Solar Plane’s Global Mission

belal-el-atari-solar-impulse-2Two Swiss pilots are attempting the otherwise thought, impossible. The pilots will aim to fly around the world without a single drop of fossil fuel. How will they accomplish this amazing feat you may ask. Allow me to indulge you.

The plane is outfitted with solar technology to eliminate the need for oil, gas, or other forms of fuel. The plane known as “Solar Impulse 2” has 17,248 solar cells that will transfer their collected energy to four electrical motors. These motors are in charge of powering the planes propellers. The battery cells are unique as well. They recharge four lithium polymer batteries to power the plane during flight in the evening. The plane is constructed out of carbon-fiber and weighs about as much as a minivan.

The Specs:

  • Ideal Flight Speed: 25 Knots (Able to double during day when sun is strongest)
  • Altitude: 28,000 feet during day
    • 5,000 feet during night
  • Runners & cyclists will guide the plane during landing and takeoff

The Pioneers:

Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will be the two men aboard the Solar Impulse 2. Piccard is the son of Jacques Piccard, the undersea explorer and was the first person to circumnavigate the world via hot air balloon in 1999. Borschberg is the CEO and co-founder of Solar Impulse, which began in 2003 with Piccard also at the helm.

Challenges:

Among the technical difficulties the pilots may face, the pair will potentially encounter more trouble on their journey. Both their minds and bodies will be put to the test as the plane travels across the skies. With such a long time seated in an enclosed area, health risks are among some of the top concerns. The two pilots have been preparing their bodies for the journey by practicing yoga and stretches. Other technology will help them rest efficiently and attend to other matters as easily as possible. Weather may also become a factor but due to the variable changes in the weather from minute to minute its impossible to plan too much this far in advance.

The Journey:

Although the flight should only take 25 days the pilots have a scheduled 12 cities to stop in. The stops will be scheduled for meetings and public events with governments and school on the route. After the team departs India they will fly to China and then across the Pacific Ocean. They will land in Hawaii and eventually make it to the United States and stop in Phoenix and New York City. The last legs of the journey include stopping in southern Europe or Morocco and then finishing in Abu Dhabi.

I wish them good luck and great success in their innovative flying endeavor. I will be keeping a close eye on the story as it unfolds from live streams

Necessary Travel Hacks Pt. II

food court

1. Eat at the Airport

Eating a filling and somewhat healthy meal at the airport can not only be decently cheap, but also arriving in your new location well-fed will help battle jet lag. You might even find it kind of fun to walk around and stretch your legs before the flight and explore all the options. Some people even swear that getting off the plane with a full stomach will improve your immediate spending desires.

2. Family Travel Hack: Entertain the Kids Without Gadgets

Contrary to popular belief many family travelers see that keeping children occupied without technology is better. The games on ipads or phone have a way of leading to inevitable boredom instead of staying increasingly entertaining themselves. Get your children to play games, read books, talk to one another, or even tell them stories. This bonding and personal attention will keep them hooked.

Note: If you children are already quite hooked on technology, it would be wise to start weaning them off gradually and not go cold-turkey.

frequent flyer

3. Jump the Lines With Frequent Flyer Status

If you are a frequent flyer and want to travel in the most comfort and least stress, this tip is for you. Join one of the many clubs and prepare to travel in style. Prepare to jump the lines and collect some of the best airport perks. You might get your baggage fees waived, free food, alcohol, or even better seating.

4. Go Through Priority Lines Anyway

When going through security checkpoints at the airport there are often lines designated for card holders and frequent flyers. If these lines are empty, it is worth trying to walk up and ask if you are able to pass through. Security workers don’t want a backup of flyers waiting in their lines.

frequent flyer

5. Use Your Travel Rewards Credit Card

Even if you don’t have the frequent flyer mile status, you can still flash a travel rewards credit card to gain lounge access before boarding your plane. If you travel often this tip is extremely important as it will allow you to take advantage of lounges for showers, meals, Wi-Fi, and free drinks. As a sign-up bonus, many co-branded airline credit cards offer one or two lounge passes a year .

6. Sleep in the Airport

If you have an early morning flight and won’t land until late at night, its a good idea to sleep in the airport. One major advantage of being well rested before entering a new area at night is that you will be more alert and attentive when navigating the newest destination.

If you do decide to sleep in the airport, always be cautious of your bags. Most likely there won’t be a problem, however its better to be safe than sorry. As a precaution, tie your luggage around the chair you are in or strap it to you own body so no one could take it away without waking you up.

Necessary Travel Hacks Pt. I

Traveling Business Man

I love to save money on drinks, bags, flights, and everything travel related. The question is, do you? Please feel free to read through this helpful and instructional list of travel hacks from a few professional travelers so you know they are on point.

1. Apply for Global Entry

U.S. Citizens can clear customs quickly with Global Entry. The application process involves a long and tough background check with an interview, but it is only a one time inconvenience and once you’re a member you can clear customs in no time. You also get to take advantage of special security lines and procedures.

2. BYOL (Bring Your Own Liquor)Nips

Traveling domestic? Want to have a drink or two? If you answered yes to both questions, this step is is very important. Be sure to carry on a mini bottle of your favorite alcohol. You can drink it straight up or mix it with a free soda provided by the airline and mix it with the free soft drink. The TSA doesn’t have restrictions about what liquids you can bring, just how big they are.

