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Money Archives - foXnoMad

Category: Money

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.

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.

Is A Granada Card (Still) Worth The Cost? [UPDATED]

granada card

Many cities around the world like Dublin or entire countries like Jordan have discount tourist cards, giving you access multiple major local attractions for a flat fee. Often they’re a balance between savings and time – that is, you get admission to a number of interesting places but limited time to take advantage of them all. It’s those practical considerations that make or break a discount card.

A lot has changed since I first reviewed the Granada Card so here’s everything you need to know, updated.

What Is A Granada Card And What Does It Get You?

There are 7 varieties of Granada Card, the primary differences between them being how much of the Alhambra they include, if at all. Essentially, the base Granada Card Ciudad (which doesn’t include the Alhambra entrance) is 35.50 Euro, the full card with entrance to all the Alhambra palaces is 43 Euro.

alhambra night

You can see a full chart of what each of the 7 cards offers but for first time visitors to the city on short trips (3-5 days) the standard Granada Card is the optimal option since it includes most popular options and a day trip to the Alhambra. For longer or more sightseeing-intense visits then the Monumentos Andalusies is only 3 Euro (43 total) more which includes sites in a wider area around Granada.

Although the Alhambra options vary between palaces and day versus night visits, all of the Cards will get you into the major sites, include 9 bus rides in the city, 1 hop-on-off tour, and are all valid for 5 days.

Breaking Down The Costs – Granada Card vs. Purchasing Tickets Individually

Let’s first begin by looking at the costs of a Granada Card to see if it makes sense for your budget in the first place to buy one. Assuming you intend on visiting all of the sites it allows you in, here’s a breakdown of the individual costs:

  • Alhambra, including Nasrid Palace: 14 Euros
  • Science Park Museum: 7 Euros (11 Euro for BioDomo entry)
  • Monastery of Cartuja: 4 Euros
  • Granada Cathedral: 5 Euros
  • Royal Chapel: 5 Euros
  • Monastery of San Jeronimo: 4 Euros
  • 9 Bus Rides included (10 Euro for a 10-ride pass)
  • Total: 49 Euros (vs. 40 Euros for the 5-day Granada Card)

granada cathedral

Take off the Nasrid Palace (but honestly, you shouldn’t) and the Granada Card with a day visit to the Alhambra is 36.50. What’s changed the most over the years in the Granada Card is that 6 of the 7 now include the Alhambra in one form or another.

Are Visiting That Many Sites Practical?

In case you don’t have 96 hours in Granada, I would organize the sites in this order:

  • Day 1: Granada Cathedral, Royal Chapel, and Monastery of San Jeronimo.
  • Day 2: Alhambra
  • Day 3: Science Park Museum and Monastery of Cartuja

granada spain streets

Aside from the Alhambra, the rest can be split across multiple days if you have more time in the city. The only site that absolutely requires you to be on time (and early) is the Alhambra and when booking your Granada Card, you’ll have to schedule an entry time. It’s an easy mistake to make as southern Spaniards are hardly the most punctual people on the planet but consider the Alhambra an exception to the rule.

How To Get A Granada Card

granada city hall

There are a few ways and locations where you can get a Granada Card. One way is to swing by the Granada City Hall in Plaza del Carmen (pictured above) a day before you plan to start using it. (Say hi to them from me while you’re there.) You can also purchase a Granada Card online up to three months in advance here.

One Of The Few Practical Buy-One-Get Many Cards In Europe

Having been to Granada three times now thanks to it being voted Best City to Visit in 2017 and 2018, I’ve come to appreciate how logical it is to get a Granada Card if you’re a first-time visitor. It both saves your money, time in lines, but also has some options like Cartuja you might not have otherwise considered. The Granada Card is one of the few across Europe that saves you money and can be practically used within the time allotted. For travelers who’ve already been, I recommend visiting these Game of Thrones filming locations nearby.

The short truth is, many of these cards around the world require you to visit a large number of sites in a short time for them to make sense financially. The Granada Card on the other hand, like the city itself, is a nice blend of price and pace – quite appropriate for this region of Spain.

This is an updated version of a post originally written in 2012.

TipFox Tells You How Much To Tip At Restaurants, Bars And More Worldwide On Your Phone

tipfox app

One of the most satisfying moments of an international trip is sitting down at a restaurant for your first meal. A moment that’s often followed by a confusing calculation of how much tip to leave for your server? Do you need to leave a tip when paying with credit card? Do you even tip at all?

TipFox is an app I developed for Android and iOS to answer those questions for you,at restaurants, bars, and for other common services.

wifox ios app store     wifox google play android
Covered By Country

From the map view TipFox shows you whether or not tips are generally expected, rounded up, not common, or just used in certain circumstances, all at a quick glance. From there, you can tap to get more information about a country’s tipping practices at restaurants, bars, for specific services (e.g. tour guides), taxis, plus descriptions on tipping etiquette as well on the details page.

There’s also a comment section to ask questions, add information, and connect with other travelers.

Other TipFox Features

TipFox is designed to be straightforward so you can spend more time enjoying your meal, guided tour, or haircut, without the pressure of worrying about not leaving an adequate tip. As a traveler you want to be polite and not under-tip staff who may rely on those wages. At the same time, it’s important to not be taken advantage of by a taxi driver who’s counting on the fact you might not know that tipping is an uncommon practice locally.

tipfox app

Within the app, information is included for services like hairdressers, guided tours, hotel staff, and more. TipFox is also continuously updated when you have an Internet connection, works completely offline, and can find where you are if you allow location services.

wifox ios app store     wifox google play android
Available On Android And iOS

TipFox is available for download for iOS on the App Store and on Android on Google Play for $1.99. Access to the information within the TipFox and all updates are free for life. (iOS users there are also discounts available if you’ve already using any of my other apps). I want to help make the mechanics of traveling easier for you, so you can focus on traveling. You can let TipFox worry about of how much to leave on a check – giving you more time to do everything else.

travel smarter,
-Anil

These $50 Blitzwolf BW-FYE4 Are Everywhere On Amazon And They’re Not Too Bad

Blitzwolf is clearly dumping their advertising budget into the BW-FYE4 wireless earbuds because they’re all over Amazon right now. I picked up a pair and as you can see in the video above, they’re surprisingly good for $50 – ideal for travelers who want very, very, small headphones but don’t want to advertise “I’ve got Apple Airpods” everywhere in the world.

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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