Category Archives: Travel

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My South Korea Travel Experience

My South Korea Travel Experience

By Ofonime Essien

Ofonime Essien

The best education you will ever get is travelling. Nothing teaches you more than exploring the world and accumulating experiences. In both business and personal life, I’ve always found that travel inspires me more than anything else I do. Travel makes a wise man better. Samuel Johnson, an English writer once said, “All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.”

I was privileged to travel to Seoul, South Korea courtesy of West African Power Pool (WAPP) and Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in 2009 for a course on Designing the Basic Concept of Information Coordination Centre (ICC), a study that was carried out by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO).

We visited a lot of places during the trip namely: Namgansol Korean Traditional Village – Culture Preservation / Traditional Villages, 765 KV Transmission Substation, President’s Private Home, Hyaundai Car Manufacturing Plant, Power Research Institute, Power Museum, Samsung Innovative Centre, NANTA Theatre, Technology Park, 2002 Seoul World Cup Stadium, Namsam Tower etc.


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I learnt a lot of things during the trip but four (4) major ones has stucked with me over the years.

1. Capturing ideas

Capturing Ideas

On my first day of training in KEPCO Academy, Seoul – South Korea, I was surprised to find pens, pencils and jotters in the toilets. At first, I wondered what anybody will need a pen or pencil and jotter for, in the toilet. I later realized that an idea can pop up from anywhere and you need a pen and paper to capture it. As a writer, I’m addicted to ideas. I feed off on them. And nothing makes me more upset than having a great idea and losing it. Ideas never happen at opportune times, and having the proper idea capture tools can make sure that you’ll capture all your ideas for later processing.

The problem with ideas is that they’re situational. You don’t only have ideas while you’re in front of the computer, or while walking. Ideas happen all the time. This poses an interesting problem when you’re trying to capture all your ideas.


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After this trip, I started keeping a notebook and always go out with a notebook and pen wherever I go. I invested US $533,  four (4) years ago in Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0. It really was a good investment because I can write wherever I find myself using the Samsung SNote. If you rely more on technology for capturing your ideas and thoughts, be sure to back up your notes regularly. I lost some ideas I captured recently when my Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 suddenly developed a problem and had to be wiped at a Samsung Service Centre.

Pencils and papers are also great alternatives to your phones. I remember so much more if I write it down. Be sure to tuck a notebook under your arm and pencil behind your ear before you head out if you prefer old school to new technology.

Now that I’ve launched my blog, I find myself writing more than I ever have. Blog posts, email newsletters and random ideas pop into my mind at inopportune moments. I have developed the habit of capturing everything important that crosses my mind, when it crosses my mind.

I use Evernote more to capture ideas, clip pictures, links and videos, set up to do list and goals. It also helps in tracking my goals and to-do list. The good thing about it is that it syncs with my laptop and other devices.

 2. Have Backup Plans

765kV Station South Korea

While in Seoul, we visited the Shin-seosan 765KV Substation. When Korea Power Company (KEPCO) embarked on the 765kV project, it was hoping to achieve the following:

1. Transportation capacity increase.

2. Efficient use of land.

3. Construction cost savings.

4. Reduction of transmission loss.

During the planning phase of the project, KEPCO came up with four (4) plans: A – D. Should one plan fail, they were to switch to the next plan and replace the one that failed with another one until the project was successful. Luckily, Plan A succeeded and the project was commissioned in May 8, 2003.

I learnt to have backup plans in whatever I embarked on; be it career, business, relationships etc.

3. Don’t Throw Your Keys Away

 Don't Throw Keys Away

While in Seoul, we visited Namsam Tower – the Love Zone of Seoul City. It is where lovers go and make a vow to love themselves forever. The Love Zone has two (2) parts:

1. Agreement Point where lovers meet and agree to always love themselves and that nothing will come in between them.

Agreement Point_SK

Agreement Point

2. Hanging Point where lovers hang / lock their padlocks, attach a love note and throw their keys away into the valley below believing that they will never need the keys again. Most believe that they will live happily ever after.

Ofonime Essien Hanging Point

Hanging Point

Unfortunately, many lived to regret their actions. Many have regretted that decision few months or few years into the relationship. They found out that they need the keys to break away from the relationship but the keys must have been washed away by rain, buried somewhere deep down in the valley or in a mountain of other thousand keys. They become stucked up in a relationship they no longer fancy.

Based on this experiences, there is an advice for people not to throw away their keys in case, they need them.


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Whether it is business, relationships, jobs or other endeavours, always have an exit strategy in case things don’t pan out as planned. Don’t throw your keys away. Don’t throw caution to the wind. Never allow emotions to becloud your sense of reasoning. Don’t let your guard down. Always remember that in life, things don’t always work out as planned.

