Tahiti & French Polynesia Update: Conditions of Entry/Stay

This just in from the government in French Polynesia:

French Polynesia has confirmed conditions of entry and stay in the country applicable to all travelers arriving by air.

Starting from July 15th, 2020:

Quarantine measures will be lifted and French Polynesia’s borders will re-open to international tourism from all countries. All travelers will be subject to the following mandatory conditions:

  • Prior to boarding: Proof of a negative Covid-19 test carried out within three days prior to their international air departure
  • Present the printed receipt of the health registration on the Etis.pf (Electronic Travel Information System) platform
  • During the stay: Self-test 4 days after arrival in The Islands of Tahiti.

See full details at the Tahiti Tourisme site’s COVID-19 page.

Useful Travel Apps You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Everybody knows about apps that find you hotel deals, cheap flights, or what to see and do in any given city. But travel (especially these days) doesn’t ALWAYS mean hopping on a plane, staying in a big hotel, etc.

This post is about some of the less mainstream ones that are actually pretty useful–depending on where you’re going.

Useful travel apps: Mobile Passport

Mobile Passport

This app lets you load your passport info into it ahead of time, for you and the rest of your family. Then, you can use it to avoid filling out a bunch of paper documents at US Customs and Immigration. Currently supported at these ports of entry: Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Raleigh Durham, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, San Juan, Seattle, Tampa, Washington Dulles, and West Palm Beach.

Cool little feature: if you upgrade to Plus ($15/year…worth it, as the free version loses your data after 4 hours), you don’t have to enter your passport info–you can just scan your passport.

Learn more here.

Useful travel apps: Avenza PDF Maps

Avenza PDF Maps

Avenza PDF Maps screenshot

This is helpful when you’re travelling to relatively remote areas where cell coverage is sketchy, and your usual Google or Apple Maps app won’t work because you can’t get a solid connection. Your phone still “knows” where it is, as the GPS receiver inside it doesn’t need cell coverage (it just needs to see the GPS satellites), but those apps can’t show you on a map because they need the cell connection to download the map.
With Avenza, you download topographical maps of where you’re going when you’re still back home, with a good wifi connection. Then, when you’re out in the wilderness, or a remote island, or wherever, the map is already on your phone, and Avenza will use your GPS in your phone and show you exactly where you are on that map.

There are maps for hunting units, parks, even off road recreational areas–where (at least here in Oregon) you can see every little single-track trail in the national forest that’s legal for dirt bikes or horses or ATVs or whatever.

Learn more here.

Useful travel apps: My Altitude

My Altitude

My Altitude screenshot

This app flexes the muscles of the GPS thingy in your phone: it’ll show you your exact latitude and longitude, your altitude in metres or feet, barometric pressure, and water boiling point.

Find it on the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Useful travel apps: Tide Charts

Tide Charts

Tide Charts screenshot

This app is great if you’re vacationing at the coast, and want to explore the tide pools. We go to Otter Crest, near Newport Oregon, several times a year, and at the end of the beach there, there’s a sea cave called Devil’s Punchbowl that you can only get to at very low tides. Timing your trek down to the beach is key if you want to explore it :-).

It’s here for iOS, and here for Android.

Useful travel apps: Google Translate

Google Translate

We’re all familiar with the version of this on the web, I’m sure. But did you know that they have an app as well? And the really, REALLY cool thing about this app is that you can use your camera and it’ll translate instantly. Here’s a photo of a menu from a restaurant in Paris. On the left I’ve taken a picture of the menu itself; on the right, you can see the view through Google Translate:

Untranslated menuMenu translated instantly by Google Translate app on iPhone

Pretty cool, huh? Find it on Google Play or on the App Store.

Useful travel apps: Peak Finder

Peak Finder

Peak Finder looking at the mountains around Bend, Oregon

I especially love this one, living in Bend, Oregon, and having 7 major mountain peaks around us. Point this app at the hills and it’ll tell you what you’re looking at:

Get it on the App Store or on Google Play.

Useful travel apps: Vivino


Vivino screenshot

Ever been in another state, or country, and nothing on the wine list looks familiar? Just use the Vivino wine app to look up what’s on the wine list (you can even scan the bottle’s label with your camera).

