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Preparing for an overseas flight is a little bit different than your standard domestic flight. About the only type of flight that compares is a U.S. coast to coast. If you properly plan it will make your long flight better.

What to Carry in Your Carry-on Bag on an Overseas Flight

What to Carry in Your Carry-on Bag on an Overseas FlightAlong with two bags full of clothes, toiletries, and gifts, I carry a good sized carry-on bag on my overseas flights. This bag has lots of space, pockets and zippers galore and room for everything I need for my long flight.I keep my passport and plane ticket in an outer pocket ready for easy access. I also keep my oversized wallet handy but in a different compartment. I know where these three items are at all times I could lose everything else and still survive with these essentials.I have my laptop and power cable in another compartment and use it while waiting for my flight. A book and a magazine are in the bag and will not be needed until I am in the air. I also bring a bag of trail mix in case the airline food isnt up to par.Smaller items are in a little pocket of my backpack. These include gum, mints, pens, keys, change, and any other little things I need to stow. I keep my noise reduction headphones near the top of my bag since they will be one of the first items out as soon as I get my seat. My glasses are also on top because I will need them for reading.I have space for a small half inch binder that I put various documents in. I usually have a local map or two, computer print outs of places I want to visit, and a small list of translated words and phrases. A copy of my itinerary is also in the binder. My checklist is also in here.I also stash anything that is breakable in my backpack. I wrap up these fragile items in layers of tissue and place them so they dont get jostled around. I try not to carry anything that can be broken with me but sometimes it is inevitable.It is a good idea to pack one change of clothes just in case your bags dont arrive at the same time as you do. This can just be a T-shirt, pair of shorts and shower slippers. This will hold you until you can file your claim and go shopping.I try to leave enough room for some duty free goodies. I am a smoker and take advantage of the tax free cigarettes. I take a risk buying three or six cartons depending on the length of my trip. The risk is that most countries only allow you to bring in one carton. I still havent figured out this rule since most "duty free" shops sell the cigarette cartons in 2 or 3 packs or have a buy one get one special. I have never been stopped by the customs officers but I do keep the duty free bag out of site in my backpack.I avoid carrying liquids because of the hassle of going through security. If allowed, I do carry a bottle of water with me. I like to keep hydrated on the flight. Some airports will let you bring it on board and others wont.Your other essentials may be some sort of music device like an I-Pod or your cell phone. I have an unlocked, tri-band phone that I can use in Thailand just by adding a SIM card. That is also placed in an easy to access part of the bag so that I can use it upon arrival.Packing the essentials in your carry-on bag will make your flight go a little easier. Plan for your bags being lost and that will help determine what you need to carry on board. Hopefully, your bags are waiting for you, but just in case, you dont want your vacation completely spoiled. So, pack your carry-on bag with the necessities and enjoy your flight.

