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International Travel Help/Clarifications

2023.06.02 19:59 WanderlustingTravels International Travel Help/Clarifications

Hello! Apologies for the long post.
I have a trip coming up later this summer and have several questions or things to clarify. I know this is a longggg list (and maybe I’m just an idiot) but think most of these should be pretty short/quick answers for people who know the answers.
Some info: I’m flying from my home airport to ATL and then onward to Mexico City in main cabin. I am then immediately flying MEX to LAX to SYD on a separate ticket (Delta One) that I purchased with miles. The MEX to LAX leg is Aeromexico, the other two legs are Delta. I’m platinum medallion and have global entry. Questions/items I’d like input on or confirmation of:
  1. When I land in Mexico City, I will presumably have to collect my checked bag and then pass through customs/immigration. Being a US citizen, it looks like there are no visa requirements.
  2. I will then go up to the Aeromexico desk and re-check my bag. Due to Delta status, I think I’ll avoid bag fees.
  3. In the airport, I should have access to the Aeromexico lounge due to either my D1 ticket or (maybe more correctly) SkyTeam Elite Plus status?
  4. How much time would you allow between the flight arriving in MEX and then departing to LAX?
  5. When arriving at LAX, do I have to collect my bag again, then clear US customs/immigration, then re-check my bag with Delta? If so, how much time would be recommended between my arrival in LAX and departure to SYD?
  6. At LAX, I should have access to both the Korean Air lounge (due to status) or the Delta Skyclubs (D1 ticket). Is one markably better than the other?
  7. Will I have access to the SkyTeam lounge in SYD upon arrival? A shower may be really lovely at that point considering it’ll be hours and hours before I get to my hostel (landing at 6:30am and probably exploring for the day).
  8. I believe I will earn MQDs/MQMs on the LAX to SYD leg, but not MEX to LAX due to being an award ticket on a partner airline.
  9. ATL to MEX is eligible for upgrades like any domestic flight, correct? What’s the likelihood of one for a platinum medallion? Realize it’s out of a massive hub but not sure how popular that route would be.
  10. If my flight into MEX gets delayed and causes me to miss my connection to LAX, am I out of luck? With being two separate tickets, how much flexibility will Delta have on rebooking my next leg, similar to if missing a connection on a journey booked together? Is there a way to “connect” the purchases to give me more peace of mind/security?
  11. When booking my trip home, I’m having to overnight in Mexico City. Looks like there’s a Hilton hotel in/connected to the airport. Does anyone have experience with this one? Other suggestions?
  12. What’s the minimum connecting time you’d recommend for the layovers in LAX and MEX on the way back home from SYD?
  13. What’s the minimum connecting time you’d recommend for a layover at ATL between MEX and home?
I realize this is a bit of a convoluted journey. But it was the best option I found. Just have no clue how it works bouncing between the US and Mexico like that. There’s also a chance that I end up flying MEX to GDL to LAX, so not sure if that additional layover in Mexico would change answers to any of the above items.
Again, I realize this is a lot. Any and all help/tips/advice is incredibly appreciated.
submitted by WanderlustingTravels to delta [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 19:37 zurenthi [WeWantOut] 28M 29F Germany -> USA

Hi everyone, Please excuse my formatting, as I am on mobile.
28M has a Masters degree in Computer Science and 2 years of full time software development experience, while 29F has just completed her bachelors degree in Computer Science and started working full time as a software developer (we both already worked part time in software development during studies). 28M has a German passport while 29F has Tanzanian citizenship (but is on the path to German citizenship). We both speak fluent German and English.
We’re currently in the process of saving up for the next 3 years or so in order to position ourselves to live abroad for 2-3 years to: - gain some experience careerwise in a different environment than we know - experience the people, culture and food in the States - Take advantage of the higher salaries We plan on moving back to Germany after this time period.
The idea would be to go the work visa route, find employment and live in an LCOL area, while having a higher income and be able to save up considerably.
We would appreciate your thoughts on the following two questions as well as general tips if you have any.
  1. According to our preliminary research, the salaries are high, and the taxes are low, so there should be quite a bit left over to save in comparison to Germany. Even considering that we would have to pay some expenses out of pocket (that are normally covered in German taxes) like insurance, there seems to still be a higher savings potential. Are we right in assuming that, or are there factors we are not considering?
  2. Which areas might be suitable for our situation? We would prefer bigger cities or their outskirts. Nice weather is always appreciated but we’re generally not too fussed about that since we’re used to shitty weather anyway.
Thank you <3
submitted by zurenthi to IWantOut [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 19:03 breadbearer replacing lost us visa (O1)

I was traveling in Italy and my purse (that contained my passport with visa) got snatched yesterday. I feel like an idiot and I will be beating myself over this for a long time. I am going back to my home country today on emergency passport. I’ve already reported the incident to the American embassy in my city. My plan is to get a new passport and apply for a new visa stamp.
Anyone has similar experience — losing your passport with visa and replacing it? I am terrified of the chance of them turning it down this time. It got approved pretty smoothly last time.
Thank you all in advance.
submitted by breadbearer to visas [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 18:46 Artistic_Bath_2844 Relocate Permanently to Europe using Study Abroad

