#1 4-21-2017 4:20 AM

nataliereynolds159
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First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

Me again,

So, I know this sounds ridiculous but what actually is the best way to travel?

I'm caught up between planning trips entirely, booking return flights, booking hostels in advance, having a full itinerary or

Just booking a one way flight to somewhere and taking it from there?

When I went to Iceland a lot of the people I met just took each day as it came, they had their flights & first accommodation booked but after that they just winged it really- I really like this idea of a way to travel but how realistic is it to do that when travelling?

also, when I look at hostels & things online they seem sooo expensive! I see a lot of people staying in these beautiful villas on a beach etc and yet they're on a budget? How do they do that? Just ask around?

I want to be spontaneous but I will admit as a 'young solo female traveller' it slightly terrifies me haha.

 

#2 4-21-2017 4:27 AM

CMTinPHX
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

If you think hostels are expensive, then you really need to have a budget ready. No worse bummer than getting to a site (e.g., Tower of London, Grand Canyon) and realizing you can't afford the entrance fee. See also, "food."

You can also try couchsurfing.com and especially workaway.info if you are in need of free or bartered lodging.

Safe travels...

 

#3 4-21-2017 4:46 AM

shavy
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Belgium
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

It doesn't work to book a one way flight. Airport immigration sometimes asked your return ticket. Best you can do book an open jaw ticket, cost a little more and you can fly anytime you want. Is always best to book a hotel for the first night and search the rest of your accommodation on spot

 

#4 4-21-2017 5:01 AM

sarahelaine
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

Hi Natalie. This is going to sound unhelpful, but it depends on who you are. Some people are nature's organisers. They want to plan each day of the itinerary and they're deeply uncomfortable winging it. Pros, they never leave a city and only find out about the amazing museum on leaving, they never end up stressed because they don't know where they're sleeping that night. Cons, they never get to find out about a cool concert and swap everything around so they spend an extra night, they can't skip town if they're bored, and over planning makes it hard to just absorb a town's atmosphere. Some people love winging it, are total chaos and don't book anything if they can help it. Pros, it's a genuine adventure, they find out stuff the locals love, and if they don't feel like another temple trip that day (or whatever) nothing's lost by heading to the beach instead. Cons, you're never sure whether you're going to double your costs because all the cheap hostels are full, you can waste time looking for transport options because the easy one sold out, and it can be a bit higher stress, especially if you're a natural organiser traveling with a chaos junkie. As a rule I'm a bit of both. For me, the balance goes book flights in and out and accommodation for my first three nights and book ahead on a rolling basis.

Most places and most times of year it's safe to wing it as long as you have a flight in and out. Some places are too busy- edinburgh in August, Seville at Easter- and I'd book that well in advance.

I've got more spontaneous as I've aged and got more confident. If you're nervous, it makes sense to book a bit more before you get there- some bookings are flexible for cancelling, some aren't, so that's worth checking.

In terms of price, Western Europe and the USA tend to be dear, Eastern Europe a bit cheaper, and south east Asia tends to be very cheap (I've not travelled in South America or Australia and Africa doesn't have an easy infrastructure for travel, so I would save that for not your first trip). South east Asia is a good first place- English is widely spoken and there are loads of other travellers around.

And don't sweat the lone female traveller bit. There's little advice I would give a younger female relative of mine I wouldn't also give her for a night out clubbing in the uk.

 

#5 4-21-2017 7:46 AM

gingerbatik
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

shavy wrote:

It doesn't work to book a one way flight. Airport immigration sometimes asked your return ticket. Best you can do book an open jaw ticket, cost a little more and you can fly anytime you want. Is always best to book a hotel for the first night and search the rest of your accommodation on spot

I done this for several years (4 years) nonstop travelling around the world with one way flight and no problem, except when I flew to certain countries without visa on my passport (eventhough I am allow to get a visa on arrival - especially to Indonesia) and i have to purchased the return flight on the spot ( in the airport).

Anyway, it is depend how do you want to travel, each people travel differently.
Most people will have a return flight and a couple of nights accommodation book and then see it from there, other will organise everything until they come home. or some people go with a tour.

If you have no problem with money, you can just wing it and buy a one way ticket to your destination and book one or two nights accommodation and then go through it.
Pro: you can decided what you want to see and do and if you get bored, just moved on.
Con: it is expensive if something happen and you need to change your plan immediately.

