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Travel Archives - foXnoMad

Category: Travel

What Are eSIMs? Easy Mobile Internet For Travel

This post was sponsored by Airalo who wanted me to share with you the benefits of eSIMs using their service. [What is this?]

The latest version of mobile SIM cards make it easy to get data plans around the world through an app – and it may already be built into your phone. eSIMs are the next generation of subscriber identity modules that differ from plastic and gold physical SIMs by being software based.

What this means for international travelers is getting mobile data from country to country is as easy as a few clicks using Airalo.

How eSIMs Work

You’re probably familiar with standard SIM cards, that piece of removable plastic you slide into in a slot on your phone. eSIMs serve the same function – to identify your phone to mobile networks – but eSIMs are physically embedded in your phone’s hardware. When you need to change your SIM, say, for when you’re visiting France from Canada, instead of swapping out a SIM card, all you need to do is open an app.

Benefits For Travelers

Some of the immediate up sides to eSIMs is you don’t need to go to a physical shop or deal with local restrictions. All you have to do is go to an eSIM provider like Airalo, which has plans in over 100 countries worldwide. Set up an account with Airalo, then download their app and choose your next destination. You’ll be presented with a variety of (mostly) data plans, which vary by duration and total data (e.g. 3GB).

airalo esim

You do need to do all of this while you have a wifi connection but otherwise you can get all the cards you’ll need ahead of your travels. Airalo even provides regional eSIM cards such as Europe plus you can keep your original SIM card active if you want, for example, to get calls on one line but use data with the other.

Convenient Service, Quirky Setup

Because eSIMs are fairly new (only working with these latest flagship phones) mobile operating systems make installing an eSIM clunky at best. Once you’ve purchased your eSIM from a provider like Airalo, you’ll be presented with a QR code you need to scan from your phone. In other words, you can’t install the eSIM using only the Airalo app since you need to scan the QR code from your mobile’s cellular settings.

airalo

The most obvious options are to point your phone at your laptop to scan the code after logging into your Airalo account. Taking a picture of the code displayed on your phone with another phone (what are travel buddies for) and scanning that, or using two mirrors in a hotel room has also worked for me.

No More Airport SIM Stops

There are other issues like having to change APN codes which will be too much hoop jumping for users who aren’t too tech-savvy. Despite these issues eSIM services are getting better but the technology is already the best option for travelers. You no longer have to wait in airport lines for mobile data when you can have Internet right when you land. Using Airalo is a bit more expensive than purchasing a local SIM and phone numbers aren’t available for most plans; however the convenience means you probably won’t bother with physical cards again.

Prevent People From Snooping Your Screen With A Laptop Privacy Filter

This is a sponsored post written by me Sponsored by 3M All opinions are 100% mine.

I use a privacy filter on all my screens so when 3M got in touch for this sponsored partnership it was a good opportunity to share the benefits with you. [What is this?]

3m privacy filter

We’ve all had the experience of people looking over our shoulder on the metro, bus, or planes, curious to see what we’re looking at on our phones. With smaller devices it’s easy to turn a shoulder but for laptops, keeping your screen private is more difficult, especially when traveling.

There are a lot of good reasons to keep the contents of your screen hidden from shoulder surfers sitting next to you on a plane: business travelers to keep important documents confidential, regulatory requirements in your field, and developers working on code. Disclosure of any of those, not to mention your passwords, name (when logging on to social media), can all be easily prevented with a privacy filter.

What’s A Privacy Filter?

These are like screen protectors placed on your laptop screen, except the 3M™ Privacy Filter limits the viewing angles. Basically the contents of the screen are only visible from one angle – right in front. People sitting next to you at a cafe or standing in an airplane aisle won’t be able to see your screen. You can watch the effect in the video below to see how even a screen image at full brightness disappears when you move a bit to the side.

 

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15 Second Installation

The collaborative nature of a laptop – it can be your business work space or television in one – means you don’t want to always restrict your screen for your eyes only. To make using a laptop privacy filter practical, 3M developed its 3M™ COMPLY™ Attachment System. For people who don’t want to stick anything to their screen, the way the 3M™ COMPLY ™ Attachment System works is by using two adhesives to the exterior or your laptop. Fast, and easily removable without residue if needed, you can see in the video below how the 3M™ COMPLY™ Attachment System allows you to simply flip a privacy filter up or down as needed.

