Travel Tips

Travel TipsTraveling Tips That Will Get You Far And Save!

If you are traveling overseas, it’s a wise strategy to join using the Clever Traveler Enrollment System (STEP), a complimentary federal government services for inhabitants of America who are now living in a foreign nation or are planning to go to one. Providing Stage along with your contact info and some information on your trip enables these people to contact you in case there is an emergency and to counsel you of travel cautions and alerts.

If you wish to journey abroad, try out learning about the language. It is possible to get small books which contain all the important words and phrases, in case you go missing or need to have something. Tend not to think that everyone will talk the English language and people may well be more friendly if you try talking their language.

Have a photograph of the suitcases in advance. This makes it quicker to determine your travelling bag if it becomes lost. Many parts of luggage seem very similar, and it can be tough to recall the attributes of your bag which make it diverse. Also, if you are vacationing worldwide, an overseas clerk may not fully understand English but they’ll understand a photo.

When you are traveling using a toddler, preparing plus a properly-loaded case are crucial. Pack a case with everything that your toddler needs. Incorporate comfort and ease goods that will aid her feel better. Create a list of items that you utilize on your toddler every day, like system cleanse, shampoo, lotion, combs, diapers, child wipes, and so on. Creating a record will help reduce the risk of forgetting to pack something.

Give some thought to picking up have-out menus and employing them as your travel souvenirs. By eating with a especially good way, request a duplicate of your menus and make a note of everything you ate on it. These menus may help you keep in mind everything you appreciated as well as let you seek out similar food in your area.

If the journey does not have precise times that need to be adhered to, adapt your time structure by way of a time or two when looking for bargains. Evaluate each of the accessible vacation and resort fees for the two full week period of time about your journey windowpane. You may find there presently exists particular prices which are precise to such dates and you can reduce costs by being adaptive.

When you are traveling aboard, ensure your passport is not really expired. In the turmoil of get yourself ready for a visit, may very well not understand your passport has expired. You may renew your passport by postal mail as much ahead of time as one year prior to it is set up to expire and up to two years following it has presently expired.

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10 of the best eccentric attractions in Europe: readers travel tips

Weird wonders, including a prowl around Amsterdams cat museum, a truly deep Transylvanian theme park and Stalins World in Lithuania, have made readers embrace the quirky

10 of the best eccentric attractions in Europe: readers travel tips

10 of the best eccentric attractions in Europe: readers travel tips

Weird wonders, including a prowl around Amsterdams cat museum, a truly deep Transylvanian theme park and Stalins World in Lithuania, have made readers embrace the quirky

Read more:

23 travel sites and apps that will take the stress out of your next adventure

Stressed about figuring out travel plans? These apps and websites can help.
Image: Bob Al-Greene/ Mashable

Every product here is independently selected by Mashable journalists. If you buy something featured, we may earn an affiliate commission which helps support our work.

Traveling can be a great way to log off, relax, and recuperate from the stress of everyday life.

But planning your next travel adventure? That can be a downright existential hellscape, a task that can quickly turn from exciting to tedious as you try to juggle various destinations, figure out when’s the best time to travel, how to find the best deals while you’re on the go, what to do when you actually get there, etc, etc, until the idea of traveling inspires a dull but persistent sense of dread.

Fortunately, that’s where the internet comes in. There are a variety of websites and apps designed to take the stress out of traveling and make sure that planning your next trip is as fun and easy. For example, apps like HotelsTonight, which will help you find cheap hotel rooms on extremely short notice, and SitOrSquat, which will direct you to nearby restrooms while you’re already on the road, should be a part of the essential toolkit for any travelers.

So whether you’re you’re looking for travel inspiration, trying to find plane tickets on the cheap, or looking for ways to make your life easier once you’re on the ground at your next destination, here are the best apps and sites for travelers.

If you’re looking for travel inspiration:


Armchair adventures begin with Instagram

Instagram started as a simple photo sharing app, but as the platform has developed over the years, it’s transformed itself into a must-have app for travelers. With new features like the ability to turn on notifications for specific users (which lets you stay up-to-date with your favorite travel ‘grammers), Instagram maps that let you explore photos taken at specific places, and the ability to save photos that inspire you, Instagram can be a great way to keep abreast of everything that inspires you to travel.

We recommend following National Geographic, for a sneak peek at some of the most unique parks of the world, and With The Locals, which invites guest ‘grammers from all over the world to curate hidden gems from their city.


Snap Maps give a great insight into far flung places.

Image: Snapchat

We’ve got two words for anybody surprised that Snapchat is an essential tool for travelers: Snap Maps. The feature, which launched in June 2017, shows users what other people are snapping, in real time, at any given destination. That means whether you’re taking a digital tour of an area while trying to decided on your next travel destination, or if you’re already on the ground and looking for your next activity, Snap Maps can help you discover hidden gems at any destination.

Apps to help you get up and go


Image: Francesca Tirico/ Unsplash

TripAdvisor is your one stop shop for travel. Not only will the site will help you book a flight to your next destination, it’ll also help you find hotels, vacation rentals, restaurants, and more. But the true beauty of TripAdvisor is its price comparison feature, which will show travelers where they can find the best deal when booking a trip. And who doesn’t want to save a buck while traveling?


Image: Christopher Neugebauer/ Flickr

If you don’t want to have to juggle searching through multiple sites to look for and compare travel deals, Skyscanner is for you. The site uses a self-built technology to search through hundreds of travel sites for hotels, flights, and car rental deals. Plus Skyscanner launched a Facebook Messenger bot in 2016 to better help you book tickets on the go.


Image: Momondo

Momondo is a travel search website that offers a cheap way to find flights, hotels, and car rentals. Rather than booking your tickets directly through the site, Momondo links out to the relevant booking sites, which means extra fees aren’t tacked onto the price of your airfare. In other words, you can find flights that are good for your wanderlust and for your wallet.



