Egypt Independent: Living-Main news http://www.egyptindependent.com//enhome_channel/Life%20Style/rss.xml en The world's most and least peaceful countries http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2453530 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2012/03/17/12832/photo_1331945282858-1-0_0.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>In search of peace? Maybe it&#39;s time to move to Iceland.</p><p>According to the nonprofit Institute for Economics and Peace, the thinly populated island in the midst of the North Atlantic has retained its place as the most peaceful country in the world.</p><p>The institute released its&nbsp;<a href="http://static.visionofhumanity.org/sites/default/files/Global%20Peace%20Index%20Report%202015_0.pdf" target="_blank">Global Peace Index for 2015</a>this week, which ranks&nbsp;<a href="http://static.visionofhumanity.org/sites/default/files/Global%20Peace%20Index%20Results%20Map.pdf" target="_blank">162 nations around the globe</a>based on factors like the level of violent crime, involvement in conflicts and the degree of militarization.</p><p>Six out of the top 10 most peaceful countries were European, with Denmark and Austria holding the second and third spots.</p><p>&quot;Europe maintained its position as the most peaceful region in the world, supported by a lack of domestic and external conflicts,&quot; the report said.</p><ul></ul><p>But that glowing review is helped by the fact that violence-plagued Ukraine is lumped into a different region: Russia and Eurasia.&nbsp;</p><h3>US in bottom half of rankings</h3><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">Ukraine suffered the second biggest deterioration in its rating over the past year as pro-Russian separatists clashed with government forces.</span></p><p>The only country that fared worse was Libya, which has &quot;sunk into a low-level civil war between Islamist and nationalist groups,&quot; the report said.</p><p>War-ravaged Syria remained at the bottom of the rankings. And Iraq, the other country where the Islamic militant group ISIS holds large areas of territory, dropped below South Sudan and Afghanistan to second last place.</p><p>The United States is in the bottom half of the index, scoring badly in terms of militarization, homicides and fear of violence. Its ranking improved somewhat from a year earlier, though, rising from 101st place to 94th.</p> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 13:04:00 +0000 CNN 2453530 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2012/03/17/12832/photo_1331945282858-1-0_0.jpg Scariest theme park rides on Earth http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2453518 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2015/02/24/43/disneyland.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Most of us are happy with being flung around in a roller coaster or spun high in a Ferris wheel.</p><p>The rush of fear and the brief re-acquaintance with breakfast are part of the thrill.</p><p>But when does a theme park ride stop being scarily fun and start being just plain scary?</p><p>We&#39;re talking about the rides on which the fear turns into the kind of pure psychological terror that only weeks of counseling -- or a night of martinis -- can resolve.</p><p>The rides on which it&#39;s not just breakfast that flashes before your eyes, but your entire life (plus some diced carrots that you have no recollection of eating).</p><p>These are the scariest theme park rides on Earth.</p><ul></ul><p>Thankfully, we don&#39;t have to try them, because Stefan Zwanzger, aka the globetrotting&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thethemeparkguy.com/" target="_blank">Theme Park Guy</a>, already has.</p><p>And lived to tell the tale.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h3>The rusty roller coasters of Pyongyang (North Korea)</h3><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Just when life in a totalitarian state couldn&#39;t get any more terrifying, North Korea unleashes some creaking fairground rides on its unsuspecting citizenry.</p><p>To be fair, the Kaeson Youth Park is a rare attempt to sprinkle genuine joy on the gray Stalinist cityscape of Pyongyang.</p><p>The fear here, says Zwanzger, is an emotional response in no way soothed by geopolitics.</p><p>&quot;When you visit North Korea you naturally never feel completely safe and relaxed, so you enter the rides wondering if they&#39;ve been maintained at all since most were built decades ago.</p><p>&quot;The cobwebs aren&#39;t a good sign.&quot;</p><p>Zwanzger&#39;s fear-free alternative:&nbsp;Kaeson has a relatively new, Italian-made Zamperla coaster. (Kaeson Youth Park, Kaeson, Pyongyang)</p><h3>Baku&#39;s gross ghost train (Azerbaijan)</h3><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Most ghost trains are so lame that it&#39;s interesting to hear of one that actually does spook its passengers.