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Why The World Needs Tourism Back But Better This Time

Why The World Needs Tourism Back But Better This Time

Look, traveling won’t make you an enlightened person or justify long drawn out soliloquies on Instagram under a photo of your butt sticking out. Traveling in many ways is a narcissistic clout grab phenomena. But underneath it, tourism is a crusty glue between the table legs of international relations barely keeping it from completely tipping over.

Here’s why the world needs tourism, improved.

Pandemic Experiment

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed many things. We’re destroying the natural world. Teleworking is feasible, preferable, and office life should die a quick death. We also got to see a year without travel. No, I don’t care about your tone deaf selfies in front of war memorials but rather want you to look at the globe. Take all those borders around the countries and you might as well make them walls.

Some have actually become walls. It turns out an interconnected planet might be keeping humanity from totally annihilating itself.

Civil Unrest On The Rise

According to the Global Peace Index, 2021 has been a year of civil unrest. Part of that is the stress the pandemic has put on governments. Yes, many of them suck at governing. Free flowing capital from tourism and commerce has highlighted why a social safety net paid with your taxes (but not these guys for some reason) is a good idea.

The pandemic has been a catalyst to some major problems. A world slowly cooking itself thanks to climate change, populist leaders helping themselves, refugees being used as human ammunition, the world is now in desperate need of tourism and the interaction understanding and connection is creates.

However small personally, economically, and ethically, the world needs tourism back in a new way.

Dictating Currencies

An economic crunch might be harming corrupt governments but it’s people who are feeling the pain. Aide to refugees and people in conflict zones has been severely hampered by the pandemic according to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC). This, in a year that’s seen refugee numbers increase by 4% and conflict in half or the world’s countries. Poaching of elephants in places like Sumatra has increased too as locals desperate for money are hunting the species into extinction. (They say trophy hunting brings in a lot of cash to Africa. In South Africa, it’s less than half of one percent. Let’s do away with it.)

empty national mall

Many travelers would be willing to pay to see these and other animals in their natural environment. Perhaps, in between selfies, a fraction of understanding is gained too. One that can be shared to others, even if by osmosis or inspiration. Maybe there is a better way to run this planet and see all its wonders.

It’s Humanizing

Speaking from experience when you’ve been to places like Yemen or Ukraine or anywhere for that matter they becomes less “they” and more that child who shyly asked to take a selfie with me. Whatever happened to them? Those people being pushed into barbed wire fences are people like me and you because you’ve met them.

The world gets smaller the more you travel. This should be the purpose of tourism. Not shopping in another country because it’s so much cheaper than home. That’s just dumping your money in another nation without having to live there and face whatever the government does or doesn’t do with it.

Traveling should facilitate understanding otherwise you’re just being the same old idiot somewhere else. But as governments open up for tourism, tourists should be more cognizant of where they’re going. Why it may be so cheap. And who the people are that live there. We’ve seen what a world without tourism is like and it’s certainly worse off but we don’t have to go back to the old way of doing things. We can, and should, travel smarter.

How Much To Tip Movers, Hairdressers, And More In The U.S.

How Much To Tip Movers, Hairdressers, And More In The U.S.

Tipping is a confusing in the United States. For visitors it can be hard to understand why the “typical 15%” isn’t always the right amount not to mention industries from hotels, hairdressers, tattoo artists, to nail salons all have their own tipping etiquette. You could argue employees should be paid a living wage where salaries don’t have to be subsidized by customer tips (and you’d be right) but until that’s the case, here’s how much to tip in the United States for common services.

Bars & Restaurants

Unless it’s clearly stated otherwise, a minimum 15% tip is expected at all restaurants and bars. You may leave 20% for exceptional service or up to 25% on smaller purchases, like a cup of coffee. At bars, leave at least a dollar per drink is there is no table service. At cafes without table service there is often a tip jar. The 15-20% rule does not generally apply in these circumstances, leaving small change or a few dollars (based on the cost of your overall order) is acceptable.

This map is now available in app form! TipFox is available on the App Store and Google Play.

 

tipfox ios app store     tipfox google play android
Barbershops & Hairdressers

The standard rule of thumb applies to barbers and hairdressers which is to say expect to tip 15-20%. Tips at barbershops and hairdressers are typically given in cash (so be prepared) but some will accept tips by credit card when you’re done. In cases where tips are collected by credit card it’s important to ask how the tips will be distributed to make sure any assistants who may have helped you are also being tipped.

Salon assistants (for example, those washing your hair) may not be getting a share of the tips being collected. It’s best to check with the receptionist to be sure but if they’re not, then a standard $5-10 is appropriate for each assistant who’s personally attended to you. For hairstylists who are spending more than 3 hours with you (working on cut, color, or other services) then you may want to consider tipping more, around 22-25%.

For quick touchups (like bang trims) that are shorter than 10-15 minutes, a tip of $5-10 is still considered a common courtesy.

