Guides from our travels

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Hotel review: Sombra Palace Hotel, Manaus, Brazil

November 10, 2015



Breakfast included: No
Wifi: Free, included in price, good network across the hotel

Address: Av. 07 de Setembro 1325, Centro, 69000 Manaus, Brazil
Phone: +57-92-3234-8777

Located in the center of Manaus, just walking distance from the Teatro Amazonas, you can walk up to the local markets, center of the city and other hostels from this hotel.

After arriving at the hotel, I was given room 304, which is a one double bed room with air-conditioning, fridge and a private bathroom. The AC in the room was located in a corner and after turning it on for 2 hours, there was barely any cooling in the room. Although this room faced the main road and had huge windows, considering the hot and humid weather of Manaus, one would need air conditioning! At the cost of R$106 (approx $27) a night, this was a huge room for one person.

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Million Mile Question? American vs. Delta

November 2, 2015


Eleven years of flying and I feel like I have seen it all. Monday morning frenzy, Super-efficient TSA (Really?? When?), Hello Kitty bags, overhead bins filled with small luggage items while passengers have to valet their luggage, shrinking seat pitches, super (un)friendly flight attendants, unreasonable airline policies, chicken in my specially ordered vegetarian meal, chronic delays, being the first to NOT get upgraded, that gorgeous view of heavenly skies from 35K feet above and last but not the least and my most favorite; view of loveliest Los Angeles every time I connect through LAX. I would say the last two are the reasons I would do this over and over and over.

My membership to the ever growing community of Road Warriors began in Jun 2005 in Dallas, TX. Of course, I instantly enrolled into AAdvantage and slowly achieved my Million Miler Status over the 10 years of my travel.

Like every relationship we had our challenges. What started as a playful twice a week romantic rendezvous; quickly turned into an experience filled with frequent travel delays, missed connections and less than exhilarating in-flight travel experience. But the last 18 months have been the worst.

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The world’s best airport, yet again, is…

October 21, 2015


Skytrax has released the annual World Airport Awards report, and based on 13.02 million customer nominations from around the world, and 550 airports that were included in the survey ranking satisfaction in 39 different areas (including security wait times, TV and entertainment facilities, baggage delivery times, and how easy it to get through the terminals), Singapore’s Changi airport tops the list yet again.

With Changi airport (SIN) coming in the first on the overall list, Paris’s Charles de Gaulle (CDG) was the “most improved” airport, the Tokyo Haneda (HND) had the best security processing, and Taiwan’s Taoyuan airport (TPE) had the friendliest staff.

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Wiffinity offers connectivity on public places without knowing password

October 20, 2015

wiffinityLink: iTunes
Cost: Free

Bang for buck: It’s free!
Ease of use:
The looks:

Wiffinity is a brand new app that lists the WiFi credentials of public networks in the areas you’re visiting. Still not one hundred percent accurate, the app will default to mainland Europe as your “near me” settings displayed on the map.

Zoom in to see all the WiFi hotspots around, select the one you would like to connect to, copy the password (which is not displayed in the app) from the app and paste it in to your WiFi settings screen.

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Travel Tip: Privatize & secure your internet connection while traveling

October 15, 2015


Most of us connect to public WiFi networks while traveling, and you may not know that your browsing information is collected by companies world wide. Also, using a public WiFi is not safe in terms of security and privacy. Connecting to a public WiFi network you find in a café, hotel or restaurant has its risks. If you don’t want anyone snooping on and watching your online activity or even reading your conversation, we strongly advise you to connect to your VPN before using the WiFi.

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‘Packet of Power’ is your friend in case of cancelled flight

September 23, 2015


Many of us have been through the experience of a flight getting cancelled, and that could mean anything between getting re-booked on a different flight or being stuck at the airport. Having a “packet of power” before each trip will help you to know your rights as a passenger and prepare you for things-to-do.

