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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.

What Is It Like Traveling In Pakistan?

The first thing you think of when it comes to Pakistan probably isn’t tourism but recently developments have tripled visitors since 2018. It’s not now and won’t be mainstream any time soon which makes it a very interesting place to visit for a certain type of traveler.

Tourism Infrastructure

Pakistan has a fairly developed tourism infrastructure. It’s easy and inexpensive to fly within the country and the buses are the most luxurious I’ve come across anywhere. There’s a solid middle-tier of hotels, Uber (and local Careem) ride sharing, plus a variety of food from street vendors to hipster burger joints.

karachi burns road

Like a lot of the country, there’s a broad blend across the tourism infrastructure. It’s not so developed that anyone can just pop in and hop a bus from Islamabad to Lahore. For travelers with a bit of experience who don’t mind a few rough edges in their journeys it will only add to the charm.

What Would You See? Do?

As the 33rd largest country in the world, the long shape of Pakistan makes it home to a variety of geographical zones. The second highest mountain, K2, can be found in the Karakoram mountain range in the north. Geographical diversity often means cultural diversity, with Tajikistan, China, and Afghanistan’s influences in the mountains, Punjab on the eastern border, with Karachi’s hot blend of spice and sea.

pakistan curries

In addition to the natural wonders, there are historical sites like Lahore Fort built half a millennia ago. And across all of it, there are hardly any tourists visiting. For adventurous travelers, that’s a plus; less experienced tourists might find that off-putting. It’s really the story of visiting Pakistan right now.

Safety Elephant In The Room

We know the reason few people are visiting – concerns about safety. In 2014, a terrorist attack on a military school prompted the government (with mass public support) to begin a campaign against terrorism. The following two years resulted in the deaths of 4,000 terrorists and since then, terrorism-related deaths have decreased dramatically.

karachi pakistan

“From 12,000 deaths in 2009 (32 per day), the number declined by 87 percent by 2017 and continues to do so. In 2019, fewer than 300 people were killed in terrorist attacks nationwide.” – Vice

Where that leaves Pakistan today is on the cusp. Having eliminated, so far, one of the primary deterrents for people to consider Pakistan a tourist destination, the first wave of travel first adopters is arriving. Backpackers, adventurers, and us blogger types are enjoying Pakistan on the cusp.

Pakistan’s reputation hasn’t recovered nor the infrastructure developed enough to attract casual visitors. On the flip side, it’s got more than enough in place to make it a unique, inexpensive, and relatively easy place to visit for someone with travel experience and inclination.

It’s too soon to tell if Pakistan will continue to improve the areas important for tourism – security, infrastructure, reputation. At this moment however if what you’ve read so far has you very curious, Pakistan might be a good candidate for your next destination.

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.

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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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