Tag Archives: Travel

6 reasons fall is the best time to travel

Fall is coming, and with it stunning foliage, sweater weather, and pumpkin-spiced treats.

But did you know that fall is also one of the best times of the year for travel?

With fewer crowds, lower prices, and an abundance of festivals, here are all the reasons why you should be packing your bags this fall.

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The weather is mild

Bring out those sweaters because fall weather is perfect for exploring, whether it’s a city or a national park. Not too hot, yet not too cold either, you can explore to your heart’s content in a comfortable climate. You won’t have to worry about breaking a sweat, and you also won’t have to jam bulky sweaters and coats in your suitcase. A true win-win.

Travel is cheaper

For travelers on a budget, fall is one of the cheapest times of the year to travel. Technically the “off-season,” both airfare and hotels are generally cheaper in the fall than in the summer or during the holidays.

If you’re willing to take a risk, Caribbean travel is especially cheap thanks to the hurricane or rainy season.

 

The foliage is stunning

Fall is a beautiful time to travel thanks to the changing leaves. Rent a cabin in the mountains, take a road trip, or stay in a charming village where you can oglebright shades of red, yellow, and orange.

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A lot of great festivals take place

Fall sees a lot of epic festivals around the world, like Oktoberfest, Diwali, London Fashion Week, Halloween, and Dia de los Muertos.

The seasonal food is amazing

Fall cuisine is a category all its own. Peak season for apples, pears, squash, and sweet potatoes, fall might be the best time of the year to wine and dine. Whether you’re getting outdoorsy and going apple picking, or noshing on seasonal dishes at a restaurant, your taste buds are sure to love fall.

Source:

http://www.thisisinsider.com/benefits-of-fall-travel-2017-8#the-seasonal-food-is-amazing-6

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How AI, AR, and VR are making travel more convenient

From 50 ways to leave your lover, as the song goes, to 750 types of shampoos, we live in an endless sea of choices. And although I haven’t been in the market for hair products in a while, I understand the appeal of picking a product that’s just right for you, even if the decision-making is often agonizing. This quandary (the “Goldilocks Syndrome”, of finding the option that is “just right”) has now made its way to the travel industry, as the race is on to deliver highly personalized and contextual offers for your next flight, hotel room or car rental.

Technology, of course, is both a key driver and enabler of this brave new world of merchandising in the travel business. But this is not your garden variety relational-databases-and-object-oriented-systems tech. What is allowing airlines, hotels and other travel companies to behave more like modern-day retailers is the clever use of self-learning systems, heuristics trained by massive data sets and haptic-enabled video hardware. Machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are starting to dramatically shape the way we will seek and select our travel experiences.

Let every recommendation be right

AI is already starting to change how we search for and book travel. Recent innovation and investment has poured into front-end technologies that leverage machine learning to fine tune search results based on your explicit and implicit preferences. These range from algorithms that are constantly refining how options are ranked on your favorite travel website, to apps on your mobile phone that consider past trips, expressed sentiment (think thumbs up, likes/dislikes, reviews) and volunteered information like frequent traveler numbers.

Business travel, as well, is positioned for the application of AI techniques, even if not all advances are visible to the naked eye. You can take photos of a stack of receipts on your smartphone; optical character recognition software codifies expense amounts and currencies, while machine learning algorithms pick out nuances like categories and spending patterns.

AI is also improving efficiencies in many operational systems that form the backbone of travel. Machine learning is already starting to replace a lot of rule-based probabilistic models in airport systems to optimize flight landing paths to meet noise abatement guidelines, or change gate/ramp sequencing patterns to maximize fuel efficiency.

Making decisions based on reality

VR and AR are still changing and evolving rapidly, with many consumer technology giants publicly announcing products this year we can expect to see rapid early adoption and mainstreaming of these technologies. Just as music, photos, videos and messaging became ubiquitous thanks to embedded capabilities in our phones, future AR and VR applications are likely to become commonplace.

