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.

Travel Tips Infographic

rockstar travel tips

Click Image To Enlarge!

More useful resources for best travel tips:

Travel Tips Websites:

Travel Tips Books:

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: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/california-fires-federal-emergency-declaration_us_5a2ab607e4b0a290f05026e2

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.
Image: SAMSARA

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.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/12/04/smart-luggage-suitcases-american-airlines-batteries/

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 …

5

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 …

4

$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 …

3

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 …

2

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 …

1

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.

If you loved this article and want more content like this, support our site with a visit to our Contribution Page. Or sign up for our Subscription Service for exclusive content, an ad-free experience, and more.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-weird-ways-rich-are-preparing-apocalypse/

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. 

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/los-angeles-freeway-thanksgiving_us_5a15091ce4b09650540e313d

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.


You might also like:

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

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42062933

UK explorer flown out of jungle

Media playback is unsupported on your device

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

British explorer Benedict Allen has been flown out of the jungle in Papua New Guinea and is expected home on Sunday.

Mr Allen became disorientated with fever while trying to reach a remote tribe and missed his flight home, the BBC’s Frank Gardner said.

The 57-year-old had taken no means of communication with him, prompting his family to mount a search on Monday.

He was spotted “alive and well” on Thursday near a remote airstrip.

Mr Allen, who had been looked after by Christian missionaries after trekking large distances, was flown by helicopter to the Papua New Guinea capital of Port Moresby on Friday.

His agent, Jo Sarsby, said he was feverish with suspected malaria.

“Benedict looks forward to being reunited with his family and friends but will need some time to get back to full health,” the statement added.

“He would like to send thanks for all the kind messages he has received.”

Mr Allen’s wife, Lenka, told the Daily Mail: “It is such a relief. I’m so happy, it’s amazing.”

Image copyright Frank Gardner
Image caption BBC correspondent Frank Gardner with Benedict Allen in Papua New Guinea last year

The father-of-three had been travelling on his own to try to find the reclusive Yaifo tribe, whom he first met 30 years ago.

In a blog post from September, he wrote: “Just like the good old days, I won’t be taking a sat phone, GPS or companion. Or anything else much. Because this is how I do my journeys of exploration.”

Before setting off, Mr Allen told the BBC he was hoping to make contact with the tribe, who were high up in a cloud forest.

He said he was unsure how they would receive him this time. His last text message read: “What could possibly go wrong?”.

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

He has filmed a number of his adventures for BBC documentaries and written books on exploration.


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 tells 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


Related Topics

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42022776

Missing UK explorer ‘alive and well’

Media playback is unsupported on your device

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

Missing UK explorer Benedict Allen has been seen “alive and well” near an airstrip in Papua New Guinea.

The BBC’s Frank Gardner said Mr Allen had asked to be rescued and efforts were under way to retrieve him, but he was “not out of danger yet”.

A search was mounted for the 57-year-old after his family said he had not taken planned flights home.

Mr Allen was travelling on his own to try to find the reclusive Yaifo tribe, whom he first met 30 years ago.

His agent, Jo Sarsby, said the co-ordinating director for New Tribe Mission in Papua New Guinea, Keith Copley, had confirmed in writing at 17:00 local time that Mr Allen was “safe, well and healthy”, and at a remote airstrip 20 miles north-west of Porgera, Enga Province.

“Confirmation on exact location coordinates are now being confirmed in order to arrange evacuation as soon as possible,” she said.

She said it was understood the airstrip was not accessible by road, so it was hoped a helicopter would be sent on Friday.


Analysis

By BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner

Benedict Allen was under no illusions about the dangers and difficulties he would face when he chose to march off alone into the jungles of Papua New Guinea, in search of the isolated Yaifo tribe.

This is exactly the sort of challenge he thrives on.

But as well as having to contend with almost impossibly steep and forested terrain, it seems his plans have been disrupted by an outbreak of tribal infighting which often happens in remote areas.

Although foreigners are rarely the target of this violence outside the towns, there is always a risk of being associated with one tribe that is at war with another.

Those now trying to organise a rescue say he chose not to take a satellite phone, made no evacuation plan and left no coordinates of where he intended to end his journey.

