5 Tips for Making Long Haul Flights Less Tedious

Flying long haul is now a fact of life, whether it’s for business, seeing a relative or celebrating a wedding – most of us will have to travel more than six hours in one go at least once in our lifetimes.

In a perfect world, we’d fly business class and lounge in beds for the entire duration of the flight. However, the reality is that we don’t have the bank balance of Kanye West and therefore have to ‘slum’ it in economy like normal people.

Flying long haul can be dull, often uncomfortable and, in such close quarters to a plane full of strangers, often irritating.

So how do you combat the tedium? We asked the experts at Travelbag who have done enough long haul journeys to provide these top five best hacks to get you through those long hours in the air…

1. Bulk download a box set

When it comes to sitting still for something, we’ll be good for about two hours. Give us a box set, and we could happily spend three days transfixed. So whether it’s Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Games of Thrones – get hold of a show that you’ve wanted to watch but have never got round to. It will kill a lot of time.

2. Sleep - with the help of a long haul kit box

What’s in a long haul kit box? Everything you need to shut out the outside world for a while, namely, earplugs, eye masks and a neck pillow. This is the kit you need to drown out crying children, bright lights and neck cricks – and you’ll thank yourself for it four hours into your flight.

3. Chat

The idea of striking up a conversation with the person sat next to you might strike fear into the heart of some flyers. However, if you’re going to be sat next to someone for a while, you might as well get to know them. Some of the most unsuspecting people have a great back story to them. However, if they’re adjusting their headphones or securing their eye mask while you’re telling them about the trip to Indonesia that you took in 2005, they might just want to be left alone.

4. Bring a change of clothes

This sounds strange, but we swear by this trick. Apart from assisting a fellow passenger who accidentally spilled a bottle of Sprite all over herself one time, these spare clothes allow you to have a halftime refreshment stop on your flight. When you start feeling a bit muggy, go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, wash your face and change your clothes. You’ll return to your seat feeling a lot cleaner and happier.

5. Learn something new

If you’re stuck in a seat for several hours, you might as well make it worthwhile. If you’re going to a country where English is not the first language - learn some phrases in their language. Bring a book that teaches you about the history of the place you are visiting. Work out a timetable of places to visit, if you haven’t already done so. If you’ve done that, feel inspired by your travels and work out a plan of action for the next twelve months - maybe another long haul trip somewhere!

Bonus tip: Try for an upgrade

Look, it’s always worth asking. If you want to see if you can blag your way through to the front seats, make sure you arrive early, you look presentable and you ask nicely. Flying with more comfort and luxury does wonders to the tedious nature of long-haul flying. Upgrades always work better when you travel solo, but it’s still worth asking if you’re travelling as a couple. 

Good luck!
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The Top 5 Beaches to Discover in Florida, USA

The Sunshine State of Florida proudly wears its name, which was officially adopted by the Florida state legislature in the early 1970s. After all, the sun shines over 230 days per year. And this is only the average. These record sunshine numbers have set the start for the tourism and vacation paradise that has transformed the state of Florida.

Following is a list of the 5 top Sunshine State beaches to discover and enjoy with your family and friends:

1. Key West

It shouldn't be a surprise that Key West takes the first position in this list. Locals often refer to it as “Paradise on earth.” They are not so far away from the truth as you might think. Key West is located just off the coast of mainland Florida. A short boat ride away from the Sunshine State lay the sugary sand beaches, clear transparent waters, and gorgeous sunsets. Adventurers can take advantage of the place to the fullest by renting a bike. This is a must-do for all travelers, who want to discover the countless picnic and romantic spots this paradise on earth has to offer.

2. Cape Florida, Key Biscayne

One of the most picturesque beaches in the state of South Florida, Cape Florida fascinates visitors with memorable lighthouse sunsets (and sunrises!) and tropical fish swimming around. Key Biscayne is perfect for family trips! The beaches are wide, and the water tides drop off gradually, so it’s more than safe for children to play in the water without having their parents too worried.
The ubiquitous wind creates the illusion that it is not as hot as other parts of the Sunshine State. However, beware and always make sure to protect yourself with a proper layer of sun cream.
The coastline offers a delicious variety of restaurants where you can enjoy fresh seafood.

