Travel mishaps versus tranquillity at home

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By NAFHA MAANI EBRAHIMI

I have always said that from all pleasures of life, travelling is the best. But, times have changed, cities changed, climate changed and unfortunately people changed. I have been travelling since the age of 15, many years ago. And after decades of roaming the world, I’m afraid; it is not all good news for the new generation of travellers. Some might disagree with me, but that is also left to them, after all there is nothing like one’s own, first-hand experience.

Wearisome
My dismay on how tedious travel procedures have become, was vivid in our decision not to travel to America this year. Though we hold a European passport and are entitled to a visa waiver programme, still, the latest changes and bans in the US, make me quite uncomfortable; the ban on carrying laptops and tables in hand luggage on board, is an indication of what to expect once there. The recent episodes on American Airlines, and the fear of being marked as “an unwanted person” on board does not help matters.

Tourism scare
Apart from these strict rules, regulations and restrictions, not only to the US, but also to other parts of the world, the overall security issues are not a rose garden. It seems nowhere is secure anymore, coffee shops, museums, train stations, concerts and many other places have become a target and no one knows what the future will bring.
The climate change also plays a key role in tourism, and with global warming engulfing the world, all those places marked as cool and cold destinations have become infernos! This summer some of our relatives travelled from the Middle East to Belgium, seeking cooler temperatures than the ones back home. Alas, the temperatures soared to mid-30s in Belgium, and with no air-conditions, they spent a week of torture before flying out.

The heat wave in Turkey
Another country that was once a cool haven for many people from the Middle East during the summer holidays is Turkey. These days, one only hears complaints about how hot it has become, and because in the past, this heat wave was not so severe, air conditioners are found only in hotels and people must wait for the evening breeze to be able to venture out and about.

Opportunistic hosts
All above said, the main factor in tourism is also how the local community receives you. In some countries, there is little change in the ways tourists are welcomed, but in many others, there is a big change. Unscrupulous vendors, tour operators and people in tourism industry, are now taking advantage of any situation to milk the poor tourist, taking them for a ride, over charging and selling them fake services and products.
So, if you plan to pack your bags, before you book your flights and spend your hard-earned money, think carefully about your destination, make sure you ask around, read reviews and compare prices. Upon arrival, remember there is no free lunch. Although one cannot predict all problems, at least one can avoid the most common traps laid for unsuspecting tourists.

US TRAVEL BAN
Five months after Trump signed the first travel ban, the Supreme Court decided to allow a limited version of the order take effect March, delivering a win to the administration. “Today’s unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security,” Trump said in a statement. “It allows the travel suspension for the six terror-prone countries and the refugee suspension to become largely effective. As President, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm.” But the Supreme Court carved out new criteria that even further narrowed the scope of the revised ban’s reach.
Justices said that the ban could only apply to refugees and travelers who do not have a “bona fide” relationship to a person or entity in the U.S. –thehill.com

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