The Glacier Express Resumes Service

July 28, 2010 on 4:46 pm | In ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, switzerland travel, things travelers need to know | Comments Off

The Glacier Express has resumed operation after the accident of July 23, which resulted in one fatality and several injuries. Service resumed after repairs were made to the track and grade. In addition, an exhaustive analysis was conducted, but a specific cause of the accident has not yet been identified. Click to read the press release issued by the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn on the accident.

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No Fuel for Travel in Greece?

July 28, 2010 on 8:29 am | In Greece Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, things travelers need to know, travel news | 1 Comment

The truck strike continues in Greece and the result is that most areas are running out of fuel. For each 10 gas stations in Athens, only 2 have fuel to sell. In some areas of the country, especially those preferred by tourists, there appears to be no gasoline available. Gee what a great way to spend your vacation in Greece. Read the details at Ekathimerini. For a another view of the problem, see this article by the Wall Street Journal.

The fuel shortage is especially problematic for tour buses and their customers and may lead to a sharp reduction in the number of groups touring the country. In addition to fuel, there are supply problems with produce, especially fruit and vegetables, due to the strike.

The strike by the truckers is related to the government’s plan to increase competition in the trucking industry in 2013, a move that is, apparently, unacceptable to the owners/operators of trucks. At this point there is no way of telling when the strike will halt or how difficult the situation will become in Greece.

The strike is unfortunate for the travel industry in Greece, as vacation travelers were starting to return to the country and incoming air traffic over the last month experienced a significant upsurge. We suspect that this will continue to be a summer of discontent in Greece, at least for travelers, if not for the whole country.

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Switzerland’s Glacier Express Derails

July 23, 2010 on 10:42 am | In things travelers need to know | 1 Comment

The Glacier Express, one of the most scenic high-altitude train journeys in the world, suffered a derailment today that resulted in the death of one passenger and injury to approximately forty others.

Train accidents in Switzerland are unusual and the country’s rail lines have historically been considered above average in safety. The Glacier Express does travel at high altitude, but runs at a relatively slow speed. As of this time, the reason for the derailment remains unknown. Rail traffic along the line has been closed as police are investigating the accident.

See this article from News24.com for more information.

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New ThereArePlaces Guide to Israel

July 22, 2010 on 10:53 pm | In ThereArePlaces.com, israel travel, things travelers need to know, travel, travel guides, travel news, web publishing | Comments Off

ThereArePlaces has added a travel guide to Israel to our collection of guides on the best places to visit around the world. Our new guide covers Israel’s major cities (Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa) its archaeological wonders (Caesarea, Herodium, Masada, Beit Shean) and the pilgrimage sites around the country of interest to many Christians (Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and sites surrounding the Sea of Galilee).

The Dome of the Rock viewed from outside the walls of the Old City

We have included a separate guide to Jerusalem that is focused on the walled, Old City and its many wonders (the Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, etc), as well as several attractions outside of the Old City, including the Mount of Olives, the Kidron Valley and Yad Vashem.

Israel is the heart of the Holy Land and of great historic significance. We also realize that travel to Israel may not appeal to everyone. However, even if you never plan to travel in Israel, we think that reading our guide might be of interest to you and hope you will take a look when you have time.

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New Warning on Travel to Mexico From U.S. State Department

July 22, 2010 on 10:21 am | In Mexico travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, things travelers need to know, travel warnings | Comments Off

Today, the U.S. State Department issued a new travel warning covering Mexico. It is one of the longest and most detailed we have seen. The State Department has added a number of states to the areas that may be unsafe for travelers interested in visiting Mexico. The complete text of the message is provided below.

We have added highlights to help you find the areas and cities mentioned as dangerous for travel. We would like to assert, as does the State Department, that millions of travelers safely visit Mexico every year and the government of Mexico takes significant precautions to protect these visitors. However, the situation in Mexico appears to be deteriorating and travelers intending to visit Mexico should exhibit significant caution during their travels. For ThereArePlaces coverage of the Best Places to Visit in Mexico, click here.

