Travel

U.S. Denies Entry To Canadian Man “Looking For Loads” On Hookup App

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Daily Xtra has the crazy story of a Canadian man who was denied entry to the U.S. after the Customs & Border Protection Agency searched his phone before boarding a flight. He was selected for a secondary screening, and the officer demanded the password for his phone. The officer went through his phone, including the gay hookup app Scruff, and gay sex site BBRT.

They found messages of the man saying he was “looking for loads,” which the officer interpreted to mean that he was soliciting cash in exchange for sex. Here’s what went down:

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Introduction: Road-Trip Through Jordan

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Yay! It’s Jordan-trip-report time! I’m so far behind on trip reports (they take me forever), but I’m really excited to finally share this one with y’all. Jordan was a fantastic destination for us, and I know a lot of people have expressed interest in visiting as well, so this should be a fun series.

In addition to being full of great activities, this was also the first actual “vacation” trip where neither my husband or I had to work in over four years.

I still made lots of notes and took pictures so I could write this report, of course, but not having to carve out time to be online or in meetings was wonderful, and made the trip extra special.

So off we go!

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My First Time Flying In Business Class “Honeymoon Seats”

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We all have different seat preferences. Thank goodness we do, because it means more of us can select the seats we like. When it comes to staggered business class configurations, my preference is almost always to sit in a window seat, and specifically, in the window seat closest to the window. Those seats have quite a bit of privacy, so you really feel like you have your own little cocoon, not to mention you can easily look out the windows and enjoy the view.

For staggered configurations there are generally two types of setups in the center sections. In some configurations, seats in the center section are spaced equally far apart from one another in all rows.

Then other airlines have configurations with what I call “honeymoon” seats. The seats alternate between being right by the aisles, and then in the next row being very close together. In those situations, the center seats are often popular with couples traveling together, since you’re sitting right next to them, can easily talk, etc. That’s why I call them “honeymoon seats,” because they’re great if you want to be seated close to someone.

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Trump’s New Travel Ban Could Be Implemented Tuesday

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The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a draft of a new Executive Order on travel has been circulating through the State Department and other agencies, and notes that a “replacement order is expected to be issued as soon as Tuesday.”

For those that haven’t been following closely, the Trump Administration chose not to appeal a 9th Circuit Court decision to block enforcement of his original travel ban. Instead, the White House is starting from scratch with a new order entirely.

As opposed to the chaos of the original order, which was poorly implemented without any advance notice, stranding passengers in transit, and generally creating a mess, the revised version appears to be going through the proper channels and procedures.

This means that the order will likely be tighter legally, and somewhat less susceptible to legal challenges.

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My New Favorite Trip Planning Tool

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When it comes to trip planning, there are a variety of planning and organization apps out there. In my experience, most of them have some kind of major deal-breaker, so choosing a tool ends up being a very personal decision.

While I’ve tried an assortment of planning tools over the years, none really fit my needs. Most seem to be either too automated, or require too much manual sorting, so I’d sorta given up. I recently came across a new-to-me tool called Travefy which I really like.

I’ve used Travefy for two big trips now — my New Years trip to Jordan (trip report coming next I think), and a big European trip with my mom for her birthday (trip report coming maybe). It’s not perfect, but I’ve found it to be pretty useful, and think some of y’all might enjoy using it as well.

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The One Hotel In North America I REALLY Want To Visit…

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While not all of the world’s best hotels belong to the major hotel chains, there are some incredible hotel experiences you can have on points. For example, as far as city hotels go, it’s tough to beat the Park Hyatt in Sydney or St. Regis in New York.

Then there are some boutique hotels that unfortunately don’t belong to any of the major chains, or any group at all. There’s one hotel in North America that has long interested me, that unfortunately isn’t part of any loyalty program. It’s also quite pricey.

But I use this blog to talk about my travel dreams/goals, so I feel compelled to at least write about it here. Over the past couple of years I’ve learned that I far prefer nature vacations to city vacations. I’m usually connected to the internet constantly, and there’s something so relaxing to me about being able to enjoy nature.

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My Glamorous Life: Being Force Fed A Tasting Menu At 3AM With A Stomach Bug

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Let me start by saying that I’m beyond grateful to be able to make a living doing what I’m passionate about. Since a very young age I was obsessed with airplanes and travel, and I pinch myself every day about the fact that I’m able to do this full time. That’s despite the constant jetlag and exhaustion. Seriously, I couldn’t be more grateful for this, and I owe it all to you guys.

So take this post as being tongue in cheek, as it’s more of an amusing reflection of what my life is like in practice, despite what it may look like in Instagram pictures, etc. This has been an especially crazy travel week for me. Over the course of about a week I flew from Los Angeles to Taipei to Singapore to Bali to Hong Kong to London to Abu Dhabi (don’t worry, I’ll explain the reasoning for it eventually).

