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How To Travel

new york city

There are a lot of ways to travel smarter but if you want the most straightforward advice on how to get started, this is your guide.

First of all, traveling is not that hard. At least not the basics in general, assuming you’ve got some disposable income, a bit of time, and of course the inclination to go somewhere.

Where To Go

Traveling can mean a lot of things but often the first thing to come to mind is some far off exotic place. Those can be great choices but you’ve probably never gone to the tourist sites in your own town. What about the next town over? Maybe you want to start a travel blog or YouTube channel, you don’t need to go very far to do either.

Since you can’t see the entire world in a lifetime, these places are good choices to start from. If you love street food, definitely go to these cities. Adventure sports? Las Vegas. Want to see how much it costs to fly from where you are to anywhere? Kayak Explore will show you.

Honestly though, most of us have a place we’ve always really wanted to see. Don’t let people talk you out of it. Get suggestions on things to do nearby (more ideas can’t hurt) but if there’s somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, that’s where you should probably be headed. You might love or hate a place and that can change over time so aside from actual dangerous places, all you’re hearing are people’s opinions about a given point in time.

travel memes

And if someone’s never been to a place don’t listen to their advice about a place. It’s probably negative and definitely uninformed.

How To Go

Some places you have to fly. For others, taking a train is more environmentally friendly but also easier on your body than taking an airplane. Remember to add 4 hours at least to any total flight time – that covers getting to an airport on time, checking in, plus going through security. A 30 minute flight is really more like 4 or more hours of travel time.

Obsessing over flight prices isn’t likely to save you much nor is booking on a Wednesday. Check out multi-city flights. Travel savings are much more obtainable through choosing the right accommodation, where you eat, and by simple packing habits like buying a reusable water bottle.

What To Take

Recently I saw this tweet which is mostly true unless you’re a French horn musician. What you use at home is what you’ll use on the road. You shouldn’t pack more than you can use in two weeks and most specialized travel gear isn’t versatile enough to justify the costs (remember what I said about saving above?)

arthurs seat edinburgh

Learn these important phrases of the local language using this powerful tool. Gum or mints are essential. One other thing, it’s usually worth paying a bit more to get durable gear. Cheap fabrics don’t withstand traveling well so it’s better to get one good thing than 3 cheap things over the same period of time. Plus good products usually come with good warranties because the brands can stand behind their products.

Stay Connected

Currency is a helpful app that works offline. WiFox gives you passwords to all the airports in the world, important since getting to your accommodation from the airport is when you’re most vulnerable. Find some good travel blogs, they give good firsthand insights that can help with planning, navigating scams, and learning the local customs.

scottish highlands

Download Google Maps offline to help you get around. Put the phone down and look up when you don’t need it.

faucetsafe app

Go with the flow, try a food you’ve never had, and always eat where the locals do. Long lines of tourists don’t always indicate the best places to eat and TripAdvisor can only get you so far. Ask a local. Try it, you’ll get good advice like this.

Remember The Important Things

There’s certainly more, but this should help get you started. Traveling can be tiring, confusing, or a bit lonely sometimes. Keep in mind that if you can travel for recreation, you’re one of the lucky ones on Earth. Not everyone can travel and for most of human history it was impossible to move like we do now.

Understanding other cultures doesn’t require much footwork far or near – meeting new people can give you an important insight. Getting out of cities and into nature can give you perspective. The one thing to bring on any journey is an open mind, without that, you can visit every country in the world and still have not seen much of anything at all.

Bookaway Is A Travel Search Engine For Ground Transportation

bookaway search engine

Purchasing a flight between two countries on opposite sides of the world is often easier than booking ground transportation between two local cities. Bookaway is a travel search engine that tries to help travelers fill in the gaps on the ground but has a few of its own blind spots to work out along the way.

Clarifying Ground Transportation

In short, Bookaway wants to be your search engine for bus, ferry, train, or car travel. Where it works, Bookaway is straightforward. For example, searching for transportation between Split and Hvar, Croatia, yields a number of high speed ferry options. Prices on Bookaway are competitive when compared with independent or using alternative services. Some routes offer a few option filters (e.g. air conditioning) you probably tend to ignore on most flight search engines.

Bookaway though tends to work best in certain regions, most notably southeast Asia, the Mediterranean, and Adriatic coasts. The gaps outside of these areas make finding a booking hit or miss, though one hopes Bookaway adds more destinations as the service expands.

