How to Become a Travel Agent—Because, Believe It or Not, the Industry Is on the Rise

By Scott Bay

How to Become a Travel Agent—Because Believe It or Not the Industry Is on the Rise

There’s a reason “how to become a travel agent” has been a continuously trending search phrase on Google—it is a career path that offers a flexible work environment and schedule, ample travel opportunities, and an immersion into a supportive world-wide industry. It's a surprise to some in 2023: Once the internet became widely available, it was largely believed that needing a travel agent was obsolete. However, even though the brick-and-mortar agencies with punny names in strip malls have vanished, the career is on-the-rise .

New software options are making it easier than ever for people to make money planning trips, either as a side hustle or as a full-time business. That’s why Cherikonda, India-based stay-at-home mother, Maya Kapoor-Miller, decided to enter the professional world as a travel agent this year, at 31. “I knew nothing about the travel industry prior to signing up,” says Kapoor-Miller, who decided to use San Francisco-based booking platform Dreamport to establish her online travel advisor business. “It is my first business in life, and the only one that you can start with no investment.”

But there's also a rise in demand. When people ventured back into the world after the pandemic, travel agents saw an overwhelming amount of business . And that momentum hasn’t stopped—when travel is complicated, like it was in 2020 and 2021, travelers turned to professional trip planners to create a seamless vacation. For better or worse, traveling has remained complicated and chaotic, with new rules being implemented (like Americans needing to pay a fee to visit Europe in 2024 ) and airline strikes and staffing issues. Offloading all of the nitty-gritty details to someone else is more appealing than ever.

For those entering the field, there's also the age-old motivator: a love of travel. 

Shelton Ellis, who is based in North Carolina, recently saw these opportunities and left behind more than 20 years in public relations and global advertising to turn his passion into a career. “I was born with a wanderlust that would wear Rick Steves out,” Ellis says. “I decided to take the leap and follow that lifelong yearning. Transitioning into this role was really about learning how to monetize what I'm passionate about.”

Whether you are looking for a new career path or a lucrative side-hustle—or simply curious about those taking the plunge—here’s how to become a travel agent, from the qualifications and education required, to anticipated earnings, according to those who have made the shift in the past year. 

What exactly does a travel agent do?

Travel agents, or travel advisors (the term is mostly interchangeable), manage everything that goes into a trip for their clients: the flights, car transfers, accommodations, restaurant reservations, and more—they even inspire the itinerary. The reason people turn to travel agents, aside from having a helping hand during any travel chaos , is also to tap into the travel agent’s first-hand knowledge of destinations, and their industry partnerships, which often lead to perks such as hotel upgrades, ideal airplane seats, and experiences that can’t be found on a search engine.

“You have to remember that as a travel agent, you will be a guide for people during their happiest moments—family reunions, weddings , baptisms, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences that people have dreamt of,” says Kapoor-Miller. “It has been one of the most rewarding aspects of being a travel agent. You navigate people, inform them, and help them choose.”

So, how do you become a travel agent?

There are many ways to become a travel agent, from joining an existing travel agency , to starting an independent business from the ground up. Others are opting for one of the buzziest start-ups in the travel industry, Fora . When it launched in 2021, the software company, which trains and provides search engine-optimized profile pages to advisors—at one point had a waitlist of over 30,000 people eager to begin a part-time gig. Travel photographer and Condé Nast Traveler contributor Amanda Villarosa is currently in the process of joining.

“I'm the person that friends and family come to for travel recommendations, tips and tricks, and general travel advice,” says Villarosa. “After discovering Fora and looking into it, I realized that it could be the perfect side-hustle, considering I'm already so involved in the industry.”

With additional flexibility, Villarosa was able to move from New York City to splitting her time between Denver and Los Angeles . She says that the sign-up was quite straightforward. “You're given a dedicated Fora email and have access to advising tools and fellow Fora advisors,” she says. “The training is in the form of Zoom meetings and videos, which you have the option to watch at your own pace. Once completed, you take a certification quiz and you're on your way to advising.”

The other ways in are slightly more involved. To begin an independent practice, you go about it like many other businesses. You will have to create an LLC, establish a business name, cultivate marketing materials, build a website, find clientele, and more.

Ellis found something in the middle, choosing to connect with an established travel agency. “Don't be afraid to reach out to an agency looking to take on new advisors and is willing to mentor," says Ellis. "I was fortunate to learn so much from Annie Chambers, the owner of Crafted Escapes , who has seven years in the business.” He now knows the ropes on everything from using itinerary-building software to destination-specific training, to the sales and marketing aspects of the trade.

Is there required education or qualifications?

Ellis says that there's no certification, per se, required to become a travel advisor, but there are countless training courses available like Departure Lounge ’s classes on navigating the industry through hotels and tour operators. He said it’s also important to stay on top of travel trends. Ellis recently completed travel agent training programs provided by premier cruise lines such as Virgin Voyages , Ritz-Carlton Yachts , and Cunard to help agents sell their products more accurately.

How much does a travel agent make?

What a travel agent earns depends on how many trips they successfully book for their clients. The entire model is commission-based, meaning agents earn a percentage of the total cost of the vacation they orchestrate. Many travel advisors choose to charge a flat-rate planning fee in addition to their commission, but balance is key—if you charge a high planning fee, it could lead to potential clients going elsewhere.

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Fora ’s website states that “some of our full-time, expert advisors earn well into the six figures (or beyond).” So a lucrative career may be on the horizon, for those who are able to build a robust client base and excellent industry connections.

How much you make can also depend on where you live around the world. “I am being paid in dollars,” says India-based Kapoor-Miller. “So the currency fluctuations of the local exchange rate are not something I am worried about.”

What are the key skills required to become a travel agent?

“Travel agents need a mix of customer service, communication, destination knowledge, organizational, and problem-solving skills,” says Kapoor-Miller. “But I would say that adaptability, flexibility, curiosity, and cultural sensitivity top them all—you have to put yourself in other's shoes, and understand the requirements, hopes, and expectations of your clients along with any worries and questions they may have.”

It’s vital to have a passion for traveling, even the aspects of the process that aren’t as exciting, such as learning about new airline routes, train schedule updates, and industry news. “It can be an information-heavy hustle, and I believe it's important to be excited about it as that energy definitely transfers to your clients and partners,” Villarosa says.

Should travel advisors choose a specialization?

Many travel advisors have found success through becoming an expert in a few types of travel and destinations. “It's important to become an authority and learn as much as you can through personal experiences and continuing education,” says Ellis. “As a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community , an avid snow skier, and scuba diver, I know not only the popular destinations but others that are off the beaten path, equally safe and adventurous for all travelers.” This helps travel agents establish a competitive edge, and hopefully convince potential clients to choose them for their expertise.

What are the benefits of being a travel agent?

“Flexibility tops them all,” says Kapoor-Miller. “And the ability to start without industry knowledge. If you worry that you are too old for this job, the good news is that this is a job you can enter and enjoy at any age.”

Another great perk is the "Familiarization trip,” says Ellis. “Tourism boards and hotels invite agents to visit and familiarize themselves with a particular country and its properties. After all, any accomplished salesperson should learn everything they can about their products first-hand...even if they're in Bora Bora.” It's hard work, but someone's got to do it. 

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Since 1971, Travel + Leisure editors have followed one mission: to inform, inspire, and guide travelers to have deeper, more meaningful experiences. T+L's editors have traveled to countries all over the world, having flown, sailed, road tripped, and taken the train countless miles. They've visited small towns and big cities, hidden gems and popular destinations, beaches and mountains, and everything in between. With a breadth of knowledge about destinations around the globe, air travel, cruises, hotels, food and drinks, outdoor adventure, and more, they are able to take their real-world experience and provide readers with tried-and-tested trip ideas, in-depth intel, and inspiration at every point of a journey.

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Want to tour the Louvre after hours? Tag rhinos in Rwanda? Get married on Mykonos? Throw a milestone birthday party on St. Barts? Or take a luxurious cruise to the Arctic? Our travel advisors have you covered. In our 22nd annual A-List, we present a directory of the most influential vacation specialists in the world, vetted by the editors at  Travel + Leisure .

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How to become a travel agent.

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Travel is an experience many people enjoy, as has been evidenced by airlines expanding their schedules and TSA reporting their highest number of passengers screened. If you enjoy travel and plan trips for yourself and others, you may consider a career in travel. Here is what you can do to become a travel agent.

An airline agent (C) helps travelers at O'Hare International Airport Terminal 1 in Chicago, ... [+] Illinois, on November 21, 2023, ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP) (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Becoming a travel agent isn’t difficult, but some experience will help. There generally aren’t any licenses or certificates required to be a travel agent in the United States. However, each state has its regulations that may require registration and insurance. Plus, having some experience or training in hospitality, tourism, business, and marketing is favorable.

As with many jobs, a high school diploma and even a bachelor’s degree may be required. Additionally, having knowledge of booking sites and a variety of travel destinations and geography can help further your career.

You can apply to various agencies if you’d like to be part of a team of travel agents. Or, you may decide to start your own business. Should you choose the latter, determine if any permits are required in your state. Consider any overhead costs, and be sure to insure your business.

Additional Courses For Becoming A Travel Agent

It also wouldn’t hurt to take a few courses that can help you advance your career. Many universities, community colleges, and trade schools offer courses in the hospitality sector. Some of these courses may also be available online.

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Alternatively, several professional agencies offer courses for certification. Some of these include:

  • American Society of Travel Advisors
  • Cruise Lines International Association
  • International Air Transport Association
  • Travel Industry Designator Service
  • The Travel Institute

Having knowledge about travel insurance is also a good idea.

What Are Some Skills I Need To Become A Travel Agent?

Certain skills can help you do well in your career. These skills include research, listening, and customer service. Additional skills that you may want to build on are negotiation and problem-solving skills. You may have to fight for your client should a trip go awry.

Computer skills are also needed. If you are starting your own business, you’ll need to have social media skills to help promote your services.

You may also decide to work on a specific form of travel. For instance, you may specialize in travel adventures with pets or wellness vacations. Consider what you want to work with or have experience with to help find your focus. A unique specialty can help distinguish you from other agents, especially when attracting new clients.

Although plenty of websites make planning travel a bit easier, they also require work and time to research events, coordinate between travelers, and find the best deals at favorable times. Additionally, extended trips that have a lot packed in can be stressful to arrange and map out. Using a travel agent is a practical option for many travelers, and becoming a travel agent can be easier than you might think, as it doesn’t require a specific degree or license.

