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Health and Fitness Archives - foXnoMad

Category: Health and Fitness

SafetyWing Travel Insurance Review: A Good Plan For Travelers Without One

bogota fruit market

Travel insurance is the type of add-on to a trip you don’t know you need until what is invariably a bad time. A sprained ankle, appendicitis, the kind of medical emergency you don’t want anywhere, especially without some kind of insurance coverage.

Often, you’ve got to apply for travel insurance with a set itinerary in mind: where you’re going and when, all in advance. Travel enough though and you’re likely to change plans at some point, possibility invalidating insurance coverage. SafetyWing operates differently, with options for frequent travelers, long-term trips, and all of the increasingly common, uncommon digital nomad categories you may fall into.

The best way to review travel insurance is to actually use it. When SafetyWing got in touch for a potential review, I didn’t have the right trip planned but my friend Jessie on a Journey was off to Nepal. She shares her experience with SafetyWing below.

jessie festa

What SafetyWing Covers

Here is their policy at a glance:

  • Robust Coverage – With SafetyWing nomad travel insurance, you’ll be covered for unexpected illness or injury. This includes hospital, doctor, and prescription drug expenses (where eligible). Additionally, you’re covered for travel delays, lost checked luggage, lost/stolen passport, non-professional sports and activities, if you need new accommodation due to a natural disaster, accidental death or dismemberment. I know, not fun to think about, but important.

Note that the above is just a small sampling of what is covered. It’s important to review their policy to gain a full understanding of exactly what is or isn’t covered.

  • A Large Network – You’ll be covered in any country in the world outside of Iran, North Korea or Cuba. Additionally, you’re not covered if you hold Cuban citizenship.
  • $250,000 of Coverage – Their deductible is very low at $250, too.
  • No Time Limit – If you’re a digital nomad who plans to travel for many years, you can continue renewing your SafetyWing subscription.
  • One Deductible – Instead of needing to pay a deductible for every claim, you have one low overall deductible of $250 per year.
  • Access to Private Health Care Providers – If you’re in a destination where the public healthcare system isn’t great, this is an important option to have.

One really unique feature SafteyWing includes is limited coverage in your home country as well, so long as the visit isn’t for an appointment to treat an ailment that began on your trip. So if you’re home and an accident happens, you have 30 days of at-home coverage (or 15 days in the United States) during every 90-day cycle.

SafetyWing Limitations

Travelers who are over 69 are no eligible to purchase plans and visitors to the U.S. will need to get a new plan before their trip. U.S. coverage is a different plan altogether, which can’t be added on later. This means you’ll need to cancel and re-purchase a new plan, and your deductible will reset.

How Sign-Up Works

As you can also see above, it’s possible to purchase the travel insurance for less than one month to get a pro-rated policy. One small problem I ran into had to do with me being a New York resident. If you live in New York, Maryland, or Washington, you can’t physically be in your home state when you purchase due to local laws. [Anil here, a VPN will help you get around this restriction.]

safetywing

The Future Of SafetyWing Insurance

The company already has a great product, though they are currently working to launch the following features:

SafetyWing are also looking at potential comprehensive coverage (for your home country), a disability, and pension plans as well.

Flat-Fee Plans

Unlike most travel insurance companies where you need to provide a number of details before speaking with someone and getting a quote, SafetyWing works like a subscription. That is because instead of offering 10+ plans, they offer one robust policy solution. You’ll pay $37 per month for worldwide travel medical coverage (for travelers aged 18-39, though other ages are available).

  • Note that travel to the USA adds $31 per four weeks.

Quite often, companies charge $100+ for one month of coverage, so this is a great deal. While writing this article I actually went and got quotes from a number of other companies to confirm this. Unlike most travel insurance providers, you don’t need to purchase their insurance before your trip, either.

Taking The Headache Out Of Travel Insurance For Digital Nomads

What I really appreciate about SafetyWing is that I don’t need to answer a ton of questions and add up all of my travel expenses just to get taken to a page where I then to need to sift through numerous plan options. Instead, everything is included in one affordable price.

Thanks Jessie for your review! You can read Jessie’s full review here, catch up on her trip to Nepal, and learn more about SafetyWing here. All photos in this post (except the first one) are courtesy JessieonaJourney.com.

