Category: Site News

A Moment For An Update

galapagos baby sea lion

We’re already rolling into February and I’ve been at full sprint *deep breath, deep breath* traveling and working on several projects. Some of those are still in the works, and although I hate updates about updates as much as most people, I want to share a few things and say hello too.

Daily Deals

It’s been over a year since I began posting daily travel deals on foXnoMad’s sister-site, tales. Although I post every new deal on the foXnoMad Facebook page – because I’ve not mentioned them here you may have missed it entirely. In short, the daily deals are hand-picked travel and tech bargains on products and services you might be interested in.

foxnomad amazon

The easiest way to keep up with them is through Facebook but for those of you (understandably) don’t like the social media giant, the daily deals are listed here as well. Daily deals are updated most weekdays where there’s something neat on sale. Let me know if there are any specific products, services, or other travel tech stuff you’d like me to scout for and I’ll be sure to keep an eye out.

Additionally, I’ve got a little foXnoMad store now on Amazon, where you can find all the gear I travel with, plus other recommendations too.

Best City 2019 Coming Up

The annual Best City to Visit Travel Tournament kicks off every year in February with newsletter subscribers getting the first city picks. Looking back on previous winners, having an early choice of city is a big advantage you can easily gain by signing up.

Subscribe to my newsletter below:
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The newsletter is free and I think you’ll really like the prize this year. Like, really.

Thanks A Million 2019 Year Of Giveaways

Thursdays have featured more videos recently, but on the foXnoMad YouTube channel, there’s even more going on. To say thank you for helping me get to a million, plus the incredible 10 years of support along the way, I’m making 2019 the year of giveaways! Google’s Home Hub and the Ridge Wallet are prizes I’ve already sent out – to join and keep up with the (yes, another one currently) giveaways, subscribe to the channel. As I type this I’m literally staring at a pile of boxes with travel tech up for grabs over the next month or two.

Still…

I want to say thank you. I still can’t believe this is real life. Sure, using the daily deals when they’re right for you, subscribing on YouTube, all of it helps support this site – but it may not be as obvious that your comments and emails encourage me to continue finding new ways to help others travel smarter, maybe even entertaining you a little along the way.

I’m very excited to share with you what’s coming up over the next few months – for now, full fox speed ahead!

Do You Still Need A Point And Shoot Camera When Traveling?

We’ve all got a smartphone in our pocket or hand right now that probably has a camera with a higher resolution on paper than many point and shoots on the market. Software on phones like the Pixel 3 have pushed the boundaries of what small lenses are capable of, so you might be asking yourself if it’s worth bringing a dedicated camera on your next trip at all?

You can see the answer to that question in the video above or read on.

Shrinking Markets

Recently, while doing a Road Tested! on the 4 year old Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS45 to see how well it’s held up, I realized the question became less about the camera and more about the technology itself. There are some clear advantages to traveling with only a phone and what they can’t do, bulkier DSLRs do better than point and shoots, similar prices. Small markets generally mean a more specific target market, here’s whether or not that’s you.

shot on pixel 2 andando tours

First, let’s start off with the current phone you’re using. For this article, I’m generally talking about flagship phones that are 1-2 years old at most. The iPhone X, 8, Samsung Galaxy 9, Google Pixel 2 and above – that class of phone. Older phones might be adequate but they don’t do a good job of bridging few large gaps with point and shoots listed below.

Wide Zoom

Because of the limited size of smartphones, manufacturers have had to come up with creative ways at implementing a zoom lens. Some use a two-camera setup (one for wide, the other telephoto) but in general, optical zoom on smartphones is limited. (Digital zoom – a software trick – isn’t very good, although the Huawei Honor View 20 I saw at CES was promising.)

panasonic lumix g7 g85

Obviously cameras with interchangeable lenses like the Panasonic Lumix G85 give you a lot of angle options but if you don’t want to carry the bulk, the ZS70K is a pocket-sized camera with a massive range. And not just zoom range but the often neglected wide-angle.

