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Category: Money

The Ethics Of Travel Blogging: Where Do Creators Draw The Line?

jessie festa foxnomad podcast

How do you as a reader know that the content a travel blogger is making is entirely independent, sponsored, or heavily influenced by free trips or financial incentives? The online space is rapidly evolving and for a long time was an unregulated wild west, leaving many creators to come up with their own guidelines… or not.

I recently asked can you trust foXnoMad, to answer how I go about things, though there’s no single approach for all travel bloggers. It’s one of the reasons Jessie Festa recently joined me on an episode of the foXnoMad Podcast to explain her approach and outline what some of the potential conflicts of interest can be for new creators.

In addition to her site Jessie On A Journey, Jessie runs Travel Blog Prosperity which guides bloggers on how to make their sites profitable and manage what happens when do that. There’s a lot to learn for creators but also consumers of travel content online, including a few lines we won’t cross.

How Apple’s Trade In Program Works

Getting a new Apple product can be pricey but if you’ve already got one it can help take the bite out of that purchase. Apple’s Trade In program lets send back all but the oldest iPhones, Macbooks, and other devices for credit toward something new. Although it doesn’t give you the absolute best prices you might get selling on a site like eBay, Trade In has a number of advantages worth considering.

How It Works

Apple’s Trade In program gives you the option to send in an old Apple device (or select phones from other manufacturers) for credit toward a new one. You can get a quote online to see how much your device is worth in a few seconds by entering the serial number and quick condition description.

Assuming you accept the estimate, Apple will send you a box with a prepaid shipping label. Send it back within 14 days and you’ll get Apple store credit.

Buying New

Now assuming you don’t want to be left without an iPhone for example, you’ll have to buy a new Apple product. In this scenario when you’re ordering a new device you add your trade in to the cart. Once your order is complete, Apple then ships your new device and the prepaid box to send back your old iPhone.

Once Apple gets your old iPhone back, inspects it, they’ll then apply the trade in amount back to the credit card used to purchase the new iPhone. It’s essentially applying the Apple store credit back to your credit card.

Straight Store Credit

Otherwise, simply using the trade in program (without a new purchase) will apply Apple store credit to your account. This is the method you’ll have to use if you want to purchase a refurbished device. There’s one major benefit to sending your old iPhone or Macbook early (if you don’t need it immediately or have a backup) – namely, you’ll get a higher value.

Apple products depreciate slowly but they do depreciate. And if your old Apple product is too old for any store credit, Apple has a free recycling program.

Trading Alternatives

You might not be happy with Apple’s estimate, your device is too old, or you simply want to see how much you can get other places. Obviously there’s plenty of sites to sell used electronics if you’re willing to put in the effort. Otherwise, Apple’s Trade In program streamlines the process, is fast, and consistent with pricing.

Is DJI’s Trade Up Program Worth It?

DJI, arguably the most popular producer of consumer drones has a buyback program called Trade Up, where you can send in an old drone for credit toward a new one. It sounds like an alluring option if you’re looking to upgrade your drone but as you can see in the video here, it’s probably not your best choice.

How Trade Up Works

The Trade Up program accepts more than just drones, DJI does take back a variety of smartphones and GoPros for example, but let’s focus on the drone buyback. Visiting this Trade Up program page, you enter the model of drone, serial number, general condition, and any accessories you’ll be giving back as well. The process take a few minutes; afterward you’ll get an estimated price for your old drone. In my case, I was shown $275.60 for a Mavic Pro 1.

Assuming you accept this initial estimate, you have 10 days to send your drone back to DJI for a final inspection. Unlike Apple’s iPhone Trade-In, DJI won’t send you a prepaid box. Although they do pay for shipping, you’ll have to box and pack your drone for DJI with your own materials.

Once DJI Gets Your Used Drone

After a DJI receives your used drone, they send an email to confirm which says it will take 3-5 business. They get back to you after an inspection and in my case, the original estimate was reduced to $41. Considering they were covering shipping at $36, I rejected the offer.

dji mavic drone

In case you accept an offer, they keep your drone and apply the final amount to your DJI account as store credit. Otherwise, as they did when I rejected the final offer, they’ll send your drone back typically after 10 business days.

Alternative Ways To Sell Your Old Drone

Given the pitiful $41 DJI was offering me, I decided to try my luck on eBay. Doing so after a week I sold my drone for $448. That’s nearly double the first estimate DJI gave me and 10 times what they would have actually credited me. Selling directly on a site like eBay will typically give you better rates than manufacturer buyback programs.

To compete, companies usually make their programs quick, convenient, or reliable enough to warrant the lower rates. DJI’s Trade Up program isn’t any of those things enough to make it the best option for selling back your old drone. (Their repair service though is another story.) Sure, you can check to see their estimate online but it’s a good idea to try other sites as well. It’s very likely you’ll get a lot more back (and not just in store credit) if you skip Trade Up altogether.

Book Flights Using Miles To Protect Refunds Against Airline Cancellation Policies

air force one replica

Flight cancellations have become a common occurrence since the Covid-19 pandemic and airlines have changed their policies to match. They’ve made it more difficult, or essentially impossible, to get your money back. To protect yourself against new, less consumer-friendly airline rules it’s a good idea to use frequent flyer miles more frequently.