3. Clearwater Beach

Clearwater beach spreads its white sand beaches along a narrow, 3-mile (4,8 km) stretch on the Gulf Coast. Whether your passion is all day long sunbathing, diving, swimming in the magical world of light-reflecting colorful fish, playing beach volleyball or maybe taking a dolphin watching cruise, this is the perfect place for you. The north side of Clearwater Beach is less populated, making it perfect for couples or families, looking for a more relaxing ambient.

4. Fort Lauderdale Beach

After going through a makeover - from student party Mecca town to a gorgeous beach resort, Fort Lauderdale, Florida has transformed itself into a desired summer destination. The long white beaches and transparent clear waters, reflecting the seemingly everlasting light make for a top choice vacation destination.

Similar to many European maritime capitals, Fort Lauderdale beach is located in front of a busy main road, bringing commuters and travelers from all around the city to Terramar road. Apart from convenient transportation, you will be welcomed by numerous bars, shops, delicious restaurants and many night activities to choose from.

5. Dania Beach

Last but not least on our summer is Dania Beach. Located not so far away from Fort Lauderdale (Fort L.), it is said that this beach is one of least crowded and even prettiest of Greater Fort L. Apart from the typical beach activities, you can also enjoy a quiet night at the fishing pier where you can also dine and admire the ever beautiful Florida golden sunsets.

There you have it, the top 5 beach destinations of the Sunshine State. Let me know your opinion about each one if you were so lucky to have visited them all.

For those of you who are reading this from overseas and think that painful visa applications might be standing between you and these gorgeous beaches, you are mistaken! Because traveling is easier than ever before! Submit your ESTA application fast and easily online and get your electronic travel authorization in less than 72 hours.

Travel worry free and enjoy to the fullest Florida, the Sunshine State.

Happy travels!

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8 Tips For Saving Money on Airline Tickets

As airlines increase the cost of airline tickets, saving money on a ticket may seem like a mere wish. Sometimes I used to wonder how some people managed to book a ticket for almost half the price I bought mine. Personally, I travel a lot and I have visited some of the most amazing places in the world. However, throughout my visits, I tend to get my tickets expensively compared to some of my friends whom we have traveled with in the past. This is something I had been thinking about until I recently discovered that there are actually tips for saving on your airline ticket. You only need to put a little more effort and you will be surprised how much you can save for your ticket. Below are some of the tips and tricks on how to save for your plane ticket.

1. Pick your traveling days wisely

The price of flying differs depending on the time, day and month of travel. There are websites that give you the opportunity to compare fight prices across a whole month. This means that you are able to see the days flights are cheap hence saving a lot on your ticket. A survey by a travel search company called Skyscanner found out that 39% of travelers confessed that they prefer buying their tickets as far as six weeks before the actual traveling day. The rest admitted that they book their tickets even months to years before that day.

A good example is during thanksgiving. Most people lack flexibility during this time. They wait until at least 10 days before their traveling time when they start buying their tickets. However, at this time, the prices will have started to spike up. This is in spite of the fact that the lowest ticket prices were available 60 to 70 days before the actual day. In such a case, people end up spending more on their tickets yet they could possibly have spent much less, therefore, my advice is start checking flights as soon as you know that you will be traveling. Most importantly, keep checking the flights until when there is a favorable price for the ticket. When that price is available, ensure you book it then since you are not sure when that price will be available next.

2. Sign up for airfare alerts and track routes

In order to be able to keep an eye on fare trends, you can sign up for Fare Tracker Alerts. With this, you will be notified fast when there is a sale alert and when there is the only limited number of seats. Acting quickly when there is a sale alert can save you a lot of money and can give you the opportunity to visit some of the most amazing places in the world and at the lowest price.

3. Take note of seasonality and holidays

The most important factor that influences the price of a particular flight is how much the flight is full. This makes sense considering traveling during holidays like during Christmas thanksgiving or spring break is more expensive than at normal times. The same applies to some destinations especially international ones which are very seasonal in nature. It is, therefore, imperative that you research on the low and the high seasons for places you want to visit. A good example is if you are planning to travel to Europe, you can find some interesting deals during February and March which is mostly low season. However, if you choose to travel during summer, you will pay almost double the price. If you are planning to travel to popular places at popular times, you should consider booking earlier since discount seats are likely to sell out quickly and under most circumstances, they are few.