VR offers a rich, immersive experience for travel inspiration, and it is easy to imagine destination content being developed for a VR environment. But VR can also be applied to travel search and shopping. My company, Amadeus, recently demonstrated a seamless flight booking experience that includes seat selection and payment. Virtually “walking” onto an airplane and looking a specific seat you are about to purchase makes it easier for consumers to make informed decisions, while allowing airlines to clearly differentiate their premium offerings.

TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2015 - Day 1

AR will probably have a more immediate impact than VR, however, in part due to the presence of advanced camera, location and sensor technology already available today on higher-end smartphones. Airports are experimenting with beacon technology where an AR overlay would be able to easily and quickly guide you to your tight connection for an onward flight, or a tailored shopping or dining experience if you have a longer layover.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” goes Arthur C. Clarke’s famously quoted third law. But as we expect more authentic experiences: precise search results, an informed booking or an immersive travel adventure, we can count on increasingly magical technology from systems that learn to deliver us our “perfect bowl of porridge.”

Source:

https://venturebeat.com/2017/08/03/how-tech-is-making-travels-inconveniences-much-more-convenient/

New Zealand tourist dies after being hit by jet blast on Maho Beach in St. Maarten

A thrill-seeking tourist was killed on a Caribbean island after the powerful blast from a departing plane blew her off her feet, according to a report.

The unidentified 57-year-old New Zealand woman was holding onto the fence at St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana Airport — just steps away from the beach — when the jet blast from the Trinidad-bound Boeing 737 threw her backwards, causing her to hit her head on the concrete pavement, the New Zealand Herald reported.

The woman was vacationing with her family when the incident occurred Wednesday around 6 p.m. local time, the report said.

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Emergency responders rushed to the woman’s aid, but she could not be saved.

The island’s Maho Beach is a popular spot for tourists to gather for the nail-biting thrill of low-flying planes nearly skimming beach-goers as they descend on the runway.

There are “danger” signs posted up on the fence outside the airport warning tourists of the jet blast and standing too close to the fence.

“Jet blast of departing and arriving aircraft can cause severe physical harm resulting in extreme bodily harm and/or death,” the signage reads.

St. Marteen’s director of tourism, Rolando Brison, told the Herald that he spoke to the victim’s family.

“While they recognized that what they did was wrong, through the clearly visible danger signs, they regret that risk they took turned out in the worst possible way,” he said.

“At this time I only wish to express my deepest sympathy to the family and loved ones while we continue to investigate what transpired just hours ago.”

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed to the Herald that the agency was investigating “reports that a New Zealand citizen has passed away in St. Maarten.”

Source:

http://nypost.com/2017/07/13/woman-dead-after-being-hit-by-jet-blast-at-caribbean-beach/

Huge New Island Pops Up In North Carolina, Just In Time For Summer

A very large new island has popped up off the coast of North Carolina, delighting locals and internet onlookers alike.

 

Since April, so-called “Shelly Island” has grown from a small sandbar to a full-fledged island in the Outer Banks island group, The Virginian-Pilot reports. Now about a mile long and three football fields wide, it’s right off the coast of Cape Point, a popular surf spot on Hatteras Island.  

 

Locals are cruising over in rafts to pluck shells from the new island’s sands, Travel + Leisure reports. An inlet with dangerous currents, sharks and stingrays separates Shelly Island from shore, making it dangerous to visit without proper expertise, according to Paul Paris, a research scientist at the University of North Carolina’s Coastal Studies Institute.

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Local photographer Chad Koczera captured photos of the new island with a drone.

The island’s appearance isn’t due to climate change, Paris said. Dave Hallac, superintendent of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, told The Pilot the coastline near Shelly Island constantly changes shape due to currents and storms. It’s not uncommon for features like Shelly Island to appear one season and disappear by the next.

 

While its lifespan may turn out to be short, the spot is indeed an island by standard definition, Paris added. The trick is sneaking a visit before it disappears.

