uk – Can I travel to Finland indirectly given the current U.K. travel ban?

I wanted to ask if anyone would know if it is permissible for me to travel to Helsinki from the U.K. indirectly given the current travel ban on direct flights from U.K. to Finland? My travel would be regarded as essential in the sense that I have an employment contract for work and residence certificate from immigration in Finland.

For example, I was wondering if I could in principle travel from the U.K. to Amsterdam and then from Amsterdam to Helsinki? My worry is if I am allowed to do this given the current Dutch border control covid restrictions (or other similar restrictions in alternate transiting countries)? That is, it is not clear to me whether I need an employment contract/ residence permit also in the transiting country?

Thanks in advance for any comments!

lens – Which lenses should be included in a travel photography kit?

I literally just got back (a few days ago) from spending a few weeks in Europe with my 7D, 10-22mm, 17-55mm, 50mm and 55-250mm. I too have little interest in portraits, and took a lot of landscapes, architecture and “detail” shots on my trip. And I left my tripod at home… so perhaps some of my experiences/thoughts will be useful…

I carried the 3 zooms around with me most of the time, occasionally taking the 50mm out, and if I wasn’t really feeling up to carrying it all, I’d just take the 17-55. I remember at the time thinking the 10-22 and 55-250 were by far the most useful lenses, though oddly the proportion of all photos from each lens was:

  • EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM — 44%
  • EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 — 28%
  • EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM — 24%
  • EF 50mm f/1.8 II — 4%

I’ve yet to sort through my photos, so if I remember I’ll come back and update the percentages based on the photos I actually liked (; I’m quite sure the best will be from the wide and telephoto.

I remember thinking often that I’d have probably been happier with the 10-22mm and a better telephoto (70-200 f/4L or 70-300L), and just a 30mm in the middle (for weight reasons). The other thing I wanted was a second body… As much as I like my 17-55 (especially if it’s the only lens I’m carrying), I have a feeling that two bodies, one with a good wide angle, the other a good telephoto, and a ‘normal’ (30mm for crop) prime in the bag, just in case, is all one really needs… but it’s hard to justify a second body just to be switching lenses less frequently! But for travel or events, when lots of things are new and unexpected, it seems to make sense.

I found the 10-22mm great for the big old churches, even though the 17-55 has a wider aperture, 17mm just didn’t cut it in some of them. I think a similar lens that goes as wide as 11 or 12mm would also be fine (e.g. Sigma/Tamron/Tokina offerings), but the 17 or 18mm wide end of ‘normal zooms’ wouldn’t cut it.

The tele was great for odd details, especially interesting people (I’m not one to approach people to take a photo), a bit of wildlife and the like. Mine’s the kit one I got with my 450D a few years back which I’m saving up to replace with something with a wider aperture, but even so it was very useful and sufficient quality at f/8 to f/16.

The 17-55 was most useful when I didn’t want to carry a lot, since its kind of wide and kind of long, so I’d probably still take it again, (even if I had a 30mm prime), unless I was expecting to have all my gear with me at all times, and wouldn’t be comfortable leaving it behind somewhere on shorter day trips.

So if you want to stick to 3 lenses, I’d suggest an ultra-wide like the Canon 10-22mm, a good tele zoom like the 70-200 f/4L IS USM (or 70-300 if you like wildlife which I usually find I’m wanting more than 250 for) and a 30mm prime like the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 HSM.

Edit: I guess if you’re aiming for highest quality, I should be suggesting the 35mm f/1.4L instead of the Sigma.

Edit 2: In hindsight, with a bigger gap than I had between the wide and zoom (i.e. 22 to 70mm instead of just 22 to 55mm, you may be wanting more than just a 30mm or 35mm prime in the middle there… especially if you don’t already have a 30mm and use it regularly enough to be comfortable with it!)

air travel – Flying with a desktop computer (as checked luggage)

I personally would take some precautions. First of all, make a backup of your data. Leave on in your home and take another one with you so that you can use it in your destination place. Then when transporting a desktop computer, the most fragile part is almost always the hard disk drive. So I would dismount it if possible and take it into your cabin luggage. You could also do this for other sensible parts like for example other drives, the processor, or the RAM bars. This I would pack into anti-static bags and take it into the cabin.

The tower itself you can put into protected pc transporting bags like this one. This bag will be checked so that you can’t smuggle and weapons or drugs. But you shouldn’t normally fear that this will damage your computer.

And last but not least, you could also think about sending your computer with a carrier. I quote this from a message board:

Send it via a Secured Carrier, RPS(Royal Packaging Service), Which
Delivers Things in the most pristine state Possible. Door to door
Service, White glove care. But i warn you, Its pricey. 15lb =
$200/USD.

air travel – Can I reschedule a Non refundable international Flight ticket (AirFrance+Jet Airways; Barcelona-Pairs-India) with minimal additional charges?

Your ticket is non-refundable, but possibly changeable with a fee. So you probably can change your return date by paying the change fee plus the fare difference. You just need to call the airline office where you bought the ticket from, presumably in India (since you said you will return to India).

