Travel trends 2019 from Booking.com

Happy New Year! I wish you had an amazing holiday. I certainly did 🙂

The travel industry is changing rapidly and knowing what to expect will help us organize the best trips on a good budget. What can we expect for the travel industry in 2019? Booking.com released prediction and I will share the most important ones with you.

1. Thoughtful travel

This year people will travel to places where they express interest in social, political, environmental matter. Travelers will choose to go to places where they know about and they will set up their focus on safety.

2. Focus on experience

Travelers were focused a lot on experience in 2018, but experience will be a keyword for 2019. Actually 60% of the travelers values more experiences than material goodies. Travelers seek places where they can feel like children again and release the stress.

3. More weekend trips

There is the old dilemma, shell we keep our holiday allotment and use it for long holidays or shell we split our days and have long weekends but often. This year, the prediction is that travelers will use more long weekends in order to release stress. They will focus on making the trips personal and tailored specially for them. The prediction is that people will not compromise the good quality even for short stays.

4. “Easy” is the new keyword

“Easy” is the new standard for travelling. Think of key-less doors, tickets loaded on your phone, paperless confirmations, no need of printing anything. We heard the fuzz about AI (artificial intelligence), Virtual reality (VI) and the travel industry will work exactly in this direction to make our trips exra special and unique.

The travelers are interested in tracking their luggage in real time on their mobile, having only one app satisfying all their needs and plans for their whole trip. One third of the travelers would like to see virtual personal travel agent in their home.

People prefer experience over buying material stuff and the demand for high quality travel push the travel industry to develop, to make our trips easier, to offer more exotic choices and a lot of technological updates.

Pepijn Rijvers, Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com comments: “2019 is set to be an exciting year for travel. With technological advancements, an ever more connected world and a continuously growing consumer appetite for the best travel experiences, we’re poised for groundbreaking developments, taking travel to unexplored heights. With a mission to empower people to experience the world, Booking.com learns and innovates continuously and we’ve never been more excited to be at the epicentre of thrilling industry.”

The full list of the trends released by Booking.com can be found here.

Thank you for visiting,
keep traveling and let me know if you like my comment 🙂

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Why do you need to visit Halkidiki Sithonia, Greece instead of the Greek islands

Who did not dream of vacation in Greece so far? Well if you haven`t, then you should check the pictures below first 😉

The good news are that you can actually organize it on a budget, and you do not need to travel necessarily to one of their thousands of islands. You do not need to spend a fortune for a fly ticket (like 250 EUR) as well. You can actually make your trips in Greece on a budget with amazing quality where you will not need to compromise a thing.

Here I am with the promised article for Sithonia, Halkidki, Greece, after your voted on my Instagram @lostinpollyland to have 2 different artickles for the places I visited in Greece this summer. Let`s start with how you can reach Halkidiki.

Where is Sithonia and how can you go there?

Sithonia is in the middle of the Halkidiki peninsula and described as the most beautiful sleeve of the three.

All the Bulgarians go there by car, which takes approximately around 4 hours from Sofia. The roads in Greece are really good, and with a GPS it is pretty easy to find your way around.

If you are flying to Greece and for everyone who is not traveling from Bulgaria –
my flights to Greece were… 80 EUR! You have to fly to the nearest airport which is Thessaloniki. The airport is small and all the low coast companies fly to Thessaloniki. I used Ryanair from Eindhoven, Holland, and I was very happy with the price because it was July, in the beginning of the peak summer season. However at this moment, I would not recommend you to use Ryanair anymore, due to their numerous strikes, and flight issues. In any case, you can find much cheaper tickets to Thesaloniki than to the island for example. As usual, use skyscanner.

You will definitely need a car in Greece, or you will be stuck to only 1 place for the whole vacation. I recommend you to rent a car from here: link

However always check what your flight company offers you for car rentals.

Why Sithonia?

