Countries With the Most Travel Friendly Passports

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Countries With The Most Travel Friendly Passports

I’d rather have a passport full of stamps than a house full of stuff.” Anonymous

I used to think that the USA had the best passport. We could go almost anywhere but we do need an awful lot of visas. The Henley Passport Index periodically measures the access each country’s travel document affords. The ranking is determined on the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. It is based on the exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association, which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information. Here are the top countries starting with the best passports to have. We are not number one. 

Japan retained its top spot as the world’s most powerful passport in 2019 for the second time in a row with access to 190 countries.They believe it is due to strong security regulations, economic security and international reliability. They are good guests.

 Singapore is in second place with 189 countries. People from Singapore are welcome almost everywhere.

South Korea is in third place with 188 countries.The Asian countries are dominating this category.

Germany and Finland are in fourth place with 187 countries. Germany has given up its  previous first place ranking. (Finland)

Denmark, Italy and Luxernbourg rank fifth with 186. No one expects trouble from this group.  (Italy)

France, Spain and Sweden are next with 185. They are independent, they don’t usually break anything and they are quiet. (Spain)

Austria, Netherlands, Switzerland and Portugal are behind them with 184. I feel very welcome in these countries so I understand why counties like them.(Portugal)

Belgium, UK, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Canada and USA rank eighth  with 183. Brexit has not yet impacted the UK score -nor has our President changed ours. (Greece)

Malta has a  score of 182. This tiny independent,European Union country has a very attractive passport to many people.Wealthy individuals seeking secondary citizenship for security, have their eye on Malta, which doesn’t impose taxes on their worldwide income and assets and applies only a flat 15 per cent tax on money brought into the country. 

Czech Republic follows with 181. It is doing very well for an ex Communist country.

Lithuania,

Australia, Iceland, New Zealand and Lithuania jointly share the eleventh position with access to 180 nations. (Iceland)

 The findings suggest that visa free access is improving in the world. The last time I went to Brazil I needed one. This time I do not.

Fly safe,
JAZ

Do You Suffer From Travel Envy?

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Do You Suffer From Travel Envy?

“It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be. The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I still have to go, the more there is to learn. Maybe that’s enlightenment enough; to know that there is no final resting place of the mind; no smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom…is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.”Anthony Bourdain

Travel envy is a real thing; I know because i have it. Nobody’s perfect. It is always difficult to write about negative emotions. Jealousy is definitely a would rather not have emotion.

When I read other people’s stories of  places that I have yet to see, I get that little ping. The little green monster rears its ugly head and all my travels pale in comparison to this place I want to go.

I realize that different people experience things at various levels and times that result from their actions and available means, but when it comes to travel  – all reasoning disappears. I envy those who have seen things and places that I have always wanted to see, but haven’t yet  or may never go.

I am normally not a jealous person.  If i was, I would get off social media. Isn’t social media one giant platform for bragging? That’s what it seems like anyway. All the baby photos, the food pics, the status updates about a new job/car/partner, showing off your engagement ring, your graduation ,wedding, new home, grand children –  what ISN’T a brag? A bombardment of achievements clutter my news feed on a daily basis. If you’re having a crappy day (or month), you’re going to end up feeling pretty shitty when you look at me exploring Myanmar. I get this.

When I start feeling the pangs of travel envy, my cure is to start planning a trip. This is perhaps the best and the easiest way to get over it. Now I have something to look forward to. Instead of watching videos and photos from other people’s trips, I start intensely researching my next destination. I take the focus off other people’s lives and focus more on my own.

I also start doing tourist things in LA. I make plans to try a new restaurant downtown, visit the museum exhibit I’ve been putting off, and explore neighborhoods that I don’t know very well. I live in a great city and there is always something going on.

I look at my photos from my past trips. I tell and write stories about those trips to remind me about all the amazing places I have already been. This all helps with the jealousy I am feeling. 

Even the most well-traveled person has someone else they are looking at and thinking  “now they are lucky–I wish I could go there”. In the last couple of years I have had  many people ask me some form of the question ‘how do you travel so often’?  And the thing is, I don’t think that I travel often.  I think that I sit at home thinking about traveling a hell of a lot more than I actually travel.  Yet people are envious of me.  Which is insane.

Travel changed my life. It isn’t about envy but about different ways of thinking. The world is too big to stay in one place.I need to remember to be inspired by other people’s trips to create more of my own. I have to remember that social media is about the highlights of people’s lives and not the lows. 

 And somewhere, someone will be  jealous of me in a few weeks  when I am hiking in Iceland.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Ten Countries With The Cleanest Air

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Ten Countries With The Cleanest Air

“And this new air was so delicious, and all his old life seemed so far away, that he forgot for a moment about his bruises and his aching muscles.” CS Lewis, the Horse and His Boy

Clean air is something we cannot, sadly, take for granted today — all the more reason to keep working to make the air in cities and around the world the best it can be. Here are the top ten countries with the cleanest air.