You don’t have to fly somewhere to embark on your next great adventure. Roadtrippers is a travel planning platform that will, as its title suggests, help you plan unforgettable road trips. Not only will Roadtrippers show you how to get from point A to point B, but it’ll also create for you the most interesting route to your destination, highlighting great locations off the beaten path. Roadtrippers also lets you sort based on things to do, sleeping, food and drink, “weird stuff,” and more, which means your road trip can be as direct or as whimsical as your heart desires.

If you’re ballin’ on a budget

Nomadic Matt

Image: Nomadic Matt

You don’t have to pay exorbitant prices to be able to travel. Nomadic Matt specializes in budget travel, and promises to help you “travel anywhere better, cheaper, and longer.” The sites founder, Matthew Kepnes, originally started out as a blogger, but over the years, the site has expanded, publishing everything from advice on how to save money for your next trip to suggestions on how to find cheap airfare and hotels. Then, once you’ve booked, the site also sells budget travel guides for destinations ranging from Paris to Bangkok.


Image: Hopper

If you’re looking to save money on airfare, Hopper is for you. By watching and analyzing ticket listings for billions of flights, Hopper will tell you when is the best time buy tickets for your flight, when an airline drops ticket prices, and even help you calculate the extra fees accumulating while you plan your next trip.


Image: StudEnt universe

StudentUniverse bills itself as “the world’s leading travel booking service for students and youth.” With the goal of making travel easy and accessible to young travelers, StudentUniverse will help you find cheap flights, hotels, tours, activities, and more.

Whoops! Shoulda started planning sooner!


Image: HOtelTonight

When it comes to booking last minute travel, HotelsTonight is the best of the best. The site helps you find last minute hotel deals, or deals for hotels up to a week from your search, which means you’ll always find a place to stay, even if you procrastinated.

Google Flights

Image: Google

If there is one word that explains the strength of Google Flights it’s “speed.” With filters that let you sort based on the number of stops on your trip, the airline, time of day, and more, Google Flights offers travelers a quick and comprehensive look at available flight options. And with new features like the ability to predict delays, Google Flights will not only help you get to your next destination, but make sure you’re informed as you embark.

If you’re looking for a place to crash


When Airbnb first launched in 2008, it was a great way to find cheap and quick alternatives to staying in hotel. Now, 10 years later, Airbnb is so much more than a platform to help you find a place to stay. With listings ranging from Mario-themed homes to homes designed to indulge your inner Star Wars nerd (and even the opportunity to go ghost hunting in Donald Trump’s childhood home), travelers can find sleeping accommodations that are just as exciting as the excursions at that their chosen destination. 

Just be warned: Airbnb is not without its scandals, including hosts facing fees from cities worried about affordable housing and allegations from guests that some hosts have been secretly recording them. So be careful with where you rent.


Hostelworld is basically the Airbnb of hostel bookings. Whether you looking for a bed or your own room, Hostelworld will help you find a place to stay at destinations all over the world. And with filters that let you search for hostels based on price, facilities, hostel type, and more, Hostelworld will help you find a hostel that’s as cheap or as luxurious as your wallet will allow. The site also hosts a pretty robust blog with information as specific as “the best hostels in Paris” to suggestions as broad as “99 unusual hostels you’ll never want to leave,” just in case you’re looking for some suggestions on your next trip.


If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, Couchsurfing is a great way to find a great place to stay. Couchsurfing connects a community of travelers with a community of local hosts at any given destination, which means not only will you have a place to crash when you travel, but you’ll meet interesting locals who may be able to offer additional guidance and suggestions for your trip.

So you’ve made it to your destination. Now what do you do?

New York Times‘ “36 Hours In” column

Image: New York Times

Sometimes life comes at you fast, and you just don’t have a ton of time to spend at any given destination. That’s where New York Times‘ “36 Hours” column comes in handy. Each week a writer highlights off-the-beaten path activities, restaurants and more that travelers can explore if they find themselves in a city for a very limited amount of time. As a bonus, columns often include an explorable Google Map that marks each highlighted activity, and the write up includes time stamps at each destination, which means “36 Hours” also doubles as a pre-made itinerary too.


Image: LonelyPlanet

Lonely Planet was founded by a couple in the ’70s as a book publisher and added a website presence in the mid ’90s. It publishes digital and physical travel guides so that travelers can discover even the most exotic destinations. And Pro tip: read through Thorn Tree, the site’s extensive forum for endless info from fellow travelers.


Image: detour

Detour is a great way to explore new locations, especially if you’re traveling alone. The app curates more than 100 audio walking tours in 17 cities and counting, offering expert insights and additional information of locations ranging from The Vatican to Fenway Park. 

Helpful apps for once you’re already on the road

Weather Underground

Image: weather underground

You know what they say: knowledge is power. Make sure you are prepared (and dressed weather-appropriately) for your day’s adventures with Weather Underground while you are traveling. With more than 250,000 personal weather stations, Weather Underground provides hyper-local forecasts. And in addition to the weather, the app can also show travelers what the temperature “feels like” at a given location, monitor things like air quality and flu outbreaks, and tells you the time of sunrise and sunset.


Image: SitOrSquat

When you gotta go, you gotta go. SitOrSquat is an iOS and Android app that’ll help you find public bathrooms so you can do the do, even when you’re in an unfamiliar place.

Google Translate

Image: Google

A language barrier should never stop you from traveling. Google Translate, available on both web and mobile, offers quick translations of more than 100 different languages. The app version also offers features like image translation that allows you to use your camera for instant text translation and offline translation, which makes translating on the go simple and easy.

Expand your travel perspective:

On She Goes

Image: On She Goes

On She Goes is a travel platform designed to help women of color “travel more confidently, more adventurously and more often.” With a mix of articles ranging from “What is travel safety for women of color in a racist, sexist world” and “Travel & financial anxiety is real but don’t let it ruin your trip,” city guides, and travel tips, On She Goes is a must-read for anybody planning their next big trip or just wanting to find a community of fellow jet-setters of color.

