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How To Plan A Day Trip To Seward, Alaska

You may not have heard of Seward, Alaska until you’ve been or are planning to visit Anchorage. Located about a 2 and a half hour drive south from Alaska’s most populous city, Seward is a town of about 2,100 residents living on the Gulf of Alaska fjord. It’s an excellent hopping off spot to see wildlife, eat at local restaurants, and start an entire Alaska adventure.

Here’s how to plan your day trip to Seward.

Getting To Seward

There are several ways to get to Seward from Anchorage.

  • Car: This is the most flexible way to get to Seward although not the least expensive if you’re renting a vehicle. The road to Seward is mostly flat and relatively straight, just beware of wildlife and keep your eyes on the road. (Moose are common.) The benefit of driving is you can stop at one of several scenic pull-offs like Beluga Point.

  • Train: The Coastal Classic Train moves across some of the most beautiful scenery in southern Alaska. The train runs from early May to mid-September and takes about 4 hours. Most of the boat tour operators are in sync with the train schedule and depart and arrive with train travelers in mind. A dining car is available and prices for a one-way trip run a little over $200.
  • Bus: Following roughly the same seasonal schedule as the trains, a 3 hour bus ride is about $70 one way on Seward Bus Lines. Times vary and some routes are specifically designed for sightseeing. The bus good alternative to the train if you’re traveling in a larger group.

Planning A Day In Seward

One of the most popular things to do in Seward is to take a boat tour of Resurrection Bay and out further to see nearby glaciers. I’d recommend Major Marine Tours (you can see why in the video above) which offer a variety of half and full day wildlife excursions. If time isn’t an issue, the full day tour gives you a much better chance of seeing larger marine life like orcas and other whales, plus takes you out to several local glaciers. All of these glaciers are receding so you may be taking a look at an endangered piece of history.

major marine tours

  • Full Day Tours: Range from 6 to 8.5 hours and cost $180-$250 and go into Kenai Fjords National Park. Meals are included as are assigned seats but you’re free (and encouraged) to roam around the boat, especially when wildlife is pointed out.
  • Half Day Tours: Roughly 4 hours, these tours are usually specifically designed to catch certain types of wildlife sightings, particularly killer whales. Very seasonal (May and June are the best times) half day tours are ideal for those looking to maximize a day around Seward. Cost is roughly $100.

Keep in mind to coordinate your transportation times with any boat tours. There’s plenty of parking available for cars; otherwise check with the bus or train company to see if the ride you’re booking aligns with a particular boat tour.

Where To Eat In Seward

Seasonal, as many things are in Seward, the warmer the months, the more options you’ll have for food. One staple is caffeine with breakfast at 13 Ravens Coffee, appropriately located in a converted train car right by the water. (To be fair, most every place you’ll probably be visiting in Seward is.) A larger meal in a place with limited seating (so get there early) is Mermaid Grotto. After about 9am the service slows down and the seats fill up but another alternative nearby is The Cookery for local foods by Chef Kevin Lane.

Further up the road for those of you driving is the Exit Glacier Salmon Bake, which is as much of an experience as it is a place to eat.

Spending The Day In Seward

In case you’re still hungry after your day in Seward check out the best breakfast in Anchorage or the best pizza places in Anchorage. Seward is an inviting town you won’t regret visiting, especially if you make the most of what it has to offer.

5 Creepy Travel Sites You’d Actually Want To Visit

creppy contrails

There are a number of spooky stories. Some are completely based in fantasy while others like recent murders a little too macabre. Mysterious encounters, sightings, and places you would actually want to visit (outside of the creepiness) do exist. These are 5 creepy sites from the foXnoMad Podcast you might actually want to visit on your next trip.

1. Margate Shell Grotto

margate shell grotto

Located in Kent, England and discovered in 1835 by a father and son digging around a duck pond, the Margate Shell Grotto is a snaking 185 square meter cavern. Adorned with over 4.6 million shells, it contains an altar room and rotunda. Nobody knows who built this mysterious site and there aren’t any good guesses either. You can though visit the Margate Shell Grotto for a few British Pounds and explore it yourself.

2. Socorro UFO Landing Site

socorro ufo site

On April 24, 1964, just outside of Socorro, New Mexico, Police Officer Lonnie Zamora was chasing a speeding teenager. As he headed out into the desert though something caught his eye. Zamora stopped pursuit and saw a craft with beings walking around outside. The U.S. Air Force conducted an investigation, collection photos and physical evidence to corroborate Zamora’s story. Even to this day, the official government site of Socorro lists its coordinates.