For travel photos, wide angles are generally more useful. Often, you can get closer to stuff but if there’s a ledge, crowd, or some other obstacle behind you, the wider the angle, the fewer steps backward you need to get one of the world’s largest buildings into view.

Some Considerations Being Eliminated

A few years ago the low-light performance of most smartphones was one of the big selling points for getting a dedicated camera (with its bigger lens). On Google phones at least, that’s not a problem anymore. See below:

Apple and other manufacturers will eventually copy catch up on this incredible software-enabled feature; not only keeping up with point and shoots but leaping well ahead of them.

Niche Functions

Still photos, portraits, action shots, and video are all equally on par with most point and shoot cameras. In many ways point and shoots can outperform a smartphone, but it’s probably not worth the weight or an additional $500. There are some exceptions though; like if you want a microphone jack to record high-quality audio (not impossible with phones either), use HDMI for output, or spare your phone’s battery life.

Additionally a point and shoot can also give you another angle to shoot from (i.e. multiple cameras), tend to sit up better without having to lean on stuff, and aren’t as tragic of a loss or theft than your precious smartphone. Ultimately, good point and shoot cameras worth buying are in the $500 range, bumping right up to cameras like the mirrorless G7. At those prices, unless physical size is extremely important for you, a slightly bulkier camera with lens options might be best, otherwise a new smartphone is likely all you’ll need to carry.

This is an updated version of a post originally written in 2017, a lot has changed in cameras since then.

My 2018 Year In Travel Review

When I first began putting this post together, I had thought 2018 wasn’t the busiest in terms of travel for me. I didn’t realize how much I actually got to see and although it’s been over 10 years now, was amazed to be so incredibly amazed by one place in particular. You can see my 2018 year in travel in the video above, where I’m also running another giveaway for you too.

Of course more travel videos in 2018 meant a lot more bloopers. Below is a super-cut of all the bloopers from the past year – there are occasions where you have to embrace your mistakes so I hope you enjoy!

Thank you again for a wonderful 2018 – I hope this look back gives you some travel inspiration in the coming year for destinations you might not have considered, weren’t sure about, or may have been putting off.

Review Of The Google Home Hub And A End Of Year Giveaway For You

Hello and welcome to the end of the year! I’ve got a full post coming up looking back on 2018, but here’s a preview of a small announcement for 2019. I’ve got a lot to be thankful for and so much of it is because of you. Your support of this blog over 10 years has made what was a crazy dream into a continuing crazy reality. Commenting and sharing blog posts, spreading the word about my travel apps like WiFox, and giving me great local advice – I can’t say thank you enough.

2019 Year Of Giveaways

One way though I’ll try is by making 2019 the year of giveaways – and I’m starting a bit early. If you’ve watched the video above, you know I’m currently giving away a Google Home Hub. To enter, all you have to do is subscribe to my YouTube channel and leave a comment on the video here. To get even more chances to win, here’s a page I set up to earn additional entries.

The next giveaway will happen by the end of the year so that subscription on YouTube might win you a trip, bag, and well, hopefully provide some travel and tech entertainment as well. Many of you let me know on Facebook what you’d like to win and I’ll be working on getting some of those for prizes as well.

Thank you again for 2018 and cheers to 2019. From me to you, a Happy New Year with a lot of travel and the pursuit of one crazy dream, no matter how big or small. If in some way I can help be a part of it, my inbox is always open to you. It’s the least I can do – certainly you’ve done the same for me.

travel smarter,
-Anil

GrassFox App Helps You Navigate The Confusing World Of Marijuana Laws

grassfox app

Marijuana laws around the world are rarely cut and dry between legal and illegal, with a large grey area in between. On top of that much of the information online is inaccurate, potentially putting a lot of travelers in trouble. GrassFox (Android/iOS) is an app I created to put all of the recreational marijuana laws for countries, provinces, states, and cities all on your phone.

wifox ios app store     wifox google play android
Why GrassFox?

A lot of the information regarding marijuana legality, even on Wikipedia, is based on hearsay. As a visitor to a new country it’s especially important you don’t violate any laws or rules – even if you see people smoking on the streets – as a foreigner being arrested for a drug offense can have serious consequences.

