10 Things You May Not Know About UK Passports

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Passports are valuable, there’s no 2 ways about it.  They involve detailed paperwork, they cost a considerable amount and let’s not get into the photo requirements. However, should you decide that Googles image search is no longer satisfying your wanderlust, they are a necessity and you will not be getting anywhere quickly, or easily for that matter.

We have complied a list of some of the lesser known facts about UK passports – perfect for those times you are kept waiting for delayed flights.

You can get a new passport in as little as 4 hours

You must be inside the UK to use the 1 day Premium Service as it requires a face to face appointment. This service allows you to collect the passport 4 hours after the appointment.

The next fastest service is the 1 week fast track service, this still requires a face to face appointment but the passport is sent to your home address within 1 week of the appointment.

You should be aware that not all passports are available on these Fast Track services – so check the Gov.co.uk to see the guidelines.

The UK is the 3rd Most Powerful Passport

Having a UK passport gives you visa –free access to a whopping 174 countries across world. Its sits at 3rd position with Finland, France, Italy and Spain.

The UK currently sits behind Germany in 1st place and Sweden 2nd place, with access to 177 and 176 countries respectively.

Although Its Low Cost To Produce

A UK passport costs just £12.25 to make. The cost of an adult passport is £72.50, the 11th most expensive in the world. That’s over 500% mark up.

(Although £72.50 is fairly reasonable when compared to a Turkish passport – that will cost you £215!)

17% of the population in England don’t have a passport

The Office for National Statistics reported in 2011 that 83% of the resident population in England and Wales held a UK passport.

4.2 million Residents had a foreign passport, of which only 372,000 were Irish passports.

This an extremely high percentage when compared to America, where only 36% of the population have a passport.

The Queen is in that 17%

UK passports are issued in “The name of her majesty”. This renders it unnecessary for her majesty to have one.

Although all the other members of the Royal Family need one, sorry Charles.

No Hats Please

According to the UK Passport Office, the most common reason for a passport to be rejected is because the photos are incorrect.

There are strict guidelines that should be adhered too – this means to hair in front of your face, no hats or head coverings (unless for religious purposes) and you must be looking directly at the camera.

Don’t worry girls – you can trowel as much make up on as you like, just as long as it represents your natural skin tone.

Although Glasses Are Fine

Apparently.

Although not sunglasses, tinted glasses or reading glasses that cause a glare. Actually take them off altogether, just in case.

No One Wants Britain’s Oldest Passport

It dates back to June 18th 1641 and bears the signature of Charles I. It belonged to Captain William Bradshaw and is currently owned by a couple from Silksworth in Sunderland. When they bought it along to Flog It! on BB2 it didn’t receive a single bid at auction.

The Latest One Is Super Secure

The latest UK passport has been declared the most secured passport ever issues in the UK, printed with UV and Infrared light, watermarks and inks, it has also been designed in a way that prevents the page that hold personal details being tampered with.

But it’s Sexist

The theme of the new passports is “Creative United Kingdom” and features the icons of British Arts and Culture. Among the icons are William Shakespeare, John Constable and Ada Lovelace.

However, it has already faced criticism as out of the 7 icons, only 2 women are depicted.

5 Apps to Explore New York Like a Local

For those who are looking to dive into the local scene of New York City, here are five apps that will help you find restaurants, bars, events, and activities happening in and around the city that tourists might miss while exploring the place. We’ve compiled a list of NYC-centric apps, giving you a city guide at your fingertips.

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Here are a few recommended apps to explore New York City like a local:

1. Spotted by Locals

This app is very helpful for those looking for a local joint in the city. Spotted by Locals is an app that suggests local spots to explore based on the user’s current location. Look for nearby sightseeing, eating, drinking and shopping options. Even if you are looking for a particular cuisine, you can find it here. The app will also let you know how much you can expect to pay and the app is always up to date with the newest hotspots.

2. Gett

Gett is a NYC’s black cab app that offers fixed-price rides in central Manhattan. It can bring you luxury cars as per your preferences and advance bookings make this app quite popular in the city. Thanks to this advanced navigation app, your journey through New York is easier than ever. Unlike Uber and Lyft, there’s no surge pricing, making it a great choice for planning ahead.

3. ExitStrategy

This paid app is designed to help you travel using the subway line just like a New Yorker. Most people in the city use the subway to commute easily rather than driving their own car or hiring a cab. The app features offline interactive subway maps and directions to help you easily figure out the route. There are other features such as neighbourhood maps informing you exactly which entrance and exit to use and which train car to board. ExitStrategy app also features bus maps for all five boroughs.

