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Commercial Airline Pilot Answers Everything Passengers Really Want To Know

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.

Can You Trust foXnoMad?

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 (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.

black mailbox

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 😉

foxnomad merch

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.

App Privacy

All of the foXnoMad apps including WiFox and DroneMate are designed to use as little user information as possible. Any user data is anonymized and each app has its own specific privacy policy you can find on this site as well as the Apple App Store and Google Play. Also, I will never, ever, sell your information. Ever.

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.

GORUCK GR2 Buyer’s Guide

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.

GR2 Toughness

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.

GORUCK GR2 Buyer’s Guide

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.

Solid Conditions

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.

You can see in my Road Tested! durability test video above after 6 months, the GR2 shows no signs of wear or tear.

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.

Turkish Airlines Resumes Flights: What To Know Before You Book

Turkish Airlines recently resumed many of their flights in limited capacity, giving you some options for air travel after COVID-19 lock downs but there are a few things to know before booking. You should watch the video above for the full situation but here’s a recap below.

Flights On, Flights Off

Although Turkish Airlines is offering flights to many destinations, they’re still often canceling them as well. Covid-19 hasn’t magically disappeared and Turkish Airlines has yet to refund most of its customers for cancellations made as far back as 4 months ago. Travelers are entitled to a refund in the case of cancellations by Turkish Airlines (according to their Passenger Rights) but changed their policies recently to make refunds more difficult to obtain.

You can change canceled flights without a fee through December 31, 2021 but getting your money back will be a lot more complicated. Currently only voucher refunds or miles are options.

Situation In Flux

Many of the current destinations Turkish Airlines is flying are where some of the highest cases of coronavirus are being reported. A lack of demand or reimposed travel restrictions means the chance for a canceled flight is not insignificant so if you’re worried you won’t be able to get your money back, look at your options carefully.

For a lot of travelers, that’s going to mean looking at other airlines with a better record of refunds and good customer service or like many, holding off on air travel for the time being. To further protect your flexibility with refunds if you are set on flying and have the pointsbooking with your partner program miles makes it easier to get your miles back and book with another option when you like.

The Balcony With Nepal’s Best Sunrise View

Just above the Kathmandu Valley whose mountain walls stubbornly holds on to the smog produced in the Nepalese capital, is a view of the Himalayas worth taking a day trip to see. Several hours outside Kathmandu, Nepal, the town of Nagarkot sits at the edge of the valley focused on the Himalayas.

Everything here, from the hotel balconies and conspicuously treacherous ladder stand, is focused on a single daily event: the morning sunrise.

Planning The Spot

Despite the central focus on daybreak, Nagarkot requires some planning to make sure you get the not only the right view but a comfortable spot from which to take it all in. There are a number of good hotels, I can vouch for Hotel Country Villa, just make sure to ask for a room with a balcony view when booking. I’d also recommend one of the rooms further from reception to the left if you’re facing the mountains (they’re quieter) and go for a deluxe room, which aren’t much more expensive then regular ones.

The Balcony With Nepal’s Best Sunrise View

You’ll not only have a more comfortable stay but a more peaceful view of the sunrise. Hotels in Nagarkot have all of their balconies essentially designed to maximize viewing area, meaning they are right next to each other. A noisy neighbor can quickly take away from the experience and most go to the buffet area to watch, so the more distance the better.

Getting To Nagarkot

You’ll probably be staying in Kathmandu already and the easiest way is to negotiate a driver to take you. Most will happily offer the service, which should cost around $60 for the 90 minute round trip ride. Drivers will stay in the town after dropping you off and to beat Kathmandu rush hour, try leaving in the late afternoon before 5pm.

nagarkot sunrise

Some of the best views become apparent as the risen sun burns off some of the sky mist in Nagarkot. Checkouts are usually around 11am, worth sticking around for, although most drivers will want to leave as early as possible. Be clear you’ll want to return closer to noon, giving you enough time for sunrise, breakfast after, and the Himalayan views as the skies brighten.

Wake Up With Efficiency

Sunrises at altitude over some of the world’s highest mountains appears faster than what you experience at sea level horizon. Whatever the stated sunrise time is (on your phone or at the hotel, usually posted at reception), you’ll want to get up 45 minutes before using your bladder or this alarm trick to avoid oversleeping. That gives you a 30 minute head start to get your balcony view plus any cameras set up (with a healthy margin of error).

The sun will appear roughly 30 minutes after the “sunrise” time giving you plenty of time to enjoy the view. On the way out of town, most drivers will stop by this lookout tower if you’re willing a climb for another Himalaya view as part of one of the best day trips from Kathmandu.

Everything You Need To Know About Solo Female Travel In India

Planning a trip to India can be confusing for many potential travelers, particularly women. The news about safety in India is a lot like traveling in the country itself – often contradictory, alluring, sometimes downright scary. To help answer any questions you may have about traveling in India as a woman, I recently spoke with Cristina Boronat on the foXnoMad Podcast.

Cristina spent over 2 years traveling in India, most of it solo, and we spoke about her experiences plus advice on how to dress, her India bucket list, and more in the episode you can listen to here or watch in the video above.

We even got to ponder whether or not my two India scams videos would have been potentially (more) dangerous if I were a woman.

There’s a lot packed into this episode for both men and women planning a trip including the single best piece of advice for visiting India, applicable worldwide. For those of you who’ve been to India the conversation will take you back through the calm and chaos to put a smile on your face.

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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