</p><p>Unfortunately, at the time of Zwanzger&#39;s visit, this boardwalk ride on Baku&#39;s Caspian seafront was getting its screams the lazy way: via pain.</p><p>&quot;Imagine you&#39;re alone in a ghost train, driving through the dark, and all of a sudden a sticky curtain drops on you from above and sticks itself to your nose and teeth,&quot; Zwanzger says.</p><p>&quot;And while the ghost train keeps moving forward, the curtain and your nose and teeth don&#39;t.</p><p>Zwanzger says he complained to the operator.</p><p>&quot;Due to the language barrier and the lack of any internationally recognized sign language for &#39;my nose got stuck to a curtain,&#39; I don&#39;t think he got the message. I don&#39;t think he really cared about anything, either.&quot;</p><p>He adds: &quot;Man, that was painful! My love and pity goes out to those who ride it next.&quot;</p><p>Zwanzger&#39;s fear-free alternative:&nbsp;The ghost train at<a href="http://www.transstudioworld.com/" target="_blank">&nbsp;Indonesia&#39;s Trans Studio Makassar</a>. (Jalan. H.M Dg. Patompo, Metro Tanjung Bunga, Makassar, Sulawesi Selatan, Indonesia; +62 411 8117000)</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h3>The Tehran neck cracker (Iran)</h3><p>&nbsp;</p><p>At Iran&#39;s Eram Park, it&#39;s a tossup between which is more disturbing.</p><p>The badly drawn Mickey Mouse cartoons, or the soda can roller coaster?</p><p>For Zwanzger, the coaster -- which plays fast and loose with physics by flinging passengers in a such a tight loop they can almost see the backs of their own heads -- wins.</p><p>&quot;When I saw this the first time, with Coke can-shaped cars hurtling noisily around a narrow loop, I thought, that&#39;s going to hurt.</p><p>&quot;And it did. Two to three hours of neck pain followed.</p><p>&quot;This roller coaster makes one of the narrowest loopings known to mankind. It&#39;s as if your head stays in the same place while the coaster spins around.&quot;</p><p>Zwanzger&#39;s fear-free alternative:&nbsp;Skip roller Iran&#39;s coasters altogether and enjoy the country and its wonderful people.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h3>Ferris wheel of misfortune (Nepal)</h3><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Take an ordinary Ferris wheel.</p><p>Fill it with starry-eyed couples and happy families.</p><p>Then crank the speed dial up to 11.</p><p>That&#39;s how they do it in Nepal.</p><p>Because maybe when you live on the slopes of the Himalayas, gaining a few extra meters in height just isn&#39;t thrilling enough.</p><p>&quot;That thing had speed,&quot; says Zwanzger, who says he didn&#39;t board the wheel in Kathmandu&#39;s Fun Park because the line was too long -- and he was afraid of being propelled into orbit.</p><p>&quot;You could hear screams. And these were not the normal Ferris wheel screams of &#39;ooooh, let&#39;s take a photo.&#39;</p><p>&quot;These were more like &#39;argghhh, let me down, I wanna get outta here&#39; screams.&quot;</p><p>Zwanzger&#39;s fear-free alternative:&nbsp;<a href="https://www.londoneye.com/" target="_blank">The London Eye</a>&nbsp;(South Bank, London; +44 871 781 3000)</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h3>Qingdao chairoplane of pain (China)</h3><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Chairoplanes are called chairoplanes because, as with chairs, it&#39;s possible to sit in them, and as with planes, all logic says these things should not leave the ground.</p><p>Typically chairoplanes rise a few meters off the ground, giving passengers a thrill as they ride in a chair or model aircraft attached by chains to a rotating overhead gantry.</p><p>At Fantawild, a new theme park in the Chinese coastal city of Qingdao, the chairoplane ride is less chair, more plane, lofting startled passengers up to almost cruising altitude.</p><p>&quot;I was the only rider, and once up in the air, the chains were making creaking and groaning noises and my chair was turning wildly on its own axis,&quot; says Zwanzger.</p><p>&quot;It was a long ride. And cold.</p><p>&quot;It was new so maybe my fear was just psychological, but I&#39;d rather fly a plane from the 1970s than get back in that Qingdao chairoplane.&quot;</p><p>Zwanzger&#39;s fear-free alternative: Any chairoplane in a European theme park with a budget of more than 100 million euros.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h3>Disney&#39;s secret weapon (Various locations)</h3><p>&nbsp;</p><p>There is of course, nothing remotely scary about a kid-compatible classic that takes passengers on a mini-tour of a world populated by friendly animatronic puppets.</p><p>And yet, says Zwanzger, Disneyland&#39;s &quot;It&#39;s a Small World&quot; ride, as seen in its U.S., French, Japanese and Hong Kong parks, has untapped potential as a psychological weapon.</p><p>&quot;One ride is fun, but try it about six or seven times and it becomes one of the scariest rides on Earth.</p><p>&quot;You ask yourself, &#39;what if I was trapped here listening to that song and seeing these puppets forever?