Man caught with dog inside his luggage

I’ve traveled with my cats a few times while making some cross country moves. I hated cramming them into squat cages to fit them under my airplane seat and I really hated having to pay a few hundred dollars for their own “tickets” plus the vet checks and paperwork that certified them as healthy enough to fly. But never would I have considered trying to smuggle them on a flight inside my luggage. Yet that’s exactly what a man traveling from Madrid to Dublin did with a small Chihuahua dog.

Somehow the man was able to get the dog, which was in a cage inside his luggage, through security in Madrid. When he got off the plane in Dublin after a 2.5 hour flight, customs officials noticed a strange outline as they X-rayed his bag. They thought it was a stuffed animal until they opened the bag and found the live dog.

The man, who is originally from Bulgaria, has been arrested. The dog was reportedly in fine condition and is being held in quarantine after which, I hope he will be placed in the care of someone with a little more common sense.

[via Telegraph]

Chicago backpacker gets lost (again) in Alaska

When Into the Wild, the story of Christopher McCandless’ epic adventure in the Alaskan wilderness, was published, the idea of setting off into the wild with nothing but a few pounds of rice and your wits to survive seemed terribly romantic….well, except that McCandless died because he was unprepared for the harsh conditions. Despite (or I guess, because of) that minor point, hundreds of people have followed suit to gawk at the ruins of the bus that McCandless lived, and died, in.

Over the years, several people who’ve set out for the bus have had to be rescued, costing the state around $2000 each. Understandably, many locals have have come to dislike the tourists who arrive, unprepared and ill-equipped, and put themselves in unnecessary danger. So they probably hate Don Carroll.

The Chicago-area 19-year old went looking for the bus with a friend, found it, and then got lost in the woods for three days with no food or water. The two ate berries and drank river water before being rescued by helicopter on Monday. But this isn’t Carroll’s first time being lost in the Alaskan wilderness. Back in June, Carroll, a seasonal resort employee, was hiking alone in Denali National Park and lost his way. Wearing just jeans and a hoodie, he suffered hypothermia, but managed to lead rangers to his location through text messages. He was rescued by helicopter then as well.

Caroll will head back to civilization in mid-September. Until then, hopefully he’ll stay out of the woods. It doesn’t sound like he is welcome there anyway. “If police see me in the woods, they’re going to arrest me,” he said in a phone interview. “The chief ranger said he’s not going to come looking for me anymore.”

[via Daily Herald]

Don’t be “that” tourist – things to avoid when you are abroad

We all make mistakes – but when you are heading abroad, little mistakes could mean the difference between being a prepared tourist, or a pompous jackass.

It isn’t too hard to look like a well traveled jetsetter, and it only takes a couple of common sense measures.

After the jump, you’ll find a list of things (I think) you should avoid if you plan to go abroad. Some of the items are quite logical, others may be things you’d normally overlook.

Feel free to add your own “don’t do’s” in the comments at the end of the article.
Leave the stupid T-Shirt at home

Your “Female body Inspector” T-Shirt may be a riot back home with the guys and girls, but when you are heading abroad, you may want to leave it behind.

A trip abroad doesn’t mean you need to dress up in your best tux, but remember that you are representing your country. A little respect and good behavior goes a long way. Plus most stupid t-shirts make you look like an immature jerk.

Loud and obnoxious

Speaking loud and slow is not a sure way to make people understand you. And no – this isn’t just something from the movies. I have witnessed plenty of people doing it.

Picture someone speaking Chinese (assuming you don’t speak any Chinese) – if they talk louder and slower, does it help you understand what they are saying?

Do keep in mind that foreigners may not always be able to keep up with your tempo or accent, so slow things down a little.

Don’t be the unprepared one

Before you leave, spend some time getting to know your destination. Investigate simple things like airport to hotel transportation, and the local voltage (that Travelocity gnome was onto something). Other things to keep in mind; will your phone work, can you get any required medications abroad and will your credit card be accepted.

Brush up on your geography

When you travel the world, you’ll come across people who are doing the same thing – so try and brush up on your basic geography.

I know it’s been ages since you had to learn the world capitals at school, but if you come across someone from Copenhagen, you’ll look like an ass if you tell them you’ve always wanted to see their home country of The Netherlands. And trust me, I’ve met people like this a lot, you’ll be amazed how quickly people forget basic geography as they grow older.

Learn the language (a bit)

Even if your only phrase is “do you speak English?”, speaking some of the foreign language will always show you put some effort into visiting their country.

English may be one of the most popular languages in the world, but to many people so is their language. Even with just a couple of hours practice a week, you’ll learn some of the basics of other languages.

Eating at US restaurants

Resist the temptation to ignore foreign foods by sticking to US restaurants when abroad. The only exception is when your favorite fast food chain offers something particularly local (like the Maharaja Mac in India). Try that once.

If you don’t want to eat all that icky looking foreign food, stay home next time. Part of heading abroad is adapting to their culture, which includes food.

Wearing a fanny pack

Seriously, just don’t do it. Very few people can pull it off without looking like a complete fool. If you need to carry that much crap with you, get a backpack or cargo shorts with big pockets. Nothing screams “rob me” like a loud tourist with a fanny pack.

Counterfeit products

You may think you look cool with your new Looey Vuitton luggage, or a nice Shannel handbag, but remember that anyone who knows a thing or two about luggage or handbags will spot you from a mile away.

Do you really want to be walking through the airport with people staring at you because they think you can’t afford the real thing? Just don’t do it – if you really want a piece of exclusive luggage, save some money, but don’t fall for the temptation of a counterfeit product.

The same goes for counterfeit watches, perfume or electronics. When you get back home and show off your new Roleks watch, do you really think your friends will think it is real? Another risk is the risk of being caught at the border – US customs and immigration will seize counterfeit products.


British embassies tell citizens: “Don’t ask us how to make jam”

Embassies are there to help. If you’ve lost your passport, they’ll replace it for you. If you’ve been mugged, they’ll visit you at the hospital. If there’s a revolution going on, they’ll airlift you out.

But they won’t tell you where to buy the best shoes, give your kid a lift to the airport, show you how to pack your bag, and they will never, ever, tell you the right proportion of sugar and fruit that is needed to make good jam.

These are just a few of a long list of stupid requests British embassies have received from their citizens traveling abroad, and the ambassadorial staff is getting a wee bit ticked off. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is now issuing clear instructions on what embassies will and won’t do. They’re busy helping out the guy who had his suitcase stolen or the drunken lout who got his penis set on fire by an angry woman he was harassing. They don’t have the time, inclination, or ability to predict the weather, manipulate the exchange rate, or pay taxi fare.

Yes, those are all actual requests.