Travel

Travel

Contactless Credit Cards Are Reshaping the Way People Board Trains

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London has finally licensed a contactless payment system that allows people to board trains or buses with the use of a debit or credit card. This new technology will also be coming to other major cities around the world.

Universal Transport System

The license allows people to use this technology that can be utilized elsewhere. The money earned with this type of technology will be kept for a fare freeze for commuters in the city. This new tech enables the use of contactless debit or credit cards by swiping on readers in public terminals.

Ticketless Commuting

As a result, commuters will be able to travel without using any ticket. At each day’s end, the transport system will calculate the distance being travelled and will deduct the right amount. A daily or weekly cap will be applied on your spending if you travel enough. Mobile devices that support contactless technology can now be used as well to jump on a train or bus or even on the London Underground.

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History of Contactless Tech

In 2003, this concept was started by introducing the Oyster swipe card developed by Cubic, which allows commuters to keep season tickets or pay-as-you-go credit in just one card. This same card reading system has added contactless payment system since 2012. The company will take this contactless tech to other countries as well.

Procedure for Contactless Payments

Personal identification numbers or signatures are not necessary when you use contactless. You simply need to touch your card on the card reader that should render contactless. Other contactless payment methods are also accepted when making transactions elsewhere.

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You only need to have a credit or debit card issued in the UK on MasterCard, American Express, Visa or Maestro that displays the contactless payment symbol. Thus, you can use it when you decide to travel on various transports around the UK and soon around the world.

 

Comparing London to Amsterdam – The Definitive Infographic

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Please visit the infographic below and leave your comments for living in London or Amsterdam, two great cities with traditions in history and arts. Amsterdam is a cozy town is very central with big contrasts. This cool city keeps an old feature of life tolerance. The town is filled with Restaurants, Clubs, Cinemas, Theaters, Galleries and Museums. Do not miss the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, the Rembrandt House.

Lots of canal houses beautiful Canal Ring. Amsterdam is not crowded and it has a good public transport system but the best way is to go by bike. The charm of this town is felt on the air in Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein. People are open minded very straightforward and speak English very well , lots of expats.

London is the cultural capital of Britain exciting city with many tourist attractions such as: Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament, London Eye renowned across the globe. The famous attractions free to visit, for example the National Gallery, Tate Modern, British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum. London is diverse but very well connected and offers amazing views like The Royal Parks or Hampstead Heath in the North. The river Thames runs through the heart of London to Greenwich so you can take great river tours and enjoy the views but do not forget the Regent’s Canal and Little Venice.

Should you wish to take a culinary journey stop at Michelin-starred restaurants where are many celebrity chefs and plenty of food options. Not a bike friendly as Amsterdam is and overcrowded public transport. So get ready to explore and experience the best cities in the world.

London vs Amsterdam
London vs Amsterdam

Source: Amsterdam vs London

A guide to planning your motorhome conversion

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A conversion project gives you the opportunity to create a bespoke touring vehicle for much less than the price you would pay for a purpose-built motorhome. It’s an exciting prospect, but it’s essential to have a clear idea of what’s possible and what’s involved on a practical level. To help you make that dream of owning a tailor-made motorhome a reality, here’s a rundown of how to plan a project from scratch.

Visualise your finished motorhome from the start

Each of the planning decisions you’ll need to make regarding your motorhome conversion should be driven by one big consideration: what do you want the end product to consist of? For this, think carefully about how the finished motorhome is going to be used. Questions to consider include the following:

What are your accommodation and storage requirements? Most obviously, you should be clear on how many people will require sleeping space. You may also have specific storage requirements; for bikes or surfboards, for instance.

Do you intend to stay at sites with few or no facilities? This will help you decide what toilet, washing and kitchen facilities you will need. It will also inform your decisions on plumbing and electrics.

Where are you likely to be touring to and at what times of the year? This will affect light, ventilation and heating aspects of the project, such as the number and type of windows and vents you will want to build into the design, the specification of your heating system and whether it’s worth investing in air conditioning.

Once you have a broad idea of all of this, you can then look at what’s possible, using what type of base vehicle and at what cost. For inspiration, a Google search for campervan conversion specialists will bring up a number of conversion kit suppliers, as well as companies that can carry out the entire job for you based on your specifications. Caravan shows are useful for finding out what these conversions are like ‘in the flesh’ – you can find a list of upcoming UK shows here.