 

In North Carolina, “we live on a very dynamic coastline, and it’s changing all the time,” Paris said. “Things like [Shelly Island] come and go offshore. Whether it’s there next year or not is anybody’s guess.”

 

Visitors should not swim to the island, Paris said, but experienced kayakers may be able to proceed through the inlet with caution. A small boat would work, too, if its operator is experienced.

Source:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/new-island-north-carolina_us_59528ec1e4b0da2c731ee55d

7 Cruise Ports Where You Should Rent a Car

There are times when it is more convenient, and possibly more prudent, to see the sights of a cruise port via tours. Driving in ports like Piraeus or Istanbul can be intimidating for even the most adventurous drivers. How about driving on your own in Montego Bay Jamaica? Anybody think that’s a great idea? There’s no reason to rent a car in ports with good public transportation or where the main sights and activities are accessible on foot from the port. But there are a handful of ports where you might really want to go beyond what the tour and taxi drivers want you to see, where it would be safe to do so, and where you can explore at your leisure.

Car rental basics

• Reserve in advance when possible.

• Always use a credit card that includes foreign rental insurance, but know that in some places, they will still make you pay for primary coverage.

• Do your homework; knowing what you hope to see while you have the car and what type of vehicle will get you there is key. Is four-wheel drive needed? Is there parking at your intended destination?

• Take a folded soft-sided cooler with you so that you can stop for snacks.

• If pre-purchase of fuel is an option, take it. Your time in port is limited; the last thing you want is to have to find a gas station near the rental office to refuel.

• Make sure you get a map. If there is any doubt, print computer maps before you leave home.

• Watch your time carefully. You don’t want to be left standing on the shore as your ship sails away because you didn’t allow enough time to return your rental.    

Here are examples of ports where rentals are an easy and fun way to enhance your experience.

Aruba

Renting a car on Aruba is made easy by the fact that there are rental agencies located at the cruise terminal. You can reserve in advance, then walk off the ship and start your adventure. Having your own car makes it possible to drive to secluded beaches beyond the crowded hotel area. Try Santo Largo Beach for a true Aruban escape. Rates run in the $35-40 per day range. Try Speed Car in the cruise terminal.

Bonaire

You can arrange for the rental company to pick you up at the pier and take you to a rental office. Bonaire is perfect for driving a rental. Traffic is light and a car gives you the opportunity to see a large portion of the island a little easier than via the golf carts rented at the pier. A car works really well if you plan to snorkel or shore dive. You can rent gear and tanks at the Dive Friends Bonaire location near the pier, then head out to find your own perfect dive spot.  Rates run in the $35 range, some trucks are set up for diving. Try AB Car Rental.

Freeport Bahamas

A day on Grand Bahama Island can be greatly enhanced with your own car to explore from. Drive to Gold Rock Beach or Lucayan National Park with a picnic you can pack from markets in Lucaya. The driving itself is an adventure worth re-telling — remember it’s on the left side of the road. Rates run in the $75 range. Try Island Jeep Rentals.

Grand Cayman

If snorkeling or shore diving is your thing, having a car at your disposal on Grand Cayman gets you away from the crowds and into the water without a boat. Use the information at ShoreDiving.com to help you locate great options. If beaches are your goal, there are choices far quieter than the famed Seven Mile Beach. Packing a picnic and driving to Smith Barcadere or Starfish Point will give you a whole new impression of the island.  You can get a Jeep for as low as $69.95 per day. Try Cayman Auto Rentals.

Hawaiian Islands

Obviously, the islands are too big to see all of any one while on a cruise ship stopover, but renting a car might get you a better overview of the sights, or at least allow you to escape the usual tourist hangouts. The best example is on the Big Island. If your ship docks in Kona, rent a car and drive down the coast a bit, sampling public beaches, coffee plantations, and unique shopping and food along the way. It’s a great way to see the island. Thrifty may be the best choice here. Rates start at $75 per day.

