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Category: Discussion

How To Travel To Every Country In The World

foxnomad podcast

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?

foxnomad podcast nora dunn

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.

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.

How To Stay In Shape Mentally And Physically During Lockdown

edinburgh window

Maintaining an exercise routine can be difficult during normal times and you may have noticed any workout momentum you did have waning as quarantine goes on. I recently spoke with RT Training & Performance Center gym owner and trainer Christos Monastiriotis about how to keep your body and mind engaged during quarantine on the latest episode of the foXnoMad Podcast.

In many ways working out while you’re limited to home is a lot like staying in shape when traveling. You need both motivation and creativity to keep up with good hotel room workouts so most of Christos’ advice is applicable to frequent travelers. From nutrition to online personal training (offered at RT Training & Performance Center) plus the often neglected mental component, it’s an enlightening conversation you can listen to right here.

The Best Travel Memes On The Internet

This post is part of Geek Takeover Week 2019.

Did I say these travel memes are the best on the Internet? Yes. Did I also create all of these memes? Yes. I may be a bit biased but you can let me know in the comments below. If any of these memes are you, feel free to share and tag me (#foxnomad) too!

drinking beer in airport

hotel lamp usb

water at airport meme

travel advice meme

farting on planes meme

wifi wifox meme

baggage fees meme

travel meme

pug meme

travel memes

airbnb meme

thailand meme

trip meme

hotel meme

airline fees meme

airport meme

economy meme

layover meme

economy meme

traveling meme

Enjoy and don’t forget to tag @foxnomad on Instagram if you share!

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.

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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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