Travel Warning
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs

Mexico
July 16, 2010

The Department of State has issued this Travel Warning to inform U.S. citizens traveling to and living in Mexico about the security situation in Mexico. The authorized departure of family members of U.S. government personnel from U.S. Consulates in the northern Mexico border cities of Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros remains in place. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning for Mexico dated May 6, 2010 to note the extension of authorized departure and to update guidance on security conditions and crime.

Millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year. This includes tens of thousands who cross the border every day for study, tourism or business and at least one million U.S. citizens who live in Mexico. The Mexican government makes a considerable effort to protect U.S. citizens and other visitors to major tourist destinations. Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico do not see the levels of drug-related violence and crime reported in the border region and in areas along major drug trafficking routes. Nevertheless, crime and violence are serious problems. While most victims of violence are Mexican citizens associated with criminal activity, the security situation poses serious risks for U.S. citizens as well.

It is imperative that U.S. citizens understand the risks involved in travel to Mexico, how best to avoid dangerous situations, and who to contact if one becomes a victim of crime or violence. Common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas during daylight hours, and avoiding areas where criminal activity might occur, can help ensure that travel to Mexico is safe and enjoyable. U.S. citizen victims of crime in Mexico are urged to contact the consular section of the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy for advice and assistance. Contact information is provided at the end of this message.

General Conditions

Since 2006, the Mexican government has engaged in an extensive effort to combat drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs). Mexican DTOs, meanwhile, have been engaged in a vicious struggle with each other for control of trafficking routes. In order to prevent and combat violence, the government of Mexico has deployed military troops and federal police throughout the country. U.S. citizens should expect to encounter military and other law enforcement checkpoints when traveling in Mexico and are urged to cooperate fully. DTOs have erected unauthorized checkpoints, and killed motorists who have not stopped at them. In confrontations with the Mexican army and police, DTOs have employed automatic weapons and grenades. In some cases, assailants have worn full or partial police or military uniforms and have used vehicles that resemble police vehicles. According to published reports, 22,700 people have been killed in narcotics-related violence since 2006. The great majority of those killed have been members of DTOs. However, innocent bystanders have been killed in shootouts between DTOs and Mexican law enforcement or between rival DTOs.

Recent violent attacks and persistent security concerns have prompted the U.S. Embassy to urge U.S. citizens to defer unnecessary travel to Michoacán and Tamaulipas, to parts of Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Durango, and Coahuila, (see details below) and to advise U.S. citizens residing or traveling in those areas to exercise extreme caution.

Violence Along the U.S.-Mexico Border

Much of the country’s narcotics-related violence has occurred in the northern border region. For example, since 2006, three times as many people have been murdered in Ciudad Juarez, in the state of Chihuahua, across from El Paso, Texas, than in any other city in Mexico. More than half of all Americans killed in Mexico in FY 2009 whose deaths were reported to the U.S. Embassy were killed in the border cities of Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana.

Since 2006, large firefights have taken place in towns and cities in many parts of Mexico, often in broad daylight on streets and other public venues. Such firefights have occurred mostly in northern Mexico, including Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, Chihuahua City, Nogales, Nuevo Laredo, Piedras Negras, Reynosa, Matamoros and Monterrey. Firefights have also occurred in Nayarit, Jalisco and Colima. During some of these incidents, U.S. citizens have been trapped and temporarily prevented from leaving the area.

The situation in northern Mexico remains fluid; the location and timing of future armed engagements cannot be predicted. U.S. citizens are urged to exercise extreme caution when traveling throughout the region, particularly in those areas specifically mentioned in this Travel Warning.

In recent months, DTOs have used stolen trucks to block major highways and thus prevent the military from responding to criminal activity, most notably in the area around Monterrey. Also in Monterrey, DTOs have kidnapped guests out of reputable hotels in the downtown area, blocking off adjoining streets to prevent law enforcement response. DTOs have also attacked Mexican government facilities such as military barracks and a customs and immigration post.

