Blowes Travel & Cruise Centres Inc.'s Blog

Why you Should not Throw out Your Boarding Pass

The next time you’re thinking of throwing away a used boarding pass with a barcode on it, consider tossing the boarding pass into a document shredder instead. Two-dimensional barcodes and QR codes can hold a great deal of information, and the codes printed on airline boarding passes may allow someone to discover more about you, your future travel plans, and your frequent flyer account.

Earlier this year, I heard from a longtime KrebsOnSecurity reader named Cory who said he began to get curious about the data stored inside a boarding pass barcode after a friend put a picture of his boarding pass up on Facebook. Cory took a screen shot of the boarding pass, enlarged it, and quickly found a site online that could read the data.

“I found a website that could decode the data and instantly had lots of info about his trip,” Cory said, showing this author step-by-step exactly how he was able to find this information. ‘

“Besides his name, frequent flyer number and other [personally identifiable information], I was able to get his record locator (a.k.a. “record key” for the Lufthansa flight he was taking that day,” Cory said. “I then proceeded to Lufthansa’s website and using his last name (which was encoded in the barcode) and the record locator was able to get access to his entire account. Not only could I see this one flight, but I could see ANY future flights that were booked to his frequent flyer number from the Star Alliance.”

The access granted by Lufthansa’s site also included his friend’s phone number, and the name of the person who booked the flight. More worrisome, Cory now had the ability to view all future flights tied to that frequent flyer account, change seats for the ticketed passengers, and even cancel any future flights.

The information contained in the boarding pass could make it easier for an attacker to reset the PIN number used to secure his friend’s Star Alliance frequent flyer account. For example, that information gets you past the early process of resetting a Star Alliance account PIN at United Airline’s “forgot PIN” Web site.

After that, the site asks for the answer to a pre-selected secret question. The question in the case of Corey’s friend was “What is your Mother’s maiden name?” That information can often be gleaned by merely perusing someone’s social networking pages (e.g., does your aunt or uncle on your mom’s side have your mother’s maiden name as their last name? If so, are they friends with you on Facebook?)

Finally, the standards for the boarding pass barcodes are widely available and have been for years. Check out this document (PDF) from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for more on how the barcode standards work and have been implemented in various forms.

 

From: KrebsOnSecurity.com

 

Explore the Off-the-Beaten-Path Destinations in Jamaica

When going to Jamaica, most vacationers think about the resorts that line the island's northern coast. It's not surprising that most travelers will head to that direction because Jamaica is known for exactly that: lounging in the pool, basking in the sun, or enjoying the buffets. But if you're tired of the usual Jamaican scene, why not try exploring the off-the-beaten-path destinations in the island?

It takes an adventurous spirit should you want to explore the other side of Jamaica. However, we can assure you that it's an adventure worth taking! Here are some of the destinations you can visit:

  1. Port Antonio: Located in the eastern side of the northern coast, you can enjoy a slow-paced stay in this local secret destination with lush and green secluded beaches. But, Port Antonio is not just about the beaches. You can try waterfall hikes here or go bird watching. You might also want to try dining on authentic jerk cooking.
  2. Southwestern Jamaica: Just a 90-minute drive from Montego Bay, Southwestern Jamaica is less isolated than Port Antonio, but can still offer you a less crowded vacation spot. Some of the activities you can join are a safari excursion on the Black River, a tour of the historic Appleton Rum Estate, and a relaxing dip at YS Falls. You might also want to visit Treasure Beach, which is the site of Lovers Leap where two Jamaican slaves were said to have leapt to their deaths.
  3. Pelican Bar: A 20-minute boat ride out on the sea, Pelican Bar stands on stilts. Guests can enjoy a frosty Red Stripe and some fresh-caught seafood here.
  4. Mandeville: When you think of Jamaica, you think of beaches. However, land-locked Mandeville is something else. Here you can find the Caribbean's oldest golf course, the Manchester Golf Club, which dates back to 1868. Expect an English vibe when you visit this place, with cricket games and English-style pubs all over the place.
  5. Flower Forest and River Head Adventure Trail: Go to this ecotourism attraction and enjoy a 130-acre tropical forest and 40 acres of landscaped gardens. Follow a hiking trail along Little River and feast on the beautiful sights that include dozens of tropical plants, flowers, and birds. At the end of your hike, you will find yourself in a 14-foot deep pool where you can relax and enjoy the view.

Experience Jamaica differently by exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations. Book your holiday with a travel agent today and get the best deals!

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If you’re not convinced, here are 10 reasons why backpacks suck.