Out Traveler

Image: Travel Noire

Out Traveler is an LGBTQ travel magazine that offers everything from travel guides to travel news to expert interviews, all tailored toward queer travelers.

Travel Noire

Travel Noire is a site and publishing platform that curates tools, resources, and stories for travelers of color. By highlighting unique perspectives focused on food, destinations, culture and experience, Travel Noire will not only inspire you to travel, but also help you find a community of travelers once you’re on your next adventure.

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A National Geographic Tour of Interesting Bridges Around the World (8 Photos)

Our friends at National Geographic have just published “The World’s Most Spectacular Bridges“, a list that features 12 picturesque bridges from around the world that are sure to have adventure-seekers, engineers, bikers and romantics checking these bridges off their bucket lists.

Nat Geo has kindly let us share some of the interesting bridges from the gallery, but be sure to check out the full article for complete information and travel tips.

Gablenz, Germany

Photograph by Peter Hirth / Redux

Commissioned by Friedrich Hermann Rötschke in 1860, Rakotzbrücke’s perfect parabola and basalt spires make it a legendary “devil’s bridge.â€

Q’eswachaka Rope Bridge
Quehue, Peru

Photograph by Wigbert Röth / Getty Images

Q’eswachaka, one of the last surviving Inca rope bridges, has spanned 124 feet across the Akpurimac canyon for more than 500 years.

Traditional Dingbu Bridge
Fenghuang, China

Photograph by Paul Rushton / Alamy Stock Photo

A traditional dingbu bridge, made of cut and sunken stones, stretches across the Tuojiang River in China’s Phoenix Ancient Town.

Heatherwick Studio’s Rolling Bridge
London, England

Photograph by Steve Speller / Alamy Stock Photo

Completed in 2004, Heatherwick Studio’s Rolling Bridge provides access to the Grand Union Canal in London’s Paddington Basin.

Bridge of Sighs
Venice, Italy

Photograph by Buena Vista Images / Getty Images

Visitors can take a gondola ride underneath the romantic Bridge of Sighs, or explore the palace inside.

Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco, USA

Photograph by Spondylolithesis / Getty Images

Over three million vehicles cross San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge every month.

Living Root Bridge
Nongriat, India

Photograph by Alex Treadway / National Geographic Creative

The name gives it all away. The Living Root Bridge is made from living, grounded tree roots so that it is not washed away by floods.

Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge
Zermatt, Switzerland

Photograph by GFC Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

At 1,620 feet long, the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge in Zermatt is the longest suspension footbridge in the world.

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Megyn Kelly Sets Up a Rogue Fox News State at NBC. First Victim: Jane Fonda

It isnt that far from Fox News to NBC Newsgeographically, at least. The two kingdoms stand separated just by a hop and skip across the Avenue of the Americas in Midtown Manhattan: Fox News on the west side of 47th and 48th streets, and on the east side there is Rockefeller Center, land of the Peacock.

It may as well be an ocean. Culturally and tonally the two could not be more divergent, which made Megyn Kellys vitriolic, spiteful, and vengeful attack against Jane Fonda on her NBC show on Monday a blast from a familiar past.

In her attack on Fonda, resulting from their uncomfortable on-screen encounter a few months back when Fonda declined to discuss her plastic surgery, the old Megyn Kelly, the Fox News Megyn Kelly, was suddenly back. The problem is, she sounds nothing like the rest of the Today show, and what the hell does NBC do about that?

Does it let Kelly carry on, operating as a rogue mean-girl state, or does it try to get her back to the new, warm, happy Kelly she sold us at the beginning of her time at NBC?

On Monday, taking vicious aim at Fonda, Kelly was spitting venom within the confines of a network and franchise that prizes family and smiles and easy laughter about viral videos (at 8:10 a.m.), exercise routines and easy casseroles above settling acrimonious scores.

On screen, at least. The Ann Curry dismissal, the Matt Lauer scandal, rumors of anchors at odds: All are fascinating because they are at such a variant to the images of amity on screen. But to viewers, every day, whatever is going on backstage is kept there. And hosts definitely do not turn on guests.

On Monday, Kelly said Fondas plastic surgery was hard to ignore and that the actress had discussed her surgery pretty much everywhere before coming on Megyn Kelly Today.

Kellys complaint, which was frankly embarrassing for a journalist to whine about publicly, was, stripped of its snarling: Jane Fonda told all those folks about it. Why didnt she tell me?

Clearly, what she perceives as her own public humiliation, first on live TV at Fondas hands and now many weeks later with people still talking about it, rankles Kelly.

She said Fonda has talked about the kerfuffle in subsequent interviews. To be clear: Fonda has talked in the sparest terms about the incident, when asked. She hasnt gone out of her way to do it. Every time she does, it looks like she has smelled skunk piss.

Last week, she joked about it on Today, in response to something her Grace and Frankie co-star Lily Tomlin said.

It is not, as Kelly maintained, Jane Fonda who has been unable to forget what Megyn Kelly said to her, it is Megyn Kelly, and so on Monday Kelly decided to attack her.

The viciousness really kicked in when Kelly trashed Fondas activities in Vietnam in the 1970s.

Kelly disingenuously dressed up Fondas brisk dismissal of her as Fonda having rejected Kellys oh-so-generous invitation to empower other women.

Please. Kelly wanted Fonda to dish on her plastic surgery to generate her own headlines, whichas Kelly might sayis just fine too.

The viciousness really kicked in when Kelly trashed Fondas activities in Vietnam in the 1970s.

A peeved journalist who didnt get the scoop about an actress plastic surgery decided to attack the same actress for a controversy that is over 45 years old. It was hardly like for like, and Kellys attack seemed strange, overwrought and bizarrely nasty. The timing couldnt have been worse, coming so soon after reports of backstage bullying and upset revealed by a former show writer last week.

It seems so long ago that Kelly was promising, on the first edition of Megyn Kelly Today last September, that she was done with politics.

