored yet, which is why you don’t see them on this list!)


the restaurants of memphis at night
Gritty, industrial, and a bit run down, Memphis appears like its best days are behind it, but don’t let the rough exterior fool you — the city is still home to some killer food and a vibrant blues music scene. Additionally, there’s Graceland (Elvis’s home) for fans of the King, a big waterfront for walking, and the phenomenal, detailed, and moving Museum of Civil Rights (it’s huge, so don’t rush it!). I enjoyed the city more than I expected and was disappointed when I had to leave. To use a cliché, it’s a hidden gem!


austin skyline at dusk
This city is my new home (surprise! I’m moving to Austin!), and every visit there just makes me love it more and more. The warm weather, the lively honky-tonks and live music, funky house bars on Rainey Street, amazing hiking and biking trails, and tons of outdoor activities…Austin has it all. Thanks to everything from the growing food truck population to the flagship Whole Foods store with the incredible salad bar (grilled pineapple!), I eat — and eat well — nonstop. The Austin campus of the University of Texas provides a youthful vigor to the city, and its liberal attitude attracts a diverse and eclectic population. In short, you can’t skip Austin, because if you do, I’ll find you and drag you there.


downton abbey mansion in asheville
Asheville is Portland in the North Carolina mountains: full of tasty craft beer, food, and hipsters. I liked the area a lot, including its proximity to some wonderful and scenic mountain hikes such as the Carolina Mountain Trail. Moreover, the town has a lot of parks for those wanting something closer — and be sure to check out the Ashville Botanical Gardens near the university campus. The beautiful Smoky Mountains are a short drive away, and the gigantic Biltmore estate, the largest privately owned home in the US and once home to George Vanderbilt, is on the outskirts of the city. If you’ve ever seen Downton Abbey, that’s what the house is like! (And, if you haven’t, you should! The show is addicting!)

The Pacific Coastal Drive

a view of the pacific from the pacific coastal drive
The drive up the Pacific Coast is considered one of the most scenic in the world. I have to agree. I didn’t travel the whole coast, but the portion I drove (San Francisco to Portland) was incredible: sheer cliffs, forests descending to the shoreline, miles of beaches, and giant redwoods. It’s jaw-dropping all the way. Be prepared to make slow progress, as you’ll be pulling over frequently to stop, hike, and admire the view. I especially liked Bandon and Coos Bay, Oregon and Mendocino, California.

Redwood National Park

beautiful redwood trees in the redwood national park
Along the Pacific Coast is Redwood National Park, a large expanse of giant redwood trees filled with picnic areas, places to camp, and miles upon miles of hiking trails. Trails range from easy to strenuous, and there are many loops that head out to nearby beaches. It’s utterly beautiful, awe-inspiring, and humbling in every way.

Glacier National Park

awe-inspiring views at the glacir national park
Even though I visited when most of the park was still closed (it was too early in the year and there was still snow around), I was still stunned by the area: gorgeous snow-topped mountains rising high into the sky; a beautiful, still lake in which to admire those mountains and large glaciers; and hiking trails galore. It was the most mind-blowing place I saw on my trip, and I can understand why everyone raves about it. I can’t recommend a visit there enough.


the denver skyline at night
The mile-high city (not least because marijuana is legal there), Denver has a mix of outdoor ruggedness and big-city living. It has a huge craft beer scene, excellent restaurants (including, Sushi Sasa, one of my favorite sushi restaurants in the world), a large international airport with lots of connections, and proximity to the mountains (and the Republic of Boulder). It’s clean, and the locals are incredibly friendly. There are few cities in the US I want to live in, but I love Denver enough to say that it’s one of them.


the bean sculpture in Chicago
When the weather is nice, I don’t think there’s a better city in the United States. Set on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago has world-class food (try the deep dish, sushi, and hot dogs), the fun and kitschy Navy Pier, Millennium Park with its famous bean-shaped statue, a kick-ass aquarium, and iconic architecture (be sure to take an architecture tour). And once the winter deep freeze is over, Chicagoans burst out of their homes to enjoy the summer weather, so there’s positive, happy vibe emanating through the city. Take advantage of it.

