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Money Archives - foXnoMad

Category: Money

Timbuk2 Copilot Review And Discount Trick

Travelers looking for a new suitcase should take a close look at the thoughtfully designed and thoroughly durable Timbuk2 Copilot series that comes with a small discount trick.

Stop Here

Depending on your travel budget, a Timbuk2 bag might not be for you. People who take less than one or two trips a year probably won’t see (for a long time anyway) the immediate benefit of such a well-built bag. Particularly though for air travelers who check-in their luggage more than 6 or 7 times annually, the Copilot series has a lot of advantages worth its price tag.

timbuk2 copilot

What’s A Timbuk2 Copilot

Timbuk2 is a San Fransisco based brand that’s somewhat hipster blended with business sleek. Their Copilot series comes in 4 different sizes: 42, 52, 80, and 108 liters. You can review all the dimensions here but basically:

The exterior of the Copilot luggage is made of Cordura nylon (over 1000 Denier if you’re wondering) which is the standard for tough as hell bags. Internally, Timbuk2 use a variety of nylon, polyester, and other fabrics for a combination of strong but light fabric. And lightweight they are – even the gigantic 108 Copilot is just 4.6 kilos (10lbs) – compared to most bags that size pushing well over 6.5 kg (15 lbs).

timbuk2 copilot

I think it’s also worth mentioning that Timbuk2 don’t use materials that are toxic in any way, plus have an excellent recycling program for older bags. (They give you 20% back as well on your next purchase after you send the old bag back, which is a nice touch to the environmental benefits.)

Design That Makes Sense

Too often bag manufacturers try to get fancy, adding superfluous pockets that only take up space. Smart designers create bags, like the Copilot, that give users more flexibility to organize on their own. The Copilots (they’re all designed the same just at different sizes) open up clam shell style. On the outer pocket there’s quick access to the front compartment.

timbuk2 copilot 80l

Both interior sides of the “shell” have a mesh divider you can choose to use or not. All of the bags are spacious since they don’t have pockets in the way to steal space – but the clam shell style doesn’t work well with particularly bulky items. It’s perfect for clothes but if you’re lugging around boxy gifts, or large stuff that doesn’t compress, the Copilot can be tricky to pack.

Additional nice touches include skateboard wheels resulting in a very smooth roll without any pullback on your arms. Those wheels are also strong enough for skateboards plus they can be found all over the world if needed. The handle is also one of the smoothest I’ve used on roller luggage.

Save Some Money On A Timbuk2

Overall, there’s a lot to like about the Copilot series. For most of you interested in this bag, it’s a matter of finding the right size. Minimalists will appreciate the 42 and 52L varieties, most travelers who don’t mind a bigger bag will be happy with the 80L. Unless you’re a family who wants to use a single suitcase, think very carefully before deciding on the 108L. In any event you can return most bags with a minor (less than $10) processing fee.

Finally, to sweeten the deal for yourself, go through the Timbuk2 checkout process. Add the bag you want to the cart, fill in your details (especially email), then submit to get to the payment page. At this point, don’t submit your payment and just wait 24 hours. Typically Timbuk2 will send a 10-15% discount to your inbox to encourage you to complete the purchase. There’s also a popup on their site often but the email discount might be a bit more enticing so it’s best to wait and see. Good luck!

How Travel Influencers Make Money

Well, this is at least one (somewhat, maybe?) exaggerated version of what it seems like every travel influencer sounds like. You have probably heard most, if not all of what’s in the video above but either way, let me go over it again in a blond wig. What do you think? Authentic!

The Inateck Backpack Is An Aer Knockoff $200 Cheaper And Pretty Good Too

Typically when you’ve got a knockoff – ok, it’s technically not one – but if you look at the Inateck 30L Backpack and compare it to the Aer Travel Pack 2, you get the idea. As I was saying, knockoffs in electronics can often be close to the quality for the price of the brand version. When it comes to physical products like bags however, the drop-off is generally more pronounced. Yes, there are big savings but you sacrifice so much in quality over time, it ends up being more practical to go brand in the long run.

The Inateck 30L bag however, although it’s not as good as the Aer Travel Pack 2, might still have enough to consider, particularly if you want to save $200. You can watch my full review in the video above or read on.

Gentle Enough

For travelers who don’t demand a lot from their baggage, Inateck’s good but otherwise not outstanding nylon stitching should provide a decent lifetime of use. A little less nylon means the Inateck is lighter too, around 1.5 kilos (3.3 pounds) compared to the 1.7kg (3.7lbs) of the Aer Travel Pack 2. Though the Inateck tends to flop over when it’s not full mainly due to the internal padding being ever so slightly thinner.

inateck 30l backpack

Good Design Cues

Ripping off the design of the Travel Pack 2 (here’s my full review of that bag) and improving on it somewhat is something Inateck has pulled off well. The annoying shoe compartment of the Aer is collapsible in the Inateck, compression straps a bit more manageable, though it’s missing the very handy quick grab pocket that works great for passports.

Unpolished But $200?

Inateck’s 30L backpack is not one I’d trust for a frequent traveler, particularly if you’re going to be throwing this bag around a lot in less than ideal trains, taxis, or dinghy boats. Inteck has cut costs, a lot of them, meaning the zippers are hardly weather resistant, fabric you don’t want to snag, and straps that aren’t as comfortable as they could be. Still, for the different of $200, unless you’re looking for a premium backpack in the Aer Travel Pack 2, the Inateck may do just fine.

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.

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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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