You know why, she said to the audience. You know, she meant: all the Donald Trump stuff, the feud that took her beyond the bounds of Fox News anchor fame into another celebrity and wage-earning realm of cultural significance.

The Fox News Megyn Kelly, who had derided the idea of a black Santa, who had spoken, in racially charged terms, about the New Black Panthers, who had, as my colleague Asawin Suebsaeng catalogued, indulged in Muslim-baiting, and many other grubby dog-whistle controversy-generating momentswas now changed.

Its gotten so dark, Megyn Kelly bemoaned of the current cultural climate in that first Megyn Kelly Today episode. Who was she to judge if you had a drink at night to chat about that days events that she would chew over, folksy-like, on the show.

Who was Megyn Kelly to judge?

Its inappropriate, the all-new, non-judgey, NBC-smiling, and warm Megyn Kelly said.

With her new show, she assured us, you would laugh and smile, maybe cry a bit, and maybe there would be a little hope.

There would also be, she announced in that strange staccato way of hers, making the softest of words sound like the harshest command, some fun.

For years I had dreamed of hosting a more uplifting show, she told us.

Just imagine, she seemed to be saying: she was actually trapped at 1221 Avenue of the Americas, all those years of race-, liberal- and all other kinds of baiting not being her. She was simply the victim of the noxious Fox News ideological chemicals in the air.

Now, she told NBC viewers, she was settling for more time with her familywho had not been central to her Fox show at alland more joy in life.

Megyn Kelly Todays mission would be to deliver hope and optimism and inspiration and empowerment And then that harsh command again: And to have fun!

That didnt work out so well. Viewers watching the show since have watched a wild and transfixing daily ride of tabloid horrors and decorating tips, with the truly bizarre Megyns Month of Merry in December, which saw her giving pretty lame Christmas gifts away, with an in-studio train and elf.

At 8:30 a.m. every morning, when she appears with the rest of the Today crew to flag up whats coming at 9 a.m. out on the plaza, her cries of Megyns Month of Merry! became their own joke.

But then her announcements of in-depth interviews with sex trafficking victims, or Matt Lauer sexual harassment accusers, sound wildly off-brand too. Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb beam as toothily as they can, and hand desperately over to Al Roker to do the weather.

The kinder, gentler Megyn Kelly has been substituted for the headline-hungry scandal hunter.

As I have written before, the #MeToo scandals flowing from Harvey Weinstein have given Kelly the focus her show needed. She enjoys this zone, she enjoys the scoop, she enjoys the crusade, she likes goodies and baddies.

But this vituperative arena isnt the focus she sold for her show. It isnt the focus that NBC imagined for the show. The kinder, gentler Megyn Kelly has been substituted for the headline-hungry scandal hunter. She does not seem part of the Today show family, as Guthrie calls it. When they all go to the Winter Olympics, she will stay in New York, serving up more dark tales of dysfunction and excellent home office decoration tips.

Todays 9 a.m. hour under Kelly is now a true television curio: After whatever sexual abuse or trauma tale has been related at the top of the hour recedes, its like Frankensteins monster receives a bolt of electricity, and the rest of the show features heartwarming stories of personal redemption or success against the odds, travel tips, and food segments (which, Kelly, gratifyingly does not even pretend to care about).

Her attack on Jane Fonda was absolutely the Megyn Kelly her Fox viewers knew. But it may not be the Megyn Kelly her NBC viewers, and bosses, will care to know. She was roundly criticized on The View and The Talk; Twitter seems to think she acquitted herself badly.

The thing is, without the vicious attack, Megyn Kelly could have quite reasonably told viewers that she was just doing her job that morning. Shes a TV show host, she wants the scoop, she wants the tabloids to pick it up and give the show some publicity. Her guest had had plastic surgery. She wanted to ask about it. Thats OK. The problem began with an inelegant approach to the questionperhaps born of first week nerves. Second problem: The guest didnt take the bait. Then Kellys critics leapt on it.

Result: humiliation. Secondary result all these weeks later: Kellys misconceived revenge from the ashes of that humiliation.

Celebrities and their agents will likely give Kelly a wide berth. What does NBC think of this mean outlier, this island of nasty, breaking up the 7 to 11 a.m. ocean of bonhomie? Incidents like the Fonda attack may bring headlines, but it will unlikely bring the viewers Kelly needs at 9 a.m.

Youll know who I am by the songs that I sing, Kelly said in that first edition of Megyn Kelly Today, quoting John Denvers song, Today.

For sure, and it turns out that for Megyn Kelly, they are some very old songs.

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10 of the best apps for independent travellers

Looking for holiday inspiration for 2018? These free smartphone apps mean you can carry insider travel tips for hundreds of destinations in your pocket


Want an adventure and dont care where? Luckytrip is the smarter version of showing up at the airport and buying the first flight you can afford. Just set a budget and let the app plan the perfect trip: it will figure out somewhere to go, a place to stay and something to do, with handpicked activities in more than 300 cities.
Free, iOS,

With users can request foodie, active or luxury trips. Photograph: Gustav Willeit

Formerly known as Gogobot, is a travel research app for exploring things to do and places to stay including special events in more than 60,000 destinations, with traveller reviews as a further guide. By allowing users to describe their travel preferences and personality such as foodie or luxury it claims to be able to gear recommendations to personal travel tastes, saving hours of research time.
Free, iOS and Android,


Find offbeat corners of Los Angeles with Localeur. Photograph: Gary Williams, Jr

This widely praised travel app focuses on tips from people who know the destination best. It uses a community of local tastemakers, from artists to entrepreneurs, who share their tips for everything from clubs to coffee shops. It also has recommendations for boutique hotels, and suggested itineraries. The app has tips for cities around the world, but is particularly strong in the US, where it covers 50 major cities.
Free, iOS and Android,

