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Your Ultimate Travel Packing Guide



Your Ultimate Travel Packing Guide

This article presents another perspective of the article “Savvy Travel Tips.”

Irrespective of where you are heading to and the duration of the stay, you need to pack a relevant bag or suitcase and, pack it right. And you need to follow the master guide with the checklist irrespective of whether it’s your first trip or you are a seasoned globetrotter.

Packing for a trip at the outset seems a simple task. But only when you actually start packing, you learn the science of packing the hard way. There are several factors to consider while packing your luggage for a trip. First and foremost, it’s the place followed by the weather. The weight limits and the mode of transportation too are important.

Packing right is extremely important to ensure everything you need is at your fingertips. Otherwise, it leaves you with a harried trip causing endless frustration.

Let’s now jot down critical tips to pack effectively and efficiently for any type of trip.

The Type of Travel

Choose your belonging depending on the intent of your travel. There are different items required for camping, for a road trip, business visits, beach holidays and others. The type of clothing and the gear you need purely depends on your genera of travel.

Picking Your Luggage

Looking for a suitcase?

All your trips don’t require a pile of suitcases. Maximum of a carry-on suitcase, a check-in suitcase and a duffle bag will do for most trips. In fact, just single baggage or two for others.

The two-wheeled suitcase is one of the most common types of luggage. However, it needs to be pulled behind you in a straight line. And, to pull the heavy ones are quite a task. Four-wheeled suitcases known as spinners, since they rotate 360 degrees, are way easier to manoeuvre. You can pull the comfortable even in upright position. But the design makes the wheels susceptible to damage.

The hard-shelled suitcases are more durable and much sleeker than the soft-shelled ones. They limit the stuff you can put it but offer more protection. The soft ones have external pockets to store some items conveniently. The biggest advantage is soft bags have more room due to some expansion capabilities.

How about a duffle?

Typically made of durable fabric or leather, duffle bags are usually large and very flexible. They are easily foldable and easy to store. Attractive features include shoulder straps, wheels and multiple internal & external pockets to secure important items.

Storage for high-tech accessories

Conceived by advanced technology, these are usually hard-cased bags having tech features like GPS tracking, biometric fingerprint lock, chargers and more. Bluetooth tracker is available to find lost luggage.

Travel backpacks

These are available in wheeled and the standard ones. The wheeled ones are perfect for embarking on different terrains including, walking across cobblestones. The standard ones are more versatile and lighter with enhanced mobility. They are hands-free and can be carried conveniently.

The Size of the Suitcase

Remember, the bigger the suitcase, the more you will be tempted to store. Always keep a suitcase not more than 22 inches tall. It works as a carry-on too and avoids stuffing unwanted items. However, this depends on where you are travelling and the length of the trip.

Lay Out Your Things

This is one of the first things you do to organize your stuff better for travel. Always spread things out, if possible, in groups, before putting it into your suitcase. Check everything clearly and see what is really needed. The biggest things should go in first. Keep the lightweight items is the extra gaps and form a sturdy and secure base.

Organize Your Stuff’

The stuff you carry depend on the activities you’ll be performing. Organizing your suitcase or duffle bag will be a real challenge here. Use packing organizers to combine multiple layers and to keep everything reachable and make more space. You can conveniently do away with the nitty gritty of packing and unpacking and rearranging.

Packing cubes come handy to pack clothes depending on outfit and reduces the volume occupied by clothes. You can use folders to keep certain clothes neat and folded. In other words, always pack by outfit.

Choose Your Toiletry Bag

Pick the hanging one preferably since they can be hung in bathrooms that have not counter space. You can easily store the essential stuff in these bags featuring multiple and different-sized pockets.

Always place the toiletries on top of the suitcase in a clear bag. And if toiletries come packed, never unpack them.

Other Organizing Aids

Grid-it organizer helps you secure all electronics and wires in order.

Buy a compression stuff sack to store dirty clothes, perfect for laundry.

Travel bottles are great to store shampoos and other liquid toiletries. They don’t leak.

Packing Your Clothes

Your clothes occupy the major portion of your luggage. It’s important to make a checklist of the clothes and select only those you really intent to wear.

Coordinate the colours: always pack your clothes in pairs that coordinate with each other. See if you can mix and match different clothes to create different looks. Dark ones are easier to coordinate than the light ones.

Skip the single-wear clothing: To pack clothes efficiently, always carry those you will wear a number of times with different combinations. Never carry a single-wear item since it occupies an additional space.