4. Does God Exist?

Ofonime Essien

That is a question my little friend pictured above asked Mr. Femi Fajemiroukun and I eight (8) years ago in Seoul, South Korea. He asked the question based on our refusal to eat lunch in a Budha Restaurant.

After site seeing for the day, our host who happened to be his father took us to have lunch in a Budha Restaurant. We were a company of six (6) including our host and his son. We got in, looked around and went to the area of the restaurant we were to have our meals. Instinctively, Femi and I got up, told our host and colleagues that we won’t eat there because it was against our religious beliefs. We can’t claim to be Christians and eat from the Temple of Budha. We refused to even drink water there.

Unfortunately, one of our colleagues who is a Christian didn’t see anything wrong in having his lunch there, so he ate with them. We waited for them outside the restaurant while they had their meals. They joined us outside after their meals.

On our way out of the area, the little boy asked, “Does God Exist?” We answered, “Yes”. He added, “If God exist, why will He allow natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, fires where so many people lose all they have and some their lives to happen?” “Why will He allow the wars and all the killings in the world to happen?”

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We did our best and explained to him that God really do exist. From our discussions with our little friend, I realized that they are people who don’t believe or deny the existence of God because of what they are passing through.

Because some people believe that God doesn’t exist, doesn’t make the immortal, the invisible, the alpha, the omega, the omnipotent, the omnipresent God, non-existent. Because God doesn’t show up when you need Him, doesn’t make Him non-existent and it is not enough reason to give up on Him. Don’t give up on God because He won’t give up on you. God can never give up on any man that is holding on to Him.

Conclusion

South Korea is a technologically driven society. I had a wonderful time there and I look forward to visiting there someday again. I first saw and experienced 3D glasses before it became well known. I had the privilege of checking my biological age there.

Develop the habit of capturing everything important that crosses your mind. Capture ideas in whatever means that is convenient for you; be it using pen/pencil and paper or using technology – SNote or Evernote.

Always have an exit strategy in case things don’t pan out as planned. You always have a way out. An exit strategy to make sure you don’t get hurt. You always walk away. You walk away before they can walk away from you.

Always have a backup plan. If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but never the goal. If Plan A didn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters. Stay cool. In the words of Julie Andrews, an English actress, singer, author, theatre director and dancer, “Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th”.

That God exist is never in doubt. Don’t allow the troubles of life to make you doubt God’s existence. God will always be God. Don’t give up on God because He won’t give up on you. God can never give up on any man that is holding on to Him.

Traveling is not frivolous. We must travel to increase our understanding and caring for others in the world. Travel while you are young and able. Don’t worry about the money just make it work. Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be.

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EASA Issues Fire Safety Warning on Personal Electronics in Cargo Hold

Category : Travel

EASA Issues Fire Safety Warning on Personal Electronics in Cargo Hold

By Ofonime Essien

Personal electronics

Kuwaiti social media activist Thamer al-Dakheel Bourashed puts his laptop inside his suitcase at Kuwait International Airport in Kuwait City before boarding a flight to the United States on March 23.
YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images

In a bulletin that seems to directly question the wisdom of the new US and UK bans on large electronic devices in carry-on luggage, Europe’s aviation safety authority yesterday warns that such devices are “dangerous goods” in the cargo hold.

The European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) April 5 bulletin does not mention directly new US and UK security rules introduced in March, banning passengers from carrying onboard electronic items larger than smartphones because of fears they may contain explosives. But the EASA directive is clearly meant to raise awareness of what it sees as a heightened fire risk the rules bring to airliners.


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“PEDs containing lithium batteries are considered as dangerous goods. When carried by passengers, they should preferably be carried in the passenger cabin. This would enable the crew to react quickly in case an incident involving such PED occurs,” EASA says in a statement explaining the release of safety information bulletin (SIB) 2017-04.

The US and UK government security rules compel passengers on certain flights to do the opposite—to pack their lithium battery-powered laptops, tablets and other large electronics in their checked bags.

EASA notes that when PEDs are not allowed in the cabin, “it leads to a significant increase of the number of PEDs in the cargo compartment. Certain precautions should therefore be observed to mitigate the risk of accidental fire in the cargo hold. In particular, PEDs placed in checked baggage must be completely switched off and well protected from accidental activation.”

EASA executive director Patrick Ky adds, “Spontaneous ignition or thermal runaway of lithium batteries present safety risks which need to be taken into account. We must take all precautions to make sure that mitigating one risk does not lead to another risk.”