Ok a little backstory, and TL;DR at the bottom. I’ll try to be brief. A few years ago I dropped out of Uni (end of sophomore year) because of a disagreement with the math department. I couldn’t understand the indian teacher’s accent so I skipped the classes to teach myself calculus. 95/93/97 on my major exams, but no attendance so I failed the class. Eventually talked them into giving me a D, but it ruined my GPA and I lost my full ride. Didn’t want loans, so I dropped out. Felt like a major waste of my time, 2-5 years gone, as I went to a college prep middle and high school and had no life due to studies. But I think I found a way to salvage this, and accomplish what I really want to in life.
Since I dropped out, I worked in construction and toursim, and found out my passion is travel. New cultures. Different lifestyles. Most of my friends are in Europe, and I really want to relocate there. In particular, I want to live near the Adriatic sea, in the mountains or on the coast, or in the Tatras or the Carpathians. In these places I like the culture, its cheap, and real estate is way more accessible, especially if you are capable of doing a major reno project.
THE QUESTION: Is it a viable strategy to choose a low-cost of living country, get a student visa, do a full immersion for 1-2 years, learn the language, graduate, and then upgrade to some kind of residence permit, buy property, and then try to get citizenship? People do it all the time in the US.
FOLLOW-UP QUESTION: I want a chill uni experience over there with a modest amount of downtime. I don’t want to study constantly and waste my time in books. I’d even like to continue to learn construction while I do it. Maybe apprentice a stone mason part-time. Most important is the degree. I want to do something that gives me total flexibility on where I live. Don’t want to have to relocate based on where work is available. Even if I’m just teaching english online, as long as that supports a modest life in whatever country, thats enough for me.
You’re a real champ for getting through this.
TL;DR What Eastern/Balkan city do I go to for a chill student experience and a navigable track to citizenship, and what do I study for the most flexibility in relocation.
submitted by Artistic_Bath_2844 to studyAbroad [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 18:17 freshballpowder I don’t feel wanted or like I belong anywhere

18 months ago I moved away from the city I grew up in for a good job in a field I don’t care about.
My good job turned out to be a bad job, so I found a new offer for a lot more money. However, the new company is jerking me around. I’m on a visa and they told me I could give notice, then they screwed things up getting me a new visa so that I may be in a totally screwed position and have to leave the country. This is a large, well known company. They have the resources to do this properly, they just don’t care or are disorganized.
As I’m running out the clock at my old job, I have to interact with a coworker who I have a shitty, toxic relationship with. We were friends for about a year and she started acting like she was really into me. I was unsure at first then reciprocated by asking her on a date when she was in town. She was happy and initially said yes, then changed her mind saying it would be too difficult because we work together and are long distance. I wanted to just go back to being work friends but she still will be flirty with me and it’s really confusing, using me for attention like sending me slightly inappropriate selfies and also always getting me to help her with her work.
I know it’s a toxic relationship but even though I need to cut her off and be direct, I feel pressured to keep being polite so I don’t cause trouble. Truthfully part of me hopes she changes her mind again but I know I just need to get away from her. It has made me feel miserable and lonely. I’m ashamed at myself that when she shows me a little bit of attention, I’ll start pining for her again, even when I know it’s because I help her get commissions on accounts and gas her up when she’s feeling insecure, not because she gives a shit about me. I want out, but work creates so many unavoidable points of contact.
Meanwhile, my bosses are trying to milk me for as much work as possible, I’m just so burnt out, tired and stressed all over a random career in big tech that I never wanted and basically fell up into. I feel guilty for feeling shitty about my job because I know my salary is way better than most even though all I can afford is an ok 1 bedroom apartment that costs extra because it’s month to month and furnished in case I lost my visa. I am always afraid of losing my visa and having to uproot again.
Now I am back in my hometown for a series of weddings. Me being here is partly what’s holding up the visa processes for my new job. I’m the best man in one of them and there have been several comments and incidents where I don’t feel remotely appreciated (or even liked by his fiancee) to the point that I resent putting myself out for this.
Then in addition to all that, at all these events I need to see my former best friend that I had a huge falling out with. Similar to the girl at work, he was emotionally manipulative and a bit of a bully for years. I put up with it before finally cutting him off last year. All our mutuals tell me they are on “my side” and will shit on him for being essentially a covert narcissist. Despite this, he’s the one who still hangs out with all of them as I drift away from them.
So I’m back in town and life has just moved on without me. Everyone is getting married. When I see people, there are inside jokes I’m not in on and references to times I wasn’t there for. I think I’m seen as impressive and cool because I seem like I have more money than I do and a big job in an international city but I am just lonely. I wish the girl from work was the person I thought she was when it seemed like she was a friend who liked me so much she was pursuing me despite long distance. I wish I had more friends in my new city or that I wasn’t drifting from my old ones.
It feels like at this point where I’m supposed to feel more established, everything is up in the air and I have no sense of direction. I feel like nowhere is home and the only people I really have are my parents who are getting older, yet I’m not around them anymore since I moved.
Important: I couldn’t get a renewal on my ADHD med prescription before travelling (they said it was too soon) so the withdrawal is absolutely contributing to these feelings.
submitted by freshballpowder to offmychest [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 17:54 yell0wfever92 CEOs: Economy Going Tits Up Because People are Buying FOOD AND ESSENTIALS?!!

CEOs: Economy Going Tits Up Because People are Buying FOOD AND ESSENTIALS?!!
What an oppressive economic system, where it is in danger because people decide not to spend on frivolous, needless bullshit in favor of essential living items.
submitted by yell0wfever92 to lostgeneration [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 17:23 raimunda1181 Anyone Man City fans watching the match tomorrow? Or United fans for that matter

Hiii guys! I got the visa and moved here from Manchester a week ago. I don’t know many people here aside from my colleagues and with a big match tomorrow wanted to see if there were City/United/football fans about to watch it!
submitted by raimunda1181 to Barcelona [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 17:22 hakunamatata147 Leaving the country, what to do with current finances?

