Travel Tips

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How to quarantine in A-list style

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since the introduction of hotel quarantine in March 2020, people have encountered all kinds of trials and tribulations that come with being stuck in a hotel for 14 days.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, if you’re a celebrity arriving in Australia for quarantine, things have been the height of luxury. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Luxury home hotel service </span><a href="https://luxico.com.au/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Luxico</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> has been accommodating A-listers in private quarantine throughout the coronavirus pandemic, as well as offering exclusive services like a 24/7 concierge to carry out your every request. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As some Australian states are discussing the complete removal of hotel quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers after a series of trials, Luxico is expanding their clientele. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After perfecting its service for VIPs, the company is now opening their luxury homes and concierge service to the masses.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Starting at $400 a night, the service can include everything from a full grocery order that is unpacked and ready for your arrival, intensive Covid cleaning measures, and a concierge to run errands. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Not only is the concierge there to greet you in person when you arrive, they also offer to share all their knowledge about the local area.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Many celebrities who have been wanting to remain under the radar have been embracing the service for months. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It was revealed in March that Julia Roberts and Ed Sheeran teamed up to quarantine together in the luxurious </span><a href="https://luxico.com.au/rentals/allrentals/sweven-estate"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sweven Estate</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> with their families for two weeks at $4,700 per night.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The property is available for bookings until the end of the year, for those willing to hand over $33,000 for the week-long quarantine. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The property is not even the most expensive property offered by Luxico, as a </span><a href="https://luxico.com.au/rentals/allrentals/wisteria-place"><span style="font-weight: 400;">four bedroom mansion in South Yarra</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, Victoria, is going for an extraordinary $5,700 per night. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In Byron, property </span><a href="https://luxico.com.au/rentals/allrentals/twenty-six"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Twenty Six</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> features an infinity pool and ocean views, and can be booked for $6,500 per night. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Luxico also offered “ultravillas”, that come with a personal butler, daily maid service, fully-stocked kitchen on arrival and a Sommelier’s Honesty Bar with some of the world’s best alcohol.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: Luxico</span></em></p>

Travel Tips

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Travel expert’s tip for ultimate plane seat preference

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A travel blogger has shared her Holy Grail tip for getting the most out of a plane journey by having extra space. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Chelsea Dickenson, who goes by @cheapholidayexp on social media, has been sharing her holiday tips and tricks to help travellers get the most out of their holidays for years, but her latest plane hack has proven to be very popular. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The savvy traveller revealed how people travelling in pairs can secure a whole row of seats to themselves on a plane, by using a common superstition to their advantage.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In Chelsea’s video that she shared to TikTok and Instagram, she explained that when booking seats on a plane for two people, it’s important to look for an empty row of three seats. </span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CU4wk9RI50_/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CU4wk9RI50_/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Chelsea | Cheap Holiday Expert (@cheapholidayexp)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Once a free row is found, the pair should book their seats on the window side and aisle side, leaving one free seat in the middle. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to Chelsea, it’s unlikely someone would book a single seat in the middle of two others. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She also suggests booking towards the back of the plane, as the front rows often fill up the quickest. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Surprisingly, one way travellers are almost guaranteed to have the empty seat remain free is to book in the 13th row, as the number is shrouded in superstition! </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While Chelsea says this hack doesn’t always work, if the middle seat is booked you can always ask the solo traveller if they would like to switch so you can be seated next to your holiday partner. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The video has garnered over 300,000 views across her social media channels, with many viewers pledging to try the hack in their future travels. Give it a whirl!</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credits: Shutterstock / Instagram @cheapholidayexp</span></em></p>

Travel Tips

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10 tips for safe road trips

<p><strong>Check the brakes</strong></p> <p>To prevent accidents on the road, checking your brakes prior to departure should be at the top of your road trip checklist.</p> <p>Make sure they’re free of damage or rust, which will ensure they’re in optimal working order, and check the brake fluid as well.</p> <p>The latter ensures the pressure you put in when pressing down on the brake pedal actually makes it to the brakes. It’s basically the secret ingredient to ensure they do their job successfully.</p> <p><strong>Check the lights</strong></p> <p>When driving, you want to make sure that other drivers know when you’re switching lanes, pressing on the brakes or turning your hazard lights on.</p> <p>Doing a quick check at home is easy: simply test out all the lights with a friend to see which ones are and are not functional.</p> <p>Take note of any lights that may need to have their bulb replaced, and get them fixed before you go.</p> <p><strong>Check your battery</strong></p> <p>The battery is the power that keeps your car running.</p> <p>Before a lengthy drive, you need to make sure your battery is juiced-up.</p> <p>Particularly during the summer, the heat can increase the rate in which the battery corrodes.</p> <p>Batteries tend to have a lifespan of three to five years, so if your road trip falls somewhere within that timeframe, it’s best to get it changed before you and your family hit the road.</p> <p><strong>Check your tyre pressure</strong></p> <p>Warm weather can really do a number on your tyres.</p> <p>As the temperature rises, pressure increases, so you would have to let some air out of your tyres.</p> <p>It’s best to get your tyre pressure checked before you hit the road, as the more you drive, the more the pressure mounts.</p> <p>Always keep a tyre-pressure gauge with you in the car – they’re inexpensive to purchase.</p> <p>Also, make sure the pressure on your spare tyre is sufficient, too.</p> <p><strong>Check oil and other fluids</strong></p> <p>If your car is due to be serviced for an oil check, be sure to do so prior to leaving on your road trip, rather than waiting until you return.</p> <p>The oil, after all, ensures your engine runs smoothly, so the oil has to be checked whether it is both sufficient as well as clean.</p> <p>It’s pretty easy to do on your own – you can find various ‘how-to’ guides online – but for extra precaution, bring it in to your dealer or a trusted mechanic.</p> <p>While you’re there, have them check the transmission, radiator and brake fluids.</p> <p><strong>Fill up on engine coolant</strong></p> <p>As its name suggests, engine coolant keeps the engine from overheating.</p> <p>So if you’re looking to spend hours on the road under the sun, this is an indispensable tip.</p> <p>Some think that plain water could be a good (and less expensive) alternative to coolant but while water does transfer heat better than coolant, coolant actually boasts ingredients that will keep your engine, radiator and heater from corroding.</p> <p><strong>Check your air filter</strong></p> <p>A car’s air filter tends to need a cleaning every time you get your oil checked – or as often as is suggested in your owner’s manual.</p> <p>It’s imperative that the filter isn’t clogged or dirty.</p> <p>By keeping it clean, your car will continue to run smoothly, as it’s an integral part of your engine’s system, keeping gunk from infiltrating the fuel system.</p> <p><strong>Check windshield wipers and top up washer fluid</strong></p> <p>On average, windshield wiper blades need to be replaced once per year – this is particularly the case in cold climates where the blades tend to wear out fast.</p> <p>How do you know when they need to be replaced?</p> <p>f they leave streaks behind and actually hinder visibility more than they help with it, it is time for a replacement.</p> <p>Be sure to also fill up on windshield washer fluid before you hit the road – you don’t want to be caught with an empty tank after a particularly muddy detour!</p> <p><strong>Get a car wash</strong></p> <p>A newly-washed car boosts a driver’s morale, and gets him or her excited for the road ahead.</p> <p>On the safety front, a washed car just makes your journey all the more secure.</p> <p>After all, a clean window ensures visibility, and spotless tail lights make it easy for drivers behind you to know when you’re hitting the brakes.</p> <p><strong>Stock and emergency kit</strong></p> <p>When you’re on the road – whether for a short or a long trip – you never know what to expect. Being well prepared for the unknown is imperative; that’s why a roadside emergency kit is wise to have in your car at all times.</p> <p>You can put one together on your own, or you can buy a kit at the store; they tend to include the likes of jumper cables, a flashlight, batteries, duct tape, bungee cords, a camper’s knife, etc.</p> <p>Be sure to also have a first-aid kit handy, as well as a couple of blankets, bottles of water, and non-perishable, protein-rich snacks like granola bars in your trunk, in case of an extended emergency.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article first appeared in <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/road-trips/10-tips-safe-road-trips" target="_blank">Reader's Digest</a>.</em></p>

Travel Tips

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Six ways to transform your travel

