Every year, children go missing all around the world. It’s a terrible and heartbreaking occurrence that happens all too often. Thankfully, sometimes the children are returned safely to their family. Other times, sadly, they are never found. This bizarre story strangely fits somewhere in the middle.
Nicholas Barclay grew up in San Antonio, Texas. He was a nice kid growing up, but as he reached his teenage years he started to act out. He would get in fights with his family, with his schoolmates, and with his teachers. In fact, in 1994 he had gotten in big enough trouble that he was due in court to address his behavior.
The night before his day in court, he went out with a few friends to play some basketball. His parents weren’t sure if they should let him go out, but they eventually allowed it. It ended up being a decision they would regret for the rest of their lives. Why? Because it was the last time they ever saw Nicholas. Kind of.
After he never came home, his parents started to worry that maybe he had run away because he didn’t want to go to court the next day. But as the days passed, they feared it was much worse. They filed a report and he was officially a missing child. They passed out fliers and did as much as they could, but neither they nor the authorities were having any luck finding even the slightest clue as to what might have happened.
It’s an impossible tragedy to deal with, but eventually, you do have to move on with your life. The sadness and despair could literally kill you if you let it. So that’s what Nicholas’ parents did. But then, in 1997, a full three years since his disappearance, they got a phone call that truly shocked them. Nicholas had been found!
They couldn’t believe it. Where was he?! Where had he been?! It turns out he was found in Spain of all places! He was found by local authorities there who had heard of Nicholas’ disappearance and recognized him. He was quickly put on a plane and sent back to America.
When they were finally reunited with their son, they were yet again heartbroken when they heard what had happened. Nicholas claimed he was kidnapped and sold into a child sex-trafficking ring. They felt terrible for what he had been through. But they were so happy to have him back.
There was only one problem… he looked different. Specifically, his hair and eyes were a different color. Nicholas said that the men who took him had dyed his hair and actually changed his eye colors through a dangerous medical procedure. His family was happy to believe him. A private investigator by the name of Charlie Parker, however, did not.
He started to investigate and look at pictures of Nicholas then and now. Finally, he spotted something. The ears were all wrong. They were completely different! Parker was convinced this was not Nicholas and this man was lying. But if that was true, then who on Earth was this man?
It turns out he was a 23-year-old man (Nicholas would have been 16 at the time) named Frederic Bourdin. A man known by Interpol as “the Chameleon.” He was an international criminal famous for impersonating missing children! Nicholas’ family couldn’t believe it. They were yet again heartbroken. But at least Bourdin was finally caught.
To this day, no one knows exactly what happened to Nicholas. What a terribly sad and terribly fascinating story. I hope they find him soon!
You Can Save Money on Airfare With Hidden City Ticketing
The UK’s Daily Mail carries a piece on saving airfare with hidden city ticketing. It sounds mad, but it is possible: an airfare hack that will save you a fortune provided you ‘miss’ a connecting flight. Known as ‘hidden city ticketing’, the trick works by…
When I found out about this hack, I just had to share. Ladies and Gentleman, may I introduce 2017’s biggest game changer so far… The Hidden City Ticket Scam.
The UK’s Daily Mail carries a piece on saving airfare with hidden city ticketing.
It sounds mad, but it is possible: an airfare hack that will save you a fortune provided you ‘miss’ a connecting flight.
Known as ‘hidden city ticketing’, the trick works by booking a flight to a destination where your intended city is a layover, rather than the final stop.
There are some important cautions that I don’t think are well-enough spelled out in the piece, however.
What Is Hidden City Ticketing?
Hidden city ticketing is one of 10 Techniques to Save Money on Your Next Airline Ticket.
You may be able to save hundreds of dollars on a one-way fare buying an itinerary that connects in the city you actually want to travel to, and never taking the flight beyond that city to the final destination on the ticket.