 

1. You have to carry them

Come on guys, it’s the 21st century and wheels were invented for a very good reason. Let’s use the incredible invention of the wheel and stop carrying heavy things!

 

2. They’re awkward to carry and they hurt

I’m sure Action Man doesn’t have any problem swinging his backpack onto his back but I do. I really do.

 

3. You barely ever need to carry your luggage

Admittedly, there are times when you need to carry your luggage but these times are few and far between. Everyone likes to think they’re going on an adventure and getting off the beaten track but 9 times out of 10 you’ll be able to wheel a suitcase everywhere.

 

4. Creased clothes

I have never mastered the art of packing a backpack and not getting totally crumpled clothes. I always roll my clothes and I often use packing cubes. Everything is fine for 2-3 days but anything longer than this and I have a chaotic pile of crumpled clothes.

 

5. Day packs

While I hate backpacks, I am a fan of the day pack. Basically, just a mini backpack you use for days out. If you’re going trekking for a couple of days, you’d take a small day pack rather than the large backpack.

Travelling with a backpack

6. It’s difficult to find stuff in them

If you have a top opening backpack then you can say goodbye to anything that slips to the bottom. You won’t be seeing that for a long time.

 

7. They’re difficult to organise

Lots of backpacks have one large, main compartment which makes it difficult to organise anything and your belongings get muddled and lost.

 

8. Things get broken

The soft fabric of a backpack won’t protect your belongings against the bag being thrown around. I’m not suggesting anyone travels with a china tea set but you won’t want anything breakable in there.

Paddington Bear

If it’s good enough for Paddington… 

9. Odd Sized Baggage

Backpacks usually have to go to a special ‘Odd Sized Baggage’ conveyor belt at the airport to avoid the straps getting caught in any machinery. This can often take longer and be located in a weird place. It’s not the end of the world but it’s an extra stress and hassle if you’re running late.

 

10. They’re not waterproof or easy to clean

Hard-shelled suitcases are both waterproof and easy to clean. Some people like having a dirty backpack because it makes them look like ‘a real traveller’. I don’t.

 

My tips for backpacking with a suitcase

If you’re convinced that backpacks suck and you’d like to go travelling with a suitcase, there are a few things you need to remember.

 

You still need to pack light

I never travel with a bag I can’t lift. This is mainly because I don’t want to be that girl who has to pitifully ask a man to carry my bag for me. I’m not going to get all feminist on you but, ladies, if you can’t carry your own bag, it’s too heavy.

You still need a small, lightweight case that you can easily carry up a flight of stairs.

 

Caribee Fast TrackConsider a wheeled backpack

I’m a massive fan of the Caribee Fast Track Wheeled Backpack. I can’t recommend this bag enough if you’re not quite ready to hang up your backpack but you realise backpacks suck 

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Fresh breeze, waves' whispers, sunny days and sometimes the howling winds that sway the palm rafters are some of the defining elements that you encounter at the Sugar Beach. You will get the views of the Pitons and the Caribbean Sea as you sip away at freshly pressed juice from local farms...how about that for a great holiday? Welcome to Sugar Beach A Viceroy Resort St. Lucia.

And the leisure does not stop at the beach. The accommodations at the resort are such that you cannot help but be awed. The surroundings help you sit back and reflect on your happy life. There is a happy feeling around the resort.

There are 4 classes of accommodations at the resort including; Luxury Guestrooms, Luxury Villas, Luxury Beachfront Bungalows and The Residences. The minimum amenities that you can expect from each of these accommodations include;

  • Butler Services
  • IPod docking station
  • In-roof safe
  • Coffee maker
  • Flat screen TV and DVD player
  • Bathroom amenities
  • Wi-Fi internet
  • A plunge pool and many more

For your dining needs, you are welcomed to the Great Room Restaurant for red wine and Jerusalem artichoke, Bayside Restaurant for beachside dining and the Terrace for poolside breakfast and the stunning morning views of the Caribbean.

For drinks, visit Bayside Bar, Cane Bar, The Late Night Bar and The Palm Court Lounge. Note that each of these bars serves authentic cocktails, beers, wines and teas from all over the globe.

If you want specialized dining setup, all you have to do is make an order. There is a room service for in-room diners, beach service for those that want to feel the sand between their toes as they dine and dine anywhere, anytime package for those that need special romantic considerations.

Among the holiday activities to be enjoyed here include; spa services, yoga and fitness, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, windsurfing, riding hobie cats, paddle boarding, and tours to various attractions such as Morne Coubaril Estate and Gros Piton.

Sounds like a fantastic destination to spend your holiday, doesn't? Well, make a reservation at the resort and start living your holiday dream.

Click here to view comments about the resort on Trip Advisor.

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