Never Normal Newsletter

Summer of Travel, Guide for Nomads, and the Next Best Thing

It is officially The Summer of Travel 🌞

Hardly a day has gone by over the past few weeks without a friend messaging me to say, “I’m planning to head to Europe, and I wanted to see if you…”

I wouldn’t be surprised if this summer breaks records for travel in Europe. There’s a ton of pent up demand from people who weren’t willing/able to travel because of the pandemic.

And I think some people are also traveling now “while the virus isn’t too bad, because who knows what will happen in the fall” (Germany is reportedly considering bring back indoor mask requirements every year from October to Easter).

On top of that, the rise of remote work means that lots of people are able to travel for extended periods and work as they go.

Guide for Nomads

In addition to travel health insurance, at Genki we’re also building the guide for nomads.

It’s still in the early stages, but the Genki Guide already includes information on: visas/entry requirements, coworking and coliving spaces, popular nomad hangouts, tips for staying healthy, resources for finding apartments, and more for over 40 destinations (and we’re adding more every week).

Oh, and it’s totally free!

Handy Find: Hotels by Walking Distance

Last month Google released a few small updates to their travel search, including the ability to search for hotels based on walking or driving time to a landmark or address that you enter.

So, for example, you can see prices, availability, and reviews for hotels that are within a 15-minute walk of my favorite sushi spot in Tokyo, for convenient face stuffing 🍣

Staying Connected on the Go

Google Fi delighted nomads a few years ago when they announced their mobile plans with free data, free texts, and 20¢/min calls in 200+ countries. At the time, virtually all of the other carriers charged tens of dollars or more per gigabyte for international data!

(T-Mobile recently improved their international data offer)

Google Fi is still a great option if you’re based in the US and travel outside of the country often. Some nomads in other countries have managed to sign-up for Fi, but it’s a bit of a gamble. Google is known to kick people off if they spend enough time in the US.

In fairness, Google is pretty nice about it. They just disable the free international roaming feature. You get to keep your phone number/calls/texts, and they’re happy to keep taking your money.

This happened to me recently 😔

So, for my trip to Turkey a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to try out something different. Instead of relying on Google Fi or purchasing a local SIM card, I got an eSIM + prepaid mobile data from Airalo.

eSIMs are virtual SIM cards that you “install” by scanning a QR code or entering some configuration information on your phone. There’s no physical chip you need to buy or insert. Perfect for getting a second line for travel!

You can set up your phone before you even arrive. No need to go straight from baggage claim to the shady SIM card dealer at the airport.

Best of all, some phones let you use mobile service from an eSIM and your regular service at the same time. So, you can receive calls on your normal number, but take advantage of cheaper data plans from local carriers. Win-win!

The next best thing…

If you’re not traveling this summer, you can at least feel like you went somewhere new and different by trying your hand at GeoGuessr.

GeoGuessr is a geography game, in which you are dropped somewhere in the world in a street view panorama and your mission is to find clues and guess your location on the world map.

It’s surprisingly fun and even addictive. Give it a try and see how you do.

The game is also perfect for playing collaboratively with friends or coworkers (there’s a free version + you can screenshare with Zoom) or competitively (at least one player has to have the paid version). Just watch out for this guy.

Wherever you go this summer, remember my buddy Niall’s mantra:

You can’t have an adventure if everything goes to plan.

That’s all for this week! More soon…

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I write occasional emails to share what I’m thinking, learning, and doing. It’s all related to the idea of breaking free from the “default plan” in life.

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