New York City

the impressive new york city skyline
The city that never sleeps. ‘Nuff said. You can’t go wrong here.


sunset over the mississippi on the natchez outskirts
I was most surprised by this Mississippi city. I didn’t know anything about it, but Natchez was recommended as a place to see historic 19th-century homes, built by isolated plantation owners wanting to get away in the summer and interact and socialize with each other. As cotton became king, the houses became ever larger and more elaborate. Now, they are historic monuments, and you can tour them while enjoying a view of the Mississippi River. It’s far off the beaten path — and my favorite discovery from my last road trip.


an antebellum mansion in savannah
Sitting on Georgia’s coast, Savannah escaped the wrath of the Civil War, allegedly because Sherman thought it was too pretty to be destroyed. With streets lined with Spanish moss–covered trees, large and inviting parks, and a bustling waterfront, Savannah is wonderful place to experience the slow pace of the Old South (without the racism). I had visited this city many, many years ago, but its beauty, Southern comfort food, and tranquility stuck with me over the years.

Grand Canyon

an amazing view from the top of the grand canyon
Words can’t accurately describe how incredible the Grand Canyon is. It’s breathtaking in so many ways —its sheer size, fantastic depth, red hues, and striking vistas. Most people simply stand at the edge of the canyon and look out across it, but its true size and beauty are best appreciated with a hike down to the bottom. Make the time to hike down to the Colorado River, hike the less visited trails, spend the night, and hike back up for sunset.


a street of music bars in nashville
A little bit country, a little bit tech, Nashville is one of the fastest-growing cities in the US and rightly so. It’s got a wonderful music scene (duh), a growing cocktail bar scene, and some down-home Southern restaurants. There’s not a lot of “touristy stuff” to do here, but what make this city one of my favorites are the music, the food, the wildly friendly and happy people, and the positive energy the city seems to exude. When you’re here, plan to spend a few hours at the Tennessee State Museum. It goes into great (though sometimes very one-sided) detail about the state’s history, but it’s more exciting than you might think.

San Francisco

the golden gate bridge from san francisco beach
Food of every nature, hipsters, high tech, and a diverse population make San Francisco one of my favorite places to visit. Additionally, it’s close to some wonderful national parks, like Muir Woods, where you can escape the city and go hiking amid giant trees. This city is changing fast (for good or ill) and I’m always looking forward to my next visit. San Francisco has so much to do that you need at least four days to really appreciate it. The city is one of the cultural centers of the United States and not to be missed.


miami beach
White sand beaches, Cuban food, wild nightlife, gorgeous people, and amazing warm weather — what’s not to love about Miami! I don’t think I could ever live here, but for a weekend of fun in the sun, Miami is perfect.

San Diego

a pier on the san diego beach
Forever warm and sunny, San Diego’s weather creates a permanently happy population that’s friendly and outgoing and that loves the outdoors – from hiking, days at the beach, or running….and they are always happy to show people their city. The downtown Gastown area — as well as the famous Pacific Beach — is full of trendy seafood restaurants, bustling bars, and some seriously life-changing taco stalls. I love San Diego.

California Wine Country

a selection of wines from Napa valley
California is home to some of the best wine in the world, and a visit to the Sonoma and Napa Valley regions will reward you with some fine dining in addition to the wine. Take the short trip from San Francisco and learn to appreciate wine! Tip: Sonoma is cheaper than Napa.

Lake Tahoe

the beautiful forests around lake tahoe
Though the water level of the lake, as well as the flora and fauna around it, is sadly depleted due to the California drought, Lake Tahoe is still nonetheless impressive and beautiful. Ringed by tiny mountain communities, this is a terrific place for hiking and boating in the summer and skiing in the winter.