The situation in the state of Chihuahua, specifically Ciudad Juarez, is of special concern. Mexican authorities report that more than 2,600 people were killed in Ciudad Juarez in 2009. Three persons associated with the Consulate General were murdered in March, 2010. U.S. citizens should defer unnecessary travel to Ciudad Juarez and to the Guadalupe Bravo area southeast of Ciudad Juarez. U.S. citizens should also defer travel to the northwest quarter of the state of Chihuahua, including the city of Nuevas Casas Grandes and surrounding communities. From the United States, these areas are often reached through the Columbus, NM and Fabens and Fort Hancock, TX ports-of-entry. In both areas, American citizens have been victims of drug related violence. There have been recent incidents of serious narcotics-related violence in the vicinity of the Copper Canyon in Chihuahua.

The Consular agency in Reynosa, Tamaulipas was closed temporarily in February 2010 in response to firefights between police and DTOs and between DTOs. In April 2010, a grenade thrown into the Consulate compound at 11:00 PM caused damage to the U.S. Consulate General in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. The Consulate General in Nuevo Laredo and the Consular Agency in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, were closed for one day as a result. The Consulate General in Nuevo Laredo prohibits employees from entering the entertainment zone in Nuevo Laredo known as “Boys Town” because of concerns about violent crime in that area.

Between 2006 and 2009, the number of narcotics-related murders in the state of Durango increased ten-fold. The cities of Durango and Gomez Palacio, and the area known as “La Laguna” in the state of Coahuila, which includes the city of Torreon, have experienced sharp increases in violence. In late 2009 and early 2010, four visiting U.S. citizens were murdered in Gomez Palacio, Durango. These are among several murders in the state of Durango that have been cause for particular concern and that remain under investigation.

Travelers on the highways between Monterrey and the United States (notably through Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros) have been targeted for robbery that has resulted in violence and have also been caught in incidents of gunfire between criminals and Mexican law enforcement. Travelers should defer unnecessary travel on Mexican Highway 2 between Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo due to the ongoing violent competition between DTOs in that area. Criminals have followed and harassed U.S. citizens traveling in their vehicles in border areas including Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, and Tijuana. U.S. citizens traveling by road to and from the U.S. border through Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, Durango, and Sinaloa should be especially vigilant. Criminals appear to especially target SUVs and full-size pick-up trucks for theft and car-jacking along these routes.

Continued concerns regarding road safety along the Mexican border have prompted the U.S. Mission in Mexico to impose certain restrictions on U.S. government employees transiting the area. Effective July 15, 2010, Mission employees and their families may not travel by vehicle across the U.S.-Mexico border to or from any post in the interior of Mexico. This policy also applies to employees and their families transiting Mexico to and from Central American posts. This policy does not apply to employees and their family members assigned to border posts (Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, and Matamoros), although they may not drive to interior posts as outlined above. Travel is permitted between Hermosillo and Nogales, but not permitted from Hermosillo to any other interior posts.

Crime and Violence Throughout Mexico

Although narcotics-related crime is a particular concern along Mexico’s northern border, violence has occurred throughout the country, including in areas frequented by American tourists. U.S. citizens traveling in Mexico should exercise caution in unfamiliar areas and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Bystanders have been injured or killed in violent attacks in cities across the country, demonstrating the heightened risk of violence in public places. In recent years, dozens of U.S. citizens living in Mexico have been kidnapped and most of their cases remain unsolved.

One of Mexico’s most powerful DTOs is based in the state of Sinaloa. Since 2006, more homicides have occurred in the state’s capital city of Culiacan than in any other city in Mexico, with the exception of Ciudad Juarez. Furthermore, the city of Mazatlan has experienced a recent increase in violent crime, with more murders in the first quarter of 2010 than in all of 2009. U.S. citizens should defer unnecessary travel to Culiacan and exercise extreme caution when visiting the rest of the state.

The state of Michoacán is home to another of Mexico’s most dangerous DTOs, “La Familia”. In June 2010, 14 federal police were killed in an ambush near Zitacuaro in the southeastern corner of the state. In April 2010, the Secretary for Public Security for Michoacán was shot in a DTO ambush. Security incidents have also occurred in and around the State’s world famous butterfly sanctuaries. In 2008, a grenade attack on a public gathering in Morelia, the state capital, killed eight people. U.S. citizens should defer unnecessary travel to the area. If travel in Michoacán is unavoidable, U.S. citizens should exercise extreme caution, especially outside major tourist areas.