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Is Being a Travel Agent in 2023 a Viable Career?

Dec 23, 2022 | Aspiring travel agents , Grow a travel business , Launch a travel business

Do you have people in your life that are total bring-downs?  

Tell them you won the 💲 lottery and they tell you how much 💸 tax you’re going to have to pay.  Tell them you’re having a 🍼 baby and they tell you how you’re not going to get any sleep for the next few years.  Tell them you’re excited about your new career as a travel agent and they say…   

❓ Is being a travel agent in 2023 really a viable career? 

❓ Can you actually make a respectable amount of money as a travel agent?  

❓ Is this really the best time to be a travel agent?  

They just want to be sure we’re approaching our next big thing with our eyes open, and that’s a good thing.  But it can be frustrating when they hit us with questions that imply that maybe we aren’t thinking these big decisions through.  

Want to know how to respond to these Debbie Downers and Buddy Buzzkills?  Well, take a look at my latest 📽️ video, “Is Being a Travel Agent in 2023 a Viable Career?” where I answer some of the common, let’s say… concerns… that new travel agents encounter from people who probably have only the best of intentions. 

Click here to watch on YouTube!    

Your friends and loved ones want to make sure you’re making good decisions.  We all get that.  So just remember what I’ve laid out in the video, respond with kindness, and get ready for a career that’s more than just viable – it’s amazing .  

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Grab the free toolkit: Top 10 Tools for Travel Agents

So many travel agents struggle to grow their businesses because they don't have the right tools in their toolbox. 🙁

That's why I put together my Top 10 Tools for Travel Agents – to give you the tools you need to grow your client base and business!

Inside this totally free resource, you'll find

💰 Valuable marketing content 👀 Helpful YouTube videos 🎨 Design resources 🎧 Podcast episodes 📇 Digital business card 🎯 Branding resources 💸 Discounts and coupons ⭐ …and SO much additional gold to help you grow your business!

You’re going to love it!

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So many travel agents struggle to grow their businesses because they don’t have the right tools in their toolbox. 🙁

That’s why we put together Cyndi’s Top 10 Tools for Travel Agents – to give you the tools you need to grow your client base and business!

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💰 Valuable marketing content 👀 Helpful YouTube videos 🎨 Design resources 🎧 Podcast episodes 💸 Discounts and coupons ⭐ …and SO much additional gold to help you grow your business!

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Wondering if becoming a travel agent is right for you .

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Is a travel agent worth it the pros and cons.

Travel experts agree there are several advantages to hiring a vacation planner.

The Pros & Cons of Using a Travel Agent

Married couple with baby son in modern travel agency talking to a travel agent.

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A travel agent can save you money and time.

Need to pivot your trip plans but don't want to deal with the extra time, money and hassle of rebooking flights and accommodations on your own? That's just one area where a knowledgeable travel agent (also commonly known as a travel advisor) can help. Read on to discover the other benefits – as well as the downsides – of using a travel agent, so you can confidently decide whether or not a travel agent is worth it for your next trip.

The Pros of Using a Travel Agent

Travel agents can save you money – and get you other perks.

"In some cases, you'll actually get a better  deal by working with a travel agent," says Jackie Steele, travel expert at MagicGuides . "This could be in the form of a cruise onboard credit (free spending money to use on the ship), access to special agency/group rates, or even just learning about a discount you qualify for but weren't aware of." The best agents will even keep an eye on new discounts as they're announced and apply them to your trip even after you've booked, he notes.

Travel agents handle all the details

Hotel room? Booked. Dinner reservations? Made. Tour tickets? Ready to go. A travel agent handles every detail of your vacation itinerary. "The traveler still gets to be involved in the fun part of dreaming up ideas and providing their travel wishes, while we take and perfect them," says Jessica Parker, founder of Trip Whisperer .

Molly McShea, owner and travel advisor at McShea Travel , points out that travel agents can also help with timing logistics. "Travel agents know how many days should be spent in each destination, which tours go together, and how many things you should do in a day," she says, adding that crafting an itinerary can be challenging if it's not something you regularly do. Additionally, travel agents can help you choose the best time to visit your preferred destination(s) based on seasonality and your budget, and sift through travel insurance policies to find the best option for your needs.

Travel agents can provide local expertise

"A travel advisor's industry connections and relationships provide added value to their clients," says Valerie Edman, a luxury travel advisor and agency owner at Cultured Travel LLC. She says when working with a travel agent, travelers gain access to a global network of connections including:

  • In-destination specialists who work exclusively with travel advisors and can connect travelers with unique, off-the-beaten-path experiences they wouldn't otherwise know about
  • Exclusive experiences not available to the general public

You'll avoid surprise fees

When deciding if a travel agent is worth it for you, remember this: A reputable agent can guarantee you won't encounter any surprise fees on accommodations and activities once your trip is booked.

You'll have someone to troubleshoot unexpected travel issues

A travel advisor is essentially your personal vacation concierge. "Because they've been around for so long, agents really know what to look for," says Christopher Elliott , a consumer advocate and journalist. "Travel agents are among the first to know about flight cancellations and delays , making it easy for them to rebook itineraries right away." 

The Cons of Using a Travel Agent

It might not be your cheapest option.

There are some instances when it makes more sense to plan your own trip. "If you're planning a quick flight from New York City to Los Angeles, it's easy enough to book it yourself online directly or through a third-party booking site," says Elliott. "If you're planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip or bucket list honeymoon , that's when you call the experts."

You'll have less flexibility in your itinerary

The upside of working with a travel agent is having someone plan an epic vacation for you based on industry knowledge and local expertise. But this can also be a downside in the event you discover an activity you'd like to do or a restaurant you'd like to try that isn't on your pre-planned itinerary. If you alter your plans, you risk losing money; plus, the time it takes for you and your travel agent to coordinate your change of plans may not be worth the hassle.

You still have to do some research

It's important to find an agent you can trust, which means you still have to do some of the vacation planning. For this part, Parker recommends picking up the phone. "Lots of people avoid or don't pick up the phone as much anymore," she says. "That's where you get the high-touch service, tone of voice, excitement or concerns to manage." She advises to look for the following red flags:

  • No fees: " Travel advisors are charging planning fees more now or increasing them, so the client knows more confidently than ever, we work for them, not the suppliers with the best commissions," Parker explains. "There are a lot of things that are non-commissionable and the advisor's time and expertise shouldn't be given away for free, either. That's the best way to show an advisor takes their business seriously."
  • Limited options: If you work with someone who is inexperienced or has an incentive to book you with a certain supplier, they may not be prioritizing your best interests. "It's important to check if they are with a larger consortia, accreditations and network, typically listed on their website and signatures," says Parker. "That level of mindshare doesn't come with a lone advisor unless they have many, many years of experience."
  • Slow response times: If communication is delayed, that's a sign they may be too busy to plan your trip – but again, this is something you can avoid by having the right conversations early on.

Edman suggestes starting your search with the American Society of Travel Advisors . "ASTA-verified travel advisors are committed to the highest industry standards and have verifiable industry knowledge so consumers can feel confident in working with them," she says.

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Best Online Travel Agencies

Booking.com is our top choice for making your trip arrangements

Ligaya Malones is an editor, blogger, and freelance writer specializing in food and travel. Ligaya's work has appeared in publications including Lonely Planet and BRIDES.

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Planning a trip can be easier through an online travel agency than if you handle each aspect of the planning separately. You can book hotels, air travel, rental cars, and more through a single site, and booking everything together sometimes results in discounts. By inputting a destination, a range of dates, and other preferences, you will see a list of options for each aspect of travel.

The best online travel agencies offer options from the largest number of airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, and more. Look for sites that offer discounts for combining reservations for different aspects of your trip. For example, the best sites will have lower rates if you book both plane tickets and a hotel through their services. The best sites also provide reviews from customers who actually have booked through the service. These are our top picks.

  • Best Overall: Booking.com
  • Best Budget: Skyscanner
  • Best Price Predictor: Hopper
  • Most Innovative: Kiwi.com
  • Best for Eco-Conscious: Kind Traveler
  • Best for Social Impact: I Like Local
  • Best for Design-Forward Homestays: Plum Guide
  • Our Top Picks
  • Booking.com

Kind Traveler

I Like Local

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Final Verdict

Frequently asked questions, methodology, best overall : booking.com.

 Booking.com

This industry leader offers one of the most comprehensive trip planning platforms on the Internet.

Lots of options to choose from

Interface is easy to use

Numerous filters to customize your search

Tricky to tell whether changes/cancellations can be made with Booking.com or the vendor directly

Booking.com was founded in 1996 and has grown into an industry leader that stands out for being one of the most comprehensive trip planning platforms out there. From one website, you can compare and book accommodations, flights (including one-way and multi-city flights), sightseeing activities, and even airport taxis. The website lists more than 28 million accommodation options, from hotels, hostels, and B&Bs to vacation homes and luxury resorts—you can browse more choices per destination on Booking.com than other online travel agencies. The website also performs well on cost and typically returns lower-than-average prices for flights and hotels. 

Booking.com's interface is also easy to use. On the home page, search for a hotel by entering your chosen destination and dates. Then, use the extensive list of filters—such as price range and distance from the city center—to narrow the results down and find the best fit. You can also search for a specific hotel, or seek inspiration by clicking through options grouped by destination or property type or by topic such as the country’s best Michelin-starred hotel restaurants or the top cities for vegan travelers. The flights, car rental, and other tabs are just as intuitive. 

Best Budget : Skyscanner

 Skyscanner

You can compare prices across airlines, hotels, and car rentals.

Simple interface

Option to toggle searches between specific dates or by monthly calendars

Search Everywhere button is great for spontaneous planners

Extra clicks are required to make a final purchase

Must read fine print for changes/cancellations—may need to deal directly with the vendor

Ads on the sidebar can be distracting

Find deals on airfare, hotels, and car rentals with an aggregator site like Skyscanner , which uses a metasearch engine to compare prices from all online travel agencies and the airline, hotel, or car rental company in question. Run searches with fixed dates, opt to compare airfare prices month to month, or click “Cheapest Month.” Searches also include options for nearby airports or non-stop flights only. With hotel searches, you can choose to select only from properties with free cancellation, a cleanliness rating of 4.5/5 or higher, or 3- or 4-starred hotels only. Car rental searches include an option to select “return car to different location.”

