Reviving Old Travel Shoes/Unlimited Flight Passes/Credit Card Backups

Nomadico issue #65

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.

Reviving Old Walking or Hiking Shoes

After five months of travel pavement-pounding in my New Balance sneakers, the uppers were fine but the comfort level had gone down dramatically. So I upgraded them with new insoles. Unless you buy $120+ list price brands like Ecco and Rockport, the insoles in your new walking, running, or hiking shoes are usually going to be cheap and crappy. There are several levels of insoles to revive them and even the ones you buy on the street will be an improvement, but you step up with off-brand memory foam ones, mid-level offerings like those from Dr. Scholl’s, or premium ones built to last from the likes of Superfeet and SOLE.

All-you-can-fly Passes

If you spend a lot of time in Mexico or live in a U.S. city where Volaris flies (like Oakland/SF, Denver, or Chicago), you might want to pick up a Volaris Annual Pass that they have on sale for 5,999 pesos through August 16. That’s around US$353 currently. I just bought ones for my wife and me that we can use for a lot of tentative upcoming plans. Just understand this only covers the flight cost with no extras: you still have to pay taxes, luggage fees, seat selection fees, etc. No-frills Frontier offers something similar in the USA from $149 (monthly) to $299 (winter) to $1,199 (all year).

A Backup for Your Amex Card

I always say to carry multiple debit and credit card backups when traveling, but it’s especially important to have backups if your favored card is an American Express of some kind. No merchant in Bulgaria would take one when I was there, even when I tried to use my Hilton Amex at…a Hilton hotel. It was also hit-and-miss in Greece, Albania, and the Czech Republic and has been an issue for me in the past in Latin America. The company’s merchant fee is higher, so some banks and merchants just don’t want to deal with them and the card will either be refused outright or declined when you tap/insert it. Have at least one Visa or Mastercard for international travel, preferably two or more.

Remote Work is Great! (But Please Commute to Our Office)

This has been widely reported and ridiculed, but the irony was too delicious to skip: the video calling company Zoom is now telling employees they need to come to an office two days a week. Meanwhile, Google is trying to lure back skeptical office-goers by offering stays in a Google-owned hotel for $100 per night. (Less than most probably pay in rent for where they commute from.) Meanwhile, policies like this are on the wrong side of the growth numbers: a new study found that fully remote companies are successfully growing their headcount at more than double the rate of those who want butts in office space seats.


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