Monday, April 22, 2019

Job Opportunity: MeetElise – Director of Customer Success

MeetElise is a NYC and DC-based startup using artificial intelligence to make good housing affordable to all by making it less expensive to manage apartment buildings.

They are looking to hire a Director of Customer Success to develop the customer success process (onboarding, support, insights) and lead the customer success team.

About the Director of Customer Success Role

MeetElise is growing quickly and you’ll be building out a customer success process that will support customer growth to our first million apartments by the end of 2020 and beyond.

Your Objectives

  1. Develop a customer success process and team that can onboard and serve 1 million apartment units by 2020.
  2. Set ambitious customer service metrics and exceed them.
  3. Gather and distill insights from our customers about how to make our products better.

Key Activities and Questions

Build out our customer success process.

  1. Metrics
    1. What metrics do we need to ensure we provide efficient and exceptional customer service?
  2. Customer Onboarding
    1. How do we make onboarding and training an exceptional experience for our customers?
    2. How do we significantly reduce the time and effort MeetElise spends onboarding each customer?
  3. Customer Support
    1. How do we prioritize competing customer support requests?
    2. How do we provide complete solutions as quickly as possible?
  4. Customer Insights
    1. How do we create a regular feedback loop with our customers so we’re constantly getting better and building the right things?
    2. How do we identify the biggest problems and product growth opportunities?
  5. Contract Renewals and Upselling
    1. How do we build strong relationships with our customers?
    2. How do we encourage our customers to use more MeetElise products?

Hire, lead, and retain a driven customer success team to help you achieve all of the above.

Our Ideal Candidate

  1. You’re excited about providing customers with an exceptional experience and solving the housing industry’s problems with AI.
  2. You love building processes, bringing order to chaos, and know how to prioritize.
  3. You’re hungry to learn and constantly experimenting to make things better.
  4. You’re excited to join a small startup team and pitch in anywhere (including sales).
  5. You have 4+ years in customer success and 2+ years managing a team.
  6. You’ve worked at a B2B startup and 6 day work weeks don’t scare you.

Note: We value potential over qualifications, so we’re willing to take a risk on someone who can grow into this role.

Location: New York, NY or Washington, DC

Compensation and Benefits

  1. Competitive salary
  2. Stock options
  3. 401K
  4. Medical, dental, vision
  5. Gym membership (or physical activity equivalent) stipend
  6. Maternity / paternity leave
  7. Flexible vacation (we trust you’ll get the work done)
  8. All the tools you need (computer, monitors, etc.)
  9. Team outings and home cooked meals

Interested? Please send your resume (or link to detailed LinkedIn profile) and an email introducing yourself and why you want to join MeetElise.

Apply Now

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Want to Write for Nomadic Matt? Here’s How!

a woman in a yellow sweater writes from her laptop
Updated: 04/22/19 | April 22, 2019

Earlier this year, I announced I was opening this website up to guest posters. For years, I turned away unsolicited guest posts, but, this year, I decided it was time to change that policy as I want to add more voices, opinions, stories, and tips to this site.

I want to bring in people out there who have helpful information and insight I might not have, especially now that I’m traveling a lot less.

So, if you’d like to write for this site, here are our guidelines for submissions:

What Content Do We Want?

First, what kind of submissions are we looking for? We’re interested in the following (and only the following) areas:

  • LGBT content: stories by transgender people, queer couples, and solo gay, lesbian, or bi travelers
  • Africa-related content (bonus points if it’s East or Central Africa and Egypt related)
  • Middle East–related content
  • Central Asia–related content
  • India-related content
  • China-related content
  • Technology- or gear-related content

Your pitches should have a focus on budget-related issues: cheap things what to do, budget accommodation, good companies or apps to use, travel hacks, or ways to save money. We want the kind of service article that will help readers travel cheaper, better, and longer.

Of course, travel stories are great too, so long as they contain a lesson or advice that can be used to help people travel.

Typical posts are 1,000-2,000 words, are super detailed, contain lots of useful links, and have tips and tricks not found elsewhere. I love insider knowledge!

How to Submit a Post

Send an email to with the exact title “New Guest Writer Article Submission”

Include the following:

  • Your travel history
  • Your blog or channel
  • A link to two other guest posts you’ve done
  • Your topic idea(s), with suggested title(s) and description(s) of the article(s)

Here’s an example of a good email:

Hi Matt,

My name is John and I’m writing about submitting a guest post on your site. I’ve been traveling the world for ten years, with a focus on Africa. For the last six months, I’ve been traveling around East Africa as a backpacker and have a lot of resources that can help. My blog is, and I’ve written some posts on the subject that can be found here and here.

My proposed topic is “How to Visit Tanzania on a Budget,” which will focus on how to get around, eat, and safari without spending a lot or money or doing an expensive tour. The idea here is to show people you can travel the country independently.

Here are links to some of my writing so you can see I can put words together.

Looking forward to hearing from you.



Simple and to the point. If I like your pitch, I’ll reply. Please DO NOT follow up. While tenacity can often be appreciated, DO NOT follow up. I get too many emails.

Please follow the rules above too. I like people with an attention to details so if you send an email with the wrong subject line or miss any of the other following rules, we’ll delete your pitch!

Finally, please note that if you send me a draft and I find that it will be too much work to edit, I reserve the right to reject it. Additionally, since I am pretty picky, there’s also 99% chance I’ll ask you to make changes to your draft so please expect notes and rewrites.

Oh, and we pay $250 USD per post.

That’s really it.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments.