The Galapagos Are A Camera’s Dream: Here’s The Photo Evidence [Part 2 of 2]

The first part of this series was a close look at the Galapagos but here in Part 2, I’m zooming out a bit to put the background in focus.

nazca booby

What one of the most iconic shots from the Galapagos Islands lacks in color it makes up for in contrast.

galapagos islands

When you get to the top, take a look back.

galapagos trail

The number of visitors to each area is strictly limited to preserve the environment.

galapagos andando

These iguana are surprisingly good swimmers.

galapagos iguana

Bacteria in their gut aid digestion, giving the iguanas impressive bellies.

galapagos iguana

🙂

galapagos iguana smile

On islands where they have no predators, the cactus have soft spines. Otherwise, better watch your step.

galapagos cactus

This young rebel was hanging out in a tree, very rare for any age iguana.

galapagos iguana

Can’t really see, can’t really hear, don’t really care since they don’t realize you’re near.

galapagos tortise

Someone doesn’t skip leg day.

galapagos lizards

It’s hard to believe these palm-sized tortoises will become 180 kilos one day.

galapagos tortise babies

Look closely and you’ll see mom keeping an eye on the little ones.

sea lion pups

One of the harder birds to capture on camera, a Galapagos hawk.

galapagos hawk

Now, test your eyes, how many do you see?

galapagos mockingbirds

Even the bird poop is majestic.

galapagos islands

Hey bro, take a few so I can choose my favorite.

galapagos photos

We’re all friends here.

galapagos iguana

Like wildlife, so many photos…

galapagos animals

…like this former volcano crater. (Droning in not allowed in Galapagos and it’s not easy to get a permit but this view from above would have been amazing.)

galapagos volcano crater

I’ll link to the full galleries.

galapagos sunset

Right here, plus the best places to eat in Puerto Ayora, and short movie trailer for the Galapagos sea lion pups who can’t get enough attention.

The Galapagos Are A Camera’s Dream: Here’s The Photo Evidence [Part 1 of 2]

galapagos trails

There are more than enough photos of the Galapagos Islands on the Internet and whether you’ve been there or not, most people can’t take or see too many pictures of this remarkably well-preserved environment. Although sea lion pups are certainly the main celebrities in Galapagos, it’s hard to describe how many animals are literally everywhere.

For those who have the opportunity, I would recommend seeing as much of the Galapagos, which is spread over 21 islands as you can. Yes, it’s an expensive place to visit but worth saving the money and time if it’s a possibility; in fact if I were limited to only one place to travel in a lifetime, it would probably be the Galapagos.

Nothing I had read or watched prepared me for the wildlife density all around. The picture of this blue-footed booby is deceptive – when I glanced down at the water, there were baby sharks, rays, turtles, all swimming around this natural nursery.

blue footed booby

Hello.

galapagos ray

Don’t mind me, passing through.

galapagos crab

Baby version.

baby swallow tailed gull

Grownup swallow-tailed gulls.

swallow tailed gulls

Keeping 2 meters away (as is the rule), modest zoom for the rest. This is a nazca booby.

nazca booby

They’re all called boobies not because they have nice bird cleavage but it’s thought it comes from the Spanish word for fool, “bobo”, or clown “bufon” – because all of them are look really silly walking.

nazca booby

And when they don’t know what to do, they stare at their feet. Personally, I think they’re just camera shy.

galapagos birds

They’re not entirely graceful at takeoff either.

galapagos boobies

Did someone say seal lion?

galapagos sea lion

Rolls eyes…

galapagos wildlife

Occasionally they’re in the trees but I had to watch my step, the ground was full of birds walking around without a care in the world.

galapagos boobies

Mockingbird selfie.

mockingbird galapagos

Not impressed.

galapagos owl

Flashy crab.

red crab galapagos Grapsus grapsus

This workout brought to you by a former volcano.

volcano galapagos

Make sure you get my good side.

galapagos sunset

Got down to the coast and there were shark fins right off shore. A beautiful nightmare.

galapagos coast

I like your exterior designer, Galapagos.

galapagos red plants

Nobody will ever notice me.

galapagos lizard

We’re cute.

galapagos crabs

I’m cuter.

sea lion pup sleeping galapagos

A debate which will go on at least until Part 2, coming later this week. Subscribe here so you don’t miss it or follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube.

