The Best Passports For Travel Access

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.

Photo of the day – Flamenco in motion

When you see flamenco, you probably think Spain, but today’s beautiful photo was taken by the prolific Flavio@Flickr near Tel Aviv, Israel. It’s a beautiful image of movement, color, and light; you even get a sense of music. The sensuality and drama of the dance is refreshing to see compared with many of the serious and spiritual shots we often see from Israel travelers.

Captured any great performances recently? Share them with us by adding them to the Gadling group on Flickr and we might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

Photo of the Day (11.28.10)

Beach volleyball might seem like a laid-back sport – it’s played on the beach, right? But as Flickr user Flavio@Flickr demonstrates in today’s beach photo from Israel, those casual volleyball matches can get downright heated. The whirls of sand beneath the players’ feet, their frozen-in-air poses and the low upward-looking angle of this photo all lend a vibrant sense of motion and activity to this dramatic scene. I wonder who’s winning?

Have any great travel photos you’d like to share with the world? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

Photo of the Day (8-5-09)

Wow! That was my first impression when coming across jonrawinson’s shot of Venice Italy’s sky. His photo is a terrific reminder that when taking travel photos, that the place one is visiting can be a backdrop for creating a visual message. The way I know this is Venice is because he says that it is. The buildings, however, do give a hint of location and provide allure. The sky, though, is the star. The static quality of the buildings make the sky a dizzying display of movement. Seriously, superb. Plus, when I head to Venice tomorrow, this photo is a reminder to look up.

If you have a shot to consider for a Photo of the Day, please send it our way at Gadling’s Flicker photo pool. We’re delighted when you do.

Photo of the Day (2.1.09)

It looks like Flickr user wetboxers is having a lot more fun than any of us at the moment. This image of him jumping into the crater lake of Mount Pinatubo is actually a composite of several different time-lapsed shots, which I assume have been stitched together in Photoshop. It’s a fun bit of digital trickery that makes the image that much more interesting. And frankly, between the gorgeous vista behind and him and the energetic activity in the foreground, I think I’m about ready to join in!

Have any great travel shots you’d like to share with the world? Why not add them to our Gadling pool on Flickr. We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.