A cool tool can be any book, gadget, software, video, map, hardware, material, or website that is tried and true. All reviews on this site are written by readers who have actually used the tool and others like it. Items can be either old or new as long as they are wonderful. We post things we like and ignore the rest. Suggestions for tools much better than what is recommended here are always wanted.Tell us what you love.
A weekly newsletter with four quick bites, edited by Tim Leffel, author of A Better Life for Half the Price and The World’s Cheapest Destinations. See past editions here, where your like-minded friends can subscribe and join you.
Government bureaucracy and “easy” don’t usually go in the same sentence, but we’re cautiously optimistic about the new digital nomad visa for Uruguay. You can apply online and there’s no income verification aspect, so right away this has leapfrogged over all others in attractiveness. Uruguay is one of the more expensive South American countries, but it is the most progressive, including a hands-off LGBTQ stance, full reproductive rights for women, and legal weed. Plus they have some nice beaches. See the details here.
This past month I spent a week in a condo on the Athens Riviera coast of Greece, then a week in a fantastic house on the car-free island of Hydra, both times paying nothing but a small cleaning fee. Both came about because of my membership in HomeExchange.com, where I’ve belonged for years. We have done simultaneous swaps, non-simultaneous ones, and ones utilizing their points system where people can pay with points they have accumulated to stay in your house. Then we used our points to stay in both of those Greece places. It’s great for travelers who have a home base they’re often not in and it can save a small fortune on accommodation, with no pets to care for like house-sitting services usually require.
File this under “work in progress,” but the site LaptopFriendly.co, mentioned in Recomendo by Mark F., highlights good places for remote workers to get things done. It’s mainly focused on big cities for now, with just 6 locations in Greece, 7 in France, and only one in a lot of other countries, but we hope they stick with it and widen the scope over time.
I could have made that headline a lot more provocative, with references to all kinds of things you are forced to do against your will, but I think we all now realize that budget airlines the world over are in the business of making money from gotcha fees added after the flight cost. You can figure out the rules and play them to your advantage, or you can come in clueless and get played instead. Here’s a good breakdown of what you’ll have to cough up after the initial fare that seemed so enticing. Add it all together to compare apples-to-apples when looking at other airlines or a train alternative.