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Category: Travel

Everything You Need To Know About Traveling To Baghdad

Although it might not seem like it, Baghdad, Iraq is a blossoming tourist destination welcoming casual groups interested in history, art, and a city that’s been off limits until recently. Adventurers are also making their way to this exciting new destination in the Middle East but you don’t have to be one to visit Baghdad, a remarkably modern and welcoming city.

Logistics And Accommodation

Flying into Baghdad is straightforward and there are direct flights from several destinations, including Istanbul. Iraq recently implemented an online e-visa program for a number of countries, removing some of the logistical barriers that once existed. Hotels are plentiful though they tend to range from dirt cheap or semi-luxurious, without many options – or prices – in between.

Getting to Baghdad is mostly normal. Flights land as they would anywhere else but upon arrival you’ll want to have your hotel pickup, Baghdad tour company, or other transportation arranged in advance. Unauthorized cars are not allowed up to the terminals at Baghdad International Airport for security reasons (more on that in a bit) so you won’t be able to just grab a cab once you step outside.

Security

Baghdad is a city that has been experiencing recent periods of normality in between waves of local instability, including recent clashes and curfews. It’s best to have local contacts (e.g. guides) who can advise you of the situation on the ground during such waves. Otherwise, as locals will tell you, traveling to Baghdad isn’t dangerous but it is risk(ier) than many other places. Occasionally there are random attacks, mainly on the outskirts of town and they rarely target foreigners. Everyone has a different risk tolerance but when you’re in Baghdad, a bustling, vibrant city of over 7 million, it doesn’t feel much unlike most other developed capital cities.

Baghdadis are by and large friendly, welcoming, and aside from the ruthless traffic, getting around town by car or on foot isn’t extraordinary.

Why You Should Visit

Baghdad is a modern city with its Starbucks, hip restaurants, and a young and open-minded population who will be deciding what they want their country to be. Being one of the oldest cities in the world, there’s history (Babylon anyone?), cultural events in public squares, and some of the best cuisine you’ll find not just in Iraq, but anywhere.

Perhaps the untold story of Baghdad is that its not only a crossroads of time and peoples, but with that comes the unique mix of foods you can find here. Dishes with a range of fresh ingredients you might not have expected from Iraq but remember, you’re in the heart of the Fertile Crescent. There’s masgouf, traditional carp that’s farmed in the nearby marshes or absolutely one of the best falafels in the world (and a nice vegetarian option).

You’ll be welcomed in Baghdad as a guest – the locals will make sure of that – and you’ll be getting a peak into the fragile state of tourism here. It may be the beginning or a temporary end. Only time will tell so if you’ve been considering a trip to Iraq’s capital, now may be the time.

DroneMate Premium Shows You Local Drone Laws As You Travel

dronemate premium

A drone can provide you incredible shots from you vacation but traveling with a drone, especially internationally, can be a bureaucratic nightmare. A patchwork of laws, regulations, and registration forms that might not be clear or well-defined can get your drone confiscated or you fined. Not to mention that in some parts of the world authorities may not know the rules well enough to enforce them properly. (Or rely on your ignorance for ahem *cough* a bribe.)

DroneMate Premium Features

DroneMate, the app that puts all of the world’s drone laws on your phone (available for iOS/Android) also has a Premium version that unlocks the following features:

  • Track Specific Localities: Select countries, states, and other localities you want information on and receive notifications any time there’s an update to the drone rules there. When there is an update, DroneMate displays a notification with the complete updated drone laws, including links to any documents, forms, or registration materials needed.
  • Personalized Support: DroneMate Premium users will also get personalized support for any questions they have regarding specific drones laws, rules or regulations. Premium users are notified of responses by a DroneMate administrator to their questions in the comments section. Premium users can ask about specific rules, drone hardware, or travel experiences with a drone in a given locality.
  • Automatic Notifications: DroneMate Premium users will get a notification of whether they can fly their drone, need registration, or other restrictions on drone use upon arrival at your destination. The complete drone laws, including links to any documents, forms, or registration materials needed will be displayed and it works completely offline!

All of the Premium enhancements come with all of the regular DroneMate features including the built-in traveler network, specific drone requirements, and of course, offline mode!

dronemate     wifox ios app store     wifox google play android
How To Get DroneMate Premium FREE

DroneMate Premium is an upgrade you can select from within the DroneMate app. It’s a yearly subscription you can try 30 days for free and connect with other drone pilots, just in time for your next trip!

Of course if you have any questions about DroneMate you can send me a message here. Have a safe and legal flight!

Interview With Geek Nation Tours Founder Teras Cassidy

geek nation tours

This post is part of Geek Takeover Week 2022.

For many, it’s New Zealand but for others it’s Mordor. The Shire. Or simply, the place where Lord of the Rings was filmed. In 2009 Teras Cassidy founded Geek Nation Tours to show people of all fandoms places like Japan, the UK, and California from a unique angle. Anime, war gaming, and Wasteland Weekend, Teras joined a special episode of the foXnoMad Podcast to talk about how he came up with Geek Nation Tours and some of the more interesting places they’ve visited.

You can listen to the full episode about and subscribe to the foXnoMad Podcast so you don’t miss the Season 4 premier in the fall!