Motorhome
Motorhome

Setting your budget: factor in the cost of outside help

For matters such as fitting seatbelts, obtaining gas safety certificates, and electrical wiring, you will need professional input. For other tasks such as fitting windows and doors and adding storage units, you may be tempted to take a DIY approach. Here, it’s important to be honest when assessing your capabilities. Taken as a whole, a typical conversion project requires lots of different skills, from fitting and joinery through to welding and knowledge of electrics and plumbing.

Remember that your end product needs to meet your original specifications, while meeting all relevant safety requirements. To avoid wasting time and money on a botch job, be clear on the areas where you will need outside help and factor this into your budget.

Choosing your base vehicle: points to consider

After you’ve worked out your accommodation, storage and facilities requirements, you can then narrow down your choice of base vehicle. Potential vehicles in the mix might include the Ford Transit, Mercedes VIto and VW T4 or T5.

Van purchase will be the single largest expense connected with the project. Matters to think about as you check e-bay, dealerships and trade sites should include the following:

Will you be using it for general transportation needs? Think about whether this will be just a motorhome or whether it will also be a car substitute. If the latter, then factors such as ease of parking and urban fuel consumption may become more relevant.

Are you comfortable with driving and maneuvering? When faced with the choice between a long or short wheel-base model, ease of manoeuvring and how confident you are at driving a larger vehicle may sway your decision.

Will it have enough power? A smaller engine size may seem adequate, but especially if you intend to venture far afield, you might struggle with uphill pulling power once it’s fully kitted out and loaded up.

As with any vehicle purchase, you’ll also need to check the service history and look for telltale signs of future problems such as rust and leaks before you commit.

Ensure legal and insurance requirements are covered

After purchase of your van but before commencing any conversion work, you must have the weight of the vehicle assessed at a weighbridge. By subtracting the current weight of the vehicle from its maximum legal weight (set out on the data plate), you can workout the maximum possible additional weight you can add to the van in terms of appliances and accessories during conversion.

After conversion, you will need to change the official categorisation of your vehicle from van to motor caravan. For this, read the DVLA guidance, Registering a DIY Motor Caravan.

It’s also vital to have the right level of insurance in place, otherwise the value of all that hard work you’ve put into creating your motorhome could be lost. Motorhome insurance specialists such as Shield Total Insurance provides precisely the level of support that owners of professionally converted panel vans and DIY self-build motorhomes need, and these policies are adaptable to the specific requirements of owners.

Show Your Cool and Ingenious Side this Valentines

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Valentines is almost here, and you might be anxious about what to give or offer to your loved one. Well, here are cool and ingenious ideas you can do this time of the year, or the years to come.

Head down to Chicago and join the Cupid’s Undie Run at Wrigleville. It is something more than looking sensual because as you run in your undies, you are also raise funds for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Plus, there are cool prizes to get at the end of the run. To cap off the event, you can join the after party at John Barleycorn. (February 13 at 12nn)

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Get married in Las Vegas. Yes, that is right. Tie the knot and have a great time with your partner as Elvis officiates your Las Vegas wedding. There is nothing cooler than that, right? After which you can choose to go betting or see cool adult shows such as the burlesque sexy show, 50 Shades parody show and a lot more. (Anytime you are ready)

Attend a masked ball in New York. There a Cupid’s Masquerade at the SKY Armory at 351 S. Clinton St. Tickets are sold at $75 each, and with it comes a grand ball where you can play any character you like and play mysterious while enjoying delicious servings of hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and drinks at the open bar. (February 13 at 7pm)

Celebratory glass

Enjoy with the singles at Philly. Join other singles and have some fitness fun with Chalk Strength and Wellnes instructors at the Trainer Hall at 509 Spring Garden Street. There you get to have a two-hour non-stop fitness routine that is really good for your heart. After which, who knows you just might have some after party with these health buffs. (February 14 at 2pm)

Have some wine tasting at San Francisco. Head down to Union Street and engage in the second annual tasting event that includes a variety of choice wines and finger foods. Notable restaurants and wineries are hosting the event, so it should satisfy your epicurean side. (February 9)

What’s the Coolest Thing You Can Do in the Desert?

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The desert may seem like an alien land full of misery and nothingness (nah, not really). If you are game, you can actually have tons of fun in a barren place such as a desert.

Dune Bashing

Hit the road, the desert road with your driving prowess and make your monster ride literally bash the sand dunes in a seemingly reckless, crazy manner. Dune bashing isn’t a family-friendly adventure and it has its set of risks, but if you’re a risk-taker, then this is definitely the desert activity for you.

