It’s a horrifying scenario—finding a hidden camera in your hotel room or vacation rental. And unfortunately, it’s also a recently emerging trend as more and more people report this invasion of privacy. Protect yourself by learning how to check for hidden cameras in your vacation rental or hotel room. Check for Hidden Cameras: How to Look for a Camera I interviewed a Technical Surveillance Countermeasures and Intelligence expert for Advanced Operational Concepts who goes by the anonymous nickname “The Monk” (he declined to be named due to the sensitive nature of his work). The Monk has searched for hidden devices in conflict zones for the highest levels of the U.S. military’s Special Operations community. Here’s his advice for looking for a hidden camera. “There are essentially three primary methods for checking for a hidden camera: scanning of radio frequencies (RF), lens detection, and physical search. Many handheld devices that do RF … [Read more...] about How to Check for Hidden Cameras in Your Hotel Room or Vacation Rental
When I think “sinful states,” only one state comes to mind, the state that includes the self-proclaimed Sin City. So if I were called upon to rank the 50 states in order of sinfulness, I’d be hard pressed. For those who are interested in such esoterica, WalletHub has just released its 2018’s Most Sinful States in America report. And no, Nevada did not top the list. Related:That NRA Travel Discount? Check, It Might Be Gone With so many data points, the report clearly strove mightily for scientific legitimacy. But it also raises questions about the relevance of some of the factors to states’ sinfulness. I also found myself wondering where the researchers found some of the less mainstream data for a single state, much less for 50 states. Quibbles aside, here are the 10 most sinful states, showing their WalletHub Vice Indexes: Florida – 57.25 California – 55.76 Nevada – 53.51 Texas – 52.14 Georgia – 51.15 Tennessee – 50.48 … [Read more...] about These Are America’s 10 Most Sinful States
In December, the Disney company began replacing “Do Not Disturb” signs with “Room Occupied” signs at its Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Contemporary resorts. With the hangtag change came a more profound change on the policy front: Henceforth a Disney employee would be required to enter guest rooms at least once a day “for any purposes including, but not limited to, performing maintenance and repairs or checking on the safety and security of guests and property.” Although Disney never confirmed as much, it was widely understood to be a response to the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, where a lone gunman opened fire from his room at the Mandalay Bay hotel, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more. Daily room checks will presumably reduce the chances of such massacres’ recurring. Related:Save 10% with Wyndham’s New Members-Only Rate Notwithstanding considerable negative feedback from customers (example: “I think … [Read more...] about Coming to Caesars Palace: Daily Room Checks
In an overhaul of its travel advisory system, the U.S. Department of State recently assigned every country in the world a travel safety rating. The safest places are ranked Level 1, while the places that Americans are advised to avoid are considered Level 4: Many tourist-frequented countries were highlighted for travel safety concerns as Level 2, meaning Americans should “exercise increased caution” and “be aware of heightened risks to safety and security.” Many of the advisories stem from threats of terrorism, while others are due to crime or weather. Related: State Department Rates Every Country’s Safety in New Travel Advisory System Surprising Countries with Level 2 Travel Safety Ratings Here are some countries you might be surprised the State Department gave a lower travel safety rating to, and why the agency says you should exercise caution when visiting them. Denmark “Exercise increased caution in Denmark due to terrorism,” the … [Read more...] about 10 Surprising Countries That Are Risky for Travel, According to the State Department
The Trump Administration is aiming to increase the TSA fees travelers pay as part of their airline tickets. The budget also proposes an increase in the customs user fee from $5.65 to $8.40 and immigration user fee from $7.00 to $9.00. The Administration proposed a similar fee hike last year, but Congress chose not to raise the fee. Airline trade groups and passenger advocates also oppose the proposal. The TSA fee increases, while not substantial in their own right, would cost travelers $2 billion per year collectively. Airlines for America, an airline trade group representing most of the large airlines in the U.S., opposes the fee in part because some of the funds would be used for deficit reduction and other non-aviation uses. “Increasing taxes in any form will add to the cost of flying for millions of Americans,” Airlines for America CEO Nicholas Calio said in a statement. “Billions of dollars have already been diverted from aviation security to go … [Read more...] about Are TSA Fees About to Increase?