Once you’ve found the best rate, click on the link to be redirected to the third-party site to make your booking. Feeling spontaneous? The Search Everywhere button on the homepage offers a list of the cheapest flight deals for destinations both locally and across the world—just plug in your departure airport first.

Best Price Predictor : Hopper

The company claims a 95 percent accuracy rate at predicting when flights and hotel rates will be cheapest.

Color-coded system makes it easy to determine cheapest days to buy

App is easy to use

Option to track flights and receive alerts when the best time to buy arises

Some have mentioned the app functions better as a research tool than a booking tool

Unclear whether Hopper will price match if you find a cheaper flight elsewhere

Hopper is a travel app available on iOS and Android that aims to help travelers save on airfare by usng historical data and their own algorithm to predict when flights will be cheapest. Just type in where and when you’d like to fly and Hopper will present you with a color-coded pricing calendar indicating how much tickets are likely to cost. (Green is the least expensive, then yellow, orange, and red for most expensive.) Hopper will also recommend you either buy now or wait, or you can choose to watch a trip and receive notifications on the best time to buy. In addition, the app has expanded to offer hotel and car rental price predictions, too.

Some newer features since the app’s inception in 2009 include an option to freeze a price for a limited time—for an extra fee—as well as exclusive app-only discounts. Hopper is free to download, and you can choose to book directly through the app, though some users mentioned they use Hopper as more of a research tool before booking directly with the airline or hotel. The company claims a 95 percent accuracy rate at predicting flight rates up to a year ahead.

Most Innovative : Kiwi.com

This metasearch engine scours the web to piece together the ideal itinerary using planes, trains, buses, and more.

Creative itineraries get you where you need to go, especially if you’ve got a multi-stop trip

Kiwi Guarantee offers rebooking or cancellation protections

Nomad option appeals to travelers with a lot of flexibility

Creative itineraries mean you may not fly out of the same airport you flew into

Kiwi Guarantee has an additional fee

Charges all-in-one fee for booking flights, trains, buses (though you can always purchase a la carte)

Travelers planning multi-city destinations and seeking a bargain, as well as those looking to take planes, trains, and automobiles to get there, might consider Kiwi . Kiwi is a metasearch engine that scours and pieces together itineraries from various airlines (even if they don’t have a codeshare agreement), considers multiple airports (even if your arrival airport is different from departure), and offers booking options, whether you’re looking at very specific dates or more general ones (up to 60 nights).

Some will find the ability to make multiple bookings for a particular trip more convenient than going at it manually several different times, though note that you must opt into the Kiwi Guarantee program to access rebooking and refund protections should your reservation change or be canceled. Kiwi’s Nomad option allows you to plug in a bunch of destinations you’d like to visit and the length of your intended stay, and the website will churn out the most affordable itineraries for review.

Best for Eco-Conscious : Kind Traveler

A give-and-get business model means booking accommodations with exclusive perks, a donation to environmental organizations, and more.

All participating hotels include a local give-back component

Exclusive savings and perks

Participating hotels are located in some of the most beautiful places in the world

Inventory is much smaller compared to other booking platforms

Some of the amenities mentioned are based on availability only

In 2022, Kind Traveler (an online trave agency focused on hotel bookings) announced an increase in environmentally and socially conscious hotels, charity donations, voluntourism opportunities, and additional perks like waived resort fees or a welcome amenity.

Unlock exclusive hotel rates and perks from participating Kind Traveler hotels with a minimum $10/night minimum donation to a local charity. For example, stay at the Six Senses Laamu in the Maldives and receive up to $33 off the nightly rate and perks such as a food and beverage credit and an Earth Lab or Alchemy Bar workshop when you make a donation to Manta Trust. The organization funds coastal research to protect the island nation’s large yet fragile population of reef mantas.

Select from more than 140 participating hotels from the Hawaiian Islands to Bozeman, Montana, and the Maldives. Charities include wildlife, human rights, arts, education, and environmental preservation organizations.

Best for Social Impact : I Like Local

Choose from a host of travel experiences with the peace of mind that 100 percent of the cost goes directly to local partners.

Social impact mission woven into organization’s business model

Immersive experiences led by local guides

Range of experiences offered

May not be best fit for those seeking upscale, luxury experiences and stays

Can’t sort experiences by a list of countries (though an interactive map is available)

No experiences outside of Africa and Asia

For an online travel agency with a booking platform designed to route dollars spent directly to the communities travelers intend to visit, consider I Like Local . Visit the website to browse a host of travel experiences in countries including Indonesia, Kenya, and Cambodia. Experiences include homestays and farmstays as well as wellness and culturally oriented experiences—from cooking and cycling tours to weaving classes.

To search for an experience, select from drop-down items like travel dates and experience categories, or view a global map and click on a country to view experiences that way.

The platform got its start in 2014 and has grown to 4,000 local hosts across nearly 20 countries. As a social impact organization, 100 percent of each booking fee goes to local hosts. To date, 16,000 travelers have booked with I Like Local.

Best for Design-Forward Homestays : Plum Guide

Browse and book seriously vetted, design-forward vacation homes.

Highly curated inventory of vacation rentals across the world

Design-forward

Thorough vetting process

Does not publish guest reviews

Other platforms have homes available across more destinations

When it comes to booking a vacation home, serviced apartment, or condo, travelers are spoiled for choice. Plum Guide is an online travel agency that specializes in accommodations—though not just any home makes its directory. The company claims that each potential home listed on its site must jump through 150 hoops to be included, from internet speed and mattress and pillow quality to the showers’ water pressure and the home’s proximity to dining, shopping, and attractions.

Search by a featured collection on the website such as “ pet-friendly homes ” or “one-of-a-kind homes in Palm Springs.” Scroll to the bottom of its homepage to view its top destinations, as well as a list of all destinations where Plum Guide homes are available, including Barbados, Mexico, Portugal, Switzerland, the U.S., and Turkey. Note: From the top right-hand corner of the site, use the dropdown menu to select currency of choice.

As long as you know what you value most out of your travel experience—such as affordability, social impact, or luxe accommodations—there’s an online travel agency to help plan your next trip. Be sure to read the fine print, as some agencies are third-party websites and not direct vendors. If you're not sure where to start, Booking.com is your best bet for a smooth user experience and hard-to-beat offers on flights, hotels, and other travel arrangements.

What Is the Biggest Travel Agency?

Our choice for best overall, Booking.com, is known as an industry leader with listings for all major hotels, airlines, car rental companies, and more. It boasts more choices for accommodations per destination than any other site, and we found its interface to be user-friendly.

Are Online Travel Agencies Worth It?

This depends on your needs and priorities. The best online travel agencies certainly can save time by booking everything all at once. However, if you're someone who is good at haggling and enjoys the details of planning a trip, you might be able to find better deals by reaching out to hotels or other destinations and speaking to someone personally.

Is It Cheaper to Book Online Than With a Travel Agent?

Not always. A travel agent you know and trust should have the experience and connections to find deals that can match or surpass what you'll find online. Additionally, if something goes wrong, travel agents provide you with an actual person you can use as an advocate to correct the problem . But if you don't have access to a good travel agent, online sites still provide plenty of ways to streamline planning and save money .

We considered dozens of online travel agencies and narrowed down the options based on user experience, volume and quality of inventory, unique offerings and specials, and customer reviews. We also assessed travel companies’ environmentally and socially conscious policies.

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Best Host Travel Agencies of 2023 | HAR's Luminary Awards!

Developing the Luminary Awards in 2019 was one of HAR's spontaneous ideas rooted in celebrating the host companies who deserve recognition for their transparency, advisor support, and engagement on HAR's site in an epic way.

If you can't tell from our casual Friday Host Week attire (feat. astronaut helmets) we here at Host Agency Reviews aren't afraid to make a big display to help override the fun-o-meter. We got pretty nerdy about our awards, developing our own metric for award qualifications to give a fair shake to hosts of every size! Yes, our awards are space-themed. Yes, ANY host listed on our site qualifies for our awards!

So who were the standout host agencies in 2023?

The Best Host Agencies in 2023

Finding the perfect host is subjective. Your forever host agency may not even make a good first date for another travel advisor. Our Luminary Awards recognize host agencies that engage with the growing advisor community and support people like you to find the best host out there.

The 5 Best Host Travel Agency Award Categories

Now, onto our award categories! HAR Luminary Awards recognize hosts in four different ways:

  • Supernova Award : Recognizes the hosts that received at least one new review the previous year and have an average star rating of 4+
  • Nebula Award: Recognizes the hosts with a certain number of new reviews
  • Constellation Award: Recognizes the host agencies that engage with readers on their Host Agency Reviews' profile (responding to questions and reviews)
  • Data Scientist Award: Recognizes the host agencies with the most participation in our surveys.
  • The Galaxy Award!!!! : To receive a galaxy award, a host agency needs to win in all four other categories. To be frank, it's really hard to nab this award. Sure, hosts can win some of the Luminary Awards just by being their amazing selves, but the Galaxy Award is the pinnacle of Luminary achievement.

Note: All the award data is from the host's aggregate info of the previous year (2022). To keep things super democratic, we're not going to separate them by host size (just in old school ABC order)

Is the suspense unbearable?! I know! Me too! Who are the best host agencies in 2023?!? Here they are in each category, listed in alphabetical order.

HAR Top Host Agency Supernova Award Badge

The 2023 Host Agency Reviews Supernova Award Winners

Sometimes a star gets so big and so bright that it's about to explode. That sums up our supernova awards. Its criteria recognize the best host agencies in 2023 that have a 4.0 or higher average star rating, and have received at least one new review the previous year. Here are the hosts that burned brightly!

HAR Top Host Agency Nebula Award Badge

The 2023 Host Agency Reviews Nebula Award Winners

What is that faraway cloud of light brightening in the distance? They are the best host agencies of all sizes that have accumulated the most new reviews .

Who are these hosts attracting the attention of new travel agent ICs? Drumroll please . . .

HAR Top Host Agency Constellation Award Badge

The 2023 Host Agency Reviews Constellation Award Winners

Sure. Stars are bright and fun when they fly solo, but they're a lot more interesting to look at when they gather in groups and hangout in the sky in the shape of a horse, dog, or a mythical Greek hunter with a fancy belt and bow and arrows. The HAR Constellation Award is for best travel host agencies who engage on their profiles . They answer your questions. They respond to your reviews. They want you to be as informed as possible!