U.S. citizens should exercise extreme caution when traveling in the northwestern part of the state of Guerrero, which likewise has a strong DTO presence. U.S. citizens should not take the dangerous, isolated road through Ciudad Altamirano to the beach resorts of Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo. The popular beach resort of Acapulco has been affected by narcotics-related violence. In April 2010, three innocent bystanders were killed in a shootout between Mexican police and DTO members in broad daylight in one of the city’s main tourist areas. In the same month, numerous incidents of narcotics-related violence occurred in the city of Cuernavaca, in the State of Morelos, a popular destination for American language students.

U.S. citizens should also exercise extreme caution when traveling in southern Nayarit in and near the city of Tepic which has recently experienced unpredictable incidents of DTO violence. The number of violent incidents involving DTOs has increased in recent months throughout Jalisco, Nayarit and Colima.

U.S. citizens traveling to towns and villages with large indigenous communities located predominantly but not exclusively in southern Mexico, should be aware that land disputes between residents and between residents and local authorities have led to violence. In April 2010, two members of a non-governmental aid organization, one of whom was a foreign citizen, were murdered near the village of San Juan Capola in Oaxaca.

Safety Recommendations

U.S. citizens who believe they are being targeted for kidnapping or other crimes should notify Mexican law enforcement officials and the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City or the nearest U.S. consulate as soon as possible. Any U.S. visitor who suspects they are a target should consider returning to the United States immediately. U.S. citizens should be aware that many cases of violent crime are never resolved by Mexican law enforcement, and the U.S. government has no authority to investigate crimes committed in Mexico.

U.S. citizens should make every attempt to travel on main roads during daylight hours, particularly the toll (“cuota”) roads, which generally are more secure. When warranted, the U.S. Embassy and consulates advise their employees as well as private U.S. citizens to avoid certain areas, abstain from driving on certain roads because of dangerous conditions or criminal activity, or recommend driving during daylight hours only. When this happens, the Embassy or the affected consulate will alert the local U.S. citizen Warden network and post the information on their respective websites, indicating the nature of the concern and the expected time period for which the restriction will remain in place.

U.S. citizen visitors are encouraged to stay in the well-known tourist areas. Travelers should leave their itinerary with a friend or family member not traveling with them, avoid traveling alone, and check with their cellular provider prior to departure to confirm that their cell phone is capable of roaming on GSM or 3G international networks. Cell phone coverage in isolated parts of Mexico, for example, the Copper Canyon, is spotty or non-existent.

Do not display expensive-looking jewelry, large amounts of money, or other valuable items. Travelers to remote or isolated venues should be aware that they may be distant from appropriate medical, law enforcement, and consular services in an emergency situation.

U.S. citizens applying for passports or requesting other fee-based services from consulates or the Embassy are encouraged to make arrangements to pay for those services using a non-cash method. U.S. citizens should be alert for credit card fraud, especially outside major commercial establishments.

American employees of the U.S. Embassy are prohibited from hailing taxis on the street in Mexico City because of frequent robberies. U.S. citizens are urged to only use taxis associated with the organized taxi stands (“sitios”) that are common throughout Mexico.

U.S. citizens should be alert to pickpockets and general street crime throughout Mexico, but especially in large cities. Between FY 2006 and FY 2009 the number of U.S. passports reported stolen in Mexico rose from 184 to 288.

Demonstrations and Large Public Gatherings

Demonstrations occur frequently throughout Mexico and usually are peaceful. However, even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate to violence unexpectedly. Violent demonstrations have resulted in deaths, including that of an American citizen in Oaxaca in 2006. During demonstrations or law enforcement operations, U.S. citizens are advised to remain in their homes or hotels, avoid large crowds, and avoid the downtown and surrounding areas.

Demonstrators in Mexico may block traffic on roads, including major arteries, or take control of toll-booths on highways. U.S. citizens should avoid confrontations in such situations.

Since the timing and routes of scheduled marches and demonstrations are always subject to change, U.S. citizens should monitor local media sources for new developments and exercise extreme caution while within the vicinity of protests.