They say his only way out is by helicopter or light aircraft.


Mr Allen’s older sister, Katie Pestille, had said it was “out of character” for him to miss his scheduled flight out of Papua New Guinea to Hong Kong.

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

He has filmed a number of his adventures for BBC documentaries and written books on exploration.


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 tells 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


In his last tweet from 11 October, Mr Allen wrote: “Marching off to Heathrow. I may be some time.”

Related Topics

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42009854

Search under way for missing UK explorer

Media playback is unsupported on your device

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

A search has been mounted for British explorer Benedict Allen, whose family say has gone missing during an expedition to Papua New Guinea.

The 57-year-old was travelling on his own to try to find the reclusive Yaifo tribe, whom he first met 30 years ago.

His sister says she was expecting to hear from him by Monday – and he hasn’t taken planned flights home.

A helicopter pilot, who dropped Mr Allen off several weeks ago, is trying to find him, the BBC has learned.

Our security correspondent Frank Gardner, who recently travelled through Papua New Guinea with Mr Allen for a BBC documentary, said he understood the pilot was tracking Benedict’s route from his starting point in a remote place called Bisoria.

They have spoken to local police chiefs, and were looking to locate him by helicopter and get him out, our correspondent said.

‘Ghastly worry’

He added that the former UK high commissioner to Papua New Guinea, David Gordon-Macleod, said “huge areas of the country have no mobile coverage”, meaning that even if Mr Allen had reached a village, he is likely to still be out of contact with the outside world.

Mr Allen’s older sister, Katie Pestille, said it was “out of character” for him to miss his scheduled flight out of Papua New Guinea to Hong Kong.

“It’s ghastly,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“For everybody else, it’s very exciting – all the expeditions and all the things he does, but for his sister and his wife, it’s more of a worry,” she explained.


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 tells 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 in Twickenham, south-west London, with his wife and three children


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

He has filmed a number of his adventures for BBC documentaries and written books on exploration.

The Foreign Office said its staff were assisting family members and were in contact with local authorities.


‘Normal schedules don’t apply’

By BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner

Travelling in Papua New Guinea is hugely unpredictable and normal schedules don’t apply, so there is a good chance that Benedict Allen has been detained by natural causes.

Landslides, torrential downpours and sometimes an eruption of fighting between local tribes can all throw itineraries off-course.

Foreign travellers though, are rarely targeted outside the main towns.

Knowing Benedict, it is also quite possible that he has accepted an invitation to stay on longer for a tribal ceremony – it can also be considered an insult to refuse.

The Yaifo tribe who Benedict visited in the 1980s initially greeted him with suspicion and hostility but then accepted him.

He told me last month, just before he set off, that he had no idea how they would receive him, or even if he would be able to find them in such a remote part of the country.


‘Bows and arrows’

In a blog posted in September, Mr Allen described his plan to assemble a group at an abandoned mission station in Bisorio before heading into the remote jungle.

His aim, he said, was to create a brief record of the lives of the Yaifo and track down some of those he met on his last visit.

“Last time, the Yaifo ‘greeted’ me with a terrifying show of strength, an energetic dance featuring their bows and arrows,” he said.

“On this occasion who knows if the Yaifo will do the same, or run off, or be wearing jeans and T shirts traded eons ago from the old mission station.

“But of course I may not even make it there – even aged 26, it was a very hard hike up through rather treacherous terrain.”

He said his journey out of the jungle was unplanned. “Either I must paddle down river for a week or so – or enlist the help of the Yaifo, as I did last time,” he said.

He added that he would be travelling without a satellite phone, GPS or companion, “because this is how I do my journeys of exploration”.

In his last tweet from 11 October, Mr Allen wrote: “Marching off to Heathrow. I may be some time.”