The post Want to Write for Nomadic Matt? Here’s How! appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

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Sunday, April 21, 2019

AEC Hackathon 6.2 – Seattle

The AEC (Architecture, Engineering, Construction) Hackathon is coming back to Seattle for another year. The event was created to give those designing, building, and maintaining our built environment the opportunity to collaborate with cutting edge technologies and its developers and designers. It is a community of innovators that include all elements of the built environment, not just AEC, all around the world.

Date And Time: Fri, April 26, 2019, 6:00 PM – Sun, April 28, 2019, 6:00 PM PDT

Location: UW’s Center for Research & Education in Construction (7543 63RD AVENUE NE, BUILDING 5 BAY B, Seattle, WA 98115)


Friday evening, April 26th 

6 pm Doors Open (Open to the Public)

7 – 7:30 pm

7:30 pm Lighting Rounds / Team Formation

10 pm Adjourn

Saturday, April 27th

9 am Doors open

11 AM – 12 PM Magic Leap workshop with engineers from the Magic Leap Team

12 PM – 1 PM Lunch and Hacking

1 – 2 PM Unity and AEC – Mark Schoennagel of the Unity AEC Team will lead a workshop. Mark is the Lead Evangelist focused on the Automotive and AEC verticals while leading the Americas team of Unity Evangelists.

2 – 3 PM The Future of Real EstatePanel Discussion 

3 – 4 PM The Future of ConstructionPanel Discussion

10 pm Adjourn

Sunday, April 28th

9 am Doors Open

1 pm Hacking Concludes

1:30 pm Artificial Intelligence and Real Estate, Bryan Copley, CEO of CityBLDR

2 pm Team Presentations (Open to the Public)

6 pm Adjourn

Get Your Ticket

The post AEC Hackathon 6.2 – Seattle appeared first on GeekEstate Blog.

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

My 21 Favorite Places to Visit in Colombia

view of Medellin from a viewpoint in Colombia
Posted: 4/18/2019 | April 18th, 2019

From the blue waters of Tayrona National Park, the sweeping views of the Cocora Valley, and the ruins of San Agustín, Tierradentro, and the Lost City, to the white colonial buildings of Popayán and the hustle and bustle of its metropolises, Colombia is packed with things to see and do.

I’d wanted to visit Colombia for years. And after spending six weeks there, I must say, it lived up to the hype.

I mean I’ve been fawning over it a lot in my last few posts. And I know I’m the millionth blogger to do so, but it really is as incredible as people say. (Even getting knifed there couldn’t stop me from loving the country.)

I had falsely assumed that six weeks would be enough to get a good sense of Colombia. After all, six weeks is a fair amount of time to spend anywhere.

But I was wrong. Given its size and the sheer number of activities, it was barely enough to scratch the surface.

Yet I did manage to see a lot.

Today I want to share my list of what I think are the best things to see and do in Colombia. These are the activities and places you should try to focus on when you visit:

1. Cartagena

a view of colorful doors and roofs in Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena is one of the most visited destinations in Colombia (thanks to a lot of direct flights and cruise ship visits). Dating back to 1533, the city is famed for its colonial Old Town: a maze of cobbled alleys, flower-covered balconies, and giant churches on spacious plazas.

But despite the crowds (and there are a lot of crowds), I really enjoyed Cartagena. While there aren’t a lot of tourist activities (you can do most of them in a single day), what makes it a wonderful place to visit is just that: it’s somewhere you can slow down, relax, and gorge on the phenomenal gastronomy.

For more, check out this blog post about Cartegena and all my favorite places to eat there.

2. Tayrona National Park

boats pulled up on a sandy beach in Tayrona National Park
Located on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, Tayrona has long stretches of golden beaches lined with coconut palms and a dense rainforest with lots of easy day hikes. You’ll also find campsites for overnight stays, hammocks for rent, restaurants, diving, and horse riding.

It’s easy to visit as a day trip from Santa Marta. I highly suggest you start early at the big entrance at El Zaino and exit the park through Calabazo. This underused route takes a whole day, and once you pass the Cabo San Juan campground, you’ll get the last half of the trail to yourself. Try to avoid visiting during January and weekends, when the crowds on the beaches and hiking paths are at their peak.

3. The Lost City (La Ciudad Perdida)

the La Ciudad Perdida trek in Colombia with terraces and stone steps; photo by Liam King (flickr:@liam-hels-big-trip)
The Lost City was built around 800 CE and contains 169 terraces carved into the mountains, as well as a network of tiled roads and small plazas. It’s one of the most beautiful treks in the country, and the site is older than Machu Picchu! To visit, you need to hire a tour operator (you can’t do it by yourself). It’s about $300-350 USD for the trek from Santa Marta through the jungle up to these beautiful ruins and takes 4–6 days. If you’re pressed for time, you can also do it in three days; the only difference is the pace you go at.

(Tip: You cross a lot of rivers, so be sure to bring an extra pair of shoes or flip flops for when you cross the rivers. You’ll easily ruin a pair of sneakers along the way.)

4. Salento

bright streets in Salento, Colombia with doors painted yellow, green, and blue
Surrounded by green mountains and coffee farms, this is one of the oldest towns in the coffee-growing region and the most popular for travelers. The houses are painted a variety of vibrant colors, and the high vantage points throughout town provide some stunning views (sunsets are quite magical). There’s not much to do in the city itself — it’s simply a base for coffee tours or hiking the Cocora Valley (see below) or the trails around town — so it’s easy to spend a few days here watching the world go by with a good book in hand.

5. Cocora Valley

the famous wax palms set against a green hill in Cocora Valley, Colombia
The Cocora Valley is home to Colombia’s national tree, the wax palm, which grows to nearly 200 feet tall. This area has probably the most popular day hike in the country (which was also my favorite activity during my entire trip). You’ll cross jungle rivers, visit a bird sanctuary, and enjoy some stellar views and forest scenery. The route’s about five hours, and you can choose to either take the clockwise or counterclockwise route. The clockwise route, starting at the Wax Palm Valley, is easier, with fewer hills. Counterclockwise is easier at the end, though a little anticlimactic, as you end the hike walking down a boring road.