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The bulletin raises yet more contradictions and confusion over the US and UK rules, which are targeted at direct flights to the US and UK from mostly Arab countries.

The US measures apply to 10 airports, including Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha Hamad and Istanbul Ataturk. The UK measures apply to six countries that include Turkey, but not the UAE or Qatar. This means that Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways direct flights to the US affected, but Emirates, Etihad and Qatar flights to the UK are not.

Neither the US nor the UK has explained why electronic devices that might contain explosives are safer in the cargo hold than in the cabin.

Adding to the confusion, Australia stepped up its security measures this week, but its list of affected flights contains only direct routes to Australia from the UAE and Qatar. The Australian rules also still permit PEDs in the cabin, but passengers and their carry-on baggage are subject to potential extra screening at the boarding gate.

Because of the different target lists, the UK and Australian measures affect British and Australian airlines on specific routes as well as Arab, Turkish and North African carriers. The US measures do not directly affect any US carriers.


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The EASA SIB advises airlines that PEDs placed in checked baggage must be protected from damage by applying suitable packaging or casing or by being placed in a rigid bag protected by adequate cushioning, such as clothing.

The agency also recommends that PEDs “should be dispersed in the cargo hold, avoiding consolidation in a single container or location and, when practicable, away from any other dangerous goods.”

Asked for comment on the EASA bulletin, Arab Air Carriers Organization secretary general Abdul Wahab Teffaha told ATW, “Our calls, and the calls of many more parties, for governments to move in urgency about this ban, should be embraced and acted upon.

“Our main objective remains to provide the travelers with safe and secure transport. I can’t think of any better time for ICAO to step up to its responsibilities and gather concerned governments and other stake holders in order to devise global measures to mitigate the perceived threat without exposing air transport to safety hazards.”

(ATW Online)

 

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Senegal’s International Airport to open in December 2017

Senegal’s International Airport to open in December 2017

BY OFONIME ESSIEN

Blaise Diagne International Airport

Initially planned to open in December 2015, the launch of Senegal’s Blaise Diagne International Airport (AIBD) is now scheduled for Q4 2017.

One of the West African country’s most ambitious projects, Senegal’s AIBD is designed to become a major hub for the region.

“The airport is vital for the economic development of Senegal and that is why we are doing everything possible to finish it,” sayid Abdoulaye Mbodji, the project’s director general.


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The Senegalese capital, Dakar, comprises 3% of the territory, 25% of the population and 80% of the economic activity of the country and the new airport is designed to allow both enhanced management of the territory and the creation of a new economic focus. It will also be a pillar for the development of tourism and exports, especially fresh produce.

Construction began in 2007 and by 2013 the project was 54% complete. By December 2014, more than 80% of the work was finished.

However, construction stopped early in 2016 due to a financial dispute between the Senegalese State and prime contractor.

Aeroport Blaise Diagne

Senegal’s Blaise Diagne International Airport (AIBD) when completed.

The latest financial scheme features a development pool of eight banks led by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). This solution also features the appointment of a Turkish consortium featuring specialists in the construction industry, Summa and Limak, and the Senegalese authority said it is now confident that the airport will be operational by the end of 2017.


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According to the project’s director general, remaining work includes the construction of the new freight warehouse; implementation of procedures; and the electrical wiring of the new terminal.

The AIBD covers an area of 4.500 hectares of which around half has been utilised so far. It features a main terminal of 4,200m² on two levels that will have a capacity of around three million passengers per year, increasing to 10 million by 2035.

A second terminal, specifically for freight operations, will have an annual capacity of 50,000 tonnes. A third terminal will be used for the transport of Hajj pilgrims.


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The airport will have a main 3,500mx75m runway designed to accommodate long-haul aircraft such as the A380 and B787. The airport’s infrastructure be capable of dealing, simultaneously, with 50 airliners including 26 wide-bodies, six single-aisle and 18 GA.

Certification is already well underway and it’s anticipated that it will be completed by the end of 2017, enabling all flights to be transferred from the existing Leopold-Sédar-Senghor facility.

 

(African Aerospace)

 

 

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New transit visa rules makes visiting Qatar easier

Category : Travel

New transit visa rules makes visiting Qatar easier

By Ofonime Essien

Photo: Qatar Airways

Photo: Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways, Qatar Tourism Authority and Qatar’s Ministry of Interior has announced a revised tourism visa scheme available to passengers transiting through Doha in a move to promote Qatar as a world-class stopover destination.

The new transit visa structure now allows passengers with a minimum transit time of five hours in Hamad International Airport to stay in Qatar for up to 96 hours (four days), without the requirement to apply ahead of time for an entry visa.

