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How To Use Travel Blogs To Plan A Trip

travel blog pizza

There are a lot of travel blogs on the Internet but as websites keep procreating, many independent sites get lost under search garbage. Travel blogs used to be a primary source of vacation planning until everyone and their weird relatives hopped on Facebook to scream at each other. Still, there are many independent creators focused on writing specific and personalized information about the places you want to go.

Here’s how to find and use travel blogs to plan a better trip than a bland web search can get you.

The Benefit Of Blogs

As clearly biased as this is going to sound, blogs are probably the most free places online. Generally independent from the pressures of algorithms (like YouTube), few worries of shadow banning, and not being like based, many blogs are run by people who inherently enjoy sharing information. Blogs typically live and die by Google search results and since competing with larger sites on common searches has become more difficult, crafty bloggers tend to get specific. Really specific, like the “the best way to get a taxi in Istanbul.”

best taxi istanbul

Blogs are often updated more frequently than tent pole pages in mainstream media because there are a lot of travel bloggers, blogging about somewhere you want to go, at any given time.

Finding Good Travel Blogs

Sifting through abandoned blogs and sites made purely for search engine optimization (SEO) to find quality travel blogs isn’t too difficult. To find a site first, enter in the search term you’re looking for (e.g. “best places to eat in Moldova“) followed by “travel blog.” This sounds silly I know, but entering in “best places to eat in Moldova travel blog” will get you past Google’s generic recommendations and a bunch of bland TripAdvisor recommendations.

Ratings from those sites, short reviews written by anonymous people, and everything being 4.7 stars doesn’t actually give you useful travel advice. But by searching through travel blogs you get detailed articles such as solo female travel in Bangladesh by locals, expats like Turkey’s For Life, and travelers who’ve extensively explored a destination (how about Alaska).

tokyo japan

It’s a good idea to look at the dates of posts to see how recent they are and check the latest posts to see how fresh a given blog is. A lot of blogs don’t add dates to posts because of a misguided understanding of SEO (please, stop doing that) so seeing how active a given blogger is on social media can help with your site freshness check.

How To Use Travel Blogs

Many travel blogs have information categorized by destination or country, mode of travel, or even cuisine. Depending on the site design, I recommend going to the “blog” or “about” pages. The blog page will usually show you recent topics and the about page will give you an idea about the person writing everything. Does the blogger travel like you, have the same interests when visiting a city… there’s a lot you can learn.

Some travel bloggers also run diverse tours and can be contacted with feedback – a lot of us are happy to help. Your question might even turn into an entire blog post about how to use travel blogs to plan your next trip.

Although they’re not as easy to find through a Google search (try DuckDuckGo anyone?), the blogosphere is thriving, independent, and full of useful advice and thoughtful creators. Once you find a blog or blogger that vibes with you and is especially helpful, make sure to sign up for their newsletter, YouTube, or other social channels to keep up in between trips and have a handy resource before the next one.

App Shows You How Much To Tip After Your Next Meal Around The World

tipfox how much to tip worldwide

Tipping is something that can feel really foreign when you’re traveling and don’t know how much to leave after a meal, taxi ride, or haircut. Solving such dining dilemmas is TipFox by dropping down a notification to show you exactly how much to tip for everything around the world. The latest version of the app I developed, TipFox Premium adds a host of features in addition to (still) working offline and 24 hour responses to your specific money questions.

tipfox ios app store     tipfox google play android
Tour Guides, Safaris, And More

Included in TipFox are best practices on tipping for travelers, beyond just meals. Open the app to see whether tipping is customary, if you should round up, or where tips aren’t expected but appreciated. Specific activities like how much to give your safari guide in Kenya, a hairdresser in Turkey, or on a tuktuk ride in Thailand is shown in the details of each location.

tipfox premium

Notifications And Live Support

The latest version of TipFox Premium levels up with a few useful features. First, automatic notifications based on your location with all the tipping information you need on the spot. Additionally, you can subscribe for updates for a particular country or city when you’re planning for a trip. On top of that if you have any specific questions you can ask one of our local experts through TipFox and ask what’s an acceptable way to tip your home stay in say, northern Japan.

You can also subscribe to any comment threads to connect with your fellow travelers and get advice from locals, all within 24 hours.

Try It Free For 30 Days

TipFox is now available available on the App Store and Google Play (the most recent updates are currently in development for Android). You can upgrade to TipFox Premium within the app, which unlocks all of the features described above and try it free for one month!

Hopefully TipFox helps you travel smarter, by being a more courteous traveler who knows how much and how to, most politely tip the people who help make our trips possible.

How Much To Tip For Everything Around The World [MAP]

tipping worldwide

This map is now available in app form! TipFox is available on the App Store and Google Play.

tipfox ios app store     tipfox google play android
Tipping practices around the world can vary from confusing to awkward, especially when you don’t know what the local customs are. To make sure you’re being a courteous traveler who knows how much and what services to tip for your can check the map below. It has all of the tipping practices for restaurants, guides, hairdressers and more.

  • Last update: July 27, 2021

You can also bookmark the map or this page to keep up with any future updates.

Take This Map Offline With You

You can put this map on your phone, for offline use with TipFox (download on iOS or Android) has even more detailed tipping info, notifications with tipping practices based on your location, ways connect with locals and other travelers, plus dedicated support during your travels. You can also bookmark this page so you don’t lose track of the map above.