I visit two of the sleeves in Halkidiki, and I can say that they are both absolutely beautiful, but Sithonia was less crowded and showed many small, sheltered emerald beaches than Kassandra did. It has 92 beaches, which is pretty impressing. If you drive 2-3 km you will find a new beach and a new one and the next one. There is always a choice.

Beaches I visited in Sithonia and I recommend you to visit:

Lagomandra Beach

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Coviou beach

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Kalogria Beach

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These 3 are enough for 5 days staying there, because I am sure you will fall in love with them and you would like to visit them second and third time.

More Beaches in case you still would like to visit different places every day.

Orange beach;
Sarti beach;
Kriaritsi beach.

Here is a really good map of the beaches with great pictures and videos of all of them: Link

Which village shell I choose to book my hotel?

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Once you see the beaches, you can decide where do you want to stay, so you can be close to them. I staid in Neos Marmaras. It is amazing village with nightlife, restaurants, shops but also really close to all the beautiful beaches (by car).
I certainly recommend you the village and I can share with you which property I choose to stay in: Aria’s House Studios & Apartments.

What can you eat in Sithonia?

I would advice you to focus on the fish and vegetables when visiting Greece. If you live in Bulgaria, than the difference in the taste of veggies will not be that big, but if you live abroad, and go to Greece, even the tomatoes would seem that are “sprinkled with sugar” as we say it. 😀

The fish is fresh and absolutely amazing. Since I am a foodie person, and a I love grilled fish, I can conclude that in Halkidiki they prepaired the fish the best way with amazing spices.

Food I would suggest to try there:

Try octopous, since this is really a specialty in Sithonia. I am not that big fan of octopus, but worth to order it once.

Dorada, because it is amazing.


Eggplant salad

Squids
Zucchini

Restaurants I reccomend: Fish Tavern o Harris
Okyalos
A stunning view, and absoutely great fresh fish, I went there 2 times and I fully reccomend you to tat at least once. In this place, focus on the fish and not on pasta (with sea food etc).

The desserts are for free, usually are fruits or chocolate pancake.
For breakfast, I almost always took yogurt with fruits, so I can`t suggest too many things, but they have a pastry with cheese which remains me of Banica, so you can certainly take that.
Try their cookies shops. They have cookies per grams, so if you see such a place, stop and take some. They are amazing.

The service

I live in Holland, and customer service is not really a thing here, so when I went to Greece, I felt like I am in a 5 star resort all the time. They are really nice, positive people with an eye to details, taking care of you having the greatest possible holiday.

The weather

Halkidiki is sunny, and if you are like me and you like booking half an year/an year in advance, then you can pretty much be safe if you book in July, August and September.

If you like to check the weather, you can do it from here.

What to buy from Sithonia:

Of course, you can not miss the famous olive oil. Take o.3% extra vergin. If you are flying with Ryianair, then you do not have a lot of luggage and you can buy small bottles, specifically for taking on the plane for you or for a present.
Uzo, which I am not a fan of, however, I bought it for a present.
There many shops for beach wear, that are pretty amazing.

Thank you for reading, and if you like my content, please share on you Facebook and social media channels. 🙂

XXX

11 proven tips for booking the cheapest flight

What is next? One month after New Year, we are back to work and I think it is time to start planing our next holiday, or the holiday agenda for the whole year. We already know how to book our accommodation on budget, so let`s find out how to book the cheapest flights!

If you want to take the most of your holidays and enjoy it on budget, you have to start planning in advance and that is why I would like to share with you, how I manage to book the cheapest flights for my holiday.

1. Fake location
The location does make difference when it comes to flights. Especially if you are booking domestic flights. If you manage to trick the website to think you are actually in the States, when booking a flight from NY to LA, may b you will get a cheaper flight. More information you can find here.

2. Best day to fly
Check what are the cheapest prices in the whole month. Just click flexible dates and check the cheapest option of the month.