3m privacy filter

What I like about the 3M™ Privacy Filters is they’re designed (with a feature called 3M™ COMPLY ™ Attachment System) so you can get switch between private viewing and sharing with little effort if needed. You might be on a flight and want to share your screen with a friend or have a meeting where a privacy filter might hinder your group’s view.

Worth The Effort?

You may be thinking whether or not a privacy filter is excessive but if you travel for business in particular, it can help maintain your company’s proprietary information. Digital nomads or other small, independent business owners, the same goes for you. A displayed password, code snippet, or other personal information caught at a glance by a shoulder surfer could cause you potential headaches a 3M ™ Privacy Filter can prevent. The 3M™ COMPLY ™ Attachment System is an elegant way to implement a laptop privacy screen in a way that you’ll actually use it in multiple situations and is a portable, effective, and inexpensive way to maintain your privacy on the road.

How Long It Takes To Get To The New Istanbul Airport

Getting to and from different parts of Turkey’s largest city to the new Istanbul Airport (IST) isn’t as convenient as it was from the former major airport in town. Planning a visit through IST is a lot easier though when you know how to get there and the time it takes to do so.

You can see the best times to get to Istanbul Airport in the video above or read on.

Timing

Traffic in Istanbul could be called punishment instead since most of the time that’s what it feels like. However, if you’re fortunate enough to have a flight in the late evening or early morning hours (10pm-7am) a ride from the European side of the city to Istanbul Airport will take roughly 30-45 minutes with a taxi. From the Asian side, add an extra hour to be absolutely sure you’ll make it to the airport on time.

ortakoy mosque istanbul

For all other hours of the day, add an extra hour of drive time to get to the airport. You may get lucky with traffic but to be absolutely sure, those are the minimum amount of times you’ll need just to get to IST.

Once There

Keep in mind at IST you’ll go through security before entering the airport, then after passport control, with a third check likely before your gate. Checking in as well, plus the security checks is a 45 minute process at non-peak hours – at all other times add an hour to this.

Adding it all up at non-peak traffic hours, you can comfortably leave for IST Airport 2.5 hours before your flight from the European side, 3.5 hours from the Asian side. During most of the day though you’ll have to add an hour to both times. So, if you’re flight is at 4pm, from the European side you’ll want to leave around 12:30pm. From the Asian side, 12pm is a safe bet.

Ride And Security

You almost never need to arrive at an airport 3 hours before your flight, two is usually sufficient. That’s the case at IST as well, but since traffic and the added security checks can take a while, calculate so you’re walking through the front door 2 hours before takeoff. Besides, if you get there early, you can enjoy using the free wifi with this hack.

What 249 Gram Drones Mean For Travelers

There are a number of rules, regulations, and restrictions for flying drones around the world. Often, an important number you’ll find in many of the regulations is 250 grams, a weight used to differentiate between drone classifications. With the release of the DJI Mavic Mini specifically designed to weigh 249g, you might be wondering what it means if you travel with a drone.

There’s a lot of confusion regarding the current weight limits and not knowing the right rules could get you fined or worse. Here’s what you need to know about flying your lightweight drone.

Why 249g?

It’s important to remember that drone rules vary across the world (here’s an always up to date map, as well the mobile version), but in many United States jurisdictions and western Europe, 250 grams often marks the line between two classes of drone. Since a lot of the world has taken its drone law cues from the U.S. (one of the world’s largest drone consumers), 250 grams has become an unofficial global standard.

scottish highlands

Drones weighing more than 250 grams are usually considering amateur unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) whereas 249g and less are either a lower class of drone or classified as toys.

Rules Still Apply

One major point of confusion for a lot of people to clear up now – in most places with a 250g weight limit, drones weighing less aren’t exempt from any rules. For the most part, drones like the Mavic Mini weighing 249g don’t have to be registered, but all the other restrictions apply.

And if you think about it, that makes sense. The Mavic Mini is 249g but it can still fly above 120 meters (394 feet) which is most places is not allowed because that’s another level of flight space. You still need to maintain a visual line of sight (VLOS) in Sweden for example, since 249g or not, crashing a drone can still be dangerous to people below.

