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Notes for a Traveller

Category: Destination News (page 1 of 20)

LGBT travel index puts Sweden, Canada, and Norway at the top

The LGBTQ+ Danger Index lists the 25 safest countries for LGBTQ+ travellers »

1. 🇸🇪 Sweden
2. 🇨🇦 Canada
3. 🇳🇴 Norway
4. 🇵🇹 Portugal
5. 🇧🇪 Belgium
6. 🇬🇧 United Kingdom
7. 🇫🇮 Finland
8. 🇫🇷 France
9. 🇮🇸 Iceland
10. 🇪🇸 Spain
11. 🇲🇹 Malta
12. 🇳🇿 New Zealand
13. 🇳🇱 Netherlands
14. 🇩🇰 Denmark
15. 🇿🇦 South Africa
16. 🇮🇪 Ireland
17. 🇦🇺 Australia
18. 🇺🇾 Uruguay
19. 🇨🇴 Colombia
20. 🇦🇹 Austria
21. 🇩🇪 Germany
22. 🇸🇮 Slovenia
23. 🇱🇺 Luxembourg
24. 🇺🇸 United States
25. 🇬🇺 Guam

 

Antonia Wilson, writing in the Guardian »

Sweden has been named the most LGBT-friendly country in the world for travellers according to new research into gay rights in 150 countries.

The LGBTQ+ Danger Index was created by ranking the 150 most-visited countries using eight factors, including legalised same-sex marriage, worker protection and whether, based on Gallup poll findings, it is a good place to live.

Canada ranked second-safest, followed by Norway, Portugal and Belgium. The UK is sixth safest on the list, but the US does not make the top 20. The researchers, American couple Asher and Lyric Fergusson, who blog about staying safe while travelling, said one reason the US is only at number 24 is because gay rights vary from state to state.

Read the whole article in The Guardian »

TransAmerica Trail » An overland drive across America

The Trans America Trail is a roughly 8,000 km / 5,000 mile vechicular route that crosses the United States using a minimum of paved roads. It is meant to be for leisure, travelled by dual-sport motorcycles, off-road vehicle, or touring bicycle.

M. R. O’Connor »

He has sold thousands of self-made paper maps and road charts containing his idiosyncratic directions. Some people travel Correro’s trail for a weekend; others traverse all sixty-two hundred miles of boonies, from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, to Port Orford, Oregon, crossing fourteen states.

In the course of the summer—the best season for dirt roads—Correro estimates that there might be as many as six hundred riders on the TransAmerica Trail. There’s no way to know for sure. He does know that people ride it using motorcycles, bicycles, four-by-fours, Land Rovers, dirt buggies, pickup trucks, Pinzgauer military vehicles, and horses. One person did it in a Volkswagen Jetta for fun; another couple rode it coast to coast for their honeymoon, with the bride in a motorcycle sidecar. One cross-country rider was just eight years old. The oldest may be Correro, who is eighty. He likes to say that he has ridden every single inch of it, and that is true, but also an understatement, because he has ridden parts of it countless times. Though he has given up his motorcycle for a Chevy Tahoe, he still checks the trail to make sure that its roads are passable, that its bridges haven’t been condemned. He modifies his maps, charting new routes.

Read the whole article at The New Yorker »

More » TransAmerica Trail, Wikipedia, GPS Kevin

 

Lia Ditton is getting set to row across the Pacific Ocean unassisted—and she’s afraid

Adventure Journal »

Lia Ditton is a 39-year-old licensed sea captain, yachtswoman and solo ocean rower from London. She has racked up over 150,000 miles on the sea and has taken part in some of the most grueling races on earth, such as the OSTAR transatlantic race, the Le Route du Rhum, and the Woodvale challenge. And she’s about to embark on her greatest challenge yet, rowing solo and unsupported across the Pacific Ocean. This is her story.