Greek Islands

There are a few stops on a cruise through the Greek Islands where having a car gets you to the good stuff easier than on a tour. It’s not recommended on Santorini, but Crete would be worth looking into. The best choice might be on Lemnos. In the Port of Myrina, Holiday Car Rental is near the docks. Stop in one of the nearby shops for cheese, bread, & wine before you pick up the car. Driving on the tiny roads in town is crazy, so head south on the coast road where you will find secluded beaches and quaint shops. Holiday Car Rentals has options starting at $75.

Cozumel

We saved the best for last. A rental on Cozumel allows you to escape the tourist attractions in favor of the secluded beaches and scenery on the wild east side of the island. Or maybe you want to do both. Take a scenic drive, enjoy your own private beach break, then head back to the fun at Chankanaab Beach Park, with its abundance of facilities, before returning the car. Alamo has cars for under $20 per day and Jeeps under $50.

Source:

http://www.travelpulse.com/news/car-rental-and-rail/7-cruise-ports-where-you-should-rent-a-car.html

Aruba: Where to stay, what to do

Can you ever go wrong with staying at a Ritz Carlton property? The answer is no, and this property is one worth checking out. In conjunction with the exceptional service and attention to detail we have all come to expect with the brand, each of the 320 spacious guest rooms has access to a private balcony—perfect for watching the sunrise or sunset over the ocean. The property has four different restaurant options (ranging from poolside grill to white tablecloth seating) and gives guests the option of requesting a romantic dinner on the beach, with a butler and personalized menu. There are two swimming pools (one of which is adults only), a luxury spa and a state-of-the-art fitness center with enough equipment to keep you on your gym routine while on vacation. The hotel also offers a 15,000-square-foot, 24-hour casino located in the hotel for guests and non-guests.

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Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino

Located in the heart of Aruba’s busiest tourist district, the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino offers guests an unparalleled experience. The resort has 40 acres of exclusive beach sand and shore, which are home to a flock of wild flamingos and countless iguanas. Guests arrive to the private oasis by water taxi, which leaves from the lobby’s canal. The resort is divided into two zones: adult only and family friendly, allowing you to choose the type of vacation you wish to have. Rooms come complete with free Wi-Fi access and most have access to balconies that offer ocean or garden views. The resort also has a luxury spa, outdoor pools, easy access to Renaissance Mall and a 24-hour casino.

WHERE TO EAT

Flying Fishbone

This locally owned restaurant gave me one of my favorite beach dining experiences to date. Diners are treated to a table in the sand (that quickly turns into “a table in the water” as the waves come in) amid the backdrop of a breathtaking sunset and an ocean that never ends. As the sun sets, colored lights reflected on the water creates a magical feeling under a starry sky. But the views aren’t the only reason this restaurant is named No. 8 on the list of “best beach restaurants around the world.” The menu is filled with delectable seafood and steak plates that use local ingredients and techniques to create a culinary experience you won’t soon forget.

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WHAT TO DO

Renaissance Aruba Private Island

Even if you aren’t a guest at the Renaissance, you can purchase a day pass for $99 per person to their private island (if their hotel isn’t at capacity). A water taxi will take you on a 10-minute ride to the island, where you can spend the entire day soaking up the sun with wild flamingos and iguanas, getting pampered at the Spa Cove with a view of the open sea, partaking in water sports or beach activities and enjoying a good lunch at Papagoyo Bar and Grill.

Arikok National Park

With more than 7,000 acres (18 percent of the entire island) designated as a national park, Arikok is a must if you’re visiting Aruba. The park is made up of three distinct geological terrains: the rough hills of the volcanic Aruba lava formation, the mysterious rocks of the batholithic quartz-diorite/tonalite and the limestone rocks with fossilized coral. The park has huge significance in the history of Aruba as it has traces of the earliest human activity—the Caquetío people left rock paintings in Cunucu Arikok and Fontein Cave. Within the park is one of the island’s most sought after attractions, Conchi (or the Natural Pool), which is a calm pond created, in part, by the massive rocks that block out the rough seas, but it can only be accessed by foot, horse, ATV or four-wheel drive vehicle. The park also has several mini-beaches throughout, giving guests the opportunity to stop during their exploration. And visitors can see most of the island from atop Arikok Hilltop. The park is open Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $11 per person, or free from anyone 17 and under.