This technique is most useful when you are flying to an airline’s hub city since they’ll have connecting flights beyond the hub. Just pick a (usually nearby) city to fly to where fares are cheaper, likely because of competition from low cost carriers or because there’s less business travel. Just avoiding non-stop markets dominated by a hub carrier can be sufficient due to greater competition.
You’ll want to check out my guide Using Hidden City and Throwaway Ticketing to Save Big Money on Airfare and see how this technique can sometimes save on fuel surcharges on your award tickets as well.
Why Is Hidden City Ticketing Controversial?
Hidden city ticketing is not illegal (and the New York Times “Ethicist” endorses it), but it’s generally against airline rules, and there are some basic practices you need to follow to make sure you or your bags don’t wind up in the wrong city.
- You’re buying a ticket from A to B to C, where A to C is cheaper than buying A to B, but getting off in B.
- You can’t check bags or else they will go to C.
- In the event of weather or cancellations, an airline may want to reroute you to C via a different connecting city (“D”).
Airlines see themselves as selling you a ticket from A to C, rather than a seat on a plane for A-B and also B-C where you have the right not to sit in the B-C seat.
What Are the Risks of Hidden City Ticketing?
If you put the frequent flyer number of the airline you’re flying in the reservation they could do something unpleasant to your frequent flyer account.
They probably won’t, at least unless you do this very regularly. But I like to use a partner frequent flyer account in the reservation, just in case, when doing any kind of throwaway ticketing.
Travel agents who did this regularly for clients would get ‘debit memos’ — requiring them to pay the difference in fare (or risk losing their ability to issue tickets on the airline). Individual flyers aren’t forced to pay up.
Which Airlines Are Most Likely to Go After You For This?
British Airways has been cracking down on this.
Brian Sumers reported that United Airlines sent a memo to airport employees telling them to be on the lookout for ‘hidden city’ tickets.
The memo tells agents “[w]hen fraud is suspected, the Customer Service Representatives should send an email to Corporate Security for follow up..”
I’ve had two readers recently tell me that United sent them letters detailing their hidden city tickets and demanding payment for the difference in fare between what they paid and the prevailing fare for the routes actually flown. In both cases they (1) employed the technique frequently (more than monthly) and (2) gave their United frequent flyer number to the airline each time.
How Can You Mitigate the Risks When Employing Hidden City Ticketing?
As a general matter,
- As long as you’re only skipping the final segment of the ticket you’re not going to cause problems for your return. You don’t want to do this on anything other than the last segment in your itinerary (unless you really know what you’re doing, you can sometimes skip a flight on one airline when the rest of your itinerary is on another).
- Don’t check bags
- Don’t put your preferred frequent flyer number in the reservation
- Be prepared to explain the need for your original routing in the event of flight delays and cancellations
- Only drop the last segment of your itinerary
- Don’t do this super regularlySo you want to do this with one way tickets, or with the final segment of a roundtrip only.
There’s always the risk of irregular operations — that your flight will get delayed or cancelled and the airline will want to reroute you through a different city. I’ve never actually had a problem insisting on my original routing (and I’ve even concocted some squirrely reasons why I needed this, like “I’m having an affair in connecting city ____, don’t worry I only need 45 minutes…”). But it’s something to deal with.
Check out the full article on BoardingArea
Insane Travel Gadgets
Welcome to the future friends, a world where women are peeing standing up, people are sleeping like ostriches and farts are now odorless. The world of travel gadgets is getting insane and I’m diving in head first. Ok, I’ve now officially seen it all, these…
Welcome to the future friends, a world where women are peeing standing up, people are sleeping like ostriches and farts are now odorless. The world of travel gadgets is getting insane and I’m diving in head first.
Ok, I’ve now officially seen it all, these gadgets inventors now have absolutely nothing left to invent. If you have spent any amount of time on an airplane, then I’m sure you have taken a gander at the Sky Mall magazine. This hilarious catalogue is a hodgepodge of weird and wacky inventions that are supposed to make life much easier, but in reality all these things do is clutter up our life.
