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Best City 2020’s Final Four Is Full Of Surprises: Time To Vote!

The Final Four is brought to you by USB Memory Direct, giving away 25 foXnoMad wristbands for those of you in the U.S. through this round of Best City 2020! [What is this?] Email here to claim one.

best city final four

The Best City to Visit Travel Tournament never being predictable holds true as Singapore shocks Islamabad in the Elite 8 to challenge Sydney who had its own comeback against Montevideo. No stranger to Best City 2020, Istanbul is back to another Final Four against Florence, who won on tie-breaker against Rome. If there’s any Cinderella story of this year’s tournament, it’s the capital city of the Tuscany region.

  • Will Florence deny Istanbul a Championship once again? Does Sydney honey badger its way past Singapore? Your votes below will decide! You have until this Sunday, March 29th 11:59pm US EST (-4 GMT) to vote.

Don’t forget to tag #bestcity2020 on Instagram or Twitter to let me know your who you’re rooting for! The Championship begins on Tuesday, March 31st so make sure to check back then to see who’s one step away from winning it all!

Should You Cancel Your Travel Plans Because Of Coronavirus?

The travel restrictions, bans, and other disruptions are changing rapidly – since I uploaded the video above a number of new safety measures have been put into place. It’s best to check your local government updates as well as news about your destination for the latest developments.

Here’s how to handle your travel plans over the next 45 days and what to do about planned travel soon after that.

What If You Have Travel Plans Confirmed?

A lot depends on where you’re going, how long, for what reasons (e.g. recreational) as well as whether or not you fall into any of the high-risk groups for a severe case of coronavirus (COVID-19). Additionally, if you have regular contact with anyone in the high-risk groups, you should take this into account as well.

london train station

The information here isn’t about the medial implications of traveling (the World Health Organization has a good primer) but how to handle your travel plans. If you have international travel planned between now and April 15th for recreational purposes all things considered, you should probably cancel or delay your trip.

Many international and domestic corona-related restrictions in place right now are set to be reevaluated over the next 2-4 weeks. Given the uncertainly plus widespread cancellation of many events, the sooner you move to cancel the better.

How To Handle A Cancellation

Flights purchased through a booking engine are the first place to begin. You’ll want to process a refund there first – make sure you’re detailed as to why you’re not flying (e.g. more than just saying “corona”) – and see if you can get a refund or voucher for future travel. Additionally, you may want to get in touch with the airline directly as well as your travel insurance provider for other options.

What About Those Great Travel Deals? (Next 45 Days)

Most travel insurers are no longer covering corona-related claims after early March, so it’s a massive risk you’ll lose money, arrive to a lock down, or otherwise have your vacation plans vaporize. Attempting international travel plans before the end of April is likely not to go smoothly, so plan any trips for after the next 45 days or so (May 15th) to be safe.

For those of you with planned (i.e. booked) travel between April 15th and May 15th, it’s best to keep those plans as the middle of April is when a major reassessment but governments and the travel industry is likely. We’ll all have a better idea of what the summer travel seasons looks like then, with hopefully better news.

The Best City To Visit Travel Tournament Is Down To An Elite 8

best city to visit 2020 elite 8

We’ll all be traveling again soon and when we are, it might be to one of these 8 cities left in Best City 2020. The 2020 tournament is one of the closest contests to call in recent years, with cities across four continents. A super match up between Singapore and Islamabad is brewing with two Italian cities facing off after squeaking by the Sweet 16. Of course, your votes determine which cities advance from here.

You have until this Sunday, March 22nd 11:59pm US EST (-4 GMT) to vote.

Don’t forget to tag #bestcity2020 on Instagram or Twitter to let me know your who you’re rooting for! The next round of Final Four begins on Tuesday, March 24th.

What Is It Like Traveling In Pakistan?

The first thing you think of when it comes to Pakistan probably isn’t tourism but recently developments have tripled visitors since 2018. It’s not now and won’t be mainstream any time soon which makes it a very interesting place to visit for a certain type of traveler.

