Tag: Dangerous Travel

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How Facebook's New 'Safety Check' is Aiding Travelers Following the Nepal Earthquake

April 25, 2015 at 10:06 PM | by | ()

I was boarding a plane when it happened, the Nepal Earthquake, that is.

I wasn't in Kathmandu. I was in Abu Dhabi, readying for a 15-hour flight back to the U.S., but I knew that one of my good friends was in Nepal and had been traveling around some of the areas most effected by the 7.8 earthquake and its aftershocks. How bad was this really? Was he safe?

While initial reports of the earthquake's magnitude rolled down my Twitter stream, a Facebook notification appeared just before the crew made the announcement for electronic devices to be turned off for take off. That notification, a green exclamation point icon, instantly shared that my friend had used the social network to "mark himself safe." I sighed with relief and turned off my device, beginning the long flight less anxious with the knowledge that he had reached out, somehow, to share his status.

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The Ultimate Black Diamond? Skiing Through Landmines in Sarajevo

January 9, 2015 at 4:31 PM | by | ()

In 1984, Sarajevo held, at the time, one of the most successful Winter Olympic Games in history—and the second ever in a communist state, Yugoslavia, at the time—seeing the most nations ever at a winter games. Sarajevo quickly became a model city.

That is, until the Bosnian War happened from 1992-1995, which Sarajevo was under siege for the entirety—the longest ever of a capital city.

During this time, the modern Olympic facilities, notably the mountain resorts and tracks surrounding the city, were used as defense systems for Bosnian-Serb troops. Needless to say, those three years obliterated the former facilities, leaving bullet-shellacked bobsleigh tracks and mountains littered with landmines.

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Are You Taking These Smart Precautions Before Your Trips?

October 10, 2014 at 9:00 AM | by | ()

On the heels of this latest Ebola scare and the ongoing violence in the Ukraine, it's about time to review a few travel safety tips. Of course situations easily fluctuate, and it's just common sense to stay aware of the political climate and social challenges of any destination. Here are some basic precautions to take:

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There's a Really Good Reason Not to Hike Alone in the Atacama Desert

August 28, 2014 at 2:57 PM | by | ()

View from the top of Toco Mountain at 18,385 feet on the border of Chile and Bolivia

Beautiful, isn't it? The Atacama offers an awe-inspiring combination of desert landscape, towering peaks, and refreshing lagoons, and travelers should spend as much time as they possibly can exploring these incredible outdoor opportunities. Just make sure you don't do it alone.

Hiking alone, or in a group that lacks someone with knowledge of the area, is never a good idea. It's a pretty basic rule of thumb when it comes to the wilderness. But it's even more true in Atacama. One wrong step, and you could find yourself missing half your leg. No, it's not the monsters from the movie Tremors. The real reason is perhaps even more peculiar: There are thousands of active landmines stashed throughout the region.

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It's Not Just Everest, As Nepal Looks to Open More Mountains

Where: Nepal
August 27, 2013 at 7:18 AM | by | ()

For those who get their kicks from scaling peaks, climbing mountains, and repelling down the face of cliffs, there’s some great news out of Nepal. It looks like the country is getting ready to open up a few new thrills for those visiting the area.

There’s concern that Mount Everest is getting a little too popular for its own good, so the thought is that opening up alternative routes and mountains might boost tourism—and reduce the crowds over at Everest.

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Four Precautions Before Embarking on a Trip to a 'Dangerous' Destination

August 7, 2013 at 10:57 AM | by | ()

On the heels of the latest "worldwide travel alert" issued to Americans by the State Department, it's about time to review a few travel safety tips. The current alarming situation may focus on Yemen right now, but that can easily change and it's just common sense to stay aware of the political situation and social challenges of any destination. Here are some basic precautions to take:

· Read the Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts posted to travel.state.gov
Travel.state.gov is the US State Department's portal for doing what it can to keep American travelers safe and informed about situations in other countries. The "Warnings" page is the most serious, a who's who list of countries with closed American embassies or worse. The "Alerts" page is a little less intense but serious nonetheless.

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The US Military Orders Up a Side of Lasers with Their Airplanes

January 28, 2013 at 10:19 AM | by | ()

This kind of technology probably isn’t coming to the Boeing 787 anytime soon, because after all they kind of have plenty of issues to work out with their current technology. All kidding aside, this stuff is more geared toward the military, but who knows if it could eventually land aboard commercial aircraft in the future. We’re talking about lasers—the ones that go "pew pew"—and they could be attached to military planes before too long.

