Category Archives: Travel News

2020’s Year in Pictures: Past Year Review

What a year it has been! No words can fully describe all the chaos and interesting chain-of-events that took place in 2020. Many of these changes will continue to transform the world forever.

Remote work, telemedicine, political dysfunction, money printing, pandemic control, vaccine production, home schooling (just to name a few massive trends) — 2020 was one of those years where a decade has happened.

From climate change, to systemic racism, to rising wealth inequality to combating a raging pandemic which no one could effectively control in most of the world has taught us many critical lessons. Hopefully, some of these lessons will make our world a better, safer, and fairer place for all.

Okay with that said and as we are all preparing to wrap up the year, we bring you 2020 year-in-pictures.

Australia Forest Fire

Taal Volcano

Taal volcano erupts in the Philippines. From a green oasis to red death. The volcano has had several violent eruptions in the past, causing loss of life on the island and the populated areas surrounding the lake, with the death toll over 6000 as of date.

Covid Outbreak in China

Within months, the virus outbreak went loose and spread across the entire planet. Travel started to slow down and nations-states started to close their borders.

Initially, as the testing rate was low and death rate were high, panic and an impending sense of doom was all over the news. Everyone was taking extra precautions and by March, WHO declared Coronavirus a Pandemic.

Covid Testing

With time covid testing and tracing became humanity’s only chance of hope.

George Floyd

The unfortunate event that led to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked a series of protests around the country and later across the globe around systemic racism, gender inequality, government corruption, police brutality, and other social injustices.

The protests against the police brutality and issues around the police reform led to more cases getting surfaced with either police forces using excessive force or not taking actions at all. This led to month long protests, riots, death, damage, and chaos.

California & West Coast Forest Fires

2020 US Election

This was the most important election in the recent US history. On the one side, it was pro-Trump nationalists with America-First at all cost camp vs the progressive democrats who wanted America take back the global leadership role.

Covid Lockdowns

Once the covid19 cases surpassed a million and continued rising at an alarming rate, the governments around the world had no choice but to start locking down businesses, transportation, and other human activities.

The national lockdowns around the world resulted in millions of small businesses going out of business, millions of people losing their jobs, and causing both a severe economic depression and mental health epidemic. The “real economy” is far from normal no matter what the stock markets might be telling you.

5G Launched

The long awaited 5G (fifth generation) technology finally started getting rolled out and new phone models were launched which are now 5G compatible. 5G will bring Gigabit speed for its users. Furthermore, 5G networks are predicted to reach almost 2 billion subscribers worldwide by 2025.

SpaceX, NASA & ISS

NASA astronauts were launched in a historic test flight to International Space Station (ISS) in SpaceX Dragon. This was a huge deal not just in the field of reusable-Rocket Science, but also because it made America finally independent. Up until now, all commercial launches used to be done by Russia.

Bitcoin as Digital Gold

The year 2017 put Bitcoin into the mainstream news but it was not until this year’s rise in Bitcoin price which validated Bitcoin’s true potential as a digital store of value. With the new all time high price and market cap, Bitcoin continues to lead the digital financial revolution.

Locust Swarm

As if Coronavirus was not already bad enough, the 2020 locust infestation wrecked havoc and threatened the food supply across East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Indian subcontinent. The locust outbreak this year was the worst in 70 years in Kenya, and the worst in 25 years in Ethiopia, Somalia, and India.

Murder Hornets

Speaking of Biblical level plagues, infestation, and disease, 2020 gave us three new species of murder hornets in the Pacific Northwest in North America. These are Asian giant hornets, a species that recently invaded North America.

The bigger problem is that they are a threat to bees and without bees everything else goes down in the food chain beginning with the trees. This is a huge problem that we don’t know how to solve it yet. Only time will tell.

Brexit Finalized

Brexit officially happened on January 31, 2020 and the UK has been in a transition period until the end of 2020. There are plenty of both the doom warnings and good days, but no body knows for sure how this will impact the UK in 10 years. The way things are going in the world, this doesn’t look like a happy ending for the British people.

Healthcare Workers Celebrated as True Heroes

Finally, to end this year end review on a positive note, we would like to thank our healthcare workers and all essential workers who make this world run. Covid19 made us realize that the true heroes are the people who lift up other people’s burden and take care of our sick. They were indeed the angels we needed to survive this pandemic!

If you think we are missing some key events from this year, please comment below and we will make sure to add it to our photo story.

