After months of local lock downs and travel restrictions due to Covid-19, Istanbul, like the rest of Turkey is starting to open up. Turkish Airlines has resumed flights to many destinations and whether you’ve got a trip planned or are still planning, you can see what travel in Istanbul is like post-quarantine in this video.
Preply is an online tutoring service you can use to take (socially distanced) language classes with a live tutor or apply to become a tutor yourself to earn a side income. When Preply got in touch we took a look at the service from both sides, taking a French class as well as communicating with tutors to get their feedback.
What Is Preply?
Essentially, Preply is an online school where you can work with a live tutor one-on-one to take customized languages classes. During the sign up process, which is free with an account, you tell the system the language you want to learn, current proficiency, as well as the reason for learning (e.g. career. travel, etc.). Additionally you set your available times, hourly budget (prices vary but average $15-40), as well as how many lessons per week you want to take.
You’ll be given a short language test to verify proficiency before you’re given a choice of tutors. The entire setup takes around 10 minutes. For tutors, on their side of the setup, parameters are nearly the same.
How It Works
As you’re looking through some of the recommended tutors you can see their native tongue, proficiency levels in other languages, plus a small blurb about them. Each tutor is also required to provide a short video introducing themselves on their profile so you can get a better idea of their personality as well.
Preply has a built-in messaging system for (potential and current) students and teachers as well as a reminder system, emailing before lessons.
A lot of how Preply works is based on its tutor base, which for most languages numbers in the hundreds. The ratings and reviews left by other users can also help you narrow down your search for the right tutor. Once you’ve set on a particular teacher for a lesson, they’ll create a custom lesson plan to help you reach your language goal. Built into Preply is a video system so you connect through your account on the site and converse live with your teacher; plus see any slides or media they’ve prepared.
There’s no set commitment to a particular tutor so if you want to change after a few lessons, you’re free to do so. Being live interaction with a tutor one-on-one lets them craft individual classes for you specifically and gives you plenty of opportunity to ask questions. Preply Space is another feature the platform uses to connect students and tutors, giving both access to a private chat space, plus a study room of sorts where saved lesson plans can be found.
Side Income For Tutors
For tutors, Preply opens a way to generate a side income completely online. Tutors set their hourly rates, typically the more experience and regular students one has the higher the rate they can set. Top tutors can also potentially be selected for corporate language training program to earn more.
The flexibility of setting rates and competitive space among tutors gives them a better chance to earn money by teaching languages to people online and gives students a lot of information on choosing the ideal teacher for them. Connecting with native speakers through Preply can also give you insight into cultural aspects of a language like slang for example, boosting your confidence to practically apply all you’ve learned.
Flight cancellations have become a common occurrence since the Covid-19 pandemic and airlines have changed their policies to match. They’ve made it more difficult, or essentially impossible, to get your money back. To protect yourself against new, less consumer-friendly airline rules it’s a good idea to use frequent flyer miles more frequently.
Carriers like Turkish Airlines have rewritten their own rules refunding passengers with vouchers as opposed to money. One way to protect yourself against airline shenanigans is to book flights through one of these major mileage programs. Since airlines are converting your money into miles, if you have them, it’s better to book with miles as long as cancellations are common.
Most of the major airlines quickly return miles (well under 30 days) when they cancel a flight you don’t want to immediately re-book. Holding on to your money is a safer bet as airlines have conveniently changed rules to remove their responsibility to refund for cancellations. Using one of the major mileage programs gives you more flexibility to re-book on multiple airlines or routes, as opposed to a single carrier’s mileage program.
When You Don’t Have Miles
Use the miles you do have – even if they’re not a part of the three major mileage programs. (Here’s how to start accumulating them in one place if you’re not already.) As a general rule, you don’t want to buy miles or mileage boosters because they’re worth more in cash – but with the high rate of cancellations lately it may be worth the added insurance to purchase a small amount, if you’re just under the miles needed for a flight.
Some specific travel insurance may be an option if you’re well below the number of miles needed to book flights to protect your purchase. The credit card you use may also be able to help, just be sure to check their policies before booking. There are good ways to earn miles without credit cards and you may actually have more miles than you realize. If you can put off air travel however, it’s a good time start stocking up for when it’s a bit less risky to buy tickets.
Have you ever wondered what pilots might not be telling you about malfunctions in the sky, their scariest flights, or what they think about nervous fliers? I spoke with the commercial airline pilot behind Tasha’s Travel Diaries to ask those questions and all the other things we passengers wonder in the latest foXnoMad Podcast episode.
I also got to ask Tasha a bunch of plane crash questions plus how did all of those unlicensed pilots fly in Pakistan? You’ll really enjoy the full episode of this episode – and I’m guessing, many others. Subscribe to the foXnoMad Podcast here (available everywhere) and be sure to check Tasha’s Instagram and YouTube channel.
I’m occasionally accused of being paid to say things about a place or product you read about on this site, see on the foXnoMad YouTube channel, or hear about on the foXnoMad Podcast. So, I want to share how I run things across all the places you find foXnoMad content so you can make an informed decision to the question: can you trust foXnoMad?
You can watch the video above for the full answer to that question or read on for the highlights.
