In brief: A round-up of today's news
Visa fiasco for Indian Americans, the secrets of cashing in miles, how to live in Thailand for only $485 a month and more. Here are the stories that travellers are buzzing about:
Visa fiasco for Indians living abroad
In the US, Indian Americans seeking visas to travel are facing approval delays of more than 90 days, said an analysis piece in the Times of India. A rule change last year made the approval process more complicated, causing consulates to be overwhelmed with long lines. In the past month, service was outsourced to a private visa and passport expediter, Travisa. But delays remain long, said The Times.
Expert advice for frequent fliers
Earning frequent flier miles is much easier than redeeming them for award tickets. InsideFlyer, the leading publication on loyalty programs, has published its Award Search Strategies guide for 2011. The report finds that airline sites vary in accuracy when it comes to describing seat availability for awards. In particular, Air Canada, British Airways and Japan Airlines are rated "inconsistent". Happily, the guide reviews alternative tools for looking up seats.
Revealed: the cost of becoming an ex-pat in Thailand
One of the pleasures of travelling abroad is fantasising about moving overseas for an extended stay. How do ex-patriots afford their new lives? Well, ex-pat Shannon O'Donnell, who lives in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, itemised her monthly budget on her blog. It's less than $485 a month, including delicious meals and rent on a cute apartment.
The mega retweet
We scour Twitter and publish a standout travel tweet.
"Disagreement between American Airlines and Orbitz continues amid reassurances that no matter what the outcome, ticket prices will rise."
-- @BobTravelsWell Bob Payne, a contributing editor at Conde Nast Traveler, a monthly US magazine.