Piecing It Together

The search function on Bookaway is also a little bit wonky – tending to guide you to where it wants, rather than accepting each letter of the search term. What I noticed though is using the suggestions that pop up can save you time since it’s really showing you what’s not available along with the destinations it serves.

bookaway

A map or listing function would work great here, to help you visualize the routes possible. When you’re not too creative plus keep your route fairly local (for example Bangkok to Koh Samui, Thailand) you’re presented with a variety of ways to get to where you want to go. When gaps are present, a bit of guiding by Bookaway would go a long way to improving the user experience.

For Travelers With Cars In Tow

Despite its shortcomings, where Bookaway excels is car transportation. Specifically, if you’re traveling with a rented or your own car, the ferry options Bookaway returns notes boats and trains with car compartments. It’s a niche offering but a large one, particularly for road trips in southern Europe or southeast Asia.

Bookaway isn’t going to be your one stop search engine for all things not in the sky but if you’ve got 4 wheels with you, it can help bridge the gap between destinations. It’s a time-saver in these cases, since for now, a lot of the information blending ferry, train, and car bookings require precise, multiple online searches. Bookaway takes care of that for you while staying up-to-date. Provided Bookaway can fill in its own gaps, it might help you do just that for your particular itinerary as well.

Everything You Need To Know About Attending CES In Las Vegas

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) takes place in Las Vegas every January so this post written in July may seem a awkwardly early, but for those of you thinking of attending, this is the time of year to begin planning. Over 110,000 people go to CES annually and while getting to the convention is relatively simple, there are a few things I’ll be doing differently the next time.

You can watch all of my CES tips in the video above or read on.

What Is CES?

CES is the world’s biggest consumer electronics show where companies come to show off some of their upcoming, conceptual, and unique tech. From underwater drones to autonomous flying cars, CES has morphed from what’s coming next year to the edge of what might be possible in the near future. The futurology present at CES is impressive enough to make it worthwhile for many travelers to visit, even if you’re not a complete tech head.

ces vr bmw

Getting Tickets

Registration starts in the middle of summer the year before CES. For browsing the massive show floors, an entry level registration will be more than enough for a full 3-days at the show. Tickets run around $300 for the public with media, blogger, and other influencers passes available as well if you meet certain criteria. Show tickets are plentiful, highly unlikely to sell out, but hotels on the other hand are a different story.

Where To Stay

The earlier you book accommodation, the better, since even Vegas’ hotel capacity is somewhat stretched during CES. Most of the Airbnb options aren’t close to the Strip or convention halls, but healthy competition between casinos means you can usually get a good deal if you start searching before September. Outside of the actual show days, “Old Vegas” has a number of discounted room rates for CES attendees. After CES begins however, it’s more efficient and cost effective to stay at a hotel with direct access to the Las Vegas Monorail.

Traffic to CES is a mess of metal and knowing this, ride share companies seem to surge their prices accordingly. The Monorail means you can get in and out quickly, at a flat rate.

Strategize The Floor Space

You can’t see everything at CES, nowhere near it. Interested in cars? There’s a massive hall for all of them, plus outdoor demos, which can eat up a full day. Before you get the idea to move faster, at CES it’s advisable to pick a few things you want to see and go in-depth. Aside from the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), CES is spread over 10 other convention halls, casinos, and showrooms.

Sands Expo has some of the smaller, independent inventors and startups. Plan to set aside at least an afternoon to get there using one of the free shuttles from LVCC, the main hub of activity to center your CES strategy around.

Keep With The Basics

Some sound advice applicable to a lot of these type of big events like comic cons: arrive early in the morning, bring your own water, snacks, plus a few external batteries – outlets aren’t the easiest to come by. Overall, CES is an entertaining experience, particularly if you’re looking for travel gear to get your hands on during a trip to Las Vegas with or without the usual sites.

MagBuddy’s Wireless Charger Is The Slimmest Way To Quickly Charge Your Phone While Driving

Most wireless car chargers mounted on your windshield or phone replace the charging wire with two very inconvenient arms to hold your mobile device hostage. The MagBuddy gets around this common design inconvenience by using a powerful magnet to keep your phone in place plus fast charging.

Although you might not immediately see the benefits of paying a little more for a car charger, they quickly become apparent after a few rides. You can watch the video above for my full review or read on.