<p>After a cooped-up year, Americans are hungry to travel. Passport offices <a rel="noopener" href="https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/how-apply/processing-times.html" target="_blank">are overwhelmed</a> with applications. In July, airlines scheduled and operated <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.bts.gov/newsroom/air-travel-consumer-report-july-2021-numbers" target="_blank">the highest number of flights</a> since the pandemic began, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.cnbc.com/2021/08/22/national-parks-are-booming-that-may-ruin-your-next-trip.html" target="_blank">Record numbers</a> of travelers visited the U.S. national parks this summer, after <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/annual-visitation-highlights.htm" target="_blank">a nearly 28% drop</a> due to the pandemic.</p> <p>But why do we travel in the first place? What is the allure of the open road?</p> <p>As a professor of <a rel="noopener" href="https://divinity.vanderbilt.edu/people/bio/jaco-hamman" target="_blank">religion, psychology and culture</a>, I study experiences that lie at the intersection of all three. And in my <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.fortresspress.com/store/product/9781506472065/Just-Traveling" target="_blank">research on travel</a>, I’m struck by its unsolvable paradoxes: Many of us seek to get away, in order to be present; we speed to destinations, in order to slow down; we may care about the environment, but still leave carbon footprints.</p> <p>Ultimately, many people hope to return transformed. Travel <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1080/02508281.2017.1292177" target="_blank">is often viewed</a> as what anthropologists call a “<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Arnold-van-Gennep" target="_blank">rite of passage</a>”: structured rituals in which individuals separate themselves from their familiar surroundings, undergo change and return rejuvenated or “reborn.”</p> <p>But travelers are not just concerned with themselves. The desire to explore may be a defining human trait, as I argue <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.fortresspress.com/store/product/9781506472065/Just-Traveling" target="_blank">in my latest book</a>, but the ability to do it is a privilege that can <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2017.11.002" target="_blank">come at a cost</a> to host communities. Increasingly, the tourism industry and scholars alike are interested in <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/tri/2012/00000016/F0020003/art00003" target="_blank">ethical travel</a>, which minimizes visitors’ harm on the places and people they encounter.</p> <p>The media inundate tourists with advice and enticements about where to travel and what to do there. But in order to meet the deeper goals of transformative, ethical travel, the “why” and “how” demand deeper discernment.</p> <p>In writing “<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.fortresspress.com/store/product/9781506472065/Just-Traveling" target="_blank">Just Traveling</a>: God, Leaving Home, and a Spirituality for the Road,” I studied travel stories in sacred scriptures and researched findings from psychologists, sociologists, ethicists, economists and tourism scholars. I argue that meaningful travel is best understood not as a three-stage rite but as a six-phase practice, based on core human experiences. These phases can repeat and overlap within the same journey, just as adventures twist and turn.</p> <p><strong>1. Anticipating</strong></p> <p>Traveling begins long before departure, as we research and plan. But anticipation is more than logistics. The Dutch aptly call it “voorpret”: literally, <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.wordsense.eu/" target="_blank">the pleasure before</a>.</p> <p>How and what people anticipate in any given situation has the power to shape their experience, for better or worse – even when it comes to prejudice. Psychology experiments, for example, have shown that <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000899" target="_blank">when children anticipate greater cooperation between groups</a>, it can reduce their bias in favor of their own group.</p> <p>But <a rel="noopener" href="https://iep.utm.edu/phenom/" target="_blank">phenomenology</a>, a branch of philosophy that studies human experience and consciousness, emphasizes that <a rel="noopener" href="http://ummoss.org/gall17varela.pdf" target="_blank">anticipation is also “empty”</a>: our conscious intentions and expectations of what’s to come could be fulfilled or dashed by a future moment.</p> <p>With that in mind, travelers should try to remain open to uncertainty and even disappointment.</p> <p><strong>2. Leaving</strong></p> <p>Leaving can awaken deep emotions that are tied to our earliest experiences of separation. The attachment styles psychologists study in infants, which shape how secure people feel in their relationships, <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-attachment-and-how-does-it-affect-our-relationships-120503" target="_blank">continue to shape us as adults</a>. These experiences can also affect how comfortable people feel <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.proquest.com/openview/cdd5594c53a7864881fb71e54a7422f1/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&amp;cbl=1819046" target="_blank">exploring new experiences</a> and leaving home, which can affect how they travel.</p> <p>Some travelers leave with excitement, while others experience <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0047287520966392" target="_blank">hesitation or guilt</a> before the relief and excitement of departure. Mindfulness about the stages of travel can help people <a rel="noopener" href="https://web.a.ebscohost.com/abstract?direct=true&amp;profile=ehost&amp;scope=site&amp;authtype=crawler&amp;jrnl=1931311X&amp;asa=Y&amp;AN=31381043&amp;h=nduDC2UXNGxscORELrBj%2fjZ6b4Xdbo4r5mkTwNhY2n2D7Oi0KAOPOw%2fsqhqshijmc4%2bMd%2fLjR2%2b3rONsdCopzg%3d%3d&amp;crl=c&amp;resultNs=AdminWebAuth&amp;resultLocal=ErrCrlNotAuth&amp;crlhashurl=login.aspx%3fdirect%3dtrue%26profile%3dehost%26scope%3dsite%26authtype%3dcrawler%26jrnl%3d1931311X%26asa%3dY%26AN%3d31381043" target="_blank">manage anxiety</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/423194/original/file-20210924-46597-1r365j1.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Mask-clad passengers pass through an airport arrival hall in Lisbon, Portugal in September 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic." /></p> <p><em><span class="caption">Travel has picked up since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. For many people, taking a trip prompts anxiety as well as excitement.</span> <span class="attribution"><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/mask-clad-travelers-and-people-waiting-for-arriving-news-photo/1338516440?adppopup=true" target="_blank" class="source">Horacio Villalobos/Corbis News via Getty Images</a></span></em></p> <p><strong>3. Surrendering</strong></p> <p>Travelers cannot control their journey: A flight is canceled, or a vehicle breaks down; the weather report predicts sunshine, but it rains for days on end. To some extent, they have to surrender to the unknown.</p> <p>Modern Western cultures tend to see “surrendering” as something negative – as hoisting a white flag. But as a <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1080/00107530.1990.10746643" target="_blank">therapeutic concept</a>, surrendering helps people let go of inhibiting habits, discover a sense of wholeness and <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1215/10407391-2005-006" target="_blank">experience togetherness</a> with others. The perfectionist learns that a changed itinerary doesn’t mean a diminished travel experience and lets go of their fear of failure. The person with a strong sense of independence grows in vulnerability as they receive care from strangers.</p> <p>In fact, some psychological theories hold that the self longs for surrender, in the sense of liberation: letting down its defensive barriers and <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0022167820975636" target="_blank">finding freedom</a> from attempts to control one’s surroundings. Embracing that view can help travelers cope with the reality that things may not go according to plan.</p> <p><strong>4. Meeting</strong></p> <p>Meeting, traveling’s fourth phase, is the invitation to discover oneself and others anew.</p> <p>All cultures have unconscious “<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.routledge.com/The-Location-of-Culture/Bhabha/p/book/9780415336390" target="_blank">rules of recognition</a>,” their own ingrained customs and ways of thinking, making it more difficult to forge cross-cultural connections. Carrying <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Serene-Tse-2/publication/347739970_Assessing_explicit_and_implicit_stereotypes_in_tourism_self-reports_and_implicit_association_test/links/60ad92f1299bf13438e82cbe/Assessing-explicit-and-implicit-stereotypes-in-tourism-self-reports-and-implicit-association-test.pdf" target="_blank">conscious and unconscious stereotypes</a>, travelers may see some people and places as uneducated, dangerous, poor or <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229405" target="_blank">sexual</a>, while hosts may see travelers as rich, ignorant and exploitable.</p> <p>Going beyond such stereotypes requires that travelers be mindful of behaviors that can add tension to their interactions – knowing conversational topics to avoid, for example, or following local dress codes.</p> <p>In many parts of the world, those challenges are intensified <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1468797603049658" target="_blank">by the legacy of colonization</a>, which makes it harder for people to meet in authentic ways. Colonial views still influence Western perceptions of nonwhite groups as <a rel="noopener" href="https://hrcak.srce.hr/index.php?show=clanak&amp;id_clanak_jezik=80794" target="_blank">exotic</a>, <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1080/14616688.2012.762688" target="_blank">dangerous</a> and inferior.</p> <p>Starting to overcome these barriers demands an attitude known as <a rel="noopener" href="https://melanietervalon.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/CulturalHumility_Tervalon-and-Murray-Garcia-Article.pdf" target="_blank">cultural humility</a>, which is deeper than “cultural competence” – simply knowing about a different culture. Cultural humility helps travelers ask questions like, “I don’t know,” “Please help me understand” or “How should I…”</p> <p><strong>5. Caring</strong></p> <p>Caring involves overcoming “<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/mono/10.4324/9781003070672/moral-boundaries-joan-tronto" target="_blank">privileged irresponsibility</a>”: when a traveler does not recognize their own privilege and take responsibility for it, or does not recognize other people’s lack of privilege.</p> <p>Travel becomes irresponsible when tourists ignore injustices and inequities they witness or the way their travels contribute to the <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1108/TR-03-2017-0066" target="_blank">unfolding climate crisis</a>. Ethically, “empathy” is not enough; travelers must pursue solidarity, as an act of “<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.fortresspress.com/store/product/9781506472065/Just-Traveling" target="_blank">caring with</a>.” That might mean hiring local guides, eating in family-owned restaurants and being mindful of the resources like food and water that they use.</p> <p><strong>6. Returning</strong></p> <p>Travels do end, and returning home can be <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.4337/9781786438577.00025" target="_blank">a disorienting experience</a>.</p> <p>Coming back can cause <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/90015633" target="_blank">reverse culture shock</a> if travelers struggle to readjust. But that shock can diminish as travelers share their experiences with others, stay connected to the places they visited, <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2016.05.004" target="_blank">deepen their knowledge</a> about the place and culture, anticipate a possible return trip or get involved in causes that they discovered on their trip.</p> <p>I believe that reflecting on these six phases can invite the kind of mindfulness needed for transformative, ethical travel. And <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.scielo.br/j/aabc/a/76CfqdL5pPBZLcQy9FdWwxn/?lang=en&amp;format=html" target="_blank">amid a pandemic</a>, the need for thoughtful travel that prioritizes host communities’ well-being is clear.</p> <div> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.ats.edu/" target="_blank">Vanderbilt University Divinity School is a member of the Association of Theological Schools.</a></em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/167687/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <em>The ATS is a funding partner of The Conversation U.S.</em></div> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jaco-j-hamman-408106" target="_blank">Jaco J. Hamman</a>, Professor of Religion, Psychology, and Culture, <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/vanderbilt-university-1293" target="_blank">Vanderbilt University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/looking-for-transformative-travel-keep-these-six-stages-in-mind-167687" target="_blank">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/338598/original/file-20200529-78871-1g5gse5.jpg?w=128&amp;h=128" alt="" /></p>