HAR Top Host Agency Data Scientist Award Badge

The 2023 Host Agency Reviews Data Scientist Award Winners

We like data A LOT. You probably know by now that we proudly consider ourselves nerds, geeks, data-dorks, eggheads, dweebs . . . you get the idea. Every year we publish delectable data through our income survey and fee survey .

But guess what?! That great data doesn't come from thin air. Not even close. We partner with host agencies and franchises, who do a lot of legwork in reaching out to their ICs to participate! The Data Scientist award recognizes the best host travel agencies and franchises who make these sometimes-Herculean efforts so our data is all the more stunning in our infographics. Who are these hosts this year?

The 2023 Host Agency Reviews Galaxy Award Winners are . . .

The Best Host Agency: 2021 Galaxy Award

The Galaxy Award, is for hosts who've gone the extra mile and received an award in EVERY category. We get so excited about the Galaxy Award, that we reveal the winner with a video!

Drumroll PLEASE!!!

See Past Luminary Award Winners!

This isn't our first rodeo! You can find past Luminary Award winners here:

  • 2022 Luminary Awards
  • 2021 Luminary Awards
  • 2020 Luminary Awards
  • 2019 Luminary Awards

That's a Wrap (for Now)

*High five* to all the best travel host agencies and franchises in 2022 that were recognized with Host Agency Reviews' industry awards!! We know they'll keep shining on, providing stellar (get it, stellar ) resources and support to burgeoning and established agents alike.

And stay tuned for next January to see which hosts will return to claim their prize, and which one will be newbies on the HAR award circuit!

You Want to Win a 2024 Luminary Award? Here's how!

So you're chomping at the bit to win a Luminary Award? This year, we expanded the host size categories to make sure Luminary Awards were an even playing field regardless of a host's size! (Previously we had 3 categories, now we have 5.)

With the exception of the Suprernova award (which awards a high average star rating), we tally up our data from the previous year to determine our award winners. Here's the deets:

  • Supernova Criteria: All hosts must have a 4+ star rating and at least one new review from the previous year. Additionally, hosts need:
  • X-Small (≤24): ≥ 2 total reviews
  • Small (25 - 99): ≥ 7 total reviews
  • Medium (100 - 499): ≥ 12 total reviews
  • Large (500 - 999): ≥ 50 total reviews
  • X-Large (1,000+): ≥ 100 total reviews
  • Nebula Criteria : Nebula rewards hosts for new reviews:
  • X-Small (<24): ≥1 new review
  • Small (25 - 99): ≥ 3 new reviews
  • Medium (100 - 499): ≥5 new reviews
  • Large (500 - 999): ≥10 new reviews
  • X-Large (1,000+): ≥15 new reviews
  • Constellation Criteria: This award tracks a host's number of interactions (via onsite Q&A) and/or responses to reviews.
  • X-Small (≤24): ≥ 1
  • Small (25 - 99): ≥ 3 interactions
  • Medium (100 - 499): ≥5 interactions
  • Large (500 - 999): ≥10 interactions
  • X-Large (1,000+): ≥15 interactions
  • Data Scientist Criteria: This award is for the number of host's ICs who take our surveys. The number of respondents needed are:
  • X-Small (≤24): ≥ 2 respondents
  • Small (25 - 99): ≥ 7 respondents
  • Medium (100 - 499): ≥ 12 respondents
  • Large (500 - 999): ≥ 50 respondents
  • X-Large (1,000+): ≥ 100 respondents
  • Galaxy Criteria: I like to refer to Galaxy Award winners as "the sweepers." These are the hosts who've won an award in every other category.
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Slide

11th Annual Mice India & Luxury Travel Congress

Connecting the world celebrating a decade of excellence.

travel agent 2023

The destination wedding market in India has grown exponentially with more and more couples opting for unique and exotic locations outside of the country to tie the knot and provide an exclusive, private and memorable experience for their guests. Global travel and tourism suppliers such as tourism boards, finest properties, international hotel chains and destination management companies have been leveraging the MILT platform for the last decade to meet a wide and diverse range of buyers from India. MILT Congress 2024 opens the doors for buyers to network, gain industry insights, find new business opportunities, get exposure to new products and services, and recognition. MILT Congress is India’s most focused event that facilitates a well-organized pre-scheduled one-to-one business meet with the buyers, thus enabling true value for business and return on investment.

Mice India And Luxury Travel Congress

2023 speakers.

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Joint Vice President, Havells India Ltd

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Head – Workplace Management, Nykaa

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Executive Director of Sales, Sands Resorts Macao

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Head – Corporate Global Travel, LTIMindtree

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Strategic Programs – Senior Manager (Mobility), Accenture

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Head – Global Business Travel & Events, Cipla Ltd

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President, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) Vice Chairperson, Federation of Associations in Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH)

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President, All india Industrial Gases Manufacturers Association

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Partner & CEO, Saffron String

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Head – Corporate Travel, NIVA Bupa

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Regional Travel Manager – Asia Pacific & Japan, SAP

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Co-Founder, A New Knot

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Vice President -Sales & Marketing & Head Branding, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd

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Procurement, SBI General Insurance Company Limited

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Global Head of Travel & Hospitality Management, Wipro Limited

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Senior Manager Corporate Travel, Palo Alto Networks

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Head of Business Tourism Development Department , Moscow City Tourism Committee

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Founder & Creative Director , Foreign Wedding Planners

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Founder, Chairman & Managing Director, Platinum World Grroup

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Vice President – Sales Promotion, Agency Channel, Max Life Insurance Company Limited

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Chief Human Resources Officer, Dhanuka Agritech Limited

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Anchor, Moderator and Engagement Consultant

What’s In Store For You At MILT 2024

Don't take our word for it, here's what our attendees had to say about last year's edition, outbound india roadmap, why choose india .

As per the data recorded by PATA, around 40% of outbound trips by Indians are for business purposes.

Indian Outbound Wedding Tourism Average Group Sizes - 200 pax and the resilient Indian continues it dream to get married in a destination abroad post covid.

India’s luxury travel market has a projected annual growth rate of 12.8 per cent between 2015 and 2025

Outbound travel market to reach US $ 93 million by 2030

The Indian film industry grosses a total revenue of US $ 2.1 billion, with an average of 200 Indian films shot abroad in more than 50 countries.

1.2 to 1.5 million Indians will travel for MICE purposes all over the world in the years ahead, and will spend around $1.5 billion

2023-24 HR Events

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GCC GOV HR Awards

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GOV Youth Summit

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HR Tech Saudi Summit

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HR Tech MENA Summit

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Quick Links

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The MICE India & Luxury Travel Congress 2024 is an exclusive by-invitation only Congress that brings together decision makers from India’s leading corporations who are involved in finalizing MICE & Luxury Travel activities.

© Copyright 2023-24 – MILT Congress, by QNA International

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Is it possible to visit Russia as a tourist in 2023?

travel agent 2023

Yes, traveling to Russia as a tourist in 2023 is possible. Here’s what to look out for if you’re preparing for your dream trip. 

Visa requirements

First things first, it is worth checking if you need a visa to cross the Russian border. In 2023, citizens of some 65 countries can visit Russia without a visa. This includes most of the post-Soviet states like Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, as well as Ukraine.

Additionally, citizens of some countries in South and Central America – including Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Panama, Peru, Venezuela, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Uruguay, Ecuador – do not need a visa to travel to Russia.

Citizens of Israel, South Africa, Cuba, Montenegro, Thailand, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Andorra, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Mongolia, Botswana enjoy visa-free regime with Russia, too.

For the full list of countries, click here .

travel agent 2023

* Data for the infographics is from November 2022 and was obtained from the Russian consular information website.

* The status of a particular country is subject to change. We advise additionally researching the relevant information in each particular case before booking any trip to Russia.

* Visa waivers may apply for holders of diplomatic or military service passports, select businessmen, air crew members, members of a ship or train crew, professional truck drivers, organized tourist groups and people who have official permission to live in some border regions.

Is it safe to travel to Russia right now?

Russia as a travel destination received a fair share of negative PR from various sources in early 2022.

Some official travel accounts run by governments of countries like the U.S. , Australia , Great Britain and others advise their citizens to abstain from non-essential travel to the country.

That said, it is always advisable to evaluate safety risks when traveling to any foreign country. Traveling to Russia is no exception. However, Moscow, St. Petersburg and other major Russian cities have been widely regarded as being safe , especially in comparison to other popular tourist destinations.

Little has changed in major Russian cities from the point of view of tourists or local residents. Consequently, the most extreme and vocal concerns over security may be disregarded as being too alarmist.

That said, logistics pose the greatest challenge for tourists traveling to Russia in 2023. A number of countries closed their national airspace for Russian air companies resulting in more complicated logistics for tourists who intend to visit Russia in 2023.

However, specific changes depend on a particular country from where a tourist departs. In some cases, direct flight routes remain intact. For example, nothing has changed for tourists from China, India, Turkey, Middle Eastern countries and the majority of post-Soviet states. They can book direct flights to Russia’s main airports.

Tourists departing from European capitals will have to book connecting flights via Turkey or countries in the Middle East. This makes tickets more expensive and flights longer. However, it is still possible to travel to Russia from virtually any country in the world.

It should be noted that every country has its own nuances that must be taken into account beforehand. For example, the Indian Embassy in Russia advises Indian nationals against traveling to Russia via third countries. According to the embassy website, Indian travelers should choose only direct flights from Delhi to Moscow, otherwise they risk being denied entry into Russia.

In another instance, the British government prohibited its citizens from purchasing tickets on Russian airlines that were under sanctions. Nonetheless, the British authorities made an exception for those journeys originating in or within Russia: in this case, British nationals may purchase tickets from Russian companies without breaching UK sanctions.

Covid restrictions, vaccination status & quarantine

In 2022, Russian authorities canceled Covid-related restrictions for Russian citizens and foreign tourists, alike.

In 2023, foreign nationals no longer need to provide results of a negative PCR test when entering Russia by any mode of transport. Therefore, foreign travelers no longer need to take a coronavirus test in advance before departure.

Furthermore, Russian authorities lifted Covid-related restrictions that required visitors to provide a specific reason for visiting the country facilitating tourist traveling.

The only remaining Covid-related regulation is a requirement to fill in a questionnaire. Passengers – both Russian and foreign citizens – will be asked to fill out the paper version of the questionnaire on board during their flight to Russia.