You’ll see ratings, typical store prices, etc. Find it on the App Store or on Google Play.

12 Things You Won’t Find in Hawaii

Hawaii is full of natural beauty, stunning beaches and the Aloha spirit, but there are a few things that you won’t be able to find on the Hawaiian islands. While we usually define a place by the features it possess, sometimes it’s just as important to list off what it lacks.


Photo copyright Skyseeker

  1. Billboards – Hawaii was the first state in the U.S. to outlaw billboards in 1927, thus preserving the natural beauty of the islands for decades to come.


Photo copyright Drew Stefani


  1. Snakes – Because of the threat they pose to native birds, snakes are banned from entering the Hawaiian Islands.  


Photo copyright Debs


  1. Rabies – While this makes it a pain to transport your pets to and from Hawaii, it’s comforting to know that it’s a rabid-free state, in fact it’s the only state in the country without rabies. 


Photo copyright Marco Verch


  1. Private Beaches – All beaches in Hawaii are public and developers are required to provide public access and parking for anyone to enjoy the shorelines.


Photo copyright Chris Murphy


  1. Loud Car Horns – Even in Honolulu rush-hour traffic, the streets are quiet, the drivers are patient and the Aloha spirit is alive and well.  


Photo copyright Nick Mote


  1. Major U.S. Banks – None of the country’s major banks have branches in Hawaii, instead Hawaii residents are loyal to local banks, like Bank of Hawaii, and First Hawaiian Bank.


Photo copyright Teemu008


  1. Daylight Savings Time – Hawaii’s proximity to the equator means that the length of a day doesn’t change dramatically throughout the year and so daylight savings time simply doesn’t matter here. 


Photo copyright Harly504


  1. Affordable Housing – The cost of living in paradise is astronomical, the average cost to rent an apartment in Honolulu is $1,750-$2,000/month plus parking fees and utilities. 


Photo copyright Rennett Stowe


  1. An Ethnic Majority – Hawaii is truly a melting pot of ethnic diversity and is home to the most multiracial residents in America.


Photo copyright Horschmology


  1. Good Mexican Food – Hawaii has a huge variety of diverse international cuisine, but sadly the state is not known for having high quality authentic Mexican food.


Photo copyright Alex Archambault


  1. Popular Mainland Chains – Starbucks and McDonalds have made their way across the islands but if you’re craving breadsticks from Olive Garden, a Chipotle burrito, or even Dunkin Donuts, you’re out of luck. 


Photo copyright Mike Mozart


  1. More than One Area Code – Hawaii residents are very proud of the 808 area code that is shared throughout the islands and serves all 1.4 million residents of Hawaii. 


Photo copyright Eli Duke


What else have you not been able to find in Hawaii?


Original post by Megan Shute

The Holy Ridge Trail in Taiwan

Of all my experiences from living in Taiwan for 9 months, backpacking the Holy Ridge Trail in 5 days was one of the highlights. The Holy Ridge (or “雪山聖稜線” in Chinese) is an awe-inspiring, often razor-thin ridge of mountains in Taiwan’s Shei-pa National Park. It spans from north to south, connecting the famous Snow Mountain (“雪山” / “Xueshan”) all the way to Mt. Dabajian (“大霸尖山” / “Dabajianshan”). At 12,749 ft, Snow Mountain is Taiwan’s most famous mountain and second highest. As we traversed this ridge in an O-shaped loop, our views spanned the mountain range and we summited several peaks along the way and climbed more than a few sketchy scrambles. From sparse, steep rocky bits to lush forest hiking, this trip had some unforgettable views and even better memories. Continue reading

The 5 Lightweight Items We Can’t Travel Without

Packing lighter is no news to backpackers and trekkers who want to ease sprains and strains on their weary muscles. But the ultralight packing trend that the outdoor industry is embracing can be applied to travelers as well – even if your end destination is a resort instead of a tent under the trees. If you have a big trip coming up but are fed up with lugging around those 2 exactly-50-lb suitcases, this article is for you! Not only will international transfers be a breeze, but you also don’t have to break your back stuffing it into the back of a taxi, shuttle, or longtail-boat-transfer-to-tiny-island-resort. Win-win! Leave the packing tips to us, embrace the minimalism, and focus on all the R&R you could want on your actual vacation. Continue reading