Related Topics

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41994592

Best overseas breaks at Christmas and new year: readers travel tips

Our tipsters go cold turkey on the traditional British Christmas in search of ice hotels, a lantern festival, exotic wildlife and traditional markets, from Brittany to the Japanese alps

Winning tip: east African wildlife trip

Last year we spent 25 December in Giraffe Manor, in a suburb of Nairobi, where giraffes poked their heads through the windows looking for breakfast. We then travelled to Ethiopia to celebrate the Orthodox Christmas on 7 January in the Bale mountains, hoping for a sighting of the endangered Ethiopian wolf. We drove and trekked across the Sanetti plateau, but the wolves remained elusive, so we drove up Ethiopias second-highest peak, the 4,377-metre Tullo Deemtu, for views of worlds largest expanse of Afro-alpine moorland and crystal-clear tarns. On the way back to Bale Mountain Lodge, we spotted a lone wolf basking in the sun on the roadside. Santa had been after all.
RoyMessenger

A tree house in the Japanese alps

Canadian

Three hours from Tokyo by car there is a stunning chain of mountains on the south eastern side of Lake Shirakaba-ko called Yatsugatake. There, amid a forest, is a restaurant called Canadian Farm, where owner Haseyan has crafted a rustic, charming and cosy tree house. We stayed in this chocolate box setting at Christmas and relished the local traditions of the Japanese equivalent of Valentines Day on Christmas Eve, where locals go for walks with their partner. There was also the surprise delivery of our Christmas Day feast, a KFC chicken bucket! Christmas Day isnt an official national holiday so travel is a breeze, but everyone celebrates anyway, in a jovial way. The tree house in Hara, Suwa District, Nagano, costs about 130 a night in December.
go-canadianfarm.com
ID863949

Giant lanterns in the Philippines

GiantChristmas
Photograph: Alamy

For Christmas magic and wonder, you cant beat the Giant Lantern Festival in San Fernando in the Philippines (an hours drive north-west of Manila). The festival sees beautiful and elaborate multicoloured lanterns lighting up the evenings of the holiday season. The tradition began with villages crafting paper lanterns but has evolved into something even more spectacular, with thousands of electric lights adorning the competitors efforts. Spectators travel here from all over the country: light is a symbol of hope and faith, and the warm festive atmosphere and obvious delight of the crowd are all part of the show. A competition day is held on 16 December, and the lanterns are exhibited every evening through to New Years Eve.
giantlantern.ph
temarispheres

Torontos big bash

Crowd
Photograph: Alamy

New York would like to claim a monopoly on New Year celebrations but its neighbours over the border certainly give them a run for their money. Every year Toronto puts on a free outdoor party in Nathan Phillips Square, with live music and performances, ice skating and a huge firework display at midnight. As 31 December this year marks the end of Canadas 150th birthday celebrations, the city authorities have promised this bash will be a big one. Public transport will be free from 7pm-3am, too.
hecticplanet

Strasbourg Christmas market

Woman
Photograph: Alamy

A lifelong Scrooge, I jumped at the chance of getting away from British festivities with a stay in Strasbourg, where I ended up falling in love with the notion of a traditional Christmas, especially because it snowed. The Christmas market, Christkindelsmrik, goes back to 1570 and takes over the cobbled streets round the cathedral. Stalls are festooned with evergreen branches. I really enjoyed bratwurst and gluhwein in the evenings, consumed outside in the cold, around tables shared with smiling strangers. At midnight mass we belted out familiar carols in four different languages. Christmas dinner in our one-room flat was confit de canard from a can. Our live tree, six inches high, was from the market. Next day, a local bar was open and we feasted on pork and sauerkraut.
Janet Holland

Bright lights of Brittany

Christmas
Photograph: Alamy

Ferry to Saint-Malo, a quiet drive to Rennes and a booking at a city centre logis, where we were offered breakfast in our room. We walked the quiet streets illuminated by lights like droplets of ice on every branch of the footpath trees. The botanic garden was open and we had it to ourselves. There were tickets at the theatre for the ballet Gat Parisienne, which we enjoyed with an enthusiastic audience, then lobster for dinner at a reasonable price. No double charge or unwilling staff: the evening was a delight. Boxing Day is just another working day in France: we drove through light frost to Carnac, finding just one other couple at the ancient stones.
John Pelling

Glhwein and ski jumping, Austria

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2017/nov/02/christmas-new-year-breaks-holidays-trips-readers-tips

Los Angeles is the globe in a small space: author Ryan Gattis

LA is the most diverse city in the US, says the thriller writer. And with regeneration, areas like Downtown are fizzing with cultural mashups and food fusions

When I moved to Downtown LA in 2007, it felt abandoned. Going out at night was a bit like being in a zombie movie it was so empty. Its changed massively: theres so much construction going on now, so many new buildings. If there is a parallel in London, its Kings Cross.