Sunset Cruise

Aruba is known for having some of the best sunsets in the world, thanks to its location in the Caribbean Sea. Book a sunset cruise so that you can enjoy the view of the pink and orange sky from the sea. Most cruises last approximately two hours and offer guests snacks and cocktails for the duration of the cruise. While sailing along the coast, you’ll have the opportunity to glance at oceanfront properties that you can’t see from the main roads. Tickets are $55 per adult and $29 per child (ages 3 to 11).

Megan Pinckney (@shadesofpinck) is a retired beauty queen turned lifestyle blogger who loves exploring the world and writing about it.

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Source:

http://amsterdamnews.com/news/2017/jun/22/aruba-where-stay-what-do/

How Travel Leads to Stronger Romantic Relationships

Travel is at once a never-ending source of new experiences and memories, but also a testing ground for a relationship’s strength.

Last year, a flight delay almost ended my marriage.

My wife and I were en route to a West Coast wedding when a storm diverted us from our layover in D.C. to an unexpected landing in Richmond, Virginia. Ever easygoing, my wife embraced the situation, securing us a flight out the next morning and reserving a room at a boutique hotel. Prone to panic, I soon broke the serenity when I realized our bags were still on the original flight. To save our orphaned luggage, I forced us back on the plane to our nation’s capital—headed to an airport we no longer had tickets out of. Tensions were high; regrets were immediate. As we approached, the pilot announced that another squall had us rerouted, once again, to Richmond. We submitted to fate, and ended the evening sharing laughs, Korean tacos, and one-too-many craft brews in the historic Virginia capital.

Though the stakes may be exaggerated, the point is sound: Travel is a test kitchen for a committed relationship. When a couple spends uninterrupted time together for an extended period in an unfamiliar setting, the challenges that arise truly test their mettle. But for those who endure through adversity, the rewards of a travel-eccentric relationship are bounteous—and research backs this up.

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A 2012 survey by the U.S. Travel Association revealed that couples that took regular trips reported higher levels of satisfaction with their relationships, and considered their vacations an important venue for romance. Similarly, a 2013 Journal of Travel Research article by experts at Texas A&M found that partners who traveled together experienced improved communication, and that connectivity extended into their life back home—with one important caveat. For a couple to reap such benefits, they must want the same thing out of the vacation, and that experience must include shared activities that nurture the relationship.

“Vacation experiences are made up of seeking and escaping motives. Some are seeking adventure; others are escaping and want to relax. The dyad has to match up,” says Dr. James Petrick, professor of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences and co-author of the Texas A&M review. “Outside of your usual environment, you have to process much more and evaluate situations in an in-depth manner. Vacations awaken all your senses. You’re more in tune with each other, with the environment around you.”

Cincinnati residents Jocelyn Gibson, 34, and Justin Leach, 33, were married last October after dating since 2014. Part of what drew them together was a mutual love of travel—the pair have already flexed their compatibility on excursions to Madrid, Copenhagen, Marseille and Berlin in that three-year span. While they cop to the occasional argument—Justin likes to plot things out, while Jocelyn prefers to wander—they have similar interests, leaving much to bond over.

“We are constantly noticing the historic architecture, street life, public spaces,” Gibson says. “We both love food, so our meals are satisfying and memorable. On countless occasions we will be doing something ordinary, and we’ll recall a specific memory from one of our trips and be struck by nostalgia.”