Avoid high maintenance clothing: Choose clothes that are machine-washable and more durable. The high maintenance ones are not worth on the trip since you need efforts to maintain them.

Multiple accessories: Mixing up your outfits with accessories like sunglasses, hats, scarves and others is always a good idea.

Use Dry Sheets

Always make sure to keep dry sheets between all your clothing to keep everything fresh.

A Note on Travel Underwear

Your underwear is the most important outfit you will be wearing. Why? Comfortable underwear keeps you comfortable outside. While buying travel underwear, look for the following:

Fast air drying: Choose underwear made from high-tech synthetic materials or merino wool. It’s convenient to wash them in the hotel sink and thy dry quickly.

Breathable: The two materials are breathable, and it keeps you fresh and comfortable all day long. Whereas cotton retains sweat and creates a swampy feeling.

Odour control: Your travel underwear should repel odour and keep your nether regions clean and fresh.

Socks – The Essentials

While travelling, carrying several pairs of socks are highly essential than you think. Choose merino wool socks for summers and thicker socks for winters. Spend some extra bucks on quality socks and they will make your travel more comfortable. Look for travel socks with the following features:

Moisture-wicking: You can avoid sweat by wearing socks that wick moisture from your feet.

Fast drying: Quality woollen and synthetic socks are known to dry in a few hours.

Eliminate odour: Wear high-quality woollen socks that eliminate odour effectively. These socks have antibacterial features too.

Say no to cotton: Cotton socks are the worst since they trap moisture and build up odour easily. They also take longer to dry and can lead to blisters and smelly feet.

Shoes – Your Best Friend

Always keep two pairs of premium-quality shoes while travelling. You may need to explore some places by foot and, a comfortable pair of shoes saves your feet and keeps you going. Consider the environment before buying shoes to induce maximum comfort.

Storing Your Clothes

Always roll your clothes tightly because you can easily fit more items in your suitcase. Folding takes space and also creates wrinkles and fold lines.

Your Personal Items and Gadgets

Get a personal item carry-on bag that is cosy and safe to store your other personal stuff. A small daypack is an ideal choice to secure items and keep it light. These include your technology items and small but useful travel essentials.

Travel Documents and Credit Cards

The most important items of your travel, it’s advisable to get yourself a travel document organizer. The multiple holders help keep your documents and ID proofs safely in an organized manner, easy to use whenever required.

Keep a Ready-to-Go Health Kit

International adventures are fascinating but, can also invite a string of common health problems. Keeping yourself fit in a foreign land is a challenge. A more-than-useful health kit is your saviour in any circumstance. The kit should contain band-aids, antiseptic solution, essential ointments and common tablets. Keep this kit in your duffle bag if possible, for quick access should the need arise.

Keep Some Essentials in Your Backpack

You may need some items like chargers, lip balms, neck pillow, eye mask and other similar items while travelling. Don’t forget to include them in the backpack for convenience.

Don’t Forget Travel Security

Pick pocketers are quite common in most foreign lands. Secure your belongings by keeping them in discreet places and close to you. Try these safety essentials for the same:

  • Travel lock
  • Reflective clothing
  • Leg wallet
  • Undercover bra
  • Money belt
  • Neck wallet

The Takeaway

Invest enough time to think about your requirements and carefully do a detailed study of how you will travel. Once you know what you want, and you have the necessary things, you will know that packing for your international trip is more of an art in an organized way. You can concentrate completely on your new experience and connect with the culture better.

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Airbus CEO urges trade war ceasefire, easing of COVID travel bans



Airbus CEO urges trade war ceasefire, easing of COVID travel bans 1

By Tim Hepher

PARIS (Reuters) – The head of European planemaker Airbus called on Saturday for a “ceasefire” in a transatlantic trade war over aircraft subsidies, saying tit-for-tat tariffs on planes and other goods had aggravated damage from the COVID-19 crisis.

Washington progressively imposed import duties of 15% on Airbus jets from 2019 after a prolonged dispute at the World Trade Organization, and the EU responded with matching tariffs on Boeing jets a year later. Wine, whisky and other goods are also affected.

“This dispute, which is now an old dispute, has put us in a lose-lose situation,” Airbus Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said in a radio interview.

“We have ended up in a situation where wisdom would normally dictate that we have a ceasefire and resolve this conflict,” he told France Inter.

Boeing was not immediately available for comment.

Brazil, which has waged separate battles with Canada over subsidies for smaller regional jets, on Thursday dropped its own complaint against Ottawa and called for a global peace deal between producing nations on support for aerospace.