Hello All,
I'm a U.S citizen(37 yo) living in Texas (naturalized recently). I'll be leaving the U.S by the end of this year for a new job across the pond or two (GCC country). No plans to return soon as of now. I might come back for retirement or kids might go to universities here, there is still no final decision regarding that.
I just wanted to know what I am supposed to do with my current finances.
My current finances are held in the following institutions:
Chase: main checking account and two credit cards and house mortgage (3.25% APR, ~35% paid so far).
Charles Schwab: a checking account, Roth IRA and investment accounts (index funds).
Fidelity: 401K account
Citi: one credit card (costco)
HSA account with Cigna
My questions/thoughts
1- Should I close any account? or leave everything as is?
2- Can I contribute to the investment accounts and Roth IRA from my foreign account? are there any restrictions for that?
3- Should I keep the CCs open? I'm sure that I will be opening a CC at the foreign institution so I'm not sure if the U.S cards would be useful. Two of the U.S. cards don't incur international fees tho.
4- I'm planning on keeping the house and leasing it so that will help with paying off the mortgage and some passive income. No plans for selling it.
5- I understand that some of those institutions require a U.S address to keep accounts open, how would that affect me in this case? Can I use a friend's address?
6- I'll have to learn more about how to deal with taxation in my situation since I know that I'll still be paying taxes even if I live abroad.
7- Whom do I have to notify about the new foreign address? Department of Public Safety (DPS)? IRS? What about my ID/driver's license? it expires in 2024, what should I do about this? just let it expire?
8- What will happen to my credit score?
That's what I have in mind so far. I'm interested in any feedback and especially from people that are in a similar situation.
Thank you.
submitted by hakunamatata147 to personalfinance [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 15:27 mangorajakorani H1B Visa drop box delivery delays - Chennai location

Hi there,
Here is my timeline for my routine H1B visa renewal.
Original dropbox submission date/dropbox location: May 16th, Hyderabad.
May 19th - Application received at Chennai.
May 25th - Approved.
May 26th - Issued.
Ever since Issued state, I received two emails, one on May 31st and one on June 2nd with the exact same content.
Your document(s) have been collected from the US Embassy/ConsulateThe passport number being returned is XXXXXXYou have chosen to have your documents delivered to the following location:Hyderabad, Lower Concourse , Hitec City Metro Station,, Hyderabad, 500081If you have any issues or concerns, please contact us at
I was hoping it would be delivered within this week, looks like that is not the case. Does anyone have any similar experiences (duplicate status email updates) ?
submitted by mangorajakorani to h1b [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 15:24 joshrealer It keeps showing “Exam centre not allotted” on the website and my exam is on the 6th. Is that anything I can do about this?

It keeps showing “Exam centre not allotted” on the website and my exam is on the 6th. Is that anything I can do about this? submitted by joshrealer to CUETards [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 15:10 Smash_tours_9297 Smash Tours and Travels is thrilled to offer you the opportunity to explore the captivating city of Dubai with our 90-day visa package! 🌆✈️ Immerse yourself in the beauty and wonders of Dubai for an extended period, whether it's for leisure, business, or reconnecting with loved ones.

Smash Tours and Travels is thrilled to offer you the opportunity to explore the captivating city of Dubai with our 90-day visa package! 🌆✈️ Immerse yourself in the beauty and wonders of Dubai for an extended period, whether it's for leisure, business, or reconnecting with loved ones. submitted by Smash_tours_9297 to u/Smash_tours_9297 [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 15:10 nyxsyn1 How long to "live like a local" in a country before making a decision to move?

I understand visiting as a tourist would be very different from living as a resident. Would 1 month "living like a local" be a good amount of time to get a sense if I would enjoy living there? What did you do/ your thought process in arriving at a decision to move somewhere you enjoy as a tourist?
Context: I've been toying with the idea of moving to Australia through applying for the skilled immigration visa.
The country appeals to me due to the easy access to outdoors, nature, and hikes. This is non existent in the country where I currently reside. I'm not into busy city / night life. I'm a homebody who loves cooking, grocery shopping, and the occasional fancy cafe hopping. I've always fantasized a quiet cabin / tiny house lifestyle. And I like the mild weather there. I visited Australia 4 times (nsw, wa, vic) as a tourist and enjoyed my experience there.
submitted by nyxsyn1 to expats [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 14:57 Dhtekzz Studying in Warsaw - International Student

Hi Poles, I'm an international student planning to start my studies at Warsaw University of Technology from October 2023. I have already secured conditional acceptance and have been given an appointment to get the study visa.
I have some questions.
I wanted to know how different is the student life in Poland (particularly Warsaw city) compared to other countries like Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, and France. Also, what type of student jobs are available for international students and how are the wages compared to other European countries. Can I cover my living and food expenses from part-time jobs? Please let me know the breakdown of expenses while living in Warsaw city. If I pay my first semester tuition fee is it possible to manage the tuition fee for the rest of the program. Tuition fee is €2000 per semester. Total 3 semesters.
Any input especially from International students living in Warsaw would be appreciated.
submitted by Dhtekzz to poland [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 14:52 esbee27 Fingers Crossed - Mexico