3. Ride Yourself Into the First Class Lounge

Some first class lounges allow you to bring in a guest for free. If you are feeling particularly outgoing or desperate just wait by the entrance and ask someone if he or she wouldn’t mind signing you in. It has been known to work.

4. Pay for the First Class Lounge

If begging for first class access didn’t work, you can usually buy a pass. Prices hover in the $30-$50 area. The pros of joining the club are pretty nice. With the pass, travelers can enjoy comfortable seating, free food/drinks, Wi-fi, and occasionally sleep rooms and showers.

5. Wear Your Extra Luggage

To avoid the steep fees of overweight baggage, you can always wear any extra luggage. You might not look like a millionaire jetsetter but you can at least bring more stuff when traveling. If you want to also include a smaller bag inside your carry-on, you can also take off some of the unwanted articles during the flight and the crew will be none the wiser.

6. Choose the Red-EyesRed Eye

Flying red-eye flights may not be ideal but there are definitely some perks involved. You avoid the rush hour crowds of people, get through security faster, and have less people on the flights. Look for flights past 10:00PM to save yourself a lot of frustration and take a snooze on the plane and wake up to your destination right outside the window.

7. Get Help Booking Flights

If flying red-eye doesn’t appeal, Benny Lewis also recommends using Flight Fox to book flights; he says they can often find a convenient travel time for the same cost as a red-eye flight. I would also recommend searching for flights with private browsing turned on to avoid ticket prices going up the next time you search.

8. Seek Assistance

As everyone knows, airports are places where walking around and standing in lines are the norm. If you really don’t feel like doing all that, ask for some assistance.

Airlines can help with wheelchair assistance. Though this is not something to be abused, it’s a huge time-saver if you have a tight connection and are unable to move quickly. When the airport staff helps they take you through the airport’s “secret passages” and act as a fast pass through special lines. Also, anyone in your party will be escorted through with you!

7 Hidden Secrets About Your Passport Revealed

Before you start planning your next vacation it’s important to to make sure your passport is valid and up to date. Did you know these 7 hidden secrets about your passport? Check them out below

The best season to renew your passport is the Fall. If you obtained your passport after age 16, it’s valid for only 10 years. According to the State Department, “Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip.” The best time to renew your passport is early autumn — that’s when applications are at a low before Thanksgiving and holiday rushes, the State Department says.

A passport card is cheaper than a regular passport. It’s wallet-sized, it and costs $80 less than a regular adult passport. However, you can only use it to “re-enter the U.S. from land border-crossings and sea ports-of-entry in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda.”

Your passport is an all access passIf you’re from the U.S., your passport affords you free access to 172 other countries.

All passports issued after 2007 has an electronic chip in it. There is a chip in the back of your passport that stores the same personal info printed on your passport’s photo page, and a biometric identifier . If you have one of these “e-passports,” TSA can use facial recognition technology to confirm the passport belongs to you.

You don’t have to pay to get passport photos taken.You can actually take it at home. The photo must be square, unaltered and on a white background.

You may not be able to travel with some airlines if your passport doesn’t have enough blank pages. According to the State Department website, “Some countries require that your passport has two to four blank visa/stamp pages,”Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement in not met.” Make sure you check the requirements for your specific destination before you go.

You can get a passport with 52 pages for no additional charge. A traditional U.S. passport comes with 28 pages, but you can request a 52-page one for free when you apply for your first passport or renew an old one. You can also add pages to an existing passport for an extra 82 dollars.

A Guide To The Las Vegas Pool Scene

tao Hard Rock Hotel’s REHAB The Hard Rock Hotel hosts a pool party so insane they had to call it REHAB. It happens on Sundays around the resort’s small pool area. In the pool, you’ll find a floating blackjack game, and a unique subsurface sound system. Open Sundays, 11 a.m. to sunset.

TAO Beach at The Venetian For A $50 admission fee you can buy a pass to experience TAO Beach and Tao Nightclub when the sun goes down. You may even spot a few celebrities who frequent The Venetian during your visit. Open Thursday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Ditch Fridays at Palms Palms’ 3-acre pool setting on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. it becomes Playboy at the Pool meets March Madness in Ft. Lauderdale. There’s contests to participate in Slip & Slide with strangers, and is decked out in a glass-bottom pool.

Wet Republic at MGM Grand Check out the 2 stadium-sized saltwater pools cool with all star DJ’s spinning great tunes. The pools are lined with rows of cabanas, protected from paparazzi seeking money shots of celebrity partiers. Open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Encore Beach Club This pool party is larger than a football field and just may be the largest pool in Vegas. Take some time to chillax on the large floating lily pads. Open Thursday to Monday, 11 to 7 p.m.

Bare Pool at the Mirage By noon on a Wednesday, the line to get into Bare is pretty long so early arrival is suggested. Cabana hosts bring iced Evian spritzers and fresh mojito pitchers as the DJ spins the latest top 40 jams. Indulge in some Asian-influenced appetizers and specialty cocktail pitchers. They even have scented towels! There are two pools available to dip in. Open daily, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.