The TSA is usually a traveler’s worst nightmare, but thanks to the @AskTSA Twitter account, the TSA it turns out can actually be funny. The customer-service Twitter account answers travelers most absurd questions (no, you cannot travel with liquid mercury) about what they can and cannot carry onto a plane. And while this article is all in good fun, some questions and responses are actually useful, especially when it comes to holiday travel—it prefers if you don’t wrap your gifts, by the way—and traveling with food, liquids, and electronics. The TSA, This Year, Was Asked All This So, without further ado, here are some of the weirdest questions travelers asked the TSA this year: A light switch is allowed in carry-on bags. Have a nice flight! — AskTSA (@AskTSA) December 10, 2017 Thanks for asking, Raj. A coconut scraper must be placed in checked bags. Safe travels! — AskTSA (@AskTSA) December 10, 2017 Thanks for asking us, Heidi! Butter must follow … [Read more...] about The Weirdest Things Travelers Asked the TSA This Year on Twitter
The TSA is experimenting with new scanning cameras that can detect concealed explosives on travelers as they walk by. The TSA, along with local law enforcement, is testing the new devices at a busy metro station in Los Angeles and in railway hubs in Washington, D.C. In a statement, the TSA said the cameras “identify [metallic or non-metallic] objects that block the naturally-occurring emissions emitted by a person’s body.” This triggers an alarm so law enforcement can locate, isolate, and inspect the individual. Devices like this offer a passive security measure, in contrast to the hands-on approach airport travelers know all too well. Related: Flying with Gifts: The TSA Rules You Need to Know “Along with industry partners, we are committed to identifying, testing and deploying technology that addresses threats to transportation across the spectrum,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said. “We need to innovate and evolve faster than the … [Read more...] about TSA Testing Scanning Cameras to Find Concealed Explosives
Whether you’re out and about in a foreign country or on your normal route home, it never hurts to have a portable self-defense device on you. However, some self-defense products can be cumbersome or easy to forget, which is why it’s better to opt for key-chain versions like the BASU ealarm. This small device emits a loud noise when you pull a pin, yet it’s small and light enough to fit in with your keys, so you’ll never leave it at home. Price and Where to Buy It: $8 on Amazon or $16 from BASU.com Final Verdict: My main concern with this product would be that the pin might pull out accidentally, causing the alarm to sound. However, after two weeks of jostling the pin around various purses and backpacks, I never had one incident. When I tested the volume of the alarm, I was surprised to find out how easy the pin was to remove and am sure I would have no problem setting off the alarm in an emergency. Editor’s Note: Reviews are based on … [Read more...] about BASU eAlarm Review: Self-Defense in a Tiny Package
If you packed a firearm, a hand grenade, or boxcutters to go through a TSA airport-security checkpoint, you might have been able to relax: There’s a 95 percent chance the TSA would have failed to discover the contraband. That’s right, the TSA’s success rate in detecting banned carry-on items was found to be a paltry five percent. Those were the results of a recent test of the TSA’s security-screening operation at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, conducted by the TSA itself. According to Fox9 Minneapolis-St. Paul, agents posing as passengers were successful 17 out of 18 times in sneaking explosives, weapons, and drugs past security screeners. The report notes that in April 2016, a similar test of the TSA’s Minneapolis security operation found that screeners failed to identify nine out of 12 banned items. Of course, it’s unclear whether and to what extent those results can be extrapolated to other U.S. airports. But the TSA’s procedures at … [Read more...] about Is TSA Missing 95% of Banned Items at Security?
TSA has approved new baggage scanners designed to do two things: Speed up airport security lines, and provide better imaging of your bag’s contents. Once installed, these scanners could make airports safer, and security checkpoints run smoother. According to the L.A. Times, these new scanners use the same imaging technology that hospitals employ. The device creates a three-dimensional image that TSA screeners can easily manipulate, and uses an algorithm to detect items that may be weapons. The manufacturer says these scanners could increase the number of passengers screened per hour from 180 to 500. Notably, travelers could leave liquids and personal electronics in their bags. I think many frequent travelers would agree: This sounds like the holy grail of airport security screening, right up there with being able to leave your shoes on. Related:Is TSA Missing 95% of Banned Items at Security? TSA has been actively pursuing faster, simpler screening for some time. … [Read more...] about Faster TSA Bag Scanners Are One Step Closer to Reality