So much of the confusion comes from the fact that many countries have a loose patchwork of rules, including decriminalization (a somewhat vague term), although where there are legal grey areas residents try to use the rules to their advantage. In some countries, like Spain, marijuana is illegal but there are cannabis clubs, and in Cambodia there’s “happy” pizza.

How GrassFox Works

The official information in GrassFox comes from legal contacts, sources, and governing bodies I’ve developed in most countries around the world. There’s also an active forum within GrassFox, with traveler input on experiences, updates, and other advice you might want to give others. GrassFox works offline, is updated continuously, and there’s also the web version you can check out here.

Other Features

  • Active Comments – GrassFox’s comment system isn’t one way, users can ask questions anonymously to the administrators (including myself) or discuss anything with other travelers as well. GrassFox is designed to show you how you can enjoy recreational marijuana legally, what those laws are, plus give you information on how those laws are put into practice.

 

grassfox app

  • Updated Automatically – GrassFox updates itself when there are any changes to the laws worldwide. Legal changes are monitored every day so you don’t have to worry about having outdated or inaccurate information.
  • World Map Of Rules – You can quickly glance at the map to see if recreational marijuana use is legal, decriminalized, or illegal.
  • Details And Grams – Each entry in GrassFox (by country or locality) will give you a list of the laws. Where applicable, GrassFox will show you the maximum possession limits, as well as any other applicable restrictions.

Available Now On Android And (In Bundle) For iOS

GrassFox is available for download on Android on Google Play and on iOS at the App Store for $2.99. Additionally, for iOS users, you can purchase GrassFox as a bundle with my other travel apps WiFox, DroneMate, and FaucetSafe for a discount as part of the foXnoMad Green Travel Pack. (Those of you under 17, there’s the less herbal regular foXnoMad Travel Pack.)

wifox ios app store     wifox google play android
Maintaining the information within GrassFox and the time it takes to keep developing the code (plus my desire to keep it free from ads) is why there’s a small $2.99 price that gets you updates for life. I look forward to your feedback, feature requests, and let me know if you have any issues with GrassFox in the comments below. Finally, if you’re happy with GrassFox, I would appreciate your 5-star reviews on the App Store and Google Play, your feedback is an important part of improving GrassFox and sharing it with travelers around the world.

You’re Invited To Granada, Spain This November

granada spain museum

In 2017 we had a big party in Granada, Spain, to celebrate you naming it the best city to visit – this November you’re invited because we’re planning to do it again! There’s no catch, fees, or anything but from November 3-12th, I’ll be in Granada with some other bloggers, friends, Turismo Ciudad de Granada, and the mayor might show up again as well. If you don’t have travel plans yet for the first week of November, come to Granada.

Here’s A Plan For You

Earlier this year, thousands of you voted Granada, Spain, the Best City to Visit in the world. You did last year too and Granada became the first city to ever win back to back Best City Tournaments, an annual foXnoMad tradition. I visit the winning city every year, and in 2017 I wanted to have a party in what was my second visit to Granada. With the help of the Granada City Council, Tourism Board, and Botanico Cafe, we enjoyed tapas, drinks, good conversation, and had a lot of fun. I’m not quite sure what the plans are this year but I’m confident you won’t be disappointed. There are so many good reasons to visit Granada but if you’re looking to visit a great destination, have some built-in people to hang out with, and generally have a great time, I’ll be there November 3-12th. Wandering Earl, Jessie On A Journey, and Damian Irimescu will also be there.

For the most part I’m bad at promoting and planning so this is as concrete as I can be. It will be fun, you’ll get great local advice on Granada, and we might see you at a party or two. In case you decide or will be in Granada from November 3-12th, 2018, and would like to meet up, send me an email and if it’s not in all caps we’ll coordinate 😉

travel smarter,
-Anil

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutI'm the blogger and computer security engineer who writes foXnoMad while on a journey to visit every country in the world. I'll show you the tips, tricks, and tech you can use to travel smarter. Read More


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