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3. Google it
Just google form were to where you are travelling, and Google may surprise you with a new route, because a plane is not always the best option.

4. Sky scanner
My ultimate favorite search engine for cheap flights! Why? Because you can choose the dates and leave the destination to “everywhere”. This way it will show you the cheapest flights for these days.

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5. Compare low cost companies
The low cost companies such as Wizz Air, Ryanair, even Transavia should be checked separately. The first two are not included in Sky Scanner so you definitely need to check them.

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6. Follow them on social media
Why? Because they can have many promotions, if you share a post or like something and then receive a reward. And yes, that can really work!

7. Check the extra fees
Most of the low cost companies has extra fees that appears only at the 2nd or 3rd page. Try to book the flight before actually paying for it so you can see all the fees and the total amount.

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8. Think about different combinations
Check the airport you are landing at(what`s the distance to the city. It might happen that you have to pay higher amount for the bus from the airport to the city you are visiting, than the actual flight.

9. Search in incognito
One of my favorite tips! Search in incognito can really make a difference. I am now booking a holiday for my birthday in March and have 1 screen open using normal Chrome, and one screen in Incognito. You guys… there is a huge difference I am telling you. You can go incognito by holding Ctrl + Shift + N

10. Sign up for the newsletters of the low coast companies
This way when Wizz Air has a discount, then you can be among the first one to know.

11. Book around a month before your trip
Skyscanner says the best time is 3 weeks in advance. In my experience I always choose between 4 and 3 weeks in advance for a cheap flight.

Extra tip for a cheap flight: I read a lot about people checking kayak.com. I do not use it but I see a lot of positive reviews, so give it a try.

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Thank you for visiting,
please share your thoughts and like my post if you like my content
See you next time
XXX

12 tips from Booking.com employee to book your holiday as a pro

We all know that sometimes organizing a holiday can be a lot of pain and can cost fights and arguments within the family or friendship. I am constantly using the website and also saw many cases in which the process went wrong. As a pro in the Booking process, I made a list with tips which will help you book your dream property easily using Booking.com.

1. Refer a friend
With Booking.com you are able to earn money when referring a friend to book. You will receive a unique link which you need to share with your friend, and after their stay, you will get your reward. All you need to do is to save your credit card on your account, and the reward will be sent directly on the card.

There are some rules in order to receive the reward. For example, you can not refer yourself. Read more about it here: Refer a friend

2. Genius Booker discount

As a Genius Booker or in other words – loyal guest, you will receive 10% discount in the price of selected rooms in thousands of properties worldwide. My tip here is to use 1 account only while booking with Booking.com, because they count the number of bookings, and after the 5th one, you will become a Genius Booker automatically.

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3. Use the filters
When you are searching for property on a specific location, dates, number of people etc. use the filters to sort the list with properties according to what else you would like to have in your booking. In case you want breakfast, parking, spa, apartment and many other things, just tick it and the website will show you only the properties that has it. It will save you so much time and make your life much easier. Since we are always trying to make the trip on a budget, you can hit “the lowest price first”.

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4. Book according a specific landmark
Type a landmark you would like to be staying around and the website will show you the properties near by. If you like to be around Dam square (the main square in Amsterdam) you will see all the properties near by.

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5. Using the map
If you click on the location of the property you will be able to see where it is located on the map. That option is very helpful in order to plan your stay and see where exactly the property is in the city and what you can visit around it.

6. Booking.com Customer Service number
Sometimes is hard to find the customer service numbers on different websites for a specific language, especially when you are in hurry and in difficult situation. Please understand that Customer Service is not able to override the conditions of the reservations and they are simply a mediator between you and the property. There are strict procedures for every single case you can think of, and when you call they know how to help the best way possible. Click the customer service help on the bottom of the page and then choose why you need to reach them. That will lead you to the list with languages of customer service.

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7. Check the pictures of the room (not only the accommodation)
Many people check only the main pictures of the accommodation, but what is very important for you is to see how the room you are booking looks like. Simply click on the name of the room.