Anywhere in Montana

the majestic rolling plains of montana
A lot has been written about how stunning Montana is, but it’s all wrong. It’s even better than words can describe. It’s the most crazy beautiful state I’ve ever been to, filled with wondrous mountains and hills as far as the eye can see. The people are super cool, too. If I had to pick a favorite state, it would be Montana.

Washington D.C.

the white house in washington d.c.
The capital of the United States is a vibrant, international city, and that’s what I love about it. It’s second only to NYC in diversity of people and food (which is to be expected with so many people from international aid organizations and embassies). You hear a million accents in this town! Throw in the free Smithsonian museums, lots of parks, a riverfront for strolling or running, and some historic government buildings and monuments, and D.C. becomes one phenomenal place to visit, relax, eat, and drink!

Cape Cod

a sunny cape cod beach
I spent a lot of summers on the Cape, since it’s where New Englanders escape for the summer. You’ll find plenty of small beach towns along the coast (Provincetown and Hyannis being the most famous but I also love Chatham, Falmouth, Wellfleet, and Brewster). If you’re looking for seafood, beaches, boardwalks, and hat perfect family vacation, visit the Cape!


a historic statue surrounded by flowers in boston
I may be biased because I grew up here, but I love Boston and cherish my visits home. Boston rocks (Go Red Sox!). It’s historic (founded in 1630), smallish, easy to get around, and filled with awesome and loyal people. It’s home to a ton of activities, like the Freedom Trail and Faneuil Hall, the JFK Museum, and the Boston Commons and Public Garden, as well as some of the best Italian and seafood restaurants in the country. Be sure to eat at Zaftigs for the best brunch in the city! It’s wicked!

Las Vegas

the glamorous hotels and casinos of the las vegas strip
Vegas, baby, Vegas! A lot of people are turned off by the bright lights and gambling, but Vegas is much more than the casinos, expensive clubs, and hotels on the famous Strip. There’s incredible hiking nearby at Red Rocks National Park, a growing art scene, a booming tech scene thanks to Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project, and lots of concerts and shows. Get off the Strip, explore the real Vegas (because technically the Strip is located in Paradise, NV, not Las Vegas), and see why people decide to live here.


a sunny public plaza in portland, oregon
Portland is incredible. I would move there if it had a bigger airport with better connections. Here you’ll find an impressive food truck scene, cool bespoke bars and cocktail lounges, a craft beer scene that’s religion to residents, relaxing parks (including a peaceful Japanese garden), a vibrant art scene, and hiking in the nearby mountains. Portland is just an awesome city, especially in the summer when the weather is perfect and there are festivals and events galore, like the World Domination Summit and the Portland International Beerfest.


neon lit farmer's market in seattle
Home to a little business called Starbucks, it also boasts an exciting downtown, fresh fish, authentic Asian food, art museums, and funky nightlife. In historic Pioneer Square, you can go on an underground tour of the city’s ruins (a hella cool experience). Moreover, you’re right on the water and, weather permitting, can head out onto Elliott Bay to explore some little islands. Seattle is just a cool city. There’s always something to do there, it’s techy, and everyone is relaxed. Plus, there’s craft beer and coffee — what’s not to love about that!


the snowy main street in deadwood
Tucked away in western South Dakota, this town was famous during the Old West days, noteworthy enough to be the focus of an HBO series. Sort of kitschy and re-created, it’s nonetheless a very cool place where you can experience a taste of the old frontier days. It’s also conveniently located near the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore.

Kansas City

Joe's BBQ in kansas city
I really loved this city, which features some of the world’s best BBQ, a lively downtown, and cutting-edge technology like Google Fiber. There’s also a detailed and enlightening jazz museum here, as well as the eye-opening Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (that was the actual name; I’m not being racist). I wish I could have spent more time, but that’s just more reason to come back.

