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Blog - foXnoMad

Why You Should Never Use Airport Charging Stations Unless You Do This

Airport are usually the only place to you’ve got to charge up a 1% battery in between flights, but as tempting as USB ports near your gate can be, they pose a big security risk to your privacy. In the video above I explain the risks and why your should treat public USB ports like public wifi networks. USB ports can transfer data as well as power, the former potentially exposing your phone to malware. A tool like the PortaPow, which blocks those data connections should be considered essential gear every time you plugin at airports, cafes, or any public USB port.

SafetyWing Travel Insurance Review: A Good Plan For Travelers Without One

bogota fruit market

Travel insurance is the type of add-on to a trip you don’t know you need until what is invariably a bad time. A sprained ankle, appendicitis, the kind of medical emergency you don’t want anywhere, especially without some kind of insurance coverage.

Often, you’ve got to apply for travel insurance with a set itinerary in mind: where you’re going and when, all in advance. Travel enough though and you’re likely to change plans at some point, possibility invalidating insurance coverage. SafetyWing operates differently, with options for frequent travelers, long-term trips, and all of the increasingly common, uncommon digital nomad categories you may fall into.

The best way to review travel insurance is to actually use it. When SafetyWing got in touch for a potential review, I didn’t have the right trip planned but my friend Jessie on a Journey was off to Nepal. She shares her experience with SafetyWing below.

jessie festa

What SafetyWing Covers

Here is their policy at a glance:

  • Robust Coverage – With SafetyWing nomad travel insurance, you’ll be covered for unexpected illness or injury. This includes hospital, doctor, and prescription drug expenses (where eligible). Additionally, you’re covered for travel delays, lost checked luggage, lost/stolen passport, non-professional sports and activities, if you need new accommodation due to a natural disaster, accidental death or dismemberment. I know, not fun to think about, but important.

Note that the above is just a small sampling of what is covered. It’s important to review their policy to gain a full understanding of exactly what is or isn’t covered.

  • A Large Network – You’ll be covered in any country in the world outside of Iran, North Korea or Cuba. Additionally, you’re not covered if you hold Cuban citizenship.
  • $250,000 of Coverage – Their deductible is very low at $250, too.
  • No Time Limit – If you’re a digital nomad who plans to travel for many years, you can continue renewing your SafetyWing subscription.
  • One Deductible – Instead of needing to pay a deductible for every claim, you have one low overall deductible of $250 per year.
  • Access to Private Health Care Providers – If you’re in a destination where the public healthcare system isn’t great, this is an important option to have.

One really unique feature SafteyWing includes is limited coverage in your home country as well, so long as the visit isn’t for an appointment to treat an ailment that began on your trip. So if you’re home and an accident happens, you have 30 days of at-home coverage (or 15 days in the United States) during every 90-day cycle.

SafetyWing Limitations

Travelers who are over 69 are no eligible to purchase plans and visitors to the U.S. will need to get a new plan before their trip. U.S. coverage is a different plan altogether, which can’t be added on later. This means you’ll need to cancel and re-purchase a new plan, and your deductible will reset.

How Sign-Up Works

As you can also see above, it’s possible to purchase the travel insurance for less than one month to get a pro-rated policy. One small problem I ran into had to do with me being a New York resident. If you live in New York, Maryland, or Washington, you can’t physically be in your home state when you purchase due to local laws. [Anil here, a VPN will help you get around this restriction.]

safetywing

The Future Of SafetyWing Insurance

The company already has a great product, though they are currently working to launch the following features:

SafetyWing are also looking at potential comprehensive coverage (for your home country), a disability, and pension plans as well.

Flat-Fee Plans

Unlike most travel insurance companies where you need to provide a number of details before speaking with someone and getting a quote, SafetyWing works like a subscription. That is because instead of offering 10+ plans, they offer one robust policy solution. You’ll pay $37 per month for worldwide travel medical coverage (for travelers aged 18-39, though other ages are available).

  • Note that travel to the USA adds $31 per four weeks.

Quite often, companies charge $100+ for one month of coverage, so this is a great deal. While writing this article I actually went and got quotes from a number of other companies to confirm this. Unlike most travel insurance providers, you don’t need to purchase their insurance before your trip, either.