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Why jetlag is worse flying east

<p>Frequent travellers often insist that flying east causes worse jetlag than flying west. And, despite those who may dismiss the notion, a new study suggests that they are right.</p> <p>A group of scientists from the University of Maryland produced mathematical models to show why this might be.</p> <p>Jetlag is believed to be caused by the disruption of our body clocks – the circadian rhythm.</p> <p>According to the study, this cycle, on average, runs over a little more than a day – about 24.5 hours. As flying west, in the same direction as the rotation of the Earth, lengthens the day slightly, it is more in tune with our body’s cycle than flying east, which shortens the day.</p> <p>That may also explain why some people are affected more or less severely by jetlag than others, <a rel="noopener" href="http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/chaos/26/9/10.1063/1.4954275" target="_blank">the study, published in the journal </a><a rel="noopener" href="http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/chaos/26/9/10.1063/1.4954275" target="_blank">Chaos</a>, says, as individual circadian rhythms can be longer or shorter than the typical 24.5 hours.</p> <p>The circadian rhythm itself is regulated by a clump of brain cells known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus, controlled by exposure to light.</p> <p>When travelling by air, changes to the available light are thrown out of kilter, resulting in jetlag. So the researchers developed a mathematical model to simulate what happens to these brain cells when this happens.</p> <p>This showed the microscopic dynamics of individual pacemaker cells in the suprachiasmatic nucleus and found that not all cells adjust to a new time zone at the same rate, but as a group arrive at the same result about the same time.</p> <p>“Our model explores what would happen to an individual if he/she were suddenly taken from one time zone and dropped in another,” lead author Michelle Girvan was quoted by Gizmodoas saying.</p> <p>“The important 30-minute difference that comes into play is that the natural frequency of [the brain cells] is about 30 minutes longer than 24 hours.”</p> <p>The study calculated that, with the average circadian cycle of 24.5 hours, it would take a person just under four days to recover from a trip in which they passed westward through three time zones. But it would take just over four days after travelling east.</p> <p><em><img id="cosmos-post-tracker" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=11427&amp;title=Why+jetlag+is+worse+flying+east" alt="" width="1" height="1" />Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/biology/why-jetlag-is-worse-flying-east/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a>.</em></p>

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British Airways introduces gender neutral greetings

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">British Airways are adopting new tactics to make their journeys more inclusive to all travellers. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The UK airline giant is joining a growing list of travel companies that are implementing more gender-neutral language, by ditching the traditional "ladies and gentlemen" greeting.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While the move falls in line with an industry-wide global trend, the decision is also due to a change in the airline’s clientele, with the carrier reporting more children onboard since COVID-19 restrictions have been lessened. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to the </span><a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/10/09/hello-passengers-inclusive-welcome-announcement/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Telegraph</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, the new policies would adhere to changing social norms, as well as make younger customers feel more included. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The airline is just one of many to make the important change. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Japan Airlines was one of the first major carriers to ditch the traditional “ladies and gentlemen” titles for inflight announcements back in 2020. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">German carrier Lufthansa also changed their language to a more inclusive tone in July, as they pledged their commitment to diversity. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Qantas has also made strides towards inclusivity in 2018, as they changed the use of “mother and father” to “parents” on all flights to include parents of different sexualities. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At the time, the airline introduced a new staff booklet highlighting language geared towards the</span> <a href="https://www.qantasnewsroom.com.au/media-releases/qantas-releases-video-to-celebrate-the-spirit-of-australia/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Spirit of Inclusion"</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">which advised against using language that could be deemed offensive to the LGBTQ+ community. </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: Shutterstock</span></em></p>

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Time travel: five ways that we could do it

<div class="copy"> <p>n 2009 the British physicist Stephen Hawking held a party for time travellers – the twist was he sent out the invites a year later (No guests showed up).</p> <p>Time travel is probably impossible. Even if it were possible, Hawking and others have argued that you could never travel back before the moment your time machine was built.</p> <p>But travel to the future? That’s a different story.</p> <p>Of course, we are all time travellers as we are swept along in the current of time, from past to future, at a rate of one hour per hour.</p> <p>But, as with a river, the current flows at different speeds in different places.</p> <p>Science as we know it allows for several methods to take the fast-track into the future. Here’s a rundown.</p> <h2>1. Time travel via speed</h2> <p>This is the easiest and most practical way to time travel into the far future – go really fast.</p> <p>According to Einstein’s theory of special relativity, when you travel at speeds approaching the speed of light, time slows down for you relative to the outside world.</p> <p>This is not a just a conjecture or thought experiment – it’s been measured. Using twin atomic clocks (one flown in a jet aircraft, the other stationary on Earth) physicists have shown that a flying clock ticks slower, because of its speed.</p> <p>In the case of the aircraft, the effect is minuscule. But If you were in a spaceship travelling at 90% of the speed of light, you’d experience time passing about 2.6 times slower than it was back on Earth.</p> <p>And the closer you get to the speed of light, the more extreme the time-travel.</p> <p>The highest speeds achieved through any human technology are probably the protons whizzing around the Large Hadron Collider at 99.9999991% of the speed of light.</p> <p>Using special relativity we can calculate one second for the proton is equivalent to 27,777,778 seconds, or about 11 <em>months</em>, for us.</p> <p>Amazingly, particle physicists have to take this time dilation into account when they are dealing with particles that decay.</p> <p>In the lab, muon particles typically decay in 2.2 microseconds. But fast moving muons, such as those created when cosmic rays strike the upper atmosphere, take 10 times longer to disintegrate.</p> <h2>2. Time travel via gravity</h2> <p>The next method of time travel is also inspired by Einstein. According to his theory of general relativity, the stronger the gravity you feel, the slower time moves.</p> <p>As you get closer to the centre of the Earth, for example, the strength of gravity increases. Time runs slower for your feet than your head.</p> <p>Again, this effect has been measured. In 2010, physicists at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) placed two atomic clocks on shelves, one 33 centimetres above the other, and measured the difference in their rate of ticking.</p> <p>The lower one ticked slower because it feels a slightly stronger gravity.</p> <p>To travel to the far future, all we need is a region of extremely strong gravity, such as a black hole.</p> <p>The closer you get to the event horizon, the slower time moves – but it’s risky business, cross the boundary and you can never escape.</p> <p>And anyway, the effect is not that strong so it’s probably not worth the trip.</p> <p>Assuming you had the technology to travel the vast distances to reach a black hole (the nearest is about 3,000 light years away), the time dilation through travelling would be far greater than any time dilation through orbiting the black hole itself.</p> <p>(The situation described in the movie <em>Interstellar</em>, where one hour on a planet near a black hole is the equivalent of seven years back on Earth, is so extreme as to be impossible in our Universe, according to Kip Thorne, the movie’s scientific advisor.)</p> <p>The most mindblowing thing, perhaps, is that GPS systems have to account for time dilation effects (due to both the speed of the satellites and gravity they feel) in order to work.</p> <p>Without these corrections, your phones GPS capability wouldn’t be able to pinpoint your location on Earth to within even a few kilometres.</p> <h2>3. Time travel via suspended animation</h2> <p>Another way to time travel to the future may be to slow your <em>perception </em>of time by slowing down, or stopping, your bodily processes and then restarting them later.</p> <p>Bacterial spores can live for millions of years in a state of suspended animation, until the right conditions of temperature, moisture, food kick start their metabolisms again.</p> <p>Some mammals, such as bears and squirrels, can slow down their metabolism during hibernation, dramatically reducing their cells’ requirement for food and oxygen.</p> <p>Could humans ever do the same?</p> <p>Though completely stopping your metabolism is probably far beyond our current technology, some scientists are working towards achieving inducing a short-term hibernation state lasting at least a few hours.</p> <p>This might be just enough time to get a person through a medical emergency, such as a cardiac arrest, before they can reach the hospital.</p> <p>In 2005, American scientists demonstrated a way to slow the metabolism of mice (which do not hibernate) by exposing them to minute doses of hydrogen sulphide, which binds to the same cell receptors as oxygen.</p> <p>The core body temperature of the mice dropped to 13 °C and metabolism decreased 10-fold. After six hours the mice could be reanimated without ill effects.</p> <p>Unfortunately, similar experiments on sheep and pigs were not successful, suggesting the method might not work for larger animals.</p> <p>Another method, which induces a hypothermic hibernation by replacing the blood with a cold saline solution, has worked on pigs and is currently undergoing human clinical trials in Pittsburgh.</p> <h2>4. Time travel via wormholes</h2> <p>General relativity also allows for the possibility for shortcuts through spacetime, known as wormholes, which might be able to bridge distances of a billion light years or more, or different points in time.</p> <p>Many physicists, including Stephen Hawking, believe wormholes are constantly popping in and out of existence at the quantum scale, far smaller than atoms.</p> <p>The trick would be to capture one, and inflate it to human scales – a feat that would require a huge amount of energy, but which might just be possible, in theory.</p> <p>Attempts to prove this either way have failed, ultimately because of the incompatibility between general relativity and quantum mechanics.</p> <h2>5. Time travel using light</h2> <p>Another time travel idea, put forward by the American physicist Ron Mallet, is to use a rotating cylinder of light to twist spacetime.</p> <p>Anything dropped inside the swirling cylinder could theoretically be dragged around in space and in time, in a similar way to how a bubble runs around on top your coffee after you swirl it with a spoon.</p> <p>According to Mallet, the right geometry could lead to time travel into either the past and the future.</p> <p>Since publishing his theory in 2000, Mallet has been trying to raise the funds to pay for a proof of concept experiment, which involves dropping neutrons through a circular arrangement of spinning lasers.</p> <p>His ideas have not grabbed the rest of the physics community however, with others arguing that one of the assumptions of his basic model is plagued by a singularity, which is physics-speak for “it’s impossible”.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/physics/five-ways-to-travel-through-time/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Cathal O'Connell.</em></p> </div>

