Security Archives - foXnoMad

Category: Security

Best Way To Get A Taxi In Istanbul, Turkey

Finding a taxi in Istanbul, Turkey, isn’t difficult but just hailing any cab off the street is a risky move if you don’t want to get ripped off. Istanbul taxi drivers don’t have the best reputation and since Uber is virtually non-existent in the city, here’s how to make sure you get where you need to go without overpaying.

Use The Right App For The City

Free for Android and iOS, BiTaksi works similar to ride sharing apps you may be familiar with but is exclusive to registered taxis. You’ll want to set up BiTaksi before arriving in Turkey because the app requires a phone number for verification. (Probably easier to deal with in your home country.) After setup, you can then use BiTaksi to call a cab in Istanbul or Ankara, like you would using Lyft or Uber. You can see you driver’s rating and license plate to make sure you hop in the right car.

Once you call a cab, you’ll be shown a few different route options through BiTaksi, so you can watch to make sure your driver is taking the right route. You can also, through the app, specify the route you want the driver to take. Additionally, BiTaksi let’s you send your ride information to a friend or family, so they can watch your progress and know when you’ve arrived safely at a destination.

You can see the entire setup of BiTaksi in the video above and if you happen to be headed to Serbia, here’s the best way to order a cab in Belgrade.

Everything You Need To Know About Solo Female Travel In India

Planning a trip to India can be confusing for many potential travelers, particularly women. The news about safety in India is a lot like traveling in the country itself – often contradictory, alluring, sometimes downright scary. To help answer any questions you may have about traveling in India as a woman, I recently spoke with Cristina Boronat on the foXnoMad Podcast.

Cristina spent over 2 years traveling in India, most of it solo, and we spoke about her experiences plus advice on how to dress, her India bucket list, and more in the episode you can listen to here or watch in the video above.

We even got to ponder whether or not my two India scams videos would have been potentially (more) dangerous if I were a woman.

There’s a lot packed into this episode for both men and women planning a trip including the single best piece of advice for visiting India, applicable worldwide. For those of you who’ve been to India the conversation will take you back through the calm and chaos to put a smile on your face.

What It’s Like Traveling As A Woman In Pakistan

Pakistan is not a particularly common travel destination (on par with Ivory Coast by tourists annually) and for many reading this, that isn’t surprising. What may be even more surprising is that tourism to Pakistan has tripled since 2018, attracting adventurous travelers intrigued by a less visited destination.

Since I wrote about what it’s like traveling in Pakistan, many of you asked what it would be like for a woman traveling there? To give a firsthand answer to the question, I recently spoke with Ellie Quinn who joined me on an episode of the foXnoMad Podcast you can listen to here.

Ellie traveled to Pakistan overland from India and shared what that border crossing was like, how to dress, plus vividly describes the country’s northern mountains. She enjoyed her time in Pakistan so much, Ellie’s begun running tours there if you’re up for your own adventure.

We also spoke about the differences between traveling in India verses Pakistan as a woman in an interesting and enlightening conversation you’ll learn a lot from. You can watch the full episode here, download here to listen, and find Ellie on YouTube and Instagram.

The 3 Best VPNs For Travelers In 2020

There are many reasons to use a VPN when traveling, but honestly, everyone should be on a VPN pretty much all the time. A virtual private network (VPN) can hide your Internet habits from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and protect your privacy online for starters. For travelers, VPNs can get you cheaper airfare or access the free Internet in places with censorship but being so closely tied to your browsing habits, you need to choose the right VPN.

Important VPN Caveats

A VPN is essentially a tunnel between you and the Internet as far as anyone trying to observe your Internet connection. Imagine a helicopter flying over you, it can see you’ve entered a subway station but not where you go after that. Likewise, ISPs will be aware your Internet traffic is going through a VPN but not much else.

VPNs encrypt the traffic going through them it however there is a point in the encryption-decryption process that would allow any VPN to see your Internet traffic. You have to trust your VPN not to do that. Ideally, you’re looking for a VPN that logs a little as needed to run their service and is regularly audited by independent security audit to verify any claims.

NEVER Use A Free VPN

Never. Free VPNs make money through advertising and selling your information since they have no intrinsic incentive to provide good privacy. Never use a free VPN. Fortunately, the paid options aren’t expensive especially when you consider the benefits.

1. ProtonVPN

From the same organization based in Switzerland that created the secure email service ProtonMail, ProtonVPN is focused on privacy. They collect only the information needed to provide service and support (which is fantastic by the way) all laid out in a very clear Privacy Policy. ProtonVPN’s servers are speedy and some tiers have a Secure Core feature for enhanced protection.

protonvpn

It’s also effective for getting access to Netflix but may not work in China (who have at the time of this article blocked them). *Cough* Paid plans also don’t block torrenting *cough* ProtonVPN’s mobile and desktop apps are intuitive to use and straightforward as well.

ProtonVPN’s a little more expensive than the competition – they do have a limited free version to try – but as one of the best overall VPNs, I would recommend their Plus service to cover all your devices.