Click here to find out who can travel to Russia without a visa in 2023.

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Building in flames

At least 115 killed and scores wounded in Moscow concert hall attack

Islamic State claims responsibility after gunmen in combat gear opened fire and reportedly set off explosives at Crocus City Hall

  • Moscow attack – latest updates

Moscow concert hall attack: what we know so far

At least 115 people have been killed and 145 wounded in Russia’s worst terror attack in years, as gunmen in combat fatigues opened fire and detonated explosives in a major concert hall on the outskirts of Moscow.

Russian media say authorities have detained 11 people.

Three children were among the dead, Ria cited the regional healthcare ministry as saying on Saturday. Authorities had earlier said five children were among the victims and that about 60 people were in serious condition.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack late on Friday, in a post on Telegram in which the group claimed its gunmen had managed to escape afterwards. A US official said Washington had intelligence confirming Islamic State’s claim.

Photos showed Crocus City Hall engulfed in flames as videos emerged showing at least four gunmen opening fire with automatic weapons as panicked Russians fled for their lives.

In one clip, three men in fatigues carrying rifles fired at point-blank range into bodies strewn about the lobby of the concert hall.

The assailants also apparently detonated explosives during the attack. At least two blasts took place at the concert hall on Friday evening, news agencies reported.

Video still showing chaotic scenes at the concern hall

Video published online showed horrific scenes of some people begging for help from the roof of the concert hall as it burned behind them. Other video footage showed people screaming, crawling on their hands and knees out of the music venue or fleeing down stairwells.

One witness said he was about to settle into his seat when he heard “several machine gun bursts” and “a lot of screams”.

“I realised right away that it was automatic gunfire and understood that most likely it’s the worst: a terrorist attack,” the man, who gave his name as Alexei, told Agence-France Presse.

Another concertgoer described scenes of panic as terrified people tried to escape. “A stampede began. Everyone ran to the escalator,” he told Reuters. “Everyone was screaming; everyone was running.”

At least three emergency helicopters had been deployed to extinguish the fire. There had been a partial collapse of the roof of the Crocus City Mall, local media reported. Shortly after midnight, the emergencies ministry said the fire had been contained.

A witness told the Mash Telegram channel that there were “at least five” attackers and that they were “bearded”.

“They act like trained fighters,” the account read. “At the moment of entering the building, the guards and people standing at the door were killed. Then they blocked the main entrance.

“The terrorists are armed with [Kalashnikov] assault rifles. Some carried vests with various ammunition. At least two of the attackers are carrying backpacks, possibly with molotov cocktails.”

In his first comments on the shooting, President Vladimir Putin wished all those injured in the terrorist attack a speedy recovery. The Kremlin said he was being updated by security chiefs about the situation, including from Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the Federal Security Service (FSB).

Russian investigators published pictures of a Kalashnikov automatic weapon, vests with multiple spare magazines and bags of spent bullet casings. A grainy picture was published by some Russian media of two of the alleged attackers in a white car. Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin said that the Moscow government would cancel all cultural, sporting and other mass events for the weekend after the attack, as Russian railways and other major utilities said they were increasing security.

Sobyanin called the attack a “great tragedy”. At least 70 ambulances had been dispatched to the site.

Earlier this month, western countries led by the US had issued terror warnings and told their citizens not to join public gatherings in Russia.

On 8 March, the embassy wrote it was “monitoring reports that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts, and US citizens should be advised to avoid large gatherings over the next 48 hours”.

Islamic State said late on Friday its fighters had attacked on the outskirts of Moscow, “killing and wounding hundreds and causing great destruction to the place before they withdrew to their bases safely.” The statement gave no further detail.

The US had intelligence confirming Islamic State’s claim of responsibility for the shooting, a US official said, adding that Washington had warned Moscow in recent weeks of the possibility of an attack.

“We did warn the Russians appropriately,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, without providing any additional details.

Russian media reports said riot police units were sent to the area as people were being evacuated and Speznaz units of the Russian national guard began storming the building later on Friday evening.

The shootings at the concert hall were reminiscent of some of Europe’s worst terrorist incidents such as the attack on the Bataclan in Paris in November 2015. Russians are likely to recall the Nord Ost terrorist attack in Moscow in 2002, when gunmen took hostages at a theatre, ultimately leading to the deaths of 40 hostage takers and 132 hostages.

The Moscow attack was the deadliest attack in Russia since the 2004 Beslan school siege , in which 334 people, including 186 children, were killed after being held captive by militants for two days.

Vehicles of Russian emergency services are parked near the burning Crocus City Hall concert venue

The British embassy in Moscow condemned Friday’s attack. “We condemn the terrorist attack at the Moscow region’s Crocus City Hall. It’s a horrible tragedy. We offer sincere condolences to the relatives and loved ones of those hurt and killed in today’s events,” the embassy said in a statement on its Telegram channel.

The UN security council condemned what it called a “heinous and cowardly terrorist attack”.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said the “images of the attack were just horrible and just hard to watch”. The White House had no indication that Ukraine was involved in the attack, Kirby added. Russia is fighting a major war in Ukraine.

Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died in February in a Russian penal colony, described the attack as a “nightmare”, adding in a post on X: “Condolences to the families of the victims and recovery to the injured. All those involved in this crime must be found and held accountable.”

A top Ukrainian official said the country had no involvement in the attack.

“Ukraine certainly has nothing to do with the shooting/explosions in the Crocus City Hall,” Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian presidential administration, wrote on X.

“It makes no sense whatsoever. Ukraine has never resorted to the use of terrorist methods.”

Dmitry Medvedev, the ex-president of Russia and now deputy chairman of its security council, wrote that “if it is established that they are terrorists of the Kyiv regime, it’s impossible to treat them and those who inspired them differently.

“They all should be found and relentlessly destroyed as terrorists. Including officials of the state that committed such an evil thing. Death for death.”

There was no evidence that Ukraine had any involvement in the attacks.

The attack took place at a sold-out concert by the Russian Soviet-era rock band Piknik. Crocus City Hall, capacity 6,200, is one of the largest and most popular music venues in the Moscow oblast.

The warnings from the western embassies came shortly after Russia said it had foiled a planned shooting by an Afghan group linked to Islamic State.

The FSB said it had foiled an attack on a Moscow synagogue by Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan, known as Isis-Khorasan or Isis-K, and seeks a caliphate across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Iran.

Putin changed the course of the Syrian civil war by intervening in 2015, supporting President Bashar al-Assad against the opposition and Islamic State.

Russian authorities had also recently carried out raids against armed Islamist militants in the region of Ingushetia, leading to firefights between police and the fighters. Putin had called the March warnings from western embassies a “provocation”.

“All this resembles outright blackmail and the intention to intimidate and destabilise our society,” he said earlier this month.

Russia has not faced a large terrorist attack on its own territory since 2017, when 14 people were killed in a blast on the St Petersburg metro .

Suicide bombers killed 34 people in Volgograd in 2013 shortly before the Sochi Olympics. And in 2011, suicide bombers killed 30 people at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport.

Reuters contributed to this report

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Is Moscow Safe to Visit in 2024? | Safety Advice & Expert Tips

Written by: Author Andrew Helling  |  Reviewed by: Sandy Mitchell

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Is Moscow Safe to Visit in 2024? | Safety Advice & Expert Tips

Amazing Moscow, the capital of Russia, is a bucket list destination for many people. The Moscow Kremlin and St. Basil’s Cathedral are two of the most iconic sights in the world.

However, it would be a mistake to think Moscow is limited just to those two sights. Moscow is a city of amazing culture, which you can take in at the iconic Bolshoi Theatre or some of the city’s many bookstores.

Learn more about the city’s communist history at Red Square and Lenin’s tomb. When you need a break from it all, Moscow will surprise you with its many parks, including the popular Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure.

There are so many things to see in Moscow that you would need a lifetime to truly get to know this sprawling metropolis.

However, before visiting a new place, it is always a good idea to research more practical concerns such as safety in addition to which sights you should see. But don’t worry — our travel experts did the hard work for you. Let us be your guide!

Is Moscow Safe to Visit in 2024?

Downtown skyline of Moscow pictured for a guide titled is Moscow safe to visit with empty streets leading to the tall buildings

Dmitry Polonskiy/Shutterstock

Right now, Moscow is not safe to visit due to the ongoing war with Ukraine. The political situation is tenuous, and there have been situations of the government targeting foreign citizens.

Although Moscow has a low crime rate, that doesn’t mean the city is safe as long as the political situation is the way that it is. Most foreign governments tell their citizens to avoid all parts of Russia right now, including Moscow.

For example, the United States tells its citizens not to travel to any parts of Russia, putting the country under a Level Four travel advisory .

This warning is echoed by other countries such as Australia and Canada. The main reason these countries cite for telling people not to go to Moscow is the war with Ukraine.

After years of a low-scale conflict in eastern Ukraine, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 . Most observers think the Russians planned to take over Kyiv and the rest of Ukraine quickly, but the war has been going on for over a year now with no signs of stopping.

Although most of the fighting is occurring in Ukraine, with just a few bombing forays in Russian border regions far away from Moscow, the war has impacted the situation in the Russian capital as well.

Foreign sanctions mean that there are shortages in the capital and foreign banks and cards don’t work. In response to the sluggish war effort, the Russian government has become more repressive.

Men were conscripted, often against their will. The government responded violently  to protesters against the war, and some people have been charged with treason for criticizing the war. Freedom of speech was already declining in Russia, and the war is just making that even worse.

It is a mistake to think that as a foreigner you would be free from the growing repression due to the war. If there is any possibility you might be seen as having Russian citizenship, you might be forcibly mobilized.

Since the war, the Russian government has detained several foreign citizens in a transparent ploy to use them as leverage with Western governments, such as the American basketball player Brittney Griner  and the American journalist Evan Gershkovich.  

Besides the threat of war and repression, Moscow has a moderate crime rate that has been increasing since the war.

Common crimes include:

  • Pickpocketing
  • Bag snatching
  • Armed robbery

The city has also seen several terrorist attacks recently that took many lives.

Crime in Moscow

Rainy day in Moscow pictured with a park bench along the street

denira/Shutterstock

Compared to other big cities and the rest of Russia, Moscow’s crime rate is actually not that bad. While crime does occur, it is frequently petty in nature and not often violent.

English-language crime statistics for Moscow are not always easy to find, but once you do locate them, they are promising. As of 2017 , the Moscow Oblast had an intentional homicide rate of 6.9 incidents per 100,000 people.