4. Like a Local

Those who are looking for a distinctive journey to explore New York, Like a Local offers great insights into the hidden gems of the city. The app is not only helpful for tourists but also those who have lived in the city for years – it’s like having a friend who shares their insights and tips to the greatest secrets in the New York neighbourhoods like Chelsea, lower east side, midtown east and west, Murray hill and many more you can explore here.

5. Lifebooker

Want to pamper yourself and need to look your best for a special occasion after a long hectic day of meetings? Lifebooker is here to help you! The app offers deals on beauty, with services such as facials, haircuts, massages, and waxing etc., listed for over 50% off. Book the appointment directly through the app.

Technology has revolutionised the way we travel, eat and explore, so it is worth downloading location specific apps, if you are heading to a new destination. Remember, while you’re visiting New York and want to live like a local, get tapping and download the apps to make your navigation convenient.

 

About the Author:

I am Urvi, I like to meet new people, explore new places and share my experiences. Travelling intrigues and rejuvenates me. I am currently working as a blogger for thesqua.re – serviced accommodation, a community for travellers specifically dealing in major cities such as London, Paris and New York.

Unique Places To Visit During A Trip To The UK

For such a small island, the UK is full of history, culture and interest that has inspired tourists and travellers for centuries. From it’s luscious countrysides to it’s fast paced city life, it’s easy to see why it’s become such a popular tourist destination. With so much to see and do here, it’s difficult to determine which places to visit during your stay. There is nothing wrong with sticking to the larger cities such as London or Glasgow. But the UK has many lesser known but equally impressive locations too. So get you to inspired to travel further afield during your trip, here are some unique places you need to visit in the UK.

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Roman Baths in Bath

Bath is located in the South-West region of the UK and is just a short journey from the city of London. It’s an idyllic town that is entirely surrounded by rolling hills and beautiful landscapes. This might sound like a perfect place to visit if you’re an outdoorsy kind of person. But there’s even more on offer here. Bath is famously known for its natural hot springs and is home to the Roman baths. This attraction allows tourist to take a trip back in time to see how public bathing was carried out in the 19th century. A museum has also been built surrounding the baths which include artifacts, statues and modern day spa you can enjoy. There are also a whole host of shops, tea rooms and fantastic Georgian architecture throughout for you to enjoy. It’s a perfect day out if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle as it oozes a calm and relaxing vibe.

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Pleasure beach in Blackpool

Blackpool is a seaside town located in the North West of England. It’s reputation for family fun, and entertainment stems from it’s infamous Pleasure Beach. Here you will find some of the most impressive roller coasters and rides in Europe. The Big One roller coaster, for instance, stands at 235ft and can reach speeds of up to 87 mph. A whole host of shows in Blackpool are also held at the Pleasure Beach. Another fantastic attraction to try out is the Blackpool tower which has a glass viewing platform, ballroom and circus on site. This is the ideal place to visit if you’re travelling with young children or if you’re a bit of a thrill seeker.

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Eden Project in Cornwall

Cornwall is a county in England which is renowned for it’s beautiful coastlines and moorlands. While it’s beaches are always popular with tourists, it is also home to one of the UK’s most popular attractions. The Eden Project is located in the middle of a large crater and is home to the largest rainforest in captivity. Large bubble shapes biomes create the perfect habitat for exotic plants, flowers and trees. You can wander through the indoor and outdoor gardens and learn more about their conservation schemes. It’s a brilliant place to take children but can also be perfect for couples of any age.

These are just three unique places you can find in the UK that are unlike anywhere else. So what are you waiting for? Come and see them for yourself.

 

Have you ever found yourself between a rock and a hard place in a foreign country?

Chances are, if you’ve made the decision to travel around the world off your own bat, you’ll be all too familiar with the feeling. And most often, the solution is to try hail down a cab, and just hope that the vehicle that turns up has four wheels and passed MOT. If so, you’re likely to recognise some of the wacky vehicles the the Taxi Centre have put together in their “Around the World in 15 Taxis” infographic.

Looking at 15 different countries, the infographic compiles some vehicles that might be peculiar to western travellers, but normal to those who use them every day. I think I’d give a Bush Taxi a miss, although Cuba’s CoCotaxi does look kind of cute.

Take a look at the guide below, and let me know what your weirdest taxi experience is!

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New destination for affordable yacht ownership – Dubai

Dubai is the jewel in the Arabian crown. Known throughout the world for the luxurious lifestyle on offer, as well as its rich Islamic heritage, the city is an inspiring combination of age-old tradition and modern ambition. It’s a place where the sun never sets. Where warm azure waters lap the shores of remarkable man-made islands and roll off into the horizon, as far as the eyes can see.