&#39;</p><p>&quot;If you were to chain someone in this ride and have them go around over and over, I think it would actually break them.&quot;</p><p>Zwanzger&#39;s fear-free alternative:&nbsp;Disneyland&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="https://disneyland.disney.go.com/attractions/disneyland/big-thunder-mountain-railroad/" target="_blank">Big Thunder Mountain Railroad</a>&nbsp;roller coaster should banish the Small World terrors. (<a href="https://disneyland.disney.go.com/ca/disneyland/frontierland/" target="_blank">Frontierland</a>, Disneyland Resort, 1313 S. Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, California)</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h3>The Cannonball Loop (United States, closed)&nbsp;</h3><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Like many unnecessary things assembled in the 1980s -- among them the&nbsp;<a href="http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2009/autos/0905/gallery.gm_problem_cars/3.html">Cadillac Cimarron</a>&nbsp;and mid-career films of Sylvester Stallone -- the Cannonball Loop must&#39;ve seemed like a good idea at the time.&nbsp;</p><p>Looking back, however, it&#39;s hard not to view it as the work of an unhinged mind.&nbsp;</p><p>The Cannonball was a giant water tube that sent riders sliding through a full 360-degree loop. (See it in action in this YouTube video at 8.19:<a href="http://youtu.be/vDHqfhyCbbM" target="_blank">&nbsp;http://youtu.be/vDHqfhyCbbM</a>)</p><p>It enjoyed a brief life in the summer of 1985 at the now-defunct Action Park in Vernon, New Jersey, before being shut down in 1996, reportedly after a series of accidents.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;I&#39;ve been to almost 300 theme and water parks now, but this is by far the scariest thing I&#39;ve ever seen,&quot; says Zwanzger.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;Looking at it, it&#39;s just so obvious that if you have one wrong move, you&#39;re going to experience a lot of pain or get trapped inside.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;I can&#39;t believe this was actually built in the United States, the country where you can be sued by anyone for just about anything.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>Zwanzger&#39;s fear-free alternative:&nbsp;Liwa loop at&nbsp;<a href="http://yaswaterworld.com/en" target="_blank">Yas Waterworld</a>&nbsp;(Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; +971 2 414 2000)</p> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 12:01:00 +0000 CNN 2453518 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2015/02/24/43/disneyland.jpg What are the world's safest airlines? http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2453504 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2014/12/29/499612/airasia_plane.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Aviation website&nbsp;<a href="http://www.airlineratings.com/" target="_blank">AirlineRatings.com</a>&nbsp;has just released its annual list of the world&#39;s 10 safest airlines.&nbsp;</p><p>Once again, Australian airline Qantas grabs&nbsp;<a href="http://www.airlineratings.com/news.php?s&amp;id=425" target="_blank">the top spot</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;Qantas continues to lead the industry with safety innovations and its fleet is now the youngest -- 7.9 years -- it has been since the airline was privatized in 1995,&quot; AirlineRatings.com editor Geoffrey Thomas tells CNN.&nbsp;</p><p>He says the airline is an industry benchmark for best practice and has taken the lead in virtually every major advancement in airline safety over the past 60 years.</p><p>Rounding out the rest of the top 10 in alphabetical order are: Air New Zealand, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.</p><ul></ul><p>&quot;Our top 10 safest airlines are always at the forefront of safety innovation and launching new planes,&quot; says Thomas.</p><p>AirlineRatings.com&#39;s rating system takes into account audits from aviation&#39;s governing bodies and lead associations as well as government audits and the airlines&#39; fatality records.</p><p>It also examines airlines&#39; operational histories, incident records and operational excellence.&nbsp;</p><p>Of the the 449 airlines it monitors, 149 have the top seven-star safety ranking.</p><p>This year, the site also included a list of the top 10 safest low cost airlines for 2015.</p><p>These are, in alphabetical order: Aer Lingus (Ireland), Alaska Airlines (US), Icelandair (Iceland), Jetblue (US), Jetstar (Australia), Kulula.com (South Africa), Monarch Airlines (UK), Thomas Cook (UK), TUIfly (Germany) and WestJet (Canada).</p><p>&quot;Unlike a number of low cost carriers these airlines have all passed the stringent International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit audit and have excellent safety records,&quot; says Thomas.</p><p>&quot;Low cost does not mean low safety.