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Airbnb shares its best local hosts and stays

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Airbnb’s very first Host Awards have been announced, recognising the most welcoming, creative and big-hearted hosts around the country. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Categories include Best Unique Stay, Best Designed Stay and Best Regional Stay, with  winners ranging from a luxurious off-the-grid eco hut for two in Mudgee, to an architecturally designed guesthouse in Hobart, and a 100-year-old former grain shed that is wheelchair accessible on the outskirts of Toowoomba, Queensland. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Victoria’s Kate Quinlan took out Australia’s host of the year, with the 70s-style campervan on her family farm near Daylesford attracting 5 star reviews from guests around the world. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Queensland host Adrienne Penny, winner of the Community Contribution Award, won for offering respite to carers by hosting free-of-charge stays at her Sunshine Coast beachside apartment, while Cam O’Beirne, a former helicopter rescue crew member from Western Australia, was recognised for Most Magical Experience. Cam hosted an Airbnb Experience where guests embark on adrenaline-filled simulated rescue missions. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to News.com.au, Airbnb’s winning hosts were selected based on extensive data, guest scores and reviews, and with oversight from a panel of judges. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here’s a look at Australia’s standout properties: </span></p> <p><strong>Host of the year</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>:</strong> Kate Quinlan, Eganstown VIC. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Living on an historic farm once owned by her great-great-grandfather dating back to 1848, she has two listings on the property. These include a rejuvenated 9m Viscount Royal Caravan with a deck overlooking farm and bushland. Some of the highlights include a delicious continental breakfast and homemade jam for guests, but also thoughtful touches like balloons and fresh flowers for couples celebrating anniversaries and birthdays. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span><strong>Community Contribution Award:</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Adrienne Penny, Sunshine Beach QLD. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This award recognises those who go above and beyond for both guests and the local community. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Adrienne began hosting on Airbnb in 2015 when her children had left home. Equipped with an empty self-contained apartment downstairs, which had been used to host homestay students, she decided to take her passion for meeting new people from different parts of the world one step further and managed to earn an income as well. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With more than 100 visitors to date and many returning guests, Adrienne has started hosting carers at the apartment for free  - giving them a very well deserved few days respite. </span></p> <p><strong>Best Designed Stay:</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Slow Beam, West Hobart TAS.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This award recognises hosts who design their homes in such a way that really reflects personality and passion. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This Airbnb is an architecturally designed, luxurious guesthouse with stunning views of Hobart. Host Lauren set out to build something that would be both comfortable and make the most of the views while also being “mood, glamorous and relaxed”. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The black walls and ceilings were inspired by brutalist architecture. The host said the style reflects confidence and bold choices with the windows being the highlight in the property. </span></p> <p><strong>Best unique stay:</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Gawthorne’s Hut, Buckaroo NSW.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Recognising those who have a unique and amazingly distinctive home. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This gorgeous property is 5km from Mudgee where hosts Rick and Steph used to picnic before deciding to build guest accommodating in the spot. The hut was designed by an architect, which captures the best views but also offers that feeling of complete isolation once you arrive and settle in. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This property is truly off the grid, boasting no TV or internet connection, as to keep nature as the focal point. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span></p> <p><strong>Best regional stay:</strong> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The Grain Shed, Goomburra QLD.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This award recognises hosts who showcase the best that regional Australia has to offer.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sitting on 335 hectares in the Southern Downs region, this completely wheelchair accessible property is a converted grain shed. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Located in Goomburra, a two-hour drive from Brisbane, between Toowomba and Warwick, the property is home to several sacred sites. Soaking up the view from the verandah you will often be able to spot some beautiful wildlife. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span></p>

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10 hotel secrets from a former hotel inspector

<p>Secrets of a hotel inspector </p> <p>I worked as a hotel inspector and photographer for seven years at Forbes Travel Guide and Oyster.com (a TripAdvisor company). Though it sounds like a made-up job for a protagonist in a rom-com, I can assure you that inspecting and photographing hotels was very much my real life. I really did get paid to order room service, sit by infinity pools, and ensure the cocktails were made with high-quality booze. I also had to count closet hangers, photograph bathtub grime, and memorise hotel staff names and uniforms.</p> <p>For Forbes Travel Guide, I anonymously booked two to three nights in luxury hotels. I ran each hotel through a series of identical service and facility tests to give it a star rating (yep, that’s how Forbes assigns five-star hotels). The hotels were almost always ultra-expensive and emphasised personalised service and stunning locations. At Oyster, the hotel staff usually knew I was coming and gave me a tour and access to take photographs. I’d often spend the night, but not always. After visiting, I’d write a hotel summary and guide explaining the hotel’s pros, cons, location, rooms and features, accompanied by the photographs.</p> <p>The two jobs were vastly different, but over the span of my career, I’ve slept in several hundred hotels for review purposes on five continents. The hotels ranged from tiny bed-and-breakfasts in Italy to enormous all-inclusive resorts in Cozumel to trendy boutique hotel openings in Los Angeles. Here are some of the hotel secrets I learned over the years. And no, I never experienced bed bugs!</p> <p><strong>1. Do your hotel research on trip advisor </strong></p> <p><span>If you’re taking a holiday based on a destination, and not to specifically visit one famous hotel, start with a TripAdvisor search of the area. I used to work for TripAdvisor, but it really is the best travel site for reading reviews from past guests, looking at photos, and getting an idea of the different room types and rates without the hotel’s marketing department getting in the way. You can also filter results to look at large hotels or zero in on properties with specific features like all-inclusive rates, swimming pools, adult-only, beachfront, or within a few kilometres of tourist attractions like national parks, beaches and ski lifts.</span><span></span></p> <p><strong>2. Book with the hotel directly </strong><span></span></p> <p>Hotel booking websites, like TripAdvisor and Hotels.com, are an easy online way to figure out which hotels in your price range have open rooms. But once you’ve decided where to stay, book directly with the hotel. For one thing, most hotel inspectors book directly. You might be flagged as a hotel critic or writer and be given special treatment. Note that hotel inspectors are actually trained to look for special treatment, and we might abandon an inspection if we think we’ve been flagged by staff. After all, we’re trying to figure out how hotels actually treat real guests. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cash in on a suite upgrade or complimentary bottle of Champagne.</p> <p>More importantly, third-party booking sites usually get the worst and tiniest rooms – the rooms that haven’t yet been renovated or are located near the noisy ice machine. Hotels usually keep the best rooms for themselves to sell directly to guests. If you find a great deal on a third-party booking site, the hotel will often price match it to keep your business with them directly.</p> <p>Accountability is also important. If something goes wrong, like the need to cancel or change the dates of stay, the hotel is way more likely to work with you to find a solution or reschedule for the same price if you’ve booked with them. There are lots of third-party hotel booking reservation horror stories out there.</p> <p><strong>3. Don't trust the decorative bedding</strong></p> <p><span>One of the things I miss most about my hotel inspecting days is how comfortable and cosy a hotel bed can be. Freshly ironed Italian sheets, perfectly plumped down pillows and multi-thousand dollar California king-size mattresses are a real bedtime treat. But! Stay away from the decorative elements of the bed. Those decorative pillows and runners likely aren’t getting washed between guests. And if the housekeeping staff stores bedding elements on the floor during turndown service? Just tuck them in the closet for the rest of your stay. Ew.</span></p> <p><strong>4. Be direct about your needs</strong></p> <p>I know it’s old-fashioned, but part of my process as a hotel inspector at Forbes Travel Guide was to call the hotel’s reservation hotline and make a booking with their reservation team. Yes, it took longer. But, it’s an ideal time to have a chat with a staff member about your hotel needs. This is the best time to tell the hotel if you’ll be arriving early (there are no guarantees prior to check-in time, but staff can flag your room to be cleaned first). You can also request a room on a higher floor, away from the elevator, or with non-adjoining rooms. Want reservations at their restaurant? Let them know. Need a spa appointment? Now’s the time. The reservationist’s job is to convey all of this data to the front desk and housekeeping teams so they can take care of the details before you arrive.</p> <p>If you don’t want to book on the phone, there should be a comment section where you can type in special requests. At higher-end hotels, a staff member will likely reach out to you prior to arrival to make sure everything’s arranged to your liking. And make sure to mention if you’re celebrating a birthday or anniversary. You just might get a bottle of wine or dessert to mark the occasion, like I did when I celebrated a birthday in Hawaii. The hotel staff sent a bottle of pineapple wine and a birthday cake.</p> <p><strong>5. Check out the fitness centre for freebies</strong></p> <p>Sure, you can work out in the fitness centre if you want. But even if you’re taking a break from working out while on holiday, stop by the hotel gym. It’s often stocked with bottled water, fresh fruit and energy bars that you can grab. Large hotels and resorts also offer fun classes like outdoor yoga, beach walks and meditation that you might want to check out. For more freebies, ask the concierge desk if they have any coupons or discount codes for tourist activities, restaurants, shops or water parks. And if you need little extras like shampoo, a toothbrush, or another robe – call housekeeping and ask politely.</p> <p><strong>6. Join the hotel loyalty program </strong></p> <p><span>Since I often checked in using a pseudonym, or received a comped hotel room at a press rate, I didn’t get the insane hotel loyalty points you might be imagining. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sign up. The only way to earn hotel loyalty points is to book directly with the property. Some third-party booking platforms do run their own independent rewards programs, but those points are only good on their specific sites. Instead, stick to one or two hotel chain’s loyalty program, and you’ll eventually accrue enough points for free breakfast, later checkouts and free visits. Pro tip: check to see if your current credit card partners with any hotel chains for even more bonus points.</span></p> <p><strong>7. Splurge on room service, and make it breakfast</strong></p> <p>It’s not a real holiday if you don’t get room service at least once. My advice is to make it breakfast. There’s something so luxurious about eating a fruit plate in a bathrobe and lingering over coffee while you get ready for the day. Breakfast foods tend to travel best, too. I’ve had way too many less than stellar salmon and steak room service dinners (including one that gave me a severe case of food poisoning). If you’re at the hotel for dinner, I highly suggest having it at the bar instead of in your room.</p> <p>Even mid-range hotels usually allow guests to place their room service breakfast order the night before. Most hotels even have a room service order card you can simply place on the exterior doorknob the evening before. Simply make your breakfast selections, choose the time frame you’d like it delivered, and enjoy breakfast in bed the following morning.</p> <p><strong>8. If there's a problem, communicate it</strong></p> <p>Hotels want you to enjoy your stay. After all, hotels are part of the hospitality industry. It’s in a hotel’s best interest for all of their guests to have positive experiences so they return and recommend the hotel to friends and family. But issues can arise at even the most highly rated hotels. Before you take to social media to complain, let hotel staff know what went wrong and give them a chance to fix the situation. Maintenance staff is on hand to fix most issues, and management will switch your room (often with an upgrade) or comp your meal if necessary. I once checked into a luxury hotel room in Las Vegas that reeked of cigarette smoke. One quick call to the front desk and I was immediately switched to one that smelled better. Problem solved.</p> <p><strong>9. Ask for turn down service</strong></p> <p><span>Not all hotels offer turndown service, but most of the four- and five-star hotels do. It might be automatic, but you can usually request it. It’s definitely worth getting the evening refresh for a stash of fresh towels, straightened bedding and emptied wastebaskets. Staff will often dim the lights and play soft music to set the stage for relaxation. The best turndown service also includes thoughtful extras like bedside water, your slippers laid out and even an evening treat like bath salts or chocolates.</span></p> <p><strong>10. Pack duct tape </strong></p> <p><span>This one is for all the light sleepers out there. Hotel rooms usually have high-quality blackout curtains to block external light, but what about all the lights inside the room? Blinking and bright lights on espresso machines, TVs, smoke detectors and the bedside alarm clock can bother sensitive sleepers. My solution? Place a little piece of duct tape over the lights before bed.</span></p> <p><em>This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/travel-hints-tips/10-hotel-secrets-from-a-former-hotel-inspector?pages=2">Reader’s Digest.</a> For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></em></p> <p> </p>