Place to dune bash – Dubai

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Sand Boarding

Sliding down the slopes of the desert can be really fun. Sand boarding isn’t entirely exclusive to deserts, as it may be doable in sandy beaches. But since you’re in the desert, there’s limitless possibilities to sand board all you can from sun up till sun down. The only catch is – in order to sand board again, you’ll have to hike up the same distance you sand boarded down. It can get pretty tough and tiresome.

Places to sand board – Australia, Egypt, Maldives, Namibia, Philippines, South Africa, US, South America, and Germany.

Desert Hiking

Deserts are scenic places for hikes and treks, too. Some places have jugged, rocky formations that make up a nice diversion to the already common sandy landscapes. Just don’t forget to bring lots of knowledge about desert survival and safety, and water canteen.

Places to desert hike – Eastern Washington, California, Jordan, Bolivia, Chile, and Arizona.

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Quad Biking

If you don’t like the confines of a four-wheel drive truck, then perhaps a buggy or quad bike will do the trick. Hit the sandy path and drive around, blasting sand dunes after sand dunes. It can really be an amazing adventure, especially when you know you don’t have passengers to look after.

Places to desert quad bike – Namibia, Dubai, Morocco (Sahara), and Egypt.

Camel Riding

Of course, riding the camel is a top pick for the coolest thing to do in the desert. This hardy desert animal has long been used for transport and travel, and riding one can be an awesome experience.

Places to camel ride – Africa, Dubai, Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle Eastern countries.

Coolest Places for that Romantic Getaway this Valentines

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Time flies so fast, and it’s almost February – the month of hearts. And many people are already planning on where to celebrate a romantic time with their beloved. If you haven’t planned anything concrete yet, here are the coolest places to be come Valentines.

  1. Istanbul

Who doesn’t like to escape to the exotic Istanbul? There’s so much for romance in this place from mosques to galleries, and cultural shows to art exhibits. If you want a more secluded Istanbul feel, visit one of the Pinces’ Islands via ferry and explore the island using bike or carriage.

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  1. Vienna

Vienna is about coffee and cake – something that you and your loved one will surely love to feast on. Come February, you can spend more time cuddling over hot coffee and sweet cake as you look out into the horizon covered in snow.

  1. Liguria

Liguria is one of Italy’s most romantic places. It’s a tiny coastal town, which holds the popular love festival. This should be a well-loved place by poets because the townsfolk send their love poems, where 20 lucky prose become a part of a municipal poster, as well as a must-see art exhibition.

  1. Tuscany

Urban Tuscany may be crowded, but not the hillsides. This is where you can have some me-time with your sweetheart as you bask in the lovely country and enjoy a pleasantly quite moment. Visit some of the castles, villages, and markets for some diversion.

  1. Ha Long Bay

Vietnam has some of the most beautiful bays, and Ha Long is simply breathtaking. The bay is surrounded by thousands of towering limestone cliffs with thick vegetation on top, making it just the perfect backdrop for a sailing adventure. You can go caving, swimming, and fishing here as well.

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  1. Covered Bridges

In Vermont, there are the so-called “kissing bridges” over 100 of them, and each one is unique and inspiring. Take your love for a scenic drive through these covered bridges, and make worthwhile stopovers to enjoy the views, the sunset, and your love for each other.

3 guaranteed ways to assuage airport stress

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When travelling is in your blood, withstanding public transport is vital to your enjoyment of your permanent holiday – but trying to negotiate an airport could still create some aneurysm-inducing stress.

Indeed, many people view airports as more stressful than moving house or an eight-hour working day, and it’s easy to see why.

Endless pat downs and questions from security staff, long queues to purgatorial departure lounges, the constant looming threat of terrorism, police with guns and staff haranguing you about 25ml of liquids in your bag – it’s not a fun ride.

Walk through an airport and you’ll be met by a parade of sourpusses, the type of people who look like they’ve been forced to watch Mortdecai a thousand times in a row. By the time they’ve boarded a plane, their faces will be fulminating like thunderstorms.

assuage airport stress

But not everyone finds airports quite so stressful. Amidst the anger merchants there are some people with genuine smiles on their faces. These are the Zen people of the airport and they’ve got one secret reason for looking so satisfied – they came prepared.

Indeed, even a modicum of preparation can help you before your flight. So what tips would we recommend?

Parking in no time

Trying to park your car at the airport is a herculean task, akin to Waiting for Godot or some other existential nightmare – you reckon a space will show itself eventually, but it seems to take forever.