Taking The Headache Out Of Travel Insurance For Digital Nomads

What I really appreciate about SafetyWing is that I don’t need to answer a ton of questions and add up all of my travel expenses just to get taken to a page where I then to need to sift through numerous plan options. Instead, everything is included in one affordable price.

Thanks Jessie for your review! You can read Jessie’s full review here, catch up on her trip to Nepal, and learn more about SafetyWing here. All photos in this post (except the first one) are courtesy JessieonaJourney.com.

The Galapagos Are A Camera’s Dream: Here’s The Photo Evidence [Part 2 of 2]

The first part of this series was a close look at the Galapagos but here in Part 2, I’m zooming out a bit to put the background in focus.

nazca booby

What one of the most iconic shots from the Galapagos Islands lacks in color it makes up for in contrast.

galapagos islands

When you get to the top, take a look back.

galapagos trail

The number of visitors to each area is strictly limited to preserve the environment.

galapagos andando

These iguana are surprisingly good swimmers.

galapagos iguana

Bacteria in their gut aid digestion, giving the iguanas impressive bellies.

galapagos iguana

🙂

galapagos iguana smile

On islands where they have no predators, the cactus have soft spines. Otherwise, better watch your step.

galapagos cactus

This young rebel was hanging out in a tree, very rare for any age iguana.

galapagos iguana

Can’t really see, can’t really hear, don’t really care since they don’t realize you’re near.

galapagos tortise

Someone doesn’t skip leg day.

galapagos lizards

It’s hard to believe these palm-sized tortoises will become 180 kilos one day.

galapagos tortise babies

Look closely and you’ll see mom keeping an eye on the little ones.

sea lion pups

One of the harder birds to capture on camera, a Galapagos hawk.

galapagos hawk

Now, test your eyes, how many do you see?

galapagos mockingbirds

Even the bird poop is majestic.

galapagos islands

Hey bro, take a few so I can choose my favorite.

galapagos photos

We’re all friends here.

galapagos iguana

Like wildlife, so many photos…

galapagos animals

…like this former volcano crater. (Droning in not allowed in Galapagos and it’s not easy to get a permit but this view from above would have been amazing.)

galapagos volcano crater

I’ll link to the full galleries.

galapagos sunset

Right here, plus the best places to eat in Puerto Ayora, and short movie trailer for the Galapagos sea lion pups who can’t get enough attention.

The Galapagos Are A Camera’s Dream: Here’s The Photo Evidence [Part 1 of 2]

galapagos trails

There are more than enough photos of the Galapagos Islands on the Internet and whether you’ve been there or not, most people can’t take or see too many pictures of this remarkably well-preserved environment. Although sea lion pups are certainly the main celebrities in Galapagos, it’s hard to describe how many animals are literally everywhere.

For those who have the opportunity, I would recommend seeing as much of the Galapagos, which is spread over 21 islands as you can. Yes, it’s an expensive place to visit but worth saving the money and time if it’s a possibility; in fact if I were limited to only one place to travel in a lifetime, it would probably be the Galapagos.

Nothing I had read or watched prepared me for the wildlife density all around. The picture of this blue-footed booby is deceptive – when I glanced down at the water, there were baby sharks, rays, turtles, all swimming around this natural nursery.

blue footed booby

Hello.

galapagos ray

Don’t mind me, passing through.

galapagos crab

Baby version.

baby swallow tailed gull

Grownup swallow-tailed gulls.

swallow tailed gulls

Keeping 2 meters away (as is the rule), modest zoom for the rest. This is a nazca booby.

nazca booby

They’re all called boobies not because they have nice bird cleavage but it’s thought it comes from the Spanish word for fool, “bobo”, or clown “bufon” – because all of them are look really silly walking.

nazca booby

And when they don’t know what to do, they stare at their feet. Personally, I think they’re just camera shy.

galapagos birds

They’re not entirely graceful at takeoff either.

galapagos boobies

Did someone say seal lion?

galapagos sea lion

Rolls eyes…

galapagos wildlife

Occasionally they’re in the trees but I had to watch my step, the ground was full of birds walking around without a care in the world.

galapagos boobies

Mockingbird selfie.

mockingbird galapagos

Not impressed.

galapagos owl

Flashy crab.

red crab galapagos Grapsus grapsus

This workout brought to you by a former volcano.

volcano galapagos

Make sure you get my good side.

galapagos sunset

Got down to the coast and there were shark fins right off shore. A beautiful nightmare.

galapagos coast

I like your exterior designer, Galapagos.

galapagos red plants

Nobody will ever notice me.

galapagos lizard

We’re cute.

galapagos crabs

I’m cuter.

sea lion pup sleeping galapagos

A debate which will go on at least until Part 2, coming later this week. Subscribe here so you don’t miss it or follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube.