This is a significant increase from the previous transit visa scheme, which allowed travellers with a minimum layover of eight hours to spend a maximum of 48 hours (two days) in Qatar. This increase is designed to make stopovers easier and more attractive to Qatar Airways’ global passengers, and aims to deliver additional value to the local economy while strengthening Qatar’s position as an attractive tourist destination.

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The Qatar transit visa is free of charge and available on arrival at Hamad International Airport to passengers of all nationalities, upon confirmation of onward journey and completion of passport control procedures. All visas are approved and issued at the sole discretion of the Ministry of Interior.

Qatar Airways Group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, said: “Qatar Airways serves millions of people from around the world as they journey across our network of more than 150 destinations. Whether travelling for business or leisure, we want to enrich the journey of all of our passengers and we are restructuring our fares to reflect this initiative and to promote stopovers to travellers. We are excited to offer our passengers the opportunity to taste the cultural highlights that the city of Doha and the State of Qatar have to offer. We are thankful to the Ministry of Interior and the Qatar Tourism Authority for helping us to create a journey that includes discovering Qatar, an experience that will stay in our visitors’ hearts and minds forever.”

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The development is the third in a series of enhancements that Qatar has made to facilitate entry into the country for visitors. Last week, officials announced a new process to quicken the entry of tourists arriving on board cruise ships, and earlier, representatives signed an agreement with VFS Global, which will see the development of a new, faster and more transparent tourist visa application mechanism.

UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai commended Qatar on its rapid advancement in this area. “Promoting visa facilitation is a priority for tourism development worldwide and a key element in the competitiveness of tourism destinations. We congratulate Qatar for announcing, very auspiciously on the occasion of the World Tourism Day, a new milestone change in the country’s transit visa scheme,” he said. “This is the third significant travel facilitation announcement from Qatar in the space of just one month. We are very pleased to see that the work conducted by UNWTO with Qatar on visa facilitation is yielding results and trust that these will certainly result in an increase of visitors to Qatar.”

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Director General of the general directorate of nationality, borders and expatriates affairs in the Ministry of Interior, Brigadier Abdullah Salim Al-Ali, said: “The Ministry of Interior strives to support the country’s growth and development, while maintaining security for all visitors and residents. We are pleased to further facilitate the movement of the 30 million passengers who pass through Hamad International Airport every year. We welcome them to spend time in Doha and discover Qatari hospitality.”

Source: Qatar Airways

 

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Delta Airlines introduces new baggage system

Delta Airlines introduces new baggage system

By Ofonime Essien

  • Delta Airlines said it will use Radio Frequency Identification chips
  • In April the airline unveiled a $50 million investment to its system
  • Airlines spend thousands of pounds yearly replacing lost luggage 
RFID chip

Delta Airlines, based in the US, said it will use Radio Frequency Identification chips (pictured) placed on travellers’ bags to track their location

Delta is deploying Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) baggage tracking technology, a first for U.S. carriers, providing customers with improved real-time tracking of luggage throughout the travel experience.

The airline has announced it will use smart chips attached to passengers’ luggage to make sure belongings do not go missing.

Delta Airlines, based Atlanta, said it will use Radio Frequency Identification chips placed on travellers’ bags to track their location.

Baggage handlers will be able to identify each bag from a distance from a chip placed inside a paper tag on baggage.

Under the new system, conveyer belts will have sensors that flash a green light if the suitcase is on track to the correct plane and a red light if not, meaning a handler can redirect it.

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In April Delta unveiled a $50 million investment to overhaul its existing barcode bag tracking system.

The airline is hoping the new system will help to tackle the problem of lost luggage.

Airlines spend thousands of pounds each year replacing passengers’ belongings when they go missing enroute.

The airline’s existing system involved the scanning of individual barcodes on each piece of baggage.

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Brett Snyder, an aviation expert, said: ‘The airlines have been doing better in general when it comes to mishandled bags, but this is going to help significantly,’ according to NBC News.

He added: ‘Things really go off the rails when you have storms and you have bags scattered everywhere.

‘Over the past few years, you’ve seen airlines going behind the scenes to focus on better operating and handling.’

The RFI technology has been around for decades and was developed during the Second World War to help distinguish between friendly and enemy aircraft.

The technology is already used in the hotel industry to keep track of towels and linens, in libraries and even in nursing homes for vulnerable patients who may be at risk of getting lost.

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Earlier this year a separate airline revealed an enormous 40,000 pieces of checked baggage missed their planes.

American Airlines vice president said airport security delays were to blame for the luggage delays.