Ditches The Arms

The primary advantage of desktop wireless chargers is being able to quickly grab your phone but most made for the car use rubber-lined arms you have to awkwardly pry open. It’s a few seconds every time in and out of the car so, instead, MagBuddy uses a flat, thin, and surprisingly powerful magnetic roughly the size of a small coin. The magnet is about as thin as a sheet of good paper and can stuck directly on your phone or the case.

One thing you’ll have to remember is to center the magnet (not the phone) on the charger but after one or two uses it becomes second nature. Even on bumpy mountain roads the MagBuddy never lets it seem like your phone is in any danger of falling off.

naztech magbuddy

Percent Per Minute

The other benefit of the MagBuddy is how much faster it’s able to charge Qi-enabled phones (pretty much all newer phones that support wireless charging). Charging up to 10W is throttled but for some average real-world results, you’ll get at least a percent per minute of battery life on an iPhone X. Other phones will vary but higher-end flagship phones should be able to absorb electrical charge at autobahn speeds, if not faster.

The Price Of Slim

Clearly the MagBuddy sits well ahead of the competition, roughly 2-3 times the price of most competitors with arms and sluggish charging. Given how much time many of you likely spend getting in and out of your car on road trips short and long, $60 for the MagBuddy seems a reasonable investment for the time savings. Not to mention reducing the risk of dropping your phone every time it interacts with your wireless car charger.

How To Visit The Game Of Thrones Filming Locations In Southern Spain

Much of Game of Thrones is filmed in Spain, even places you might assume were shot in Ireland like Dragonstone, can be found across the country. Although the Baratheon stronghold is in the north (of Spain) there are many easily accessible filming locations in Andalusia.

Whether or not you’re a Game of Thrones fan, these filming locations in and around the popular southern cities of Seville, Cordoba, and Granada are well worth seeing on their own – dragons or not. You can watch how to get to these sites in the video above or read on.

Starting Point

Those of you who are in or planning a trip to Seville, Cordoba, or Granada have several good choices for Game of Thrones (GoT) sites to visit. Keep in mind if you’re going to be in Granada, your best bet is two separate day trips toward Seville or Cordoba. Seville is roughly a 2 hour 45 minute drive and Cordoba about 20 minutes closer to Granada.

real alcazar de seville

Go For The Closest

In Seville, there’s  the Real de Alcazar where parts of Dorne were filmed. The palace is a major tourist attraction in the city and its gardens are well known to GoT fans. (The show’s first choice was the Alhambra but those plans fell through.) Be sure to get your tickets online otherwise you’ll be waiting up to 30 minutes or more to enter.

real de alcazar seville dorne

Since we’re already in Seville – a 15 minute drive just outside the city is the 2,000+ year old Roman Italica Amphitheatre Jon Snow would recognize as Dragonpit of King’s Landing. Further out, roughly an hour from Seville or 90 minutes from Cordoba or Granada, is the Osuna bullring. It’s no longer used for bullfighting but rather to attract tourists to this small town. The Plaza de Toros bullring isn’t open everyday so be sure to check the schedule before driving there.

Being Picky

In case you don’t have a lot of time and want to be selective of where you go, I would recommend setting aside a day and visiting Highgarden, er, Castillo de Almodovar del Rio, outside of Cordoba. It has to be one of the most picturesque places I’ve seen personally, beautifully perched on the top of a large hill overlooking the town below.

almodovar del rio

It doesn’t get a lot of tourists but what’s especially endearing is Almodovar know why you’re at the castle so to help you navigate, they’ve put up handy photos showing you what GoT scenes were filmed where.

castillo de almodovar balcony thrones

Castillo de Almodovar del Rio is one of those places many would miss but you’ll be glad GoT brought you to this Moorish castle from the 8th century.

Tips On Getting Around

In theory you could do this all in one very, long day. Rather, I’d recommend splitting these up into two day trips, depending on which city you’re staying in. (Let me also add the Roman Bridge in Cordoba, the entrance to Volantis in GoT.) Rent a car, roughly 25-40 Euro per day, and you can save a lot of time on buses to get to all of these places. Renting a car also gives you the flexibility to move at your own schedule, plus pull over to catch some spectacular views along the way.

How Good Is This Portable USB Humidifier?

People who travel frequently often look for the portable versions of most things. (Myself included.) So, although you might not need a portable humidifier, you might want one for your home, and look for a travel-sized version. The USB-powered MZTDYTL is just such a device and I picked one up to review. You can see my full review terribly named MZTDYTL, which is designed for home, hotel, or car, in the video above.

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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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