&quot;</p><p>One fatal accident for every 1.3 million flights</p><p>The release of the AirlineRatings.com list comes at a particularly sensitive time for fliers.&nbsp;</p><p>While 2013 was one of the safest years in global aviation history, 2014 is considered one of the worst in recent years in terms of fatalities, due to several high-profile air incidents.&nbsp;</p><p>AirlineRatings.com says there were 21 fatal accidents with 986 fatalities in 2014 -- higher than the 10-year average.&nbsp;</p><p>However, looking to the positive there were only 111 crashes in 2014, the lowest number in more than 80 years says the Geneva-based Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives, or BAAA.</p><p>The last time the world had 111 crashes was in 1927.</p><p>&quot;If you consider sheer numbers of aircraft crashes, flying today is safer,&quot; says Kane Ray, an analyst with the International Bureau of Aviation, a global aviation consulting group.</p><p>&quot;However, there are more aircraft in the sky, so naturally the overall number may appear similar to previous decades and, in some categories of disaster, higher.&quot;</p><p>According to a<a href="http://www.airlineratings.com/news/422/2014-airline-safety-numbers-are-deceiving-" target="_blank">&nbsp;report on AirlineRatings.com</a>, the world&#39;s airlines carried a record 3.3 billion passengers on 27 million flights in 2014.</p><p>&quot;Flashback 50 years and there were a staggering 87 crashes killing 1,597 when airlines carried only 141 million passengers -- 5% of today&#39;s number,&quot; says the website.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;Another twist is that fatal accidents for 2014 were at a record low 21 -- one for every 1.3 million flights. Two of the crashes last year -- MH370 and MH17 -- were unprecedented in modern times and claimed 537 lives.&quot;</p><p>In March, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 aboard.&nbsp;</p><p>Officials believe that plane is somewhere in the Indian Ocean. But, nearly 10 months later, MH370 hasn&#39;t been found.</p><p>In July, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 aboard.&nbsp;</p><p>Malaysia Airlines has a five out of seven ranking on AirlineRatings.com.&nbsp;</p><p>AirAsia Indonesia -- still reeling from the crash of Flight QZ8501, which went down over the Java Sea on December 28 with 162 people on board -- has a four out of seven star ranking.&nbsp;</p><p>Prior to December, AirAsia had a near flawless safety record, with no previous fatal accidents.&nbsp;</p><p>World&#39;s unsafest airlines</p><p>AirlineRatings.com says if an airline has a crash that involves the death of a passenger and/or crew members it will automatically receive a deduction of one star, giving it a lower safety rating.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;A crash involving fatalities carries with it a one star deduction for 10 years from the date of the incident,&quot; says the website on a page explaining its ratings system.&nbsp;</p><p>Of the 449 airlines surveyed by AirlineRatings.com, nearly 50 have just three stars or less.&nbsp;</p><p>Four airlines only achieved one star for safety.&nbsp;</p><p>Two are from Nepal -- Tara Air and Nepal Airlines -- joining Kazakhstan&#39;s Scat Airlines and Afghanistan&#39;s Kam Air.&nbsp;</p><p>All four are on a list of airlines&nbsp;<a href="http://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/air/safety/air-ban/doc/list_en.pdf" target="_blank">banned from flying within the European Union</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>The United States doesn&#39;t blacklist individual airlines, but it does make public&nbsp;<a href="http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/iasa/" target="_blank">a list of countries</a>&nbsp;it judges to fall short of international aviation safety standards.</p> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 15:03:00 +0000 CNN 2453504 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2014/12/29/499612/airasia_plane.jpg Tech and tourism: 11 people changing the way we travel http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2453502 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2015/07/02/501010/travel.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>There&#39;s never been a better time to be a tourist.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Whether it&#39;s a cool new app helping find the best flight deal or a website to help <u><a href="http://edition.cnn.com/2015/03/19/travel/peer-to-peer-travel-websites/"><span style="color:#0000ff;">book an authentic meal</span></a></u> in a stranger&#39;s home in a foreign city, travel tech has made it easier than ever to make the most of your time away from home.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And it&#39;s all thanks to the people behind today&#39;s great industry innovations -- including these 11 individuals who make us more excited than ever to hit the road.