Top 10 myths about the FSU countries

Top 10 myths about the FSU countries

There are some myths about these countries such as bears walking on the streets and the lack of running water in the cities. So, if you are curious to know whether it's true or not, this article will answer your questions.Myth # 1 The FSU women are only interested in foreigners, because of a green card or a ticket out of their country.We don't deny that there are cases of women playing extensive scams to get a visa/green card to leave the country. If you want to determine how sincere she really is - watch for red flags in your communication. If the woman doesn't seem sincere or gives you reasons to question her intentions, we would encourage you to take your time deciding about future steps of your relationship and exercising extra caution. Myth # 2 All FSU girls are out for money. Definitely, there are some girls who are looking for ways to rip you off. And I am sure, there are plenty of rich-husband-hunters everywhere. Besides, Europe and US arent an exception. It is practically impossible to read another persons mind or determine her motives at times and know for a fact does she or doesnt she. The only piece of advice we can give you is to follow our basic safety rules and keep an eye out for red flags. Myth # 3 The FSU people are impolite. Some foreigners have actually left Ukraine with such an impression. Yes, you can meet people, whose manners lay at home covered by a thick layer of dust. But in general, people here don't want to insult or offend anyone. The reason for making an impression of a rude nation is simply because they are straightforward, and I mean, VERY straightforward. In comparison to the US, for example, where people are used to hints and consequently remaining diplomatic, the FSU people don't use such methods. They are extremely direct in their behavior and communication. The only way to deal with this is: a) do not take it personally; b) talk to the person to find out what he/she means (a cultural gap often leads to many misunderstandings). Chances are, you will both benefit from the experience and will be laughing over whatever seemed to be a problem after just a few minutes of conversation. Myth # 4 There are problems with electricity and running water. Unfortunately, there still are some areas where you can come across with such problems. However, they are few and far between. If you are in any big city, you won't notice any differences from your home: hotels and apartments for rent are going Euro style, and you'll have no problems with showers, hot/cold water, electricity and any other commodities. Some people are also interested if it is safe to drink tap water or use it to brush their teeth. I definitely wouldn't recommend you to drink tap water. It's absolutely safe for showers, washing your face and brushing teeth, you won't transform into a monster after using it. However, for your convenience and peace of mind, purified water is sold in stores (bottles from 0,5 liter to 5 liters), which you are free to use for all your necessities. Most cities have Internet cafe's and many other types of services, you will not be left with a feeling of having visited an undeveloped country. Myth # 5 Beer or vodka?Bear has always been a symbol of Russia. In 2000 bear has been officially named a live symbol of the Russian forest, you can look at these magnificent strong creatures in many movies depicting Russian culture. But the reality is much less attractive. Brown bears have been listed as one of the disappearing species back in 1998. Since 1995 World Wildlife Fund has been conducting projects for brown bear preservation in the northern regions of Russia. So, you'd better visit zoo if you're eager to meet at least one. As for vodka it is plentiful as ever. However, a word of caution here also: many brands are fighting with the problem of being falsified. If you want to buy a quality alcohol drink, look for it in specialty stores or ask one of the natives to help you to find a reliable product. Myth # 6 All former USSR countries are still Russia. While former USSR countries may be called that for convenience reasons, you will score extra points with people you meet overseas if you actually show them you know their country as an independent entity. Imagine for a minute if someone said: Oh, well, you are from the US, I might as well call you all New Yorkers! Feel the difference? Same with the FSU countries: while they are all closely connected and culturally linked, they take pride in their independence and you have a chance of showing yourself as a culture conscious, well rounded person that you are if you avoid labeling all as Russia. Myth # 7 Russian mafia is everywhere.They may very well be, but it is very likely that you wont even guess or see them. While levels of corruption and organized crime are still fairly high in the FSU countries, you will not have any trouble if you follow the basic safety rules, keep clear of suspicious friends and places and remember to use common sense.Myth # 8 People will take advantage of me if they know I am a foreigner. Most likely. Many entrepreneurs will use this fact to their advantage. The key to not getting ripped off is keeping a low profile and making connections with locals, who will be able to tell you if you are getting a good deal or a good scam. Plus, if you are shopping/eating/partying with a local, chances of you getting fair treatment and prices are high. However, you should keep in mind that some places of interest (especially in large cities) have a policy of higher entrance fees for foreigners. Unfortunately, in such cases these are the rules you will have to accept. Myth # 9 Russia is cheap. In fact, it depends on where you are going. Moscow and St Petersburg have been named among the top expensive cities of the world, shifting some Western capitals and cities further down the list. If you are visiting a capital of an FSU country, it will be definitely more expensive than the regional centers. For example, in Ukraine you can find food and alcohol quite inexpensive, instead you will have to pay up on apartment, appliances and consumer electronics, if you choose to buy any. Also, remember that most handmade souvenirs will not run cheap, but you will pay less if you wait to buy them in smaller cities. Myth # 10 Russian brides are stunningly beautiful. I am yet to meet a foreigner who have remained indifferent to our girls beauty. I dont know whether this phenomenon is best explained by a complex ethnic mix, which has formed during the 70 years of communism, or by some other factors, but it remains a wide-spread knowledge that Former Soviet girls are beautiful. Many people share an opinion that among the most beautiful ladies of the world, still the best live in the Eastern part of the Ukraine. Besides, Russian brides are also smart. The level of education in the FSU schools has been admittedly recognized as is much more extensive than many other educational systems. Most students know some foreign language, it is common for graduates of high schools to have gone as far as calculus level in maths, and they most likely have read top classical works of world literature. But dont take our word for it, the ladies will prove to you they have brains to go along with beauty when you begin communicating with them.