(Tip: Start early to avoid the brutal midday heat, since there are a lot of exposed areas here.)

6. Bogotá

two women walking through streets of graffiti in Bogota
Bogotá is Colombia’s vibrant capital. While it’s not the country’s most popular destination, it felt the most “Colombian” to me: there was just a certain edge and charm to it, and it seemed the least touristy, with the fewest gringo expats. The historic downtown, La Candelaria, is filled with bright colonial buildings, detailed museums, delicious restaurants, tiny fun bars, historic churches, and centuries-old houses. The north end of town is home to boutique hotels and entertainment areas like Zona Rosa and Zona G. The foodie scene in the city is incredible, with a lot of international options and cutting-edge gastronomic happenings. Throw in some amazing walking tours, day trips, and hikes and you’ve got a recipe for an astounding city.

For more, here’s a list of all my favorite things to do – and places to eat – in Bogota.

7. Cali

people performing the salsa in a darkened room in Cali, Colombia
This hot, hot city is the salsa capital of the world, where people come to dance. A lot of the guests at my hostel had been there for weeks to learn (the hostels also offer free dance classes). If you like to dance, you can’t miss this city. Besides dancing, though, there are a number of parks, museums, and churches you can visit, plus free walking and food tours. While I didn’t stay long, I definitely enjoyed the scene.

8. Popayán

white buildings in Popayán with people walking around the main town plaza
Popayán rivals Cartagena as Colombia’s most impressive colonial town. It’s known as La Ciudad Blanca (“The White City”) because all the buildings are painted white. Popayán is also a college town (there are three universities), and it’s produced 17 presidents too! Though small, I really loved the slow pace of life and the surprisingly robust food scene here (eat at La Cosecha Parrillada, Restaurante Italiano y Pizzeria, La Fresa, and Mora de Castilla).

While you don’t need a lot of time (take the walking tour, climb the hill, see the churches, and you’re done), I do suggest staying longer to enjoy the slow pace of life. So much of Colombia is go-go-go, it’s nice to find a place that’s more “stay and relax a while.”

9. Tatacoa Desert

a cactus and bright red sand in Tatacoa Desert; photo by descubriendoelmundo (flickr:@descubriendo-el-mundo
Millions of years ago it was once a lush tropical forest. Now, Tatacoa Desert is filled with rocky canyons in shades of red and gray. It is also home to one of the most important observatories in South America, where you can gaze at the stars (weather permitting). If you want to be blown away by the universe, you really need to see this place! Other than that, there’s not much here. Bike into the desert, take some walks, stare at the sky. Stay a night or two. It’s not a popular area, but it is a picturesque way to break up the long bus ride from Bogotá to the south or vice versa.

10. San Agustín Archaeological Park

face carvings on a tomb in San Agustin Archaeological Park; photo by Erik Cleves Kristensen (flickr:@erikkristensen)
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, San Agustín is a small mountain town that’s home to hundreds of pre-Columbian statues and burial mounds. Its collection of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures is the largest in Latin America, for which you’ll need at least one full day (two to really see it all in depth). If you love history, this is probably the best spot in all of Colombia to experience it.

11. San Gil

mountains around San Gil, Colombia, overlooking a river valley; photo by Sergio Fabara Muñoz (flickr:@kinofabara)
San Gil is considered the outdoors capital of the country. Extreme-sports fans love it here. You can go white-water rafting, paragliding, caving, rappelling, trekking, and more from this city! This city is a great place to do outdoor activities and you’re going to find a lot of tour operators in the city. Try to plan at least three days here. It’s worth it.

12. Providencia and San Andrés Islands

swaying palm trees on a white sand beach in San Andrés Islands
These islands are actually closer to Nicaragua than Colombia. They are also considered some of the most unspoiled places in the Caribbean. You’ll find white-sand beaches, stunningly clear blue water, and few crowds (though, thanks to some recent press, Providencia is becoming a lot busier).

Try to make it when tens of thousands of black crabs migrate to the sea. This happens twice a year for about a 1-2-week period between April and July, so it’s not always easy to nail the timing.

13. Medellín

cable cars ascending into the hills over Medellín, Colombia
In a country full of hype, this hyped-up city is all that it’s cracked up to be. Set in the Aburrá Valley, Medellín is one of the fastest-growing cities in Colombia. It has enough activities and things to do to fill weeks on end: from microbreweries, museums, walking tours, spacious parks, street art, food tours and markets to incredible nightlife, and on and on and on.

It’s one of the most popular destinations for expats and tourists in the country. While it’s easy to get lost in Gringoland here, try to get out of Poblado or Laureles and see the locals’ side of town.

There’s more to the city than those two areas!

14. Guatapé

the Rock of Guatapé with its staircase leading to the top
This pueblo is one of the most picturesque towns in Colombia and one of the most colorful in the world, as most of the traditional homes have murals painted on the bottom half of their façades that depict animals, people, and shapes. Just hanging out in one of the bright plazas, drinking coffee and people-watching, is one of the most pleasant things to do here.

Most people, though, come to climb the steep (and difficult) staircase to the top of the monolithic Rock of Guatapé (La Piedra) for some of the best views in the country. Guatapé is a long day trip from Medellín (hostels in the city organize them throughout the week) so I recommend trying to spend at least a night here so you aren’t as rushed and can enjoy the area little more.