So, it is really up to you.  Good luck.

Last edited by gingerbatik (4-21-2017 7:58 AM)

 

#6 4-21-2017 8:43 AM

nataliereynolds159
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

CMTinPHX wrote:

If you think hostels are expensive, then you really need to have a budget ready. No worse bummer than getting to a site (e.g., Tower of London, Grand Canyon) and realizing you can't afford the entrance fee. See also, "food."

You can also try couchsurfing.com and especially workaway.info if you are in need of free or bartered lodging.

Safe travels...

I am not complaining about prices.. It just makes me curious how people who are on tight budgets can afford to stay in these (what look like) luxurious places? Private villas, huge beds & en suite showers, right on the beach..... I look at a hostel online and it's minimum £10 per night in a dorm, you want a private room and it's around £50 per night?

Am I being naive in believing these people are travelling on the cheap or is there a big secret I don't know about?

 

#7 4-21-2017 9:08 AM

shavy
Belinda
Belgium
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

@gingerbatik,

Is not everyone is lucky as you. I mentioned on my previous post that "sometimes" immigration officer asked a return ticket! this thing depends on the mood of border officer

In 30 years of my travels I've only asked once for my return ticket in New Zealand

Last year during our trip to Chile, the border officer in Santiago asked the return ticket of my boyfriend.......and while I went to another officer he stamps my passport without being asked my return ticket

Those are things that can't be certain if they asked your return ticket or not. Better to be prepare than sorry.....or you can buy a ticket at the airport if you don't have one, then cost a lot more

Traveling around to Southeast Asia you do not need to fly everytime you can cross overland. And also there are plenty of budget airlines where you can book for last minute

 

#8 4-21-2017 9:41 AM

sarahelaine
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

You can get hotel rooms for £30 in Europe, and less in Europe, if you travel out of season and stay a few minutes walk further out of the city centre. I've had four star rooms for £50. If you search these forums there'll be advice where to look but in south east Asia just turning up can work. Don't limit yourself to backpacker hostels- some are great so don't discount them either but I've seen rooms in nice hotels going for less than hostel dorms because they are a little way out of the centre in a safe but less touristy area. There are people on this site who can advise you about couch surfing as an option too.

But in terms of money, yes, travel can be expensive. Many people work second jobs for 18 months to fund a long trip. Others run up debt, which I would view as a very bad idea. And others find work abroad, although that's got harder as countries tighten up their visa rules. But that doesn't mean it's impossible. I'd start with working out if you are frittering any money away. I worked out I was having a coffee three times a week, for example. Three times £2.50 is £7.50 a week- £390 a year. There's a flight to anywhere in Europe and not far short of long haul if I shop around. A few £3 and £4 expenses off a week add up fast.

 

#9 4-21-2017 11:42 AM

Solomatrix
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

Research the place(s) you're going beforehand and plan accordingly
How much detailed planning you need to do is up to you but you need to be somewhat familiar with the place, what you want to see, safety precautions, things to prepare, etc.
Depending on the place you're going you can book everything in advance, book nothing at all, or something in between
It all varies based on your travel style, pace, where you're going, budget, etc.
The more you travel the more you will know what style, pace, things you like to eat/see/do, etc. are
I know this post isn't very helpful but travel style is different for everyone

 

#10 4-22-2017 6:04 AM

grandmar
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

I think the way that you travel depends on you as people have said and also quite a bit on where you are going. 

Back when I was 20 something and went from the USA to Europe for the summer, I did it with a first and last accommodation, a Eurail pass (which was a good deal back then - not so much now), and a round trip airline ticket.  I was traveling by myself, I was young and relatively fit and could travel with luggage that I could carry. But even in those days I had read about and had a plan in mind about what I wanted to see/do in each place.  I've written that trip up here http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/140252/

When I was traveling with my husband and children from one duty station to another, we would start early and stop early - usually trying to pick a place with a pool so the kids could swim after the long car ride.  We packed lunches.  But in those days there were no iPhones and no internet to book on the fly.

When I was traveling in my 60s, I would often do a package deal (not group travel, but I would have a travel agent who was an expert in the area book the hotels and rental cars for me)

Now that I am approaching 80, I need even more structure than that, and I book hotels in advance and research the destinations in more detail and I also take cruises because I don't have to pack and unpack but once.