Thanks for reading and we wish you a Happy 2021! This time is different 😉

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Sustainable Travel Tips From World Tourism Day

Every Year on the 27th of September, the United Nations organizes the annual event of World Tourism Day.

The growth of tourism worldwide is estimated to grow at 3.3% till 2030. Following this trend, the International Tourist Arrivals which stand at 1.2 billion as of 2015, will likely grow to 1.8 billion by 2030.

Woah! This means more people traveling. This makes me happy.

World Tourism Day

This year’s, the World Tourism Day is focused on sustainable, planet-friendly, eco-tourism.

UNWTO’s Secretary General Taleb Rifai echoed this sentiment when he said, “the question is how we enable this [Travel as a] powerful global transformative force, these 1.8 billion opportunities, to contribute to make this world a better place and to advance sustainable development in all its 5 pillars.”

Sustainable Travel Tips

The five pillars of sustainable travel are Environment, Society, Economy, Peace, and Culture. The international tourism faced many challenges this year from the wave of terrorist incidents to disrespectful tourists plundering pristine eco-systems.

So, this year let all travelers learn to adopt sustainable tourism. Below, I have mentioned four tips to ensure you follow the ways of sustainable world travel.

Respect the Culture

Wherever you go, be updated about the culture of that place. Even if you are not, be as much as flexible as you can be. Talking from experience, I was once standing in front of a statue of Lord Buddha and so was another fellow traveler.

He started posting like the statue and framed comic pictures which didn’t go well with the locals who were devotees of Lord Buddha. This World Tourism Day, make sure you keep your mind open and your heart sensitive to understand what’s going on around you.

Protect the Nature

This is one of the top priorities of a responsible traveler. One thing I learned from my sister is how to protect nature. She is an environmentalist and always advocates for nature. As a traveler, you want to be carefree and wild.

But sometimes it is easy to mistake carefree and wild, with carelessness and irresponsible. We all have a duty towards nature, and whenever nature demands our attention we should pay it.

If you can dodge the use of vehicles (as much as possible) to curb the release of Green House Gases that is well and good.

If you refrain from entering the protected areas, which other tourists think as adventure then hats off (because Protected Areas are Protected areas for a reason).

Use Resources Wisely

We belong to a generation where water is as precious as fuel. If we don’t use our resources wisely then maybe we will have to live in a deficit.

As travelers, it is our concern not to misuse any resources. Do not let the tap open indefinitely, do not switch on numerous lights and electrical appliances when not needed. Save Energy and Energy will save you.

Support Local Businesses

Many of us dream of traveling luxuriously which excludes any involvement with the local businesses. But as a tourist going local is the best way to discover a place.

Whenever I travel, I try to go as much as a local as possible. Be it eating at a local shack, or buying a memento from a local vendor.

The UN released a handbook which is the responsible traveler’s etiquette called “Travel. Enjoy. Respect”, which has guidelines to be a responsible tourist.

10 Breathtaking Photos of Total Solar Eclipse

After, almost a century North America saw a coast to coast total Solar Eclipse. You must have come across a popular hashtag #Eclipse2017 on social media.

The eclipse ranged from Oregon to South Carolina and covered 14 states on its path. For many, this was an incredible experience!

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

The fact that we are in 2017, this Solar Eclipse might be the most photographed Solar Eclipse in the history of the UniverseWe have brought you some breathtaking images of this cosmic event.

Let’s have a look below.

Total Solar Eclipse

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

“A total solar eclipse swept across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. A partial solar eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent along with parts of South America, Africa, and Europe.”

Photo: NASA (CC0)

“Millions of people saw the total Eclipse from across the USA but only six people were lucky enough to see the shadow (umbra) cast over by the Moon on Earth. Above, you can see the eclipse from the ISS. A dark cast on the surface of Earth. What a view!”

Photo: NASA (CC0)

“Randy Bresnik-who is NASA’s Flight Engineer clicked images of the 2017 Solar Eclipse from the unique vantage point of the Expedition 52 Crew.”

Photo: NASA (CC0)

“There is something different about this image, ultraviolet light was used to capture this image on Aug 21, 2017. Isn’t it spellbinding?”

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

“This enchanting image is of the Sun nearing totality in Ross Lake, Washington.”

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

“First signs of Eclipse, Depoe Bay, Oregon.”

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

“Employees at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston experienced the 2017 eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017, by playing with the shadows.”

Photo: NASA (CC0)

“Panoramic view of the 2017 solar eclipse as seen at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.”