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10 carry-on items that could save your life

<p>1. Hair Ties </p> <p><span>For anyone with hair long enough to be pulled back into a ponytail, a hair tie can be a lifesaver, figuratively speaking. However, American medico Dr Patricia Quinlan used her hair tie to literally save someone’s life in 2015. When a passenger lost consciousness, according to NBC 10, Dr Quinlan determined that his blood pressure was “dangerously low” and he had an irregular heartbeat. The cabin crew supplied 16 ounces of saline solution (commonly found in airplane medical kits), and the good doctor used her hair tie as a tourniquet and whiskey to disinfect the needle so she could administer the solution to stabilise him.</span></p> <p><span>2. Multi-purpose tool </span></p> <p><span>Planning for the unexpected feels impossible because, well, it’s the unexpected. And a compact, all-in-one tool may make you feel as crafty, but will it make it through airport security? Maybe, maybe not. The Geekey Multi-Tool, however, is TSA-compliant, encompasses more than 16 tools, and is only a little bigger in size than the average house key, making it ideal for travel. What can it do? Geekey can act as a can opener, wire stripper, bottle opener, file, imperial and metric ruler, screwdriver tip, and more.</span></p> <p><span>3. Rechargeable flashlight</span></p> <p><span>In many an uncomfortable situation, light is your friend. Not having access to light can make any event more frightening. Saurabh Jindal, who runs the start-up Talk Travel, is always on the go. Because of that, a rechargeable flashlight has become a mainstay in his carry-on. “It’s simple and easy to carry,” says Jindal. “It helps a lot when you are in an unknown place and it is dark, and also when hiking through trails.”</span></p> <p><span>4. Rescue Blanket </span></p> <p><span>You might feel like you’re preparing for doomsday whenever you pack one of these, but a mylar rescue blanket could be key to survival in the event of an emergency. They certainly don’t look cozy and comfy, but they do help reduce bodily heat loss in a pinch. Plus, they’re affordable, compact, and lightweight—meaning there’s virtually no reason why you can’t stash one in your carry-on for those “just in case” moments.</span></p> <p><span>5. Personal alarm</span></p> <p><span>When you’re traveling alone, particularly to an unfamiliar place, it’s important to give yourself peace of mind in terms of safety. “A wearable personal safety alarm is a great idea,” says Namita Kulkarni, who runs the yoga and travel blog Radically Ever After. “It added to my sense of control on many a dark street and crowded public space. I slept with it under my pillow no matter what country I was in.”\</span></p> <p><span>6. Portable charger</span></p> <p><span>With our phones acting as our lifelines, traveling with one at low battery can be stress-inducing and, if an emergency occurs, even dangerous. Keeping a portable charger on hand to give your phone the juice it needs to be useful is important, and it won’t take up much space in your bag at all. The peace of mind is worth it. If you’re in a pinch, here’s how to charge your phone as quickly as possible.</span></p> <p><span>7. Hand Sanitiser </span></p> <p><span>You don’t have to be a germophobe to be put off by the concept of just how many germs reside on airplanes and in airports. Plus, they can get you really sick if you’re not careful, ruining your trip or even landing you in the hospital. For this reason, seasoned traveller David Wills, author of <em>World Citizen: Allen Ginsberg as Traveller</em>, always carries hand sanitiser. “It’s small enough that you barely notice it in a pocket of your bag, and it’s totally fine to take through any airport,” he says. “When it comes to hygiene-related emergencies, you really can’t beat it.” Believe it or not, alcohol-based hand sanitiser can even help you get a fire started, which could, of course, be essential in a survival situation.</span></p> <p><span>8. Water purification tablets</span></p> <p>If you’re headed somewhere without easy access to drinkable water and a filtered water bottle is too cumbersome for your carry-on, Thrifty Points founder and CEO Ben Packard suggests carrying water purification tablets. “These are small and never questioned,” he says. “Having the ability to purify water in a survival situation can mean the difference between life and death. They can be kept in your pocket, which is handy since you’re not supposed to take anything with you in an emergency situation on a plane.”</p> <p>9. Reusable bottle with filter</p> <p><span>As anyone who’s travelled in the past two decades knows, most airport security points around the world will confiscate liquids above the 100ml limit at the security checkpoint. This is problematic considering the way in which flying dehydrates the body. What’s a traveller to do? Carry a reusable water bottle that includes a filter. “Easy access to water in case you are short of it, especially in emergency or when in secluded areas, is a lifesaver,” says Jindal.</span></p> <p><span>10. First aid kit</span></p> <p><span>A no-brainer item that most of us likely overlook is a travel-size first-aid kit. It’s equipped with useful items for any number of situations. “You can buy kits that are quite small and just leave them in your carry-on bag at all times,” says Michael Anderson, founder of the adventure travel blog Passport Explored. “There’s no need to take them out for security checks or do anything special before bringing one onto the flight. These first aid kits should include items such as band-aids, gauze, disinfectant cream, bug-bite cream, aspirin, and tweezers.”</span></p> <p><span><em>This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/flightstravel-hints-tips/10-carry-on-items-that-could-save-your-life?pages=2">Reader’s Digest.</a> For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></em></span></p>

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Did you know these 5 places could disappear in your lifetime?