Three months before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, I will depart from Choshi, Japan, on a mission to row 5,500 miles alone and unsupported, across the Pacific Ocean to the west coast of the USA. Nineteen attempts have been made to row this distance. Two were successful. Both men, both towed to land the last 20 and 50 miles respectively. One person was lost at sea.

If I succeed, I will be the first woman ever to row the North Pacific unsupported and the first person to row land-to-land [ed note: Sarah Outen rowed the North Pacific solo from Japan to the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, but with a support team, back in 2013].

Read the rest of Lia’s essay at Adventure Journal »

Chernobyl’s infamous Reactor 4 Control Room is now open to tourists » but you’ll have to wear a hazmat suit

Jack Guy, writing for CNN »

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant has seen a huge increase in visitor numbers in recent years as part of a growing global interest in dark tourism.

And now, intrepid travelers be able to get inside the control room where the world’s worst nuclear accident unfolded, Chernobyl tour companies confirmed to CNN.

Those who venture inside the highly radioactive area at the infamous Reactor 4 will be provided with white protective suits, helmets and masks for the brief visits. After leaving, they will be subject to two radiology tests to measure exposure.

Read more »

Months of protests in Hong Kong have made traveling to the city a potentially dicey proposition

Eric Lam and Tian Chen, writing for Bloomberg »

Since June, repeated demonstrations have filled its streets, including marches estimated at a million or more people and a sit-in that shut down the airport. Rail services were suspended across the network for the first time in more than a decade on Oct. 4 and 5 after a government ban on face masks led to city-wide violence.

The protests were initially triggered by an extradition bill and later expanded to include demands for more democracy and the resignation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam. There have also been violent clashes with police and vandalism against mainland-linked businesses and train stations.

Read more » 

Whitehouse loses bid to dismiss Bears Ears and Grand Staircase lawsuits

President Trump wanted to downsize Bears Ears National Monument by 85% and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by nearly half.

Brady McCombs, Associate Press via ABC News »

A federal judge has rejected the Trump administration’s bid to dismiss lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of a 2017 decision to downsize two sprawling national monuments in Utah.

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan’s written decisions issued Monday night means the legal challenges seeking to return the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments to their original sizes can move forward.

Japan and Singapore top 2019 list of world’s most powerful passports

Euan McKirdy and Maureen O’Hare at CNN write »

Japan and Singapore have held onto their position as the world’s most travel-friendly passports.

That’s the view of the Henley Passport Index, which periodically measures the access each country’s travel document affords.

Singapore and Japan’s passports have topped the rankings thanks to both documents offering access to 190 countries each.

South Korea rubs shoulders with Finland and Germany in second place, with citizens of all three countries able to access 188 jurisdictions around the world without a prior visa.

Finland has benefited from recent changes to Pakistan‘s formerly highly restrictive visa policy. Pakistan now offers an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Japan, Spain, Malta, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates — but not, notably, the United States or the UK.

Read more of this article at CNN »

The best passports in 2019 are:

1. Japan, Singapore (190 destinations)
2. Finland, Germany, South Korea (188)
3. Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg (187)
4. France, Spain, Sweden (186)
5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal (185)
6. Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, United States, Switzerland (184)
7. Malta, Czech Republic (183)
8. New Zealand (182)
9. Australia, Lithuania, Slovakia (181)
10. Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Slovenia (180)
More at the Henley Passport Index

Notes

» Canada has been ranked 6th four years in a row. They were ranked 2nd in 2014, then dropped to 4th in 2015, and have been holding steady in 6th since 2016.

» The USA been on a steady decline since 2014 when they were ranked 1st. They dropped to 2nd in 2015, 4th in 2016, 5th in 2017 and 2018, and to 6th this year.

» The UK has been on a steady decline in the rankings, dropping from 1st in 2015, to 3rd in 2016, to 4th in 2017, to 5th in 2018, to 6th this year.