First, The Core
The tagline of foXnoMad.com (it’s right up there in the title image) is travel smarter. That’s the core mission with each piece of content across all the foXnoMad mediums: video, audio, written, or otherwise – to help you travel smarter in some way. Believing the best way to achieve this goal is by being objective, these are the guidelines I’ve setup for all the foXnoMad things.
- Advertisements – These are the typical ads you’re familiar with such as banners, “this episode of the foXnoMad Podcast is brought to you by…” and so on. Always disclosed, clearly marked as an ad, and always distinct from the content. Advertisers have no influence on the content where those ads can be found and can’t advertise on content that may happen to be about them.
- Collaborations – Non-paid opportunities to work with a brand to do something that would be impossible or extremely difficult on my own. Driving across the United States for example in a pre-release Ford or being driven around an F1 track by a Formula 1 driver. Like ads, any collaborations are always disclosed.
foXnoMad, LLC, the company, is based in the U.S. meaning I’m also legally required to disclose advertisements and collaborations under these Federal Trade Commision (FTC) rules for social media influencers.
Reviews vs. Showcases
One thing I want to be clearer on is my use of the term “review.” A typical review I do of a piece of tech for example, is my evaluation, critique, and opinion on whether or not it might be useful for you. Advertisers cannot pay for reviews – rather those are most along the lines of showcases. Again, always disclosed, those showcases highlight the features of a product or service, but without purchase decision opinions. I leave that up to you.
Open Inbox Policy
Brands are free to send to foXnoMad’s shipping address any products under an “open inbox policy.” Products that come in through the open inbox policy are under no obligation by me to do anything, not even open the box. This is clearly communicated with brands and many take the chance that their product will catch my attention. Occasionally they do and find their way on foXnoMad – but these are never paid.
Occasionally there are pre-release or other products I’m interested in taking a look at and we’ll reach out to the brand for a review sample but those too fall under the open inbox policy. Generally speaking, nearly all of the tech you see was purchased by me.
Travel And Who Pays For My Flights?
The guidelines above also include travel. I pay for my flights and travel with two exceptions in the past (noted in the video, the last being 2014) where a brand paid for my flights to a destination. (Again, disclosed on all the content created relating to the project.) Otherwise, I pay for all travel costs and fortunately I’m in a position to do so thanks to your support of this site, on YouTube, on Apple and Android, plus the Shop where there’s new merch available right now 😉
Working With Governments
When I say something good about a place, it’s because that’s what I think. Same goes for bad things. I’m not paid by governments to visit places – it’s a line I won’t cross. The primary reason being working with a government or official tourism board is a soft endorsement (or can be interpreted as such) of that government. It puts me in the position of having to play politics which I don’t want to do.
Visiting one place sponsored by one government but not another can lead to a variety of assumptions so I avoid it all by not working with governments or official bodies at all.
In the past there have been a couple of cases (both noted in the video) where I received entrance tickets to touristic sites when visiting Porto and Granada after they won The Best City to Visit Travel Tournaments in 2011 and 2018. Since those two exceptions I’ve decided it’s simpler and more objective to not work with governments or official government bodies at all.
Can You Trust foXnoMad?
It would be something of a conflict of interest to tell you, yes, you can trust me. This post and video show you how I run things on this site and channel so you can answer the question thoughtfully, for yourself. Hopefully now, it’s a little easier to say yes.
The GORUCK GR2 is a serious backpack with a price to match and given these bags last forever, deciding on one can be a big decision. Although there’s little variation between its two versions, a GR2 isn’t the ideal travel bag for everyone. Here’s what’s so special about the GR2 and how to tell if it’s the right backpack for you.
The GR2 is made by GORUCK, founded by an American Green Beret who wanted to create a consumer backpack that’s military tough. Made with 1000D CORDURA Nylon the laptop compartment is bombproof and the GR2 can carry over 400 pounds (181 kilos) – whether you can though is another story.
All of this durability through comes with a cost in weight of 4.75lbs (2.15kg); in other words 20% the average carry-on weight allowance for most international flights. Ideally, the GR2 is a backpack you load with mostly clothing (rather than heavier electronics) and use more for ground travel. You can watch my full review of the GR2 in the video here.
Travelers who spend a lot of time outdoors, in the wilderness or exposed to the elements will enjoy never having to worry about the GR2. It’s the rare type of backpack you don’t have to worry about staining, nicking, or tearing at the seams. GORUCK also provides a lifetime guarantee with the GR2, practically daring you to damage this bag with normal use. And normal for this bag can mean carrying a hundred kilos through mud in a downpour.
Choosing The Size
The GR2 comes in one design at two different sizes: a 34 liter and 40 liter. Since there’s no standard way of measuring backpacks with liter sizes, GORUCK recommends anyone taller than 5″8′ (172cm) to go with the 40L. Shorter than that? 34L. Right at that height? I’d recommend ordering both bags, packing them, and trying to to get a good feel. GORUCK has a liberal 30 day return policy you can use for this very purpose.
To see what both bags looks like in a side-by-side comparison, watch the video here.
GR2 For You?
The GR2 is in a small group that can be considered one of the best one bag travel backpacks. They’re not for everyone, even though the GR2’s ultra-durability is tempting, for frequent air travelers a lighter alternative like the Travel Pack 2 a better match.
Fortunately, you can order most high-end bags like to GR2 to size and handle within the return window to make an informed choice.
About Anil Polat