3. Historic Anchorage Hotel

historic anchorage hotel

Built in 1916 and the only historic hotel in Alaska’s largest city, the Historic Anchorage Hotel is known for 3 ghosts whose sightings are so common, a guest book at reception records them. If you want to see the otherworldly little boy, murdered police chief, or ghastly bride, rooms 215, 217, 202 and 205 are know to be especially haunting.

4. Ruwa, Zimbabwe

One of the most conventionally un-explainable UFO encounters, the mass sighting and interaction between 62 students and faculty of an alien craft and beings in Ruwa, Zimbabwe has shook those who’ve studied it. Harvard professor of psychiatry John Mack interviewed the kids extensively and BBC’s local correspondent Tim Leach said after his investigation, “I could handle war zones, but I could not handle this.”

5. Bunny Man Bridge

bunny man bridge

The urban legend is creepy but the true story is even more bizarre. Studied for over a decade by Fairfax County Archivist Brian Conley, his paper on the government website is the foremost treatise on the Bunny Man. A small bridge in northern Virginia, there’s no asylum or gutted bunnies like the myth but a hatch through a car window? That happened to a couple on October 18, 1970 but a man dressed in a bunny outfit. Nobody was hurt and two weeks later, the Bunny Man was sighted again. Axe in hand, attacking an abandoned home, he threatened witnesses to stay away. Since then, he’s not been seen and nobody knows who this person was. You can try your luck (or lack thereof) on a Halloween at midnight, with a number of locals who dare to defy the curse of the Bunny Man.

3 Apple TV Shows To Fuel Your Travel Wanderlust

long way up

You probably don’t need much inspiration to travel these days if you’ve been quarantining but with the world closed off, everywhere feels a bit less reachable. Fortunately we’re more connected digitally than ever and having just come out of the tech season, you might be the owner of a new Apple device. New iPhones, iPads, and Macbooks come with a free year subscription to Apple TV and the vibrancy of these three series will make take your imagination places.

Here are 3 Apple TV original shows any travel lover will enjoy.

1. Long Way Up

long way up

Part of the Long Way series, Long Way Up follow Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor’s electric motorcycle trip from the southern tip of Argentina to Los Angeles. The cinematography is stunning, the motorcycle tech evolves literally throughout the series, but the camaraderie between Boorman and McGregor will remind you of your own road trips with friends.

Long Way Round is one of the best motorcycle books you can read and is a personal inspiration of mine as well.

2. For All Mankind

for all mankind

An alternate history where the Soviet Union lands on the moon first before the Americans and how it could have pushed the space race. The real appeal of For All Mankind, which is based on the technology possible during the 60s (even calls a very recent lunar discovery), is the societal changes that result. The acting is excellent and you’ll appreciate the story on Earth and the challenges in space, leaving you with optimism for our current times.

3. Earth At Night In Color

earth at night in color

This is another Apple series where you can marvel at the tech, focus on the result, or enjoy both. Using some of the most advanced cameras available, the series films wildlife at night but are able to show it in color. You may have seen night vision – take that image out of your head – and watch the first episode. The crew are able to film the nocturnal habits of lions, migratory birds, and adorably deadly (for insects) tarsiers.

A lot of the footage is the first ever captured because of the nighttime world the cameras unlock. Weaved beautifully into each 30 minute episode is a specific message about conservationism you might not have heard before. These are stories of the lives of animals, they’re families, and their environment. At the end of each episode you’ll also get to see a bit of the lengths the crew had to go to in order to film Earth At Night In Color, giving you an appreciation of the effort involved.

One More Thing

There’s a visual quality to each of these Apple TV series that’s bold aesthetically but nuanced in a way that makes the experience of watching them fresh. Once you’ve watch these, here are 8 other series you might want to marathon before you next flight.

5 Ways To Use Frequent Flyer Miles (Other Than Flying)

air force one replica

You might not be flying as much lately – global pandemic or otherwise – but your accumulated frequent flyer miles don’t have to go to waste. Although many airlines have extended frequent flyer programs so your miles won’t expire any time soon, you can put the miles you have now to good use.