<p>When places are well-known and popular – historical and modern alike – we might take it for granted that they’ll be around forever. But sadly, many of the world’s best known and culturally significant landmarks are in jeopardy. Human activity has had a devastating effect on many valued places, including massive milestones of human achievement. And many of these are so much more than just tourist attractions – they’re unique, valuable remnants of ancient times and civilizations.</p> <p><strong>The Great Barrier Reef </strong></p> <p>This massive, once-thriving coral reef has suffered enormously over recent years, with coral bleaching – caused by climate change – stripping the coral of its nutrients. This, in turn, harms the rich marine life that calls the reef home. And, of course, this also depletes it of the dazzling colours that once were a hallmark of the Great Barrier Reef’s underwater wonder. The reef remains the largest coral reef ecosystem in the world, but projections have warned that the damage to it could become irreversible in the next 10 years.</p> <p><strong>Old City of Jerusalem </strong></p> <p>One of the world’s most spiritually significant places, the Old City of Jerusalem, is in danger of disappearing, UNESCO has found. The walls of the Old City are one of its trademark features. Most famously, the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, is a valuable pilgrimage site for people of the Jewish faith, one that dates back to around 20 BCE. The Wall is the only remnant of the city’s Second Temple. The city was actually listed on UNESCO’s list of endangered cultural sites in the 1980s. Widespread urbanisation has been found to pose a significant threat to the city.</p> <p><strong>Everglades National Park </strong></p> <p>This stunning Floridian wildlife sanctuary has sadly found itself fighting for its life in recent years. As ‘the largest designated subtropical wilderness reserve’ in North America, according to UNESCO, it’s been a beloved travel destination for American citizens for decades, but the ravages of time and human activity have not been kind to it. Its survival first came into question after it was battered by Hurricane Andrew in 1993. But it’s human influence that has posed the primary threat, as water flow to the site has decreased and the impacts of pollution have increased, resulting in harmful algal blooms. Its vast, diverse wildlife is more threatened than ever before.</p> <p><strong>The Taj Mahal </strong></p> <p>It’s hard to imagine this monolithic structure, located in Agra, India, being in danger. The structure itself is in some jeopardy from the elements, but the primary reason for concern is that the Indian Supreme Court could potentially close the attraction. The court has butted heads with the government, claiming that unless the government does a better job of preserving it, they’ll have to shut it down. Pollution is visibly altering the Taj’s pristine surface. It’s also experienced insect infestations. Flies of the genus Geoldichironomus, which breed in the heavily polluted Yamuna River, neighbouring the Taj, have encroached upon the structure in recent years.</p> <p><strong>Mount Kilimanjaro’s peak </strong></p> <p>This revered mountain, one of the Seven Summits, proves that even giants can fall to climate change. While the mountain itself, located in Tanzania, isn’t in imminent danger, its iconic snow cap might vanish – and shockingly soon. Research found that the snow cap had lost 85 per cent of the total area of its ice fields between 1912 and 2007, and the remaining ice could be history as early as 2030.</p> <p><em>Written by Meghan Jones. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/travel-hints-tips/10-top-tourist-attractions-that-could-disappear-in-your-lifetime">Reader’s Digest</a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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6 things you can’t take from your hotel room

<p><strong>Sheets and towels</strong></p> <p>Sheets, towels and other linens are definitely something you shouldn’t take from hotel rooms. As McCreary explains, the hotels’ goal is to prepare the perfect room for the next guest. Taking pricy essentials, like sheets, make it harder for hotel staff to do their job. According to the Telegraph, however, 68 percent of people in a survey admitted they steal linens and towels from hotel rooms. Beware that some hotels can track stolen towels thanks to electronic tags, HuffPost reports.</p> <p><strong>Electronics</strong></p> <p>Conteh notes that in most cases, there are disclaimers on all items that shouldn’t leave the room – especially in the case of pricy electronics. “They note that there will be a cost levied on the room charge if a tablet or other item of value goes missing or removed from the premises.</p> <p><strong>Robes</strong></p> <p>These plush robes are one of the most common items people think they can take from hotel rooms, but can’t, according to Conteh and McCreary. You will be charged! Slippers, on the other hand, won’t be used again and are typically OK to take.</p> <p><strong>Wooden hangers, glass bottles and mugs</strong></p> <p>There is a chance that taking these items from your hotel room could lead to consequences beyond an extra charge to your room – including being “blacklisted,” NBC reports. Hotels keep a record of guests who trash hotel rooms or steal items and might ban these people from booking rooms again. In rare scenarios, some people could get arrested. The Telegraph reports a couple in Japan was arrested for stealing robes and an ashtray. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so only take the complimentary items that you really need. Remember, just because you can take something doesn’t mean you should.</p> <p><em>Written by<span> Emily DiNuzzo</span>. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/travel-hints-tips/4-things-you-can-take-from-your-hotel-room-and-6-you-cant"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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Hotel inspector reveals biggest secrets

<p>I worked as a hotel inspector and photographer for seven years at Forbes Travel Guide and Oyster.com (a TripAdvisor company). Though it sounds like a made-up job for a protagonist in a rom-com, I can assure you that inspecting and photographing hotels was very much my real life. I really did get paid to order room service, sit by infinity pools, and ensure the cocktails were made with high-quality booze. I also had to count closet hangers, photograph bathtub grime, and memorise hotel staff names and uniforms.</p> <p>For Forbes Travel Guide, I anonymously booked two to three nights in luxury hotels. I ran each hotel through a series of identical service and facility tests to give it a star rating (yep, that’s how Forbes assigns five-star hotels). The hotels were almost always ultra-expensive and emphasised personalised service and stunning locations. At Oyster, the hotel staff usually knew I was coming and gave me a tour and access to take photographs. I’d often spend the night, but not always. After visiting, I’d write a hotel summary and guide explaining the hotel’s pros, cons, location, rooms and features, accompanied by the photographs.</p> <p>The two jobs were vastly different, but over the span of my career, I’ve slept in several hundred hotels for review purposes on five continents. The hotels ranged from tiny bed-and-breakfasts in Italy to enormous all-inclusive resorts in Cozumel to trendy boutique hotel openings in Los Angeles. Here are some of the hotel secrets I learned over the years. And no, I never experienced bed bugs!</p> <p><strong>Do your hotel research on TripAdvisor</strong></p> <p>If you’re taking a holiday based on a destination, and not to specifically visit one famous hotel, start with a TripAdvisor search of the area. I used to work for TripAdvisor, but it really is the best travel site for reading reviews from past guests, looking at photos, and getting an idea of the different room types and rates without the hotel’s marketing department getting in the way. You can also filter results to look at large hotels or zero in on properties with specific features like all-inclusive rates, swimming pools, adult-only, beachfront, or within a few kilometres of tourist attractions like national parks, beaches and ski lifts.</p> <p><strong>Book with the hotel directly</strong></p> <p>Hotel booking websites, like TripAdvisor and Hotels.com, are an easy online way to figure out which hotels in your price range have open rooms. But once you’ve decided where to stay, book directly with the hotel. For one thing, most hotel inspectors book directly. You might be flagged as a hotel critic or writer and be given special treatment. Note that hotel inspectors are actually trained to look for special treatment, and we might abandon an inspection if we think we’ve been flagged by staff. After all, we’re trying to figure out how hotels actually treat real guests. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cash in on a suite upgrade or complimentary bottle of Champagne.</p> <p>More importantly, third-party booking sites usually get the worst and tiniest rooms – the rooms that haven’t yet been renovated or are located near the noisy ice machine. Hotels usually keep the best rooms for themselves to sell directly to guests. If you find a great deal on a third-party booking site, the hotel will often price match it to keep your business with them directly.</p> <p>Accountability is also important. If something goes wrong, like the need to cancel or change the dates of stay, the hotel is way more likely to work with you to find a solution or reschedule for the same price if you’ve booked with them. There are lots of third-party hotel booking reservation horror stories out there.</p> <p><strong>Don’t trust the decorative bedding</strong></p> <p>One of the things I miss most about my hotel inspecting days is how comfortable and cosy a hotel bed can be. Freshly ironed Italian sheets, perfectly plumped down pillows and multi-thousand dollar California king-size mattresses are a real bedtime treat. But! Stay away from the decorative elements of the bed. Those decorative pillows and runners likely aren’t getting washed between guests. And if the housekeeping staff stores bedding elements on the floor during turndown service? Just tuck them in the closet for the rest of your stay. Ew.</p> <p><strong>Be direct about your needs</strong></p> <p>I know it’s old-fashioned, but part of my process as a hotel inspector at Forbes Travel Guide was to call the hotel’s reservation hotline and make a booking with their reservation team. Yes, it took longer. But, it’s an ideal time to have a chat with a staff member about your hotel needs. This is the best time to tell the hotel if you’ll be arriving early (there are no guarantees prior to check-in time, but staff can flag your room to be cleaned first). You can also request a room on a higher floor, away from the elevator, or with non-adjoining rooms. Want reservations at their restaurant? Let them know. Need a spa appointment? Now’s the time. The reservationist’s job is to convey all of this data to the front desk and housekeeping teams so they can take care of the details before you arrive.</p> <p>If you don’t want to book on the phone, there should be a comment section where you can type in special requests. At higher-end hotels, a staff member will likely reach out to you prior to arrival to make sure everything’s arranged to your liking. And make sure to mention if you’re celebrating a birthday or anniversary. You just might get a bottle of wine or dessert to mark the occasion, like I did when I celebrated a birthday in Hawaii. The hotel staff sent a bottle of pineapple wine and a birthday cake.</p> <p><strong>Check out the fitness centre for freebies</strong></p> <p>Sure, you can work out in the fitness centre if you want. But even if you’re taking a break from working out while on holiday, stop by the hotel gym. It’s often stocked with bottled water, fresh fruit and energy bars that you can grab. Large hotels and resorts also offer fun classes like outdoor yoga, beach walks and meditation that you might want to check out. For more freebies, ask the concierge desk if they have any coupons or discount codes for tourist activities, restaurants, shops or water parks. And if you need little extras like shampoo, a toothbrush, or another robe – call housekeeping and ask politely.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Megan Wood</span>. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/travel-hints-tips/10-hotel-secrets-from-a-former-hotel-inspector"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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4 things you can take from your hotel room