The concierge at the condo we are staying at in Puerto Vallarta next week connected me with a company that makes medicine deliveries to resort areas. I was able to order Ozempic 3 red pens, 5 blue pens, and 3 bottles of 14 mg Rybelsus. They said there are no yellow pens in Mexico.
I am hoping to get back in a few months to purchase the injectable, but wanted to have the pills as a backup.
It was expensive, but I expected that with demand. The concierge called all the major pharmacies in PV for me (Ahorro, Costco, Walmart, etc.) and they all said they didn’t have it. I paid $107,000 MX total, which is about $6,100. That’s a lot but my insurance won’t cover it and will charge me $1700 a month out of pocket.
The company is based in Mexico City and I had a brief call with a doctor before ordering. Then we discussed what I wanted via WhatsApp and I got a link for online credit card payment. They initially wanted a bank transfer but I wouldn’t do it in case they don’t come through. Credit card charges are easier to dispute. I’ll comment on this post and let you all know if it gets delivered and add company name and number. I don’t want to share them yet I’m case they don’t deliver.
I bought this combo of pens to be able to give myself two injections to titrate up to 2 mg of injections. And if I have to switch to the pills, I can take two of those. Novo Nordsc has put in for FDA approval of the higher doses.
submitted by esbee27 to Semaglutide [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 14:26 laxs12 Travel tickets to be provided

Hi there! I’m applying for a Schengen visa (Austria) for my mother. The itinerary I created includes travel across different cities within Austria: Vienna -> Salzburg -> Graz -> Vienna. Do I need to show travel tickets for each other these trips within the country? I have a return ticket from India to Vienna.
submitted by laxs12 to SchengenVisa [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 12:49 FFFFFQQQQ Fine for failing to collect a physical ticket, should I bring this to the court?

Hi, all
My friend and I got two 125 pounds fines for “not being able to provide a valid ticket for our journey” from Merseyrail. I admit that we made a mistake, but I think it is too harsh. I've talked to Merseyrail, and they refused to cancel the fine. I am considering to take it to court, but I have several questions:
  1. I am currently here on a visa, if I go to court and lost, would it count as a criminal record?
  2. What are my chances to win?
  3. Mersyrail charges 150 extra for going to the court. I assume if I win, I don't need to pay the 150. If I lose, I need to pay 125+150 = 275. Financially, should I take it to the court?
Here is what happened:
My friend and I bought the tickets on Trainline, was instructed to collect the physical tickets, but we didn't. After the journey, we were told by the staff at the gate to collect physical tickets from a nearby shop, but we did not manage to do so, and then we were stopped by officers and penalized.
I admit failed to collect the tickets were my mistakes, but here are our reasons:
We didn't collect the paper tickets in the first place, as we were travelling to Liverpool from Manchester, we initially planned to cycle to a beach from Liverpool city center. However, one of our bikes broke down halfway and we had to take the train instead. In the midst of managing our bicycles, navigating an unfamiliar city, changing travel plans, and seeking confirmation of whether bikes were allowed on the train, we overlooked the instruction to collect our tickets. We were non-locals and not very familiar with the paper tickets system, we naively thought as long as we have paid for the trip, it was okay.
We didn't follow the staff's suggestion to collect the tickets because I made the mistake of assuming that our journey had been effectively completed since we were allowed to exit the train station after presenting the Trainline code. With two bicycles to manage and a train to Manchester to catch, the thought of backtracking to collect tickets for a trip we considered finished seemed counterintuitive and inconvenient.
We rectified our error by collecting the tickets post-factum to validate our journey.
Again, I admit that it is our fault for not collecting the tickets, but still, we paid for our tickets before the trip, and we had no intention of not paying. I feel two £125 fines are rather harsh. Should I take it to the court?
submitted by FFFFFQQQQ to LegalAdviceUK [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 12:07 covidwarrior99 Help me optimize my cards

Hello. I went on an application spree to achieve a target CL. Ngayon pwede na ako magpa open heart surgery and will be able to confidently enter. I am not eligible for health insurance due to my work (considered high risk).
Anyway, i have this FOMO feeling that I am not utilizing the cards well. 😅
Senpai, please help me.
Here are my cards:
BPI Visa Sig Security Bank Mastercard Platinum Maybank Platinum - NAFFL (Dormant) Metrobank Rewards Plus Visa Platinum Citi PremierMiles MC Citi Rewards NAFFL (Dormant) RCBC Mastercard Platinum EW Visa Platinum
Thanks in advance!
submitted by covidwarrior99 to PHCreditCards [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 11:07 yabspro Unlocking Business Opportunities: A Step-by-Step Guide to Establishing Your Company in Dubai"

Unlocking Business Opportunities: A Step-by-Step Guide to Establishing Your Company in Dubai