Cool Cousin

Cool Cousin will connect you with a resident in your destination city

Another app that focuses on the trusted recommendations of locals is Cool Cousin, in use in 16 cities worldwide. As well as connectingusers with a city resident, and providing a map and guidebook based on their tips, it has a facility for messaging the local directly for personalised advice.
Free, iOS,


Take a peak … a Matterhorn shot by 500px user Thomas Fliegner

For some rewarding armchair travelling, and a break from all the yoga poses and shots of coffee from above on Instagram, 500px is worth a look. The app is geared towards serious photographers, and with a community of more than 11 million its easy to get lost in the sea of stunning imagery. As well as being a showcase for stunning images from around the world, it allows users to share their own travel snaps and get feedback and reactions to help improvetheir photography skills.
Free, iOS and Android,

National Trust/English Heritage Days Out

Stately progress … the National Trust app could take you to Tyntesfield in north Somerset

Two apps to inspire days out in the UK. Both allow users to scan through hundreds of heritage locations and natural wonders, searching for whatever is nearest or to discover special events. The apps also hold all the visitor information for planning an excursion.
Free, iOS and Android, and

Time Out

Make the most of Tokyo with Time Outs app. Photograph: Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

From Accra to Tokyo, the brand synonymous with city breaks around the world makes it easy to explore virtually, with lists of the best places to eat, drink and shop, and events to discover. It is as much a tool for inspiring a trip as it is for helping you get the most out of it once you arrive.
Free, iOS and Android,


Read more:

Calif. Governor Requests Federal Emergency Declaration As SoCal Fires Rage

Devastating fires in Southern California prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to request federal assistance on Thursday and President Donald Trump to approve an emergency declaration on Friday, paving the way for the state’s recovery efforts to be facilitated ― and partially funded ― by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Nearly 200,000 Californians have had to flee their homes so far.

The strength of the winds forecast has driven the fire threat to “purple,” a never-before-used color that represents the winds’ dangerous power.

Yet another blaze ignited in the southern part of the state on Friday morning, this one east of San Diego on the western edge of the Cleveland National Forest. It was quickly brought under control and by Friday afternoon was considered “largely contained.” 

“For the first time in history, on December 7th, the Cal Fire elevated the fire threat to purple for San Diego County, warning that the weather conditions presented an extreme risk of fire for San Diego,” Brown explained in his emergency request letter. “Fire officials predict extreme winds of up to 80 miles per hour, equal to the wind speed of a category one hurricane.”

The governor added: “The extreme winds propel embers up ahead of the actively burning areas, making containment nearly impossible. As a result, the destruction will escalate.”

There will be no ability to fight fire in these kinds of winds. Ken Pimlott, director of Cal Fire

Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, made the same grim prognosis at a press conference Thursday. “The forecast for tomorrow is purple,” Pimlott said. “We’ve never used purple before.” 

“There will be no ability to fight fire in these kinds of winds,” he added to the Los Angeles Times.

California has the largest fleet of firefighting aircraft in the world, but they typically can’t drop fire retardant in winds above 30 mph. 

Here’s a brief rundown on each of the fires: 

Thomas Fire

The largest of the blazes in Southern California, the Thomas Fire stands at 132,000 acres ― that’s 206 square miles ― and 10 percent containment. Officials said late Thursday that upwards of 440 structures have burned in the fire so far, while a total of 15,000 structures are at risk.

More than 2,500 firefighters are currently battling the blaze that’s forced the evacuation of more than 50,000 people.

Wally Skalij via Getty Images
A firefighter battles the Thomas Fire in the town of La Conchita early Thursday morning.

Rye Fire

The 6,049-acre Rye Fire has injured one firefighter, destroyed one structure, threatens an additional 5,460 structures, and stands at 35 percent contained. In a rare bit of good news, Friday morning’s incident report found that the fire hadn’t expanded overnight.

Firefighters tentatively expect to have the fire fully contained by next Friday.

Gene Blevins / Reuters
A firefighting helicopter tries to make a water drop in heavy winds after an early-morning fire broke out in the Kagel Canyon area in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles, on Dec. 5, 2017.

Creek Fire

Even as firefighters have battled what the incident report described as “high winds, poor access and steep, rugged terrain,” the 15,323-acre Creek Fire stands at 40 percent contained. Some 2,500 structures are still threatened, with at least 65 having been destroyed. Extremely low humidity and strong Santa Ana winds are expected to continue to pose a problem on Friday.

SANDY HUFFAKER via Getty Images
Firefighters walk to the fire line at the Lilac Fire in Bonsall on Dec. 7, 2017.

Lilac Fire

A new blaze that ignited roughly 120 miles south of Los Angeles in San Diego County on Thursday night, the Lilac Fire is zero percent contained, has expanded to 4,100 acres, and has already destroyed at least 65 structures. That’s a drastic increase from just two structures lost as of Thursday evening.

Two firefighters and four civilians have also been injured.

Gina Ferazzi via Getty Images
A plane drops fire retardant to stop the wind-driven Liberty Fire near Los Alamos Road on Dec. 7, 2017, in Murrieta.

Liberty Fire 

Another relative newcomer, the Liberty Fire ignited Thursday afternoon about 20 miles north of the Lilac Fire. Per the last incident report filed mid-day Friday, the fire covers 300 acres and is 60 percent contained, with at least one structure destroyed.

Bloomberg via Getty Images
An Erickson Inc. Air Crane firefighting helicopter makes a water drop during the Skirball Fire in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles on Dec. 6, 2017.

Skirball Fire 

The Skirball Fire, which threatens the area around the Getty Museum and large estates in the Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, stands at around 475 acres. It is 30 percent contained and has destroyed six structures ― including Rupert Murdoch’s $30 million Moraga estate.

The Getty Museum plans to reopen Friday after having closed Thursday because of the fire.

Read more:

Buying a smart suitcase? Make sure it has a removable battery.

Smart suitcases like the Samsara bag will be more of a hassle to check in on planes starting in the new year.

That “smart” suitcase might not be the best gift idea thanks to new checked baggage restrictions from several major airlines.