Smartyacht-Dubai-destination-boatshow

SmartYacht, a company that offers shared yacht ownership, has recently announced that they will be offering prospective seafarers the opportunity to purchase a share of a deluxe prestige 500 in the new location of Dubai. With its 3 cabins, it is capable of accommodating 6 guests and offers wide-open living space and numerous extras. You’ll be able to discover this incredible city like you’ve never seen it before. With shares available from just 199,000 EUR, and the divide split between just three owners, this is by far the most cost effective way to live out your dreams of owning a luxurious yacht. The Prestige 500 is able to travel at up to 28 knots, so there will be times when Dubai itself is just a blur alongside you. But when you drop anchor, the chic interior, padded sunbathing area and spacious dining space make this yacht a joy to spend time in. An experienced crew, consisting of a captain and the option of a stewardess, can only add to the experience, ensuring that you make the most of your stay in this delightful stretch of ocean.

Smartyacht-Dubai-destination-Burj Khalifa

Ever since the inaugural International Dubai Boat Show back in 2008, the region has fast become one of the world’s most popular charter yacht destinations. It is easy to understand why. There are several high profile events throughout the year, ensuring that there is never a dull moment in the so-called City of Gold. The famous Dubai World Cup horse race in March, the rugby Sevens, the Jazz festival and the Tennis championships are just a few that annually grace the social calendar. Although the majority are held on land, the bulk of Dubai’s glamorous after-parties are held at the city’s marinas and ports. These lavish and extraordinary events are not to be missed, and are often as exciting as the occasions that precede them.

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But there is far more to Dubai than parties. The city is rich in architecture, created by some of the world’s foremost designers. The Burj Khalifa is a 160 story skyscraper and the proud holder of the ‘World’s tallest building’ title. Although the view from the top is impressive, so too is the view from the sea, where the tower is clearly visible. Another structure worth seeing is the Burj Al Arab, the world’s only 7 star hotel. Designed to resemble a sail, it is one of the world’s most photographed structures and is lit up at night by a choreographed light show that makes for impressive viewing from the water. There is of course a marina attached to the building should you wish to drop in and recharge after a leisurely day’s cruising. A reference to Dubai’s architectural feats would not be complete without remarking on Palm Island. This man-made structure stretches for miles out into the Gulf and is full of world famous hotels, amazing tourist attractions, luxury fashion and shopping malls. One can anchor up and enjoy a cocktail whilst watching the renowned Arabian sunset as it lights up the sky in orange, pink and purple.

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5 Insider Tips to Picking the Perfect Accommodation in Kuala Lumpur

Whether you’re a frequent business traveller or out on a family holiday, finding the perfect place to stay is often difficult, especially in cities offering a kaleidoscope of choices. If you’re planning a trip to Kuala Lumpur, here are 5 insider tips to keep in mind:

  1. Traffic jam can be a nightmare: Stay somewhere with easy access

Many cities in Southeast Asia are known for their traffic jams, and Kuala Lumpur is no exception. Nothing is more frustrating and time-wasting than being stuck in meandering traffic. For work trips or city tours within the Golden Triangle, the heart of modern Kuala Lumpur, consider hotels that allow you to hop on and off the light rail transits (LRT) and monorail stations for easy and quick access.

  1. The best form of rejuvenation and invigoration: Mother Nature

In the words of John Muir: “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”  Always pick a place that is near to a park or nature reserve to wake up to a relaxing view, or to unwind amidst busy days of meetings or sightseeing. Scientific studies by physician Eva Selhub and naturopath Alan Logan have shown that just spending 20 minutes in vegetation-rich nature improves your vitality and gives you the emotional resilience against the hard knocks of life.

Thankfully, despite Kuala Lumpur being the capital of Malaysia, it is not entirely a concrete jungle. Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve – Kuala Lumpur’s only surviving primary tropical rainforest, and Taman KLCC for example, are two parks in Kuala Lumpur that offer you that much deserved respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.

  1. English is not the official business language: Be prepared

For all travellers especially, it is important to know that English is widely used in service industries but it is not the official business language. You will have better luck being understood in Bahasa Melayu (or Malay). As such, to ensure your needs during your stay are well understood and taken care of, always pick a property that is managed by a reliable hospitality company with local or regional portfolio.

  1. Stretch your Ringgit: Get far more for less

Choose your accommodation wisely: If you do not need a grand ballroom, designer carpet or chandelier for your family vacation or business trip, then pick an accommodation that comes without it.  Look for hotels that offer packages to give you value for money e.g. family packages for trips with the family, room with breakfast options, etc. Those will help you save more than a ringgit or two.

  1. Stay on plan: Stick to hotel restaurant

It is undisputable: Malaysia has one of the best local street food especially in their pasar malam (night market) such as Jalan Alor in Kuala Lumpur. However, just a word of advice: If you have an all-important meeting or if the vacation is an annual family time together, it is recommended to stick to a hotel with a restaurant to avoid any disruptions to plans especially for breakfast which is irrefutably the most important meal of the day. For those with a strict diet, consider the option of an apartment or an apartment-style hotel that comes with a kitchen or kitchenette.