Introduction: Dubai is a global business hub that offers a favorable environment for entrepreneurs and companies looking to establish their presence in the Middle East. With its strategic location, world-class infrastructure, and business-friendly policies, Dubai presents abundant opportunities for growth and success.
In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of setting up your company in Dubai, helping you navigate the requirements and unlock the business opportunities that this vibrant city has to offer.
  1. Research and Business Planning: Begin by conducting thorough research on the market, industry trends, and business opportunities in Dubai. Identify the sector you wish to operate in and evaluate its potential for growth and profitability. Develop a comprehensive business plan that outlines your goals, target market, competitive analysis, and financial projections.
  2. Choose the Right Business Structure: Dubai offers different business structures, each with its own advantages and requirements. Evaluate the options, such as mainland companies, free zone entities, or offshore companies, and choose the structure that aligns with your business goals. Consider factors like ownership restrictions, tax implications, and the ability to conduct specific activities.
  3. Select a Company Name and Reserve it: Select a unique and meaningful name for your company that complies with Dubai's naming conventions. Ensure that the chosen name is available for registration and does not infringe on any trademarks. Reserve the company name through the relevant authorities to secure its availability.
  4. Engage Professional Services: Engaging the services of a professional business setup provider or consultant can greatly simplify the process and ensure compliance with local regulations. They can guide you through the legal and administrative procedures, assist with documentation, and provide insights on the best practices for business setup in Dubai.
  5. Obtain Necessary Licenses and Approvals: Depending on your business activities and the chosen business structure, you will need to obtain the necessary licenses and approvals from the relevant authorities. This includes commercial licenses, professional licenses, industrial licenses, or specific industry-specific permits. Work closely with your pro services provider to gather the required documentation and submit the applications.
  6. Finalize Office Space and Lease Agreements: If you opt for a mainland company, you will need to secure a physical office space in Dubai. Identify a suitable location for your business operations and finalize lease agreements. Ensure that the office space meets the legal requirements and is zoned for your specific business activities.
  7. Open a Corporate Bank Account: Set up a corporate bank account with a reputable bank in Dubai. Provide the required documentation, such as company incorporation documents, passport copies, and proof of address. Choose a bank that offers tailored services for businesses and has a convenient branch network.
  8. Hire Employees and Sponsorship: If your business requires employees, you will need to follow the appropriate hiring procedures and obtain work permits and visas for your staff. Dubai has specific regulations regarding employment contracts, salaries, and visa sponsorship. Work with your pro services provider to ensure compliance with labor laws and streamline the hiring process.
  9. Begin Operations and Market your Business: Once all the legalities are in order, you can officially start your operations in Dubai. Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy to promote your products or services and establish your brand presence in the market. Leverage various marketing channels, including digital marketing, networking events, and industry partnerships, to gain visibility and attract customers.
Conclusion: Establishing your company in Dubai requires careful planning, adherence to legal procedures, and a comprehensive understanding of the local business environment. By following this step-by-step guide and leveraging the support of professional services providers, you can navigate the process with ease and unlock the abundant business opportunities that Dubai has to offer.
submitted by yabspro to u/yabspro [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 10:31 lazycat1989 Trip Review - South Africa, May 2023