15. Chingaza National Park

a lake in Chingaza National Park, Colombia
This is one of the biggest nature reserves in Colombia, home to more than 1,000 plant species and 187 bird species. Here you’ll learn about the Páramo ecosystem and how it affects the global water system. (Fun fact: Nearly 80% of Bogotá’s water supply comes from Chingaza.) If you’re going to hike, joining a tour is a good idea. The guides are usually naturalists who can explain the unique environment of the area. One of the best routes is the challenging hike to the summit of Lagunas de Siecha, with a great view over the lakes.

16. Barranquilla

the church of San Nicolas in Barranquilla, Colombia
Located between Santa Marta and Cartagena, Barranquilla is the spot to be during Carnival, the second biggest in Latin America. It starts on a Sunday with the Battle of Flowers (a big parade) and the coronation of the King and Queen.

But there’s a lot to do here when it’s not carnival season as well. Make sure you visit El Museo del Caribe, a museum offering an interesting insight into the history of Colombia’s Caribbean coast. There’s also a special exhibit dedicated to Gabriel García Márquez (the famous author who wrote Love in the Time of Cholera).

17. Tierradentro

stone carvings inside a tomb at Tierradentro; photo by tacowitte (flickr:@inyucho)
Tierradentro is one of the most important archaeological sites in South America. It’s up there with San Agustín but gets less press since it’s located in the middle of nowhere and not on a main road. It contains over 100 hypogea (underground tombs) dating from the sixth to the tenth centuries, the only examples of their kind in the Americas. It takes a day or two to hike all the paths around the tombs. You can hire a guide if you want, but the trails are pretty easy to do on your own.

18. Manizales (and Los Nevados)

the snow-capped mountains of Los Nevados with hikers; photo by Triángulo del Café Travel (flickr:@triangulodelcafe)
On the road from Medellín to the south is the city of Manizales. Here, you can take some tours at this northern point of the coffee-growing region, or roam around town, which has some decent restaurants and churches, and a scenic gondola ride. The main reason people visit is to hike Los Nevados, a mountain range with majestic snow-capped peaks. You can do a day or multi-day hikes, but whatever you do, don’t rush up to the top — acclimatize yourself to the altitude in Manizales for a few days first. The town is 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) above sea level, but mountains are about 6,000 meters (19,700 feet)! I wasn’t climatized and could really feel the altitude just walking around town. Don’t push yourself if you want to do the hike.

19. The Caribbean Coast

Colombia's tropical Caribbean Coast with people walking across a beach
The beaches on the Caribbean coast might not win any awards (at least in my opinion), but the sleepy towns reminded me a lot of the tiny backpacker beach villages around Southeast Asia: a dirt road, lots of hostels, a relaxed atmosphere, and not much else to do. I could easily see why people end up getting stuck here for weeks at a time. The best beach towns to visit are Costeño Beach and Palomino.

20. Punta Gallinas

Punta Gallinas sand dune, Colombia; photo by Luis Pérez (flickr:@pe5pe)
Punta Gallinas is the northernmost point in all of South America. Most people come here via a tour from Santa Marta or Cabo de Vela, with the latter (through La Guajira Desert) being the better option if you just want to take your time and relax because it’s closer so there’s a lot less drive time. In fact, the only way to see the area is via a tour. Most are two or three nights depending on where you’re coming from. Any hostel can organize a trip for you.

21. Minca

lush green mountain hills over Minca, Colombia; photo by diego_cue (Wikimedida Commons)
Minca is located in the foothills of the Sierra de Santa Marta Mountains. Once a sleepy backpacker town, it’s now a hot spot for tourists escaping the oppressive heat on the Caribbean coast and hoping to do some quiet hikes. One of the best hikes is to Los Pinos, but it isn’t easy: it takes about three hours from the center of town, and it’s a steady climb into the mountains but, like all things like this, it’s worth it.

There are a lot of waterfalls in the area as well. Two of the best are the Pozo Azul and Marinka. Both have swimming holes at them too.

Be sure to check out the sunset Mundo Nuevo Hostel. It’s an amazing vantage point.


Colombia has a million and one things to do. I lost track of all the places I kept wishing I had time to visit. You can spend months there (and a lot of people to do). However, I think this list is a great start. My recommendation is that if you’re short on time, fly (the bus rides are long) or just stick to one area of the country and go in depth around that region.

Trying to “see it all” in Colombia is just a recipe for burnout!

Book Your Trip to Colombia: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. I use them all the time.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

Looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all the ones I use to save money when I travel – and I think will help you too!

Want More Information on Colombia?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Colombia for even more planning tips!

Photo credits: 4, 10, 11, 12, 18, 19, 21, 22

The post My 21 Favorite Places to Visit in Colombia appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Geek Estate Mastermind Soirée in New York City

MetaProp’s Proptech Place

The first ever Geek Estate Mastermind Soirée in New York City: an evening to mingle and celebrate the industry’s progress with real estate tech founders, execs, VCs, and practitioners. MetaProp will host the event on April 17th from 6:30-9:00 in their new office, Proptech Place, in the heart of New York City at 214 West 39th Street.

Open to both members of Geek Estate Mastermind and their guests.

Wine, beer, and snacks provided by Geek Estate Labs.

Tickets are limited, and will be allocated first come, first served. We only have a few slots left…


The post Geek Estate Mastermind Soirée in New York City appeared first on GeekEstate Blog.

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Smart Home Technology for Landlords

We live in a world where homeowners can turn on the AC, unlock and lock the front door, turn on the lights, and detect water leaks – all from the office, the airport, or across the country. Home automation systems have gained popularity due to overwhelming success of computer-to-computer communication, commonly referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT). As smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices continue to advance each year, consumers have access to smart home technologies that were once reserved for the elite.