Movers

Moving into a new place? For movers transporting your things over long distances (anything further than across town) 15-20% of the total cost of the move is expected. For shorter, across town moves, 5-10% is more common. For difficult moves or particularly good service, a tip of 10-20% of the total cost will be appreciated. Alternatively, flat fee tips are generally acceptable. In those cases, $20-30 per crew member (for shorter moves) and closer to $40 for longer moves (between cities or cross country).

spiral stairs

In case a piano is part of the move, $20-40 per mover. For furniture deliveries typically $5-10 a person is expected but consider $10-20 if there’s assembly involved or otherwise more difficult circumstances (e.g. spiral stairs).

Tattoo Artists

Getting some ink? A 15-20% (generally closer to 20%) tip is expected. Tips should be given once the work is complete.

Massage Therapists

A 20% tip of the total cost is expected. Some spas will have the tip included in the rate (so be sure to check with reception) or will not allow tipping at all. Double check to make sure you know the rules.

Nail Salons

Tips of 15-20% are expected. For shorter services like manicures or new nail sets tip closer to 20-25%. You should check with your technician if tips are left at the front desk or given directly to them. Keep in mind most places will prefer cash, so arrive prepared.

Food Delivery

A 15-20% tip is expected. For fast food deliveries under $10 a $2-4 is expected.

Going Abroad?

Tipping is a global phenomena everywhere except where it’s not. Be sure to keep up with how much to tip for everything around the world before your next trip and download TipFox which puts specific tipping advice automatically on your phone (available for iOS and Android).

5 Creepy Travel Sites You’d Actually Want To Visit

5 Creepy Travel Sites You’d Actually Want To Visit

There are a number of spooky stories. Some are completely based in fantasy while others like recent murders a little too macabre. Mysterious encounters, sightings, and places you would actually want to visit (outside of the creepiness) do exist. These are 5 creepy sites from the foXnoMad Podcast you might actually want to visit on your next trip.

1. Margate Shell Grotto

margate shell grotto

Located in Kent, England and discovered in 1835 by a father and son digging around a duck pond, the Margate Shell Grotto is a snaking 185 square meter cavern. Adorned with over 4.6 million shells, it contains an altar room and rotunda. Nobody knows who built this mysterious site and there aren’t any good guesses either. You can though visit the Margate Shell Grotto for a few British Pounds and explore it yourself.

2. Socorro UFO Landing Site

socorro ufo site

On April 24, 1964, just outside of Socorro, New Mexico, Police Officer Lonnie Zamora was chasing a speeding teenager. As he headed out into the desert though something caught his eye. Zamora stopped pursuit and saw a craft with beings walking around outside. The U.S. Air Force conducted an investigation, collection photos and physical evidence to corroborate Zamora’s story. Even to this day, the official government site of Socorro lists its coordinates.

3. Historic Anchorage Hotel

historic anchorage hotel

Built in 1916 and the only historic hotel in Alaska’s largest city, the Historic Anchorage Hotel is known for 3 ghosts whose sightings are so common, a guest book at reception records them. If you want to see the otherworldly little boy, murdered police chief, or ghastly bride, rooms 215, 217, 202 and 205 are know to be especially haunting.

4. Ruwa, Zimbabwe

One of the most conventionally un-explainable UFO encounters, the mass sighting and interaction between 62 students and faculty of an alien craft and beings in Ruwa, Zimbabwe has shook those who’ve studied it. Harvard professor of psychiatry John Mack interviewed the kids extensively and BBC’s local correspondent Tim Leach said after his investigation, “I could handle war zones, but I could not handle this.”

5. Bunny Man Bridge

bunny man bridge

The urban legend is creepy but the true story is even more bizarre. Studied for over a decade by Fairfax County Archivist Brian Conley, his paper on the government website is the foremost treatise on the Bunny Man. A small bridge in northern Virginia, there’s no asylum or gutted bunnies like the myth but a hatch through a car window? That happened to a couple on October 18, 1970 but a man dressed in a bunny outfit. Nobody was hurt and two weeks later, the Bunny Man was sighted again. Axe in hand, attacking an abandoned home, he threatened witnesses to stay away. Since then, he’s not been seen and nobody knows who this person was. You can try your luck (or lack thereof) on a Halloween at midnight, with a number of locals who dare to defy the curse of the Bunny Man.

Use This Backpack Zipper Trick To Stop Pickpockets

Being out of your direct line of sight backpacks are often your most vulnerable accessory while typically are carrying our most valuable stuff. Fortunately there’s a simple zipper trick that relies on alignment that can seriously hamper the plans of most pickpockets.

Zip Up Top

The simple way to deter pickpockets from your backpack is to zip the zippers up at the top, not on the sides. Zipping up top helps deter pickpockets since access to the interior becomes much more awkward as someone would have to go up and over with their hands to get in… not exactly the most stealthy approach.