Here are 5 ways to use your frequent flyer miles for everything that’s not a flight.

1. Shopping

Most airlines have online malls with a number of retailers including Apple and Best Buy. You’ll find these online malls through the airline mileage website and can use any miles you have for discounts or to purchase items outright. Additionally if you’re using a credit card with mile perks, they most likely will have an online store as well.

sydney australia mall

2. Take A Road Trip

Frequent flyer miles can be used for car rentals or hotels so don’t limit yourself to the sky. As a general rule you’ll get more bang for your mile using points in the travel industry as opposed to a new iPad (see point 1 above).

3. Convert To Cash

You can trade in frequent flyer miles for cash, especially if they’re accumulated through a credit card. NerdWallet breaks down Marriott’s award program (.3 cents per point) but according to Alex Miller, the CEO of Upgraded Points, you want to aim for conversions of a cent per mile.

trove wallet

4. Donate

You’re a good person, I’m sure but just so you know, unless you bought your frequent flyer miles donating them won’t be a tax deduction in most cases. You can though donate your miles, in case you didn’t know that. (Works for random currency you’ve accumulated traveling too.) There are a number of good causes most mileage programs have partnered with and your miles can help others escape political violence or make ends meet (by converting miles to cash).

sunset flight

5. Give To Friends And Family

There’s often a fee to transfer miles to another account (if you’re married though maybe not so contact the airline) but for those people who need to fly, your miles might help them get what they need for a free flight. Like many of the points already mentioned, the best way is through the airline’s online mileage program site, then call to see what better options they might offer you.

While You Wait

Most people haven’t checked up on the miles they have recently or when they might be expiring. If that sounds like you, check your frequent flyer miles right now to make sure they aren’t (or haven’t) vanished. Contact the airlines to see what extension plans are in effect since when travel does resume, you’re likely to get some great deals with the miles you have. So, unless you have a good reason not to, it’s best to stash your miles until you’re ready for sky time since they can protect you from flight cancellations as well.

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.

How To Find A Reputable Driver In India

Finding a reliable driver for your visit to India can be challenging since operators online are as difficult to navigate as most Indian roads. Getting around India often requires the use of a car so you want a driver that’s not only knowledgeable but also understands what travelers are looking during their trip.

To make things easy on yourself, there’s one driver in India who should be the first person to contact: Budhiman Rawat. Here’s why.

Drivers In India

There are a few important things to consider when hiring a driver in India besides knowing the roads. Most drivers will know how to get around however many try to cut corners to shave time off trips. (The more people they can transport the more money they’ll earn.) This incentive to be quick means a lot of drivers can be out of touch with the travelers they’re driving, particularly if those travelers aren’t Indian. It also means you might miss lesser known stops along the way like this cave where The Dark Knight Rises was filmed.

budhiman india driver

Due to sheer numbers, drivers will often be accustomed to Indian clients for whom the journey isn’t part of the trip. Indian clients are also accustomed to the food so they don’t usually have to be as picky about rest stops. Chats with the driver are usually non-existent.

Visitors In India

As a visitor aside from putting your life in the hands of a driver, they’re often part of your travel experience or Leh Ladakh Tour Package as well. A local to locals where class dynamics don’t encourage conversation is one thing but as a visitor, your driver is a local you’ll be spending a lot of time in an SUV with.

budhiman india car driver

English is important but so is personality and a local driver who understands the variations in this dynamic. Budhiman is a driver who puts together all of these intangible elements leaving everyone he’s driven with nothing but high praise and recommendation.

Why Everyone Loves Budhi

Budhiman (Budhi for short) is from Damak, Nepal. 20 years ago he made his way to India, first getting jobs as a bus cleaner, then kitchen cook, eventually landing a gig as a local driver in New Delhi. He’s been the main driver for Wandering Earl Tours for the past decade, where I first met him.

Through a combination of a warm personality, wise business savvy, and experience, Budhi has developed his own driving services company. Budhi is personable, always drivers the under the speed limits, and knows the best (i.e. cleanest) places to stop and eat.

Greeting you with a smile every time isn’t something you’ll find on an online review but Budhi truly makes you feel like a passenger rather than cargo being dropped off from one place to another. The van journeys become a pleasant, unexpected part of your trip. You can get in touch with Budhiman through his Facebook page or Wandering Earl Tours (request him by name) for travel anywhere across India.

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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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