“Describe Your Mustache” And Other Strange Visa Questions

visa application form
Dr Aek Muldoon, Flickr

Anyone who has done a lot of travel understands that travel-related bureaucracy falls into its own special category of weird and unusual. The bizarre questions you get asked on customs forms or during the immigration process can leave you scratching your head, and now a new survey has revealed the truly wacko questions that are sometimes asked during the visa application process.

A poll by a visa submission website asked travelers to recount the most unusual questions they had ever been asked. Among the strangest, was a question on a Mexican visa form asking the applicant to “describe their beard/mustache.” The responses applicants could choose from included “scanty,” “bushy” or “clipped.” Meanwhile, a man traveling to a Middle Eastern country was asked “how many wives do you intend to bring?” during his application process.Some seemingly odd questions may have a rational basis for being on the application form — Australia, for instance, which takes quarantine very seriously, asks if travelers “have been to a farm in the past six weeks.” Others just boggle the mind. Several travelers were asked, “What side of the bed does your wife sleep on?” when applying for a U.S. visa, while those heading to China were asked about the reason for visiting, with “visit” being one of the available responses.

Those behind the survey say that while the questions may seem weird to us, it’s simply a sign of cultural differences, and travelers should be careful not to joke when filling out visa forms or answering immigration questions.

Tell us, what’s the strangest visa question you’ve ever been asked?

Is Your Family Vacation Normal? New Survey Highlights Summer Travel Behaviors

family travel airport
Flickr, Kevin Shorter

With the Fourth of July fast approaching, summer family travel is in full swing. A new survey from Liberty Travel highlights several overarching trends (everyone loves technology, but being together is always the most important part of a trip) along with budgeting and planning information.

We’ve highlighted some of our favorite results below. We’d love to have you weigh in in the comments, too. Are you normal when it comes to family travel?

Nearly 80 percent of survey respondents say that they take at least one vacation a year, and the planning process begins between three and nine months out. Travel agents aren’t a thing of the past, either – 69 percent have used an agent to plan a family vacation.

Families aren’t just going on weekend getaways; 51 percent of respondents go away for seven or more days and 44 percent go for six days. Of course, most (65 percent) wish they could stay longer.

Here’s what else families talked about:

Low-tech, high togetherness
It is no secret that technology, from iPads to gaming systems, can often get in the way of togetherness. Vacations, however, seem to be an exception as nearly 58 percent of respondents said children use technology much less than when they are at home (27.49 percent) or only in transit (plane, car, etc.) to the destination (30.24 percent). Very small percentages reported going tech-free (6 percent) or kids are glued to something the entire time (1 percent), with the remainder reporting the same usage (or not having children).

Let’s give them something to talk about
It’s no surprise that over 52 percent of travelers said they find themselves talking to one another more when on vacation. Approximately 45 percent of respondents said they talk about the same amount and less than 2 percent find themselves talking less. We hope that means that they’re deeply engrossed in a book and is not a sign of family discord!

In-Laws are not the out-laws
In-laws often get a bad rap, but the reality according to the survey results is that (most) in-laws are welcome along for the ride. Nearly 35 percent said “the more the merrier,” 41 percent said “sure; we need to have some alone time and ideally rooms on different floors,” with 24 percent opting for the in-laws “vacationing in a different country, preferably on a different continent.” The later option is kind of sad, don’t you think?

Who calls the shots
Overwhelmingly, it seems that parents can agree on one thing: where to vacation. Over 51 percent of parents report that both parents decide where to go. Coming in next was mom calling the shots (31 percent) with dad trailing far behind at just over 5 percent. Just under 3 percent say the kids decide, while just over 3 percent can’t remember who picked the place because they have been going to the same spot year after year.

What do you think, readers? Do you like vacationing as a family, and do you agree with the survey results? Furthermore, are you planning to go somewhere for the upcoming holiday, or will you stay local?

The Naked Walk Of Shame And Other Crazy Hotel Antics

hotel door do not disturb
David Nestor, Flickr

Traveling to new places gives us a sense of anonymity we just can’t get when we’re in our home cities – there’s next to no chance of us bumping into someone we know or having people recognize us as “that weird person that did xyz.” Which is perhaps exactly why so many travelers lose their inhibitions when they’re on the road and do things they would never dare otherwise.

What kinds of crazy antics do travelers get up to? Well how about asking hotel room service to deliver a bottle of coca cola to your room and then answering the door in nothing but your birthday suit? Or worse yet, asking hotel staff to hold a camcorder while you and your partner get down and dirty in your suite? It’s hard to believe, but these are exactly the kinds things hotel guests get up to according to a survey by booking website lastminute.com.au.The poll, which focused on Australian hotel guests, revealed many travelers engage in cheeky or otherwise awkward behavior. Requests for “adult” entertainers happen surprisingly often according to hotel staff, while other guests inadvertently put on an adult show after locking themselves out of their room while stark naked (be sure to check out the video below of one such mishap which took place earlier this year). Other less raunchy but no less bizarre behavior include a guest who tried to bring his pet snake with him on vacation and one who drove a golf buggy straight into the hotel.

Smiles And Technology Make For Happy Fliers

Joe Kunzler, Flickr

I’ve always found it a little odd that flight attendants still greet passengers, check their boarding pass and direct them to their seats (as though they might get lost between the galley and row 15) – but apparently we rather like that. According to the 2013 North American Airline Satisfaction Survey, passengers who are greeted by smiley airline staff register 211 points higher levels of happiness than those who aren’t.

The study, which polled 11,800 passengers, rated flier satisfaction on a 1,000-point scale. It looked at everything from baggage fees to check-in to boarding processes and in-flight services to figure out just what makes air passengers tick.Overall, budget airlines rated better than traditional carriers when it came to passenger satisfaction.

The things we love the most? Being able to check-in to our flights online. According to the survey, 36 percent of passengers used online check-in and experienced much higher levels of happiness than those who used the main ticket counter at the airport. Travelers using a mobile device to check-in scored even higher. In general, technology seems to be a big winner among air passengers, and using Wi-Fi on flights also gave fliers a dose of good feelings.

Among the factors dragging down passenger happiness were baggage fees, although the survey showed that travelers are slowly becoming accustomed to the extra charges and were less irked by fees than in prior years.

Infographic: Americans Will Spend $84 Billion On Summer Hotel Stays

This summer, Americans are expected to spend a whopping $84 billion dollars on summer hotel stays, with the average traveler booking just over seven nights this season, states new data from Room Key.

What are travelers seeking? Price (72%), hotel amenities (58%) and brand (43%), as well as the ability to earn points and rewards (31%), something we’ve previously seen travelers pay less attention to. Room Key’s survey finds that leisure stays will average $1,134, and most state that this is about what they spent last year. The infographic below details other key facts about summer travel.

Are you in line with the average American’s summer travel plans? Leave your thoughts below. summer travel infographic