Just got back from a solo trip through South Africa, and despite all the cautions and reservations I heard on- and off-line, I loved every bit of it! Sharing some quick notes here for reference, and happy to answer any queries from people thinking of travelling there.
34 yo Indian man. Not the primest of targets for crime, admittedly, but I didn't really look like a poor write-off as well.
21 May 2023 - 31 May 2023
2N in Johannesburg with visits to Apartheid Museum, Soweto, and Rosebank Mall. Stayed at Clico Boutique Hotel in Rosebank. Found the city to be pleasant and well worth the stopover, also perfectly safe if navigated using Uber or through join-in tours.
3N in Greater Kruger, specifically at Nyati Safari Lodge in the Balule Reserve, with 2x game drives daily (morning and evening). Saw 3 of the big 5 (missed out on Rhinos and Leopards but have seen them earlier in India, so no heartache) as well as animals unique to Africa - hippos (right outside my room!), zebra, giraffes, and more antelopes than I can remember the names of. Also did a bushwalk, and loved all the bush sundowners and breakfasts. It was absolutely safe inside the lodge, the bigger threats mere mischeivous monkeys raiding the mini-bar. This was my first African Safari experience, and I loved every bit of it - can definitely see myself become a safari hoe in the years to come.
2N in Franschhoek, with a day-long self-cycle through the region (the road from Berg River Dam to Huguenot Memorial is beautiful), and more wine tastings (highly recommend Eikehof and Glenwood) than I'd had in the entirety of my life till the day. The place was my favourite in SA - beautiful, delicious, creative, and a bubble of safety. Stayed at the lovely Chanteclair guesthouse (the host Allan is a gem).
3N in Cape Town, with visits to Table Mountain, the waterfront, a peninsula tour (Camp's Bay, Hout Bay, Chapman's Peak, Cape of Good Hope, Boulders Penguin Colony, and Muizenberg), Kirstenbosch, Company's Garden, Zeitz MCAA (fantastic if you're into art) and Bo Kaap (with the lovely and free Cape Town Walking Tours). The city is easily one of the most, if not the most, beautiful in the world - the setting is spectacular, even in the cold, windy, rainy weather I was there in. It was also markedly safer than Joburg, and there were several parts of town where walking around didn't make me feel as on-edge. Stayed at Taj Cape Town (stellar downtown hotel which allows easier access to the actual city than the tourist enclave hotels of the lively but sterile Waterfront area).
Almost everyone I spoke to before visiting South Africa painted it as a free-for-all crime zone. I'd be mugged, raped, killed, or whatnot here, they said. Don't go alone. Don't go at all. All of it, ofcourse, turned out to be overblown, panic-stricken hogwash. I navigated the country without incident. BUT I didn't just stroll into town with an open wallet either - I made sure to stay at good hotels (within my budget), keep my valuables hidden away like in a secure backpack or an inside pocket, check locally for safety advice, and use Ubers or tours wherever recommended. These weren't special safety procedures designed for South Africa, mind you, they were just common precautions I'd use in any country I was visiting. It helped my travel remain incident free, and the only time I was approached by someone mildly unsavoury was when a drunk man stumbled past saying 'Good day brother' in Bo Kaap. The biggest threat to my safety in SA turned out to be marauding monkeys at my lodge near Kruger who raided the neighbouring room's minibar and made away with milk and coffee sachets. Also, contrary to some advice, things left lying around in my hotel room as well as check-in baggage at the airports remained absolutely safe and untampered.
Power (Cuts)
Load shedding is rife, and Joburg was seeing 10-12 hours of load shedding while I was there. However, all my hotels had power backup, and all the spots I visited had power backup (wherever needed), so I effectively only ever noticed loadshedding during the switch-overs between supply and gensets in my smaller Joburg and Franschhoek hotels. I even disabled the push notifications for the power supply app (ESP) because it was of no real use to me any more. Moral of the story - make sure your hotel has power backup, and carry a power bank in the unlikely event you find yourself at a cafe without electricity. Also, check up on the power points - I didn't do my research properly and had to buy two overpriced plugs in Joburg.
Joburg had crisp weather with lots of sun, but cool temperatures. Kruger had warm days and cool nights - layers were essential! Franschhoek was kinda like Joburg weather, while Cape Town was windy and rainy. The only place I could contemplate swimming was in Kruger and in the heated pool of my Cape Town hotel.
EXCELLENT everywhere, even in remote Kruger. Franschhoek, however, was a highlight - if there's one place you'd want to splurge for good food, it's here. Also helps that the wine is cheap and plentiful and sublime. For vegetarians and vegans, most restaurants had symbols identifying suitable menu items, and everyone speaks English so its easy to clarify. Would recommend making online reservations at the more popular fine dining spots.
On the whole, South Africa is very affordable for someone used to American or European or Japanese or Singaporean prices, especially with the unabated fall of the ZAR. Coming from India, however, it was a bit of a mixed bag - dining out was very cheap, and hotels were great value, but domestic flights and longer taxi transfers (like Cape Town - Franschhoek or the day tours) felt expensive. Uber rides and high street shopping were just a tad pricier than I'm used to in India while the coffee and alcohol prices were an absolute delight. Entrance tickets to most sights, however, are fairly steep and much closer to the European norm than the African or Asian. That said, major sights are professionally managed, clean, safe, and have power backup.
Tipping is expected, I'd round things upward of 10% of the bill amount, except at a fine dining experience in Franschhoek where a service charge was explicitly included and informed about. Tips can be added to the card machine and need not necessarily be paid in cash.
Paying by card is practically universal in tourist-friendly spots (including entry tickets and even for smaller payments), and I didn't need to exchange any extra cash or use an ATM. Visa and Mastercard work everywhere ofcourse, and Amex has appreciable reach as well. Diner's Club and others, however, won't help.
It's good to exchange a small amount like 100 USD to help with petty payments like parking tickets or small tips or quick bites from convenience stores.
I purchased a Vodacom sim on arrival at Johannesburg, and it worked well everywhere, even giving 5G in most of Joburg, Cape Town, and Franschhoek centre. Data and talktime prices were a tad expensive (I'm spoilt because it's dirt cheap in India), but it was easy to top things up online or at stores on-the-go.
Free WiFi was widely available at airports, tourist sights, restaurants, malls etc, and worked quite decentl
Getting around
Uber works well in Joburg and Cape Town, with many local recommending Uber X. Bolt, however, was universally NOT recommended because it wasn't very reliable. I didn't try public transport, but heard that the Gautrain in Joburg and the Myciti BRT in Cape Town were safe and good quality.
I also flew from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit and Hoedspruit to Cape Town with Airlink, which was a great little regional airline with good service, punctual arrivals/departures, and a very tourist-friendly schedule and network. The tickets were quite overpriced though, and Amex refused to work on their own website, but I did get to check-in on to business class seats on economy tickets so I guess it was good overall.
I didn't self-drive. However, I met several travellers who did it (including a German lady who was campervanning solo across the entirety of southern Africa), and they reported it being easy and safe. The only precautions were to make sure you were hiring from a reputable company, not driving too much at night (out of fear of being stranded more than anything else), and purchasing the insurance plan with the agent. I did use plenty of roads, and generally observed that most highways were in decent shape and allowed for 100+ kmph speeds. Petrol stations were plentiful, and many came attached with convenience stores and mini-malls, usually with power backup. For parking, you'd usually have a local tout popping up helping you manouevre the car and watch over it for a small 5-10 ZAR tip (don't skimp on this, as petty thieves have been known to break into unattended cars to pilfer whatever they can, though I never ever saw this in action - practically every street in every town had a parking attendant on hand).
I did cycle around Franschhoek by myself and it was fantastic, much better than the kitschy Wine Tram experience. It was also very safe, and I even biked through town for dinner and some moonlight photos. The only bugbears were car traffic on the main roads, and a caution by the bike rental shop against leaving the night lamp on the bike unattended (had to unlatch it and keep it on me instead - but still, safer than biking in Amsterdam lol).
Getting there
Joburg is the biggest international airport with the better flight deals and has direct flights to all inhabited continents. It's a fairly modern and easy-to-use terminal, and I didn't observe any of the usual scams. Cape Town is the better looking airport, but has fewer connections, although it's still easy to get here with a simple transit at a major hub like London or Dubai. Durban also has a middle-sized airport with a handful of long haul links.
Most other airports are small - Hoedspruit was basically a collection of open-to-air pavillions - and have only domestic flights to the likes of JNB or CPT. Nelspruit, in southern Kruger has a few Airlink connections with Victoria Falls and the Mozambique coast, aimed at holidayers.
As an Indian, I was eligible for an evisa but the system never worked, taking my documents but never letting me pay the application fee. I instead applied manually at Delhi's VFS centre, and got my visa in 2 days (the VFS staff also told me that the evisa portal was hopeless and I shouldn't even have bothered). The evisa system finally budged while I was en-route to JNB, telling me that my application was rejected because I never submitted a bank statement (which I did) and completely ignored the fact that I never paid for my application (thanks to the inactive payment link). The rejection clearly didn't get slotted in anywhere because Immigrations was absolutely fine with my stamped-visa and didn't bother asking me anything other than why I was visiting and when I'd leave.
I flew in on Etihad via Abu Dhabi (decent airline but the airport needs a lot of work to compete with its neighbours) and back on Emirates via Dubai (excellent airline with very generous meals and a great IFE, as well as a huge and modern megahub airport experience albeit with overpriced food and shopping). Flight timings were fairly convenient both ways, with day-time arrivals and check-ins.
Some of the friendliest I've ever met! Everybody is happy to have a zany chat, and conversations can quickly become pal-ly and banter-ful if you're open enough. On the whole South Africans felt fairly extroverted and loosened up - very informal and sleeves-rolled-up. You'll have to excuse yourself out of a conversation, else you'll be left talking to them the whole day and not have any time left to sightsee.
Speaking as an outsider who only observed things for 10 odd days, I felt that there's still a decent amount of racial segregation at play in SA.
While many lower-paying jobs are almost exclusively held by blacks and the colours thanks to the country's history of institutionalised racism, Blacks and Coloured peoples can now also be commonly seen in upscale areas as guests and visitors. However, the majority of patrons in these locations appeared to be white and Afrikaans speaking. I also only ever saw one mixed group - a white lady entertaining a black man and his daughter at a Cape Town waterfront restaurant where I was having dinner.
I did share a few drinks with Joburg-based white couples at my safari lodge, and on the whole, they didn't feel inherently racist. They in fact remembered the Mandela and Mbeki days with pride, and felt that most of the crime in South Africa was thanks to the corruption in the African National Congress (they were all praises for the opposition who holds sway in the Cape) and immigrants from neighbouring countries - they rather trusted Black South Africans for everyday affairs. At my Cape Town hotel, meanwhile, I met a few black businessmen and politicians at the pool and gym, and they told me similar things - that the ANC was corrupt, immigrants are to blame for crime etc, and didn't really have any strong opinions about whites. These experiences contrasted greatly with my conversation with a white Afrikaner pensioner in my Zanzibar hotel ten years ago, who was spewing hate against black crime after two whiskeys.
Since I'm Indian, I was often mistaken for a local - everybody (regardless of their race) would be taken aback when they heard my accent and learnt I was actually not South African (which has a large South Asian origin community) or even African (many South Asian origin peoples in eastern Africa and Mauritius especially). This spoke volumes to me - in the UK, where I studied and which now has an Indian-origin PM and a hugely visible South Asian diaspora, people would still ask me 'what country are you from?' on appearance alone. It really did emphasize how SA was more of a rainbow nation than just a slogan.
What did I like?
Practically everything, even Joburg. The safari experience was better than I expected, Cape Town was breathtaking, and Franschhoek became my favourite little town in the world. Also loved the food and the wine, and loved meeting and chatting with the locals. Of all the countries I've visited, SA is the one I'm surest about wanting to return to - and I'm not trying to be diplomatic - I honestly felt like I need more time here.
What didn't I like?
I disliked how such a great country with excellent basic infrastructure is being mismanaged. EVERYONE I spoke to was complaining about how corruption killed the country's power supply system and railways and is now threatening other aspects of life. None of these directly or visibly impacted my travels, but I would've liked being able to take a train instead of flights or not spend a premium to stay at places that had generators.
Anything I'd change?
While Joburg turned out to be a pleasant place, had I the option, I'd have skipped it to spend more time in Cape Town. I'd also spend a few more days in Franschhoek and around - the area turned out to be my favourite. Now that I've also had a lay of the land, I'm more confident about self-driving next time I visit. Also, I only realised how convenient it is to travel from SA to neighbouring countries, and would like to latch on visits to the Namibian desert, Botswana's game parks, the Victoria Falls on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border, and the beaches of Mozambique alongside a return to SA.
I realise I could have managed some things better on this trip, but bottom line is that I enjoyed it, and that this is not a 'who had the best trip' competition. I'm just sharing my positive experience of South Africa in the hope that it encourages others to properly and safely plan a trip to the place instead of avoiding it out of second-hand-scares.
Happy to take any follow ups in the comments :)
submitted by lazycat1989 to solotravel [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 08:44 random80558055 I have developed feelings for a close friend & I cant do anything about it