Source:

http://www.cntraveler.com/story/how-travel-leads-to-stronger-romantic-relationships

Travel insurance could become compulsory to visit Thailand

That’s because Thai tourism officials are pushing forward with a proposal to require all visitors to Thailand to obtain travel insurance before entering the country.

Apparently our misadventures in the South East Asian country are costing local hospitals a fortune.

Officials at the Ministry of Tourism and Sports are deliberating over the proposal raised in a meeting last week to make the insurance compulsory.

According to Jaturon Phakdeewanit, director of the Tourism Safety and Security Standards, visitors without travel insurance have cost Thailand at least 3 billion baht ($A117 million) a year for their medical treatments at state hospitals.

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“We need to push this through as soon as possible because the problem is becoming more serious,” he said.

Government officials will be discussing with tourism operators about the best approach to implement the new rule, before submitting the proposal to the cabinet for approval.

Travel insurance documents will likely be inspected at immigration counters upon arrival, as many visitors do not need visa to enter the country.

Travel insurance policies can cover you for unexpected accidents or illness, lost luggage, theft, personal liability and unforeseen trip cancellation.

 

The cost of purchasing insurance can vary greatly depending on a range of factors such as age, itinerary and level of cover, but according to a guide on CompareTravelInsurance.com.au, a policy for a person aged around 30-years-old travelling to Thailand for a one-week holiday could cost anywhere from $30 to $250.

Tourism is a major industry in Thailand, with more than 14 million people visiting the country since January 1, generating $US20.5 billion ($A27.4 billion) dollars in revenue.

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Source:

http://www.news.com.au/travel/world-travel/asia/travel-insurance-could-become-compulsory-to-visit-thailand/news-story/105f81f99248d28836eb22b1d952ae16

Medellín, Colombia: My Ultimate Live And Invest Destination

The first place I ever recommended Americans think about retiring overseas was Costa Rica. That was back in 1985…30 plus years ago. A few years later I organized and promoted the first conference of my career, in San José.

 

Thinking back, I have to give it to the 40-odd souls who joined me in Costa Rica that year. What interrogations they must have endured from their family and friends. I mean, who retired overseas 30 years ago?

 

I continued to recommend Costa Rica as an appealing and affordable place to retire outside the box for maybe two decades. In that time, I also went on to recommend Ambergris Caye, Belize…Roatan, Honduras…Cuenca, Ecuador…and Boquete, Panama, among other places that, likewise, nobody at the time was talking about in this way.

I’m not overstating things. When I began making these kinds of suggestions, I was ignored, questioned suspiciously, and sometimes attacked as part of the lunatic fringe.

Today the idea of retiring outside the country where you happened to be living up until that point is no longer considered crazy. Today, The New York Times, the AARP, USA Today, cable news, and the rest of the mainstream media make these recommendations, too. Which is great. It’s nice having company in these ideas.

 

I make the point to provide context for the recommendation I’d like to offer now, which may seem like the craziest one of all.

 

About six years ago I finally took the advice of friends who had been nagging me for a long while to go see for myself a city they knew well, a city they described as pretty and pleasant, sophisticated and chic, welcoming and affordable…a city that was, most of all, they assured me, nothing like what I was probably expecting.

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I knew within hours of arriving in Medellin, Colombia, that everything my friends had said was true. Medellin, I became convinced very quickly, was on track to become one of the world’s most sought-after destinations, for both retiring and investing.

Specifically, Medellin offers:

  • Pleasant weather, meaning you can leave your windows open to the breeze and dine al fresco year-round…
  • World-class health care, including 5 of the top 35 hospitals in Latin America…
  • A rich cultural scene, with theater, orchestra, art galleries, and festivals that draw crowds from around the world…
  • An affordable cost of living…
  • Real-world infrastructure…living here you don’t want for anything…
  • Property costs that are a bargain on a global scale; it’s possible to buy at the best addresses in the city for as little as US$1,000 per square meter…
  • Investment upside, both in the form of rental yields and potential capital appreciation…

The best case when going overseas is when you can identify a place that is appealing both as a lifestyle choice and as an investment market. That’s the case in Medellin.