Going Overseas? Do You Need Travel Insurance?

Going Overseas?  Do You Need Travel Insurance?

Depending on the travel insurance plan, "travel insurance" usually promises to cover you for cancellation or interruption of your trip, some form of emergency medical care while you are traveling, lost or stolen luggage, and various other troublesome occurrences.Before you decide on a travel insurance plan, it is wise to investigate the plan carefully and read the fine print. You should closely check any agreements with your travel agent, tour operator, airline, or other companies involved with your travel plans. The agreements may include written guarantees.If you have a fully refundable airline ticket, you may decide that you would not need trip cancellation/interruption insurance.On the other hand, it may be worthwhile noting that certain insurance plans can protect you by covering the financial costs in case of the following situations:A sudden, serious injury or illness to you, a family member, or a traveling companion. Financial default of the airline, cruise line or "tour operator" . Natural disasters or strikes that impede travel services. A terrorist incident in a foreign city within 10 days of your scheduled arrival in that particular city.The fact that you, a traveling member of your family, or a traveling companion were quarantined, served with a court order or required to serve on a jury.A circumstance in which you were directly involved in an accident enroute to departure for your trip.It is a good idea to check your other insurance policies. For instance, your homeowners or tenants insurance may cover the loss or theft of your luggage.Certain credit cards may also provide additional travel insurance, if you have used them to purchase the ticket for your trip.Your health insurance may provide certain coverage, regardless of where you travel. But it is very important to note that some policies only partially cover medical expenses abroad. Moreover, as previously explained in the section on Health Insurance, Medicare/Medicaid will not cover hospital and medical services outside the United States.

Khon Kaen-the Gateway to Isaan

Khon Kaen-the Gateway to Isaan

Most Thailand travelers have heard of Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket, but few venture to the northeast and head for the area know as Isaan. This is in the northeast and comprised of Khon Kaen, Korat, Udorn Thani and others.This is primarily a rural area with many rice farms. It is also the home of many expatriates who have settled down with their Thai lady and have made this their new home.I was in Korat twice during exercise Cobra Gold and only got to see this city briefly. Working 12 16 hour day didnt allow much time for sightseeing. But, I did notice that the cost of living was a lot less than the bigger tourist cities and the people were a heck of a lot friendlier.I visited Khon Kaen for the first time in 2007 to visit a lady that I met online. I immediately fell in love with the lady and also with the city of Khon Kaen.Khon Kaen is only a 55 minute flight from Bangkok departing from the old international airport Don Muang. The airport in Khon Kaen is very small and only has two departure gates.The city is a pleasant mix of old and new. We would go out for lunch or dinner and sit in small bungalows along the lake or one of the rivers and dine in pure bliss. Three or four plates of excellent food, a couple of beers and some water and the bill would be about $10 - $15. On the flip side, there is also KFC, Pizza Company and other fast food places. Western influence at its worst.Shopping again is a mix of old and new. You can visit the food market or the night market or head to the Fairy mall or the electronics mall. From cheap T-shirts to current movies on DVD to bootleg software, Khon Kaen has it all.I stayed at a small hotel called Cactus Resort. It was in the city but not in the heart. It would take us about 5 minutes to go to the mall or out to dinner. The price of the room was about $16 per night. The room was a decent size with cable TV, free Internet, hot and cold running water with a shower, and big bed and refrigerator. Of course, the room was air conditioned.The staff was pleasant and helped me set up my computer to access the Internet using their IP address. The maid even saw that I was drinking more than my allotted 2 free bottles of water and increased my free water to four bottles.The hotel didnt have a restaurant, but there was one right next door. This was not problem for me as my girl would cook my breakfast at her apartment and bring it to me and pick me up some food for lunch. We would then go out every night for dinner and drinks.Khon Kaen is a very relaxed and inexpensive place to live. I plan to retire there and will be looking to get a house on my next visit. Next time you plan a visit to Thailand, take a side trip to the northeast and experience all that Isaan has to offer.