If you are like me though, you love gadgets and can’t get enough of any new technology or cool doohickey. My wife has even implemented a plan in the event that I purchase another useless invention; I have to get rid of something if I come home with anything new. Our rule is simple, something comes in: something else needs to go. As a man who loves gadgets, my house is a continuous revolving door of funky products and useless inventions.
I’ve scoured the internet for ridiculous travel inventions and I’ve compiled my favorites here, I hope you enjoy.
I was first alerted of the Knee Defender in a news article about an air rage incident where a fight broke out over legroom. The airlines have been reducing the legroom on their flights for decades and now the passengers are literally starting to fight back. The Knee Defender is a pair of small pieces of plastic that restricts the amount an airplane seat can recline. This gadget actually attaches to the seat in front of you at the bottom of your tray table and the passenger ahead of you won’t know why their seat can’t recline. This is obviously a fight waiting to happen.
I see the perfect scenario where an airline passenger has had a few cocktails to relax and the person behind them attaches the Knee Defender without their knowledge and when the intoxicated person attempts to recline their seat, a huge argument occurs. A fight breaks out between the two while the plane is in flight and it now has to make an emergency landing, both passengers are taken to jail and the Knee Defender gets lots of free publicity. Then the Knee Defender will probably go on Shark Tank and Mr. Wonderful; will buy into it because he is a horrible person and terrible people all over will but them.
The Knee Defender seems like an invention for passive aggressive people all over the globe, probably going to sell a million of these things.
GasBGon Flatulence Odor Control Seat Cushion
This next gadget actually has some merit and grabbed my attention immediately. It’s no secret that planes are fart zones; the constant noise makes farting a breeze, but the smell will get you caught every time. Now the all-new GasBGon Flatulence Odor Control Seat Cushion is here to help with your stinky farts. The name could use some work, maybe try something shorter and something that isn’t 6 words, geez. This handy little seat cushion also doubles as a fart barrier so the smell doesn’t affect all the other passengers. I honestly don’t know anyone who would buy this thing, because once the fart leaves my behind, it’s not my problem anymore.
This is the country that went crazy for the pet rock and the shamwow, so who knows, maybe this will be the next Furby. I’m still bewildered by the actual technology behind this, but i hope for all our sakes that it works. Talk about revolutionizing our world with this gadget, this is like sliced bread or the wheel.
GoGirl Female Urination Device (FUD)
I thought this was a joke until I actually did some research. The GoGirl is a real product and has been around apparently for years. I first heard of this gadget on the Howard Stern Show so I obviously assumed it was a bit for the show, boy oh boy was I wrong. It’s basically a female funnel that the woman uses so she can urinate standing up, solving an age-old problem. No more sitting down or squatting behind a tree for you lady adventurers. No word on what you do with the GoGirl once it’s been used, although I would toss it in trash, seems wasteful to me.
I’m all for female empowerment and if they want to strand and pee next to me at a urinal, cool. Welcome to the club ladies, just keep that thing away from me, it seems quite unsanitary.
The Ostrich Pillow is an odd looking device that is apparently supposed to help with sleeping in public. The problem with this invention is it looks so ridiculous, how is this going to help you feel more comfortable sleeping in public? The pillow is made to reproduce the way an ostrich sticks its head in the sand to sleep. I for one have never dreamed of sleeping like an ostrich, but now I can. With holes for your arms as well as head, the pillow is certainly going to turn heads in airports and train stations all over the world.
The infomercial does look pretty sweet for the Ostrich Pillow, which can double as a horrifying Halloween costume. Check for it next time you want to scare a child or sleep like a big bird, maybe you can nap on Sesame Street.
This is just the start to all the insane travel gadgets I’ve found online, so expect more articles to follow with more goofy items from around the web.
Adventure Travel: Push the Limits of your Vacation
A new year and a new you, time to push your limits like never before. I’m not suggesting that you put yourself in immediate danger but I am saying you should test your boundaries. Let yourself live and maybe you will improve your regular self. Exploration and self discovery rarely are found in a […]
A new year and a new you, time to push your limits like never before. I’m not suggesting that you put yourself in immediate danger but I am saying you should test your boundaries. Let yourself live and maybe you will improve your regular self. Exploration and self discovery rarely are found in a pool or a bar stool, you’ll need to walk a few steps outside your norm to find what you didn’t know you were looking for. Go on an epic adventure and see what life is really about.