Why Do You Fart So Much When Flying?

Extra flatulence is not just you (or the person next to you) but rather a phenomena everyone experiences to varying degrees as altitude increases. It’s something you may have pondered the last time you flew and my video above explains exactly why this happens and a few things you can do to mitigate farts when flying.

Essentially, as you go up from sea level, the decrease in air pressure allows the gas already in your gut to expand. As the gases expand, they start putting extra pressure on your insides, eventually wanting to make their way out from the only exit available.

Start With Less Gas

Since these gases are created by the bacteria in your gut as a byproduct of digestion, the first countermeasure is to reduce the amount of food for them prior to flying. Ideally, flying hungry first thing in the morning should mean fewer farts in flight. (Keep in mind when you land, air pressure closer to sea level increases which can also cause cramping.)

In case you can’t avoid eating right before or during a flight, sticking to lesser processed menu items may help. Roughly 65% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant to some degree, so ordering a vegan meal can help you avoid dairy products. Less processed food could also be beneficial.

You can catch up on all the gassy details in the video but keep in mind about 60% of pilots report regular bloating while flying, meaning it is something we all have to deal with. Even on the ground, the average person farts about 10-20 times a day but if you’re particularly concerned about stinking up the cabin, some charcoal-filtered underwear might be an option for you. For everyone else, the bathroom is a good alternative if you can make it on time.

The Osprey Kyte 46 Is Just Big Enough For A Week Hike And That’s A Good Thing

The Osprey Kyte 46 liter hiking backpack is in all sorts of sweet spots lately, both in terms of size, quality, and price as one model overlaps the other, often at nearly 50% less cost. You take a look at the Kyte 46 and think it’s not big enough for a hike of several days to a week but when you get a bigger bag, your back will remind you daily that was a bad choice.

You can watch my full review in the video above or read on.

Who This Bag Is For

Since the Kyte 46 collapses so efficiently (seriously, almost all the pockets can be shrunk down with straps or zippers when empty), it doesn’t look as large as it is. Yet for short hikes of 3-4 days or so, it is the right amount of space. All of us tend to pack our bags to capacity, a psychological factor that’s best mitigated by controlling the size of the bags we choose. With a touch of minimalism, the Kyte’s capacity can easily be stretched out to a week.

osprey kyte 46

There are two sizes of the Kyte 46, a bag primarily developed for female travelers. A XS/S and an S/M – both of which have roughly the same capacity of 46 liters but the Small/Medium is about 5 centimeters (2 inches) taller. The real distinction however, is between Osprey’s newer version of the Kyte, which price competes with itself.

Speaking Of Versions

As of this post, there are two versions of the Kyte 46. A newer model with the same name that’s essentially the same bag with some slight modifications to the coloring and exterior design. The former version of the Kyte 46 is still on sale, although quietly, and you can find it on Amazon for roughly half the cost. Prices for the both Kyte 46 have been changing frequently but if you keep an eye on them (latest sales listed right below) you can likely get this bag for less than $100.

So long as Osprey can’t decide on how to handle this overlapping rollout of gear, it’s in your benefit if you’re bag shopping.

Strong Design Quality

Osprey bags are durable. I’ve used this bag for 8 years, this one for 4, and have reviewed a lot of their gear and it simply holds up. A good bag will last you years – obviously cheaper fall apart frequently enough they end up costing more in the long run. Travelers looking for a solid outdoor bag for relatively short journeys in summer mountains or in cooler climates will save both money and space with the Kyte’s 46 liters.

Review Of Andando Tours: Galapagos Luxury Worth The Cost?

The Galapagos Islands are not an easy place to describe because of all the places I’ve been to, I’ve never been anywhere quite like it. When Andando Tours invited me to try one of their tours, scheduling conflicts nearly had me declining what turned out to be a trip of a lifetime. No, I was no paid to write this and it’s not an advertisement. There are other ways to visit the Galapagos on a budget but this particular $4500 Andando trip, onboard the Mary Anne sailboat, ends up being a value if you can afford the upfront cost. Watch the video above or read on to find out why.

