ATM Scam/Laundry on the Road/Camera Sling

Nomadico issue #51

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.

Legal (but Shady) ATM Scam

Have you been a victim of the “accept conversion” scam becoming more common at ATM machines around the world? With language taken straight out of a shady online marketer’s handbook, the prompt gives you two choices. Either accept the conversion rate they are offering or pick the negative-sounding “deny conversion” or “refuse conversion.” You DO want the negative option though because that gives you the bank rate instead of one that typically puts 10% to 18% of your money in the bank’s pocket by way of a sucker fee that is, unfortunately, perfectly legal since you willfully chose it.

It’s Not Difficult to Keep Your Clothes Clean…

I often feel like travelers are operating under outdated or just plain wrong assumptions when they pack for a trip of multiple weeks, a month, or a year. One of those assumptions is that there’s not going to be a place to get laundry washed for a reasonable price. Light packers know there are always places to get clothes washed—besides the sink that is—and it’s seldom cost-prohibitive. In many countries it’s often one to three dollars a kilo to drop off laundry and on Airbnb there’s a filtering choice for houses/apartments that have a washing machine.

Don’t Stop With an Airbnb Search

Another assumption, this time among nomads, is that apartment rentals through Airbnb are going to be a better deal than what you can get through a hotel agency site. I just found, once again, that it pays to shop around. The best full apartment with a sea view that I could find on Airbnb for a town in Albania in June was $57 per night and the past guests didn’t exactly seem to love it. Instead I booked a larger apartment on for $38 per night all-in with a large furnished balcony overlooking a beach. It has a second bedroom with a desk to work at and a washing machine (see above), with rave reviews from past guests.

Hands-free Camera Sling

I packed pretty well for this current months-long trip in Europe, but when I go on a hike I’m kicking myself for forgetting my camera sling strap. I carry a super-zoom camera to be able to frame better, get people shots without getting in someone’s face, and shoot wildlife photos. If you have one of those or a real DSLR, a sling strap is much more comfortable than a camera bag when hiking and you’ve always got it at the ready instead of having to pull it out of a bag every time. Mine was a gift so I can’t remember the brand, but this one with Prime shipping is around $17 on Amazon and the competitors seem to top out at about $25.


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