London’s Luxury Mandarin Oriental Hotel Suffers Severe Fire Damage

John Stillwell

Smoke rises from a building in Knightsbridge, central London, as London Fire Brigade responded to a call of a fire in this upmarket location on June 6, 2018. John Stillwell

Skift Take: London’s fire department responded quickly and effectively. But this event is a reminder that the world’s major cities need to have more frequent drills in case of emergencies.

— Sean O’Neill

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San Francisco Banishes Scooters From Its Streets Until They Get Permitted

David Paul Morris

People ride shared electric scooters in San Francisco on April 13, 2018. Lime, Bird, and Spin, startups that have delighted and infuriated San Franciscans with their scooter-sharing services, have pulled their vehicles from the streets while they apply for permits to operate. David Paul Morris

Skift Take: This spring, hundreds of dockless bicycles and scooters popped up on the streets and sidewalks of San Francisco. This week the city put a halt to it. But don’t worry. About 1,250 scooters may be permitted soon.

— Sean O’Neill

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CEO Interview: Reimagining the Hotel Suite in the Battle Against Airbnb


Skift Take:  Book spacious accommodations easily and affordably. Hotels trying to compete by making a few “millennial-friendly” tweaks aren’t going to cut it. With Suiteness, hotels can simplify the way they sell their multi-room inventory and stand out in an increasingly crowded market.

Breakdown your travel—

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Skift Forum Europe 2018 On-Stage Videos Are Now Live

Videos from Skift Forum Europe, held this year in Berlin, are now live.

Take a trip and use a vacation time that is worth it!

Skift Take: Missed Skift Forum Europe in person? Now you can watch the sessions from our event in Berlin, featuring speakers from top travel companies including Marriott, AccorHotels, Airbnb, Ryanair, and

— Hannah Sampson

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Caesars Bets on Growing Its Business With Non-Gaming Hotels

Caesars is opening up four of its brands to hotel owners and developers worldwide. The first such non-gaming properties are set to open in Dubai by the end of 2018.

Find a good spot!

Skift Take: We’re putting our money on the Cromwell and LINQ brands to do well with the hotel owner/developer set, which who is increasingly looking for upscale lifestyle and select-service brands. As for the Caesars Palace and Flamingo brands — they’re so inextricably tied to Vegas and to gaming, it’ll be hard to convince guests otherwise.

— Deanna Ting

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Where Does Air France-KLM Go From Here?

Dutch airline KLM, which flies the Boeing 787, among other aircraft, has a strong reputation and is profitable. But it is tied to Air France, which has been struggling with labor issues.

Skift Take: Until Air France-KLM implements a long-term cohesive strategy, it probably will keep falling behind its main competitors, International Airlines Group and Lufthansa Group. But unless the macroeconomic environment changes, it should be OK. Even with rising fuel prices, now is a good time to be in the airline business.

— Brian Sumers

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What to Pack for a Diving Liveaboard Trip

What to Pack for a Diving Liveaboard

I just came back from a whirlwind adventure through the Banda Sea and around Raja Ampat in Indonesia on an incredible diving liveaboard trip.

It was my first liveaboard diving experience, and it was unforgettable. Whether you are a diving newbie or a devoted mermaid, I’d highly recommend checking out and having your own dream liveaboard experience.

Before you set sail, here’s what to pack for a diving liveaboard trip!

Diving Equipment to Bring for a Liveaboard Trip

Many liveaboard diving options will rent you all of the gear you need. Depending on how often you dive and how much space your suitcase affords you, some gear is worth investing in and bringing, while other stuff is easier to rent. If you’re just getting started, this scuba diving guide is handy.

Keep reading to check out my liveaboard gear recommendations!

Basic Scuba Gear to Consider Bringing

Renting gear can add up quickly, and if you plan to rent diving gear a few times over the course of year or two, it is probably easier to purchase a few of your own essentials. Of course, it’s not always possible to pack everything, especially if your liveaboard is part of a bigger trip, but I would recommend bringing at least a few of the basics!

Mask: Not all masks are created equally! A cheap, leaky mask can ruin your experience, so invest in a premium option. You’ll also want to keep in mind that every face is slightly different, so even a top-rated mask might not be the perfect fit for you. Test your mask before you go and make sure you’re comfortable.

Wetsuit: This comes down to personal preference. I bring my own because I prefer a short suit. If you like a standard wetsuit, you can save suitcase space by leaving yours at home. You can shop my short

Tickle Stick: Again these are small and lightweight, and they’re essential for keeping your distance from reefs while you’re observing life under the sea.

Neoprene Fin Socks: These easy-to-pack essentials make rental fins comfortable and prevents from blisters over multiple days of diving.

Dive Computer: A diver’s best friend! Dive computers provide essential real-time information, and it’s the first thing you should invest in.

Reef Hook: These are tiny and easy to pack. They keep you and the reef safe while allowing you to maintain your location in a strong current.

Torch: These tend to be so overpriced at dive-rental centers and diving liveaboards, but they’re easy to pack and are essential on night dives. Don’t forget a charger for your torch’s batteries!

Advanced Scuba Gear to Consider Bringing

Again, most liveaboards will offer rentals onboard for everything you might need, however if you’d like to invest in one of the below (and dive quite frequently), I’d definitely recommend it! I have slowly invested in items that make diving more comfortable and it’s been so worth it.

