Site News Archives - foXnoMad

Category: Site News

The Ethics Of Travel Blogging: Where Do Creators Draw The Line?

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How do you as a reader know that the content a travel blogger is making is entirely independent, sponsored, or heavily influenced by free trips or financial incentives? The online space is rapidly evolving and for a long time was an unregulated wild west, leaving many creators to come up with their own guidelines… or not.

I recently asked can you trust foXnoMad, to answer how I go about things, though there’s no single approach for all travel bloggers. It’s one of the reasons Jessie Festa recently joined me on an episode of the foXnoMad Podcast to explain her approach and outline what some of the potential conflicts of interest can be for new creators.

In addition to her site Jessie On A Journey, Jessie runs Travel Blog Prosperity which guides bloggers on how to make their sites profitable and manage what happens when do that. There’s a lot to learn for creators but also consumers of travel content online, including a few lines we won’t cross.

How To Travel To Every Country In The World

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It’s been a long standing goal of mine – and this blog – to travel to every country in the world. Although I still have a ways to go in my journey, Stefan Krasowski recently accomplished his objective in 2019, finishing with the last two countries on his list: Yemen and Syria.

On Episode 26 of the foXnoMad Podcast, Stefan and I discussed why he decided to visit every country in the world, some of the frequent flyer strategies he used to cut costs, and how he got into Syria overland. Some other highlights:

  • Common frequent flyer mile mistakes many travelers make potentially costing you free upgrades and flights. (Even if you don’t fly so… frequently!)
  • What does it feel like being foreign in China, where Stefan lived for 8 years.
  • Being very likely the first person granted a tourist visa for Syria in 2019.
  • How U.S. border officials reacted upon his return from Yemen and Syria.

Stefan also talks about his guide in Syria, a Palestinian refugee, and her struggles as a stateless person. It’s a touching story that’s a reminder of the power travel can have in connecting us all.

Thank you Stefan for being a guest on the podcast. You can join other travelers looking to visit every country on his Facebook group Every Passport Stamp, and find him on YouTube.

When Will Travel Return To Normal After Covid?

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With tourism projected to drop by up to 80% in 2020 due to coronavirus, many people in the industry are wondering if and how things might bounce back. The disruptions to travel have also made it difficult for those living abroad, working location independent, or digital nomads in general plan for the future.

To discuss where travel might go and when you might get to go… you know, to all those fun places you’re dreaming of, I spoke with Nora Dunn on a recent episode of the foXnoMad Podcast. Nora traveled full-time for over a decade and her insights were both interesting and optimistic – and who couldn’t use a little more optimism these days? It’s a conversation you’ll enjoy – listen above and subscribe to the foXnoMad Podcast here.

Geek Takeover Week 2020 Has Started!

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There’s a time of the year when anything geeky goes and travel or tech might not be involved at all here on foXnoMad. That time of year is now. Geek Takeover Week. A week every August with posts covering science, science-fiction, fantasy, and more. Or less. Or in between. August is usually when you’re on vacation so the nanoprobes takeover when nobody might notice.

Enjoy what’s to come… in the meantime if you’re curious, I talk a little more about behind the scenes of Geek Takeover Week of this episode of the foXnoMad Podcast.

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 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.

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  • 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.

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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.

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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 😉

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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.

The Differences Between Traveling In India And Pakistan

It’s hard not to think about one when thinking about the other and having traveled to both India and Pakistan earlier this year, drawing comparisons was impossible. Both countries are very similar but clearly distinct in ways that may surprise you, all in the video above.

What was unsurprising though is the controversy that video created but the controversial aspects weren’t expected. You can listen to the behind the scenes of creating my India vs. Pakistan video in a recent episode of the foXnoMad Podcast below.

Controversies and comments have been across a wide spectrum of thoughtful, aggressive, and generally ridiculous. In the video below I address some of the best and worst of the messages I received.

There are some general observations I made though in the differences between traveling in India versus Pakistan and vice versa.

  • Crowds – Until you’ve been to India, it’s hard to comprehend what a population well over a billion means. In contrast, Pakistan feels much less crowded which makes sense, it’s population (220 million) is 16% that of India.
  • Tourists – India sees many more tourists per year, fostering a well-developed tourism industry. Pakistan on the other hand is still up and coming – so there are fewer tour and other organized options.
  • Food – Similar in spices with just as much regional variation across both but with meat, especially red meat, making up a big part of Pakistani cuisine. India has a much wider variety of vegetarian options.
  • Accommodation – There’s more stratification in Pakistan, particularly for mid-tier budgets. India tends to have hotels that go much wider – ultra-budget and very high-end without as many middle-tier options.

None of this is to say one country is better than the other, a generalization so general it has no meaning. Travel styles and interests play a big part into whether India or Pakistan might appeal more to you. In both Pakistan and India however, you’ll find friendly people, amazing food, beautiful nature, and plenty of adventure to be had.

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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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