Gloucester City Guide, Including Gloucester Hotels

Introduction:Gloucester is situated in the south-western section of England in the county of Gloucestershire, and is very near the Welsh border. Possessing a population that is well over 100,000 people, Gloucester is a bustling and thriving city as well as a popular tourist attraction. Gloucester is home to many historical sites and recreational activities, making it a place where tourists love returning to every year. No matter what time of year someone visits Gloucester there are plenty of things to do and see.Places of interest:Gloucester has much to offer both residents and tourists. From museums to galleries, from monuments, to historical sites, Gloucester is filled with an endless array of things to both see and do. Further, Gloucester is situated near other popular English cities, making such cities easily accessible. Popular cities surrounding Gloucester include: Bath, Belfast, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Nottingham, Oxford, and York.HISTORIC BUILDINGS: Gloucester Cathedral is the actual site where King Edward the II has been buried. In 681 AD this church was dedicated to St. Peter and the cathedral itself possesses a tremendous amount of Gothic architecture.WALKS AND TOURS: Both residents and tourists will enjoy the numerous trails and tours that can be found in Gloucester. The Severn Way is a 2100 mile walk along the river in Britain and there are Cathedral guides, historic walks and dock walks for everyone to enjoy.SHOPPING: There are plenty of fantastic places to shop while in Gloucester. The Mall Eastgate and the Kings Walk offer both specialist shops and boutiques, giving every tourist the ability to find suitable souvenirs.MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES: Gloucester is home to some of the finest museums and galleries; among them are the Nature in Art Museum, a museum totally dedicated to art that focuses on nature, and Gloucester City Museum and Art Gallery, with archaeological exhibits and more.EVENTS: Gloucester is a busy city, one filled with many events to attend and enjoy. Gloucester frequently hosts many festivals and museum events.Things to do:There are plenty of things to see in do in the gorgeous city of Gloucester. If truth be told, both residents and tourists will have no trouble finding recreational activities that are suitable for the entire family. From historic sites to educationally suitable recreational activities, Gloucester is the city that offers something for everyone.WILDFOWL AND WETLANDS CENTRE: in Slimbridge is a fantastic site for both children and adults alike. When visiting Gloucester, families will enjoy this recreational facility which was established in 1946. With trails to walk and many different species of birds to see, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre proves entertaining for all families. The cost of admission is as follows: 6, and children 3.60.HAILES ABBEY: in Winchcombe is the ruins of a Cistercian Abbey that was established in the 13th century, in the year 1246. Visitors can still see and enjoy its cloistered arches and visit the shop and museum located on this historic site.WESTONBIRT ARBORETUM: in Tetbury is a section of land that is home to well over 18,000 trees. Families can enjoy the trails all throughout Westonbirt Arboretum and visits will find the location particularly beautiful during the fall. With a visitors centre, a shop, and a museum as well as a plant centre and places to picnic, Westonbirt has much to offer its visitors. Admission prices are as follows: 3.80 for adults and 1 for children.THREE CHOIRS VINEYARD: located in Newent, is a vineyard that offers self-guided tours and an opportunity to enjoy the delights of wine tasting.CLEARWELL CAVES: the Clearwell Caves is a site that proves entertaining for the entire family. Clearwell is an old iron mine with a blacksmith and ochre workshop and offers guided tours for groups by appointment.Food & Drink:There is no shortage of fantastic dining locations in Gloucester to choose from. No matter what your preferences are in terms of food and drink, Gloucester will meet your personal demands.JAPANESE DINING: If you are looking for Japanese delights and delicacies, Gloucester is home to Spirit on 1 Station Road. Spirit is located in the centre of Gloucester making it easily accessible after residents or tourists are through with other activities.GREEK DINING: Both Dino's Village Taverna and Nicki's Hotel & Taverna offer visitors fine Greek dining. Dinos Village Taverna is located at 1 St Catherine Street, while Nickis Hotel & Taverna is situated at 105 - 107 Westgate Street in Gloucester.INDIAN DINING: Gloucester is home to several Indian restaurants, including the Baburchi Restaurant, Balti King, the Hill Top, Jewel in the Crown, and Lahore Balti Restaurant, to name a few.ITALIAN DINING: If its Italian entrees you seek, Gloucester does not disappoint. Gloucester is home to Topoly's and Prezzo, both located on Southgate Street.THAI DINING: Siam Thai at 5 Park Road and A Taste of Thai at 117 - 119 Southgate Street, Gloucester offer both residents and visitors fine Thai entrees to choose from.Gloucester Hotels & Accommodation:Gloucester has a number of accommodation styles to choose from. Visitors can stay in any number of the fantastic hotels in Gloucester or they can choose to use self catering facilities. Either way, tourists are destined to receive the finest amenities from the Gloucester accommodations they choose.Express by Holiday Inn Gloucester SouthEdward HotelCheltenham Gloucester Moat HouseRamada Hotel & Resort GloucesterRamada Bowden HallHatton Court HotelWatersmeet Motel & Angling CentreHatherley Manor HotelDays Inn Hotel Gloucester - (North Bristol)New County HotelEntertainmentThe nightlife in Gloucester is promising because there is so much to do and seegiving both tourists and visitors an array of entertainment options to choose from. Several night clubs provide entertainment and there are even more pubs that visitors can stop in to have a drink and socialise.Gloucester: an English city rich with history and equally rich in all of its offerings to its residents and visitors. Fabulous accommodations, excellent dining and lots of fun things to do: all within the boundaries of Gloucester. Gloucester: a current tourist hotspot and a city that promises to be a tourist attraction for many years to come.