Photo: NASA (CC0)

“See the li’l beads around the moon? The Bailey’s Beads effect is seen as the moon makes its final move over the sun during the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017, above Madras, Oregon.”

“Solar eclipse explained. Along its path, the Moon crosses the Sun and cast a dark shadow over the Earth, making the day turn into the night for the area under the moon’s shadow.”

New TSA Rules = Longer Wait Time

Folks, there is a new change in airport security made by the TSA (Transport Security Administration in the USA). Even though this change may seem related to the electronics travel ban on Middle Eastern Countries, it is not what it seems.

The TSA is constantly striving to improve security and to make the process smoother; it took another step in this direction. But, this basically means longer wait lines and more hassle. You will now have to juggle one more bin at the airport.

New TSA Rules

New TSA rule requires separate bins for your jacket, laptops, tablets, and shoes, and another bin for larger electronic devices (including big cameras). Read more about How To Carry Your Camera & Electronics After The U.S Device Limitation.

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

Ten airports in the U.S., are being used for testing by the TSA. These ten airports will use the new checkpoint procedure. In this process, passengers must unpack all devices larger than a cell phone and put them in a separate bin.

The reason behind this improved security check procedure is to increase efficiency. By removing all devices larger than a cell phone, there will be less luggage to check manually after going through the X-Ray machine check.

This long process sounds tiring, but it is just the trial period. The TSA has no plans of implementing the new security checkpoint rule, yet. Airports like the Logan International Airport (in Boston) and the Los Angeles Airport are now using the procedure.

Airport Security

TSA advises passengers not to fret and informs that it has no intention of using the updated security methods nationwide right now. There are no changes in what you can pack in your carry-on bags.

But in select airports, the security checkpoints exist, which require you to declutter your bag. In that case, you ought to place your electronics in a separate bin.

There is also an upgrade in the screening of food items. If you don’t go through that screening, the TSA personnel will manually check your food items.

Even though all of the checkpoint security updates seem tedious, it ensures the efficiency of security at airports. It is better to co-operate and let the new procedure take its course.

It is just a little more hassle, and by the time you reach your travel destination, you will have forgotten all about the pains of the airport.

Read next: Common Travel Questions.

Learn more about clever Travel Hacks and save time and money.

US Travel Ban: How to Carry Your Camera & Electronics

Since January, there has been a hullabaloo regarding the amendments in travel laws. It started with U.S. President Trump’s executive order which bans visas to travel from six Muslim populated countries. Trump says that these temporary bans are for national security.

Whereas one U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang pointed out that the purpose behind Trump’s orders is just a step towards the “long envisioned Muslim ban.” What happens in the future is still unclear but another travel ban by U.S. administration entitled “Limitation of devices on flights” has definitely attracted mixed responses from nations.


For passengers traveling on foreign airlines to the U.S. from these ten airports are not to bring devices larger than their cell phones in their carry on. The ten airports are from 8 Muslim-majority countries:

Abu Dhabi International Airport, United Arab Emirates

Kuwait International Airport

King Khalid International Airport, Saudi Arabia

King Abdulaziz International Airport, Saudi Arabia

Mohammed V International Airport, Morocco

Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar

Dubai International Airport

Queen Alia International Airport, Jordan

Cairo International Airport, Egypt

Istanbul Ataturk Airport, Turkey


Only foreign airlines flying from these airports are subject to device limitation.

The rules apply to direct flights from the airports mentioned above only.

The device limitation is temporary.

Iraq is exempt from the new travel ban.

Restricted items include: Laptop, Tablets, Cameras, travel printers and all items that are larger than a smartphone.

The new policy came into effect at 3 AM E.D.T on the 21st of March.

Within 96 hours all the airlines must follow the device limitation rules.

Carriers that fail to do so risk losing their authorization.

Larger devices are allowed in “Checked baggage” rather than your carry on.

The ban is not indefinite but runs until October and can extend up to one year.


T.S.A officials have not yet spoken openly about the reason behind the new rules. But the T.S.A. Federal security is on high alert because terrorist groups are targeting certain commercial aircraft. 

Another reason behind the restrictions maybe, the new knowledge that terrorists have developed hard to detect bombs inside electronic devices. The suspected Bombmaker Ibrahim Hassan Al-Assiri of Al Qaeda’s Yemen branch is in close contact with terrorists in Syria in developing hard to detect explosives.