Just three pieces of information are required:

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The Pearls of French Polynesia

August 24, 2015


As one of the most imposing archipelagos situated within tropic environment of South Pacific, French Polynesia hosts numerous picturesque islands, atolls and motus (reef islets), including the most popular and, undoubtedly, the most impressive Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea. From radiant and dreamy Bora Bora and black sandy coasts of Tahiti to pristine turquoise beaches of Huahine and Moorea, there’s an impressive kingdom of tropic colors, perfectly shaped coasts and captivating lagoons, and this is a slice of magical world which those Polynesian pearls offer:

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Popular Natural Wonders of Australia

August 20, 2015


There rarely is a place on Earth that can boast about with lushness of nature it is blessed and sites to see like Australia is. Narrowing a list to only a couple of them is a hard and rather unfair task to all those spots that will not find its place on it this time. However, this one is about popular natural wonders of Australia, places that are most frequently visited, with instructions on how to get there and what to do while visiting.

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8 Essential Mobile Apps for Travelers

August 14, 2015


Doing anything with the help of our mobile phone nowadays has become virtually impossible. They are so useful and adjusted to every titbit of our lives that we cannot imagine a day without them. So, when travelling, one of the best companions to have with us is our mobile phone. This is the result of the wide number of applications available for every platform, so here is a list of the eight essential mobile apps for travelling.

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Video: How does your bag go from check-in to airplane

August 14, 2015


We have always wondered where our bags go once they have started their ‘journey’ from the check-in counter to the airline. So the baggage handlers at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport strapped a camera to a checked bag giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the roller coaster trip it goes through from the check-in station, through the airport, and on to the airplane.

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Be prepared to get weighed if you fly this airline

August 13, 2015


If you find yourself flying Uzbekistan Airways, be prepared to get weighed at the airport, with your carry-on bags on you. They have cited safety reasons for this move.

In a recent notice on its website about pre-flight procedures, they announced this change saying passengers will be weighed on scales in airport departure zones. Uzbekistan Airways says the results will be confidential, and will only correspond to a passenger category like male, female or child.

The airline statement says:

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World’s longest commercial flight to start in 2016

August 13, 2015


Emirates airline announced the launch of flights from Dubai to Panama, which is their first destination in Central America. And it will be the longest commercial flight covering the distance of 13,821 kilometers non-stop in a Boeing B777-200LR with a flying time of 17 hours and 35 minutes. The first flight will start February 1, 2016.

With Panama Canal as one of the most visited tourist destination in Central America, Emirates will be the first of the Gulf carriers to fly into Panama City. Currently, Emirates serves the South American cities of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Buenos Aires.

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Get lower flight prices & save money (even after re-booking fees) with FairFly

August 10, 2015

fairflyLink: iTunes
Cost: Free

Bang for buck: It’s free!
Ease of use:
The looks:

There are so many tips and tricks to get the best deals and pay the lowest fare for your trip, and there are apps like Hooper and Kayak that will let you know when the price of the airline drops. Most travelers believe that booking a certain number of weeks or days before the departure date is the best time to book, whereas others will ask you to wait until the last minute for a bargain price on that last available seat. But the fact is that all these tell-a-tales not always work.

FairFly is an app that will monitor your existing bookings for any price drops, calculate the fees involved in making any changes to the tickets, and let you know if you can still save money or not. This allows you to cancel your original ticket and book it again at the lower price.

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North Korea will set the clock to ‘Pyongyang’ time

August 7, 2015


If you are one of the few thousands of visitors to the Hermit Kingdom, take a note of this – North Korea will be setting their clocks back by 30 minutes on August 15, 2015. The state news agency, KCNA, has announced that North Korea will set to “Pyongyang time” on August 15 , which is the 70th anniversary of liberation from Japan.

Currently at GMT +9 hours, the country will reset the time to GMT +08:30, as it was set during Japan’s rule over what was single Korea from 1910 to 1945. South Korea says it uses the same time zone as Japan because it’s more practical and conforms to international practice.

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Travel tip: Don’t do this if your flight is overbooked

August 5, 2015


You are excited about your vacation or travel plans. You have planned it all. You reach the gate to know that the flight is overbooked. You realize you may not make it to your destination. What do you do then?

If you’re asked to volunteer for not taking that flight, then do not. Even if the airline’s offer of cash or voucher sounds awesome. Let them bump you involuntarily, and denied boarding. This way you can receive much more in compensation.

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