So here goes nothing!
I (27M) have been single for the last 2 years. I had 3 year relationship before that which got really toxic and I needed some time alone to heal and be in a place to be in a relationship or even start dating.
There was this one girl, lets call her Q, who I was very close friends with during university. We both had the same major & so we took a lot of classes together. We got close as friends but nothing happened beyond that since we were both dating other people then.
I kinda have a hard time staying in touch with friends in general & I also lost touch with Q after graduating. I would reach out and sometimes she would too, maybe once a year. Whenever we did talk it would go on for an hour or so. I just find it really easy talking with her and she is just fun.
Anyway I recently found that I would have to relocate back home due to my visa expiring. Since I hadn’t met Q in a couple of years, I reached out to them and I decided to meet her and hang out for a weekend before I leave this country. Also I hadn’t been to the city she is living in so I was really looking forward to see that too. I stayed at her place and I had a great time. She is single which I hadnt realize until I met her. Nothing inappropriate happened between us, but after I left things changed for me. I constantly find myself thinking about her. I really started missing her. I am trying to find ways to message her to be in contact. To be fair, she hasn’t given me any signs that she is looking to get into a relationship with me.
Its been a couple of weeks but I can’t stop thinking about her. What’s frustrating is that I don’t think I will ever be able to tell her I feel. My fear is that me telling her my feelings/crush would make the friendship weird and I would lose her completely from my life. In the super unlikely event that I tell her, I still don’t see how we can date when we will be in two separate continents. So thats whats on my mind. :( Thanks for reading!
submitted by random80558055 to TrueOffMyChest [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 08:39 random80558055 I have developed feelings for a close friend :(

