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77
votes
6answers
29k views

My hotel “blocked” 5,000 dollars when I arrived and now is taking again the money

I'm staying in San Francisco for 2 weeks. When I arrived I gave my European debit card to the hotel, and they (at least, I thought so) withdrew the 5,000 dollars I owed them for the whole stay. ...
76
votes
2answers
12k views

Do I break the law as a foreigner in Germany if an embassy keeps my passport to stick a visa in?

An Armenian national lives in Germany and holds a permanent residence (Niederlassungserlaubnis). This is a sticker in their Armenian passport. They have applied at the UK embassy in Berlin to get a ...
76
votes
9answers
10k views

What kind of things can you take from a hotel?

Hotels normally provide a big amount of sets (well, depending on the quality, but however, many!) that can help you feel more comfortable there. So for example you can get towels, slippers, candies, ...
75
votes
4answers
21k views

How to answer “Have you ever been refused a visa?” if I've had a refusal overturned

A few years ago, I applied for a UK visa. The visa was initially refused and I had no rights of appeal. However, the refusal letter had some glaring mistakes and I sent an email to the Embassy. The ...
75
votes
10answers
5k views

How to successfully haggle / bargain in markets

While I've done quite a bit of travel now and back myself to handle situations when it comes to border guards, sorting accommodation and / or transportation, one thing I still struggle to come to ...
75
votes
5answers
16k views

A visa to visit the island that switches countries every six months?

So the island of Faisans is in France/Spain. Yes, both. For six months of the year, from February 1 to 31 July, it's under Spanish rule - and for the following six months - it's under French control. ...
74
votes
15answers
15k views

How do I minimise waste on a flight?

I'll be taking several long-haul flights over the next month. From previous experience I know I'll probably be getting a fair bit of single-use plastic. I am keen on minimising waste, particularly ...
74
votes
10answers
26k views

Can I eat only a crème brûlée in Paris?

I'd like to have a crème brûlée in Paris, but without having to eat a whole meal at a restaurant. However, this seems quite hard to get: Bakeries and patisseries do not sell crème brûlée (at least ...
74
votes
7answers
38k views

How to use sinks with separate hot/cold taps?

I just traveled to Ireland. I was amazed to find that water sinks (at home, restaurants and public) have separate taps for hot and cold water. If you use only the cold water, your hands freeze. If ...
74
votes
7answers
84k views

What is a continental breakfast and what other types of breakfasts are there?

When I look for an hotel I often see the "continental breakfast" expression when they refer to their breakfasts. I looked up the expression on Google and found: a light breakfast, typically ...
74
votes
5answers
16k views

What are these large, empty towers made of connected metal girders, bars or pipes in London?

I saw one on the Greenwich Peninsula next to the O2 and another one while leaving Paddington towards Slough. Courtesy: urban75.org
74
votes
2answers
164k views

Do I need a visa to transit (or layover) in the Schengen area?

I found many related questions on this site but I am still not sure about the rules. How can I decide if I need a visa to transit? Schengen members as of May 2021 are as follows: Austria Belgium ...
73
votes
14answers
20k views

Is crime an issue in the US countryside, especially for a cyclist?

I have a dream of one day cycling from one coast of the USA to the other. I am aware that cycling on the road can be dangerous, but I've done a lot of it. I know how to stay safe, and I'm not ...
73
votes
5answers
24k views

Is standing actually illegal in Venice?

The Venice tourism site lists a bunch of rules. Okay, no swimming in the canals, and littering is also not allowed (duh?). But there's something baffling to me here: “No standing at any time” – ...
73
votes
6answers
10k views

With the passing of Thai King Bhumibol, are there any customs/etiquette as a traveler I should be aware of?

Even with the news that the King of Thailand passed away, I had already scheduled a trip a year ago to visit Thailand in a week or so. I understand that most of the country is in mourning -- should ...
73
votes
1answer
18k views

No Facebook account, will I be able to visit the US?

I heard that the US immigration is asking people for their Facebook or any other social media logins, or at least are planning to do so. I value my privacy so I don't even have a Facebook account and ...
72
votes
4answers
21k views

Why would a visitor destroy their travel document?