The government is concerned about the growing interest of terrorists in commercial aviation. Hence the increased security measures. Better safe than sorry. Terrorists used shoes (2001), a soda can (2015), Liquid (2006), and underwear (2009, 2012) for hiding explosives, so there is no doubt they will continue to develop smarter and harder-to-detect technology. 


As result of the U.Ss acting out, the U.K. has also applied the device limitation to airports in 6 countries. Under the rule, no device larger than 16 cm in length, 9.3 cm in width and 1.5 cm in breadth goes inside a carry-on. Any such devices will go through central security. The first few days are sure to make passengers confused and angry, but everything gets back to normal once you get used to it. Just like what happened in the case of liquid explosives, when the whole nation was in chaos.


Don’t panic if you travel from any of the airports selected in the Middle East. Your camera and device are safe with you inside your checked baggage. For some while, you need to part with your favorite devices – Laptop, Camera (thank God you can keep your smartphone!) 

After you land your devices are all yours again. The Royal Jordanian state-run airline said that you could carry larger electronic items, but you have to check them with your baggage. It is also mentioned that medical items are exempt from the ban.

Year End Review and Travel Highlights of 2016

With just a few days left in 2016, there is a lot to review before closing out the year. What happened this year? What were the tourist hotspots? What are the changes in the travel industry? What news made it into the headlines?

All these questions help us to look at our year in review. Now, let us catch up with events of this last year before we leap into the new one.


The booming tourism industry in the Caribbean (Puerto Rico, Mexico, Brazil, Panama, United States Virgin Islands, Honduras) took a bitter blow when the virus hit.

Since January, travel experts talk about the drastic effect of the Zika Virus on tourism. Those who had tickets for Zika-affected areas canceled their trips and received full refunds. About 26% of travel agents became victims of Zika cancellations.

Throughout the year, Zika made it in the news worldwide. As a result, concerned travelers canceled their trips even though the virus is mild and only infects the pregnant woman.

During the winter season, the $24 billion travel industry in Miami experienced a major setback because of last minute cancellations due to the virus.


Brussels By Miguel Discart CC BY-SA 2.0

After the terror attacks in November 2015, 2016 saw a decline in the number of tourists. Cities like Brussels, Nice and German cities witnessed the killing of innocent humans. After the deadly attacks on Paris, the Sodetour chain of restaurants saw a 70% decrease in business.

How much of that is attributable to terrorism we do not know. Regardless, European countries which depend on tourism got disappointed this year. France was primarily affected by the attacks on Paris and Brussels.

The economy had a loss of one billion pounds in business and tax revenue in March. Furthermore, the country saw no growth from April to June.  Most of the declining economy came from hotels and tourism.


The rise of OTAs (online travel agencies) is slumping the profits from direct booking for hotels. OTAs eat away 15%-30% of the cost of booking, which is a nightmare for hotels. Hence, hotels are seeking out new ways to encourage travelers to book directly through them.

Now that commission free booking engines are available, hoteliers save their commission money and spend it on marketing. It is expected that the OTA share in hotel revenue will increase from 14 % in 2010 to 19% in 2017.

Whereas, estimates say that hotel website bookings will get only a 2% increase in the same period.


Not only are hotels and OTAs attracting hoards of customers but so is Airbnb. This company helps you find home rentals while you are traveling across the world. If you do not know about it already then you will certainly hear about it in the coming year.

The company has made an income of $12.3 billion this year and is predicted to outsmart all other accommodation companies. Experts comment that it has the potential to elevate its income by 70% in 2017.

Although there are pending lawsuits against this home-sharing company, it is still running successfully. Next year it will have more than 200 cities on its radar.


The increasing threat to security has caused officials to take extra precautions. A long and tiring pre-check was the bane of travel this past year. Many people did not want to travel unless necessary because of the never-ending TSA Security lines at the airport.

Flights were a nightmare, and plenty of travelers missed their flights. The plight of the passengers was a massive problem. However, there was a blame game between the TSA and the airlines. After May the TSA made adjustments to its security program.

Now getting through the security check is comparatively smooth and quick.


Press conference, Havana BY Chuck Kennedy BY Public Domain

The U.S. was hopeful at the start of 2016 to forge a friendship with its long-time rival from the Cold War, Cuba. President Obama took initiatives and was the first U.S. President to visit Cuba.

This initiative was the reason Cuba eased its travel restrictions. In June, the first cruise ship since the 1960s traveled from the U.S. to Cuba. The friendly relationship between the two rivals didn’t last long.

In November, as the conclusion of Obama’s term became imminent and with the death of Fidel Castro, the relationship became tenuous once more.

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