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Chris Lopinto, ExpertFlyer.com</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/ei/expertflyer_0.jpg" style="width: 536px; height: 301px;" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Claim to fame: Getting you out of the middle seat</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>We&#39;ve surfed the Internet to find the best airline deal, only to get stuck in the middle seat on a plane with limited reclining space and no legroom whatsoever.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>If we&#39;d checked out <u><span style="color:#0000ff;"><a href="http://www.expertflyer.com/">ExpertFlyer.com</a></span></u><span style="color:#0000ff;">&nbsp;</span>beforehand, that scenario wouldn&#39;t have happened.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Co-founded by Long Island, New York, native Chris Lopinto, it&#39;s a free app and subscription-based website that offers a bit of empowerment for frequent bargain travelers.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Lopinto says ExpertFlyer was born out of he and his co-founders&#39; own bad experiences as frequent fliers.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>They designed the site to give users a way to check ticket prices or &quot;fare buckets&quot; (along with respective restrictions), availability of award tickets and upgrades (in real time) and create automated searches for a better seat based on traveler guidelines (seat alerts) before purchase.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Even travel agencies and airlines themselves are now using ExpertFlyer&#39;s Seat Alerts app.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Layton Han, ADARA</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/ei/adara.jpg" style="width: 536px; height: 301px;" /></div><div><em>ADARA CEO Layton Han.&nbsp;</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Claim to fame: Dissecting complex travel data</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Next time anyone gets a tweet from an airline about a seat upgrade opportunity, it&#39;s more than likely Layton Han was behind it.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>As the man in charge of the <u><a href="http://adara.com/"><span style="color:#0000ff;">ADARA</span></a></u> Magellan platform, Han works with 80 of the world&#39;s most established travel brands, including Delta, United and Hertz.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The way it works is ADARA collects information from 300 million travelers to customize marketing and advertising messages, personalize websites and tailor customer communications based on individual preferences.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Before joining ADARA, Han co-founded the online loyalty marketing company MyPoints.com (now owned by United Airlines).</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Today, there are many different ways to communicate with existing and potential customers, such as through social media and mobile applications,&quot; says Han.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Travel brands need to develop and synchronize customer-marketing messages across various channels.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Harri Kulovaara, Royal Caribbean Cruises</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/ei/royal_caribbean.jpg" style="width: 536px; height: 301px;" /></div><div><em>Claim to fame: Adding thrills to massive cruise ships</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Harri Kulovaara, who heads up fleet design and new build operations for Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises -- his official title is &quot;executive vice president of maritime and new building&quot; -- has a passion for the creating biggest, most advanced and most thrilling theme parks at sea.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In fact, the world&#39;s four biggest passenger ships have been built under his watch -- each one rocking 16 decks, 2,700 staterooms and the capacity to carry 6,000 passengers.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Kulovaara, a naval architect with more than 20 years in the cruise industry, also launched the <u><a href="http://edition.cnn.com/2014/11/06/travel/cruise-ship-quantum-of-the-seas/"><span style="color:#0000ff;">world&#39;s first smartship</span></a></u> -- Quantum of the Seas -- in 2014.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>This monster has two virtual balconies, skydiving at sea, an oversea viewing pod, an 82-foot-long zip line, a handcrafted carousel, a floating bar, robotic bartenders and a 10-floor waterslide than lands into a giant champagne bowl.