Smart home technologies can be wired into the structure of a house with a central control panel, or offered through external devices like electronic plug adaptors or standalone sensors. These home automation systems create smart homes, connected over wireless networks and linked directly to a mobile device allowing users to control smart devices from an app. Smart home users benefit from added security, comfort, energy management, and convenience, all while easily and remotely monitoring their home.

Landlords and property managers can greatly benefit from the use of smart home technologies in their rental properties – not only to attract tech-savvy tenants who will pay higher rent for these amenities, but also to actively manage maintenance, improve security, and prevent property damage. Here are some of the leading innovations in smart home technology and the benefits for landlords.

Lubn smart lock

Smart Locks: A common issue landlords face is providing approved access to maintenance personnel or contractors who need to work on something inside a rental unit. Smart locks and remote access allow landlords to unlock a unit using an app on their smartphone from wherever they are, and then re-lock it when the contractor vacates the unit. This avoids the hassle of coordinating schedules to meet in person or having to give out keys. Remote access can also come in handy when property managers or real estate agents are showing the property to a prospective renter.

Smart Appliances: Smart appliances can inform a landlord if an appliance requires maintenance, eliminating the need to rely on tenants to report problems in a timely manner. Sensors and comprehensive analytics will monitor the appliance and detect changes in performance, preventing problems before they even occur. Landlords can catch even small issues before they become bigger, expensive problems.

Moisture Sensors: A smart moisture sensor can detect excess moisture and send an alert to avoid excess water damage from plumbing issues, burst pipes, or flooding. Strategically placed moisture sensors can help detect unwanted water in areas that tenants might not be monitoring on a day-to-day basis – under the sink, under the washing machine, or in the basement. With a relatively small upfront cost, this smart technology can save you thousands of dollars in potential water damage.

Smart Irrigation Systems: Landlords toe a fine line between wanting to maintain landscaping efforts and wanting to actively manage water usage. These systems can go beyond a programmed timer for watering lawns and flower beds, also monitoring weather patterns, soil moisture content, and temperatures to adjust water usage accordingly.

Smart Utilities: Technology like smart LED light bulbs, smart plugs or smart thermostats can help reduce a landlord’s energy costs and increase profitability. If you are responsible for the utilities in your rental property, you’ll decrease your expenses and be able to actively manage energy use. If you don’t control the utilities at your rental property, renters will appreciate the opportunity to save money on their monthly utility bills, and you’ll likely attract energy-conscious tenants. When landlords are in between tenants or a property is vacant, the ability to remotely control energy usage will not only save money, but help to prevent issues like frozen pipes.

Smart Security Systems: Smart security systems like doorbell or driveway cameras have gained popularity due to the fact that they allow you to monitor your property from anywhere. There are highly customizable systems that allow you to keep an eye on things yourself, or pay a subscription fee to have your property surveilled by a professional service. Tenants will feel safer with the ability to check who is at the door from their smartphone, and landlords will be able to monitor the property when tenants are away or the property is vacant. Just be sure to respect tenant privacy when the property is occupied.

Research shows that household penetration in the smart home market is at 33.2% in 2019. Smart home technology can help landlords improve landlord-tenant relationships, eliminate emergency maintenance calls, and prevent expensive repairs. Not only will these tools make your job easier as a landlord, but they will attract renters as you keep up with the technology demand.

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How to Spend Your Time in Tokyo: A Suggested Itinerary for 2019

a peaceful garden in Tokyo, Japan
Posted: 4/25/2019 | April 15th, 2019

Tokyo is one of the most amazing cities in the world. It’s fast-paced, futuristic, and bursting with weird and wonderful activities to keep you busy, including gorgeous shrines, palaces, and temples; hip clubs and bars; and fashionable people and shopping, not to mention cherry blossoms.

Tokyo lives up to all the hype you’ve heard about it.

You never know what you’ll find here. One second you’ll run into a group of women dressed in pig masks and ’80s dresses and the next you’re in a robot café.

Or a centuries-old temple.

It’s also one of the biggest cities in the world, home to over 13 million people — almost 40 million if you count the Greater Tokyo Area. It’s massive!

Not surprisingly, it’ll take some time to see it all. And there are so many nooks and crannies to explore that it’s easy to get lost.

Here is my suggested itinerary on how to visit the best restaurants, sites, and activities in Tokyo:

Tokyo Itinerary: Day 1 – Ueno Park, Museums, and Asakusa

the Meguro river in Tokyo surrounded by cherry blossoms
Visit the Tsukiji and Toyosu Fish Market
As of 2018, the main fish market moved to Toyosu. The new market is twice the size of Tsukiji, making it the largest fish market in the world. Just make sure to get a visitor’s pass when you enter.

Eat just-caught sushi for breakfast and marvel at the chaotic atmosphere at the world’s largest tuna market. The auction here powers much of the world’s sushi supply, and it is truly breathtaking. All around you are fish with colors and shapes you didn’t know existed. I have never seen more seafood I couldn’t identify.

The old outer market where you can find food and shops is still in the same location, in Tsukiji. You can still head there to eat and look around but the main market is now in Toyosu.

Tsukiji Fish Market: 5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo, +81 3-3542-1111. Admission is free.

Toyosu Fish Market: 6 Chome-6-2 Toyosu, Koto, +81 3-3520-8205. Open Monday-Saturday from 5am-5pm, though most shops don’t open until 7am. Admission is free.