As for the beautiful beach huts - if you go off-season the rates are less, and 'winging it' is MUCH easier as places are not as full.  You don't run the risk of having to sleep on the beach.   If you pick the right country, things are much less expensive.  Also 'deals' are available for some people.  For instance my husband being retired military can use Space-Available facilities and a much cheaper rate.

.

 

#11 4-23-2017 4:07 AM

CMTinPHX
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

nataliereynolds159 wrote:

It just makes me curious how people who are on tight budgets can afford to stay in these (what look like) luxurious places? Private villas, huge beds & en suite showers, right on the beach.

One of the skills you acquire as you travel more and more is to become fluent in Hotelspeak™.

For example, anything coastal will have the terms "beachfront," "beach view" or "nice." You can guess what the price differentials are like among the three, LOL. Regardless, ignore the pictures and descriptions (or just assume they're wildly puffed up) and rely instead on reviews and pictures posted on sites such as Tripadvisor ... or right here on TB.  :-)

Last edited by CMTinPHX (4-23-2017 4:08 AM)

 

#12 4-23-2017 7:58 AM

katzgar
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

the problem with trip advisor is a huge percentage of the reviews are fake.

 

#13 4-23-2017 8:30 AM

grandmar
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

The real answer to affording to stay somewhere on the beach is not to insist on being right on the beach.  One block back from the beach is much cheaper.

I don't use Trip Advisor reviews that much, except to find out what is available.  Reviews on Booking.com are much more reliable because you can't add a review unless you booked through them.  So the people have really stayed there.

Also really look at those photos of a place - you can be very creative with photos - cutting out undesirable parts of a place.  Huge bed?  Right on the beach? 

We stayed in a place called Ignacio's huts in Belize.  Right on the beach (check), Huge beds (well there were two beds a double and a single but the mattresses were on springs and it made the bed very bouncy)  en-suite shower (check - but the hut was on stilts and the shower drained out onto the sand below and there wasn't actually any hot water).

This was a very very cheap place to stay.  You were expected to bring your own towels.  You had to put the toilet paper in a waste basket because the septic system couldn't take it.  No A/C  (although we didn't need it).  No mirror in the bathroom.  But it was right on the beach

 

#14 4-23-2017 9:24 AM

shavy
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Belgium
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

I'm one of Tripadvisor contributor for a long time, my reviews here on TB is also reviewed on TA.  I used booking.com of all my trips.......you can determine the price by checking a box and read reviews from previous travelers

If you want to travel on budget you can do that..... most of my trips are budget. I have my limit price of accommodations

Resorts or hotel on the beach is not always expensive, depends on which country of destination. Like a bungalow on the beach in Southeast Asia you can stay for 25-50 dollar in Cambodia, Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia

I'm going to Myanmar in two weeks, I book a hotel on the beach, it wasn't a budget price because there weren't much hotels available in that place.

Hostels are cheaper than hotels, in Southeast Asia hostels are very cheap and as solo traveler is a good place to stay where you meet other travelers  http://www.hostels.com/

 

#15 4-24-2017 12:54 AM

MarioBG
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

I personally prefer to book everything in advance. Including bus/train tickets from city to city. I just feel that this way I save myself a lot of time from waiting around in ques or trying to decide where to go next. Of course before I make any bookings I carefully decide which places I would like to visit.
It also doesnt hurt to take a spontaneous day trip away to another nearby place in the moment. Iv done that on all my trips so far.
I find that my way of travel works quite well for me smile

 

#16 4-24-2017 2:51 AM

nataliereynolds159
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

Hahaa this is becoming a debate about tripadvisor now.

Being someone who has worked in the hotel industry, I take all reviews with a pinch of salt. But yes, I still do read them to get a general idea for the place. And usually anywhere with no reviews is either brand new or a place to avoid!!

In regards to booking accomodation, I ALWAYS 100% recommend booking direct. Most booking agents (booking.com, expedia, laterooms etc) take a cut of commission and usually advertise it to the customer as 'taxes' when really this money isn't going to the hotel at all. If you want the best prices, book direct with where you're looking. Yes, I understand if you have a loyalty memebership with a certain chain then you'll get discounts that way, but I don't think us 'travelers' are really going to become diamond members with Hilton hotels (are we? I mean I certainly don't have the money for that ahah)

Anyway, back to the original topic. Thank you everyone for your advice. I came to the realisation that these people I see on social media are being very clever. Yes, they got that villa for £5 a night, not mentioning they're sharing said villa with about 5 other people so of course the price is cut. Me going alone means I'm paying the full price. I get it now, I need to make travel buddies if I want to save money on things (ironic eh)

 

#17 4-24-2017 5:18 AM

kvom
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

I prefer to travel solo, and use airbnb where possible.  I book the first stay in advance, and then typically the next  stop 1-2 days before arrival.  In Europe  I've rarely had an issue.  When touring France by car a few years back I just used B&Bs and was able to easily find them the same day.