Although this is slightly higher than the national average, most of these homicides occurred in the other cities that make up the Oblast while the city of Moscow itself has a much lower homicide rate.

In 2021, Moscow had over 143,000 total crimes recorded. Although this is the highest number in Russia, that makes sense because Moscow is also the most populous city in Moscow.

Most of these crimes were incidents of theft or other property crimes, not violent crimes. Most people living in Moscow feel relatively safe. According to Numbeo, the level of crime in Moscow scores a 35.68 out of 100 on the crime index, which is low.

The only crimes for which people reported moderate levels were minor property crimes such as vandalism and theft (although most people are concerned about corruption and bribery).

The feeling of safety is backed up by expat blogs that say Moscow feels very safe although it is a massive city. However, the war in Ukraine looks as if it is changing the feeling of safety in Moscow as well.

News reports say that the rate of armed violence has increased all over Russia, including Moscow. Moscow saw a whopping 203% increase  in crimes involving weapons in 2022. Although the overall crime rate took a dip, the violent crime rate increased.

There are a few reasons why people think violent crime in Moscow has increased. The war in Ukraine means that there are more weapons floating around, making it easier for someone who wants an illegal weapon to obtain one.

There have also been violent attacks against government facilities such as military recruitment offices, although most of these attacks are happening outside of Moscow.

This is showing that people are getting restive with the war in Ukraine and the general situation in the country. The situation in the country is allowing criminals to act with more impunity, such as the attempted kidnapping in broad daylight of a Moscow businessman.

Although Moscow’s crime statistics used to be good, most of those statistics were gathered before the war. As the war continues to destabilize Russian society, the crime situation in Moscow will become even more unpredictable.

Petty Theft

In most previous years, petty theft was the primary concern for visitors to Moscow. The capital city was plagued by gangs of pickpockets and thieves, often groups of children and teenagers.

These thieves would often target tourists because they saw them as easy, lucrative targets. Places frequented by foreigners were and still are common targets for pickpockets.

The Australian government lists several hotspots for crime in its travel advisory, including popular tourist sites such as Red Square, markets such as Izmailovsky Market, and the metro.

Others warn tourists that even Moscow’s airport is a popular location for thieves, with many travelers being relieved of their passports before they even step into Moscow itself. Anywhere where there are crowds, keep an eye out for potential pickpockets.

Keep your valuables close to your body by placing them in a front pocket, money belt, or zipped travel bag. Storing valuables such as phones and wallets in backpacks or tote bags is unsafe as those are easily accessible to thieves.

Scams are also very common in Moscow. Some scammers draw their victims in before they even arrive in Russia through online dating services.

Beware of any overly friendly acquaintance that you meet online and that immediately asks for money. Common in-person scams include someone posing as a police officer and robbing you.

Police checks in Moscow are common, but always ask to see an ID before complying with anyone’s search request. Beware of any other distraction tactics thieves may use.

One common tactic popular with Moscow’s pickpocket gangs was the wallet scam, when thieves would drop a wallet in a public place. When an unsuspecting tourist would try to return it, they would accuse the tourist of stealing it and demand money.

Taxi cabs are also common perpetrators of scams.

The UK government  warns that unlicensed taxis sometimes look exactly like official taxis but end up robbing their passengers. The best way to stay safe when taking taxis is to ask your hotel to book a taxi for you or to use a ride-hailing app.

Violent crimes have also affected tourists in Moscow. Unfortunately, assault is one of the most common. The Canadian government warns its citizens about the possibility of racially motivated assault in all of Russia, including Moscow.

Amnesty International produced a report about the troubling prevalence of hate crimes in Russia, collecting incidents such as the 2003 suspected arson of a university that hosted many foreign students.

If you or a traveling companion are of African or Asian descent, you will be at elevated risk of assault in Moscow. Another common form of assault in Moscow is drink spiking.

Be careful when going out to bars and clubs, especially if you are a woman. There have been situations where criminals spike people’s drinks then rob them or even sexually assault them before leaving them outside in the Moscow cold.

Avoiding Bad Areas

A park in Moscow that is considered one of the more dangerous areas in Moscow pictured in Solntsevo

Khelena5977/Shutterstock

There are a few neighborhoods in Moscow that tourists should probably avoid. Solntsevo is a neighborhood that has a reputation for lots of organized crime, so it’s better to stay away.

Other districts that have higher rates of crime are Maryino, Perovo, and Golyanovo Districts. Most of these districts are far away from the center so you probably won’t wander over by accident.

You should also avoid Garage Valley, a massive slum right near Moscow State University, and Bitsevski Park, which was home to a very prolific serial killer. Komsomolskaya Square, in front of one of the city’s train stations, is a hub for mostly low-level crime such as prostitution.

There are a few areas in Moscow that are safe during the day but should be avoided at night, such as the city’s many underpasses which are frequent haunts for robbers after dark.

Things to Consider

Here are a few other safety tips to keep in mind if you do go to Moscow:

  • Drugs are highly illegal and the penalties for usage are strict. Drug raids often target foreigners, so make sure that all your activities are above board.
  • Ever since the 2013 “anti-gay propaganda” law limiting freedom of expression for LGBT individuals, Russia has gotten more homophobic. Although Moscow is the most gay-friendly place in Russia, official discrimination and violence by street vigilantes is still common.
  • Terrorist attacks in Moscow happen with some frequency, so keep an eye out when you are in public places.

Frequently Asked Questions

Snowy day in Moscow pictured for a piece answering whether the city is safe to visit with the Kremlin building seen from the Patriarchal Bridge

Baturina Yuliya/Shutterstock

Here are some other questions you may want to know the answers to before going to Moscow:

Is it safe to go to Moscow now?

As of 2023, it is not safe to go to Moscow and it will not be safe until after Russia’s war with Ukraine is over. The risk of arbitrary detention and state repression is too high.

Is it safe at night in Moscow?

Moscow has a busy nightlife, so as long as you are walking in busy streets, you should be fine. However, you shouldn’t walk alone at night, especially in quiet streets where there are few passersby to help you.

Can I travel to Moscow as a tourist?

It is very difficult to travel to Moscow as a tourist now. Most major airlines suspended their flights and many governments stopped diplomatic relations due to the war in Ukraine, making it difficult if not impossible to get a visa.

Are tourists still going to Russia?

There are some tourists still going to Russia, mostly from countries that maintained diplomatic relationships with the country. However, the numbers have declined steeply following the war in Ukraine.

Is Moscow an expensive city?

If you do go to Moscow, be prepared to take a hit to your budget. Moscow is a very expensive city, the world’s most expensive according to some metrics. Sanctions have now made it harder to obtain certain goods, driving up their price.

So, Should You Travel to Moscow?

Moscow is a beautiful city, but it’s probably better that you save your visit for after the war in Ukraine. Right now, the risk of state repression and arbitrary detention for foreign citizens is too high, and crime is rising due to blowback from the war.

However, there are thousands of other safe places to travel in 2024, and you can bet that we’ve created guides to the majority of them. Check out our favorite places to travel today!

When to Go: The Best & Worst Times to Visit Moscow in 2024

A man weeps on his knees near flowers with a crowd behind him.

The Deadly Moscow Concert Hall Attack in Photos

Images show the scene of what could be the deadliest attack in Russia in decades. Multiple gunmen killed at least 133 people in an assault in the capital’s outskirts.

A memorial near the Crocus City Hall concert center on Saturday. Credit... Nanna Heitmann for The New York Times

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By The New York Times

  • Published March 22, 2024 Updated March 24, 2024, 9:38 a.m. ET

A group of gunmen stormed a concert venue on the outskirts of Moscow on Friday night, killing at least 133 people and wounding more than 100, Russia’s top security agency said , according to state news agencies.

The authorities in Russia have yet to identify who was behind the attack, though U.S. officials said they believed that a branch of the Islamic State, Islamic State-Khorasan , or ISIS-K, the branch of the group based in Afghanistan , was responsible for the attack.

The assault also led to explosions and an enormous fire at the venue, Crocus City Hall, which is one of the largest and most popular concert halls in Moscow and the site of a shopping mall.

The Russian authorities said Saturday that they had arrested the four people who carried out the mass killing and arson. Russia’s Investigative Committee, the country’s equivalent to the F.B.I., said it had opened a criminal case into a terrorist act.

Mykhailo Podolyak, a top adviser to Ukraine’s presidential office, said in a video statement that “Ukraine has absolutely nothing to do” with the attack.

On March 7, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow issued a security alert warning that its personnel were “monitoring reports that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts.”

Below, a billboard in central Moscow on Saturday reads, “We mourn 22.03.24.”

People walk beneath a large billboard in an urban area with a candle and Russian words that say “We mourn 22.03.24.”

Damage to the Crocus City Hall seen on Saturday morning.

People lined up on Saturday outside a medical facility in Moscow to donate blood for the injured.

Crocus City Hall in Moscow on fire Friday night.

A still image taken from a video obtained by Reuters shows gunmen walking through the concert hall and firing on people.

The attack took place within a sprawling shopping and entertainment complex on the outskirts of Moscow.

Firefighters worked on putting out the blaze at the concert hall.

Security personnel directed people outside the concert hall.

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Russia says 60 dead, 145 injured in concert hall raid; Islamic State group claims responsibility

Russia’s Federal Security Service says at least 60 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded in an attack at a Moscow concert hall. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Russia’s Federal Security Service says at least 40 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded in a mass shooting at a Moscow concert hall.