Faury said the dispute with Boeing was particularly damaging during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has badly hit air travel and led to travel restrictions or border closures. He expressed particular concern about widening bans within Europe.

“We are extremely frustrated by the barriers that restrict personal movement and it is almost impossible today to travel in Europe by plane, even domestically,” he said.

“The priority no. 1 for countries in general is to reopen frontiers and allow people to travel on the basis of tests and then eventually vaccinations.”

The comments come as businesses increase pressure on governments to reopen economies as coronavirus vaccine roll-outs gather pace across Europe.

France has defended recently introduced border restrictions, saying they will help the government avoid a new lockdown and stay in force until at least the end of February.

Germany installed border controls with the Czech Republic and Austria last Sunday, drawing protest from Austria and concerns about supply-chain disruptions.

Berlin calls the move a temporary measure of last resort.

Poland said on Saturday it had not ruled out imposing restrictions at the country’s borders with Slovakia and the Czech Republic due to rising COVID-19 cases.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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Why a predictable cold snap crippled the Texas power grid



Why a predictable cold snap crippled the Texas power grid 2

By Tim McLaughlin and Stephanie Kelly

(Reuters) – As Texans cranked up their heaters early Monday to combat plunging temperatures, a record surge of electricity demand set off a disastrous chain reaction in the state’s power grid.

Wind turbines in the state’s northern Panhandle locked up. Natural gas plants shut down when frozen pipes and components shut off fuel flow. A South Texas nuclear reactor went dark after a five-foot section of uninsulated pipe seized up. Power outages quickly spread statewide – leaving millions shivering in their homes for days, with deadly consequences.

It could have been far worse: Before dawn on Monday, the state’s grid operator was “seconds and minutes” away from an uncontrolled blackout for its 26 million customers, its CEO has said. Such a collapse occurs when operators lose the ability to manage the crisis through rolling blackouts; in such cases, it can take weeks or months to fully restore power to customers.

Monday was one of the state’s coldest days in more than a century – but the unprecedented power crisis was hardly unpredictable after Texas had experienced a similar, though less severe, disruption during a 2011 cold snap. Still, Texas power producers failed to adequately winter-proof their systems. And the state’s grid operator underestimated its need for reserve power capacity before the crisis, then moved too slowly to tell utilities to institute rolling blackouts to protect against a grid meltdown, energy analysts, traders and economists said.

Early signs of trouble came long before the forced outages. Two days earlier, for example, the grid suddenly lost 539 megawatts (MW) of power, or enough electricity for nearly 108,000 homes, according to operational messages disclosed by the state’s primary grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

The crisis stemmed from a unique confluence of weaknesses in the state’s power system.

Texas is the only state in the continental United States with an independent and isolated grid. That allows the state to avoid federal regulation – but also severely limits its ability to draw emergency power from other grids. ERCOT also operates the only major U.S. grid that does not have a capacity market – a system that provides payments to operators to be on standby to supply power during severe weather events.

After more than 3 million ERCOT customers lost power in a February 2011 freeze, federal regulators recommended that ERCOT prepare for winter with the same urgency as it does the peak summer season. They also said that, while ERCOT’s reserve power capacity looked good on paper, it did not take into account that many generation units could get knocked offline by freezing weather.

“There were prior severe cold weather events in the Southwest in 1983, 1989, 2003, 2006, 2008, and 2010,” Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and North American Electric Reliability Corp staff summarized after investigating the state’s 2011 rolling blackouts. “Extensive generator failures overwhelmed ERCOT’s reserves, which eventually dropped below the level of safe operation.”

ERCOT spokeswoman Leslie Sopko did not comment in detail about the causes of the power crisis but said the grid’s leadership plans to re-evaluate the assumptions that go into its forecasts.

The freeze was easy to see coming, said Jay Apt, co-director of the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center.

“When I read that this was a black-swan event, I just have to wonder whether the folks who are saying that have been in this business long enough that they forgot everything, or just came into it,” Apt said. “People need to recognize that this sort of weather is pretty common.”

This week’s cold snap left 4.5 million ERCOT customers without power. More than 14.5 million Texans endured a related water-supply crisis as pipes froze and burst. About 65,000 customers remained without power as of Saturday afternoon, even as temperatures started to rise, according to website PowerOutage.US.

State health officials have linked more than two dozen deaths to the power crisis. Some died from hypothermia or possible carbon monoxide poisoning caused by portable generators running in basements and garages without enough ventilation. Officials say they suspect the death count will rise as more bodies are discovered.


