Monday, July 18, 2016

21st Century Guide to Walking Wales

Looking for castles, beach and wild ponies? The Gower Peninsula, near Swansea, Wales, is a designed "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty." You can now visit this area with the help of the free "This is Gower" app, available for Android and iOS.

The app contains directions and maps for 14 walking trails. It includes visual and audio guides (with pictures and videos) on 80 locations, using GPS to tell walkers when they have reached an area of interest.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Japan Now Has Rail and Bus Passes

Japan now offers two 5-day tourist passes which are good for unlimited train rides and bus rides, which are within train stop cities. The Japan Rail Central, 13,500 yen (approximately $112), covers rail between Kansai Airport near Osaka and the city of Nagoya, including Takayama, Fukui, and Kanazawa. The Japan Rail West pass, at 10,500 yen, covers travel between Nagoya and Hii-Katsuura, including Toba and Owase. Route maps and passes are both available online.

Passes are also available to visit the Mt. Fuji area and the Alpine area with a route going from Tateyama to Kurobe.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Changes in TSA Body Scanning and Pat-Downs

On December 18, 2015, the rules changed on the US Transportation Security Administration scanner versus pat-down option. Up until that date, passengers had the option of going through the full body scanner or choosing a pat-down. That option can still be requested but the passenger should be prepared for the request to be denied.

The full-body scanners were installed in 2007. When someone is in the scanner, the image of their body underneath their clothes, along with any objects being carried, appears on a monitor. Many people felt the images were very intrusive, despite the TSA assuring people that the images were not saved and that the person viewing them was in a different area from the person being scanned. Still, some people were not comfortable with this and could opt for a pat down instead.

This changed with the installation of new body scanners that no longer show a graphic image of the person being scanned. Instead, the image shows a generic body, with the general location of items being carried highlighted, alerting the TSA agent as to whether or not further investigation is needed.