8. Check the fine print
Very important! In the fine print you will find the conditions that apply on property level – meaning for all the different rooms. There you can find security deposit information, payment required via bank transfer, and many other stuff.

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9. Check the included/excluded taxes
Besides the amount that you see displayed in the table with different room types and policies, please check whether all taxes are included. MANY properties leave their taxes excluded for more attractive appearance, or country regulations or other things… so do not be surprised.

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10. Difference between cancellation and deposit policy of the booking
The cancellation policy is quite different than the deposit policy. That is mostly important when you book a free cancellation reservation, but on the other hand a pre-payment is required. Do not worry, you will get your money back if you decide to cancel within the cancellation policy.

11. Make sure you arrive withing the check-in time
Do not assume that if you send a request to the property for arrival outside the check-in time, that is enough and they are aware. You need their conformation. They are allowed to cancel the booking, if you do not show up by the end of the check-in time.

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12. Reviews
Of course, that is the biggest advantage of using Booking.com – you get to see what hundreds and thousands of people think about those properties and decide based trustworthy and transparent reviews.

Let me know if that helps you!
Thank you for visiting
till the next time
XXX

Extensive guide: 3 full steps how to fall asleep on a plane

The people who travel very frequent know that it is quite a challenge to fall asleep during your flight. There is no problem if it is a short one – 1-2 hours, but in case it is longer, I am literally going crazy! I am running out of activities (and battery), there is no internet, (obviously we are going for a budget trip, so we are using the low cost flights) and I just want to relax for some time. Trying to fall asleep, but not managing can really create a headache. The buzzing sound of the machine, low space, baby crying somewhere, bad food and coffee, no internet and dimmed light making it painful to read a book… on top of that some turbulence that keeps our stress levels up and swallow feet due to decompression. I certainly prefer to fall asleep if I can. So I decided to research what can help me, speak with flight stuff and share what I found.

1. Before the flight

First get ready with proper clothes. I remember when I traveled to Thailand I decided for a first time to buy clothes specifically for the flight (since it was like 16 hrs. all together). Then I saw how much more comfortable I feel when I put my special fighting clothes. I have a black skinny shirt, and high waist very wide pants. They are both looking cool together and very comfy. We all know how our body swelling from the decompression, which means that we need comfy socks and shoes as well.

Second, get ready with a flight tool kit. Prepare a kit for your trips which will save you headache.

My kit includes:

Thirdly, make sure that you choose the seat next to the window. Not only that gives you nice view, but also it is the best place while trying to relax during flight. You all know all this budget friendly flights are very low on space, so this seat is the only one that can give you a little bit more comfortability.

2. During flight

Let’s try to make yourself feel like home, without bothering any other person.

I would recommend eating a snack. It is better to prefer it yourself or to buy it from somewhere before the flight. I find the food on the plane really terrible, dissatisfying and will certainty make u feel even more hungry.

We can take out our shoes, just make sure that does not bother anyone 🙂 even better suggestion: have a extra pack of socks with you for the flight. The last thing we want is to receive a complaint about a bad smell in from of at least 4-10 people.

Put the glasses on. 😀 This way you do not look chatty. At least this is how I avoid continuous conversations. There are many chatty passengers around, which is alright but not when we are trying to relax. The dark glasses will relax your eyes, and get you ready to fall asleep like you are at home with curtains down.

Get your spray out and without bothering the passenger around you, keep your face hydrated and clean. I get pimples when I travel with a plane, and the spray truly helped me.

3. Falling asleep.

As the flying stuff say, up in the clouds: “put your seat belt, sit back and relax”.
Do not worry if you get just few minutes of sleep, sometimes this is all we need. Do not push your eyes and whole body to fall asleep again, that leads only to headache. Make sure you have downloaded Netflix TV shows or Game of thrones, and if you run out of battery, that is the time to open the book. After a short nap, you brain is refreshed and you will enjoy it more + that is another reason to sit next to the window;)

I wish I could provide more pictures of me falling asleep, but they were always looking weird so you get the idea.

