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Travel Archives - foXnoMad

Category: Travel

8 Reasons An Area 51 Raid Would Fail

area 51

You may have heard about that Facebook group with over a million people, claiming they’re going to raid the Area 51 military installation in Nevada to uncover the existence of aliens. Area 51 of course, being that rather not-so-secret facility where some alien bodies and their technology may have been stored after UFOs crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. That’s the rumor anyway.

I’m pretty sure nobody is actually going to show up to Area 51 but as someone who’s been right outside the gates, here’s 8 reasons a raid attempt would go very, very wrong.

1. Area 51 Is Remote

The primary way to get close to the only unmarked gate into Area 51 is off the Extraterrestrial Highway, near Rachel, Nevada nearby. Population: 100. The closest gas station is 100 miles (160 kilometers) and 800,00 cars would probably be stopped before getting remotely close to Area 51.

rachel nevda alien

2. Rough Terrain

Area 51 covers 1,500 square kilometers (~932 square miles) around Groom Lake so you’ll be running a long way over rough desert. There are cactus, large rocks, extreme sun, plus plenty of rattlesnakes along the way. Sprinting across those conditions for long isn’t likely.

3. You Don’t Know Where You’re Going

The entire area is massive and from the entrance gate in the middle of nowhere, you can’t see any visible structures. Someone raiding Area 51 wouldn’t even know which direction to go.

area 51

4. They Probably Don’t Have A Doorbell

Assuming you did find a structure above ground (who knows how much is underground) how would you get in? Pretty sure they lock the doors. Wouldn’t you if you were hiding aliens? (Not to mention if you did get inside what are you going to do, just run around the hallways hoping to run into Brent Spiner?)

area 51 rachel

5. Cameras

There are a few your can see around the gate, probably a few more not so obvious.

little ale inn nevada

6. Motion Sensors

Being out in the open, a horde of raiders would be hard to miss but even for a single individual, being inconspicuous is nearly impossible. Oh, and motion sensors. Probably.

extraterrestrial highway

7. Mysterious White Vans

As they’ll tell you at the Little Ale Inn in Rachel, you’re free to take pictures of the gate but don’t point your camera at any white vans on either side of the Area 51 border.

black mailbox nevada

8. You Might Be Shot

As they’ll tell you at the Little Ale Inn, every year a few idiots try to get a selfie from just behind the gate. Hey, nobody’s around right? Well, there are clearly eyes on you and this is probably the best case scenario. A gun to the head and being put on the United States terror watch list is setting one step inside – a full on sprint well, things might get dicey.

little ale inn

Look Up Instead

With all those eyes on you, potentially dying, and no evidence of aliens actually being in Area 51, not many of the stars align for a raid. But camping out near the Black Mailbox at night and looking up, who knows what you may see. During my road trip across Nevada, I was buzzed by some fighter jets that didn’t look more than 40 meters above. Not extraterrestrial but an impressive sight nonetheless like these nearly out of this world places.

How To Visit Socotra Island

Socotra is a remote archipelago in the Indian Ocean, inaccessible for the past several years not due to its location, but connection to mainland Yemen. It’s considered a step back in time, untouched by tourism at large and slowly became a wonderland destination for adventurous travelers. Tourism there peaked at 4,000 visitors in 2011, then, less than 4 years later, civil war broke out in Yemen.

Although there’s no fighting anywhere near Socotra Island (370 kilometers from the mainland) getting there since has been virtually impossible. The few companies that did pop up offering tours frequently disappeared – with everyone’s deposits in hand. Now however, there is a reliable way to visit Socotra. Here’s how to get there.

