Interesting – I had never heard of Tokelau before, though I have seen .tk domain names around the web.
Itchy feet and an Indian passport are a deadly combination, but you already know that. If you’ve travelled, or intended to travel much out of india, you are only too familiar with toiling over lengthy visa applications and the sleepless nights before a visa gets approved. Not to mention, pre-planning a holiday to the smallest detail – where you’ll stay, how many days to each city or town, when you’ll fly back – can suck the excitement out of any trip, unless of course you love planning. I know I don’t; I’ve found my greatest adventures in the most impulsive of trips, and it may as well be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
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As we have seen in the previous article, there are many international flights which cover over 10,000 km non-stop. The ultimate aim would be to have an aircraft which has a range of about 20,000 km (being half the circumference of the earth) which could travel between any two points on the globe without stopping. It would, of course, be useful to have such a missile and probably the US, Russia and even North Korea must have done something towards this end.
Now we look at short flights in India at present. This would appear to be Mumbai-Pune, operated by a 737-800 of Jet Airways. The point-to point distance is 123 km but distance flown may be as much as 211 km (which can be seen from sites such as http://uk.flightaware.com/ ) Quite wasteful for a 737. Other flights under 200 km include Diu-Porbandar (167 km), and Kochi-Thiruvanthapuram (195 km…
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So many myths surround the much sought after US Visa in India that I just have to bust them. I applied for mine shortly before my 6-month trip to Central America, New York and California, and was pleasantly surprised by how easy the process was. I walked away with a 10-year B1 tourist visa, which also gives me ‘visa on arrival’ access to many other countries!
The visa application process is long drawn, but if you are prepared with the right documents and a bit of patience, it is not nearly as difficult as many make it to be. Here are my tips to help you enter the promised land:
1) The US Visa Forms and Fee
Select your location within India and start your application on the US Consular Electronic Application Centre website. You need to fill the DS-160 visa form (make sure you don’t leave any section unanswered), sign it electronically, upload a passport-size photo…
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Nice list – at least 7 of these places are visa-free or visa-on-arrival for Indian Citizens. No prizes for guessing which ones.
NYTimes has published their 52 Places to Go in 2014. Here is a listing of what made their travel plans, with their one liners of their decision. Check out the link for the full discourse:
- Cape Town, South Africa – A place to meditate on freedom, and the creative life that followed.
- Christchurch, New Zealand – The rebirth of a quake-ravaged city.
- North Coast, California – A glorious new preserve for the public.
- Albanian Coast – On a rugged shore, Europe at its best.
- Downtown Los Angeles – Downtown? Really? Yes, thanks to a thriving food scene.
- Namibia – Africa’s latest conservation success story is a boon for travelers.
- Ecuador – Epic biodiversity, and a newly renovated railway to get you there.
- Quang Binh, Vietnam – Now open: One of the world’s largest caves.
- Perth, Australia – For Australian panache, go west.
- Rotterdam, the Netherlands – First-class architecture in the…
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Just read a fantastic & harrowing blog post by Dharmesh Shah about getting an ‘Annexure F’ for the Tatkal passport process. Highly recommend you read it & learn from his experience. In short, this is what you need to know (quoted from Dharmesh’s blog):
Annexure F needs to meet following criteria:
A) 2 sets of Originals required
B) Has to be on Printed Stationary and not computer generated letterhead
C) Have to provide ID proof (in 2 copies) as Liquor Card/Canteen Card of the Serving Officer…
(For Public Sector Officials) Need to provide office ID card showing that person’s designation as well. Else, get another letter from the same official stating that he indeed is who he claims to be, i.e He is the GM of Bank of XYZ. etc.
D) The photograph on Appendix I and Appendix F needs to be the SAME one as in the application
See the full post here: http://dharmbhai.blogspot.in/2011/08/passport-tatkal-annexure-f-woes-galore.html
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Being Indian, two things struck me soon after I boarded the Celebrity Summit in Puerto Rico:
1. My wife and I were part of a small minority among the passengers (under 45 years old, non-white, childless couples).
2. The staff on the Ship was predominantly Hindi speaking.
This was unsurprising. Indians tend to put up with a lot of hardship, to make a living. But we, as a nation, are not as happy to spend our hard earned money on luxuries. The staff on the ship typically spends 6 months at sea, at a stretch. Living in cramped quarters, getting shore leave once every 2 or 3 weeks for half a day. Not an ideal life.
It was easy to feel out of place, but at the same time completely ignore everyone else on the ship. The population was predominantly white republican Americans, aged over 45. We couldn’t really find anything in common with them, and after the first day, stopped going to ‘social events’ on the ship. It was funny when the ship’s stand-up comedian asked “who here likes Obama”. The theatre echoed with “boos”.
The ship was luxurious though. A bit excessive even. The service was impeccable and we were made to feel very welcome and well looked after. But we also had to cough up $25 a day in tips, in addition to the cost of the cruise. They had an excellent Gym & Spa. The pool was boring and small. The food was good, but not so good if you are vegetarian like us.
Top tips for first time cruisers (especially Indians):
1. No need for visas (or even passports) in Caribbean ports. But carry photocopies of your passport anyway.
2. Bad idea carrying passports to shore excursions — it can get wet or stolen. I managed to drench my drivers license and about $20 cash.
3. Carry a photo ID other than your passport — will need that to get back on the ship.
4. No need to buy a ‘drinks package’ in advance, unless you plan on heavy drinking.
5. All food was included, at least on this ship. Except for one fancy restaurant.
6. Avoid ship organised shore excursions when you can — crowded and generally not worth the price. Explore on your own.
7. Plan a budget before going, and then double it. Your holiday is guaranteed to turn out to be VERY expensive.
This economist article compares a number of countries based on freedom of international travel. Doesn’t add any new insight, but still interesting to see how citizens of the leading new economies of the World are not welcome anywhere!