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A Russian Rosguardia (National Guard) servicemen secures an area as a massive blaze seen over the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an apparent terror attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

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A massive blaze is seen over the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide. (Sergei Vedyashkin/Moscow News Agency via AP)

Medics transport a body of a victim a waiting ambulance near the burning building of the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an apparent terror attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide. (Sergei Vedyashkin/Moscow News Agency via AP)

Russian Rosguardia (National Guard) servicemen leave a bus near the burning building of the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an apparent terror attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide. (Sergei Vedyashkin/Moscow News Agency via AP)

A massive blaze is seen over the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landlside. (Sergei Vedyashkin/Moscow News Agency via AP)

Ambulances park near a burning building of the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

A massive blaze is seen over the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an apparent terror attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide. (Denis Voronin/Moscow News Agency via AP)

A massive blaze is seen over the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an apparent terror attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

Police block the road to the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an apparent terror attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

A massive blaze is seen over the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

Ambulances parked near the burning building of the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an apparent terror attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

A man speaks to journalists as a massive blaze seen over the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an apparent terror attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

Russian Rosguardia (National Guard) servicemen secure an area near the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an apparent terror attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide. (AP Photo/Vitaly Smolnikov)

A medic stands near ambulances parked outside the burning building of the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an apparent terror attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide. (AP Photo/Vitaly Smolnikov)

Russian Rosguardia (National Guard) servicemen walk toward the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an apparent terror attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide. (Sergei Vedyashkin/Moscow News Agency via AP)

Russian Rosguardia (National Guard) servicemen help a man to leave an area near the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an apparent terror attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide. (AP Photo/Vitaly Smolnikov)

Traffic on the highway is visible near the Crocus City Hall with a warning message on a billboard that reads “we mourn 03.22.2024" on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an apparent terror attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide. (AP Photo/Vitaly Smolnikov)

MOSCOW (AP) — Assailants burst into a large concert hall in Moscow on Friday and sprayed the crowd with gunfire, killing over 60 people, injuring more than 100 and setting fire to the venue in a brazen attack just days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on power in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on affiliated channels on social media. A U.S. intelligence official told The Associated Press that U.S. intelligence agencies had learned the group’s branch in Afghanistan was planning an attack in Moscow and shared the information with Russian officials.

It wasn’t immediately clear what happened to the attackers after the raid, which state investigators were investigating as terrorism.

The attack, which left the concert hall in flames with a collapsing roof, was the deadliest in Russia in years and came as the country’s war in Ukraine dragged into a third year. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin called the raid a “huge tragedy.”

The Kremlin said Putin was informed minutes after the assailants burst into Crocus City Hall, a large music venue on Moscow’s western edge that can accommodate 6,200 people.

A soldier uses a wave jammer during a demonstration on anti-drone fight at the Air Base 942 of Lyon-Mont Verdun, central France, Friday, March 22, 2024 in Poleymieux-au-Mont-d'Or. French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal visited the base as part of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games security plan. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

The attack took place as crowds gathered for a performance by the Russian rock band Picnic. The Investigative Committee, the top state criminal investigation agency, reported early Saturday that more than 60 people were killed. Health authorities released a list of 145 injured — 115 of them hospitalized, including five children.

Some Russian news reports suggested more victims could have been trapped by the blaze that erupted after the assailants threw explosives.

A massive blaze is seen over the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landlside. (Sergei Vedyashkin/Moscow News Agency via AP)

Video showed the building on fire, with a huge cloud of smoke rising through the night sky. The street was lit up by the blinking blue lights of dozens of firetrucks, ambulances and other emergency vehicles, as fire helicopters buzzed overhead to dump water on the blaze that took hours to contain.

The prosecutor’s office said several men in combat fatigues entered the concert hall and fired on concertgoers.

Dave Primov, who was in the hall during the attack, described panic and chaos when the attack began.

“There were volleys of gunfire,” Primov told the AP. “We all got up and tried to move toward the aisles. People began to panic, started to run and collided with each other. Some fell down and others trampled on them.”

Videos posted by Russian media and on messaging app channels showed men toting assault rifles shooting screaming people at point-blank range. One video showed a man in the auditorium saying the assailants had set it on fire, as gunshots rang out incessantly.

Ambulances park near a burning building of the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

Guards at the concert hall didn’t have guns, and some could have been killed at the start of the attack, Russian media reported. Some Russian news outlets suggested the assailants fled before special forces and riot police arrived. Reports said police patrols were looking for several vehicles the attackers could have used to escape.

In a statement posted by its Aamaq news agency, the Islamic State group said it attacked a large gathering of “Christians” in Krasnogorsk on Moscow’s outskirts, killing and wounding hundreds. It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the claim.

However, U.S. intelligence officials confirmed the claim by the Islamic State group’s branch based in Afghanistan that it was responsible for the Moscow attack, a U.S. official told the AP.

The official said U.S. intelligence agencies had gathered information in recent weeks that the IS branch was planning an attack in Moscow. He said U.S. officials privately shared the intelligence earlier this month with Russian officials. The official was briefed on the matter but was not authorized to publicly discuss the intelligence information and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

A massive blaze is seen over the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an apparent terror attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

Noting that the IS statement cast its claim as an attack targeting Christians, Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, an expert on the terrorist group, said it appeared to reflect the group’s strategy of “striking wherever they can as part of a global ‘fight the infidels and apostates everywhere.’”

In October 2015, a bomb planted by IS downed a Russian passenger plane over Sinai, killing all 224 people on board, most of them Russian vacation-goers returning from Egypt. The group, which operates mainly in Syria and Iraq but also in Afghanistan and Africa, also has claimed several attacks in Russia’s volatile Caucasus and other regions in the past years. It recruited fighters from Russia and other parts of former Soviet Union.

On March 7, Russia’s top security agency said it thwarted an attack on a synagogue in Moscow by an Islamic State cell, killing several of its members in the Kaluga region near the Russian capital. A few days earlier, Russian authorities said six alleged IS members were killed in a shootout in Ingushetia in Russia’s Caucasus region.

On Friday, statements of outrage, shock and support for those affected by the concert call attack streamed in from around the world.

Some commentators on Russian social media questioned how authorities, who relentlessly surveil and pressure Kremlin critics, failed to identify the threat and prevent the attack.

Russian officials said security was tightened at Moscow’s airports, railway stations and the capital’s sprawling subway system. Moscow’s mayor canceled all mass gatherings, and theaters and museums shut for the weekend. Other Russian regions also tightened security.

The Kremlin didn’t immediately blame anyone for the attack, but some Russian lawmakers were quick to accuse Ukraine and called for ramping up strikes. Hours before the attack, the Russian military l aunched a sweeping barrage on Ukraine’s power system, crippling the country’s biggest hydroelectric plant and other energy facilities and leaving more than a million people without electricity.

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, said that if Ukraine involvement was proven, all those involved “must be tracked down and killed without mercy, including officials of the state that committed such outrage.”

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, denied Ukraine involvement.

“Ukraine has never resorted to the use of terrorist methods,” he posted on X. “Everything in this war will be decided only on the battlefield.”

John Kirby, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said he couldn’t yet speak about the details but “the images are just horrible. And just hard to watch.”

Friday’s attack followed a statement earlier this month by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow that urged Americans to avoid crowded places in view of “imminent” plans by extremists to target large gatherings in the Russian capital, including concerts. The warning was repeated by several other Western embassies.

National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said Friday the U.S. government had information about a planned attack in Moscow, prompting the State Department advisory to Americans. The U.S. government shared the information with Russian authorities in accordance with its longstanding “duty to warn” policy, Watson said.

Putin, who extended his grip on Russia for another six years in this week’s presidential vote after a sweeping crackdown on dissent, denounced the Western warnings as an attempt to intimidate Russians. “All that resembles open blackmail and an attempt to frighten and destabilize our society,” he said earlier this week.

Russia was shaken by a series of deadly terror attacks in the early 2000s during the fighting with separatists in the Russian province of Chechnya.

In October 2002, Chechen militants took about 800 people hostage at a Moscow theater. Two days later, Russian special forces stormed the building and 129 hostages and 41 Chechen fighters died, most from effects of narcotic gas Russian forces use to subdue the attackers.

In September 2004, about 30 Chechen militants seized a school in Beslan in southern Russia taking hundreds of hostages. The siege ended in a bloodbath two days later and more than 330 people, about half of them children, were killed.

Associate Press writer Michael Balsamo in Washington contributed to this report.

This story was updated to correct that John Kirby is a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, not the White House national security adviser.

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Privately owned vehicle (POV) mileage reimbursement rates

GSA has adjusted all POV mileage reimbursement rates effective January 1, 2024.

* Airplane nautical miles (NMs) should be converted into statute miles (SMs) or regular miles when submitting a voucher using the formula (1 NM equals 1.15077945 SMs).

For calculating the mileage difference between airports, please visit the U.S. Department of Transportation's Inter-Airport Distance website.

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Rates are available between 10/1/2021 and 09/30/2024.

The End Date of your trip can not occur before the Start Date.

Traveler reimbursement is based on the location of the work activities and not the accommodations, unless lodging is not available at the work activity, then the agency may authorize the rate where lodging is obtained.

Unless otherwise specified, the per diem locality is defined as "all locations within, or entirely surrounded by, the corporate limits of the key city, including independent entities located within those boundaries."

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When a military installation or Government - related facility(whether or not specifically named) is located partially within more than one city or county boundary, the applicable per diem rate for the entire installation or facility is the higher of the rates which apply to the cities and / or counties, even though part(s) of such activities may be located outside the defined per diem locality.

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Padres Broadcast Goes Off on Hilarious Tangent About How Amazing Air Travel Is

  • Author: Dan Gartland

In this story:

San Diego Padres

Mark Grant has been calling  San Diego Padres  games since 1996. Before that, he was a pitcher in the major leagues for eight seasons. So he’s no stranger to baseball road trips. And yet, Grant remains in awe of the fact that you can just hop on an airplane and go play a baseball game in some faraway place. 

In the eighth inning of the Padres’ game against the  Los Angeles Dodgers  in Seoul, South Korea, on Thursday, Grant went off on a tangent, telling broadcast partner Don Orsillo just how fascinated he is with the fact that they’ll be back home in San Diego in no time. 

“Isn’t it amazing, Donny? [Sideline reporter] Mariluz [Cook] was just in San Diego. We saw Petco Park,” Grant said after the broadcast aired Cook’s report from back home. “We are on the other side of the planet. And after this game, we’re gonna get in a big metal tube and fly for 11 hours and be in San Diego. Isn’t that incredible when you get down to think about it?”

Orsillo’s response was gold: “Yeah, it’s far away!”

The Padres won the game to split the two-game overseas series. They’ll return home and resume regular season games on March 28. Their first road trip of the season is to San Francisco. Grant should have an easier time wrapping his head around that one. 

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Russia-Ukraine latest: Concert attack suspects with black eyes charged in court; France raises terror threat to highest 'emergency' level

Four suspects have appeared in court in Moscow after gunmen attacked a concert on Friday. The number of people killed in the Crocus City Hall shooting has risen, with children confirmed among the dead. In France, the government has increased its terror threat level.