Why This Works

Pickpockets don’t want to be noticed either by your or the people around you. All it takes is one person sounding the alarm and that’s the end of a theft. Empty handed or not it could lead to them getting caught so typically pickpockets go to the easiest target in a group. (Think of a lion hunting the slowest wildebeest around.) Your backpack security system doesn’t have to be the best, just better that everyone who’s near you.

backpack zipper trick

Another reason having your zippers up top is ideal placement is because any movement of the zippers in this area will lead to movement of the shoulder straps. As you can see in the video here, your shoulders and lower back are the most sensitive places a backpack makes contact with your body. Because of this you’re much more likely to feel movement in those areas if a crook is fiddling with your bag.

Heavy On The Bottom

To further improve your backpack security structure place your more valuable items as low and close to your back as possible. It’s tempting to put your most frequently used items toward the top of your backpack for easy access (especially if you’re are zipping up top) but there are two reasons not to. First, assuming your zipped up top, if some daring thief does make an attempt they’ll could be hitting something expensive right away.

Second (as you may have guessed) your lower back is more sensitive to movement than the middle. Put in a few layers of bag pockets in between and now your camera, computer, dirty passports and everything else is a lot more secure.

Of course a backpack with durable YKK zippers like the Aer Travel Pack 2 or even stronger military grade GORUCK will further protect your bag from attacks on the zippers themselves.

Would People In Pakistan Be Willing To Say One Nice Thing About India?

India and Pakistan have fought multiple wars and the two countries don’t have good relations with each other. A mild way of putting it, considering the more than half century of animosity and territorial disputes all amplified nuclear bombs. So during a visit to Pakistan I was curious, is there anything nice people could say about India?

You can watch the responses in the video above, they’ll likely surprise you as much as it did me.

Behind The Scenes

Filming around Pakistan, I had this video in mind. Partly as a response to several videos I made comparing both countries which brought a lot of fighting in the comment section (browse at your own discretion). This made me curious, could we boil things down simply: can you say one NICE thing?

burns road karachi

I hesitated before asking the question to the first person, someone I had already interviewed as part of another project. His reaction was positive (aside from a fair amount of camera shyness). Perhaps it was a fluke, I’ll have to ask others and wait for the backlash.

It never came though, people were overwhelmingly positive. As you read this you may be thinking, yeah but well… insert excuse here. Believe me, those caveats bubbled up into my grey matter as well. Across several weeks, cities, and people from all walks of life, the responses were overwhelmingly positive. Not a scientific study but a start. We can go from there, whether we’re talking about nation or your next door neighbor or both.

The Outliers

There were a number of people who did have not nice things to say. Want to guess the number? A grand total of two. But the number of people who said nice things? 100%. Yes, those two people also did have a nice thing to say and are featured in the video.

Let’s talk about those two responses that weren’t entirely positive. One of the two aggressively asked me why I’m asking people to say one nice thing (and why I wasn’t doing it in some other country). I explained that it’s a question I had and he obviously didn’t have to answer if he didn’t want to. After a moment, he thought about it and did say one or two nice things.

The other went on a bit of a political rant about India’s internal political structure, said one nice thing, and then continued one a bit on politics. A bit off the rails but still he surprised me, he did have one nice thing to say. Hopefully you’ll find this video enlightening, encouraging and you’ll have one nice thing to say about it in the comments.

You’re a beautiful person and have a lot to offer the world. Keep striving to show everyone your best side!

Things Are Changing

Things Are Changing

For the past 10 years, I’ve written two posts a week on this site. Things are changing today though for foXnoMad. Starting from now, there’s only going to be one post a week, on Thursdays, guaranteed. Fewer days but more content, let me explain.

One Post A Week

10 years is a long time on the Internet and posting every Tuesday and Thursday for that long is a small personal accomplishment. Over that time though I started uploading two traveltech videos to YouTube every week. (Subscribe and you could win $100.) The foXnoMad Podcast goes out every other Friday. I’ve also made time to occasionally write for other publications like WIRED and have developed 5 of the top 50 travel apps for iOS and Android.

I’m creating more content but not able to create more time (even if you do travel very fast). I’d also like to be able to share more of this content with you as well as have time for other projects.

Win $100

Yes, well I did mention a giveaway didn’t I? How about 2? To enter the first chance to win a $100 gift card to either Apple or Amazon, all you have to do is be subscribed to my YouTube channel. Want another chance to win a $100 gift card? Subscribe to the foXnoMad Podcast here and leave a review (one hopes it would be 5 stars and all feedback is welcome). There you go, you’re now entered. Keep an eye on both places.

New Schedule

Thursdays you’ll get one new article on how to travel smarter. Some Thursdays there may be two or three posts (or videos!) but one for sure. Occasionally there may be longer gaps when I’m working on different writing projects.

Announcements aside, we’re heading into tech season so buckle up, good luck in the giveaways and let me know if you have any thoughts or just hate change.

About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More

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