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Iceland is drop-dead beautiful in many locations (but don't take that literally). Photo from Inspired by Iceland

Iceland is drop-dead beautiful in many locations (but don’t take that literally). Photo from Inspired by Iceland

By a nice coincidence following our last post on travel safety, two new surveys are out that try to identify the safest countries in the world, with implications for travelers as well as residents.

One, called the Global Peace Index 2018, comes from the Institute for Economics and Peace. It looks at 23 relevant statistics for 163 countries — including political terrorism, murder rates, and deaths from internal conflicts — and ranked them for overall safety.

The second, from the Gallup polling organization, takes a different tack: Gallup went straight to nearly 150,000 residents of 142 countries and asked them how safe they felt, based on factors such as their own experiences with crime and their attitudes toward local policing.

The results, as you might imagine, were quite different, though one country… Continue reading

Sudan is said to have more pyramids than Egypt. Photo from Corinthia Hotel Khartoum.

Sudan is said to have more pyramids than Egypt. Photo from Corinthia Hotel Khartoum.

The other day I received a press release promoting what sounded like a wonderful five-star hotel in an exotic location, said to be the finest accommodation in its city.

Along with various five-star amenities such as a state-of-the-art spa and gym, six restaurants including one with panoramic views, tennis courts, and indoor pool, it promised to serve as a base for tourists exploring UNESCO World Heritage sites, taking river cruises, visiting museums, and marveling at spectacular evening performances.

The only potential downside? The name says it all: it’s the Corinthia Hotel Khartoum, serving the capital of Sudan, a nation wracked by terrorist violence and crime in recent years, including reported attacks against Westerners in Khartoum itself.

The U.S. State Department doesn’t mince words: if you plan to travel to Sudan, the department warns in an extraordinary… Continue reading

In our last post, we posed ten questions that might affect your health and well-being as a traveler. Here are the answers:

What are possible ways to counter jet lag?

What are possible ways to counter jet lag?

1. The direction in which you fly may influence the severity of your jet lag. Other conditions being equal, which direction is most likely to produce bad jet lag?

Answer: B, West to east. When flying west to east, especially across America, you’re more likely to encounter darkness when you arrive, which helps disrupt the body’s “inner clock” (jet lag is caused by disorientation by crossing time zones, which exposure to light seems to ameliorate). Assuming no time zones are crossed, there’s technically no jet lag at all flying north-south or south-north, though you can still feel the ill effects of a long flight.

2. One good way to counter the effects of jet lag is to:

Answer: D… Continue reading

Protect your mobile phones like your wallet.

Protect your mobile phones like your wallet.

How careful are you about protecting your vital information while traveling? If you’re like me, you’ve left yourself vulnerable from time to time — maybe tapping into someone’s else’s unsecured network to use their Wi-Fi, or using an ATM on a busy street that presents an easy target for thieves to steal your PIN number, if they’re lurking nearby.

So far I’ve managed to avoid those types of disasters, but I came across this list of tips for protecting your personal information on the road that convinces me I’ve been more lucky than smart about it. The list comes courtesy of Experian’s ProtectMyID (www.protectmyid.com), and I’m going to start paying closer attention to its warnings:

  • Get Your Own Hotspot: Consider a portable router to create your own Wi-Fi hotspot for your electronic devices and that of any… Continue reading
A pair of Pick-Pocket Proof Pants, Adventure Traveler style, from Clothing Arts. Photo from Clothing Arts.

A pair of Pick-Pocket Proof Pants, Adventure Traveler style, from Clothing Arts. Photo from Clothing Arts.

Reading a post this morning on global travel scams — mostly involving pickpockets in some way — reminded me to recommend a pair of trousers that I traveled to Europe with this spring in anticipation of possibly encountering, well, pickpockets.

And indeed, while crossing the crowded Charles Bridge in Prague, our Insight Vacations guide warned our group of travelers (all travel journalists) to guard our wallets, since Prague — and the  Charles Bridge and Old Town Square in particular — are havens for the light-fingered folks who prey on unwary tourists.

While pickpockets can be very clever, I felt safe in my Pick-Pocket Proof Pants™, as they’re called, made by a New York company called Clothing Arts. Every pocket is secured by zippers, covers and buttons, so you can layer… Continue reading

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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