People think that travelling with a plane is just a regular way to move from one place to another, but I think it is related with a lot of stress, and it is much more uncomfortable comparing to other vehicles. It is the fastest though, but I think in order to enjoy it more we definitely need some good preparation.

Let me know if you like my guide or you have more ideas.

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Till the next time XXX

9 tricks to spend less during holiday

Since I give my tips for travelling on a budget but comfortable, you will not find any recommendation for hostels, couch surfing, hitch-hiking, etc. Today I will share my ideas how to minimize the costs via small and simple tricks that we usually do not focus on.

1. Good preparation

Preparation for the trip is the key to a good budget. People ask me how I manage to travel so often, and now I will share my simple secret.

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I arrange my free days first. I plan when the next holidays is much in advance, which allows me to check the cheapest destinations ever. For example, I know most of my holidays until the end of December 2018! That leads to the next step…

Check the fly tickets for this days to everywhere. What I do is to compare the tickets for these days to`everywhere` through scyscanner.net and choose the cheapest ones. I got most of my deals for around 100 EUR, (many of them 15, 30 and 50 EUR and few of them 100, 130). I do not spend more than that on flight tickets.

Check the accommodation costs in the area before you book anything. Before you buy the flight tickets, check the accommodation via Booking.com. You do not want to book a 30 EUR flight to Switzerland and to end up paying a fortune for a hotel.

Calculate the sigh-seeing costs roughly. The last step is to calculate the sightseeing that you want to visit and then you are left with the calculation for shopping and going out. Voila!

I know it sounds a lot of work, but all that is done within 15 min., once you have the free dates 😉

2. Ask the locals

I always ask my colleagues for tips and recommendations, however if you do not have such a diverse team and colleagues, you can find a friend, friend of a friend BEFORE you go there. And of course, it does not hurt to ask around when you arrive there. But DO ASK the locals. Few days are enough to make you spend a fortune if you go to the wrong places.

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3. Make a budget plan (and stick to it)

I am (most of the time) very strict with my budget plan but if you are not like that when you make your plan, put some extra 50-80 EUR for something that can come up and you want to buy. Just be strict with yourself, you are already spoiled enough with the trip 😉

4. Avoid breakfast outside

That is my favourite meal of the day, and it is extremely nice to go out and enjoy the nice view. But hey, you can still do it over a cup of coffee, avoiding 25 EUR for breakfast! If I want to go really on a budget, I avoid it and have some groceries to prepare a sandwich. I prefer to go out for lunch and dinner and enjoy music and maybe a party, then having the breakfast.

5. Travel with hand luggage
I know many people who use the low-cost companies but then add the luggage. I mean… it is needless! What you need to do is to prepare your clothes properly, arrange it and take as less as possible. It is all about the good preparation. How many of us took lots of clothes on a holiday and did not wear half of it? Save your money for unused clothes.

6. Do not spend money on clothes before the trip so you can enjoy shopping there

Small tip to save up money. I know it is tempting to spend money on clothes thinking how you will wear it on your holiday, but push away those feelings and save it for the trip. I bought my favourite clothes from different cities around the world.

7. Avoid drinking (fancy) cocktails

The alcohol is what makes us spent a fortune going out in the evenings. I am always tempted to experience some nice cocktails on the beach, and I am also a fan of strawberry mojito, but if you want to go on a budget you can minimize it and have wine instead.

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8. Check for discount cards or sightseeing cards that include many of them

Make a good research for the sightseeing cards and deals, museum cards, and possible options to see as much as you can for less. There are many combo tickets that you would not know about without asking locals or making one good research. I used 3 museums for the price of 1 in Nice!