Source: Mail Online

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The 20 US vacation spots photographed the most on Instagram

The 20 US vacation spots photographed the most on Instagram

By Ofonime Essien

  • TIME magazine has compiled a list of the most popular locations around America based on Instagram travel posts 
  • It logged all images tagged with words like ‘vacation’ and ‘travelgram’ on the site over July 4 weekend
  • New York was the most popular, with over 10,000 tags, followed by Los Angeles and San Francisco

20 vacation spots in USA

Thinking of a holiday in America? Let social media be your guide! TIME magazine made a list of the most popular vacation locations around America based on Instagram travel posts using hashtags like ‘vacation’ and ‘travelgram’.

Foodies have long used Instagram to search for appetizing restaurants – and now it looks like the social media site can be used to find trending holiday destinations, too.

Thanks to the 4th July landing on a Monday this year, millions of Americans have been using the weekend for a mini holiday and TIME magazine has been logging hashtags to work out the most popular vacation spots.

It logged all of the travel-related posts that were tagged with words like ‘vacation,’ ‘travelgram’ and ‘travel’ to find out where Instagram-loving hipsters like to spend their days off.

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It compiled a list of results that not only showed where the most visited cities and towns were, but also the most Instagrammed spots within those places.

New York was the most popular spot for vacationers with 10,620 people using the city as their location when making a travel-related post, despite many people making their way out of the city during the summer.

Within the city, Central Park was the most tagged spot.

TOP 20 AMERICAN HOLIDAY AREAS ON INSTAGRAM BY TIME MAGAZINE

LOCATION   NUMBER OF PICTURES  

 

MOST POPULAR SPOT 
New York

Los Angeles

San Francisco

Miami Beach

Chicago

Las Vegas

San Diego

Honolulu

Orlando

Santa Monica

Miami

Washington DC

Seattle

Malibu

Boston

New Orleans

Portland

Fort Lauderdale

Laguna Beach

Newport Beach

Lahaina

Key West

Virginia Beach

Huntington Beach

Philadelphia

 

 

10,620

4,990

4,002

3,079

3,017

3,010

2,977

2,774

2,235

1,864

1,833

1,540

1,496

1,355

1,141

987

947

932

928

842

833

712

689

680

673

 

 

Central Park

Venice Beach

Golden Gate Bridge

South Beach, Miami

Millennium Park

Las Vegas Strip

La Jolla Cove

Waikiki Beach

Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Santa Monica Pier

The Office Gentlemen’s Club

Lincoln Memorial

Pike Place Market

Point Dume Beach, Malibu

The Boston Common

New Orleans French Quarter

International Rose Test Garden

Fort Lauderdale Beach

Montage Laguna Beach

Crystal Cove State Park

Kaanapali Beach

Fort Zachary Beach, Key West

Virginia Beach Oceanfront

Huntington Dog Beach

Philadelphia Museum of Art

 

In second place was LA, with 4,990 posts. The most popular spot in the area was Venice Beach.

In third place was San Francisco, with Miami Beach and Chicago rounding out the top five locations.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia was number 20 on the list, just behind Huntington Beach in California and Virginia Beach, a coastal city in southeastern Virginia.

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According to TIME, beaches that were within driving distance of big cities saw much of the activity over the weekend, with coastal areas in California, Florida and New York all proving popular.

Other spots that attracted a lot of ‘vacation’ tags included the Las Vegas strip, Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando and, bizarrely, a strip club in Miami called The Office Gentlemen’s Club.

Last year a booking site analysed use of the Instagram hashtag #NoFilter to determine the countries that are naturally beautiful.

The study revealed that the country that boasted the highest percentage of uploads with the hashtag was the Bahamas.

The data, compiled by bus-booking travel site Busbud, found that 4.32 per cent of the photographs of the tropical location carried the hashtag, indicating that no editing had been applied before the image was posted.

Contrasting heavily with the golden sands and turquoise waters of the Caribbean location, Iceland had the next greatest number of #NoFilter tags.

Users capturing the country’s snow-covered peaks, icy lakes, glaciers and the Northern Lights posted images exactly as they were shot 4.30 per cent of the time.

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Interestingly, the company also found that not all Instagram users are honest in their usage of the #NoFilter. Around seven per cent have manipulated their images before claiming they’ve left it untouched.

However, 93 per cent are honest with their posts.

The country with the most number of likes was the Maldives, followed by Lebanon, Israel and the Bahamas.

(Mail Online)

 

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Why you should ALWAYS Bolt Your Hotel Door

Why you should ALWAYS Bolt Your Hotel Door

By Ofonime Essien

  • Men who filmed the video were staying at a Rodeway Inn in New Mexico
  • Calling it a ‘hotel key fail’, they used their card to unlock multiple rooms
  • Hotel’s owner said a ‘malfunction’ in the key system has been addressed
key card

Two travellers recorded footage of themselves opening three adjacent rooms at a $38-a-night budget hotel

Hotel guests may lose confidence in the key cards given to them at the front desk after watching this video that exposes a major security flaw.