BCD: A buoyancy control device will take up a lot of room in your luggage, and it’s not really a custom item. So, I find a BCD much easier to rent.

Regulator: If you’re an avid diver, you’ll want to have your own scuba-diving regulator. A custom mouthpiece is more comfortable, and it’s nice to be in charge of its hygienic maintenance.

Fins: If you want freediving fins or specialty fins, bring your own. Otherwise, normal swim fins are fine for rental. I find open-heel fins more comfortable, and they’re not always available, so it can be worth asking about.

Scuba Diving Camera Gear

Camera Gear to Bring for a Diving Liveaboard Trip

For underwater photography and videography, I use two cameras to capture content. You can definitely up your gear game in this department once you become a more confident diver. My setup is great for those that don’t want to carry a ton of extra heavy camera gear, but want high-quality images and video.

Extra Camera Gear:

  • GoPro Anti-Fog Inserts: These cheap little inserts are especially handy in cold and humid weather.
  • O-Ring Lube: Your underwater housing needs to be re-lubed to ensure a watertight seal
  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Lens Cleaning Pens
  • Spare Batteries
  • Protective Covers: You’ll want to make sure you cover your underwater housing lens with a neoprene cover to keep it from scratching between dives.

Again, this is a pretty amateur camera rig in the diving world, but I’m slowly working on upgrading. If you’re interested in upping your underwater photo game, do some research on the best setups out there.

Even if you don’t have room for a bigger camera set up, bringing a GoPro to capture your adventures underwater is a must!

Clothes and Swimwear to Pack for a Diving Liveaboard Trip

Swimwear: I usually opt for a one-piece swimsuit under my wetsuit, but bikinis without ties or hardware are good picks, too. Be sure to bring at least four swimsuits– you’ll want to put on a dry suit after each dive. Swim gear doesn’t take much luggage space, and it’ll keep you comfortable. For my female divers, wearing wet gear for too long can cause UTIs, which is the last thing you want when you’re out at sea!

Diving Gear: I loved having my own shortie wetsuit and neoprene booties. Even if you opt to rent a wetsuit, it’s essential to have neoprene socks or booties to prevent blisters when you’re wearing fins multiple times a day.

Lounge Outfits: You’ll want comfy outfits to wear between dives. It’s a casual vibe onboard, so pack your favorite summer essentials (depending on your destination) like shorts, sweats, tanks and sundresses.

Warm Clothes: While it won’t be cold if you’re diving somewhere tropical, it’s nice to have a cozy hoodie, sweater and pajamas. I only packed tropical wear but after diving all day, I was craving warm and cuddly clothes, especially with AC on in the cabins.

Dramamine Non Drowsy Naturals

Medicine to Bring for a Diving Liveaboard Trip

Ear Drops: When you’re underwater so often, your ears can get irritated, so be sure to bring swimmer’s ear drops. And, if you’re prone to ear infections, upgrade to medicated ear drops.

Decongestant: You should avoid taking a decongestant before you dive. However, it’s handy to have a decongestant to take in the evening so you can clear out sinuses for the next day.

Ibuprofen/Advil: When you’re at sea, you can’t just pop into the corner store. So, bring a pain reliever for sore muscles or headaches.

Antibacterial Cream: Pack Neosporin or Bactramycin for any cuts, broken skin or coral rash.

Hydrocortisone: Another first-aid essential, this stuff is a must-have for mosquito bites or other skin issues that can arise under the sea.

Seasickness Meds: Even if you have never been seasick, it’s worth having something like Dramamine just in case. Every boat is different, and you never know how your body might react.

Antibiotics: UTIs are always a concern when you’re spending so much time in wet gear. If you’re prone to them, ask your doctor to send you with some antibiotics because they won’t have any onboard.

Some countries, including Indonesia, sell antibiotics over the counter. If you know the name of what you’re looking for, you can just walk up to the local pharmacy and buy it (assuming it’s in stock!).

Extras to Bring for a Diving Liveaboard Trip

Super Glue + Electrical Tape: You never know what might happen, so having the tools to patch any situation up is always wise.

Laptop Computer: Bring a tablet or computer with an external hard drive so that you can download your images, back them up and clear off your SD cards without running out of space.

Chargers: Always keep these at the top of your packing lists!

Dry Bags: You’ll want to have dry bags to pack up your gear when you’re out on island excursions, and you’ll also need them to pack damp clothes for the trip back home. I’m obsessed with the chic ALOHA dry bags for dive days.

Water Shoes: For island excursions, you’ll also want to have water shoes for exploring the rocky shores.

Sunglasses: This is an obvious one! For every trip, it’s good to have a favorite pair and a spare.

Reef-Safe Sunscreen: Even though you’ll often be underwater, you’ll still want to protect your skin between dives and excursions.

Reef-Safe Shampoo and Conditioner: As always, it’s important to make sure that everything you are putting on your body is reef safe.

Mosquito Spray: Keep the mozzies away with this must-have, which is essential for excursions to the islands!

READ NEXT: Diving Raja Ampat with Samambaia Liveaboard

Further reading: Scuba diving trips

This post was written in partnership with As always, thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

The post What to Pack for a Diving Liveaboard Trip appeared first on The Blonde Abroad.