The Great British Shopping Experience

Napoleon famously remarked that Britain was a nation of shopkeepers and it's still true today. But bear in mind that taxes are high with VAT a whopping 17.5%. Fortunately discount outlets and other types of bargain shopping abound. Other than purchases from bargain outlets, your best buys are things made in Britain that would cost more abroad. These include Body Shop and Filofax products along with woolens and cashmere items. Shopping In LondonLondon is one of the world's great shopping cities. From the swank excitement of Harrods to the cosmopolitan colour of Portobello Road street market, the whole city seems like one huge emporium. Here we'll take a look at the famous West End.The West End was long the traditional heart of London shopping and still attracts bargain hunters from all over the world. Renowned Oxford Street has revamped its facade over recent decades. The big old faithfuls such as Marks and Spencers are still there but much of the area has been taken over by ethnic specialty stores.However, if it's tradition you're after, nearby Regent and Bond streets still retain their exclusive upmarket air.One great 'new' place in the West End to pick up threads is the famous Carnaby Street now rising from the ashes. Once the colourful haunt of 60s models, actors, musicians and fashion photographers, the area is now attracting a new wave of designers.Shopping In BirminghamFor another great UK shopping experience, head up the M1 to Birmingham. Brum, as the UK's second largest city is affectionately known, is home to over 700 retail stores, including the queen of them all, Selfridges. Other notable outlets include the Mailbox complex at Wharfside Street. Once Birmingham's mail sorting hub, it's now a huge shopping center and home to all the grand department stores including Harvey Nichols. You can also find all your favorite labels here including Armani, Hugo Boss and Jaeger.Another city-center parvenu is The Bullring. It's Europe's biggest city-center retail zone and offers a more down to earth shopping experience that the Mailbox with offerings from H M, Gap, FCUK, and Footlocker.Shopping In EdinburghNorth of the border, Scotland's capital city offers a medley of boutiques, souvenir shops, and department stores including old steadfast John Lewis. Harvey Nichols, darling of the Absolutely Fabulous crowd, has also arrived in "Auld Reekie" in recent years. New Town's Princes Street is Edinburgh's principal shopping thoroughfare and home to the leading department stores. For more exclusive outlets, such as Laura Ashley, George Street is the place to go. For tourists in search of tartan, Highland trinkets, kilts or sporrans, the Old Town's Royal Mile is the mother lode.

Summary

Preparing for an overseas flight is a little bit different than your standard domestic flight. About the only type of flight that compares is a U.S. coast to coast. If you properly plan it will make your long flight better.