While doing some research about freedom of movement and the history of passports, I came across an image on Wikipedia depicting a warning sign next to a toilet door at London Stansted Airport: Close-...
72
votes
4answers
14k views

Smartphone taken from baggage while on layover

We gave a new smartphone to some friends to take to my in-laws in Iran. We turned off the phone before we gave it to them. They were flying with Qatar Airways. They had one stop in Doha. When they ...
72
votes
11answers
21k views

How to spend a night in an unknown city without a hotel? Is there a guide or resource online?

I had a late flight recently and due to a delay on the flight I was not able to get my transport to the city where I had my accommodation. Staying in the airport was not an option either since it's a ...
72
votes
8answers
15k views

What are the hidden fees of a cruise?

I just booked my first cruise. The costs were unexpectedly low. But I hear they make their money elsewhere. I expect drinks to be a big factor of that, but my ticket comes with unlimited alcoholic ...
72
votes
1answer
8k views

I was denied boarding due to outdated information on passport validity? What to do?

I (Swedish citizen) was to board a flight to Vietnam but got stopped and they said I couldn't board due to my passport expiring in 5 months and that I need at least 6 months. My visit was for 15 days ...
71
votes
11answers
26k views

How can I avoid ordering multiple bottles of water at a restaurant?

I have a couple esophageal conditions that result in a high probability of a food bolus impaction when eating (a food bolus impaction is when food gets stuck in the esophagus). There are a few ...
71
votes
9answers
37k views

Is it offensive to the chef/host to finish all food on your plate in Italy?

I was once told by someone that in Italy it is offensive to the chef if you finish your plate of food clean. That you should leave a small portion. I'm not finding anything about this online. Is there ...
71
votes
9answers
13k views

How to survive a timeshare promotional trip?

Earlier this week my fiancé called Hilton to change an existing reservation and in the process was roped into booking a 3-night stay in Orlando for $99, as long as he agrees to sit through a 2-hour ...
71
votes
9answers
16k views

Where can I find publicly accessible paternoster elevators?

Paternosters look fun, but (as far as I know, at least in Western Europe) they have almost all been replaced by regular elevators for safety reasons. Are there any publicly-accessible paternosters ...
71
votes
3answers
29k views

Why do some hotels ask you to leave the key at the reception when you go out to come back later?

Sometimes when I check in at a hotel I am asked to drop the key at the reception before leaving the premises, even if I will stay longer. When this happens, I normally do like they ask me, but ...
70
votes
12answers
18k views

Where is the quietest place on Earth?

I just wondered if there is a known "most quiet" place on Earth. Perhaps people have measured "ambient" sound throughout the year in various places claimed to be the most quiet. And perhaps one has ...
70
votes
6answers
20k views

How to get rid of the men who ask for money in Milan?

The men are mostly located in Duomo Square (Piazza del Duomo). They try to tie something to tourists' wrists and ask for money. I have fallen out with them many times. Also my friends who visit Milan, ...
70
votes
6answers
12k views

Why do airlines offer more varieties of special-request meals than they actually provide?

I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian with an annoying tendency to forget to book vegetarian meals when I go flying. When I forget to book ahead, I always ask if they happen to have an extra veg*n meal, but ...
70
votes
6answers
13k views

Will Wi-Fi passwords in Russia be in Cyrillic? How do I type them on a Latin keyboard?

I'm about to travel to Russia, and I made sure to book only accommodations that offer Wi-Fi to its customers, but a question came to my mind. As Cyrillic is the standard alphabet in Russia, is there ...
70
votes
6answers
209k views

What's the difference between embassies and consulates?

Today Mitt Romney called Benghazi the capital of Libya (it's Tripoli) and apparently mixed up consulates and embassies. I thought it'd be a handy question to have on here, for those sorting out visas ...
70
votes
4answers
36k views

What happens if you declare more than $10,000 at the US border?

Let's say I need to bring over $10,000 into the US and decide to use cash to save on transfer fees. What would happen at the border when I declare all that cash? Would CBP briefly question me on the ...
70
votes
7answers
431k views

Should my first trip be to the country which issued my Schengen Visa?

In case, if I get a multiple-entry Schengen visa in one of the embassies in Ukraine, Kyiv - should my first trip be to the country which issued the visa? Any there any requirements of this sort? Does ...
69
votes
3answers
18k views

Job interview in London requires me to wire money to the travel agent. Is this a scam?