Im part of a street art crew called Uglarworks. I met them through a mutual friend. They had read my first book, All Involved, set during the 1992 LA riots, and liked it. I loved what they did and we wanted to collaborate. They essentially took me on as an intern. I carried their paints at first, then eventually began painting with them.

Ryan
Ryan Gattis. Photograph: Murdo Macleod for the Guardian

Being able to prowl the city with the crew gave me access to new neighbourhoods. In places most people never really go to, like Lincoln Heights, I learned so much about the citys past. Theyd say things like: Oh yeah, that serial killer the Night Stalker was caught over there. History is tied to geography in a really specific way here.

Theres a long history of graffiti and street art here. Graffiti by the LA river dates back to the 1920s, done by hobos and later local gangs used the [stark black and white] cholo-style graffiti to mark their territory. One of the first stencil artists, Chaz Bojrquez, worked here in the 1960s, and created the character Seor Suerte long before the art form really took off. LAs always had its own thing going on.

A
A tour of the LA rivers graffiti, under the 6th Street Bridge. Photograph: Alamy

LA is the most diverse city in America, the globe in a small space. I found it amazing that I could drive 15 minutes and only hear Mandarin, or Urdu, or Armenian. I love the openness to new cultures and ideas, and the collaborations you see everywhere the diversity leads to amazing authentic cultural mashups. You can really see the hybrid culture in the food scene. You get incredible food combinations you wont find elsewhere the Korean taco, for instance, was created in LA.

One thing I find exciting here right now is the new wave of Mexican food. Called Alta California cuisine, it grew out of the fact that every region of Mexico, with all its diverse culinary traditions, is represented in LA in a condensed area, so people share recipes and create new things. Balam in the Lynwood neighbourhood is my favourite place to go for tacos. It does a coconut shrimp taco thats unbelievable. It has won awards, and with good reason.

Tacos
Unbelievable tacos at Balam.

Theres a lot of history Downtown: some buildings date from the 1800s. The Bradbury building is one of my favourite structures on Earth. It has been in movies like Blade Runner and (500) Days of Summer. The architect designed it by imagining what a building in a Victorian sci-fi novel would look like.

One of the first places I take visitors is Homegirl Caf. Its a great place for Latino food in Downtown run by a Jesuit priest, Father Gregory Boyle, who provides training and careers for at-risk youths, especially from gangs.

The
The Bradbury Building, 4th and Broadway, Los Angeles. Photograph: Alamy

Theres so much more to LA than what we see in the movies or on TV. So many neighbourhoods that have lives and histories unto themselves. Thats what I write about places with their own culture and character, like Lynwood. Thats where my new novel, Safe, a thriller thats set during the 2008 financial crash, is based. Theres an amazing resurgence going on in Lynwood right now. Its first art gallery opened recently, the Lynwood Union its a really exciting time.

The Little Tokyo area of Downtown is a special place. The Japanese American Museum there is world class and a favourite of mine. The city has one of the most vibrant art scenes in the world: theres lots of opportunity for young artists and great places to see contemporary art, from the Warehouse district Downtown to Culver City and Chinatown or, for more upscale galleries, Beverley Hills and Pasadena.

Whiskey
Whiskey galore Seven Grand bar, in Downtown Photograph: Peter Stanislaus

Im an old man and dont go out much! But there are a couple of old throwback places in Downtown that are great, like The Edison, which is a beautiful old power plant turned into a gorgeous bar. Another place Id recommend is Seven Grand Whiskey Bar, which serves great scotch and bourbon.

The LA river is a gem: they have been revitalising it, allowing wildlife back in. Theres lots of flora now and you can kayak or hike south-east all way to Long Beach.

Ryan Gattiss latest novel, Safe (Picador, 12.99), is out now. To buy a copy for 11.04 including free UK p&p, visit guardianbookshop.com

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2017/oct/27/los-angeles-downtown-regeneration-ryan-gattis-thrillers