Relax in Ueno Park
Ueno Park is a lovely spot to spend the day. It’s a perfect spot to photograph the many cherry trees and have a picnic. Don’t miss these sites in the park:

  • Tokyo National Museum – This museum is in the north end of the park. Established in 1872, this massive building houses one of the world’s largest collections of art and artifacts from Asia, particularly Japan. 13-9 Uenokoen, Taito, +81 3-3822-1111, Open daily 9:30am-5pm (8pm on most Fridays). Admission is 620 JPY.
  • Tosho-gu Shrine – This 17th-century Shinto shrine can also be found in the park. It’s beautiful with carved gold doors and ornate carvings. 9-88 Uenokoen, Taito, +81 3-3822-3455, Open daily 9am-5:30pm. Admission is free, though to go further into the shrine, you’ll have to pay 500 JPY.

National Museum of Western Art
Opened in 1959, this is one of the only art galleries in the country to focus on Western art. The collection of almost 5,000 pieces extends from the Renaissance all the way to the 20th century.

7-7 Uenokoen, +81 3-3828-5131 , Open Tuesday-Sunday 9:30am-5:30pm (8pm on Fridays). Admission is 500 JPY for adults, 250 for college students, and free for seniors and anyone under 18.

Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum
Built in 1933, this small museum used to be the official residence of the Prince and Princess Asaka. The prince had studied in Paris and wanted to bring the art deco style to Japan, which explains the building’s style and decorations. In 1983, the residence became a museum and is now home to a rotating series of modern art exhibitions.

5-21-9 Shirokanedai, +81 3-3443-0201, Open daily 10am-6pm. Admission is 200 JPY, with discounts available for students, children, and seniors.

Stroll Along the Meguro River
The Meguro River weaves almost five miles through the city and makes for a magnificent stroll. There’s a path with a bit of green space that follows the water, so plenty of locals walk or exercise there. In the spring, you’ll be able to see a lot of cherry blossoms.

Check out Asakusa
If you want to check out some of Tokyo’s historic religious sites, be sure to spend some time wandering around Asakusa. Two places that I’d suggest you visit are:

  • Senso-ji – This is Tokyo’s most popular and famous temple. It’s beautifully painted and sits in a scenic spot near a pagoda and the beautiful Kaminari Gate. There’s a huge statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, inside the main hall. Look at the “wooden wishes” cards hanging off to the side: you can write your own and join the artistic display. It’s very busy during the day, so maybe check out the grounds in the evening. 2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taito, +81 3-3842-0181, The grounds are open 24/7, though the temple itself is open daily 6am-5pm. Admission is free.
  • Asakusa Shrine – Not far from Senso-ji is this Shinto shrine. This is much more peaceful than Senso-ji as there are fewer people and you’ll able to see people praying, meditating, or performing traditional rituals. It was built during the Edo period and survived the air raids of World War II. 2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taito, +81 3-3844-1575, Open daily 9am-4:30pm. Admission is free.

Have Dinner with Ninjas
For a unique dining experience, head to Ninja Akasaka, a ninja-themed restaurant designed like an Edo-era building, with waitstaff clothed in stereotypical all-black garb and trained in all sorts of tricks and illusions. You’ll order off old scrolls while being entertained by the skillful tricks of your server! It’s super fun.

Tokyu Plaza Akasaka, +81 3-5157-3936, Open daily 5pm-10:30pm (9:45pm on Sundays)

Drink in Golden Gai
If you are looking for something interesting to do at night, this alley of backstreet bars is a cool spot to start at. There isn’t much going on here during the day, but come sundown, these zigzag hallways and closet-sized beer rooms are filled with interesting people and cheap drinks.

Tokyo Itinerary: Day 2 – Imperial Palace, Below the Girders, and Quirky Cafes

a peaceful garden in Tokyo, Japan
Stop by the Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace, home to the Emperor of Japan, is a terrific spot to learn about Japan’s history and culture. Formerly Edo Castle, it was built in the 15th century, and some of the walls and moats from that time are still in use to this day. When the Emperor moved from Kyoto to Tokyo in 1869, he took Edo for his new palace and renamed it the Imperial Palace.

Though you can’t go inside (or get super close), the building is amazing. It is surrounded by beautiful grounds and a park, and there’s a moat around the stone walls. You can also see the changing of the guard ceremony, though it’s relatively low-key and unassuming. Admission to the grounds is free.

Visit the National Art Center
Opened in 2007, this museum and gallery doesn’t actually have a permanent collection but rather houses a never-ending series of temporary exhibitions, from impressionism to modern art. Check their website to see what is currently being shown.

7 Chome-22-2 Roppongi, +81 3-5777-8600, Open Wednesday-Monday 10am-5:30pm. Admission varies by exhibit.

Eat Below the Girders
Not far from Ginza is the Yurakucho neighborhood. Below the elevated train tracks at Yurakucho Station is a 700m-long stretch of restaurants and bars. There are wine bars, beer pubs, and casual restaurants filled with businessmen. If you want to get a sense of local city life, this is a good neighborhood to explore after the workday is over.

Superhero Go-Karting
Want to speed around the streets of Tokyo in a go-kart while wearing a costume? Of course, you do! MariCar is a real-life Mario Bros. go-kart company that lets you dress up and race around the city. As long as you have an international driving permit (which you can get if you have a valid driver’s license), you can take part.

4-12-9 Sotokanda, +81 80-8899-8899, Open daily 10am-10pm. The course will take 1-2 hours and costs 9,000 JPY per person. There are multiple locations around the city.

Check out a Sento
A sento is a traditional Japanese public bathhouse. The Japanese are not shy in sentos so you need to be comfortable with nudity! They are typically separated by gender. A budget-friendly sento will cost you just under 1,000 JPY.