4. Break up groups or families into separate purchases

Most people think that the more people they travel, the better the rate but that is not true when it comes to airlines. Here group discounts are few and far between. Most airlines limit the number of seats per flight selling at their lowest rate. A good example is an airline which has 2 seats remaining and they are selling them at $100 and a number of other seats are available at $150. If you choose to do a search for a group of 4 the price that will come back will be $150. However, if you search for 2 seats at a time, you can buy 2 for $100 and only have to pay the extra $50 for the last two.

5. Prepare for extra bag fees

Different airlines have different policies regarding baggage. Most charge for the checked bags while some even charge for carry-on baggage. You should take that into consideration while you are planning to buy your ticket. Some airlines require you to pay for your bags before your departure day by going to the airline website. If you wait until you get to their airport, you will be charged a premium for that.

6. Fly indirect

If money is the issue and not time, you can consider booking an indirect flight instead of a direct one. You can search for indirect routes which are usually far cheaper than the direct routes.

7. Mix and match airlines to get the cheapest flights

Different websites have search tools that allow you to mix and match your airlines to find the cheapest price and the best time to book them. You can save a lot of money by flying out and back with different airlines or from different airports. Mix and match option come in handy when:
· The best possible fare for a route requires you to travel on one airline coming in and on another airline going out and
· When the airline with the most convenient outbound flight does not have a convenient return flight or vice versa.

8. Consider getting an air pass

In order to promote tourism in their countries, many countries have gone out of their way to offer air passes at the reduced rate for tourists. Therefore, if you are planning an extensive travel in one region or a country, an air pass can come in handy as far as saving on cost is concerned.

With these 8 tips and tricks, you can be guaranteed this is the last time you are buying an airline ticket expensively. There are a few other tips that are not included here but these are the major ones. Ensure you follow some of these tips and you will be surprised how much you can actually save on your ticket.

Author Bio:

Evans Lily is the founder of SkyWeFly, where she and her associates blog about photographs, stories and travel tips that will help you make a great journey. She hopes to bring her passion to more people via SkyWeFly.

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Tips for Visiting the Singapore Zoo

If you travel with kids, then you know that planning is the key to enjoying any trip. That certainly includes making plans when you want to bring the kids to the world-famous Singapore Zoo. With over 2,500 animals that cover a little over 300 species, there is a lot to see here. But just because it is huge, and the open concept of the zoo means you get to see the animals in a more natural habitat, you will need a few tips to make the most of the trip. Here are some that are bound to improve the experience.

Get There Early

The zoo opens at 8:30 and you want to get there as close to opening as you can so you can have plenty of time to wander the zoo and enjoy it. It is also best to get there early so that you can avoid all the crowds that will arrive around noon. Another advantage, if are visiting the zoo in the summer, is that it can be scorching hot mid-day, so plan to visit the water park that is in the kid’s zoo section to keep your cool. Getting in early can also mean a chance to have breakfast with the resident orangutans, which will keep your kids chattering all day long. Get in early and head out as soon as the kids get cranky is always a good policy for places like the Singapore Zoo.

Do Feed the Animals

While many zoos and parks have signs, telling you not to feed the critters, this zoo plays it different. There are posted feeding times for many of the animals including the elephants and giraffes. When these times roll around, you can get in on the feeding fun by participating with the feeding. While the polar bear’s feeding schedule is posted, don’t expect to participate in this one. But watching these big creatures enjoy their fish snacks is reward enough. But check the feeding times; they do change with circumstances and the seasons.

Catch the Live Shows

Today’s modern zoos all have great live shows that help us to appreciate the animals we are seeing even more. There are two morning shows and two afternoon shows, and they are all worth planning to see. Whether you and the kids enjoy the antics of California sea lions or a playful game of catch with one of the resident elephants, it is all fun to watch.

