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.
The last travel border domino fell yesterday: you can now apply for a visa to travel to China again. The country has been closed for three years solid. If you hurry, you might be able to visit the Great Wall or the Forbidden City without having to share the wonders with a parking lot full of tour buses.
A Travel Bargain in …Switzerland?
I'm posting this newsletter from the Swiss Alps, where I'm alternating skiing with laptop time in a community space with a snowy mountain view. I've avoided Switzerland for decades because of its reputation for being super-expensive, but the Ski Hostel program offered here is only 800 euros for a week of half-board lodging, skiing at three nearby resorts, airport transfers, and rides to the ski areas from the village. (To put that in perspective, a 4-day lift ticket alone is $896 at Vail.) Or come in warm months and alternate work and hiking with Coliving.Fringue, bunking down in a dorm for as little as 500 euros per month.
Packable Travel Towels
Don't forget to bring a towel! While regular hotels and apartment rentals will supply towels, many hostels and co-living spaces will not. Regular towels can take up a lot of room in your bag though, so apart from just buying one locally and leaving it, the best solution is a compact microfiber towel meant for travel. I am using one from Eagle Creek that they no longer make it seems, but other options are available on Amazon from Sea to Summit, Rainleaf, and others.
Vacation Time Disparities
If you're American, it's probably not news to you that the USA lags nearly every country in the world in the number of paid vacation days for workers. Averaging 10 per person, the country is tied with tiny Naura and barely better than Micronesia (a US territory). At the other end of the scale, the top-10 countries average 42 days or more. According to this map, all European countries grant at least 20 paid leave days. If you're a self-employed nomad whose boss is in the mirror though, how many are you giving yourself?