Visit a Quirky Café
Tokyo has all sorts of amazing, weird, and wonderful cafés. Monster cafés, owl cafés, cat cafés, vampire cafés, dog cafés, religious-themed cafés, and much more! If you’re looking for something unusual to do, see what weird and quirky cafés are near you (they’re all around the city so you never have to go far to find one!). Here are some suggestions:

  • Kawaii Monster Café
  • Vampire Café
  • Christon Café (Christian-themed café)
  • Dog Heart (dog café)
  • Cat Café Calico

Tokyo Itinerary: Day 3 – Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Robots

the busy streets of Toky at night
Stroll Around Shimokitazawa
Brimming with vintage shops, this Bohemian neighborhood, often compared to the New York’s East Village showcases the quieter side of Tokyo. Whether you’re looking to shop or just want to take in the scene, it makes for a cool neighborhood to explore.

Stroll through Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
This park is over 144 acres with some 20,000 trees. Most of the original park was destroyed in World War II during the air raids but was rebuilt and reopened in 1949.

During spring, this beautiful park is one of the best spaces to see cherry blossoms. My favorite part is the Japanese landscape garden, which has several ponds with bridges and islands. It’s a peaceful little oasis within the hustle and bustle of the city.

11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku, +81 3-3350-0151, Open Tuesday-Sunday 9am-4pm. Admission is 200 JPY.

Visit Shibuya Crossing
This is quite possibly the busiest and most famous intersection in the world. This area is buzzing at night, with bright lights and frenzied activity, like Times Square on steroids. Make sure to visit the statue between Shibuya Station and the intersection; it’s a tribute to Hachiko, the loyal dog made famous in the film Hachi: A Dog’s Tale.

Eat at the Robot Restaurant
This restaurant is an absolute sensory overload. Lasers, robots, monsters…it has it all! It may be a tourist trap (not cheap), but it is epic, unlike anything you’ve ever seen and worth the price if you want to do something completely out of the ordinary!

1 Chome-7-1 Kabukicho, +81 3-3200-5500, There are three performances a day on weekdays starting at 4:45pm, with afternoon matinees on weekends.

Hang with the Harajuku girls
Harajuku is an electric and quirky part of town. You’ll often see teenage “Harajuku girls” walking around town in unique clothing and colorful hairstyles — imagine a 1990s Gwen Stefani video come to life. There’s also a monthly Harajuku Fashion Walk, in which costumed cos-players parade around — for dates, check out the group’s Twitter account (@harajuku_fw).

Experience a Tea Ceremony
No visit to Japan is complete without experiencing a traditional tea ceremony. While these are usually long and expensive experiences, there are definitely some budget-friendly options for anyone looking to experience the ceremony without breaking the bank. Here are a few worth checking out:

  • Kyoto-kan (500 JPY per person, Yanmar Tokyo Building 1F 2-1-1)
  • Nadeshiko (2,700-4,400 JPY per person, 2-7-24-2F Asakusa)
  • The Way of Tea (5,500 JPY per person, Coredo Muromachi 3 3F)

Watch Traditional Japanese Theatre
Kabuki theatre is a traditional form of Japanese performance involving dance and drama. The costumes and makeup are heavily stylized, making for a very visual performance. The Kabukizaka Theatre, located in Ginza, is the best locale to see one of these incredible displays. You can purchase tickets for an entire show or just one act if you’re not ready to commit to a longer performance (they’re in Japanese and last a few hours).

4 Chome-12-15 Ginza, +81 3-3545-6800, Performances are held almost daily. Check the website for the most up-to-date schedule. Expect to pay at least 1,000 JPY for a single-act ticket.

Tokyo Itinerary: Day 4 – Take a Day Trip

the giant Buddha statue near Tokyo called Daibutsu
Time to take a break from the city and head out on a day trip. Here are some suggestions:

Visit Daibutsu (the Great Buddha)
Make a day trip to Kamakura, where you can see a 13m bronze statue of Buddha. Built in 1252, the statue was initially constructed within a temple, but the temple was washed away — on several occasions — by storms. The statue now sits in the open air.

4 Chome-2-28 Hase, Kamakura, +81 467-22-0703, Open daily 8am-5:30pm. Admission is 200 JPY.

Get Touristy at Tokyo Disneyland
I’m a sucker for Disney attractions! This is a fun choice for anyone traveling with children, but also for any adults who just love amusement parks. Opened in 1983, it has seven themed areas to explore and is the third most visited theme park in the world!

1-1 Maihama, Urayasu, +81 45-330-5211, Open daily 8am-10pm. Admission is 7,400 JPY for adults and 4,800-6,400 JPY for children, depending on age.

Hike Mount Mitake
Located just over an hour from Tokyo is Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park. The park covers 1,250 square kilometers of rolling hills, mountains, and forests. There are plenty of hiking trails, though you can also take a cable car to the top and then hike to the shrine that sits on the peak, some 930m above sea level.

Gaze at Mt. Fuji from Hakone
Located just over an hour from Tokyo, Hakone is one of the best places to get away from the city, relax for a few days, and take in the view of Mount Fuji. There are numerous guesthouses in the area, many with their own private onsen (hot springs).

Visit the Ghibli Museum
If you’re a fan of famed director Hayao Miyazaki’s work (Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke), then you’ll want to check out this amazing exhibition. It was designed by Miyazaki himself and is an immersive experience that any film buff will appreciate. There is also a new short film every month, only available to visitors. The museum won’t take up a whole day, but it’s not in a very central location so you’ll need to plan accordingly.

1 Chome-1-83 Shimorenjaku, +81 570-055-777, Open Wednesday-Monday 10am-6pm. Admission is 1,900 JPY for adults, with discounts available for youth and children. There are limited tickets available each day so book in advance.