Know The Local Regulations

Drones weighing less than 249g might be able to be imported into countries where UAVs are not officially allowed but it’s important to check the specific rules that apply. As I mentioned above, this map is updated in real-time and DroneMate (Android/iOS) can put all the local laws and regulations in your pocket for offline use. It’s also worth mentioning that as drones get lighter and smaller, legislators are likely to update the rules over time to encompass the updated tech.

249g drones like the Mavic Mini make it just a little less hassle to get permission to fly a drone in some places but that’s not likely to be the case indefinitely.

The Oldest Cathedral In Scotland Says A Lot About Glasgow

glasgow cathedral

The Glasgow Cathedral, completed by 1136, is a prideful building that’s seen two religions, survived the Reformation, and where classes of the University of Glasgow began. You don’t normally associate the word tough with a cathedral but in Glasgow, Scotland, it couldn’t be more appropriate.

In 1502 the Cathedral was the place where King James IV signed the Treaty of Perpetual Peace with England. Somewhat ironically, the Glasgow Cathedral was then used to house artillery during the Battle of Glasgow in 1544, somehow surviving artillery fire itself.

Roughly 20 years and two Scottish kings later, the originally Catholic Glasgow Cathedral ensured its survival to this day through a bit more serendipity. James VI traced the ownership of several lands to Archbishop Gavin Dunbar, who had left an £800 legacy for the cathedral’s upkeep. James VI gifted this money for the repair of the Glasgow Cathedral ensuring its existence 500 years later for tourists to visit free of charge.

How To Spend 72 Hours In Berlin: Quick Guide To Food, Booze, And Art

berlin street food

There’s a lot to do and see in Berlin, Germany but even better more to eat and drink. You can take in Berlin through many senses so here’s how to touch upon each one if you’ve only got a short time in Germany’s capital city.

Start Early Checkpoint Charlie

Before you immediately click away (I see you Berliner) – a lot of people want to see Checkpoint Charlie. Walking around this area is hard to avoid so it can be done anytime yet if you want to enter the decent museum, arrive before they open. Crowds are terrible, lines worse, plus you don’t have much time to get to everything else.

brandenburg gate

While you’re nearby Checkpoint Charlie both the Brandenburg Gate (ready for your Instagram selfies) and Holocaust Museum (read if you’re considering) are roughly a 20 minute walk away.

Getting Around In Berlin

If an hour of walking sounds nice, it’s about the time you’ll need to get most anywhere from the center of town. Otherwise you’ve got bike rentals everywhere, Uber’s JUMP bikes with a small electric engine, plus scooter options as well. Travelers who prefer getting around by car, it’s best to hail a cab from the road (or use MyTaxi app versus Uber) since it’s less expensive and cabbies are fairly honest in Berlin.

berlin art

Back To Lunch

At this point, you’re probably getting hungry. From the Brandenburg Gate, you can focus on the north part of the city. Oslo Cafe has good coffee roughly 30 minutes walking distance with some bakery snacks. On Sundays, add the Arkonaplatz Market to your list, there’s plenty of shopping and street food to choose from. Any other day of the week, arrive on an empty stomach to Holy Everest one of the best restaurants in Berlin.

holy everest berlin

As the day draws to a close you might be wondering where to grab a drink before dinner. Hop a cab to either Bateau Ivre for a louder environment whereas Cafe Luzia is a bit more relaxed – both are moderately priced; located in Kreuzberg.

Late Morning Food To Art

Ideally, you’re doing this plan on a Thursday. Around noon, you can enjoy lunch at Kopps, one of the best vegan restaurants anywhere most people will enjoy. Right next to it is Koppenplatz, a small park often with live music during the warm-ish months. Once refueled, it’s a 45 minute walk to East Side Gallery, the largest open-air gallery in the world. East Side Gallery features murals along stretches of the Berlin Wall; excellent for photographs or a nice stroll to digest lunch.

berlin sunset

Try to time it so you get to Oberbaumbrucke Bridge 45 minutes before sunset, these are some of the best shots of the Berlin skyline during “golden hour.”

To celebrate the great sunset photo, cheers over a fancy cocktail at Apotheken. Belly warm, walk over to Markthalle Neun for Thursday night’s street food festival. Martkhalle Neun also has other food events during the weekends which vary as well.

Just A Taste

There’s plenty more to eat across Berlin, options for vegans or carnivores, not to mention Christmas markets and summer festivals. For meals across the day this video will give you breakfast, lunch, or dinner and if you would like any other recommendations, feel free to let me know in the comments below.

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