Share Your Experiences And Updates With Me

This is a living map based on my travels, contact with locals, guides, and feedback from you. Tipping practices can vary a lot based on locality so if you notice anything missing, needing an update, or want to add some information about a service not listed, please comment on this post or email me directly with your update. I’ll keep the map updated to help your fellow travelers and hard working locals as well to make sure nobody leaves feeling shortchanged.

spare change

Putting Spare Change To Use

Of course, after most trips we’re left with change in a foreign currency that often goes out of circulation once we’re back home. Here’s what you can do with leftover foreign currency from an international trip, create a completely digital travel budget, or travel with literally no money at all.

A Review Of The Ridge Wallet, The Slim Way To Carry Only What You Need

The Ridge Wallet is a minimalist way to carry your money without the bulk of a traditional wallet. It’s basically a redesigned wallet made up of two metal plates, elastic, and an optional money clip or cash strap – all of which might sound spartan, cheap, or otherwise useless. Ridge Wallets though they might be the extreme, even for slim wallets, are impressively functional if you’re willing to take the time to adjust.

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

Cutting Out The Fat

Trimming down the folds, thick leather, and pockets for stuff you’ll never see again found in traditional wallets, Ridge come in style. There are a number of designs to choose from starting with plates. You can select from aluminum, titanium, and even gold plated wallets with a variety of colors and looks.

Functionally though, these wallets are basically the same. Two pieces of metal-plated plastic, held together by elastic bands measuring a total of 86 x 54 x 6 millimeters and weighing about 71 grams. The Ridge holds up to 12 cards that you pop out by using a cutout in the bottom.

Limited Cash

When it comes to cash, you’ve got two options: a cash strap or money clip. The money clip is reminiscent of more traditional wallets, potentially enticing if you’re not ready to go off the slim deep end entirely. Personally, I prefer the cash strap since it doubles down on the slimness, not to mention it’s easier to slip in and out of your front pocket.

ridge wallet burnt titanium

The other benefit of the cash strap is you can slip in a contact free card there. Since Ridge wallets are RFID blocking, if you still want to tap to pay, you’ll have to place that particular card on the outside. You can do this with the money clip as well but it puts a bit too much pressure, easily scuffing up many credit cards.

Ready To Switch?

Ridge is betting that if you’re going slim, you’re going all the way. There are slim wallets that take a more measured approach like some of Ekster’s offerings or the fabric Trove wallet, but if you want slim with metallic durability, the Ridge wallet is hard to beat, in any color.

The North Face Recon Holds Up After 3 Years Of Wear Without Tear

It’s been 3 years since I originally reviewed the unassuming The North Face Recon backpack. Those of you who follow my Road Tested! series know though the review doesn’t stop once the camera turns off and the article is posted. The North Face Recon is no different and having used this backpack for the past 36 months, it’s impressed me with its physical durability. The design though, still isn’t for everyone.

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

Hold Up Better Than Well

Typically on a backpack the parts that wear most the those that have contact with the wearer. Especially the straps around the shoulders and the lower part of the backpack since both tend to move most when you’re walking. Against all of that friction the Recon’s spongy mesh holds its bounce and hardly shows its age.

Threading remains threaded without any stray fibers dangling around like a dog’s tongue our a car window. Even the nylon exterior is only as dirty as you are lazy to simply wipe it off with your hand. Given that this backpack costs less than $100, from a durability perspective, you certainly get your money’s worth.

No Changes In Design

Physical durability is one aspect of a products longevity but so is the original design when compared to the newer additions to the backpack market. The North Face Recon still holds its own because it has such a study and straightforward design. On the bigger side of 22 liters, the big front bucket pocket is flexible. You can pack in clothes, books, or electronics or any combination of that or whatever else that fits.

the north face recon backpack review

A large casual open pocket on the front is good for an extra sweater to stuff in but the laptop compartment does eat from some of the usable space inside. The somewhat even design shows what that the Recon is a small backpack made for short day trips but is big enough for minimalist travelers too.

Getting The Best From The Recon

The North Face’s has made a tough turtle shell of a backpack that’s great for school, office, or hiking trips. You can see the Recon was an inadvertent part of the first wave of one bag travel backpacks but that category has passed it by now. Still, if you’re looking for a solid backpack that’s big enough for a weekend trip and solid enough to last years, The North Face Recon is great choice to consider.

Save Money On Timbuk2 Bags With This Checkout Trick

timbuk2

A well throughout design and impressive durability, Timbuk2 bags earn their premium price tags. You can however save money on most Timbuk2 purchases by using a discount trick that requires a little patience.

How To Save 10-15% On Timbuk2

First, head over to the Timbuk2 website. Shop around for the products you like and you choose the bag for you, add them it your cart. Then, begin the checkout process and be sure to add your email address when it asks. Keep going until you get to the part where you enter in payment details.

Don’t enter your payment details on this page. Rather, close it and wait.

You might get a popup offering you a discount before the site lets you close the webpage but if you wait up to 24 hours, Timbuk2 will send you the offer again – which might be even more – up to 15% off.

Not The Only Site

Timbuk2 isn’t the only seller to send email discounts to hook potential customers. Many will offer you a popup discount if you try to leave at the payment page but if you’re not in a rush, you might get an email discount in a day or two. Otherwise you can try corporate discounts or Honey but with the latter, be sure to check their privacy policy first. REI stores in the U.S. also tend to sell various brand bags at a discount, so be sure to compare with their online shop as well to get the best deal.

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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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