The Mexican Constitution prohibits political activities by foreigners, and such actions may result in detention and/or deportation. U.S. citizens are therefore advised to avoid participating in demonstrations or other activities that might be deemed political by Mexican authorities. As is always the case in any large gathering, U.S. citizens should remain alert to their surroundings.

Further Information

U.S. citizens are urged to monitor local media for information about fast-breaking situations that could affect their security.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to review the U.S. Embassy’s Mexico Security Update. The update contains information about recent security incidents in Mexico that could affect the safety of the traveling public.

For more detailed information on staying safe in Mexico, please see the State Department’s Country Specific Information for Mexico. Information on security and travel to popular tourist destinations is also provided in the publication: “Spring Break in Mexico- Know Before You Go!!”

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the State Department’s internet web site, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers from Mexico, a regular toll line at 001-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). American citizens traveling or residing overseas are encouraged to register with the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the State Department’s travel registration website.

For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens in Mexico, please contact the U.S. Embassy or the closest U.S. Consulate. The numbers provided below for the Embassy and Consulates are available around the clock. The U.S. Embassy is located in Mexico City at Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia Cuauhtemoc, telephone from the United States: 011-52-55-5080-2000; telephone within Mexico City: 5080-2000; telephone long distance within Mexico 01-55-5080-2000. You may also contact the Embassy by e-mail.

Consulates (with consular districts):

Ciudad Juarez (Chihuahua): Paseo de la Victoria 3650, tel. (011)(52)(656) 227-3000.

Guadalajara (Nayarit, Jalisco, Aguas Calientes, and Colima): Progreso 175, telephone (011)(52)(333) 268-2100.

Hermosillo (Sinaloa and the southern part of the state of Sonora): Avenida Monterrey 141, telephone (011)(52)(662) 289-3500.

Matamoros (the southern part of Tamaulipas with the exception of the city of Tampico): Avenida Primera 2002, telephone (011)(52)(868) 812-4402.

Merida (Campeche, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo): Calle 60 no. 338-K x 29 y 31, Col. Alcala Martin, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico 97050, telephone (011)(52)(999) 942-5700 or 202-250-3711 (U.S. number).

Monterrey (Nuevo Leon, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, and the southern part of Coahuila): Avenida Constitucion 411 Poniente, telephone (011)(52)(818) 047-3100.

Nogales (the northern part of Sonora): Calle San Jose, Nogales, Sonora, telephone (011)(52)(631) 311-8150.

Nuevo Laredo (the northern part of Coahuila and the northwestern part of Tamaulipas): Calle Allende 3330, col. Jardin, telephone (011)(52)(867) 714-0512.

Tijuana (Baja California Norte and Baja California Sur): Tapachula 96, telephone (011)(52)(664) 622-7400.

All other Mexican states, and the Federal District of Mexico City, are part of the Embassy’s consular district.

Consular Agencies:

Acapulco: Hotel Continental Emporio, Costera Miguel Aleman 121 – local 14, telephone (011)(52)(744) 484-0300 or (011)(52)(744) 469-0556.

Cabo San Lucas: Blvd. Marina local c-4, Plaza Nautica, col. Centro, telephone (011)(52)(624) 143-3566.

Cancún: Plaza Caracol two, second level, no. 320-323, Boulevard Kukulcan, km. 8.5, Zona Hotelera, telephone (011)(52)(998) 883-0272 or, 202-640-2511 (a U.S. number).

Ciudad Acuña: Closed until further notice.

Cozumel: Plaza Villa Mar en el Centro, Plaza Principal, (Parque Juárez between Melgar and 5th ave.) 2nd floor, locales #8 and 9, telephone (011)(52)(987) 872-4574 or, 202-459-4661 (a U.S. number).

Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo: Hotel Fontan, Blvd. Ixtapa, telephone (011)(52)(755) 553-2100.

Mazatlán: Playa Gaviotas #202, Zona Dorada, telephone (011)(52)(669) 916-5889.

Oaxaca: Macedonio Alcalá no. 407, interior 20, telephone (011)(52)(951) 514-3054, (011) (52)(951) 516-2853.