9. Take a bottle of water in your bag
A bottle of water in Amsterdam starts from 2,69 EUR to 3 and 4 EUR. I mean we can save this money when we travel and it is so simple. Just make sure you have an empty bottle. Stay hydrated 😉

I hope my tips help you and I am sure we all know them but the point is that we do not focus that much and we end up loosing at least 100 EUR extra, because of that.

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till the next time

6 reasons why I choose to spend my money on traveling, not on things

We all have so many bills to pay: rent, phone, health insurance, gym, and the list goes on. After you pay all of these bills, where do you invest the rest of your money? Would you choose expensive clothes or jewelry than a long weekend in France?

The excitement of buying new things is there only at first. After a very short time, it`s gone and you consider those things old already and you want to buy more. The shopping therapy will not be enough to keep you excited, relaxed or to make your self-esteem levels higher for the whole month unless you are buying all the time.

Here is why I choose to invest my money in traveling, not in buying stuff:

Relax. Vacations are not always relaxing as most of us are familiar. The saying “I need a vacation from this vacation” is totally applicable for many of my holidays. However, what I mean here is that your mind relaxes from the routine. You can`t reach this feeling with buying new stuff (not for a long time). Beautiful views, nature and new cities clear your mind of all the pressure, it takes you out of the rut.

Keep your self-esteem up. It is quite important for us to feel good and confident about ourselves. Usually, our self-esteem is built on positive experience with ourselves. Traveling to new places, learning new facts about new cultures, meeting new people will broaden our horizon. This whole new experience will boost your self-esteem as you learn new things that enrich your mind and because you gain a positive experience with yourselve.

Gets you excited. I like to say that my favorite emails are flight confirmations. When I make a reservation for an accommodation, I feel like a little kid going to Disneyland! I can’t help it, I just get this amazing high when I get on a plane (I know that can sound a little weird, but it is true). I need something to look for and hold on to while dealing with annoying daily problems. Honestly, how often would you say: it so difficult now, I feel so overwhelmed, have so many tasks at work, but it would be all good… once I buy this sweater at the end of the month 🙂

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On the other hand, traveling brings you to meet a lot of people. Most of them are tourists like you that are coming to enjoy, laugh, have fun and just relax. You know those people that are just happy? You can meet many of them traveling. Be around to those people, hung out with them, exchange your contacts. Interacting with happy people on high energy levels, bring your energy levels up as well.
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These memories last lifetime. It is undeniable fact! We do make memories that brighten our lives in a difficult moment, that can cheer us up and when we grow old, we would not sit and wonder: what if. We are truly rich with what we have in our minds and no one can steal from us those experiences.

While I was in the States, I was trying to save up some money during the summer, but one part was always spent by default for my trips. I probably spent like ½ or ⅓ on that, and while I saw some people working all the summer and going home straight after they finish, I felt proud that I spent this money on travelling, especially now that I can hardly remember how much I earn, what I spent and what I did with the rest…

You see, at this moment, years later – memories is all that matters.

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Makes you an interesting person (turns you into a storyteller. How much of a boring story will be, if we do not travel and we speak only about the things we buy? Your trips can always be an opening topic or an interesting point you want to add.

You can try different cuisine. Some people will say that it is easy to try different cuisines even in your own country. However, you know… when the products are not local when it is not done exactly the correct way when the spices are even slightly different – it is just not the same! Let`s face it – you have to try the local thai food, the local spanish food, french, bulgarian – then you can truly enjoy it and say what your impression is.

For me traveling is very important part of my life. I believe we have to practice the hobbies that we love. My two favourite hobbies, that makes me happy are: traveling and writing. Not practicing them will make me lose my spirit and fall down. I believe that practicing what we love, brings our vibration high, makes us happy and full of love, put a smile on our faces. Be one of those people, who walks on the streets with a silly smile, consumed of the plans for their next trip. And I am pretty sure this smile won’t be there because of the plans to buy a new sweater.

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Thank you for visiting,
Till the next time