The United Kingdom Opens Its Electronic Passport Gates To More Nationalities

 Erica Ho   Less than a minute to read
Updated: May 20 & June 4, 2019Per an official statement, the electronic gates are open to citizens of the seven countries listed starting May 20. On June 4, our editors were able to independently verify that this was in effect at London Gatwick Airport (LGW), where customs officers were actively redirecting qualifying passengers toward the ePassport gates.

One Mile at a Time recently reported this fortuitous change in the UK’s immigration process: Starting June 2019, the automated e-gates at immigration in all UK airports will be available to passport holders from seven new countries, including the U.S.

The countries included on the list are:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • United States

It is already available to UK, EU, EEA or Swiss passports. It is not known if the new countries will kick in on June 1, or sometime later during the month of June.

Essentially, this means these citizens are now eligible to use the ePassport gates, which use biometric scanning and a camera to get through immigration instead of speaking to a live, customs officer.

Though the UK has a Registered Traveller program through which select passport holders were able to use these (for a cost, like a whopping £70 or $96.83 USD per year), that simply won’t be the case anymore. 

(Portugal already offers this service to electronic passport holders, and I was able to use this recently while exiting the country. Hong Kong also offers this to its residents. I’d love to see more and more countries begin to offer this, instead of jumping in a ginormous, inefficient line.)

Probably a countermeasure against Brexit, or something.

The United Kingdom Opens Its Electronic Passport Gates To More Nationalities via @maphappy

Experiencing the Andaman Sea on a Tall Ship Under Full Sail

 Mark Orwoll   4 minute read
Editor’s NoteThe world is a big, wondrous place. One of the reasons we want to make sure you get there is so that the lesser known parts of the world can peek through in its unassuming glory. Our friend, and former Travel + Leisure editor, Mark Orwoll, sends us this postcard, reminding us that the world is to be explored, in its fullest sense.

Don’t bring “meatpig” onto Ko Panyi, a floating fisherman’s village, or you’ll be fined $63. The penalty for bringing alcohol onto this strictly Muslim island is even more severe: $158—plus one goat.

Experiencing the Andaman Sea on a Tall Ship Under Full Sail via @maphappy

Tell Us How Much Your Trip Really Cost.

 Erica Ho   1 minute read

No shame here, but we were fully inspired by Refinery29’s money diaries to want to ask you how much you actually spend on a trip.1

Besides, we are secure enough to admit when we don’t have an original idea.

Real talk, how much did you spend on hotels and hostels, the Michelin prixe fix lunch, the booze, and flying over the Nazca lines? How much was incurred in foreign transaction fees? (I mean, if you’re that fastidious about the money tracking, by all means.)

There are a couple of things that we want to do differently, though. We want this to include travelers of all genders and walks of life, so even if there’s a little one in tow, we want to hear about this. Plus, the truth is, that in this day and age, many people are using points to pay for a substantial amount of things.

Travel editors also don’t travel like normal people.2 In our gilded life, tourism representatives wine and dine us, and we stand at the freakin’ center of Mexico, in the crypt that houses all the archbishops (seriously).

So we’re relying on you to tell us! Aside from blogging about our occasional, once-a-year vacation where we’re forced to pay for things. 😅3

Pro Tip Our budgeting spreadsheet is not only helpful for tracking expenses, but also for submitting this diary. 😉

Tell Us How Much Your Trip Really Cost. via @maphappy