I took the 2PM flight from London to Abu Dhabi, which arrived at 1:30AM. I was dead tired after getting minimal sleep the past week. I wasn’t hungry in the slightest. And I even had a bit of a stomach bug.

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Etihad A380 Apartment In 10 Pictures

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Hello from Abu Dhabi! Yesterday I flew from London to Abu Dhabi in Etihad’s A380 First Class Apartment. I’ve reviewed Etihad’s A380 first class many times before, so won’t be writing a full review. If you want a super thorough review, check out my posts about my past flights from Abu Dhabi to London, Abu Dhabi to New York, New York to Abu Dhabi, and Abu Dhabi to Sydney.

In this case I took the 2PM flight from London to Abu Dhabi, which is perfect in terms of enjoying the short flight, since you can have a nice lunch or dinner service, and then get some rest.

Etihad’s A380 first class cabin is stunning — it’s hands down the most visually stunning cabin on a commercial plane, in my opinion. It’s also the only single-aisle cabin on a widebody commercial aircraft.

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U.S. Citizens Can Now Get An Electronic Visa For Vietnam

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Well here’s some great news for U.S. citizens looking to visit Vietnam. As of February 1, 2017, it’s possible for U.S. citizens to get an e-visa for Vietnam. There are actually 40 countries eligible for this e-visa, and the U.S. is one of them. The cost of a single entry 30 day visa is $25, which is much cheaper than any of the other current options available.

To request your electronic visa for Vietnam, visit the Vietnamese e-visa web portal.

The process is fairly straightforward, though you do have to upload a picture of yourself, and the approval process can take up to three days.

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Cathay Pacific 777 First Class In 10 Pictures

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Hello from London!

I just flew Cathay Pacific first class from Hong Kong to London, which was fantastic as always. I’ve reviewed Cathay Pacific first class many times before, so won’t be doing a full review again. Instead I’ll just share my general thoughts, especially in light of the recent minor first class service changes that Cathay Pacific has made.

Cathay Pacific’s 777 first class cabin consists of just six seats, spread across two rows in a 1-1-1 configuration. While Cathay Pacific doesn’t have fully enclosed suites, they do have among the most private and spacious first class products out there. I don’t think I’ve once found myself wishing that the seat had a door — that’s how private it is.

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Cathay Pacific 777 Regional Business Class In 10 Pictures

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Yesterday I flew Cathay Pacific’s regional business class for the 4hr20min flight from Bali to Hong Kong. I won’t be writing a full review of the flight, though figured I’d share my brief thoughts on the experience.

The flight was operated by Cathay’s regional 777-300, which unfortunately doesn’t feature the same excellent first class and business class products found on their longhaul 777-300s.

The 777-300 has a total of 42 business class seats. These are spread across six rows in a 2-3-2 configuration. These seats are fairly new, so at least the cabin looks modern. It’s unfortunate when premium cabins have middle seats, though I suppose for a fairly short flight that’s not too big of a deal.

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The Best Valentine’s Day Surprise I’ve Ever Pulled Off

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First, let me say that I’m not the biggest fan of Valentine’s Day or other Hallmark holidays, but there are a few times in your life when it can be worthwhile to go with the flow. And for me, that was ten years ago when I managed to pull off the biggest Valentine’s Day surprise of my life for my then girlfriend, now wife, by flying in unannounced halfway across the country to meet her for dinner.

Looking back, I kind of laugh at the crazy things that I did like that as a young man in love. But it was fun. And given that that girl became my wife, it apparently worked.

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10 Things To Do With Kids In Oslo

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Like the rest of Scandinavia, Oslo is an incredibly kid-friendly place which made it pretty easy for us to get out and explore with our three kids aged 5, 4, and 1.

This is a culture of bundling the kids up and taking them out, regardless of the cold weather. The compact nature of the central area makes for good walking, and features like two-track ramps help make even steps accessible to strollers.

We’re an outdoorsy family so we packed our cold-weather gear so that we could get out and explore during the Norwegian winter.

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KLM 777 Business Class In 10 Pictures

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After flying from Los Angeles Taipei on an EVA Air 777, and then from Taipei to Singapore on a special EVA Air Hello Kitty 777, it was time to connect from Singapore to Bali on KLM.

This is a fun fifth freedom route operated by KLM, as the plane goes from Amsterdam to Singapore to Bali. I booked a paid ticket on this flight — the business class ticket cost ~$250, which is a pretty good deal, if you ask me.

The flight was operated by a Boeing 777-300ER. As much as I think KLM’s baby blue color theme is a bit “out there,” it looks really good on the 777, in my opinion.

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