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Roberto Milk, NOVICA</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/ei/novica_0.jpg" style="width: 536px; height: 301px;" /></div><div><em>Claim to fame: Changing the way we shop for souvenirs</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The &quot;ah-ha&quot; moment for Roberto Milk, co-founder and CEO of <u><a href="http://www.novica.com/"><span style="color:#0000ff;">NOVICA</span></a></u> (partly owned by National Geographic), came while he was in a Portuguese language class at Stanford University.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>His professor remarked how hard it was for traditional Brazilian artists to make a living off their craft, giving Roberto the idea of creating an online, fair trade marketplace -- all while working as an investment banker.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In 1999, Novica was born.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Fifteen years on, shoppers can now browse more than 45,000 pieces of limited edition and one-of-a-kind handmade works of art -- including artisan-crafted jewelry, handmade apparel and world-style home decor -- and get them delivered right to their door.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Championing local artists, NOVICA has given back almost $50 million to creatives worldwide by connecting them directly to consumers.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Geraldine Calpin, Hilton Worldwide</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/ei/hilton.jpg" style="width: 536px; height: 301px;" /></div><div><em>Geraldine Calpin, head of digital for Hilton Worldwide.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Claim to fame: Opening hotel doors</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Walking up to the check-in counter of a hotel could soon be an old school experience thanks to the technological leadership of Geraldine Calpin, global head of digtal and vice president of global ecommerce for Hilton Worldwide.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>She&#39;s bringing the same level of convenience travelers are used to when booking airlines and car rentals to hotel rooms.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>This year Calpin, who joined Hilton International in 2002 and is also VP of global ecommerce services, is spearheading an initiative that will enable Hilton&#39;s guests to unlock rooms with their smartphones, a technology that has existed for some years but not been implemented on a global scale.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Guests can browse through floor plans at more than 4,100 properties globally before making a personalized room selection.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Then, they can check in digitally using the smartphone app.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Ed Kushins, HomeExchange.com</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/ei/home_exchange.jpg" style="width: 536px; height: 301px;" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Claim to fame: Swapping bedrooms</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The idea of trading bedrooms with a complete stranger might not be for everybody, but for those who want to save money and literally live like a local when on vacation there&#39;s <u><a href="https://www.homeexchange.com/en/"><span style="color:#0000ff;">HomeExchange.com</span></a></u>.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>California-based founder Ed Kushins&#39; came up with the the idea in 1992 as a solution to the high expense of accommodations and the lack of cultural immersion that traditional hotels and resorts offer.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Kushins, a former US Navy submarine office, was way ahead of his time. Back then, it was a printed, mailed book.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Today it&#39;s the largest online home exchange network in the world.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>To date, HomeExchange.com has facilitated an estimated 1 million property swaps worldwide.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Dale Moser, Coach USA/Megabus.com</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/ei/megabus.jpg" style="width: 536px; height: 301px;" /></div><div>Claim to fame: Making bus travel hip again</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Thanks to Dale Moser, CEO of Coach USA/Megabus.com, bus travel doesn&#39;t have to conjure images of sketchy seat mates and smelly washrooms.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Armed with a state-of-the-art fleet of double-decker buses equipped with Wi-Fi, power outlets, the latest safety technology and tickets that start at $1 sold online, Moser created &quot;The Megabus Effect&quot; and made traveling by bus between cities cooler and affordable.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>By marketing to college students and young professionals, Moser has guided Coach USA, Coach Canada and <u><a href="http://megabus.com/"><span style="color:#0000ff;">Megabus</span></a></u> into a $700 million business -- with Megabus.com alone serving more than 40 million customers in just nine years, in more than 120 cities across North America.