 

#18 4-24-2017 3:09 PM

cachaseiro
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

Be ware that when people link to something online, they often do it because they earn a percentage from the bookings that comes through their link.
So you will be paying full price if you follow some link that you get on a website.
You can often negotiate something better by going directly to the place you are staying and cutting out the middle man.

Also booking the same day you arrive (not the day before), can give you big discounts. Many hotels put their empty rooms on booking with a massive discount if they can see that they are about to have a night with many empty rooms.
I am in Lisbon several times a year for instance and I usually get a single room in a cosy little pension for 20€ a night, when booking the same day.
You are taking a chance there of course and you could potentially end up with no place to stay, but it has not happened to me yet.

It's really a lot about being streetwise and the more you travel, the more you learn.
I have been on the road non stop for +20 years and live +300 days a year in hotels and pensions.
This is possible if you are a little street smart.

And I always travel on one way tickets by the way.
In more than 1000 border crossings, I have only been asked twice for a return ticket. Once in the Philippines and once in Canada. I have been back to both countries several times after that though, without being asked for a return ticket.

 

#19 4-24-2017 3:52 PM

lauro
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

i camp to save money but mostly i do this when i do hardcore hiking / trekking and sort-of expedition.

for example i was in zermatt in switzerland for 10 days. the hostel there was 30-35 euros a night - only hostel. times 10 would be 300-350 euros.

the camping there which was very basic was only 12 euros a night so i only paid 120 euros for 10 days.

i buy food in supermarkets when i camp - bread, cheese, juice etc. saves the cost ten-folds. switzerland is a very expensive country but ive seen most of it - by doing it cheaply.


then when i was in iceland - i shared cost with amazing travbuddies for 8 days of roadtrip and camping in the wild. for a paid tour of what we did would cost 3000-3500 euros for an individual to book, but we did it ourselves and it was only around 550- 600 euros for each person - including three 4x4 car rental and petrol but it was the time when the economy of iceland wasnt doing well.


i personally dont want to wing it specially in big cities - coz its very stressfull lunging backpacks or trolleys going to hostel to hostel or cheap hotels if the other has no room available - but little villages - yes i wing it - but camping and bringing my tent. i am a person who's happy with any roof over my head but as age is catching up - sometimes i indulge to a private room in  big cities escaping the petty noises and drunken people in the hostel with no considerations of other people sleeping in the room too (unless theyre my friends).

the only time i paid alot for a trip - was when i trekked in the himalayas. i paid 1200 dollars for 14 days of trekking, i was alone and i was not familiar with the terrain eventhough i hiked alot in the high alps.  so i booked a mountain guide and a porter through an agency in advance, in case if anything happens.  i would do that by myself, i would only pay a quarter of that price - but safety comes first.

Last edited by lauro (4-24-2017 4:00 PM)

 

#20 4-25-2017 3:11 PM

jhulian
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

nataliereynolds159 wrote:

Anyway, back to the original topic. Thank you everyone for your advice. I came to the realisation that these people I see on social media are being very clever. Yes, they got that villa for £5 a night, not mentioning they're sharing said villa with about 5 other people so of course the price is cut. Me going alone means I'm paying the full price. I get it now, I need to make travel buddies if I want to save money on things (ironic eh)

I was about to say, especially on instagram.  That is usually the case, and also a lot of photographers would invite their "models", and they would usually accommodate everything.


I also usually find it more expensive booking a hotel straight from their website, but maybe because its a packaged deal with the flight that I think its cheaper. Never really looked into it, its just more convenient that way for me.

But I think its up to you and your time and budget. If you have a lot of it, book an open ticket and return whenever you feel like it.  That doesnt mean you have to be rich to be able to do that, just in my opinion, its better to plan things out when you are on a budget. Wouldnt want to run into issues in the middle of your adventure.