The United States is filled with too many “must sees” places to list in a single blog post. After all, the country is home to over 350 million people and covers 3.8 million square miles. I’ve only seen a fraction of it in my life, and it beckons me to do more. But for those looking for a starting point for where to go and what to see, this list should point you in the right direction.

Just be sure to turn off the highways, head to the small towns, and discover some favorites of your own.

The post My 27 Favorite Places to Visit in the US appeared first on Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site.

My 27 Favorite Places to Visit in the US

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Prayer answeredfor the 2nd time !

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Believe it or not – prayer for my daughter to enter local university was once again answered. My sincere THANKS to four-faced Buddha for everything.Prayer answeredfor the 2nd time !

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A Lesson in Hitchhiking Through Iceland

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westfjords in iceland
“Where are you going?” he asked from the driver’s seat.

“Thingeyri,” I replied. A confused look appeared on the man’s face.

“Thingeyri,” I said again, this time changing the intonation in my voice.

“Ahh, Thingeyri! Yes, I can take you there!”

I had been standing alone by the side of the road for two hours, hoping someone would give me a lift. Earlier that morning I’d taken the ferry to Brjánslækur, where I naïvely assumed the bus would align with the ferry’s arrival. But after landing, the dock master corrected that assumption: there wasn’t a bus until 6:30 p.m.

I looked at my watch. It was 11 a.m.

Crap, I thought.

I raced to the top of the dock in hopes a car would pick me. But as the cars exited the ferry, driving off to complete their journey, none did. Scores of other people walked toward waiting cars filled with friends and family. They too ignored my jutted-out thumb.

Alone, I went into the ferry terminal, ate some soup, and ventured back to the road. To my left was the empty dock and, past that, a vast, tranquil bay that shimmered on this sunny day. To the right side of the road were farms, sheep, and rolling hills. The only sign of human activity was the little red ferry building where, if all else failed, I could stay until the bus came.

No cars passed.

I waited.

And waited some more.

In the distance, a car.

I stuck out my thumb.

As the car passed, the driver looked at me but didn’t slow down.

A few more cars passed as if I wasn’t there.

It was a beautiful, warm, clear day — the first that entire week. The sun shone bright above, and the sheep grazed in the meadows. I decided to walk to the gas station, six kilometers away. Maybe I would have better luck at the crossroads.

westfjords in iceland

I stopped often along the way to marvel at how quiet it was. The only sounds were the wind and my footsteps. I was in no rush, and the serenity and calm of my surroundings made the long walk bearable. I passed black sand beaches filled with sheep — even they knew to take advantage of the weather. Streams that started in the glacial mountains ended their journey in the salty bay.

westfjords in iceland

At the crossroads I saw a family eating at the picnic area. Maybe they would give me a lift. I made sure to look in their direction often.

Hours passed. Cars came up the main road. I stuck out my thumb but the drivers shrugged, turned on their blinkers, and headed off in the wrong direction. The family continued to have the longest picnic ever.

Finally, as they packed up their picnic, the family looked over at me. This is my chance, I thought. Please go my way!

They got in their car, turned toward the crossroads…but then went right, heading to Reykjavik. I needed them to go left, toward me and Thingeyri!

I was defeated and hungry. When I had hitched Iceland’s main ring road, rides were abundant, but here they were nonexistent.

I was ready to give up, trudge back to the ferry building, and wait for the bus, but then, like an Icelandic angel descending from heaven in a gigantic steel cage, Stefan stopped his SUV and picked me up.

Stefan drove like Speed Racer. The road was in rough condition, opened only a few weeks ago due to a late winter and cold spring. There was still a lot of snow on the ground. “In the winter, this is all snow and you can’t drive here,” he said.

westfjords in iceland

The road turned to gravel as we whizzed through the mountains. I was jostled up and down as we hit a few potholes, and I closed my eyes as we took turns too fast for comfort, hoping he would notice that and slow down.