It might be straight out of your favorite science fiction movie, but it looks like lasers on planes are chugging along to becoming a reality. We know virtually nothing about lasers, but we’ll fill you in with what the news knows. It’s the Navy and Air Force behind the new venture, as they’re going to test out some liquid-cooled, solid-state lasers in airplanes. They won’t be blasting bad guys back on the ground, but they will be used to intercept stuff shooting up into the air from bad guys on the ground. Think surface-to-air missiles and other not-so-friendly stuff like that.

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Riot Training Tourism? Okay Then.

November 19, 2012 at 5:21 PM | by | ()

As has been well-documented by scientists and statisticians, travel has never been less dangerous. In both broad and specific senses that's a very good thing, since more people can travel to more places, but for dangerous travel aficionados it's becoming a problem.

As has also been well-documented by scientists and statisticians, British tourists are among the world's worst people. They throw stag parties that are by turns crude and destructive, and their outrward behavior is sometimes indistinguishable from low-level rioting. Where do you think this post is going?

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Boeing's Making a Laser, but It's Not Dr. Evil-Ready Just Yet

October 9, 2012 at 9:33 AM | by | ()

From winglets to entire 787s, we’re all about what Boeing engineers and designers are cooking up over at their headquarters. Usually the stuff that comes out of the design room and assembly line is primarily focused on things that head into the skies, but this latest Boeing innovation is intended to remain firmly on the ground—at least for now.

Boeing has been working on some new laser technology, and if all goes according to plan it just might be zapping bad guys before too long. What they’ve been working on is a ten-kilowatt—we’ll assume that’s a decent amount of power—solid state laser, and they’re calling it the High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator, or "HEL MD" to its friends. The plan is to slap the thing on top of one of those Oshkosh Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks, and then you can kind of figure out what the thing will do next.

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Rental Car Companies Finally Forced to Do Right Thing about Recalled Cars

October 3, 2012 at 10:23 AM | by | ()

There’s been an on-and-off battle over recalled rental cars for quite some time, one which has been in and out of the new for at least the last few years. Basically, car rental companies haven’t been doing their best when it comes to pulling recalled cars off the lot or sending them in for the necessary repairs. Obviously this isn’t a good idea, and that’s especially the case when it results in injuries, accidents, or other bad stuff.

Obviously there’s certain rules and regulations that have to be followed, but the basic premise is that rental car companies need to yank recalled cars off their lots as soon as possible. The new legislation requires the companies to stop renting out vehicles no later than 24 hours after getting the official recall notice, but the time period stretches up to 48 hours if the recall affects more than 5,000 cars within their garage.

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How's About Alcatraz for a Private Island Experience?

July 27, 2012 at 11:29 AM | by | ()

Ain't no party like a private island party...and that's even truer when we're talking about a special private island with a dark history. Like, say, Alcatraz.

Believe it or not, the entire island of Alcatraz is available for nightly private stays through the "experience service," Vayable. It's $600 for up to 20 people or $5,500 for up to 350 people and though the cost may be high, that money goes to the park service, not to ensure you're having a 5-star stay:

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Five of the Best Banned Items You Absolutely Can't Bring Back Home

July 26, 2012 at 2:15 PM | by | ()

If you’re not happy with the souvenir options from the airport, there’s always thinking outside the box. Just be sure to watch where you shop, because some stuff that’s cool abroad isn’t as cool once you arrive at US Customs and Border Patrol. Here’s a list of some of the best stuff you just have to leave behind. Oh, and skip the bootleg purse or watch—those are banned too.

Kinder Eggs

A couple from Seattle learned this the hard way recently, as they were detained at the border over their chocolate contraband. Kinder Eggs—popular pretty much everywhere but the US—aren’t allowed to be brought into the nifty fifty. Basically the issue is that the little toys inside the chocolate eggs are a choking hazard, and the FDA isn’t too cool with them because food with non-nutritive objects in it is a big fat nope. So for now keep your candy separate from your toys, and you’ll be okay.


Wander through an overseas liquor store and you might come across the green fairy, but just be sure that you consume what you need aboard—the real good stuff isn't looked kindly upon in the United States. Even though most absinthe isn’t the stuff of literary legend, anything with just the word "absinthe" on the label is questionable. According to Uncle Sam it’s also against the law to import any absinthe beverage especially if the label shows artwork or pictures hinting at hallucinogenic or mind-altering effects—bummer.

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