Bunq launches travel card to make foreign exchange fees disappear


Fintech startup Bunq provides full-fledged bank accounts. But if you’re happy with your existing bank, the company is launching a new free tier so that you can cut down on banking fees.

The Bunq Travel Card is a Mastercard without any foreign exchange fee. The company uses the standard Mastercard exchange rate but doesn’t add any markup fee — N26 also uses Mastercard’s exchange rate. Most traditional banks charge you 2 or 3 percent for foreign transactions.

When you get a card, you can then top up your account in the Bunq app. You can also send and request money with other Bunq users. But it isn’t a full bank account.

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This cruise ship has the first at-sea roller coaster—take a look


In 2019, 30 million passengers are expected to take a cruise, according to the Cruise Lines International Association. To compete for customers, cruise lines are spending billions to outdo each other with outrageous amenities and entertainment, from a high-tech planetarium at sea to an on-board race track. Royal Caribbean alone is spending $200 million on a private island, CocoCay, in the Bahamas for guests, according to Bloomberg, and had a $115 million transformation on Navigator of the Seas ship, which has the longest waterslide at sea at 800 feet.

Now one of the latest over-the-top cruise is adventures is the first on-board roller coaster, which will be on Carnival Cruise Line’s new Mardi Gras ship, and passengers will be able to ride it next year.

The Bolt Ultimate Sea Coaster will be on the top of the outdoor deck of the ship, according to Carnival Cruise Line, with drops reaching speeds of 40 miles per hour. The 10 fastest roller coasters in the world can go between 93 and 149 miles per hour, according to TripSavvy.

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This airport has just been named Best in the World for the seventh year in a row

Terminal 3 - Green Wall & Baggage Belt

Courtesy Singapore Changi Airport

And it’s set to open the world’s largest indoor waterfall in just a few weeks.

It’s not very often that travelers actually look forward to arriving early to an airport for its amenities, but Singapore’s Changi Airport—with its rooftop swimming pool, 24-hour movie theater, and butterfly garden—has become that place.

So it’s no surprise that for a record-breaking seventh time in a row the global aviation hub has been crowned the world’s best airport in Skytrax’s annual 2019 World’s Best Airport Awards, revealed at the Passenger Terminal Expo 2019 in London on Wednesday.

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Would you want to stay in a space hotel?


Aurora Station plans to become the first hotel in space. But how likely is it we’ll be able to holiday in orbit around the Earth?

It was intended to set the travel world on fire: Aurora Station, the world’s first in-orbit hotel. The official announcement took place last April during the Space 2.0 Conference in San Jose, California. Housed aboard a structure about the size of a large private jet, guests would soar 200 miles above the Earth’s surface, enjoying epic views of the planet and the northern and southern lights.

A jaunt won’t be cheap: the 12-day-journey aboard Aurora Station, scheduled to be in orbit by 2022, starts at a cool $9.5m (£7.3m) per person. Nevertheless, the company says the waiting list is booked nearly seven months ahead.

“Part of our experience is to give people the taste of the life of a professional astronaut,” says Frank Bunger, founder and chief executive officer of Orion Span, the firm which is behind Aurora Station. “But we expect most guests will be looking out the window, calling everyone they know, and should guests get bored, we have what we call the ‘holodeck,’ a virtual reality experience. In it you can do anything you want; you can float in space, you can walk on the Moon, you can play golf.”

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Millions of Chinese tourists are spurring the growth of mobile pay overseas


  • Just as overseas luxury stores have hired Mandarin-speaking staff to serve Chinese tourists, more tourist destinations may feel the need to accept Chinese mobile payment such as Alipay and WeChat Pay.
  • Three-fourths of supermarkets and convenience stores in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand now accept Chinese mobile payment, according to a Nielsen survey released Monday in cooperation with Alipay.
  • The adoption rate has increased rapidly in the last two years, and last year more Chinese tourists used mobile pay abroad than cash, the report said.

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Tented camps are fast becoming the world’s best resorts


They’re popping up everywhere, from Mexico to Laos—and luxury travelers can’t get enough. Here’s why.

At one point in the mid-2010s, “glamping” became a four-letter word.

A sudden boom in upscale tented accommodations—which ultimately felt neither glamorous nor like camping—saw the trend go from boom to bust as quickly as spaghetti donuts and ramen burgers.

But now, glamping is back, and the glamour factor is through the canvas roof.

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The race to get tourists to suborbital space is heating up


SPACE: FINAL FRONTIER or ultimate tourist destination? Possibly both—provided you have the cash.

Already, you can buy tickets for (as-yet-unscheduled) flights aboard SpaceShipTwo, the crew vehicle developed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. And at a NewSpace conference in Seattle last month, Blue Origin—helmed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos—announced that it has plans to sell tickets to wannabe space tourists as early as next year.

Both companies have solid plans to cash in on human space travel (and then, of course, there’s SpaceX, which will focus first on shuttling astronauts to and from the space station). Branson has said that Virgin Galactic is in a race with itself, not other companies, to achieve safe human space flight. But with Blue Origin aiming to start selling tickets next year, both companies could be competing for business sooner rather than later.

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Jeff Bezos’Blue Origin will start selling tickets to space next year

Blue Origin, the space-tourism startup owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, says it will start selling passenger tickets for trips into space in 2019.

The timeline came from Blue Origin senior vice president Rob Meyerson, whose comments at an Amazon Web Services event were reported by Space News. Meyerson did not say how much the tickets would cost when they go on sale.

The company also plans to conduct crewed test flights of its New Shepard rocket “soon” — meaning Bezos’s company could, at least by one metric, get a jump on rival SpaceX.

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Virgin Voyages hope to appeal to virgin cruisers with its new line


Race you to the “catamaran net.”

The designers behind the world’s newest cruise ship have never been on a cruise. But if this approach seems crazy, well, it’s all strategy. The group, dubbed the “Creative Collective” and led by the likes of Roman and Williams (The Boom Boom Room, Le Coucou, Ace Hotels), Concrete Amsterdam (citizenM hotels, W London), and Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio (Shoreditch House, Mondrian Hotels), are deep into designing Virgin’s cruise line with the aim of attracting travelers who normally wouldn’t touch the idea of taking a cruise with a ten foot pole. In fact, Rob Wagemans of Concrete Amsterdam joined the project under the condition that he wouldn’t have to go on any existing cruises at all.

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The dizzying story of Symphony of the Seas, the largest and most ambitious cruise ship ever built


This is the inside story of how cruise ships went from pensioners’ pastime to floating cities engaged in an all-out entertainment arms race.

Symphony of the Seas has 2,759 cabins, or “state rooms”. At 362 metres, Symphony of the Seas is longer than The Shard (310m) is tall.

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