In the central Texas city of Austin, the state capital, the minimum February temperature usually falls between 42 and 48 degrees Fahrenheit (5 to 9 degrees Celsius). This past week, temperatures fell as low as 6 degrees Fahrenheit (-14 degrees Celsius).

In November, ERCOT assured that the grid was prepared to handle such a dire scenario.

“We studied a range of potential risks under both normal and extreme conditions, and believe there is sufficient generation to adequately serve our customers,” said ERCOT’s manager of resource adequacy, Pete Warnken, in a report that month.

Warnken could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

Under normal winter conditions, ERCOT forecast it would have about 16,200 MW of power reserves. But under extreme conditions, it predicted a reserve cushion of only about 1,350 MW. That assumed only 23,500 MW of generation outages. During the peak of this week’s crisis, more than 30,000 MW was forced off the grid.

Other U.S. grid operators maintain a capacity market to supply extra power in extreme conditions – paying operators on an ongoing basis, whether they produce power or not. Capacity market auctions determine, three years in advance, the price that power generators receive in exchange for being on emergency standby.

Instead, ERCOT relies on a wholesale electricity market, where free market pricing provides incentives for generators to provide daily power and to make investments to ensure reliability in peak periods, according to economists. The system relied on the theory that power plants should make high profits when energy demand and prices soar – providing them ample money to make investments in, for example, winterization. The Texas legislature restructured the state’s electric market in 1999.


Since 2010, ERCOT’s reserve margin – the buffer between generation capacity versus forecasted demand – has dropped to about 10% from about 20%. This has put pressure on generators during demand spikes, making the grid less flexible, according to North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), a nonprofit regulator.

That thin margin for error set off alarms early Monday morning among energy traders and analysts as they watched a sudden drop in the electrical frequency of the Texas grid. One analyst compared it to watching the pulse of a hospital patient drop to life-threatening levels.

Too much of a drop is catastrophic because it would trigger automatic relay switches to disconnect power sources from the grid, setting off uncontrolled blackouts statewide. Dan Jones, an energy analyst at Monterey LLC, watched from his home office in Delaware as the grid’s frequency dropped quickly toward the point that would trigger the automatic shutdowns.

“If you’re not in control, and you are letting the equipment do it, that’s just chaos,” Jones said.

By Sunday afternoon about 3:15 p.m. (CST), ERCOT’s control room signaled it had run out of options to boost electric generation to match the soaring demand. Operators issued a warning that there was “no market solution” for the projected shortage, according to control room messages published by ERCOT on its website.

Adam Sinn, president of Houston-based energy trading firm Aspire Commodities, said ERCOT waited far too long to start telling utilities to cut customers’ power to guard against a grid meltdown. The problems, he said, were readily apparent several days before Monday.

“ERCOT was letting the system get weaker and weaker and weaker,” Sinn said in an interview. “I was thinking: Holy shit, what is this grid operator doing? He has to cut load.”

Sinn said he started texting his friends on Sunday night, warning them to expect widespread outages.


Early Monday morning, one of the largest sources of electricity in the state – the unit 1 reactor at the South Texas Nuclear Generating Station – stopped producing power after the small section of pipe froze in temperatures that averaged 17 degrees Fahrenheit (9 degrees Celsius). The grid lost access to 1,350 MW of nuclear power – enough to power about 270,000 homes – after automatic sensors detected the frozen pipe and protectively shut down the reactor, said Victor Dricks, a spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

About 2:30 a.m. (CST), the South Plains Electric Cooperative in Lubbock said it received a phone call from ERCOT to cut power to its customers. Inside the ERCOT control room, staff members scrambled to call utilities and cooperatives statewide to tell them to do the same, according to operational messages disclosed by the grid operator.

Three days later, ERCOT Chief Executive Bill Magness acknowledged that the grid operator had only narrowly avoided the calamity of uncontrolled blackouts.

“If we hadn’t taken action,” he said on Thursday, “it was seconds and minutes (away), given the amount of generation that was coming off the system at the same time that the demand was still going up.”

(Reporting by Tim McLaughlin and Stephanie Kelly; additional reporting by Nichola Groom; editing by Simon Webb and Brian Thevenot)

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UK could declare Brexit ‘water wars’ – The Telegraph



UK could declare Brexit 'water wars' - The Telegraph 3

(Reuters) – Britain could restrict imports of European mineral water and several food products under retaliatory measures being considered by ministers over Brussels’ refusal to end its blockade on British shellfish, the Telegraph reported.

Senior government sources pointed to potential restrictions on the importing of mineral water and seed potatoes, the report said.

(Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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