3 Of The Best Places To Drink Whisky In Edinburgh, Scotland

whisky edinburgh

You may not like whisky and many would say it’s because you’ve not had the right whisky – to which I would add, you’ve not had whisky in Edinburgh, Scotland. Experiencing whisky in Edinburgh gives you a flavor of the culture here as well, people who like to talk, often over drinks, and good Scotch whisky gives you the opportunity for both across the city.

Here are 3 of the best places to drink whisky in Edinburgh, a city to visit if you don’t know where to go, for enthusiasts and amateurs alike.

1. The Albanach

the albanach edinburgh

At first glance this pub on the corner of Edinburgh’s downtown might trigger your tourist trap alarm but staff at The Albanach are friendly and very knowledgeable about whiskies. Plop yourself down at the bar or grab a (rather hearty) meal before 8pm; anyone behind the counter will have the right whiskies whether you ask for their recommendations or have some specifics in mind. Based on your tastes, preferences, and combined with some creativity on their part, you may just find a whisky you never knew was perfect for you.

2. Royal Mile Whiskies

royal mile whiskies edinburgh

Again, deceiving from the outside if you tend to avoid places that look too popular to be interesting, Royal Mile Whiskies blend the drinks with the land from which the Scotch is fermented. Royal Mile Whiskies is where to go if you’re shopping for a gift or something to take home, it’s where I discovered my favorite whisky I never knew existed. Chances are high Royal Mile Whiskies is where you’ll find a unique Scotch too. Plenty of complimentary tastings inside as well to help you decide.

3. Arcade – Haggis and Whisky House

edinburgh scotland bagpipes

As the name implies, there are two things Arcade does especially well. Arcade is popular and often crowded but if you can catch a time when it’s a bit quieter, you won’t be disappointed. Since it’s well-known, it can be less inviting if you arrive at peak hours, so plan accordingly.

Notable Mentions

There are a lot of excellent places to drink Scotch whisky, with tastings and knowledgeable bartenders, across Edinburgh. For visitors, these three are in the middle of town, easily accessible, and fun places if you’re with friends or traveling solo. Up the road, Deacon Brodie’s Tavern is also a nice choice, with a few caveats. They’re one of the places open later for food, but avoid eating there on the weekends because there will be a line out the door. During the week however, excellent for an after-8pm meal or a generally anytime dram of whisky at the first floor bar.

Much like Turkish raki, the best accompaniment to whisky is conversation, with no better place than Edinburgh for both.

Why Do You Fart So Much When Flying?

Extra flatulence is not just you (or the person next to you) but rather a phenomena everyone experiences to varying degrees as altitude increases. It’s something you may have pondered the last time you flew and my video above explains exactly why this happens and a few things you can do to mitigate farts when flying.

Essentially, as you go up from sea level, the decrease in air pressure allows the gas already in your gut to expand. As the gases expand, they start putting extra pressure on your insides, eventually wanting to make their way out from the only exit available.

Start With Less Gas

Since these gases are created by the bacteria in your gut as a byproduct of digestion, the first countermeasure is to reduce the amount of food for them prior to flying. Ideally, flying hungry first thing in the morning should mean fewer farts in flight. (Keep in mind when you land, air pressure closer to sea level increases which can also cause cramping.)

In case you can’t avoid eating right before or during a flight, sticking to lesser processed menu items may help. Roughly 65% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant to some degree, so ordering a vegan meal can help you avoid dairy products. Less processed food could also be beneficial.

You can catch up on all the gassy details in the video but keep in mind about 60% of pilots report regular bloating while flying, meaning it is something we all have to deal with. Even on the ground, the average person farts about 10-20 times a day but if you’re particularly concerned about stinking up the cabin, some charcoal-filtered underwear might be an option for you. For everyone else, the bathroom is a good alternative if you can make it on time.

About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutI'm the blogger and computer security engineer who writes foXnoMad while on a journey to visit every country in the world. I'll show you the tips, tricks, and tech you can use to travel smarter. Read More


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