Visas Have Resumed

The primary reason for Socotra’s inaccessibility was the lack of a functioning Yemeni government. Visas weren’t being issued, which prevented airlines from servicing it, equaling no tourism. Recently, enough of a bureaucracy has developed to provide Socotra visas at least, so the main hurdle to visit Socotra has been cleared for now.

dragon blood tree

You’ll need a visa to enter Socotra, which costs $100. There are only two ways to get a visa to Socotra: either know someone on the island (here’s some contact information) or book a tour. A visa to Socotra and flight go hand in hand since you can only get both, in person, from either Cairo, Egypt, or Seiyun, Yemen. As blogger Norbert describes the flights:

It is every Wednesday, departing from Cairo at 3:30 am, arriving at Seiyun at 8:00 am. You spend over an hour on the plane waiting to pick up new passengers and depart at 9:15 am, arriving Socotra at 10:15 am.

For most people, that means getting the flights and visas booked though a tour company as they’ll make the arrangements for you. It’s also worth noting that Yemen will not issue visas to anyone with evidence of a visit to Israel (e.g. entry stamp) in their passport.

Costs To Get There

Norbert recommends the company he used in his post about Socotra, which cost roughly $1400. You’ll also need to add in round trip flights from Cairo (unless you happen to be hanging out in Seiyun), about $1200, plus $100 for the visa. Because flights only operate once per week, any trip to Socotra will be that long.

socotra beach

Keep in mind though, ever since flights have been going to Socotra, they’ve not been entirely reliable. In other words, I wouldn’t book an ongoing flight from Cairo the Thursday after Socotra’s Wednesday flight. Give yourself a buffer week (yes, week) just in case.

What’s Shorter Than Bucket List?

Even despite the somewhat reliable process in place currently to visit Socotra, it’s not the easiest place to get to. But it is worth the effort if you’re interested in seeing a mostly undeveloped UNESCO site with over 500 endemic plant and animal species, before most of the world catches on.

Either by increased tourism or additional flux in Yemen, Socotra’s current natural state is one you might not find for too much longer. More tourists will demand for infrastructure to be built or additional turmoil in the mainland could make Socotra visas hard to come by once more. Whichever happens, one will happen, and if you can visit Socotra before it does, you’ll have the trip of a lifetime.

Bookaway Is A Travel Search Engine For Ground Transportation

bookaway search engine

Purchasing a flight between two countries on opposite sides of the world is often easier than booking ground transportation between two local cities. Bookaway is a travel search engine that tries to help travelers fill in the gaps on the ground but has a few of its own blind spots to work out along the way.

Clarifying Ground Transportation

In short, Bookaway wants to be your search engine for bus, ferry, train, or car travel. Where it works, Bookaway is straightforward. For example, searching for transportation between Split and Hvar, Croatia, yields a number of high speed ferry options. Prices on Bookaway are competitive when compared with independent or using alternative services. Some routes offer a few option filters (e.g. air conditioning) you probably tend to ignore on most flight search engines.

Bookaway though tends to work best in certain regions, most notably southeast Asia, the Mediterranean, and Adriatic coasts. The gaps outside of these areas make finding a booking hit or miss, though one hopes Bookaway adds more destinations as the service expands.

Piecing It Together

The search function on Bookaway is also a little bit wonky – tending to guide you to where it wants, rather than accepting each letter of the search term. What I noticed though is using the suggestions that pop up can save you time since it’s really showing you what’s not available along with the destinations it serves.

bookaway

A map or listing function would work great here, to help you visualize the routes possible. When you’re not too creative plus keep your route fairly local (for example Bangkok to Koh Samui, Thailand) you’re presented with a variety of ways to get to where you want to go. When gaps are present, a bit of guiding by Bookaway would go a long way to improving the user experience.

For Travelers With Cars In Tow

Despite its shortcomings, where Bookaway excels is car transportation. Specifically, if you’re traveling with a rented or your own car, the ferry options Bookaway returns notes boats and trains with car compartments. It’s a niche offering but a large one, particularly for road trips in southern Europe or southeast Asia.

Bookaway isn’t going to be your one stop search engine for all things not in the sky but if you’ve got 4 wheels with you, it can help bridge the gap between destinations. It’s a time-saver in these cases, since for now, a lot of the information blending ferry, train, and car bookings require precise, multiple online searches. Bookaway takes care of that for you while staying up-to-date. Provided Bookaway can fill in its own gaps, it might help you do just that for your particular itinerary as well.

