For April’s Expert Interview, we had a chance to chat with Drew Bateman and Will Daley, founders of Social Nomads . Their website brings together travel articles and other relevant information in one place for ease of access. Both guys have extensive experience traveling abroad… and they have a knack for getting seriously off the beaten path.. When not focused on Social Nomads, Drew works full-time in sales for a software start-up and Will has a career in international development. We think you’ll enjoy our interview with Drew and Will and we hope you can learn something from their site!
Tell us about your website. What’s the most interesting/helpful post there?
The Social Nomads website assembles links to the best travel articles in one place for quick and easy access.. Similar to other websites that aggregate news or sports, for example, we source a wide range of travel information. We also write some of our own travel pieces , which are called Nomad Originals, but mainly stream links to external content. The website has various sections to explore. Check out The Stream, where you’ll find a free flowing and constantly updated collection of travel information – both links to external content and our Nomad Originals. There are also ways to search by destination, so if you are having trouble finding information on a particular destination, we probably will have you covered. We’re really stoked about our “Make it Happen” section. Under Nomad Originals, this section features “off the beaten path” type of content, providing insight on epic experiences that you often can’t find quality information on. For example, we have a post about climbing the Congo’s Nyiragongo Volcano. We also really love our Nomad Stories section, which is less nuts and bolts, but often more fun to read. Check out our crazy story about riding Mauritania’s Iron Ore Train.
What gave you the inspiration to start Social Nomads?
The idea for Social Nomads came up a few years ago when we were planning a large overland trip throughout Africa. We were having difficulties finding location-specific blogs because there are so many travel blogs out there that seem to focus on the same types of things: first class travel with reward points, vacationing in the Caribbean in an all-inclusive, African Safaris, etc.. Many of them did not answer the questions that we had. We figured there should be a website that provides access to all relevant travel information in one place to help travelers find what they are looking for, which is what Social Nomads does.
What’s your favorite thing about traveling?
Will: The exploration factor is why I get on an airplane. Most of my trips are to really obscure places. I like to push myself and drop myself somewhere and just make it happen. That’s what’s fun about traveling to me. Also, it’s fun to see how one trip may impact another in ways that you wouldn’t realize. For example, something I experienced in Africa may impact the way my trip to Central America unfolds.
Drew: There is excitement in the unknown or unfamiliarity of a country. Basic things like finding a taxi or shopping in a supermarket are much more fun. Daily activities that we take for granted in our day-to-day life become interesting again. That’s the most fun part about travel for me.
How often do you travel internationally?
Will: I graduated college in 2010 and afterwards spent the majority of time abroad. I would say this year I will spend 6-7 months overseas.
Drew: I travel internationally a bit less than Will. I set a goal to visit a minimum of 2 new countries per year. Last year I visited 6 new countries.
What’s the most amazing trip you’ve taken with points so far?
Drew: Our Africa trip was probably the coolest. I was still a novice in terms of reward travel when we planned this trip. In fact, I only used points for 1 leg of flights.
Will: From a “bang for your bucks” standpoint, I would say a trip from New York to Djibouti. I used United miles to book a one-way flight from JFK to Djibouti. This itinerary was valued at around $2,200 but I snagged it for 40,000 United points. From a “best trip” standpoint, I’d agree with Drew on our multi-month overland/sea journey from Spain to South Africa.
How did you first learn about using points? What was the first card you opened?
Will: I had a friend in college who is now a banker. He introduced me to the travel points world then I started reading blogs and doing my own research. Then I opened one that worked pretty well for me and continued pressing forward.
Drew: Pretty similar story. My older brother introduced me. The first card I opened was the Citi ThankYou Preferred card.
How many cards do you apply for a year?
Drew: I open up to 5 cards per year, but this number varies based on my travel goals.
Will: I open about 3 or so.
When was the last time you got a new credit card, which one did you get / why?
Drew: I opened the JetBlue card because I live in Boston and we have a large JetBlue presence. I also opened the Chase Sapphire Reserve because of the high signup bonus and great benefits.
Where can we find you on social?