With these 5 tips to help you pick the perfect accommodation in Kuala Lumpur, there are several hotels and apartments you could consider. For example, there is Oasia Suites Kuala Lumpur (opening in April 2016) which is a hotel with apartment suites located in the Golden Triangle at the foot of Bukit Nanas, and walking distance to Bukit Nanas monorail station; and Sri Tiara Residences, which is located on a charming hillside in the exclusive neighbourhood of Taman Seputeh with close proximity to Mid Valley. Check out Far East Hospitality at http://www.stayfareast.com for more information. For further details on Oasia Suites Kuala Lumpur, visit http://www.stayfareast.com/oasia.

Elaine Seah is a veteran traveller, frequently shuffling between Singapore and Malaysia for work-related trips over the past 10 years. She is the Group Director of Brand Incorporated (http://www.brand-incorporated.com), one of the leading boutique consumer lifestyle public relations agencies in Singapore and Malaysia.

Banquet Hall Reception Facilities in Glendale

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If you are in search of a banquet hall in Glendale, or wedding reception hall in Glendale to host your event, then you likely know that you have many options. Though most all banquet halls are designed to be multipurpose, they were not all created equal and therefore some are better than others.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Banquet Hall in Glendale for Your Reception

Not all brides and grooms are looking for the same thing when it comes to the perfect venue to host their wedding reception in Glendale, but there are a few factors that all should consider.

  1. Location: Location should be an important factor to consider not only for the bride and groom, but also for their guests. Yes, you might have found the perfect venue (with the perfect price tag to match) three hours away from civilization, but how many people do you actually think will make it that far out? In terms of location also consider parking, hotels and lodging, as well as traffic for ease of access.
  2. Capacity: Obviously it is critically important that you select a venue that can hold the capacity of guests that you choose to invite. Some couples decide to make their guest list prior to selecting a location as to avoid any conflict. While others choose their dream location and then build a guest list around what the venue will accommodate.
  3. Interior: Making sure that you select a banquet hall for your reception that matches the theme of your wedding is important so that you may carry on the setting that you desire.
  4. Cost: This is the biggie. Being able to afford the banquet hall of your dreams is obviously crucial to holding your event there. When discussing pricing be sure to inquire about additional amenities, as you will likely be surprised at the things that are not included and that can therefore quickly throw you over budget!

If you are interested in more information about wedding venues or banquet halls in Glendale CA, be sure to check out Anoush.com for pricing and more.

Feeling Stressed Over an Upcoming Move? Hiring a Moving Company Might Be the Answer

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People relocate for several reasons such as a new job, to a bigger house, to be closer to family etc. Although the reasons vary for each person, there is likely one commonality. That is the stress of being faced with such a time consuming, daunting task. Finding the time to prepare can be a hassle when you are trying to juggle it around your daily work, school, home, or family responsibilities.

Moving companies offer many benefits that you may be unaware of. Before you invest your time and money into preparing for relocation, consider the following benefits. Professional movers may be just what you need during this stressful time.

Expert Services

Movers have the experience and skills to quickly facilitate the moving process. For example, you have a large deep freezer stored in your basement that needs to be carried upstairs. Then, upon arriving to your new home, the freezer has to be carefully maneuvered through narrow hallways for storage. This task alone would require additional help from friends or family members, and would likely take a great deal of time to complete.

Moving companies employ trained professionals who understand the difficulties of moving such as moving large, heavy items in and out of a home, the need for fragile items to be securely wrapped and the strategies necessary to navigate through difficult hallways and doorways.

Ensure Safety

Moving companies possess the proper equipment to safely move even the largest of your items while keeping them intact. However, ensuring safety goes beyond your household items. Movers are properly trained in the lifting and transfer of your items, which means you won’t be put at risk for strained or pulled muscles. Also, keep in mind that even the most experienced movers have unexpected events occur. Should the integrity of your items be compromised in any manner, moving companies have the appropriate insurance to remedy any losses.

Peace of Mind

Without the assistance of a professional movers it is easy to become overwhelmed, even when planning the move. You have to allot time and money to properly package materials, possibly rent a truck and supply the gas, as well as planning child and/or pet care. Hiring movers to assist you with these tasks can spare your anxiety and put your mind at ease.

The cost of self-preparation for an upcoming move was previously mentioned, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you will incur costs when hiring professional movers. However, many customers have stated that when they calculated their potential losses of moving themselves, the losses were greater than the cost of hiring professional movers. So, in the long run it was more beneficial to utilize a moving company. Also, before hiring movers it is best practice to verify the company has a positive reputation by checking references and reviewing customer testimonials on their website.