Saturday 17 January 2015

Layover Ideas: Nice

Le stationnement à Nice
Nice harbour, on the French Riviera
Have a layover coming up in Nice? Wondering what you could do with your time? Here's a little inspiration.

We've gathered the following resources - tips, stories and layover ideas - to help you get the most out of your time here... [read more].

Want more layover ideas?
• Read more stories on the LayoverIdeas Blog
• Explore cities worldwide on

Related resources
Mugging: are you a target? 10 resources
Spot the deadly fake taxi on your international travels!
Dealing with taxi drivers
Dealing with touts
Airport arrival advice

Saturday 3 January 2015

Going into court with dirty hands? Airline and online travel site sue

by Todd Romaine

Ever heard of before? If not, you should definitely check it out. It promises the lowest online airline fares through the use of some creative programming that allows travellers to fly to their desired particular destination at a discounted rate by pretending to fly somewhere else when they book. It does seem odd but routine that flying a shorter distance is many times more expensive than flights at a further distance. The most expensive flight options are direct flights, followed then by flights that stop in numerous locations (milk run) before your final destination. And in many circumstances you need to burn up more airline fuel flying all over the place to get that cheaper ticket.

This is where comes into play... it searches for the cheapest milk run options and then you need to attempt to get off the plane in your desired location rather than carrying on to your ticketed destination. This requires you to travel with carry-on luggage only and quickly de-board and vanish into thin air. An example would be that you need to fly from Seattle to Minneapolis but find it cheaper to fly from Seattle-Minneapolis-Houston and therefore book the latter option. You show up at the airport and collect your boarding passes to Houston, cognizant you have no plans to go there.

Orbitz and United Airlines are now suing because the website's circumvention around the system makes it seem unethical and could result in continued airline delays for missing passengers and empty seats. Yet arguably the system that charges people more money for going shorter distances seem unethical in itself.

A crowdsurfing site has already raised 50K to help fight off the lawsuit and to continue its business to provide travellers with cheaper flight options. Seasoned online travellers have already worked the system for years but has now raised notoriety for the practice and hence why a legal battle is now brewing.

If anything comes from this, perhaps airlines need to recalibrate how they tabulate traveler fares so that individual users pay the true cost for traveling and not zig zagging around the world to reduce costs for a direct flight.

Tip: follow @Skiplagged on Twitter - and @SkiplaggedDeals for the best hidden city deals

Related Resources

Thursday 1 January 2015

What counts as a country visited?

by Todd Romaine

globe road
If you missed it, see our 2014 New Year's post,
How Many Countries Have You Visited?
Ready, set go... 2015 is here, time to add to your country tally!

For the many international travellers that like collecting countries to quantify or reaffirm their status as a seasoned globetrotter, this is the time of year when the previous year is tallied, and the year to come is planned out.

As we kick off 2015, we return to the country-counting subject with a closer examination of the oft-debated question of "what counts as a country?"

As you commence this year's travels, please note the following commonly held ground rules:
  • A layover at an airport or an airport hotel without leaving the physical premise does NOT count as a new country. Even if it means collecting a passport stamp and walking by the taxi rank. If you catch a taxi, bus, or subway into the nearest town where non-airport, everyday civilian activities take place then it counts. Even if it is only for a few hours, chalk it up as another country with the caveat of a very limited snapshot of time.
  • A cruise ship stop in various ports and islands DOES count as individual countries even it just means walking along the dock or beachside tourist areas. Even if the islands in question belong to a country on the other side of the planet, they count. However note if the islands are part of the same political jurisdiction, you cannot double, triple count etc. An example would be the Cook Islands, a New Zealand possession spread out over a huge geographical distance cannot be counted multiple times if you visit several of its islands. The Caribbean is a goldmine to enhance your country count during a cruise. Simple offshore islands in close proximity to the 'mother country' (i.e. within 200 miles) do not get separate country status so do NOT count in your tabulation. This coincides with the international rule of exclusive economic zone status. Therefore, while Prince Edward Island in Canada does NOT count as separate from Canada, Cocos and Christmas Island DO count in respect to Australia, or Svalbard Island with respect to Norway DOES count simply based on geographical distance from the main country.
  • A train through various countries only counts if you physically get out and get into town somewhere outside of non-train activities (i.e. train station). Therefore, listening to your iPod as your train screams through the Luxembourg countryside does NOT count.
  • Flying over a country does NOT count unless you land and leave the airport premises. If you land on an isolated beach somewhere with a helicopter, then technically it DOES count
  • Geographical locations not deemed a country could count. Antarctica counts. Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Western Sahara, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Tibet, Somaliland, Nagorno-Kabarkh, Azafad and arguably ISIS controlled territories all DO count. These locations are in dispute and are politically unique and contentious from the 'mother country'. These treat themselves with their own customs departments, their own flag and militaries and or own governments in exiles. Ficticious or dubious deemed countries such as Sea Island, Swan River, Cascadia do NOT count.
  • Small official countries count such as the Vatican City, Andorra, Singapore, Hong Kong, Aland, Liechenstein all DO count.
  • Swimming or running through one country to the next DOES count. Yes I have swam between Namibia and South Africa along the Orange River with no customs department present and technically this counts.

Check it out: There are numerous tools that can assist you graphically catalogue your travels. The newest country-tracking tool is #Travelstoke, created by the globetrotting folks at Matador Network. Once you create your personal #Travelstoke map, you can publish it to your social media networks, such as Facebook.

If you have any technical questions on country counting feel free to contact us. Happy 2015 travels!

Related resources
Introducing the #Travelstoke World Map: Create yours today! - Matador Network
How many countries have you visited? - IHateTaxis
Countries of the world: how many have you visited? - interactive list from listchallenges
Where on earth have you been? Create a custom map to show your life's travels - the Guardian