So here goes nothing!
I (27M) have been single for the last 2 years. I had 3 year relationship before that which got really toxic and I needed some time alone to heal and be in a place to be in a relationship or even start dating.
There was this one girl, lets call her Q, who I was very close friends with during university. We both had the same major & so we took a lot of classes together. We got close as friends but nothing happened beyond that since we were both dating other people then.
I kinda have a hard time staying in touch with friends in general & I also lost touch with Q after graduating. I would reach out and sometimes she would too, maybe once a year. Whenever we did talk it would go on for an hour or so. I just find it really easy talking with her and she is just fun.
Anyway I recently found that I would have to relocate back home due to my visa expiring. Since I hadn’t met Q in a couple of years, I reached out to them and I decided to meet her and hang out for a weekend before I leave this country. Also I hadn’t been to the city she is living in so I was really looking forward to see that too. I stayed at her place and I had a great time. She is single which I hadnt realize until I met her. Nothing inappropriate happened between us, but after I left things changed for me. I constantly find myself thinking about her. I really started missing her. I am trying to find ways to message her to be in contact. To be fair, she hasn’t given me any signs that she is looking to get into a relationship with me.
Its been a couple of weeks but I can’t stop thinking about her. What’s frustrating is that I don’t think I will ever be able to tell her I feel. My fear is that me telling her my feelings/crush would make the friendship weird and I would lose her completely from my life. In the super unlikely event that I tell her, I still don’t see how we can date when we will be in two separate continents. So thats whats on my mind. :( Thanks for reading!
submitted by random80558055 to offmychest [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 08:05 Zee09 Advice on obtaining a Tourist VISA Extension

I want to share my experience as a foreigner who successfully obtained a VISA extension. I hope that this helps someone in the future.
First off, let me tell you that for some reason, applying for a tourist visa extension (or any visa extension in general I believe) will be a very difficult process due to brain dead government officials. Your best bet is to find someone on the inside who can help you through the process as you will find it extremely frustrating if you don’t speak the native language. Regardless, here is what needs to be done. is a good site for all things visa related.
What you need:
  1. You need to fill out two separate forms (VISA extension form and VISA extension form-2). First form, fill out and select VISA extension on the second page. Form-2 is a security clearance form. They may even ask you to fill out these same forms multiple times (not photocopy). Why? Only God knows. You can download them here
  2. Multiple passport size photos. For some reason, they needed so many of these. Have at least 5 on you prior to your trip if you plan to extend. You can find places in Bangladesh that can do it for you. They have businesses that make copies and is probably a cheaper option.
  3. Reason for extension. Mine was medical….if you understand what I’m saying here. Needs to be a legit reason. What are the legit list of reasons? I don’t know but money solves all problems. I had a doctor provide me a medical note.
  4. Affidavit. You will need to have the person you are staying with or some citizen of Bangladesh I think get an affidavit at the local court house to state why you need an extension and that they vouch for you to stay. This is the hard part. I can’t imagine a foreigner who doesn’t know anyone be able to get this done in Bangladesh. We paid a friend who was a Lawyer 3000-5000 BDT (35-60 CAD) to produce the affidavit and help us get the magistrate to sign off on it. This took the entire fucking day.
  5. You will need a banking slip to pay for this application. They don’t take cash on the spot nor do they have a point of sale machine to accept credit card payments. You need to go to one of the banks and get them to create a banking slip that you will need to provide to the passport and immigration office. The passport office will tell you how much your visa extension application will cost (mine was 75 CAD) and you will need to go to the bank to give them this money in BDT and they provide you a slip saying it has been deposited to the government. You then hand this slip over to the officials.
  6. Speed Money. The most important thing of them all. You want this to be done fast? That’s 500-1000 BDT please. Be prepared to cough up funds.
Once you provide all of this (it’s going to take a few days to prepare so start this process 7 days prior to your visa expiration), the passport immigration office will give you a receipt which you need to keep. They will need to perform a security clearance background check and call you back (or you just show up) maybe the next day asking for the receipt. If you don’t have it good luck.
Additional information: - I applied for the visa extension in Chittagong (Chattogram) and the office was called the Manusrabad Divisional Passport and VISA office and the visa application section was on the third floor. Dhaka I’m not sure where the office is but it’s probably easier in the big city to find stuff.
I hope this helps. This was the worst process I have ever dealt with.
submitted by Zee09 to bangladesh [link] [comments]