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Ruzwana Bashir, Peek</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/ei/peek.jpg" style="width: 536px; height: 301px;" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Claim to fame: Saving travelers hours in research time</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Co-founded by CEO Ruzwana Bashir in 2011, Peek is a digital platform best described as an online concierge -- a one-stop site for travelers looking to book one-of-a-kind experiences, from swimming with sharks to shopping with stylists.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It&#39;s especially key for those of us disillusioned by the sheer quantity of attractions on the mainstream travel booking sites -- and conflicting user reviews that accompany them.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>With Peek, the theory is, we know we&#39;re getting the goods.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The platform combines <u><a href="http://www.peek.com/"><span style="color:#0000ff;">Peek.com</span></a></u> -- the online marketplace -- with <u><a href="http://peekpro.com/"><span style="color:#0000ff;">PeekPro.com</span></a></u>, a suite of back-end software tools that power online bookings for activity operators on their own websites.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>With Bashir leading the way, Peek Pro has grown more than 500% in the last year, while the Peek team has more than tripled in size.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>How&#39;d she do it?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Probably doesn&#39;t hurt that she&#39;s got an MBA from Harvard Business School -- where she was a Fulbright scholar -- and a BA in economics from Oxford University.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Zeke Adkins and Aaron Kirley, Luggage Forward</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/ei/luggage_forward_0.jpg" style="width: 536px; height: 301px;" /></div><div><em>Aaron Kirley and Zeke Adkins, Luggage Forward co-founders.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Claim to fame: Skipping the luggage carousel</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>After spending a fair amount of time schlepping bags through airports, Aaron Kirley and Zeke Adkins set out to form a company that ensures bags arrive at the destination at the same time as travelers -- by mailing them.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Why not just check the bags?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Luggage Forward offers a reliable and cost-effective door-to-door luggage delivery service that saves time, excess baggage fees and customs hassles.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Naturally, the founders -- who met in high school -- say the idea sprang from their own unfortunate experiences lugging bags through airports.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Travelers can ship luggage and sports gear (bikes, skis, snowboards, golf clubs) to more than 200 countries and territories worldwide using Luggage Forward.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Travis Kalanick, Uber</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/ei/uber.jpg" style="width: 536px; height: 301px;" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Claim to fame: Changing the way we get from point A to point B</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Of all the names on this list, Uber founder Travis Kalanick definitely has created the most headlines.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And not all of them favorable, with everyone from taxi drivers and journalists to politicians coming out to criticize his ride-booking app.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Just last week, the French government ordered Paris police to crack down on Uber after violence erupted at demonstrations by taxi drivers against the online ride service.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Neither fans nor Kalanick appear to be deterred.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>His app is now available for travelers in close to 300 cities on six continents.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, he sent a letter to investors announcing plans to invest more than $1 billion in its Chinese business this year.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Kalanick is also fighting to get legal access to major U.S. airports, most of which ban ride-sharing service drivers from picking up passengers.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Your next airport pickup could be just a click away, if Kalanick has his way.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 14:55:00 +0000 CNN 2453502 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2015/07/02/501010/travel.jpg