 

#21 4-25-2017 5:51 PM

grandmar
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

Natalie says:  "I don't think us 'travelers' are really going to become diamond members with Hilton hotels (are we? I mean I certainly don't have the money for that ahah)"

Actually I usually look for a Hampton Inn which is one of the Hilton brand of hotels.  If I book directly with Hampton Inns, I get points and get one of about every eight nights for free.  Hampton is a little more expensive than the Sleep Inns (which are part of another brand), but I know they will have parking, a good free breakfast, free wi-fi and comfortable beds, which are things that I want to have.  I don't get the points if I book through booking.com or another agency

I do NOT like actual Hilton hotels because all that stuff that I get for free at the Hampton Inn (particularly breakfast) is all extra at the Hiltons, and the room is more expensive too.

Some people get points through an airline or other type of credit card, but I would rather have a card without the reward points because nothing is free.  You pay for it one way or the other.

 

#22 4-26-2017 4:32 AM

harbinger
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

I travel as a family, as a couple and solo, depending on the destination and reason (business, family considerations or pleasure).  Each has its virtues and drawbacks, but my mantra is that it's better to do something on your own than to drag reluctant bodies around just because you think you need company.  It also means that I don't have to stick to the deal I've brokered with my kids, limiting me to one church and one castle per day wink
I am confident enough in most of Europe and sub-Saharan Africa to just book the flight and the first night's accommodation.  However, if we are visiting a new country/region, I often find a cheap package, and then ask to extend the return date.  That way, you have your flights booked (often at a price you couldn't equal if you were to book independently) as well as a few days accommodation.  That then allows you time to suss out the options in terms of accommodation, transport and interesting activities/places once you're on the ground.   So, for example, a couple of years ago, when we were still living in South Africa, we booked a package to Turkey, then booked cheap tickets with Pegasus to fly from Istanbul to Bucharest once we'd finished our time at the resort, and picked up a hire car for a couple of weeks in order to explore Transylvania.  This year, we've booked a heavily discounted package to Cancun because we want to get our heads around how easy it would be to travel more independently in Mexico on a future trip (as well as thawing out my African-born kids after their first European winter).
Alternatively, I often deliberately choose a circuitous flight routing to allow me to stop off en route (free of charge).  Certain airlines actively encourage this to provide tourists with a 'taster' of the country, in the hope that they'll like it and come back in future for a longer stay - Icelandair and Ethiopian Airlines being a couple of cases in point.  This doesn't even need to be days - I often will look for a long stopover so that I can explore a new city for the day (thus saving on the cost of accommodation, which works really well for more expensive cities such as those in Scandinavia).  Before you do this, just be sure that you know where the airport is in relation to the city, and the cost of transport to/from the airport to the city, as with airlines such as Ryanair, you could come horribly unstuck with this approach (given that some of the airports they use are upwards of 50km from the city they purportedly service, with limited/no access to public transport)

Last edited by harbinger (4-26-2017 4:33 AM)

 

#23 4-28-2017 5:47 PM

stefaniegreen
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

If it was me I would just book one way and go with the flow of things. I am sure you will find extremely cheap hostels or airbnb  wherever you go.

 

#24 5-5-2017 4:15 PM

nats90
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Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

Hey
This was me last year before i did my first stint of travel. I booked my first flight and my first hostel and then nothing else. I took each day as it came. The best advice i got was to just enjoy it and book it when your in each place. Its super easy to book for the next day or that day. The hostels are fantastic in helping you book and most will do it for you. I found if i did it this way, if i met people i could then travel onwards with them rather than go somewhere alone. You might book all your plans and then hate a place you have to stay for longer than a day.
So honestly take each day as it comes. Its the best way (in my opinion smile haha)

 

#25 5-6-2017 12:27 AM

nataliereynolds159
Natalie
Hvar, Croatia
Award: Happy Happy Happy
Couch Potato
Posts: 36

Re: First time wannabe traveller. My question; how do you travel?

Thanks for the advice everyone!! So far I've booked a one way ticket to Croatia and have got 3 months work exchange lined up so far, I guess if I wanted to move on there's nothing to stop me right? I'm not tied to any contracts or anything like that.

@nats90 I hear what you're saying about meeting people and travelling with them, that's always been in the back of my mind. In the past I feel I've missed out because I've already had my own plans, alone, and another group of people go out and have an epic time. Sounds childish but I do have major FOMO sometimes haha

 

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