There are also shows that highlight the jungle creatures such as lemurs and spider monkeys and a show with familiar pets performing such as dogs, cats and even parrots. Bringing the kids to these fun live shows gives them a context for all those great creatures they are viewing as they walk through the zoo as well.

Be Ready for the Weather

If you don’t live in the Singapore area, you might not be prepared for how much rain it gets all year around. Be sure to always pack rain gear, regardless of what the weather report says the night before. In addition, it can get quite hot walking around the zoo, so be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen, hats to keep those little heads shaded and maybe even a change of clothes for after the wacky antics in the water park.

So, no matter when you go, be prepared with these tips and you will enjoy the zoo and all its wonderful inhabitants when you head out. Your kids are going to get the trip of a lifetime, why not be prepared so everyone can get the most from it.

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Holy Holidays & Travel: What You Need to Know Before Visiting Israel

One of Israel’s busiest—and simultaneously slowest—times of the year is coming up. Starting with Rosh Hashanah on Sunday, October 2 (or the Shabbat the day before) through the end of Sukkot on Sunday, October 23, the nearly month-long celebration of holidays will bring long lines and large crowds to religious sites and pretty much all other commerce to a halt.

The Holidays

Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish new year, runs from Sunday, October 2 through Tuesday, October 4. No work is permitted and most people will spend the days in observance of rest and prayer.

Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement, beginning on Tuesday, October 11 and ending on Wednesday, October 12. No work is permitted and most people will spend the day in prayer as well as fasting.

Sukkot is the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles and runs from Sunday, October 16 to Sunday, October 23. No work is permitted the first two days of the holiday week.

What to Expect

In 2016, the Jewish holy days stretch across nearly the entire month of October. While only a handful of the days require businesses to close and for religious rites to be observed, this time period is a notoriously difficult one for tourists who come unprepared. Here are some of the potential drawbacks when traveling during the holiday season:
● For any of the dates indicated as non-permitting of work, you can expect that most businesses will not be in operation.
● You can also expect the popular holy site destinations to operate with very limited hours.
● Prices for accommodation, food, and other tourist activities will be extremely high.
● If you’re not staying with friends or family, accommodations may be limited, so you’ll have to book early.
● If you plan for more typical tourist activities, you can expect longer lines and larger crowds wherever you go—and with increased crowds comes an increased risk of theft.
● Public transportation will have limited operability, so foot, bike, or rental car travel is suggested.
● Sukkot is a very popular vacation time for Israels who often choose to visit national parks and museums, so expect those to be extra busy during that week.

That being said, Israel is a wonderful place to visit any time of year. If you’re traveling on a religious pilgrimage or to spend time with family during the holidays, the above will just be something you have to accept and prepare for. If you’re traveling to Israel simply for the sake of travel, you can still visit during the month of October. It’ll just be important to have a solid plan in place that accounts for the limitations during that time period.

Holiday Planning Tips

Regardless of your reasoning for an October trip to Israel, there are a number of tips and tricks that can help make your holiday season travels a little less stressful:
1. Plan and book your trip as early as possible. You’ll not only be competing with other tourists, but also with Israelis who travel during that month.
2. Always keep your passport on you at all times and make sure not to leave any bags unattended wherever you go.
3. If you have friends or family in Israel, plan to stay with them, when possible.
4. If you’re not visiting for the sake of the holidays, try to travel before or after them. The weather is better the later you get into the fall season, so you may want to plan for after Sukkot.
5. As many restaurants will be closed for Shabbat and the holidays, seek out local markets where you can purchase fresh produce and other foods that you can prepare on your own and ahead of time.
6. If your plan involves visiting religious sites during the holidays, make sure you’re prepared: bring water, wear layers, wear comfortable shoes, rent a car, carry sunblock, pack your passport, bring your mobile phone, download the Waze app, and bring your patience.
7. If you visit during Sukkot, take time to walk around the city to check out the sukkahs. These are the little wooden booths built in commemoration of the holiday and that serve as a physical representation of the booths Israelites used in the desert after their exodus out of Egypt. They’re quite a sight to see!
8. While Israel is rich in both historical and religious history, the country has so much more to offer. While visiting during the holiday season, consider opting out of the traditional religious sites and museums and instead visit some natural ones. The Dead Sea, Tel Aviv’s beaches, the Golan Heights, and the Negev Desert are just a few of the sites to consider.