Tourism Infrastructure

Pakistan has a fairly developed tourism infrastructure. It’s easy and inexpensive to fly within the country and the buses are the most luxurious I’ve come across anywhere. There’s a solid middle-tier of hotels, Uber (and local Careem) ride sharing, plus a variety of food from street vendors to hipster burger joints.

karachi burns road

Like a lot of the country, there’s a broad blend across the tourism infrastructure. It’s not so developed that anyone can just pop in and hop a bus from Islamabad to Lahore. For travelers with a bit of experience who don’t mind a few rough edges in their journeys it will only add to the charm.

What Would You See? Do?

As the 33rd largest country in the world, the long shape of Pakistan makes it home to a variety of geographical zones. The second highest mountain, K2, can be found in the Karakoram mountain range in the north. Geographical diversity often means cultural diversity, with Tajikistan, China, and Afghanistan’s influences in the mountains, Punjab on the eastern border, with Karachi’s hot blend of spice and sea.

pakistan curries

In addition to the natural wonders, there are historical sites like Lahore Fort built half a millennia ago. And across all of it, there are hardly any tourists visiting. For adventurous travelers, that’s a plus; less experienced tourists might find that off-putting. It’s really the story of visiting Pakistan right now.

Safety Elephant In The Room

We know the reason few people are visiting – concerns about safety. In 2014, a terrorist attack on a military school prompted the government (with mass public support) to begin a campaign against terrorism. The following two years resulted in the deaths of 4,000 terrorists and since then, terrorism-related deaths have decreased dramatically.

karachi pakistan

“From 12,000 deaths in 2009 (32 per day), the number declined by 87 percent by 2017 and continues to do so. In 2019, fewer than 300 people were killed in terrorist attacks nationwide.” – Vice

Where that leaves Pakistan today is on the cusp. Having eliminated, so far, one of the primary deterrents for people to consider Pakistan a tourist destination, the first wave of travel first adopters is arriving. Backpackers, adventurers, and us blogger types are enjoying Pakistan on the cusp.

Pakistan’s reputation hasn’t recovered nor the infrastructure developed enough to attract casual visitors. On the flip side, it’s got more than enough in place to make it a unique, inexpensive, and relatively easy place to visit for someone with travel experience and inclination.

It’s too soon to tell if Pakistan will continue to improve the areas important for tourism – security, infrastructure, reputation. At this moment however if what you’ve read so far has you very curious, Pakistan might be a good candidate for your next destination.

Vote To Name One Of These Sweet 16: Best City To Visit In 2020!

Any one of these Sweet 16 cities can win it all in the Best City to Visit Travel Tournament 2020. It’s one of the closest tournaments I can remember, there’s no clear favorite. Since we’re down to a Sweet 16, the voting polls are back to head-to-head individual match ups below. There are 8 polls and your votes will determine the next 8 cities to move on to the next round.

You have until this Sunday, March 15th 11:59pm US EST (-5 GMT) to vote.

A few things from the Round of 32 – Amsterdam and Seoul made it on tie-breakers, I was swayed by your comments and emails. You never know when your city might need a boost, so tag it #bestcity2020 on Instagram or Twitter to let me know your who you’re rooting for! The next round of Elite 8 begins on Tuesday, March 17th.

The Best City To Visit Travel Tournament Round Of 32: Voting Open Now!

best city 2020 round of 32

We enter a short Round of 32 cities in the Best City to Visit Travel Tournament 2020. Porto, Abu Dhabi, Karachi, and Islamabad all make it on tie-breakers and some familiar places starting strong.

Click your favorite 16 cities below and hit the vote button underneath. You have until this Monday, March 9th 11:59pm US EST (-5 GMT) to vote.

Although the cities are competing directly against one another as shown in the bracket above, I decided to make voting easier by letting you choose 16 from the list below. The cities with the most votes versus their match up move on to the next round.

I’m the official tie-breaker in every round in case any two cities end up with the same number of votes. Remember, the Sweet 16 begins Tuesday, March 10th! Good luck everyone and everywhere!