1 Australia has the least polluted air in the world. Tasmania, a state in Australia has the cleanest air in the world. An enterprising Australian company is bottling their air and selling it to China which is one of the most polluted countries. How do you bottle air?

2 Brunei, rated by many international agencies as one of the most livable places in the world, has done a good job of keeping emissions low and maintaining forests, even with rapid industrialization. It has some of the cleanest, safest air on the planet. Now, if only the Sultan does not bring back stoning.

3 New Zealand has relatively good air quality due to low population density, close proximity to the sea and remoteness from other continents and sources of pollution. It is the friendliest country with clean and safe air. Sounds good to me.

4 The pollution in Estonia’s urban areas is among the lowest in the world. More than half of the country’s land is covered by trees and public transportation helps keep emissions low.

5 Finland always shows up in the top five countries with the cleanest air. Lapland has some of the cleanest air in the world. Lapland is also selling their bottled air. They plant two trees for every bottle sold.

6 Canada makes great efforts for the preservation of its wildlife and clean air. Air quality in Canada continued to improve even though energy use and motor fuel consumption increased by more than 20%. This happened because of increasing societal awareness of the health danger of air pollution, which created a political demand for change that was met by technological improvements.

7 Iceland is also always among the countries with the cleanest air and water. Iceland is powered solely by hydropower and geothermal energy. Iceland’s unique geology allowed for continuous production of renewable energy. Icelanders still use fossil fuels for transport and agriculture. There are currently moves to shift from fossil fuels to hydrogen, which is renewable.

8 Sweden is a role model for air quality. Their long-term climate goal is to have zero emissions by 2045. Sweden takes the global battle against climate change seriously. More than half of Sweden’s national energy supply comes from renewables and a thorough legislation aims at further reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

9 Ireland has managed to keep its air very clean. In addition to adhering to environmental regulations, the Irish are lucky to have strong winds coming in from the sea to blow the small pollution they do have away.

10 Fifty years ago Japan was a very polluted country and became known for pollution related illnesses. Today, Japanese cities are among the world’s least polluted, according to the World Health Organization. The country prides itself on blue skies, Prius taxis and mandatory recycling. What’s more, it managed to clean up without sacrificing growth by investing in pollution-control technologies and giving local governments leeway to tighten standards beyond national requirements.

Fly safe,
JAZ

Ten Of The Most Friendly Countries In the World

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Ten Of The Most Friendly Countries In The World.

“People need to realize that we all share the same spirit that comes from God and from the earth.”Nganyintja

Even the most patriotic person might look at the chaos in our country and think – Why do I live here? Perhaps it is the inept politicians who tweet that are getting you down. If you decide to go anywhere else, where will you go? The world is a big place. I’ve composed a list of the most friendly and welcoming countries in the world. The research was interesting because every list that I looked at was different. Some were based on personal experience. I compiled a few and added in my own bias as well.

10. Sri Lankans are friendly, courteous and hospitable. They will come up to you at a tourist site, not to sell you something but to engage in a conversation. They are genuinely interested in how you like their country. Strangers will offer you food on a bus and wish you well on your journey. Everyone who visits Sri Lanka remembers the kindness of the people.

9. The Philippines came in consistently on top ten lists. Filipinos are friendly and spiritual. They try not to let the calamities and trials of life deter them. Everyone smiles and many people will talk to you. They are welcoming, curious and respectful.

8. Those clichés about Thailand being the “land of smiles” have a strong basis in truth They’re always happy, always smiling, extremely polite, and always helpful. Thais rarely steal or cause any problems. They have amazing memories — once a friend, always a friend.

7. According to WIN-Gallup 89% of Fijians report they are happy, making Fiji one of the happiest countries in the world. When you get off the plane in Fiji everyone is genuinely happy as they extend their greetings. Fijian people are dedicated to having meaningful interactions with their community, which leads to a strong influence on how they interact with those outside of their community as well. They are hospitable, approachable and will make a connection with anyone they come in contact with.

6. On the whole, the people in America are welcoming, sociable, good-natured, and polite. Our reputation is that we sue and shoot each other a lot and are xenophobic so the friendliness is unexpected.

5. Icelanders are very friendly and easy going.There is little violent crime in Iceland so they don’t have to be afraid of people they do not know. They are open-minded with little or no prejudice and love learning about different cultures and practicing their English.

4. Canadians are happier, live longer and have less financial inequality than most of the world. Murder rates in Canada  are very low. They have less on their mind when you run into them which apparently makes them friendly and welcoming. Canadians are polite, humble and nice. They are a small group of people living on a lot of land. Canadians have learned that to survive they have to watch out for one another.