On Friday, American Airlines announced that starting Jan. 15, only smart suitcases with removable batteries will be allowed on planes. The same goes for Delta and Alaska Airlines

Anyone checking a smart bag will have to remove the battery. And if your smart suitcase doesn’t have a removable battery? Too bad — you’ll have to leave it behind and spend a small fortune at an overpriced airport shop for new luggage, or ship it

Smart suitcases have become more popular recently thanks to features like bag tracking, phone-charging ports, remote-controlled locks, and even weight scales to know if your bag is within airline limits. All the “smart” features are powered by a lithium ion battery.

The new rule comes amid fears that those batteries will spark fires on planes. Delta banned hoverboards in 2015 over similar fire concerns. To help navigate the murky world of what’s considered a travel-safe battery, the TSA has a list of what types of batteries are allowed on planes.

So which bags are OK to fly?

If you’re committed to using a smart bag while traveling, choose one that can make it on the plane. Most start at more than $200. 

Samsara, a crowdfunded smart suitcase that uses GPS tracking to notify you if your bag has been taken somewhere unexpected, designed the bag with future airport regulations in mind. 

CEO and co-founder Atara Dzikowski said in a call the Samsara has a removable “smart unit” where all the smart features are housed. “We didn’t want any wiring or anything that could be problematic within the suitcase,” she said. 

“We didn’t want any wiring or anything that could be problematic within the suitcase.”

Feedback from backers from outside the U.S. warned about battery and luggage restrictions already in place at airports in China and Hong Kong.

After hearing about the new American Airlines rule coming in January, Dzikowski sounded relieved about her company’s design. “We’re very happy with our decision,” she said.

The Samsara is expected to ship in January — just in time for the new rules.

Other removable battery smart bags like Away already have removable units, especially because of tough security at Asian airports where smart luggage restrictions are fairly common.

Raden, which claims to have a TSA-approved removable battery, said in an email that the company designed the smart bags with the possibility of future battery limitations. A spokesperson touted the battery’s easy removal, without the need for screwdrivers or other tools.

“It hasn’t impacted holiday [sales] and we actually think it might improve our year,” Raden’s spokesperson said. 

Other bags like Marlon, with its removable 1,0000 mAh battery, and the latest version of the Bluesmart bag and the Trunkster will also be safe to fly.

The “problem” bags are any with batteries that can’t be pulled out — like the original Bluesmart suitcase, which has since updated its design to make it more flying-friendly.

If other airlines follow American Airlines, Alaska, and Delta’s lead, you’ll want to only look for smart suitcases with removable units. A good starting point is to include “removable battery” in your product search and closely read the specifications on any smart bag websites and product pages.

Only these three U.S.-based airlines have officially implemented this rule — but it could slowly creep into other airline regulations. A Southwest spokesperson said Friday the airline is “reviewing our policies and considering changes.”

Last week, the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, started testing new screening procedures for electronics at North Dakota airports. The new rules require putting all electronics bigger than a cellphone in their own bin to be X-ray screened. 

These new electronics rules are coming to all airports in spring 2018, according to the TSA. Have fun traveling with all your cool gadgets next year. 

Every editorial product is independently selected by Mashable journalists. If you buy something featured, we may earn an affiliate commission which helps support our journalism.

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5 Weird Ways The Rich Are Preparing For The Apocalypse

Say, are you worried about the end of the world? Sure you are! It’s been scheduled to happen like 30 times in the last 30 days, and you better believe we’ll be penciling it in a bunch more times before the week is out. Nuclear war, global warming, sentient sex dolls — shit’s going down one day. And you can prepare for it like everyone else, with your canned hams and fallout shelters, or you can do what the truly paranoid and rich are doing.

For example, Steve Huffman, the founder of Reddit, went out and got corrective eye surgery specifically so he’ll be better able to see the super mutants hunting him after America collapses into anarchy. He really did that (minus the mutant part, I think). And that’s but the tip of the wealthy doomsday prepper iceberg. Other ludicrously rich folks are making …


Weaponized Rabbit Poop

Science tells us that rabbits can reproduce at a rate of … well, five were born in your yard in the time it took you to read this sentence. The animals are plentiful and fairly adept at adapting to most situations. So when society collapses and only the mohawk’d wastelanders have access to gasoline, what the hell are you supposed to do? You hitch your star to Nick Klein’s Hostile Hare wagon and ride it to a new world order. Not the “New World Order,” with Illuminati and world governments and sliced peaches on your pizza, ’cause that’s just crazy shit. Just a new world with rabbit turds everywhere.

Nick’s rabbit plan is for when society is on its last legs and our only option is to turn to Easter’s finest mascot. See, one female rabbit can produce enough offspring to give you 320 pounds (or roughly one Hulk Hogan) of the most adorable meat, and they take fewer resources than a cow to get to that point, because cows are just wicked assholes. And while food in the apocalypse is all fine and dandy, there’s more to these rabbits than just Armageddon stew. Klein is using their turds as biofuel. Through a process which both Nick and myself in the first grade named “gasification,” the little turds get turned into a gas, which can run anything from engines to post-apocalyptic vibrators to the actual functioning flamethrower he built, which runs exclusively on the stuff. Good luck sending your Warboys to purloin Klein’s precious car parts when he’s going full Doof Warrior on you with a flaming guitar or whatever the hell else he can invent that runs on bunny shit.

Most apocalypse movies tend to overlook the fact that gasoline has a limited shelf life and will eventually start going bad, oxidizing and screwing up fuel lines. So you can’t rely on big tanks of it keeping you going forever. So this poop thing may be a big deal. You know, if the world ends. Of course, if the world does end, you’re going to want to eat something on the side of that rabbit, so why not buy …


$160 Potato Soup

Jim Bakker has your best interests at heart. He really wants you to survive when the End Times come and Jesus closes all of the Burger Kings, or whatever. But for you to do that, he needs your donation of $160 for a bucket of magic goddamn soup.