I was told that I can have a visitor visa to UK, is this legitimate? I have received an invitation letter and a job offer, and I was contacted by the appointed travel agent to prepare all related ...
69
votes
12answers
8k views

Is there a good website to plan a trip via trains in Europe?

My wife and I have decided to move across Europe by train. Do you know of any good sites for planning a trip via train (schedule and maybe prices)? We're going to go across Europe from east (Russia ...
69
votes
3answers
17k views

I've been warned to leave the US within 10 days as I will “overstay” my visa, but I have legally left the country by plane months ago. What can I do?

So this year I went to Florida with my family for 2 weeks. We were all tourists and we go to the US almost every year and have no administrative problems usually. This time, however, I recently ...
69
votes
2answers
12k views

What happens when a town is under quarantine and my visa expires

A friend of mine is currently in Wuhan, China, as the city is placed under quarantine. He is a European citizen and had thus made a tourist visa to visit the family of his wife for the Lunar new year,...
69
votes
5answers
37k views

Are there any flights which permits a Sikh to carry a kirpan?

I am a religious Sikh from Jalandhar, India. I have not travelled outside of the country for a single time so far. However, my family is pestering me to take them for a jolly holiday trip to a ...
68
votes
4answers
18k views

Can I return to the United States as a tourist after being there illegally for most of my life, as a minor?

I was born in Brazil and came to the United States at the age of 7, in 2007. I no longer need to live in the United States because I have found success in investing and no longer depend on having a ...
68
votes
4answers
25k views

What is a “French bed room” in German hotel terminology?

I have booked a hotel room in Germany. On the reservation confirmation, it says: Room category: 1 × French bed room non-smoking What is a French bed room?
68
votes
1answer
61k views

UK visa refusal on V 4.2 a + c (and sometimes 'e')

Many of the UK visa refusals we see here share a common pattern and the prevailing reasons refer to V 4.2 (a) and (c). I do understand that, while the applicants may describe very different ...
68
votes
2answers
6k views

How to discover if a hostel is more a travel hostel or a party hostel?

I have done some traveling and I have often stayed in hostels. These are great for many reasons. One of them is meeting people that share the same mindset and that actually need to sleep at night :) ...
67
votes
7answers
20k views

I was allowed to enter the airport terminal by showing a boarding pass for a future flight. Should I be concerned about “security”?

I take the same flight with the same company between two European neighboring countries once a month. My boarding passes are on my smartphone, but as I book my flights months in advance, I often ...
67
votes
1answer
16k views

What are these stamps in my passport after I was advised to divert via the UK but didn't have a visa?

I am from Myanmar. I was on my way to Venice from Brussels while holding Schengen visa (single entry). I bought a British Airways ticket to fly from Brussels to Venice. Unfortunately, on that day, all ...
67
votes
1answer
8k views

UK visa blank refusal letter without reason for refusal

I received my refusal letter today for my standard visitor visa application for the UK. However, the reason for refusal is not mentioned anywhere on the letter and it appears more of an unfilled ...
66
votes
10answers
21k views

How to avoid accidental trespassing while exploring rural US?

I am planning a road trip through some rural locations in Tennessee and North Carolina, US. The intention is to visit some places of particular interest (e.g. filming locations of certain movies). ...
66
votes
9answers
18k views

Where to pee in London?

We are planning visiting London with two small children. As small children do, they might need to go to the toilet from time to time, and they need to go now! Is it acceptable to ask buisnesses for ...
66
votes
10answers
13k views

In what language should I address foreign customs and immigration?

I'm an American traveling to Central America for the first time this summer. I'll be entering Costa Rica and Panama. My Spanish is pretty good, but not native, and I wouldn't mind using it, but as a ...
66
votes
8answers
25k views

What Happens when Passenger Refuses to Fly Boeing 737 Max?

As most are unfortunately aware the Boeing 737 Max 8 is receiving very bad press after two fatal plane crashes in five months. China suspends commercial operations of Boeing 737-8 planes At the time ...
66
votes
3answers
21k views

Why were holes drilled into my luggage when I entered the US?

Around a month ago, I entered the US for the first time. A couple of days back, I was reorganizing stuff, and happened to notice three holes: punched into the side of the bag I had used while ...

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