Why Miles?

Carriers like Turkish Airlines have rewritten their own rules refunding passengers with vouchers as opposed to money. One way to protect yourself against airline shenanigans is to book flights through one of these major mileage programs. Since airlines are converting your money into miles, if you have them, it’s better to book with miles as long as cancellations are common.

Most of the major airlines quickly return miles (well under 30 days) when they cancel a flight you don’t want to immediately re-book. Holding on to your money is a safer bet as airlines have conveniently changed rules to remove their responsibility to refund for cancellations. Using one of the major mileage programs gives you more flexibility to re-book on multiple airlines or routes, as opposed to a single carrier’s mileage program.

When You Don’t Have Miles

Use the miles you do have – even if they’re not a part of the three major mileage programs. (Here’s how to start accumulating them in one place if you’re not already.) As a general rule, you don’t want to buy miles or mileage boosters because they’re worth more in cash – but with the high rate of cancellations lately it may be worth the added insurance to purchase a small amount, if you’re just under the miles needed for a flight.

Mile Alternatives

Some specific travel insurance may be an option if you’re well below the number of miles needed to book flights to protect your purchase. The credit card you use may also be able to help, just be sure to check their policies before booking. There are good ways to earn miles without credit cards and you may actually have more miles than you realize. If you can put off air travel however, it’s a good time start stocking up for when it’s a bit less risky to buy tickets.

GORUCK GR2 Buyer’s Guide

The GORUCK GR2 is a serious backpack with a price to match and given these bags last forever, deciding on one can be a big decision. Although there’s little variation between its two versions, a GR2 isn’t the ideal travel bag for everyone. Here’s what’s so special about the GR2 and how to tell if it’s the right backpack for you.

GR2 Toughness

The GR2 is made by GORUCK, founded by an American Green Beret who wanted to create a consumer backpack that’s military tough. Made with 1000D CORDURA Nylon the laptop compartment is bombproof and the GR2 can carry over 400 pounds (181 kilos) – whether you can though is another story.

goruck gr2

All of this durability through comes with a cost in weight of 4.75lbs (2.15kg); in other words 20% the average carry-on weight allowance for most international flights. Ideally, the GR2 is a backpack you load with mostly clothing (rather than heavier electronics) and use more for ground travel. You can watch my full review of the GR2 in the video here.

Solid Conditions

Travelers who spend  a lot of time outdoors, in the wilderness or exposed to the elements will enjoy never having to worry about the GR2. It’s the rare type of backpack you don’t have to worry about staining, nicking, or tearing at the seams. GORUCK also provides a lifetime guarantee with the GR2, practically daring you to damage this bag with normal use. And normal for this bag can mean carrying a hundred kilos through mud in a downpour.

You can see in my Road Tested! durability test video above after 6 months, the GR2 shows no signs of wear or tear.

Choosing The Size

The GR2 comes in one design at two different sizes: a 34 liter and 40 liter. Since there’s no standard way of measuring backpacks with liter sizes, GORUCK recommends anyone taller than 5″8′ (172cm) to go with the 40L. Shorter than that? 34L. Right at that height? I’d recommend ordering both bags, packing them, and trying to to get a good feel. GORUCK has a liberal 30 day return policy you can use for this very purpose.

To see what both bags looks like in a side-by-side comparison, watch the video here.

GR2 For You?

The GR2 is in a small group that can be considered one of the best one bag travel backpacks. They’re not for everyone, even though the GR2’s ultra-durability is tempting, for frequent air travelers a lighter alternative like the Travel Pack 2 a better match.

Fortunately, you can order most high-end bags like to GR2 to size and handle within the return window to make an informed choice.

Turkish Airlines Resumes Flights: What To Know Before You Book

Turkish Airlines recently resumed many of their flights in limited capacity, giving you some options for air travel after COVID-19 lock downs but there are a few things to know before booking. You should watch the video above for the full situation but here’s a recap below.

Flights On, Flights Off

Although Turkish Airlines is offering flights to many destinations, they’re still often canceling them as well. Covid-19 hasn’t magically disappeared and Turkish Airlines has yet to refund most of its customers for cancellations made as far back as 4 months ago. Travelers are entitled to a refund in the case of cancellations by Turkish Airlines (according to their Passenger Rights) but changed their policies recently to make refunds more difficult to obtain.

You can change canceled flights without a fee through December 31, 2021 but getting your money back will be a lot more complicated. Currently only voucher refunds or miles are options.

Situation In Flux

Many of the current destinations Turkish Airlines is flying are where some of the highest cases of coronavirus are being reported. A lack of demand or reimposed travel restrictions means the chance for a canceled flight is not insignificant so if you’re worried you won’t be able to get your money back, look at your options carefully.

For a lot of travelers, that’s going to mean looking at other airlines with a better record of refunds and good customer service or like many, holding off on air travel for the time being. To further protect your flexibility with refunds if you are set on flying and have the pointsbooking with your partner program miles makes it easier to get your miles back and book with another option when you like.

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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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