You’ll drive round and round in vain, before dumping your car miles from your terminal. It’s the precursor to numerous flightmares to come.

Which is why many larger airports allow you to reserve a space before you arrive. Others let third-party companies deal with their vehicle overflow. Edinburgh airport parking, for instance, allows you to drop your car at a parking site and ride directly to your terminal via a shuttle service. There’s little that’s more relaxing.

Know all the questions

Airport staff are full of questions, and they expect answers fast. Before you head to the airport, check all security protocols online and make sure you follow them to the letter. With security checks out of the way quickly, you’ll have more time to relax in the departure lounge.

Special departure

Bog-standard departure lounges are about as enjoyable as a lobotomy. So why not choose an upgrade? VIP departure lounges are available for a relatively cheap price – and they provide an excellent service.

In a VIP departure lounge, you’ll be treated to a huge number of extras, including complimentary drinks, free newspapers, comfortable seating and great food. You’ll never be bored in a departure lounge again!

3 Coolest Backpacks for Travelers

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One of the hassles of traveling is choosing the perfect bag to bring. Luggage bags and backpacks vary in make and sizes. Finding the right items to bring makes a big difference at the airport check-in and travel experience as a whole. Let’s start with the 3 coolest backpacks for travelers.

Urban 15.6” Hybrid Briefcase

This briefcase that can also be a backpack is the perfect product to organize your gadgets and keep your laptop protected. It has front-zippered pockets and a zip-down organizer section in front to easily get and keep your planner and whatever it is you need without having to remove everything else. Sells below $50, this backpack briefcase has padded straps that make it easier to carry.

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Energi+Backpack

Traveling with numerous gadgets? This backpack allows you to charge at least three devices and can also be attached to your luggage if you do not want to carry this on your back. It also has a special strap to keep your wires free from tangles and a pocket at the back for your head phone. As for airport security inspection, it is designed with a zipper that can be opened all the way down for easy view of your laptop and faster security check. Priced at $169.99, purchasing this backpack is a good investment for travelers.

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Cobra Squeeze Laptop Backpack

With comfort and style in mind, designers of this bag made sure the traveler can pack as much stuff as needed while keeping these things protected. This backpack has soft material in the inside and a water repellant material on the exterior that makes it an all-weather backpack. Moreover, it has a pocket specifically for your smartphone to ensure you can access it any time without misplacing it. The bag has an open mesh at the back to let air pass through even if carry this on your back. This sells at $195.

4 Tourist Spots You Need to See When in Quebec

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Quebec is a bustling metropolis, like Montreal. But what makes this place interesting is that it has a fascinating mixture of classiness and liveliness, as well as historical sights tucked away in several corners of the town. Most of all, Quebec has crafted a rich, vibrant culture that has become independent of its European motherland.

There are many reasons to travel to this part of Canada. Here are four of them to convince you just how worth it this place is.

Old Quebec

As soon as you set foot in Old Quebec, you will see why it has been awarded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There’s the world’s most photographed hotel, Chateau Frontenac, the open-air gallery, Rue du Tresor, te Dufferin Terrace, as well as centuries-old architectural wonders, historic places and more. You’ll also fall in love with the classic charm of the place, especially when you see horse-drawn carriages and street entertainers.

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Quartier Petit Champlain & Place Royale

Take a trip back in time by visiting Place Royale. Here, you will find Samuel de Champlain’s first abitation in 1608. While you’re here, you can check out Quartier Petit Champlain for some shopping. This place has cobblestone streets that lead to period buildings, restaurants, boutiques and art galleries.

St. Lawrence River & Vieux-Port de Quebec

The St. Lawrence River is incredibly big, and it cuts across the Quebec area. It has also been a huge part of the metropolis’ economy for centuries ow. In the past, there were only harbor and trade activities. But now, there are countless cruise ships docking in the Vieux-Port de Quebec. There’s also a public market, cycling path and shows. All of which bring this side of Quebec to life. Nearby, there’s the Aquarium du Quebec and Promenade Samuel-De Champlain.

Montmorency Falls Park

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This is a natural phenomenon that shouldn’t be missed. The Montmorency Falls is at 83 meters high, which is higher than the Niagara Falls by 30 meters. This majestic body of water can be viewed from across the St. Lawrence River in Levis. But you should climb to Parc de la Chute-Montmorency to have the best vantage point. You can also take a gondola ride here, or hike one of the three Via ferrata circuits or get on a double zip line to cross the cove of the falls.

There is still so much to see in Quebec. But these four should be enough reason to make this city your next travel destination.