Calling it a ‘complete hotel key fail’, two travellers have recorded footage of themselves opening three adjacent rooms at a $38-a-night budget hotel in New Mexico.

The men said they used the same key card the open the rooms and got the idea after another guest mistakenly entered their room in the middle of the night.

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Their footage was posted on YouTube on Saturday and has already had more than a million views.

The men said they opened three rooms with a single key card during their stay at the Rodeway Inn in the city of Gallup, on Route 66 near New Mexico’s border with Arizona.

In the video, the man recording tells the camera: ‘Last night, we’re laying in bed and somebody decides just to walk right into our hotel room at 1:46, which we’re definitely assigned to.

‘We asked the hotel lady why this might have happened and she said, well, they gave the other people the master key.

‘So we did a little bit of research ourselves to see, well, what if they’re all master keys?’

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As he narrates his friend holds up a key card, which indicates it is for room 146 on the ground floor, and proceeds to open the room.

The camera pans to show a view of the hotel and the friend walks into view again and opens rooms 145 and 144 with the same card.

The man who filmed the video says: ‘We’re at the Rodeway Inn in Gallup, New Mexico.’

His friend adds: ‘Where everybody has a key to everybody’s room.’

‘Where you’re all welcome,’ says the man filming.

The men wrote on YouTube that they stayed at the hotel during their 4,000-mile road trip to the Rubicon Trail in the Sierra Nevadas in California.

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In a post on YouTube, Choice Hotels International, which owns the Rodeway Inn chain, said: ‘Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We have contacted the hotel and determined that there was a malfunction in their key system.

‘They have taken immediate action to address this.’

On its website, the Rodeway Inn in Gallup tells guests to ‘forget about fancy’ and promises a ‘solid deal on a simple stay.

(MailOnline)

 

 

 

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Emirates overtakes Qantas for world’s longest flight

Emirates overtakes Qantas for world’s longest flight

By Ofonime Essien

Emirates Airline Boeing 777-200LR

An Emirates Airline Boeing 777-200LR at a gate at Boston Logan International Airport on March 10, 2014. (Photo: Michael Dwyer, AP)

Emirates has bumped Qantas Airways out of the top spot for the world’s longest flight. Emirates took over the title Tuesday with the launch of its 8,819-mile nonstop route between Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Auckland, New Zealand.

That drops Qantas’ 8,576-mile route between Dallas/Fort Worth and Sydney, Australia – the previous record holder – into second place, according to flight-data provider OAG. Delta’s 8,434-mile nonstop route between Atlanta and Johannesburg, South Africa, slides to No. 3.

Emirates’ move to the top spot actually had been expected to come Feb. 1, the original launch date for the carrier’s planned Dubai-Panama City nonstop route that also would’ve overtaken Qantas’ DFW-Sydney route.

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But Emirates pushed back the launch of that route to March 31. The delay reportedly came as Emirates worked to secure approval to codeshare with local carriers, according to Business Traveller magazine. Copa Airlines operates a major connecting hub at Panama City, and a codeshare pact would allow the airlines to funnel connecting passengers to each other’s flights on a single ticket.

Regardless of when the Dubai-Panama City route begins, it will not be long enough to overtake Emirates’ just-launched Dubai-Auckland route. Dubai-Panama will be about 236 miles shorter, according to the Great Circle Mapper website. Time-wise, however, the Dubai-to-Panama flights will range from 16 hours, 55 minutes in the summer to 17 hours, 35 minutes in the winter. The latter would eclipse the 17-hour, 20-minute Auckland-to-Dubai flight in terms of time, if not distance.

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It was just in 2014 that Qantas bumped Delta’s Atlanta-Johannesburg route out of the top spot with its then-new Dallas/Fort Worth-Sydney flight. And the jostling for the title of “world’s longest commercial passenger flight” may not be finished yet.

Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker said earlier this year that the carrier would soon launch nonstop flights from its Doha hub to both Auckland and Santiago, Chile. Those routes – if launched – would become the world’s longest, though Qatar Airways has made no formal announcement about when or if it would follow through on Al Baker’s comments.

“We will not add a city before we have the network to support it,” Qatar Airways said in a statement to Bloomberg News. “While the title of longest airline flight may move and shift between carriers, only a few airlines are competing in that space. That’s where the advantage of our geography comes in.”