7 Scenic Drives Through Quebec

Quebec is the biggest province in Canada, and there’s a whole lot to see and do.

Destination Canada has put together seven wonderful road trip routes which will take you to some of this provinces’ most beautiful wonders and sought-after experiences.

Some of these trips are short, while others will take you quite a bit longer, and really embrace that road trip spirit.

1. The New France Route – 56 kilometres / 35 miles – Road trip highlights starting in Quebec City include Domaine de Maizerets, Maison Girardin, Montmorency Falls Park, Auberge Baker, Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area

2. The Fjord Route – 235 kilometres / 146 miles – Highlights include Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, Musée de la Nature, the Musée du Fjord, Saguenay Fjord National Park

3. The King’s Road – 280 kilometres / 174 miles – Highlights include Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade church, the Quebec Folk Culture Museum, the Old Prison of Trois-Rivières, Lake Saint-Pierre

4. The Wine Route – 138 kilometres / 86 miles – Highlights include many vineyards, Brome Lake, Mont Sutton

5. The Navigators’ Route – 470 kilometres / 292 miles – Highlights include Centre de la Biodiversité du Québec in Bécancour, Îles du Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie archipelago and Île aux Lièvres, the Musée maritime du Québec, Bic Provincial Park, Pointe-au-Père Maritime Historic Site

6. The Whale Route – 880 kilometres / 546 miles – Highlights include Cap-de-Bon-Désir Interpretation and Observation Centre, Daniel Johnson Dam and Manic-5 Generating Station, Pointe-des-Monts Lighthouse, Vauréal Canyon

7. The Gaspesie Tour – 1,230 kilometres – 765 miles – Highlights include the Rimouski Wildlife Reserve, Reford Gardens, Exploramer, Bonaventure Island, and Gaspesie and Percé Rock provincial parks

Learn more at Destination Canada

World’s Most Powerful Passports as of Q3 2019

The Henley Passport Index has released its third quarter ranking of the world’s most powerful passports in 2019.

The index is compiled from data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and measures global mobility based on visa-free access to destinations. It also uses data from the index’s 14-year history, “to show how travel mobility has changed over the past decade, looking at which passports have gained in strength and which have fallen behind.”

Japan and Singapore hold the world’s strongest passports, with Visa-free access to 189 destinations. South Korea dropped to second place, joining Germany and Finland with Visa-free access to 187 destinations.

The United Arab Emirates entered the top 20 index for the first time in the list’s 14-year-history, moving up an astonishing 41 spots. Other countries that climbed standings include Taiwan, which climbed 24 places over the past ten years and ranks 30th.

The USA and the UK each dropped to the lowest position they’ve held since 2010, sharing the sixth spot with Canada, Greece, Norway, Belgium and Ireland.

Pakistan now offers an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Japan, Malta, Spain, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates — but not, notably, the USA or the UK.

Afghanistan is once again at the other end of the rankings, with its citizens needing a prior visa for all but 25 destinations worldwide.

Most Powerful Passports of Q3 2019:
1. Japan, Singapore (189 Destinations)
2. South Korea, Germany, Finland (187)
3. Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg (186)
4. France, Sweden, Spain (185)
5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland (184)
6. Canada, Norway, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, UK, US (183)
7. Malta (182)
8. Czechia (181)
9. Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Lithuania (180)
10. Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia (179)

The Least Powerful Passports of Q3 2019:

101. Bangladesh, Eritrea, Iran, Lebanon, North Korea (39 Destinations)
102. Nepal (38)
103. Libya, Palestinian, Sudan (37)
104. Yemen (33)
105. Somalia (31)
106. Pakistan (30)
107. Syria (29)
108. Iraq (27)
109. Afghanistan (25)

Source: Henley Passport Index

Riding the Aurora Borealis

Norway is a stunningly place. This video, that features pro surfer Damien Castera and pro snowboarder Mathieu Crépel highlights stunning landscapes and an inspiring message.

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