He did not.

But for all the discomfort, I stared agape at the landscape that unfolded before me. Around me were melting glaciers, with rivers of clear blue water cutting into the snow. To my left were huge valleys where waterfalls fell down mountains into rivers and snows disappeared under the summer sun, leaving the growing grass a bright green. On flatter ground, the water pooled into lakes, and travelers stopped to take pictures.

westfjords in iceland

Stefan and I talked a bit. His lack of English and my lack of Icelandic made long conversation difficult but we shared the basics. He was a fisherman from Reykjavik and married with four kids. “Triplets,” he says giving me a “right, I know” look. He was returning to Thingeyri to prepare for another ten days at sea.

During the journey, he pointed out landmarks and searched for the English word to describe them. I helped him when I could. I’d poorly repeat the word in Icelandic, Stefan would correct me, and I would fail again.

westfjords in iceland

We drove through the mountains into a thick fog. When we could barely see a meter ahead, he slowed down, taking his time to drive the mountain road. As we crept along, I occasionally glimpsed the snow-covered precipices we would careen over if he wasn’t careful. I was relieved Stefan had finally decided to drive with caution. As we made our way down the mountain, the fog lifted and he pointed to a small town ahead. “Thingeyri.”

westfjords in iceland

He dropped me off at my guesthouse and we said good-bye — he was off to sea, I was off to hike the mountains.

westfjords in iceland
westfjords in iceland

The next morning I awoke to see the fjord and mountains, clear of fog. As I hiked up Sandfell Mountain and enjoyed the beautiful day, I thought fondly of Stefan and his willingness to help a stranger my side of the road. Wherever his boat was, I hope he was filling it with fish and knew that somewhere out there was lone traveler eternally grateful for the experience.

westfjords in iceland

The post A Lesson in Hitchhiking Through Iceland appeared first on Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site.

A Lesson in Hitchhiking Through Iceland

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The Business of Travel Blogging

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nomadic matt's blogging courseNotice: This is a bit of inside baseball about travel blogging, so if you aren’t interested in that sort of thing, head over here and read something travel related!

Okay, if you’re still here, you’re probably interested in blogging. It’s not a subject I broach often as this is not a blog about blogging, but I recently revamped my blogging course and want to tell you about it as some of you may be interested.

A few months ago, I dipped my toe back into the business side of the travel blogging community and was disappointed with what I saw. Instead of courses and conferences teaching business skills, community building, and creating quality, helpful content, it seemed to be mostly on how to get tourism boards to pay for your trip. It was less travel writing and more destination marketing.

Now, destinations need marketing, and if bloggers want to provide that, more power to them. That’s definitely one facet of the travel industry.

But if you want to create a sustainable business and be something more, it’s not a route you should take. It just keeps you on the hamster wheel beholden to someone else.

Travel is a trillion-dollar industry and people spend a lot of time looking for quality content and information to help them get to where they want to go. There are still ripe opportunities to create an online travel business, and want to share what I’ve learned in the past eight years to help you achieve success.

What I noticed at recent travel conferences and in so many “how to make money with your travel blog” posts is a lack of focus on real business practices. There’s little discussion about reader-centric content, newsletters, products people want, the importance of design, networking, and the other aspects of a business that make websites – no matter the niche – successful.

So instead of just doing an update of my book on running a successful blog, I decided to expand the book into a self-directed course.

Today, I’m announcing the release of my new course, The Business of Travel Blogging. This self-directed course is the culmination of years of testing, research, and feedback, and I think is the best travel-related blogging course out there. (And even if you aren’t a travel blogger, you’ll still find a lot of the content applicable. Most of my mentors are outside the travel industry, and solid business principles are universal.)