The 4 Best Sci-Fi Shows You Should Give A Second Chance

the orville

This post is part of Geek Takeover Week 2022.

Almost a trope within the genre, good sci-fi often takes a season or two to fully get to warp. Unfortunately in the competitive streaming space, that can mean a good show gets canceled before enough people realize it’s great. These are some of the best sci-fi shows you might have heard of but dismissed prematurely.

1. The Orville

This show started off the first few episodes trying to find a balance between humor and sci-fi. The Orville (Hulu, Disney+) does hit its stride quickly though and after it moves to Hulu in Season 3, it becomes one of the best sci-fi series ever. The stories, the action, the drama, and comedic moments are beautifully interwoven into what is essentially 10 short movies. Brannon Braga and Andre Bormanis (writers from several Star Trek series), The Orville is the best new Trek out now. It’s also in question for a Season 4 renewal so don’t wait to see what you’re missing.

2. For All Mankind

Speaking of Star Trek alum, For All Mankind (Apple TV) is infused with writers like Ronald Moore to designers like the Okudas. And like The Orville, For All Mankind is ultimately an optimistic show but doesn’t sugarcoat progress one bit. The drama is intense, following the lives of characters over decades (Season 1 is the 1970s, Season 2, the 80s…). For All Mankind was mapped out to play out over 7 seasons and it will have you hooked.

3. Mr. Robot

A lot of people dropped off in Season 2 due to its perspective shift. But everything is not what it seems, especially on the hacking show Mr. Robot (Amazon Prime) and like For All Mankind, was mapped out for its 4 season run. Meaning the writers knew where the story was headed and it’s beautifully interwoven until the jaw-dropping finale.

4. Resident Alien

This show will make you laugh out loud several times an episode. Resident Alien (Hulu) is about an alien who gets trapped on Earth and wants to kill humanity because we suck and don’t take care of our planet. It’s not all laughs though, Resident Alien has heart, great characters, and a Trek connection too. (Tom Paris is an executive producer).

Not just sci-fi, these are great television shows that have a little of something for everyone but one universal element we can all get onboard with: characters with depth with excellent storytelling.

The Best Place To Eat In Fairbanks, Alaska

There aren’t a lot of places to eat in Fairbanks, Alaska which has a population of 32,000. Not to say Fairbanks doesn’t have some good dining options (it’s no Anchorage) but if one place defines the ambiance of the city, it’s The Chowder House. Alone in a quiet parking lot in the center of town, The Chowder House serves up hearty soups, sandwiches, and potstickers (basically fried dumplings).

Chowders are served daily from chicken and wild rice or creme of broccoli to steak chili. Build your own or enjoy a baked Alaskan salmon sandwich. Hearty, welcoming, and much more interesting packages of tasty calories than its name would suggest, if you need more reason to visit, watch my visit to The Chowder House here.

How To Protect Your Backpack From Slash Attacks

Slash attacks on backpacks are brazen theft attempts where a thief uses a knife to cut through your bag and make a run for it. These are quick grab attacks where the crook doesn’t really care if you notice because by the time you react, they’re already running away at full speed.

Fortunately, there are a few tactics to avoiding slash attacks on backpacks, purses, and other handbags.

Prioritizing Prevention

There aren’t many statistics on specific ways people are pick-pocketed but anecdotally the slash and grab is most common against bags with one strap. That’s purses, belt packs.. things where the slash immediately detaches the bag from your person. With a backpack that’s a lot harder to do, so one piece of advice right off the bat is to always wear your backpack with two straps on. Also, don’t wear your backpack too loosely, so you can better feel if your bag is being tampered with.

Plan Of Action In Progress

A good backpack security strategy against slashing starts with the bag you choose. Fabrics like nylon with higher denier counts, sailcloth, and polyester tend to hold up well. The Aer Travel Pack 2, Tortuga Outbreaker Laptop Bag, GORCUK GR2 and Pacsafe LS450 offer solid protection. No matter which backpack you go with, inspect where the backpack and supportive straps meet.

Not only will strong stitching and reinforced straps be more durable over time, strap meets the bag, is a part that tends to get a lot of use, movement, and wear over time. Also, the thicker the material used for the thinnest part of the backpack straps, the more resistant they’ll be to cutting.

Layering Strategy

Many slash attacks don’t go for your entire bag but rather vulnerable exterior pockets. So, pack your most valuable items in the interior, closest to your back. A lot of backpacks have multiple pockets so don’t use outside facing ones for your wallet, phone, or other important items like a passport. With your valuables deeper inside the bag, there’s more material between the knife and your stuff.

When you’re riding in a bus, metro, or train, don’t keep your bag by your feet which gives a thief a lot of time to attack your valuables without you noticing. Always keep your bag on your lap. It’s inconvenient but a lot more difficult for someone to tamper with.

Like most pick-pocketing security, you want to deter an attack from even happening and give a thief reason to look elsewhere. Being aware of your surroundings, having your gear secure, and using a strong backpack will all help. But if you do notice someone cutting through your backpack and turn around to see someone with a knife in your face – do the smart thing and give them what they want. That’s a mugging situation, don’t be a hero and risk injury or worse, for things that can be replaced.

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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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