Read also: Overcoming Setbacks and Difficulties

And then there’s Singapore Airlines, which for years held the “world’s longest flight” title for its route connecting Singapore to New York. Singapore scrapped that route in 2013, but made news late last year by saying it expects to reinstate nonstop Singapore-U.S. routes as soon as 2018 with its new Airbus A350 aircraft. If Singapore resumes those routes – as is widely expected – its New York-Singapore flights would again become the world’s longest at a distance of 9,537 miles, according to Great Circle Mapper.

As for Emirates’ new Dubai-Auckland route, the carrier is using 266-seat Boeing 777-200LR jets that feature eight first-class “suites,” 42 lie-flat business-class seats and 216 economy-class seats.

Emirates already serves Auckland with daily flights, but each stops in one of three Australian cities (Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane) en route. The Auckland-Dubai flight is the first nonstop connecting linking the cities.

Source: USA Today

 

 

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The world’s most powerful passports revealed

The world’s most powerful passports revealed

By Ofonime Essien

Powerful passports

Germany has claimed bragging rights in an annual ranking of the world’s most powerful passports, while the UK and US each fell multiple spots.

All three countries shared first place in last year’s study, but the UK and US have dropped to third and fourth, respectively, in this year’s list.

German citizens hold the world’s most powerful passport as they can visit 177 countries without a visa, while British travellers can enter 175 and US tourists can travel to 174.

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With a maximum attainable score of 218, the visa restriction index by Henley & Partners, a citizenship and planning firm, ranks nations or territories based on the number of countries their citizens can travel to visa-free.

It is based on visa restrictions that were in place on 1 January.

Germany claimed sole possession of first spot this year after three countries lifted visa restrictions for its citizens, edging Sweden, which finished second with visa-free access to 176 countries.

After three consecutive years in first, the UK fell to third and was tied with Finland, France, Italy and Spain with a score of 175, up one from 174 last year.

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The US shared fourth spot with Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands.

As for the world’s least powerful passports, Afghanistan found itself at the bottom of the table with visa-free access to just 25 countries.

Pakistan was in second-last place (29), just behind Iraq (30), Somalia (31) and Syria (32).

In a statement, Henley & Partners, which has offices around the world, including London and Melbourne, said only 21 of the 199 countries listed in this year’s study remained in the same rank as last year.

It said: ‘No country, however, dropped more than three positions, indicating that overall, visa-free access is improving around the world.

‘Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan meanwhile, continue to hold the bottom four positions on the index, and thus have again been labelled the worst passports in the world.’

Timor-Leste, in Southeast Asia, had the biggest leap, climbing 33 spots to 57th place, followed by Colombia and Paula, which jumped 25 and 20 spots, respectively.

Read also: My First Helicopter Flight Experience

Hungary returned to the top 10, while Malaysia was bumped out.

Henley & Partners, which has produced an annual index in co-operation with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) since 2006, said: ‘There continues to be a huge disparity in the levels of travel freedom between countries, despite the world becoming more mobile and interdependent.

‘Generally, visa requirements reflect strongly on each country’s relationships with others, and will take into account diplomatic relationships between the countries, reciprocal visa arrangements, security risks and the risks of visa and immigration rules violations.’