What You’ll Learn

  • How to create a strong brand
  • How to become a tech whiz and build a website with no experience or technical skills
  • The secrets to understanding good website design
  • How to maximize your Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter presence and kill it on social media
  • How to pitch the perfect guest post to larger blogs
  • How to get traffic from other blogs
  • How to create content people actual want to read
  • How content goes viral on the Internet and how to make yours do the same
  • How to get media attention and mentions in the press
  • The key factors Google uses to determine your search rankings
  • How to optimize your website for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Why getting links matter and where to get them
  • How to sell affiliate products
  • How to create products people want
  • How to avoid beginner mistakes
  • How to effectively use a newsletter

And a whole lot more!!!

What’s Included

Here is what you get with the course:

Make Money Travel BlogThe book How to Build a Blog. I put together this easy to follow step-by-step guide to help build your website from scratch without any previous experience. There are also plenty of screen shots to visually walk you through the process so you won’t get lost. This book will teach you all the basic skills you need to know in order to start and build your blog in an afternoon without pulling your hair out in frustration.

Make Money Travel BlogThe book How to Make Money with Your Blog. The meat of the course, this 25,000+ word book goes into detail on how to start your blog, create a lasting brand, write content people want to read and share, how to optimize your website and rank high in search engines, kill it on social media, and make money with your blog. It features real world examples and screen shots to get help you understand the material.

22 Recommended Business Books — Reading is fundamental, and all the people who mentor me read profusely. This suggested reading list features 22 books I’ve read on business and business leaders that can help you grow your own website. Don’t reinvent the wheel. See what others have done before you and apply it to your site.

Seven expert interviews — In these 30-40-minute audio interviews, some of today’s leading bloggers and marketers share their opinions and expertise on writing, marketing, community building, and SEO. We talk to:

  • Derek Halpern — Derek Halpern of is a leading expert in Internet marketing. We sat down to talk about advanced techniques in gaining traffic and media attention, and how he built a 70,000-person list in 18 months.
  • Rand Fishkin — Rand Fishkin is the founder of, the best SEO website in the world, and an expert on search engine optimization. Rand tells us the secrets of ranking higher in searches, getting links, and a lot more.
  • Pat Flynn — Pat Flynn of discusses newsletter marketing and how to monetize your blog through affiliate marketing without being a spammer — and his journey to making over $50,000 a month doing so.
  • Steve Kamb — The founder of talks about how he built a 25,000+-person forum community and a 250,000+-person mailing list through community building, contests, events, and encouraging members to interact with each other.
  • Jodi Ettenberg — Jodi Ettenberg of and author of The Food Traveler’s Handbook talks about her journey into self-publishing and how to use your blog to get freelance writing gigs. She has been in The Daily Beast, and the New York Times, CNN, and the BBC.
  • Geraldine DeRuiter — Gerladine DeRuiter runs, voted one of the best blogs of 2012 by Time magazine, where this snarky, witty, and personal writer has a devoted following. Geraldine and I discussed finding your voice and writing better.
  • Corbett Barr — Corbett Barr of is a leading expert on building and marketing blogs. Corbett joined me for an exclusive interview to discuss how to avoid beginner pitfalls, build relationships, and grow your audience.

Four blogger case studies — What works? What doesn’t? How have others grown their travel blogs? I break down the inner workings of four successful travel bloggers that have found great success and dissect how they broke out from the crowd. The case studies revolve around Derek Baron from Wandering Earl, Dalene and Peter Heck from Hecktic Travels, Kiersten Rich from The Blonde Abroad, and Candace Rardon from The Great Affair.

Monthly video webinars — Each month, I’ll host a webinar where we will go into detail on sections of the book, answer questions, have guest lecturers, and go over website feedback. This ongoing aspect of the course will allow you be held accountable and encouraged to stick to your plan of blogging domination!

Free themes — Get any theme Woo Themes or Genesis to use on your website for FREE (an $80 value!)

