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Jun 19, 2018

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American travel to North Korea remains out of bounds

American travel to North Korea remains out of bounds In September, the United States barred American travelers from visiting North Korea.  But a perceived thaw in relations after the release of three Americans imprisoned in North Korea and news of negotiations for a meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, has revived industry hopes for a travel rapprochement.   The ban followed the death in June of Otto F. Warmbier, an American student who was jailed in North Korea for trying to steal a political poster from his hotel in Pyongyang.   Since then, tour operators that specialize in North Korea stopped taking Americans to the country.   Before that, Americans made up 20 percent of the western visitors that Koryo Tours took to North Korea, according to Simon Cockerell, general manager of Koryo. “The fact that it is a place endlessly reported on and so little-known is the attraction for most visitors,” Cockerell wrote in an email.   The Mir Corp., a tour operator based in Seattle, has led North Korea trips before, but a company spokesman said that the company will be “waiting and watching” until the government rescinds the ban.   Previously, Americans were required to travel in a group with North Korean guides and very detailed itineraries.  Those restrictions make it very hard to do what most global travel operators promise: authentic immersion.   Edward Piegza, president and founder of Classic Journeys, said in an email, “Our approach to travel, which is focused on immersing travelers into the people and culture of a country in order to provide meaningful engagement with locals, matches very well with a ‘Voice of America, boots on the ground’ sort of diplomacy that could be possible in the wake of a possible thaw in relations between the U.S. and North Korea.”  North Korea has shown no willingness to loosen the rules on inbound travelers, however.   “Those going there accept the fact that there are a lot of restrictions, that they will have only a few questions truly answered, that it is frustrating, complicated, etc., and go there open-minded and ready to try to experience whatever they can in the time they have allowed themselves,” Cockerell said.   Through Koryo, Wendy Simmons, a New Orleans-based marketing executive and writer, went to North Korea in 2016 and was accompanied throughout her trip, including visits to the bathroom, by guides.   She returned home to write the book “My Holiday in North Korea: The Funniest/Worst Place on Earth.”   “It’s a chance to go to a place that’s not fallen under American and European influence, so if it becomes safe again I’d go,” Simmons said.   Tim Neville, a correspondent for Outside magazine and a frequent contributor to The New York Times, went to North Korea in 2014 to report on its first ski area. Like Simmons, he booked his trip through Koryo and was accompanied throughout his stay by guides.   “In a world of absolute peace where none of the politics exist, absolutely it would be a great destination,” Neville said. “It has a fantastic coastline. Something like 70 percent of country is mountainous. It’s very rugged. The hiking would be fantastic.”   For now, South Korea, after hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics, may be the beneficiary of increased attention to the peninsula.   According to the Korean Tourism Organization, based in Los Angeles, 869,000 Americans visited South Korea in 2017, up slightly from 866,000 in 2016.

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Playbook: Senior North Korean official expected to travel to U.S.

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What To Do And See On Your Next European Trip

As exciting as traveling can be, the planning process for it is not so much fun. It can seem overwhelming to organize all the details of a trip. This article will make even the planning portion of your trip easy and enjoyable.

It is important to document certain information if you are traveling abroad. Include the name and contact information of where you will be staying as well as that of your embassy or consulate in the country you are traveling to. This will let you contact help if you need it. This will help with the troubles that you get into.

If you are traveling in a foreign country, be careful of the taxis you choose to ride. If you simply could not get a recommendation and have to grab a vehicle immediately, all legitimate services should have some form of driver Identification and company license available in plain view on the dash. Always be mindful of taxis when you are traveling abroad; the person may not be legitimate.

Some countries will certainly not have 5 star amenities available. In cases where you are in an under developed country, you may choose to bring something with you to help secure your door from the inside. A simple door stop will do the trick. A doorstop is just a rubber or wooden wedge that will hold a door open, but can easily hold a door shut as well.

Carry a doorstop with you to give your hotel stay a little bit of extra security. You may need extra security at night at your hotel, especially when traveling to less developed countries. If you don't find a chain or deadbolt on the door, put a small doorstop beneath the door at bedtime.

Trying getting in a big workout before you board the plane. This will help you avoid the tediousness of long flights. Not to mention the effects sitting for long time can have on your body. This is why hitting the gym or at least stretching before boarding a flight can lessen or completely eliminate any cramps.

Always check the website for every airline when looking for deals on flights. While you can find low fares on travel websites, you may learn that the best prices are sometimes on the airlines' own sites.

Keep it together. Avoid wasting too much time looking through your home for travel accessories. Buy a inexpensive plastic bin to keep all of your travel items together. Under-the-bed containers help keep your things hidden, but prepared when you need to keep going on your adventure.

Make sure you include identification information in your luggage, besides the ones on your luggage tag. It is easy for a baggage tag to come off the exterior of your suitcases while they are en route. Placing identifying info inside your luggage can ensure that it is returned to you in the event it becomes separated from the luggage tag.

As you read earlier, traveling is much more fun than planning to travel. There are things that you can do in order to plan for a great trip in which you will be able to maximize everything that you do during your trip. These tips can help you have an enjoyable, stress-free trip.
I’m heading to Korea tonight. It will be my first time visiting since I was adopted at 7 months old. Many people have been asking me how I feel about it and honestly I’m not sure. Overall I’m always excited to travel to new places and I’m grateful for th…