THE MOST (AND LEAST) POWERFUL PASSPORTS IN THE WORLD

  1. Germany – 177
  2. Sweden – 176
  3. Finland, France, Italy, Spain, UK – 175
  4. Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, US – 174
  5. Austria, Japan, Singapore – 173
  6. Canada, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, South Korea, Switzerland – 172
  7. Greece, New Zealand – 171
  8. Australia – 169
  9. Malta – 168
  10. Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland – 167
  11. Slovakia – 165
  12. Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Slovenia – 164
  13. Latvia – 163
  14. Estonia, Lithuania – 162
  15. Poland – 161
  16. Monaco – 160
  17. Cyprus – 159
  18. San Marino – 156
  19. Chile – 155
  20. Hong Kong – 154
  21. Brazil, Bulgaria, Romania – 153
  22. Andorra, Argentina – 152
  23. Brunei Darussalam – 151
  24. Croatia – 149
  25. Israel – 147
  26. Barbados – 141
  27. Bahamas – 140
  28. Mexico – 139
  29. Taiwan, Uruguay – 137
  30. Antigua and Barbuda, Vatican City – 134
  31. Seychelles – 133
  32. St. Kitts and Nevis, Venezuela – 132
  33. Costa Rica – 131
  34. Trinidad and Tobago – 130
  35. Mauritius – 128
  36. Panama – 127
  37. Paraguay, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines – 125
  38. United Arab Emirates – 122
  39. Grenada – 121
  40. Macau – 120
  41. Dominica, Honduras – 119
  42. Guatemala – 116
  43. El Salvador, Serbia – 115
  44. Samoa – 112
  45. Macedonia – 111
  46. Nicaragua, Tonga, Vanuatu – 110
  47. Montenegro – 107
  48. Russia – 105
  49. Palau – 104
  50. Colombia – 103
  51. Turkey – 102
  52. Bosnia Herzegovina, Moldova – 101
  53. Albania – 98
  54. South Africa – 97
  55. Belize – 94
  56. Peru, Solomon Islands – 86
  57. Guyana, Kuwait, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu – 82
  58. Ecuador, Fiji, Ukraine – 81
  59. Maldives, Nauru – 80
  60. Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Qatar – 79
  61. Jamaica – 78
  62. Papua New Guinea – 77
  63. Micronesia – 75
  64. Suriname – 74
  65. Bahrain – 73
  66. Bolivia, Botswana – 72
  67. Oman, Thailand – 71
  68. Namibia – 70
  69. Lesotho, Saudi Arabia – 69
  70. Kenya – 68
  71. Belarus, Gambia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Swaziland – 67
  72. Tanzania, Tunisia – 65
  73. Ghana – 64
  74. Zambia – 63
  75. Azerbaijan – 62
  76. Cape Verde, Philippines – 61
  77. Uganda – 60
  78. Benin, Cuba, Morocco, Zimbabwe – 59
  79. Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan – 58
  80. Armenia – 57
  81. Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mongolia – 56
  82. Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Togo – 55
  83. Dominican Republic, Sao Tome, Principe – 54
  84. Tajikistan – 53
  85. India, Mali, Uzbekistan – 52
  86. Bhutan, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Sierra Leone – 51
  87. Cambodia, China – 50
  88. Chad, Egypt, Gabon, Turkmenistan – 49
  89. Algeria, Central African Republic, Haiti, Madagascar, Rwanda – 48
  90. Comoros, Jordan, Laos, Vietnam – 47
  91. Guinea – 46
  92. Angola, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria – 45
  93. Congo (Republic of), Djibouti – 44
  94. Liberia – 43
  95. Burundi, North Korea, Myanmar – 42
  96. Bangladesh, Congo (Democratic Republic of), Lebanon, Sri Lanka – 39
  97. Kosovo, South Sudan, Yemen – 38
  98. Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Nepal, Palestinian Territory, Sudan – 37
  99. Libya – 36
  100. Syria – 32
  101. Somalia – 31
  102. Iraq – 30
  103. Pakistan – 29
  104. Afghanistan – 25

Source: Henley & Partners

 

Source: Daily Mail

 

 

 

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The worst days to fly in 2016 revealed

Category : Travel

The worst days to fly in 2016 revealed

By Ofonime Essien

  • A British holiday firm has analysed data and listed 10 days to avoid
  • Research identified holidays or major events that caused prices to spike
  • First date on the calendar is 12 February ahead of half-term holidays

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Passengers are constantly bombarded with advice on the best time to travel, but a British holiday firm has crunched the numbers and revealed the worst days to fly in 2016.

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It comes as no surprise that the worst days – the ones with the highest prices and most stress for those who hate packed airports – revolve around major holidays, school half-terms or popular events.

They include holidays in the UK and abroad – from Easter long weekend to American Thanksgiving – and were calculated by Flight Centre UK based on airfare data.

Flight Centre UK told the Independent that the first day on the calendar is 12 February because airfare reaches its peak price-point for half-term holidays.

To save money, passengers should try to avoid flying on 24 March, which is the Thursday before the Easter long weekend.

Holidaymakers who are planning a trip to Thailand in April should take note of Songkran, the traditional Thai New Year. It falls on 13 April and is a busy travel period within the country.

Read also: 20 Ultimate Ways to Keep Kids Comfortable on Planes

In a few months tourists will be jetting to the Mediterranean for some fun in the sun, and a mad rush is expected on 27 May – the spring bank holiday weekend.

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France is one of the most popular summer destinations for Britons, but prices have soared for travel on or around 11 June for England’s opening match in Euro 2016.

Peak summer travel prices are expected to kick in for most destinations on 1 July.

Later in the year, 21 October is expected to be more expensive thanks to the start of the autumn half-term school holidays.

Tourists who are planning getaways to New York should be aware of two events in November which cause the price of plane tickets to increase.

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On 6 November, tens of thousands of visitors are in New York to take in the city’s marathon, while flights across the US will be costlier on and around 24 November due to Thanksgiving.

In December, prices will spike on 22 December as people begin to travel over the Christmas break.

Source: Daily Mail

 

 

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