If you’re planning a trip to Israel during the month of October, make sure to plan well in advance. There is a lot to be aware of (as evidenced by the above), and having the right preparations in place—and ahead of time—can help you set the right expectations and be ready for what’s to come.

Photo by SarahTz under Flickr Creative Commons

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5 Trekking Routes to Try in Your Lifetime

There are treks that feel like a stroll in the woods, but there are those which also offer endless explorations, a great insight into this big, beautiful world. These adventures are an ideal way of ticking things off your thrill list and walking among treacherous slopes and dangerous heights amid the very best of nature and mountainside culture is a sure way to up the ante: both in terms of the eventual experience and also in terms of your heart rate.

The following trekking routes are like no other, for each offers something stunningly unique, something so spectacular that it has to be seen at least once in a lifetime:

Mount Kilimanjaro

It’s become incredibly popular now, but a Mount Kilimanjaro trek still counts as one of the greatest bucket list adventures today. Rising to a height of 19340 feet, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest point of Africa, and the world’s highest free-standing mountain. Needless to say, anyone interested on conquering the greatest adventures on the continent will fall in love with a trek to Mt. Kilimanjaro. But you don’t have to be a seasoned pro to do this. There’s a reason why more than 20000 people climb this mountain each year. It’s not that hard, irrespective of your skill level. What awaits you in Mt. Kilimanjaro are 5 unique eco-zones that range from banana trees to massive glaciers. And once you climb to the very top, the gorgeous views of the surrounding savannah grasslands really make you fall in love with the continent. The wide range of climbing routes also ensures that there’s a perfect way to reach those mesmerizing views above the clouds. We recommend to check out the travel booking portal Bookmundi for price comparisons of different Mount Kilimanjaro treks.

Huayna Picchu

If you’re hoping to combine an archaeological experience with your trek, it doesn’t get better than Huayna Picchu. The legendary Inca Trail gets far more attention as the most celebrated route to Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas, but it’s Huayna Picchu that always promises a grander experience. The trek itself has been termed as one of the grandest hikes on the planet and catching a glimpse of the fabled city is surely a sight for sore eyes. The Inca Trail may ask you to navigate thousands of stone steps, but it really isn’t scary and it’s certainly not wild. Huayna Picchu surely is! The route takes you through exposed ledges rocks jutting out of the cliffs with nothing but a huge abyss below, slippery stone steps and cable handholds. You often wonder if it’s really worth all that risk, but as scary as it sounds, the trek is quite safe and the view above the ruins totally makes this experience worth it.

Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Hike

A Grand Canyon hike gives you an unparalleled insight into one of the greatest features on the planet. Considered to rank among the top 7 natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon bamboozles you with its sheer physicality, mesmerizing views and that jaw-dropping scenery. The best time to visit the Grand Canyon is between the months of March to May and September to November.

Everest Base Camp Trek

If you’re searching for a grand adventure, a trekking route that gives you bragging rights wherever you go, look no further than the Everest Base Camp trek. Coming close to the highest mountain on the planet without having to navigate its horrors and treacherous routes is surely an experience worth savoring. The Everest Base Camp Trek takes you to Kala Pattar, a place known to offer the best view of Mt. Everest on the planet. The route itself is an experience in itself as you pass through terraced villages, beautiful cultures, stunning rivers and majestic suspension bridges. You’re accompanied by the legendary Sherpas on your journey and despite the apparent dangers and gravity-defying feats, you’re always in safe and experienced hands, so the only thing you need to work about is basking in the beautiful scenery.

Tour du Mont Blanc

Tour du Mont Blanc not only lets you trek through three countries, but also presents unique alpine meadows, majestic mountain passes and glacial valleys that need to be seen to be believed. Stretching over 170 kms in Switzerland, Italy and France, this incredible journey offers trekkers a great adventure amid mind-blowing scenery. The region is also known for its exotic species and wild alpine goats aren’t the only creatures you get to see. This high altitude trail also presents all kinds of snakes, lizards and jumping fish and more marmots than you can possibly count. The best time to go for this adventure is between the months of July to September.