Instead of renting a car, try a motorcycle or scooter on for size. This small adjustment to your normal itinerary can completely change your vacation. Let the wind rush through your hair and grab onto those handlebars tight as you vroom through the streets. Can you feel the power between your legs? Have you lived like this in a long while?
A small adjustment to the standard vacation can really turn things upside down. Side note: don’t rent a motorcycle if you have never ridden one before, maybe start with the smaller engine on the scooter. You can still feel the rush without seeing the inside of the local hospital.
Why walk when you can get pulled in a tuk-tuk, a rickshaw or by some local bovine. When I’m in NYC I always take a hansom cab ride around Central Park, this may not be too exotic for most but to me it’s fantastic. A hansom cab is a horse drawn carriage that tours you around Central Park. I’ll always remember the time my wife and I first visited New York and we took our first hansom cab ride. A cold February night had us in a romantic mood, so we hailed a hansom cab and got all cozy under the blankets. Our driver gave us a wonderful tour and we still talk today about that night.
Step Outside your Resort Walls
How about instead of sitting around by the pool, you venture outside the all-inclusive resort. Take a stroll through the town, or maybe a jungle hike. Get the blood flowing and your heart beating. Take in the clean air and beautiful surroundings. When I travel, I usually bring my hiking boots because I look for adventure at every turn and couldn’t imagine just sitting around a pool all day. Although, I have had some of my best vacations just sitting round a pool, but that’s another article altogether.
Look for Adventure
Every vacation destination has brochures and pamphlets advertising their local attractions, these are great places to start. I usually tend to ask locals for advice or do some previous research on fun activities. But, you would be surprised at some of the awesome adventures that await just around the corner. Zip lines, waterfalls, ancient ruins and guided tours are just the start. Some of these tourist attractions are just traps and ways to suck money from the weary traveler. That’s why I do the added legwork and some light planning to find my true adventure.
Travel for Adventure
Ditch the all-inclusive resorts and head out for adventure completely. Instead of sitting by the pool, try snorkeling in the ocean or white water rafting down a rushing river. Adventure awaits you at any experience level so don’t let your greenness deter you from an adventure. If you search hard enough, you can find a journey for every expertise level. My kayaking skills are lacking but that won’t stop me from trying. All I know for sure is I won’t get better at kayaking by not kayaking. Grab life by the proverbial balls and live it.
This is not for everyone, but can be for some. Skydive, cliff jump or bungee jump, to start your vacation. Obviously do it with caution and only after you have done some proper research, but hell man, live it up. There is nothing like a little adrenaline rush to get that blood pumping through your veins. I’ve done it all and haven’t regretted an instance. Sure, skydiving may not be for everyone, but the same adrenaline rush I get from jumping out of a plane, you might get from eating exotic fruits. Each his own and you make your own adventure, as long as you are living it up; I’m cool with it. White water raft down a river or cliff dive into the ocean, life awaits.
Now I’m not saying that chilling by a pool at a resort can’t and isn’t fun, what I’m trying to say is maybe spice it up a bit. Sitting by the pool all day is perfect after you hiked 10 miles and bungee jumped off a bridge. We only get one ride on this planet so you should enjoy every step you take.
Travel on my friends; enjoy your ride, wherever it may take you.
Choosing the Best Airplane Seat
You Can Save Money on Airfare With Hidden City Ticketing
Traveling Creates Personal Growth
What You Need To Know About Traveling Yearly In An RV
Insane Travel Gadgets
The Cheapest Travel Destinations in the World in 2020
How Travel is Ruining our Planet
America Travel News: Can I Fly To The USA Right Now?
Where Can Americans Vacation Internationally Right Now?
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