<p>Read along to see what you can pinch from a hotel room without getting in trouble! </p> <p><strong>1. Shampoo or conditioner</strong></p> <p>Much like the mini soaps stocked in the bathroom, the travel-size shampoo and conditioner are also fine to take from your hotel room. Hotels sometimes brand these items too, Conteh says. So taking their shampoos and sporting the hotel brand name can help the word out about a hotel.</p> <p><strong>2. Anything “complimentary”</strong></p> <p>Complimentary items could include things like dry-cleaning bags, coffee, creamers, sugar packets and certain marketing collateral pieces, Asmussen says. It’s fair game to take them with you. Joanna McCreary, hotel general manage, adds that some hotels even give exclusive complimentary gifts which you are, of course, free to take. “We love giving people champagne on check-in on peak arrival days,” she says. “We don’t advertise it, but do get a good deal on it, and complimentary surprise champagne you will find is a very easy sell.”</p> <p><strong>3. Paper and pens</strong></p> <p>These paper items also usually have the hotel brand name on them and serve as a marketing tool. Feel free to take them with you!</p> <p><strong>4. Soap </strong></p> <p>If there’s one thing most hotels reliably have in their rooms, it’s soap. And according to Ousman Conteh, hotel general manager, these mini bottles are OK to take from your hotel room. “Often hotels receive negotiated pricing for items from another brand,” he says. However, Curt Asmussen, managing director of ObieHospitality, notes that it’s not encouraged to take these items – but guests aren’t penalised in any way if they do.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Juliana LaBianca</span>. This article first appeared in </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/9-things-your-sweat-says-about-your-health" target="_blank"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/9-things-your-sweat-says-about-your-health" target="_blank">.</a> For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a rel="noopener" href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V" target="_blank"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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Workers reveal nasty secrets of luxury hotels

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A Reddit thread has amassed a large amount of views after it asked people to explain things that go on at five-star hotels that the public are not privy to. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The post began, "People who work at 5 Star Hotels: what type of s**t goes on that management doesn’t want people to know?"</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of the top voted posts came from one former employee who revealed guests should never drink from water glasses that are left in a hotel room.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Never trust glass in rooms," wrote one Reddit user. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"GRAs [Guest Room Attendant] are so stretched thin on time that they will clean the glasses with the same rags they clean the bathroom, after all their goal is to make the room look clean.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"I worked as a GRA in a five-diamond for years and there was over a year period that went by where we didn’t get a clean glass delivery. We didn’t have dishwashers in the room, so management was complicit. This was in a five-diamond, one of the top resorts in the world. Never trust glass in hotel rooms."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Another user shared just how disgusting hotel rooms are, even though they may look “clean”. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Don’t even get me started on how ‘clean’ those rooms are," the former hotel worker wrote. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Your $1000/night does not reflect those standards. They still wash them teacups in the bathroom sink or the bathtub."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Another post came from the husband of a former five-star employee who claimed the ultra wealthy are badly behaved guests. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He said the luxury hotels and residences where "rich people live at the hotels" were homed by the incredibly wealthy, and were the worst behaved.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Besides how absolutely disgusting everything inside the rooms actually is...I was most shocked by the behaviour of the ultra rich," they wrote.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"I’m not talking businessmen and doctors. I’m talking Saudi Princes and Heirs to Dynasty families. The level of comfort and technology these people have come to expect is things we cannot imagine.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"'What do you mean there isn’t there access to intercoms next to the bathroom for when I need services while going potty?' 'The television inside the shower is only a 40 inch and there is no gold in this room I need a better suite'. 'I’m gonna need you to go out, buy me better bedding, remake my bed, and then do it again tomorrow because I won’t sleep on the same bedding twice'.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"And that’s just the tip of the iceberg," they added.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One former employee also revealed bed bugs are a common occurrence, even in luxury hotels. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Bedbugs. Every single hotel from run down motels to 5-star resorts has dealt with bedbugs,” the user wrote. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"They happen in every hotel," another said. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"You might be paying $5k a night but your luggage was in the hold with everyone else's. If there's only one or two bugs and none in the adjacent rooms (diamond style, so above, below, and both sides) then you brought them in."</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Tip about bedbugs: when you arrive NEVER put your luggage on the bed," someone else went on to add. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"When you arrive, keep lights off, put luggage in bathroom, and then at the head of the mattress peel back the sheets and mattress pad. Bedbugs tend to congregate there, but scatter when there is light. If you find bedbugs, you can request another room."</span></p>

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Adorable koalas rehomed after over-eating trees

<p><span>Over 90 koalas have settled nicely into their new home after they ate all of their food sources in parts of Victoria. </span></p> <p><span>The marsupials were bundled into washing baskets and crates by wildlife rescuers, to be released into their new home in the Great Otway National Park, off the Great Ocean Road.</span></p> <p><span>54 female koalas also received fertility control in order to slow population growth, during the relocation.</span></p> <p><span><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7842328/koalas.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/086991c842e4458582969b2792c50ce1" /></span></p> <p><em>Images: Yahoo Australia</em></p> <p><span>Victoria's environment department (DELWP) only allowed 32 koalas to remain on site, however a total of 46 male and 46 female koalas were trucked to the nearby land north of Lorne. </span></p> <p><span> </span><span>They have been distributed throughout the land in lower numbers.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>DELWP has moved koalas in the region to avoid over-browsing of their favourite food, manna gums for six years.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>“It’s encouraging to see the manna gum trees at Cape Otway starting to recover – they’re in their best condition in ten years, with foliage returning and new saplings starting to grow,” a DELWP spokesperson said.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>“The health of the koala population is tracking well, much better than in previous years when the koalas had significantly depleted their food source, by stripping many manna gum trees of their leaves.”</span></p>

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Disney’s deadly fight against bizarre attraction

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Five years on since the death of two-year-old boy Lane Thomas Graves, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa are still fighting to keep his killer at bay. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lane died after playing with other children at the resort’s man-made Seven Seas Lagoon on the night of June 15, 2016.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7842031/disney-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/b6fe3535458345299bf845d3d6e02234" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The boy was tragically grabbed by an alligator who dragged him into the water, while he attempted to fill his bucket to make sandcastles. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lane’s father Matt Graves fought the alligator by attempting to pry its jaws open, but was left with major injuries. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Police divers sadly discovered Lane’s body submerged in the murky lagoon just a day later.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Disney is taking major strides to try and keep its Florida properties safe from alligators, but the exploding population of the deadly critters are making it as difficult as ever. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Reports say 250 alligators have been at Disney World since June 2016c however the massive reptile population is proving a hard challenge to control. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As an attempt to encourage Florida’s famous gator trappers, each one has been offered $US30 ($A40) for each alligator they trap.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7842032/disney-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/7d353879170a4e2f96544b9ed540ba8e" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Trappers are also allowed to keep any profits from the leather or meat sold.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, activists are fighting against Disney who say the alligators are rarely, if not ever, rehomed. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tammy Sapp, a spokeswoman for the wildlife commission, said the majority of the 250 alligators caught had been euthanised.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some of the reptiles are sent to farms, exhibits or zoos while those under 1.2m are relocated to other parts of the state.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The FWC takes public safety seriously and uses Targeted Harvest Area (THA) permits as part of a comprehensive effort to achieve alligator management goals,” Ms Sapp told the Orlando Sentinel.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“THA permits allow a managing authority to work directly with a designated FWC contracted nuisance alligator trapper, making the process for removing nuisance alligators more proactive and streamlined.”</span></p> <p> </p>

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Sam Burgess choked out SAS instructor during challenge

<p>Claims have been made that former NRL star Sam Burgess choked out an instructor during the filming of <em>SAS Australia.</em></p> <p>Reports say Burgess, who is one of 18 celebrities who will appear on the second season of <em>SAS Australia,</em> choked an instructor during an “intense” kidnapping exercise.</p> <p>According to Fox Sports, one of the challenges on the show saw Burgess along with seven other celebrities being “kidnapped” by two <em>SAS</em> instructors.</p> <p>“Sam took matters into his own hands, ordering [John] Steffensen to pull the handbrake,” <em>Fox Sports’</em> James Hooper claimed.</p> <p>“Burgess reached over and put the soldier in a head lock, choking him out, before climbing in to the driver’s seat and taking the wheel.”</p> <p>Reports say the point of the exercise was to see which of the other contestants would step up and set the other hostages free after they were thrown in as car that was driven up to speeds of 100km/h.</p> <p>Hooper says <em>SAS</em> instructors and producers were left “dumbfounded”.</p> <p>The ambulance was reportedly called.</p> <p>A Channel 7 spokesperson said: “The new season of <em>SAS Australia</em>, coming soon to Channel 7 and 7plus, is the most gruelling course in the world to date.</p> <p>“All participants will be pushed to their limits like never before.”</p> <p>The Burgess report follow after <em>SAS Australia</em> chief instructor, Ant Middleton, admitted Kyle and Jackie O that the cast from season two pushed his buttons.</p> <p>“There’s been some tears, there’s been aggression,” Middleton said on KIIS FM in May.</p> <p>“But I shut them down straight away.</p> <p>“You get a different setting, a different group of people and personalities and it’s gonna be a different show, but a lot of people still pushed my buttons,” he said.</p>

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8 ways to de-stress while travelling