Bakker, a televangelist, wants you scared of starving like a rabbitless sack of shit once everything goes down. He wants you paranoid that you’re going to be locked in your basement while ultra-godless homosexual squid aliens roam the streets, vaporizing hard-working men and women like you and your family. You can’t have that! You need to be prepared, and part of being prepared is having a 50-pound bucket of potato soup. Now, you may ask yourself: Isn’t this actually just about $30 worth of soup mix? Yes and no. Yes because it is, no because you’re spending $160 on it. And it’s so good! Here, take Jim’s word for it.

No one gags like that on soup that isn’t good. I was raised in a proud family of soup fanatics, so I know a delicious soup gag when I hear one. That’s how you gag on scrumptiousness.

Bakker’s promise that you can put pudding on bread and have a party as the world ends should reassure you that he’s on the up and up, because no one would say something so outrageously idiotic if it wasn’t sincere. He also suggests that rich people should buy a million dollars’ worth of his food buckets, because when the world ends, that money won’t be worth anything anyway. And don’t worry if the food runs out. God will refill it. For real, a dude on his show said that. And while you may be quick to dismiss him as what the Bible calls “a dick,” his net worth is only estimated at a mere $500,000, so he clearly needs your help.

Now that we’ve got our food supplies all taken care of, you’re going to need someplace to live. But don’t worry, that’s been taken care of too. If you have the cash, you can try …


Real-Life Fallout

Not to sound too much like a gamer hipster, but I played the original Fallout back when no one knew what a computer was and you had to install it on a Casio calculator to make it work. It was a fun game, and the idea of being some shelter recluse with no idea what the world outside was like was pretty cool. And if you agree that it sounds cool, man have I got news for you. You could be that Vault Dweller! Right. Now.

For a nominal fee (of thousands of dollars), a company called Vivos is more than ready to prepare you for a future of radscorpions, super mutants, and curiously valuable bottle caps. You really owe it to yourself to visit their super dramatic apocalyptic-themed website and watch the autoplay video set to Lorde’s cover of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.” A tattered American flag, the world falling into the sun, the Eiffel Tower in flames — it really paints a picture of grand-scale fucking. What’s a person to do? Buy a damn shelter, dummy. Preferably one with a gym.

Vivos Shelters aren’t those shitty shelters that your grandpa used to cower in when the world ended; these are luxury doomsday condos. With locations in Indiana and South Dakota and plans for more in Germany, Vivos can offer you space for as little as $25,000. The whole South Dakota site will be able to handle up to 5,000 people, can withstand surface blasts and fallout, has access to clean water, and will feature a members-only restaurant and bar, so after the world ends, you don’t have to eat a steak next to a shiftless ghoul.

With amenities like a hot tub spa, a community theater, and even stables for all your resource-efficient horses, you have no reason not to buy your own bunker in this former military munitions depot. A single bunker can handle up to 20 people, so that’s barely more than $1,000 per person. You know 19 people you’d like to be trapped underground with during the apocalypse, right?

Just remember, once you’re settled into your bunker, you’re going to want more than Jim Bakker’s potato soup, especially if you’re trying to impress your borderline-radioactive neighbors at the spa. So maybe invest in …


Costco’s $6,000 End Of The World Deal

Leave it to Costco to have your back when Lord Humongous makes it difficult to buy pickles in bulk, assuming you have room to store 600 cans of food and plans to live off of it as a family of four for about a year. The Nutristore premium one-year food kit has 36,000 servings, featuring all your favorites like “hard white wheat” and “instant pinto bean flakes.” God, that takes me back to dinner at Grandma’s, after she’d stopped taking her meds and replaced them with Wild Turkey 101.

The kit contains enough canned and freeze-dried meals for four people to have 2,000 calories per day for a full year, and as an added bonus, it will be shipped discreetly. So when the neighbors see an entire pallet being loaded into your cellar, they’ll probably just think it’s advanced sex robots and not anything weird.

If you really want to live large, you might consider investing in the Canadian version, which has a much greater variety of food items, including refried beans, peaches, granola, peanut butter, and honey. When Canada stops existing, they are going to be having a pretty good time, from the sounds of things.

There are also other versions suitable for fewer people, including the Mountain House kit, which has full entrees for a year, like mac and cheese or spaghetti with meat sauce. The wastelanders are going to be pretty jealous of you, big eater. They’ll be licking their lips outside your bunker doors as you and your mutated friends and family enjoy a classic post-humanity Thanksgiving.

The food has a shelf life of up to 25 years, so you don’t need to wait for the aliens to actually start vaporizing your community to order it; you’re good to go right now. Just pack it up and have it stored on your brand-new …


Land In New Zealand

New Zealand is more than just where Hobbits and those hilarious birds made of kiwi fruit come from. It’s also where all of our billionaires plan to go when bombs start flying, assuming they’re not the ones firing them off. For whatever reason, people like PayPal founder Peter Thiel and venture capitalist Sam Altman are pretty sure the Kiwis are going to survive the end times if Trump or robots or Robo-Trumps come to do us all in. Is it because New Zealand is a little off the beaten path? Is it because of its plentiful mutton? Who can say?

Thiel, amid some public outcry, was granted a New Zealand passport after buying nearly 500 acres of land, which is the kind of thing a billionaire thinks they need if the world has ended. Usually, foreigners are required to live in New Zealand for three years before getting a passport, but for some reason, when you’re a billionaire, people are really accommodating. A portion of the land he bought was where the Lord Of The Rings movies were filmed, so it’s entirely possible Thiel will wait out an apocalypse inside Bag End, which is a dream for so many of us.

Nearly 1,400 square miles of New Zealand real estate was purchased by foreigners in 2016 alone — a massive increase from previous years. And a few of the people buying the land are moving there “just in case.” Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, mentioned New Zealand to a friend in passing, who then asked if he was going there for doomsday insurance. In the world of rich folks, going to New Zealand is basically code for saying you’re getting ready to leave it all behind, kind of like how when someone tells you they’re cool with “anything” for dinner, what they mean is “whatever you choose, I’ll hate.”