If you’re desperate for a vacation and need to leave everyday stressors behind, if you’re feeling a bit like Ash after all those Pokemon Go trials and tribulations, it is perhaps time to embark on an epic hiking trail. Bon Voyage.

Image by Stig Nygaard under Flickr Creative Commons
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The 5 Best Outdoor Activities in Steamboat Springs

A favorite Colorado resort town, in part, because it’s a real town in addition to being a resort, Steamboat Springs fuses two very different worlds - a state-of-the-art ski village and a genuine Western ranching center.

So apart from what you might already suspect to be amazing Colorado vacation rentals, Steamboat Springs also boasts wondrous outdoor activities that will invigorate even the most overworked of us.

Let's see some of the very best activities you can enjoy in this pretty resort town.

Strings Music Festival

Summer is a magical time in Steamboat Springs. Strings Music Festival offers an incredible array of musical programs, including classical, jazz, blues, and family-friendly music.

Pack your lunch for Strings’ Music on the Green at the Music Festival Park at Yampa River Botanic Park - the gardens are a stirring backdrop for a concert each Thursday at 12:15pm in summer. It’s a lovely way to spend your lunchtime, and many locals agree, so get there early to snag one of the free umbrellas to keep the hot sun off your head.

Instead of extensive program notes, nuggets of information about the music and composer are presented before each piece by a commentator. Should jazz, country, bluegrass, or pops be the music that thrills your soul, Friday night is the night.

If chamber music is your choice, don’t miss the Wednesday and Saturday evening concerts. The choices are diverse - the evening might start with a gentle Chopin nocturne and move to a Schumann piano quartet, then finish off with Brahms.

Hot Air Balloon Rodeo

Summer is the time of the year when a multitude of colorful balloons rises over Yampa Valley.

During the Hot Air Balloon Rodeo, more than 100 colorful hot-air balloons launch from Memorial Park, making this one of the largest balloon rallies in the country. Don't miss the Art in the Park arts and crafts fair and the brilliant performances, while you stuff your mouth with delicious crepes and sip a cup of coffee.

While it might be fun to witness it all from ground level, you can also take a hot-air balloon ride yourself. The most awe-inspiring scenery is, of course, over the Rocky Mountains, but you can take a ride virtually anywhere in the state.

Hike to the scenic Fish Creek Falls

Fish Creek Falls, one of the top waterfalls in Colorado, is just 4 miles from downtown Steamboat Springs in Routt National Forest.

A footpath leads to a historic bridge at the base of this breathtaking 283-foot waterfall and there’s also an overlook with a short trail and ramp designed for those with disabilities, as well as a picnic area and hiking trails.

The falls can be easily reached by foot, but some of the trails are also fit for bikes and even ATVs. The area offers pristine views of the Roky Mountains so just put your hiking boots on and have some fun in the great outdoors.

Summer Rodeo

Greeley’s Stampede comes to town for 2 weeks, starting in late June, and boasts the world’s largest Fourth of July Rodeo.

Hundreds of professional cowboys and cowgirls compete for over $400,000 in prizes at Greeley’s Island Grove Regional Park, with bareback bronc riding, calf roping, saddle bronc riding, team roping, steer racing, barrel racing, and bull riding.

Festivities include country and classic rock concerts, art shows, a carnival, a children’s rodeo, fun-runs, a demolition derby, barbecues, a parade and colorful fireworks.

Steamboat Ski Resort and Howelsen Hill

Steamboat Ski Resort and Howelsen Hill is a continuously used ski area in Colorado and home to nearly 90 Winter Olympians.

The most popular winter sport in Colorado is downhill skiing. Since the state’s first resort, Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs, opened in 1915, Colorado has been synonymous with skiing in the western United States - it attracts more skiers per day than any other Western state, and its resorts continue to win accolades.

The snowboarding craze hit Colorado just as hard as other winter-sports destinations and, after some initial resistance, has been welcomed with open arms. Nowadays, many resorts have snowboarding parks and offer lessons and rentals.

Photos by Colby Stopa and Armand under Flickr Creative Commons
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