Advice Archives - foXnoMad

Category: Advice

The Best Way To Unclog Your Ears After A Flight

All of us are familiar with the odd sensation in our ears that occurs during and after a flight. Blocked or “clogged” ears can be a nuisance or even painful but with some preparation plus moderation, nothing that has to ruin your next airplane ride.

Dr. Saba Ghorab has over 14 years of education and specialized surgical training as a board-certified and fellowship-trained in Otolaryngology; Head and Neck Surgery (also known as ENT or ear, nose, and throat). She recently joined an episode of the foXnoMad Podcast and describes how to deal with clogged ears. You can watch a clip here or listen to the full episode below.

Prepare Before You Fly

Having sinuses that are de-congested as much as possible before you fly puts your inner ear in the best condition to deal with pressure changes at altitude. Dr. Ghorab recommends a decongestant spray 15 minutes before your flight, particularly if you’re prone to allergies. Treating any other common sources of congestion or inflammation, like symptoms of a cold, can also help.

Chewing gum and yawning often to physically open the Eustachian tube in your inner ears will help it equalize with the changing pressure as you go up or down in altitude.

Use Moderation

You can (and should) hold your nose and blow to further open your Eustachian tubes but remember not to overdo it. We’ve talked about what can go wrong if you hold your nose and blow as hard as you can so lighter, more frequent attempts are better than one massive attempt. Keep at it, be patient, and don’t force the issue. For most stubborn cases of clogged airplane ears time will usually do its magic eventually, with a little help from you.

Pack A Dryer Sheet In Your Luggage So Clothes Smell Fresh Upon Arrival

dryer sheet fabric softener luggage

Stuffing your clothes into a cramped suitcase and flying halfway around the planet doesn’t make for the best scent conditions. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to combat stale smells after a long journey by packing in an extra item: a single dryer sheet.

Obviously you’ll want to start a trip with all of your clothes washed before packing but often times we’re left having to mix clean with worn clothes. Being in such close quarters over an extended period of time can transfer dank smells over to anything that was smelling nice, giving you double laundry at your next destination (or worse, making you the smelling one at that arrival party).

Fabric softener, or dryer sheets, combat unpleasant odors which can be present from your luggage itself. (When was the last time you washed your suitcase?) For placement, pack a dryer sheet in between any dirty clothes or if everything is fresh already – in the center-bottom of your bag. This way, you’ll get the most benefit from a single dryer sheet but if you’ve packed shoes as well, it’s worth putting in a sheet in each shoe as well.

To further fight backpack odors you can throw in and keep a silica bag (those little packets that come with all of your electronics) which do an excellent job of absorbing moisture and preventing the growth of mold. Of course travel enough and you’ll end up with smelly socks at some point which might make for a good ad-hoc mosquito trap.


Not Wanting To Exercise Is Normal, Here’s Why

There are a lot of myths about fitness, including the notion that our ancestors were hulking super-humans who were always on the go. It turns out according to Harvard professor of human evolutionary biology Daniel Lieberman, hunter gatherers do a lot more sitting than you think.

Dr. Lieberman is the author of Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding and recently joined me on a recent episode of the foXnoMad Podcast to discuss common myths above movement. We also talk about the Paleo diet and why eating from a Stone Age menu might not be ideal.

You can watch a clip of my interview with Dr. Lieberman in this video or listen to the full foXnoMad Podcast episode here.

How To Overcome Your Travel Fears In The New Year

foxnomad podcast michael wigge

The thought of traveling around the world seems daunting but add in the challenge of doing it with no money and it sounds downright scary. Michael Wigge though is someone who did just that in 2013, among other travel challenges. Now, he’s has taken those lessons from the road to teach you how to overcome your own fears. I spoke with Michael on a recent episode of the foXnoMad Podcast and asked how he’s teaching others what fear is and how you can conquer it. Techniques Michael’s had to use himself as he talks in front of large groups as a motivational speaker.

You might remember Michael from this live chat from several years ago when he answered your questions on what it was like to barter his way around the world. In this episode you can listen to here, we spoke about traveling the world for free, Michael’s work as a motivational speaker in Germany, and what it was like getting paid to be a human couch in Las Vegas.

It was nice to catch up with Michael after a few years and glean the lessons he’s teaching others from a life of travel challenges with the accompanying highs and lows that comes with the journey. Whatever your goals may be using your fear as a guide rather than an obstacle can make any plan a reality.

Best Way To Get A Taxi In Istanbul, Turkey

Finding a taxi in Istanbul, Turkey, isn’t difficult but just hailing any cab off the street is a risky move if you don’t want to get ripped off. Istanbul taxi drivers don’t have the best reputation and since Uber is virtually non-existent in the city, here’s how to make sure you get where you need to go without overpaying.

Use The Right App For The City

Free for Android and iOS, BiTaksi works similar to ride sharing apps you may be familiar with but is exclusive to registered taxis. You’ll want to set up BiTaksi before arriving in Turkey because the app requires a phone number for verification. (Probably easier to deal with in your home country.) After setup, you can then use BiTaksi to call a cab in Istanbul or Ankara, like you would using Lyft or Uber. You can see you driver’s rating and license plate to make sure you hop in the right car.

Once you call a cab, you’ll be shown a few different route options through BiTaksi, so you can watch to make sure your driver is taking the right route. You can also, through the app, specify the route you want the driver to take. Additionally, BiTaksi let’s you send your ride information to a friend or family, so they can watch your progress and know when you’ve arrived safely at a destination.

You can see the entire setup of BiTaksi in the video above and if you happen to be headed to Serbia, here’s the best way to order a cab in Belgrade.

Book Flights Using Miles To Protect Refunds Against Airline Cancellation Policies

air force one replica

Flight cancellations have become a common occurrence since the Covid-19 pandemic and airlines have changed their policies to match. They’ve made it more difficult, or essentially impossible, to get your money back. To protect yourself against new, less consumer-friendly airline rules it’s a good idea to use frequent flyer miles more frequently.

Why Miles?

Carriers like Turkish Airlines have rewritten their own rules refunding passengers with vouchers as opposed to money. One way to protect yourself against airline shenanigans is to book flights through one of these major mileage programs. Since airlines are converting your money into miles, if you have them, it’s better to book with miles as long as cancellations are common.

Most of the major airlines quickly return miles (well under 30 days) when they cancel a flight you don’t want to immediately re-book. Holding on to your money is a safer bet as airlines have conveniently changed rules to remove their responsibility to refund for cancellations. Using one of the major mileage programs gives you more flexibility to re-book on multiple airlines or routes, as opposed to a single carrier’s mileage program.

When You Don’t Have Miles

Use the miles you do have – even if they’re not a part of the three major mileage programs. (Here’s how to start accumulating them in one place if you’re not already.) As a general rule, you don’t want to buy miles or mileage boosters because they’re worth more in cash – but with the high rate of cancellations lately it may be worth the added insurance to purchase a small amount, if you’re just under the miles needed for a flight.

Mile Alternatives

Some specific travel insurance may be an option if you’re well below the number of miles needed to book flights to protect your purchase. The credit card you use may also be able to help, just be sure to check their policies before booking. There are good ways to earn miles without credit cards and you may actually have more miles than you realize. If you can put off air travel however, it’s a good time start stocking up for when it’s a bit less risky to buy tickets.


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

YouTube Twitter Instagram Facebook


Image Map


Image Map