I’ve seen too many travel bloggers go down the destination marketing route and finding themselves competing with thousands of other bloggers for little money, get discouraged, and give up. I want to help teach other travel bloggers the business skills needed to be heard above the crowd, create amazing content, and stand the test of time.

You can get the entire course for a one-time price of $199. If you really want to turn your blog into a business, the books, case studies, interviews, and monthly webinars will provide in-depth information and serve as ongoing resources for you to get advice from experts and feedback for your ideas.


Make Money Travel BlogFor the one-time price of $199, you’ll get all of the above as well as lifetime updates and support. This course is an investment in your blogging future that will help you leap beyond the competition and will give you MORE value for LESS money than any other program out there! Whether beginner or experienced, you’ll be able to use the secrets to my success……for your success!!

(Don’t want the full course? Get the just the two ebooks for $49.99)

30 Day Money Back Guarantee

Take the course, implement the tips, start building your site, ask me for help. If you still don’t like the book, I’ll give you a prompt and courteous refund within 30 days of purchase. I’m that confident that this book will help you succeed but if I can’t help you, I shouldn’t have your money.

Still unsure? Here are testimonials from previous students of mine:

If it wouldn’t have been for Matt, I would have started travel blogging in the completely wrong direction. From day one, Matt pointed me in the right direction. He not only equipped me with the tools to run a successful travel blog now, but also with the knowledge I will need in the future. Matt’s advice and guidance was invaluable and his program is a must for anyone serious about getting into blogging.” — Stephen

Matt’s strength lies in his attention to detail and helping you to create a focus for your blog. It’s something he cares about, and he’s good at getting you to care about it too. As someone with an existing blog, these have been invaluable lessons in moving my blog past just another website, and turned it into something that can grab people’s attention and build an audience.” — Andy

The course with Matt was invaluable. His knowledge and advice has helped set me in the right direction for success; a direction I was far from when I began the course. His one-on-one classes offer an amazing opportunity to learn from one of the best. Matt shared a lot of the good, bad and the ugly to help me improve my site’s design, content and SEO. If you’re trying to be a successful blogger, don’t pass this up.” — Elaine

This course is an investment in your blogging future. You’ll get feedback directly from me and be able to ask other top bloggers for advice. That kind of real business training is invaluable and not offered by other courses.

I’m not going to teach you how to make quick money with your blog, I’m going to teach you how to build something that will last.

I know spending money when you are just starting out is stressful, but if you are serious about making this a career, you have to invest in yourself.

And this course is an invest that I promise will pay for itself many times over.

The post The Business of Travel Blogging appeared first on Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site.

The Business of Travel Blogging

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Bangkok Business

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Bangkok Business

Local Business Owners

Coming soon! Our Bangkok Business blog will high-light local businesses and how they have grown and serve clients in Bangkok. Since the website is currently under a redesign, we would like to hear from you if you are a local Bangkok Businessman or woman. Contact us, so we can talk about featuring you in our weekly local business news blog.

We want to make this a directory that serves local Expats and Thai Nationals with highly-useful information on a daily basis!  That is what we call a win-win…connecting local entrepreneurs with clients who need information first! So bookmark us and standby while we update the new site. We want to hear from you in the meantime and get your article ready. So join us now at Bangkok Business directory
bangkok business bangkok business Bangkok Business Bangkok2

Bangkok Business

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Phuket Adventure

Phuket Adventure

- 4 days and 3 nights, Room include daily buffet breakfast. Complimentary WiFi, Fruit plant.

- A signature island hopping tour to “Mai Thon” Islands [LIMITED]

- Romantic Beachfront Sunset Dinner for 2 persons (food only)

- Cocktail or mocktail drink by the pool

- Daily shuttle to Patong Beach on hotel schedule

- Roundtrip Airport Transfer

- Nakalay Spa Thai or Oli Massage 60 mins for per couple

- Exclusive Private Phuket City Tour (5 hrs)

- Refreshment towel and welcome drink

Bangkok Airport Hotel

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