I Durability Tested Seagate’s Backup Plus Hard Drives For 2 Years: Impressive Results

A hard drive’s capacity, disk speed, or physical size are important specs that don’t mean anything if it’s not durable enough to handle traveling with you. Online reviews of new purchases can only tell you so much which is why I took a couple of Seagate 4 terabyte Backup Plus drives with me for a 12 and 24 month Road Tested! review. As you can see in the video above, the results were very encouraging as both drives have survived an intensive travel itinerary.

Everything You Need To Know About Attending CES In Las Vegas

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) takes place in Las Vegas every January so this post written in July may seem a awkwardly early, but for those of you thinking of attending, this is the time of year to begin planning. Over 110,000 people go to CES annually and while getting to the convention is relatively simple, there are a few things I’ll be doing differently the next time.

You can watch all of my CES tips in the video above or read on.

What Is CES?

CES is the world’s biggest consumer electronics show where companies come to show off some of their upcoming, conceptual, and unique tech. From underwater drones to autonomous flying cars, CES has morphed from what’s coming next year to the edge of what might be possible in the near future. The futurology present at CES is impressive enough to make it worthwhile for many travelers to visit, even if you’re not a complete tech head.

ces vr bmw

Getting Tickets

Registration starts in the middle of summer the year before CES. For browsing the massive show floors, an entry level registration will be more than enough for a full 3-days at the show. Tickets run around $300 for the public with media, blogger, and other influencers passes available as well if you meet certain criteria. Show tickets are plentiful, highly unlikely to sell out, but hotels on the other hand are a different story.

Where To Stay

The earlier you book accommodation, the better, since even Vegas’ hotel capacity is somewhat stretched during CES. Most of the Airbnb options aren’t close to the Strip or convention halls, but healthy competition between casinos means you can usually get a good deal if you start searching before September. Outside of the actual show days, “Old Vegas” has a number of discounted room rates for CES attendees. After CES begins however, it’s more efficient and cost effective to stay at a hotel with direct access to the Las Vegas Monorail.

Traffic to CES is a mess of metal and knowing this, ride share companies seem to surge their prices accordingly. The Monorail means you can get in and out quickly, at a flat rate.

Strategize The Floor Space

You can’t see everything at CES, nowhere near it. Interested in cars? There’s a massive hall for all of them, plus outdoor demos, which can eat up a full day. Before you get the idea to move faster, at CES it’s advisable to pick a few things you want to see and go in-depth. Aside from the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), CES is spread over 10 other convention halls, casinos, and showrooms.

Sands Expo has some of the smaller, independent inventors and startups. Plan to set aside at least an afternoon to get there using one of the free shuttles from LVCC, the main hub of activity to center your CES strategy around.

Keep With The Basics

Some sound advice applicable to a lot of these type of big events like comic cons: arrive early in the morning, bring your own water, snacks, plus a few external batteries – outlets aren’t the easiest to come by. Overall, CES is an entertaining experience, particularly if you’re looking for travel gear to get your hands on during a trip to Las Vegas with or without the usual sites.

Got An iPhone Without A Headphone Jack? RHA’s MA650i Are Lightning Enabled And Pretty Good Too

The loss of headphone jacks in phones is one many are still mourning but if you’ve got a newer iPhone, RHA’s MA650i keep the wire but work through the lightning port. Now that’s a feature not too impressive on its own, although as you can see in my full review above, but the MA650i brings with it strong sound quality (read: bass) not typically found with smaller earbuds. Really though, the true comparison is between these RHA MA650i and similarly priced wireless earbuds – and at $60, the MA650i might have you reconsidering the wired vs. wireless debate.

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutI'm the blogger and computer security engineer who writes foXnoMad while on a journey to visit every country in the world. I'll show you the tips, tricks, and tech you can use to travel smarter. Read More


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