<p>1. Plan out your time<br />If you’re always missing transport connections, look at how you are allotting your time. Your travel guide may say it takes 40 minutes to get to the airport. Allow at least an extra 20 minutes so you arrive feeling fresh and calm.</p> <p>2. Escape briefly<br />Slip away from the hustle and bustle once in a while. Most cities have botanic gardens, and there are always nature trails where you can enjoy the local scenery.</p> <p>3. Avoid unnecessary tech accessories<br />Smartphones, tablets or computers remind us of home. Leave as much technology behind as you can and allow yourself to feel a sense of freedom from everyday life.</p> <p>4. Do just one thing a day<br />For example, if you’re sightseeing, choose one place to visit (instead of four) and make a day of it with lunch or coffee in a nearby cafe.</p> <p>5. Bring snacks<br />Have a bag of non-perishable snacks on hand (try protein bars, dried fruit and nuts, juice boxes, or pretzels). Unexpected delays on a long journey will be more stressful if you’re hungry.</p> <p>6. Once in a while, do nothing<br />Lie down and just unwind.</p> <p>7. Stretch<br />Long bouts of sitting on planes and trains take a toll on your circulation. Lift your knees and stretch your calves for 30 seconds. This reduces the risk of blood clots that can result from sitting too long in one position.</p> <p>8. Keep perspective<br />Your troubles are often smaller than they seem. To remind yourself of that, keep a picture of the Earth taken from space, a starry night, or the ocean, and look at it whenever you feel overwhelmed. Amid countless stars and the crashing of waves against the shore, how important is getting to that third museum, really?</p> <p class="p1"><em>This article first appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/tips/destress-while-travelling"><span class="s1">Reader’s Digest</span></a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.com.au/subscribe"><span class="s1">here’s our best subscription offer</span></a>.</em></p>

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Research shows whipping horses doesn’t make them run faster, straighter or safer — let’s cut it out

<p>The Melbourne Cup is upon us. This year will be different due to COVID-19 — but one thing we don’t expect to change is <a href="https://theconversation.com/horse-racing-must-change-or-the-court-of-public-opinion-will-bury-it-125637">concern about horses’ welfare</a>, which seems to resurface each year.</p> <p>Just days before the Cup, Victoria’s parliament has heard allegations that unwanted thoroughbreds continue to be slaughtered in knackeries and abattoirs in New South Wales, The Guardian <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/29/nsw-stud-owned-by-gerry-harvey-among-those-accused-in-parliament-of-sending-racehorses-to-slaughter">reports</a>.</p> <p>Billionaire executive chair of Harvey Norman Gerry Harvey reportedly apologised after one of his ex-racehorses was sent to a pet food factory for slaughter, despite the state’s racing industry announcing rules against this in 2017. It’s not the first time we’ve heard of such <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-18/slaughter-abuse-of-racehorses-undermines-industry-animal-welfare/11603834">gruesome</a> <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-10/queensland-new-rules-racehorse-welfare-over-cruelty/11950912">cases</a>.</p> <p>Beyond this, there are persisting <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-01/people-who-wont-be-partying-on-melbourne-cup-day/7979074">concerns</a> about how racehorses have been ridden for more than a century. In particular, the use of the whip to “encourage” horses to run <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0015622">faster</a> and <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/241118388_Holding_the_whip_hand-a_note_on_the_distribution_of_jockeys'_whip_hand_preferences_in_Australian_Thoroughbred_racing">straighter</a> has been shown to potentially be both <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1558787813001007">painful</a> and <a href="https://beva.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.2746/0425164044868387">dangerous</a>.</p> <p>For our research, <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/10/11/1985">published yesterday</a> in the journal Animals, we analysed more than 100 race reports to determine exactly how whip use influences the dynamics of a race.</p> <p>We found whips make no difference to horse steering, jockey safety, or even a horse’s speed. Our study offers scientific findings that support Racing Victoria’s recently announced plan to gradually <a href="https://www.racingvictoria.com.au/news/2020-09-07/racing-victoria-calls-on-industry-to-progress-whip-reform">phase out whip use</a> until whips are only being used when absolutely necessary.</p> <p><strong>Justifications from the racing industry</strong></p> <p>Advocates of whip use, such as <a href="https://www.racingaustralia.horse/uploadimg/changestowhiprules.pdf">Racing Australia</a> and the <a href="https://www.britishhorseracing.com/regulation/the-whip/#:%7E:text=In%20British%20racing%20the%20use,of%20horses%20during%20a%20race.">British Horseracing Authority</a>, claim it’s necessary for horse and rider safety. They argue it facilitates the steering <a href="https://horseracingsense.com/why-jockeys-hit-horses-whipping-run-faster">necessary to reduce interference between horses on the course</a>.</p> <p>Another justification given is that whipping makes horses run faster. This is considered fundamental to racing integrity. In a billion-dollar industry that relies on gambling, all parties — including punters, trainers, breeders and owners — want to know the horse they’ve backed will be given every opportunity to win.</p> <p>For many racing aficionados, breaches of “<a href="https://www.racingvictoria.com.au/integrity/fair-racing-for-all">integrity</a>” and the thought of a horse not being fully “<a href="https://www.racingaustralia.horse/FreeServices/upcoming_rules_of_racing/RA%20Calendar%20Notice%20-%20Amendments%20to%20Australian%20Rules%20of%20Racing%20effective%201%20August%202018%20-%20135.pdf">ridden out</a>” on its merits is just as corrupt as the horse being doped, or a race being <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2004/mar/10/horseracing.kenoliver">fixed by some other means</a>.</p> <p><strong>The growing importance of racehorse welfare</strong></p> <p>But animal welfare is also important to racing integrity, according to the <a href="https://www.ifhaonline.org/default.asp?section=IABRW&amp;area=2">International Federation of Horseracing Authorities</a> and <a href="https://www.nj.gov/oag/racing/rulemaking/Riding_Crop%20Proposal.pdf">other racing bodies</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://qric.qld.gov.au/stewards-reports/">Racing stewards</a> are in the unenviable position of enforcing horse welfare during races, while also having to ensure whips are used to give each horse full opportunity to win.</p> <p>For all official races in Australia, there are detailed regulations for the number and style of whip strikes allowed at the different points of a course.</p> <p>Research over past decades has concentrated on jockeys’ accuracy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/when-the-pressure-is-on-some-riders-breach-the-whip-rules-in-horse-racing-71157">compliance with whip rules</a>, the link between whip use and <a href="https://beva.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.2746/0425164044868387">catastrophic falls that can injure or kill horses or jockeys</a> and simply whether or not whipping hurts.</p> <p>But until now, few have stopped to ask whether whips actually <em>work</em>. That’s simply because there hasn’t been a way to scientifically test the culturally entrenched assumption they do.</p> <p><strong>Racing without using the whip</strong></p> <p>However, since 1999, a form of whipping-free racing has been conducted in Great Britain via the “hands and heels” racing <a href="https://www.britishhorseracing.com/regulation/racing-excellence-series/">series for apprentice jockeys</a>. In this form of racing, jockeys are permitted to carry whips but can’t use them unless under exceptional circumstances, such as trying to avert a collision.</p> <p>After races, stewards produce an official report noting any unusual or unorthodox jockey behaviour (which may or may not have affected race placings), jockey infringements, horse movement on the course, interference between horses, and veterinary issues.</p> <p>We analysed reports for 126 races involving a total of 1,178 starters (horses and jockeys). These included all 67 hands and heels “whipping-free” races in the period starting January 2017 and ending December 2019. For these, we were able to case-match 59 traditional “whipping-permitted” races.</p> <p>Thus, we were able to compare the performance of racehorses under both “whipping-free” and “whipping-permitted” conditions in real racing environments, to figure out whether whipping makes horses easier to steer, safer to ride and/or more likely to win.</p> <p>Our results indicated no significant differences between horse movement on the course, interference on the course, the frequency of incidents related to jockey behaviour, or average race finishing times.</p> <p>Put simply, whip use had no impact on steering, safety or speed. Contrary to longstanding beliefs, whipping racehorses just doesn’t work.</p> <p><strong>The way forward</strong></p> <p>Our findings reinforce the need for more support for whipping-free races. Importantly, they indicate whip use could potentially be banned without any adverse effect on horses, riders or racing integrity.</p> <p>“Whipping-free” races are not the same as “whip-free” races. While some might argue for <a href="https://horseracingkills.com/campaigns/the-whip/">races with no whips at all</a>, an agreeable compromise would be to let jockeys carry whips, but only use them if their safety is jeopardised.</p> <p>This approach has already been adopted in Norway, where whipping-free races have been <a href="https://www.thoroughbreddailynews.com/a-whip-free-day-of-racing-in-norway/">held for more than 30 years</a> with no apparent negative consequences.</p> <p>Given evolving social values, we believe transitioning to a whipping-free approach is essential for the future of an industry that relies on a <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-horse-racing-in-australia-needs-a-social-licence-to-operate-79492">social licence to operate</a>.</p> <p><em>Written by <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kirrilly-thompson-189510">Kirrilly Thompson</a>, University of South Australia; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/bethany-wilson-578873">Bethany Wilson</a>, University of Sydney; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/paul-mcgreevy-139820">Paul McGreevy</a>, University of Sydney, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/phil-mcmanus-142805">Phil McManus</a>, University of Sydney. Republished with permission of<a href="https://theconversation.com/research-shows-whipping-horses-doesnt-make-them-run-faster-straighter-or-safer-lets-cut-it-out-144405"> The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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