The Best Passports For Travel Access

US Passport
Clappstar, Flickr

Applying for visas and dealing with travel-related bureaucracy can be a tedious, irritating process, but the good news is that U.S. passport holders have fairly unrestricted access when it comes to foreign travel.

The Henley & Partners Visa Restriction Index ranked countries around the world based on how freely their citizens could travel with just a passport. The United States came in 2nd place, tying with Denmark, Germany and Luxembourg. American citizens can enter 172 countries without having to worry about red tape, according to the study.So what is the best passport to have? A British, Swedish or Finnish passport is as good as it gets, giving passport holders access to 173 foreign destinations visa-free. In general, being a member of an EU country helps a lot if you want to travel spontaneously, with nine out of 10 of the top countries all part of the European Union.

Some countries however, are not so lucky, with citizens in Lebanon, Nepal and Pakistan finding themselves towards the bottom of the list. Iraqis, unsurprisingly, are expected to jump through a lot of hoops to travel abroad, and have access to just 31 countries visa-free. And the country with the most restrictions? Afghanistan, whose people have passport-only entry to 28 nations around the world.

The Shutdown Affects Travel, Twitter Responds As Usual

Budget Battle
AP

The government shutdown is officially happening, and various travel-related agencies are being affected, most notably National Parks. Air traffic controllers are still hard at work, but there’s no way Yosemite will be able to celebrate its 123rd birthday (although Google is trying hard).

As usual, people are responding to the shutdown and its affects on travel on Twitter.

Some are concerned about the international tourists:


Some are hopeful that eventually things will get back to normal:


Others are thinking that this could provide uneducated travelers with a learning opportunity:

And beyond an opportunity, at least it will mean more leg room:

And then there are those who are just really excited for what the shutdown just might mean for them:

But wait, your pets can’t come with you??

Hold on, someone may have found a solution to said shutdown issue:

And if you’re traveling soon, not to worry; you can still get a passport.

Most importantly though, let’s all take a moment to think about what this all means for space travel:

Go Outside: Here’s Why You Need To Leave The House

Travel is all about leaving your comfort zone. Even to travel locally, you need to go outside.

But with the masses becoming exponentially more sedentary and with staycations on the rise, we’re collectively becoming a culture of people who just don’t get out enough. This isn’t good for our minds –- seeing new places and people and trying new things is integral to a developing mind. But this isn’t good for our physical health, either. AsapScience put this video together in an effort to explain what would happen to you if you stopped going outside entirely.

Spoiler alert: you’re going to want to go outside after watching this video.This Summer Go Outside and Play

School Hero Antoinette Tuff’s Next Move: Getting Underprivileged Kids To Travel

School Clerk Hailed as Hero After Talking Shooter Down

It was just another day at work for Antoinette Tuff on August 20 when the routine work scene rapidly changed at the hands of a young gunman who intended to murder the students of the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Georgia.

Tuff courageously talked to the shooter and convinced him not to follow through with his plans to wreak havoc on the school and surrounding community. Her inspiring story has been told through news outlets repeatedly since the incident and just two days after the would-be shooting, Tuff decided to use her public platform for good.

She launched a fundraising campaign here in an effort to help inner city kids travel and see the world. Her initial goal for the project was set at $1,500 but she has so far raised a staggering $105,868 (at time of publication).

Travel provides knowledge, compassion and context for those who embrace it. We’re excited to see this campaign do so well.

Cruise Ship Back In Baltimore After Fire, Repairs Continue

cruise ship
Chris Owen

When cruise ships come to town, civic leaders rejoice. The floating resorts bring with them jobs and tourism dollars that might be otherwise elusive. In May, Baltimore, Maryland, welcomed Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas to town with gusto, as the state’s governor named May 13 Royal Caribbean Cruise Day. But the hoopla of that new cruise ship in town was short lived when just days later, the ship caught fire and was pulled out of service for repairs. Still, cruise lines are worth courting for cities and those cities are worth standing behind for cruise lines.

Returning to Baltimore this week, there was no brass band or gubernatorial declaration and the reason for the fire is still under investigation. Affecting three aft decks of the ship, some areas are still not ready for passengers, reports Travel Weekly. But local businesses and media are still excited to see the ship return, sailing from the Port of Baltimore on seven-night sailings to Bermuda and the Bahamas.


If any part of this story sounds familiar, there is good reason. Just last month we heard from governor O’Malley, then lobbying on behalf of Carnival Cruise Lines, looking for a waiver from new environmental rules to keep the cruise ships coming to the city. In 2011, Gadling was first to report cruise line crew members accused of smuggling drugs into the Port of Baltimore. Still, cruise travelers flock to Baltimore, often setting new records for passenger travel on a variety of year-round sailings.