Comparing The Competition

No matter how you get to the Galapagos, there are costs upfront: tickets – and visa if you need one – to Ecuador (flights to the Galapagos can only leave from their mainland) and the Galapagos permit required of all visitors. Round trip flights from Ecuador to Galapagos plus the permit will be at least $500 total. Once you’re in the Galapagos, you’ll have to take a small dinghy to the only major settlement, Puerto Ayora. Without opting for a cruise, add in hotel (minimum $60 daily) and meal prices as well.

andando tours mary anne

The Galapagos are an archipelago of 21 islands spread over several hundred kilometers in the Pacific. Not all of them are easy to get to but there are 4-5 points which can be done as day trips from Puerto Ayora. Those would be primarily hiking trips, with a guide, leaving around sunrise and returning at dusk.

I’m laying all of this out to because the most frugal ways to visit the Galapagos limit what you can see with day trips to select spots on nearby islands, for roughly $1500 for 8 days if you’re very careful with spending. Other Galapagos cruises tend to stick to those primary islands as well, running about $2500-$3000 for short 3-5 day trips, or closer to $4000 for trips of a week.

What You Get With Andando

Given that the cost of the Andando Tour onboard the Mary Anne is just above those prices ($4500), these are the three area you’re really paying for broken down:

  1. The Boat
  2. The Experience
  3. Time

andando tours review

Let’s start with the boat. The Mary Anne is a former German racing sailboat, the only sailboat operating in the Galapagos. There are 14 tourists on the boat and roughly that many crew. The vessel is spacious, comfortable, and doesn’t feel like a floating hotel. The rooms are spartan, beds and small bathroom pretty much, but the rest of the boat is where you’ll be spending a most of your time. There’s a short boat tour in my video here.

2. The Experience

Again, I’m referring you to the video but the 8-day trip is broken down daily by your guide. In my case, our guide Fernando Ortiz whose credentials are impressive to say the least, split the days into several activities. Andando it seems gets priority in scheduling island visits (they’re limited to avoid over-tourism) and hiking activities are generally arranged to avoid the hottest parts of the day when the equatorial sun is especially strong.

nazca booby

You’ll hike, snorkel, kayak, see unique wildlife close up since they have no natural fear of people, across 2-3 activities a day. Between each activity you return to the boat for a meal or snacks, giving those who want to stay behind an chance to do so. Which basically was just this blogger and this one staying behind once or twice to shoot videos for their travel blogs.

The efficiency in which all of this is coordinated, the boat transfers, the rooms being clean whenever you’re not in them, the timing of the meals, when to snorkel with seal lions at their most playful, all of it was very, very impressive. I kept looking (and expecting) cracks in the presentation. You know, crew that looked miserable when they thought nobody was around, dinghies being late, a guide who bull-shot the occasional answer to a question – and encountered none of that. There was a warmth and personality of the crew, guide, and Captain Mario whose authenticity could not be faked, even for our benefit.

3. Time

Many of the outlying islands of the Galapagos archipelago cannot be done as day trips from Puerto Ayora because of the distances involved. Andando offers several itineraries, and the eastern route I was on covers many of them. Because of the biodiversity of the Galapagos, you often find multiple ecosystems within a very small area. The spots you’re taken to are planned for the best time and the efficiency of the route, day planning, and crew ensure in 8 days you see a lot.

andando tours blogger

Cruise Options

To compare everything, I planned out an individual trip for myself to see what it might look like. There are two major constraints I found. The first, is reaching the outer islands. Missing those mean you would miss albatross returning to land, for example. Additionally, trying to recreate this route using Puerto Ayora as a base would make each activity of the Andando trip (2-3 daily) a trip of an entire day. Not to mention most of the sites are limited to certain cruises, so individually they wouldn’t be as accessible (i.e. you would need to opt for one of the higher-end tours from any company to reach those destinations).

Ultimately, if an Andando Tour is way out of your budget, then there are alternative ways to visit the Galapagos Islands. But if their prices are just a bit higher or around what you were planning to spend, I can certainly recommend their tours. Galapagos is a special place and suggest you treat this as a once in a lifetime type of trip – if you have the opportunity and the means, it’s not a place you want to skimp on.

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutI'm the blogger and computer security engineer who writes foXnoMad while on a journey to visit every country in the world. I'll show you the tips, tricks, and tech you can use to travel smarter. Read More


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