Now, before you call them, there’s a bit of homework you can do. If your date is flexible, try to see which date is the cheapest. As I stated before, you will need to pay the change fee plus the “fare difference”. If you’re lucky to find the same fare on the new return date, you will only need to pay the change fee. On the other hand, if you pick a date with only expensive fares left, then you may pay a lot more than you would like.

Nonetheless, you will have to call the airline office or the agency in India to find out the exact amount.

Where should I get my Covid test (for travel to the UK) in India?

I am travelling from India to the UK on the 21st of January. The UK government has made it mandatory to get a negative Covid test before coming to the UK. Can I get the test done from anywhere or are there designated laboratories?

Travel from India to the UK

I am travelling from India to the UK on 21st. UK government has made it mandatory to get a negative Covid test before coming to UK. My question is can I get the test done from anywhere or are there any designated laboratories?

air travel – Can I bring a single shot of live ammunition onto the plane from US to UK as a souvenir?

As an add on to existing answers consider your question

Can I bring a single shot of live ammo onto the plane from US to UK as a souvenir?

as being seen by security authorities as looking something like

Can I bring a single shot informal firearm onto an aircraft if I also carry the single live ammunition round with me but separately from the firearm ?

Seen in this light, without knowing the specific regulations it’s obvious (or should be 🙂 ) that the answer is probably “NO!!!”, or at very best “Only after very large amounts of questions and paperwork, probably not as carry on, probably not without significant pre-application period and, probably, no!”


If you have Facebook access then this page will be informative Bootleg Gunz – The Bazaar of Bizarre Guns will be informative re what can be achieved.

Genuine: 22 LR, Australia

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A “bootleg” / ‘slam-fire’ / … firearm can be implemented in many ways from equipment and material that does not resemble a conventional firearm. The common key component to any such weapon is a live round – if you have that the weapon proper is doable.

Bearing in mind also that if you are able to carry such a round onto an aircraft then Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (and Uncle Tom Cobbly and all) also can and a number of you can then pass your ammunition to someone who has a/the weapon.

air travel – Charged back flight with Condor back in March and now they’re trying to ask for payment. What are my options?

As a follow-up to Can I simply apply for a chargeback on my credit card if my flight was cancelled and I’m unable to reach the airline?, I was contacted by Condor today with the following email:

We have unfortunately had to ascertain that as of today your account
for flight booking / extra service xxxxxxx still shows an outstanding
balance of USD xxx. Please transfer the due amount due to the
following bank, stating the references specified below, by no later
than xx.01.2021:

If you do not pay the claim amount by the deadline mentioned above, we
will ask our service provider TESCH Inkasso Forderungsmanagement GmbH
to take over the processing of the case, without a further reminder
from us, and to pursue our claims plus any charges incurred.

The story is that I had a flight from Seattle to Prague in March that had the Frankfurt->Prague leg cancelled. I’ve called Condor a couple of times, but they’ve refused to do anything about it as they were claiming that the Frankfurt->Prague leg is run by Lufthansa and thus I should contact them for a refund. This was of course complete nonsense (my contract is with Condor, not with Lufthansa), so I asked my US bank for a chargeback which was successful.

Now, I’m 100% sure I’m in the right here as the flight did not happen on time, nor was I offered a rerouted ticket and there’s no way Condor could possibly dispute this. But what should I do about it in the meantime?

  1. Ignore? I live in the US so Condor would have a hard time coming after me, but I’d rather not hire a US lawyer to fight it in case they do somehow.
  2. Pay up? Its a relatively small amount (~300 USD), but for me its a matter of principle not to pay for a service that wasn’t provided.
  3. Try talking to them? Sounds futile based on my previous interactions back in March.
  4. Hire a German lawyer and fight it? Possible, but sounds like I’d waste more than the $300.
  5. Complain to a consumer agency in Germany or the FAA or some other government authority? If so, which one?

I’ve found a similar thread on a German forum so it looks like Condor is now actively pursuing these chargebacks. A good answer would thus be useful to hundreds if not thousands of travelers in the same boat.

visas – What countries in the Schengen area accept US travel document (form I-571)

I’m planning a trip to Europe this summer (Italy, Spain and Portugal) and will be using my travel document (Form I-571) that I have based on asylum from Syria. I had a visa appointment at the Spanish consulate today and was not able to submit the application as the officer mentioned that Spain does not recognize refugee/asylee travel documents.

This wikipedia page mentions that Spain accepts U.S. travel documents, however, I’ve read other sources that site the opposite such as this thread. Do you know which countries accept a travel document (with a Schengen visa) in 2019? I’d appreciate if you can include an official website, I’m having a hard time finding any.

air travel – Can I bring a single shot of live ammo onto the plane from US to UK as a souvenir?

It is not permitted to bring ammunition into the UK without a permit. According to this brochure from the UK Border Force (p. 14–15):

There are certain goods you are not allowed to bring into the UK – this is to protect society, animal and public health and the environment.

The following are also banned but in certain cases may be brought into the UK if you have obtained the relevant licence or permit:

Firearms, explosives and ammunition

It is unlikely that it will be worth your while to obtain the proper permits simply to bring one round of ammunition into the UK.

A spent cartridge might be a better souvenir, though even then you should check with your airline to be sure there aren’t any rules against it or special procedures that you’ll have to follow.