Three types of people should be paying attention to Colombia right now:

  • The investor: Prices are an absolute, global bargain. Costs of getting in are low, and demand is growing at an accelerating rate. Right now in Medellin, you could buy almost anything and feel confident that you could make money. Rental yields are running from 8% to 14% on good properties…
  • The retiree: This City of Flowers and Eternal Spring is going to become a top destination among North American retirees…mark my words…
  • The second-home buyer: More and more, I’m seeing people who are spending their summers in the United States or Europe but skipping out on the ice and snow by wintering in places where they can leave their windows open day and night, all year. These folks are bypassing the old-school snowbird haunts like Arizona and Florida and opting instead for the romance, the excitement, the adventure, and the affordable high-end lifestyle on offer in cities like Medellin.

We don’t always have the vision to jump when opportunity presents itself. Imagine if you had bought in Costa Rica in the mid-1980s…on Ambergris Caye, Belize, later in that decade…or in Panama City 15 years ago…

I recognized the opportunities in all these places at precisely those points in time, and I urged readers and friends to take advantage.

I see that same potential again right now, in Medellin.

The best way to appreciate the opportunity on offer in Medellin (or anywhere) is to come see for yourself. This, of course, is the big idea behind the country conferences that we sponsor each year. Could Medellin be the retirement or investment haven you seek? The best place in the world right now for you to think about reinventing and relaunching your life or diversifying your investment portfolio?

Source:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/medell%C3%ADn-colombia-my-ultimate-live-and-invest-destination_us_590a02d0e4b05279d4edc1bb

Australia to ban convicted pedophiles from travelling abroad

Australia plans to ban convicted pedophiles from travelling overseas in what the government said is a world-first move to protect vulnerable children in South East Asia from exploitation.

Australian pedophiles are notorious for taking inexpensive vacations to nearby South East Asian and Pacific island countries to abuse children there.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she would cancel the passports of around 20,000 pedophiles on the national child sex offender register under legislation that will be introduced to Parliament soon.

“There has been increasing community concern about sexual exploitation of vulnerable children and community concern is justified,” she told reporters.

Almost 800 registered child sex offenders traveled overseas from Australia last year and about half went to Southeast Asian destinations, she said.

“There will be new legislation which will make Australia a world leader in protecting vulnerable children in our region from child sex tourism,” Bishop said.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said no country has such a travel ban. He said 2,500 new convicted paedophiles would be added to the sex offender register each year and would also lose their passports.

The register contains 3,200 serious offenders who will be banned from travel for life. Less serious offenders drop off the register after several years of complying with reporting conditions and would become eligible to have their passports renewed.

Independent Senator Derryn Hinch, who was molested as a child and was jailed twice as a radio broadcaster for naming paedophiles in contravention of court orders, took credit for the government initiative.

Hinch said he had not known that convicted paedophiles were allowed to travel before he received a letter from Australian actress and children’s rights campaigner Rachel Griffiths soon after he was elected to the Senate last year.

“If we can take a passport from a bankrupt, why can’t we stop our paedophiles from travelling to Myanmar?” Griffiths wrote. Under Australian law, a bankrupt person cannot travel overseas without a trustee’s permission.

Hinch, who was involved in drafting the legislation, said temporary passports could be provided to paedophiles who need to travel for legitimate business or family reasons, and for paedophiles living overseas who need to return to Australia as their visas expire.

“This will not apply to a teenager who has been caught sexting to his 15-year-old girlfriend,” said Hinch, referring to sexual phone communications.

“I know sometimes, I think unfairly, they go on registers, but we’re trying to work it out so they don’t,” he added.

Bishop said governments in the Asia-Pacific region wanted Australia to do more to stem child sex tourists.

Source:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/australia-paedophiles-ban-convicted-travel-abroad-south-east-asia-pacific-islands-julie-bishop-a7762451.html

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