2. NordVPN

Having recently reviewed their NordPass password manager, a few things stand out about NordVPN. They’re based in Panama outside the jurisdiction of these 5-14 Eyes. They’re also regularly audited by third parties, have over 5,000 servers in 59 countries, and NordVPN should work in China as well.

The interface is especially clean, almost minimalist, and it’s one of the fastest VPNs I’ve tried. Connections are solid (very little cutting out) and they have a good privacy record as well for their plans, which are heavily discounted for 2-3 year subscriptions.

3. ExpressVPN

expressvpn

For travel to China especially, ExpressVPN is a solid choice. ExpressVPN have a very good record on privacy, is audited regularly, and have VPN servers in 94 countries. Speed is also a particularly good on ExpressVPN (all VPNs will slow down your total Internet speed somewhat when in use). The only drawbacks I’ve found is their iOS version can be a little difficult to work with when switching connections. ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money back guarantee so you can see if it fits your particular needs.

Mentioning Honorable Mentions

A few things about all of these VPNs listed above. They’re all called ‘no log’ VPNs which means they don’t track (outside of what’s needed to provide service and support) – claims which have been verified by an independent security audit. Without those independent audits from credible security experts any VPN claiming no logs – or anything else – has to be taken with a big grain of salt.

Another good option is VyprVPN, like the others offers steep discounts for longer subscriptions (usually over a year) or monthly plans. You’ve also got the option to try these VPNs usually either with a limited free version or trial period so you can choose the best VPN for your travels.

For those of you already using a VPN, this site will let you check to make sure it’s not leaking any info about you. To get the most effectiveness however, set your VPN to always on and don’t forget to secure your mobile devices as well.

What Happens When You Say “Yes” To Every Scam In India, Again

About two years ago during my 14th, 18th… I-can’t-keep-count-of trip to India – I got an idea. India, like computer code, can be daunting when you first see it but once you understand how it works it becomes a playground. I’ve seen scams attempts of all types in India so eventually decided to have fun with scammers who approached to find out what would happen if you said yes to every scam in India?

Earlier this year, I asked the question again in New Delhi and said “yes” to every scam attempt I was approached with. This time around, I discovered some updated scams plus more confrontational scammers you can see in the video above. Once you know what to look out for and how to handle these scammers your trip will go a lot smoother – but in case you don’t, I’ll show you what happens.

What Is It Like Traveling In Pakistan?

The first thing you think of when it comes to Pakistan probably isn’t tourism but recently developments have tripled visitors since 2018. It’s not now and won’t be mainstream any time soon which makes it a very interesting place to visit for a certain type of traveler.

Tourism Infrastructure

Pakistan has a fairly developed tourism infrastructure. It’s easy and inexpensive to fly within the country and the buses are the most luxurious I’ve come across anywhere. There’s a solid middle-tier of hotels, Uber (and local Careem) ride sharing, plus a variety of food from street vendors to hipster burger joints.

karachi burns road

Like a lot of the country, there’s a broad blend across the tourism infrastructure. It’s not so developed that anyone can just pop in and hop a bus from Islamabad to Lahore. For travelers with a bit of experience who don’t mind a few rough edges in their journeys it will only add to the charm.

What Would You See? Do?

As the 33rd largest country in the world, the long shape of Pakistan makes it home to a variety of geographical zones. The second highest mountain, K2, can be found in the Karakoram mountain range in the north. Geographical diversity often means cultural diversity, with Tajikistan, China, and Afghanistan’s influences in the mountains, Punjab on the eastern border, with Karachi’s hot blend of spice and sea.

pakistan curries

In addition to the natural wonders, there are historical sites like Lahore Fort built half a millennia ago. And across all of it, there are hardly any tourists visiting. For adventurous travelers, that’s a plus; less experienced tourists might find that off-putting. It’s really the story of visiting Pakistan right now.

Safety Elephant In The Room

We know the reason few people are visiting – concerns about safety. In 2014, a terrorist attack on a military school prompted the government (with mass public support) to begin a campaign against terrorism. The following two years resulted in the deaths of 4,000 terrorists and since then, terrorism-related deaths have decreased dramatically.

karachi pakistan

“From 12,000 deaths in 2009 (32 per day), the number declined by 87 percent by 2017 and continues to do so. In 2019, fewer than 300 people were killed in terrorist attacks nationwide.” – Vice

Where that leaves Pakistan today is on the cusp. Having eliminated, so far, one of the primary deterrents for people to consider Pakistan a tourist destination, the first wave of travel first adopters is arriving. Backpackers, adventurers, and us blogger types are enjoying Pakistan on the cusp.

Pakistan’s reputation hasn’t recovered nor the infrastructure developed enough to attract casual visitors. On the flip side, it’s got more than enough in place to make it a unique, inexpensive, and relatively easy place to visit for someone with travel experience and inclination.

It’s too soon to tell if Pakistan will continue to improve the areas important for tourism – security, infrastructure, reputation. At this moment however if what you’ve read so far has you very curious, Pakistan might be a good candidate for your next destination.

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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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