3. In Ireland, the people are engaging, polite, and genuinely interested in others. Ask someone for directions and don’t be surprised if they take you there themselves. They are proud to call this place home. More importantly, they want this to feel like home to you. The Irish people are the underdogs and don’t take life too seriously. They understand that it’s the small things and the people who matter.

2. Australians are known for having a casual attitude to life. They tend to look at the lighter side in difficult situations. Australian are incredibly friendly and fun. The men are good-looking with an adorable accent. The girls and gorgeous.So are the beaches. The pace of life is generally a lot slower here than in many other countries.  The standard of living in Australia is high by world standards so most people don’t have the daily pressure of survival to contend with. It’s amazing the difference those two factors have on people’s outlook on life.

1.New Zealand is rated as the world’s friendliest country on a lot of lists. It is definitely far enough from the rest of the world to be uninvolved in international stress. They have quality government programs and an emphasis on family outdoor activities. It is ridiculously beautiful and has great coffee as well. New Zealanders are laid back, welcoming and friendly.

Other friendly country include Uganda, Senegal, Turkey, Morocco, the United Kingdom, Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Viet Nam and Nepal.

 

Fly safe,
JAZ

Safest Countries To Visit Now

Safest Countries To Visit Now

“These are all I have.I do not have the wide,bright beacon of some solid old lighthouse, guiding ships safely home, past the jagged rocks. I only have these little glimmers that flicker and then go out.”  Rebecca Wells, Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood

“A person isn’t safe anywhere these days.” How often have I heard that lately – terrorism, zika, gun violence. Before that it was the fear of aids, dengue, swine flu and malaria. So for those of you who would like to lessen the odds,  these are some of the safest countries to travel to.

Slovenia is a relatively safe country to visit. They have a strong economy and a stable democracy. The days of being part of communist Yugoslavia ended when they established their independence in 1991. They are members of both NATO and the EU. You should probably use tick repellent in the beautiful national parks.

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Japan is safer than most countries. It is definitely safer then the countries we come from. They have a very low crime rate and Japanese don’t worry about locking their doors or walking home late at night alone which is a nice way to live. Is it 100 per cent safe ?- no.

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Americans believe that Canada is a crime free oasis. Violent crime is very low but purses and wallets do often go missing. Don’t leave your things unattended,

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There is very little crime in Switzerland but most of it is geared to tourists. Car theft, pick pocketing and purse snatching are common in tourist areas. Sometimes football games get a little rowdy and you might see police in riot gear.

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I’m surprised that the Czech Republic has such a high safety rating. I’ve been to Prague a few times and I didn’t feel that safe. Then again, nothing happened to me. Don’t exchange money on the street. Petty theft is very common in tourist areas and taxi drivers are known to cheat you. It’s always best to get a taxi in front of a hotel. If you have a problem, the police station is open 24 hours a day and has English translators.

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Portugal is one of the safest countries to visit. That is good for me to know because I am going there soon. If you get very drunk and it is late at night, you could become a target for thieves. Violent crime is rare but they do have a few gangs that hang out on the beach late at night. A late night beach walk toward a group of people who look like they might be trouble is probably not a good idea. Also if anyone approaches you to buy drugs or anything on the street like sunglasses, which could turn out to be drugs, just say no.

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New Zealand is a very safe place to travel with few diseases, a great healthcare system and a low crime rate. The terrain can be challenging outside of the main city. You need to be reasonably fit to enjoy the new Zealand bush. New Zealand’s clear, unpolluted atmosphere and relatively low latitudes produce sunlight stronger than much of Europe or North America, so if you don’t wear sunblock, be ready for a major sunburn.

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There is no travel advisory in effect for Austria and it is one of the safest countries in the world. You might get a stomach ache from eating all that schnitzel, sacher torte and strudel. There are very few violent crimes but bicycle theft is becoming a problem. Also don’t walk in the bike lanes. As in the Netherlands, you could easily be hit by a cyclist. I just read that racism is a problem (not a violent one) especially in villages where there are no non-white people. What exactly is considered non-white to an Austrian anyway? Could be anything. I think I have to disagree with this one though all the lists say it is very safe.

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Travelers do not worry about their safety in Denmark. Denmark is the second most peaceful country in the world according to the Global Index. it score very well in the level of violent crime and likelihood of violent demonstrations, political stability, freedom of the press, hostility to foreigners and respect for human rights. This makes it a great place to live and travel.

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Iceland is beyond safe to travel to when it comes to crime .However you should pay attention to natural dangers. Signs like Do Not Drive Up The Glacier Without A 4×4 or Do Not Go Here – mean it. There is no cell service in many places so you may experience a bit of technology withdrawal but the beautiful scenery will easily fill up the time.

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Other safe countries include Norway, Sweden, Finland, Ireland and Bhutan. So if you’re feeling nervous, you still have many great options to travel.

Fly safe,JAZ