Tokyo Itinerary: Day 5 – Tokyo Tower, Sumo Match, and Samurai

The Tokyo Tower at sunset in Tokyo, Japan
Visit the Tokyo Tower
Built in 1957 and resembling the Eiffel Tower, the Tokyo Tower is taller (at 333m) than its European version and made entirely of steel. You can pay to go all the way to the top floor to take in the view, but frankly, the main observation deck offers one that’s just as good.

4 Chome-2-8 Shibakoen, Minato, +81 3-3433-5111, Open daily 9am-11pm. Admission is 900 JPY for the main deck or 1,600 JPY for the top.

Visit the Samurai Museum
No trip to Japan would be complete without learning about samurai. While they were known for their martial skill, there was much more to the culture than just mastering the katana (a traditional sword). The museum has some incredible displays of traditional weapons and armor, some of which you can even try on.

Kabukicho 2-25-6, +81 3-6457-6411, Open daily 10:30am-9pm. Admission is 1,900 JPY per person. You can explore the museum on your own or in a group tour, which are conducted every 30 minutes.

Walk across the Rainbow Bridge
This is the city’s most popular bridge and offers some lovely views of both sides of Tokyo Bay. Built in 1993, the bright lights up at night with rainbow colors — hence the name. It makes for a pleasant walk during the day or at night.

Watch a Sumo Match
Kokugikan, Japan’s most famous sumo wrestling arena, hosts tournaments three times each year. The sumo wrestling that we see today dates back to the 17th century, though its origins date back even further, and it’s still one of the most popular traditions in the country. If you’re in town at the right time, this is a must-do! Tickets sell out quickly so act quick. A visit to one of the sumo stables nearby can be interesting but must be arranged well in advance.

1 Chome-3-2-8 Yokoami, Sumida, +81 3-3623-5111, Ticket prices vary, but expect to pay around 2,200 JPY.

Drinks at the Park Hyatt
New York Bar is the iconic bar from Sofia Coppola’s 2003 film Lost in Translation. Located on the 52nd floor, it actually lives up to the hype of the film. The atmosphere is classy, the drinks are great, and the view is absolutely stunning. There is live jazz every night, and while there is a cover charge (around 2,500 JPY), it’s definitely worth it!

3-7-1-2 Nishishinjuku, +81 3-5322-1234, Open Sunday-Wednesday 5pm-12am and Thursday-Saturday 5pm-1am.

Where to Eat

sushi in Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo is so huge and has so many dining options, that it would be impossible to pick just two or three favorites. Here are just a few of my favorite restaurants in Tokyo:

  • Bifteck Kawamura Ginza – The steak here basically melted in my mouth and exploded with flavor. I found it a bit too high-end and overpriced for me though. 6 Chome-5-1 Ginza, Ginza MST Bldg. 8F, Chuo, 104-0061, +81 3-6252-5011,
  • Ichiran Shibuya – This ramen spot served one of the best meals I had my entire trip. The thick, flavorful broth is to die for. I also like how you eat in your own little private booth. Funky. Expect a wait during peak lunch and dinner times. 1 Chome-22-7 Jinnan, Shibuya, 150-0041, +81 3-3463-3667,
  • Isakaya Juban – A little hole-in-the-wall izakaya restaurant (think Japanese tapas) with locals getting drunk on sake and eating tasty small plates. I was big fan of its salmon and grilled squid. 2 Chome-1-2 Azabujuban, Minato, 106-0045, +81 3-3451-6873,
  • Kakimaru – An amazing seafood and tapas place. Be sure to get the oysters. Note: While Google Maps will list the restaurant as Kakimaru, when you go there, the restaurant will be called Uohama. 6 Chome-1-6 Roppongi, Minato, 106-0032, +81-3-5413-3689.
  • Standing Sushi Bar – This standing sushi location is one of many in town. It’s great for a quick bite: you stand, eat sushi, and get out. It has a robust menu and it’s cheap! 1 Chome-12-12 Nishishinjuku, Kasai Bldg. 1F, Shinjuku, 160-0023, +81 3-3349-1739,
  • Tenmatsu Tempura – The tempura here is well known for its lightness. It’s a small establishment with set tempura menus. 1 Chome-8-2 Nihonbashimuromachi, Chuo, 103-0022, +81 3-3241-5840,

For more places to eat, check out this post on the best places to eat in Tokyo.

Extra Resources

the bright signs and busy streets of Tokyo at night
To see what other fun and interesting activities are going on in the city during your visit, here are a few magazines and websites you’ll want to check out:


Tokyo is a massive city. You could spend a lifetime here and still not discover everything there is to see. But if you follow the itinerary and suggestions above, you’ll be able to have a fun and insightful visit and leave this sprawling capital with a nuanced perspective of what life in Tokyo is like. Best of all, you’ll be able to do it without breaking the bank!

Book Your Trip to Japan: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the most comprehensive inventory so they are best for booking a hostel. If you want to stay in a hotel or guesthouse in Japan, use as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. They’re the best booking site out there. My favorite places to stay in Japan are:

  • Khaosan Tokyo Kabuki (Tokyo) – This is one of the best hostels in the country. The staff go above and beyond, each room has its own bathroom, and it’s in a great location to help you explore the city.
  • Sheena and Ippei – This hostel is super homey, and the owners are both helpful and knowledgable. The lounge is open to everyone, and you can enjoy appetizers and sake on the weekends.
  • Hostel Chapter Two Tokyo – This is a small, family-run hostel in Asakusa. There’s a great view of the river and the dorms seem new and immaculately clean.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

Looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all the ones I use to save money when I travel – and I think will help you too!

Looking for more travel tips for Japan
Check out my in-depth Japan travel guide for more ways to save money, costs, tips on what to see and do, suggested itineraries, reading, packing lists, and much, much more!

The post How to Spend Your Time in Tokyo: A Suggested Itinerary for 2019 appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

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