As you may expect, the housing boom in New Zealand is not particularly welcome. The government there is actually now banning the sale of real estate to foreigners, because the increased demand has made it nearly impossible for New Zealanders to buy land, as prices are going through the roof. So the potential for the end of the world is actually ruining the present for people in New Zealand. Who would’ve thought that insanely rich people preparing for hypothetical events could cut the legs out from under less-fortunate people? I for one am shocked.

Follow Ian on Twitter to learn some of the best apocalypse and ham-preparing tips.

A Premium Solar Survival Kit will keep you from having to sweat the apocalypse or a rough time on a bad hike. Get one if you want to live! That’s not a threat, it’s just a reference. Never mind.

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Look At The Fresh Hell That Is The Los Angeles Freeway Before Thanksgiving

AAA estimated that 45.5 million Americans will travel by car this Thanksgiving holiday, and it looks like all of them were on the Los Angeles freeways Tuesday evening. 

ABC News posted a video of bumper-to-bumper traffic as holiday travel kicked into gear in LA. The video racked up more than 4.6 million views within a few hours of its posting.

According to AAA, Tuesday between 3:15 p.m. and 6 p.m. was considered the worst time to travel by car in Los Angeles for the holiday, with estimated delays of 2.5 times the optimal trip.

CNN also posted aerial footage of the traffic on its Facebook page, featuring some additional views. 

AAA estimated 50.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving by train, plane, automobile or other methods ― the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005.

For air travelers, the Transportation Security Administration predicts the busiest days will be the Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by Sunday. 

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Explorer tells of malaria and tribal wars

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionBenedict Allen said he made a video for his family in case he died whilst on expedition

Explorer Benedict Allen encountered a tribal war, was caught in electrical storms and fell ill with malaria and dengue fever on an ill-fated jungle trek in Papua New Guinea, he has said.

A search was mounted last week after Mr Allen missed planned flights. He was rescued by helicopter a few days later.

Speaking to his friend, the BBC’s Frank Gardner, Mr Allen, 57, said he was weak from malaria but was “bouncing back”.

His worst moment had been making a video will for his family, he said.

Mr Allen, a father of three young children, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he never took satellite phones or GPS with him on expeditions, but might consider doing so in the future.

His family’s distress at his apparent disappearance appeared across newspapers, TV and radio, and prompted the Daily Mail, a British newspaper, to send a helicopter into the jungle to rescue him.

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He said he had spent two days under observation at a hospital in Papua New Guinea before the doctors gave him the all-clear.

Now back in the UK, he said he was weak from malaria – the sixth time he has had it – and “not that sharp mentally”.

Mr Allen denied the search and rescue was a publicity stunt to raise his profile.

“I videoed all of this and you can see me deteriorating with malaria,” he told Today.

Sodden tablets

Mr Allen, who has filmed a number of his adventures for BBC documentaries, said he had not got lost, but events had seemed to conspire against him.

“I always knew exactly where I was, things just began to go wrong,” he said.

The trip had been hampered by a massive storm which swept away a vine bridge over a river.

He had also started to feel the symptoms of malaria and his tablets had become sodden in the wet.

The final straw, he said, was when he discovered there was a war going on ahead of him and he could not get out.

“I had to make my way to the nearest airstrip and try to get any local plane to come in,” he said.

He filmed an appeal on his video camera asking for a message to his children, aged 10, seven and two, and wife, Lenka, to be taken to the British High Commission if he died.

Asked if this latest venture had been part of a mid-life crisis, Mr Allen said he saw himself as a professional – “a risk calculator, not a risk taker”.

“On the very day the helicopter came, I had been gearing up to do a last walk out.

“I thought I was 80-85% likely to be successful, so I hadn’t given up,” he said, in an interview from west London.

“I wasn’t expecting to be rescued.

“I never asked to be rescued but when it came – for the sake of my family – I thought ‘I’ve got to do this’.”

‘Imperialist’ accusation

Mr Allen set out in October for Papua New Guinea to try to find the reclusive Yaifo tribe, who he first met 30 years ago.

The rainforest was, he said, an “extraordinary place that can work to pull you apart” – the “leeches, the constant rain, trees thumping down in the night, sleeping in a sort of swamp”.

Among his travelling companions, natives of the rainforest, he knew he was the weakest and, after three weeks, knew he was “falling apart”.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionIn a recent documentary Benedict Allen described his experiences of living in Papua New Guinea

Explaining his reasoning behind travelling alone without a phone, he said he tried to immerse himself in other people’s worlds.

His back-up was the local people who were always friendly to him, he told BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire, in his first TV interview.

“The forest to them is not a threat. It’s their home and gives them their food, shelter, medicine, so I had a resource.”

He also defended himself against accusations he was “an imperialist going in to see a lost tribe”.

“It wasn’t like that. I simply had the privilege 30 years ago to meet these people.

“I wanted to see that they were alive and well – and they were.

“It was magnificent – a great welcome.”

Mr Allen has previously crossed the Amazon Basin on foot and in a dug-out canoe, and participated in a six-week male initiation ceremony during which crocodile marks were carved onto his body.

Who is Benedict Allen?

First solo adventure: To the Amazon at 22, during which he was shot at by two hitmen

Tough time: An initiation into manhood in Papua New Guinea. He was kept in a “crocodile nest” with 20 others and repeatedly cut with bamboo blades to leave scars that looked like crocodile scales

Low moment: Eating his own dog to survive

Travel habit: Always keeps loo paper in a back pocket. “You know how it is,” he told the Lonely Planet

Philosophy: “For me personally, exploration isn’t about conquering nature, planting flags or leaving your mark. It’s about the opposite: opening yourself up and allowing the place to leave its mark on you.”

Career: Six TV series for the BBC, author, motivational speaker

Family: Lives with family in Czech Republic

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