Piedras Negras: Abasolo #211, Zona Centro, Piedras Negras, Coah., Tel. (011)(52)(878) 782-5586.

Playa del Carmen: “The Palapa,” Calle 1 Sur, between Avenida 15 and Avenida 20, telephone (011)(52)(984) 873-0303 or 202-370-6708(a U.S. number).

Puerto Vallarta: Paradise Plaza, Paseo de los Cocoteros #1, Local #4, Interior #17, Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, telephone (011)(52)(322) 222-0069.

Reynosa: Calle Monterrey #390, Esq. Sinaloa, Colonia Rodríguez, telephone: (011)(52)(899) 923 – 9331.

San Luis Potosí: Edificio “Las Terrazas”, Avenida Venustiano Carranza 2076-41, Col. Polanco, telephone: (011)(52)(444) 811-7802/7803.

San Miguel de Allende: Dr. Hernandez Macias #72, telephone (011)(52)(415) 152-2357 or (011)(52)(415) 152-0068.

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Air Traffic Strike in France

July 20, 2010 on 8:09 am | In France, France Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, air travel, strikes, things travelers need to know, travel news | Comments Off

A twenty-four hour air traffic control strike in France will start tonight and end Thursday morning. It is expected that the strike will not affect long haul flights, but shorter flights from Charles DeGaulle (Roissy) and Orly may see a reduction in frequency. Unfortunately, stormy weather is predicted for Wednesday, which may exacerbate the problem. By the way, the strike reflects the desire of the French air traffic controllers to not be a part of the a proposed integrated system of air traffic control that would cover all Europe. See this article at Reuters for detailed information.

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Rioting in Grenoble, France

July 18, 2010 on 8:51 am | In France, France Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | 1 Comment

There has been rioting in the Grenoble suburb of La Villeneuve over the weekend. The unrest started Friday night when a suspect in an armed robbery of a casino was killed in a gunfight with local police. Over eighty cars were torched in the aftermath of the shooting during two nights of rioting. See this article in Deutsche Welle for more details on this story.

It appears that the riots are waning. However, we advise travelers who may be headed for Grenoble, located at the foot of the French Alps, to delay their travel until next week, if possible.

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“Free Navigation on Mobile Phones”

July 12, 2010 on 11:24 am | In maps, personal travel, things travelers need to know | Comments Off

We enjoy using the free navigation services available on our cell phone. Google and Nokia, for example, provide free mapping and routing services that can be a good way to find a route between locations. Cell phones equipped with GPS make the routing even easier. Using these services in your home country is a snap, but once you are outside of your home territory, the roaming charges that can apply to using these services can be amazingly large.

Garmin, who provides Personal Navigation Devices, has recently published a study of using a cell phone with a UK service area to make a trip in France from Calais to Paris based on mobile routing provided by Google Maps. The data roaming charges associated with the journey (185 miles) cost approximately $55 for the 12-13 megabytes of data required for the route. You can read the entire press release here. Garmin, of course, wants you to buy a PDA from them, but maybe that would be cheaper than using your phone for navigation services while abroad.

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New Passport and Passport Card Fees

July 7, 2010 on 10:41 am | In passports, things travelers need to know, travel, travel news | Comments Off

As we indicated in our blog several months ago, the Department of State is raising the fees for passports and passport cards. The new fee structure will be in effect on July 13, 2010. For more details, see ThereArePlaces updated pages on passports and passport cards.

The raises are substantial, but the State Department claims they are necessary to cover the costs of issuing passports and providing service to American travelers abroad. For example the fee for those older than sixteen who were applying for a first-time passport was $97 and is now $135. Here is a chart showing the State Department’s new schedule of fees.

The New Passport Fee Schedule from the State Department

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Greece Travel News – A Broken Record?

July 2, 2010 on 7:18 am | In Greece Travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel restrictions | 1 Comment

According to the Wall Street Journal and a number of other sources, the sixth general strike of the year will be held in Greece next Thursday, July 8. While the support for the general strikes has been declining, they still close the country’s transportation network, which is, of course, bad news for travelers, especially those hoping to reach the Greek Islands.

Our advice: Avoid Athens next Thursday and count on public travel being unavailable.

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