Monday 25 March 2024 00:39, UK

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  • Moscow court charges four men with terrorism
  • Number of people killed rises to 137
  • Explained:  Everything we know about the Russian concert shooting
  • Shapps says 'destruction' of key Russian ships a 'historic moment'
  • Analysis:  An offensive on Crimea could force Putin's hand
  • Poland demands explanation after Russian missile 'violates airspace'
  • Watch:  Video shows gunmen storming Moscow concert hall
  • Live reporting by Brad Young and (earlier) Andy Hayes

The Islamic State is very likely responsible for the concert shooting, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has said.

Both the conduct of the attack and the style of the IS announcement were consistent with their previous attacks, said the US-based thinktank.

Allegations that the attack was a false flag operation are inconsistent with the evidence, it added.

The ISW also said it was "highly unlikely" IS conducted the attack under orders from Kyiv, appearing to refer to Russian claims that the perpetrators had links to Ukraine.

"IS would not falsely claim an attack that may have been conducted by one Christian state against another (or by the Kremlin against Russia's own people in some sort of false-flag operation), because the implications of IS conducting an attack at the behest of a predominantly Christian country would damage IS credentials within the Salafi-Jihadi community."

The ISW added that to falsely take responsibility for such a high profile attack would also risk undermining the purpose of IS propaganda - to "fundraise and disseminate its guidance to lower-level commanders and supporters".

"The conduct of the attack itself is also consistent with previous IS attacks, including the 2015 Paris terror attacks," said the thinktank.

"The Amaq News Agency announcement is consistent in terms of style, branding, and language with previous Amaq claims for other attacks," it added.

A fourth suspect in the concert attack - Muhammadsobir Fayzov - has been charged with terrorism, according to a Moscow court's Telegram channel.

Basmanny district court has ordered he and three other men be placed in custody for two months, until 22 May, pending trial.

If you're just joining us, the suspects were dragged into the court earlier this evening, where there was a heavy police presence.

One of the suspects was led blindfolded into the courtroom, before it was removed and a black eye was visible.

A third suspect has been charged with terrorism at Basmanny district court in Moscow over the attack on Crocus City Hall, according to the capital's courts Telegram channel.

The court remanded Shamsidin Fariduni in custody for two months, ending 22 May, after he pleaded guilty.

For details on the other two suspects, see our last post (9.47pm).

A Moscow court has ordered two suspects in the Crocus City Hall concert attack be held in custody for two months pending trial.

Dalerdzhon Barotovich Mirzoyev, a Tajikistan citizen, "admitted his guilt in full" to shooting at Russian citizens at the venue and setting fire to the building, Moscow city courts published on Telegram.

Saidakrami Murodali Rachabalizoda also "admitted guilt" to a terror charge, according to a post on the Telegram channel which did not provide further details.

The detention periods for both suspects will expire on 22 May, the channel added.

France's prime minister has announced that following a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris this evening, France is raising its terror threat level in light of Friday's concert hall attack near Moscow.

Gabriel Attal writes: "Following the attack in Moscow, the defence and security council was convened by the president at the Elysee Palace tonight.

"Taking into account the claims over the attack by Islamic State and the threat that faces our country, we have decided to increase our terror threat level to the highest possible - attack emergency."

Moscow's Basmanny district court has named two suspects in the Crocus City Hall attack: 

  • Dalerdzhon Barotovich Mirzoyev 
  • Saidakrami Murodali Rachabalizoda

Russian state media outlet TASS is reporting they have been charged, without providing details.

The suspects may face life in prison, reports another state news agency, RIA.

The Basmanny court press service has released two photos of the suspects, without attributing their names.

Suspects in the Russia concert hall attack have arrived at a Moscow district court.

There was a heavy police presence around the court, which is expected to determine pretrial restrictions for the men.

The Russian Investigative Committee suspect them of opening fire on crowds of concert goers at the capital's Crocus City Hall, killing at least 137 people.

One of the suspects was led blindfolded into the courtroom, before it was removed and a black eye was visible. 

Video filmed over the course of the attack on Crocus City Hall paints a partial picture of how it was carried out.

Sky News has determined the perpetrators likely entered the complex around 130m north of the concert hall's foyer.

Correspondent Ivor Bennett explains what we know about what happened next...

Almost 4,000 people came forward to donate blood over the weekend following the Crocus City Hall attack, Russia state media outlet RIA Novosti reports.

At least 154 people are thought to be injured.

Meanwhile, a steady stream of people have added to a makeshift memorial near the concert hall, creating a huge mound of flowers.

"It is a tragedy that has affected our entire country," said one of the mourners, kindergarten employee Marina Korshunova.

"It just doesn't even make sense that small children were affected by this event."

Poland has demanded an explanation from Russia after reporting one of its missiles strayed briefly into Polish airspace during a major missile attack on Ukraine.

The Polish foreign ministry intends to summon the Russian ambassador, after the incident prompted the NATO member to activate F-16 fighter jets.

The missile was part of Russia's third big attack on Ukraine in the past four days, and the second to target the capital, Kyiv.

Warsaw's foreign ministry said it would "demand explanations from the Russian Federation in connection with another violation of the country's airspace".

"Above all, we call on the Russian Federation to stop the terrorist air attacks on the inhabitants and territory of Ukraine, end the war, and address the country's internal problems."

A cruise missile entered Polish airspace at 4.23am local time over the village of Oserdow, between half a mile and a mile over the border, for 39 seconds, Warsaw said.

Defence minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz said it would have been shot down had there been any indication that it was heading towards a target in Poland.

Andrzej Szejna, a deputy foreign minister, told TVN24 the ministry intended to summon the Russian ambassador to Poland and hand him a protest note.

A missile killed two Polish citizens in 2022 which Western officials said was misfired by a Ukrainian air defence system.

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IMAGES

  1. Benefits of Working with a Travel Agent

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  2. The Ultimate Guide On How To Become A Travel Agent In 2023 UK

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  3. Importance of Travel Agency in 2023

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  4. Why use a travel agent? click image to find a travel agent near you

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  5. How to Be a Travel Agent: A Comprehensive Guide

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  6. Why Should YOU use a Travel Agent?

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  1. The Top 20 Most Powerful Travel Agencies in 2023

    The Chase Travel Group was unranked a year ago but places eighth in 2023 with reported sales of $8.5 billion in 2022, including $644 million completed by hosted agents. The privately held company works with 800 independent contractors and last year acquired Frosch, which finished No. 14 in Travel Weekly's 2022 rankings.

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  4. Top 7+1 2023 Travel Trends Every Travel Agent Should Know

    Smart and sustainable consumption is a priority. In 2023, values are at the forefront of consumers' minds, with sustainability, conscious travel and giving back to communities becoming crucial factors in their decision-making process. Travellyze data shows that 8 out of 10 travellers are aware of the importance of sustainable travel.

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    At 61 travel agencies in the 2023 Power List, ... Among those is Navigatr, which acquired Travel Edge and host agency Travel Edge Network (No. 27 last year).

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  7. Travel + Leisure's A-List Travel Advisors 2024

    In Travel + Leisure's 22nd annual A-List, we bring you the world's top vacation specialists, who can take your trip from enjoyable to extraordinary.

  8. The 2023-2024 Little Black Book Is Available Now

    Travel advisors looking for new opportunities can find information on host agencies and consortia's all in one convenient place—the 2023 Little Black Book, which is available now. This indispensable resource is a one-stop-shop for travel advisors looking for insight and advice from industry leaders and includes consortium listings, agency group listings, host agency listings and articles ...

  9. Year in Review: The Biggest Travel Stories of 2023

    1/19. With the weight of the coronavirus pandemic lifted off the shoulders of the travel and tourism industries, it was a banner year for airlines, cruise lines, destinations, rail companies and travel advisors. Record-breaking numbers across all sectors strengthened the industry, but war and inflation were still top of mind and impacted travel ...

  10. The Can't-Miss Travel Industry Events in 2023

    March. 4/13. Considered a "global catalyst of the tourism industry," ITB Berlin will be held in Germany from March 7-9. This marks the first in-person iteration since the pandemic began. Meanwhile, the ASTA Global River Cruise Expo 2023 is also slated to return this spring, running March 15-18 in Budapest, Hungary.

  11. Host Agency Reviews Releases 2023 Hosted Travel Advisor ...

    Host Agency Reviews has released its 2023 Hosted Travel Advisor Research Report. This is the most in-depth version of the report so far and covers operations, technology use, host agency relationships, demographics, and more with something for everyone, including advisors, suppliers and host agencies. The data illustrates a year of momentum and ...

  12. How To Become A Travel Agent

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  13. Will 2024 Be the Biggest Travel Boom Year Ever?

    As we enter the latter portion of the first quarter of 2024, advisors are predicting what may be the strongest year the travel industry has ever experienced. "As a company, we are on pace to double our 2023 goals in 2024," said Crafty Getaways Chief Executive Officer Sam Yaffe. "Consumers are ...

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    So You Want to Be a Travel Agent in 2023? The end of 2022 will be here before you know it. We're in the throes of the holiday season and everything that comes with it, and most people are feeling a bit of that December-itis. 🎁 Shopping, 🎄 decorating, 🥳 parties, 🎼 concerts, 🍽️ family get-togethers, and all sorts of other ...

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    Grab the free toolkit: Top 10 Tools for Travel Agents. So many travel agents struggle to grow their businesses because they don't have the right tools in their toolbox. 🙁. That's why I put together my Top 10 Tools for Travel Agents - to give you the tools you need to grow your client base and business! Inside this totally free resource ...

  17. Is a Travel Agent Still Worth It? The Pros & Cons

    A travel agent handles every detail of your vacation itinerary. "The traveler still gets to be involved in the fun part of dreaming up ideas and providing their travel wishes, while we take and ...

  18. Travel Agent's 30Under30: Class of 2023

    Travel Agent's 30Under30: Class of 2023. By Ruthanne Terrero, Michelle Krol, Hilary Daninhirsch Jul 5, 2023 12:50pm. 30Under30 Travel Industry Profiles Running a Travel Agency Travel Industry Awards.

  19. Best Online Travel Agencies

    Plum Guide is an online travel agency that specializes in accommodations—though not just any home makes its directory. The company claims that each potential home listed on its site must jump through 150 hoops to be included, from internet speed and mattress and pillow quality to the showers' water pressure and the home's proximity to ...

  20. Planning a Trip? Tips and Tricks for Working With a Travel Adviser

    Decades ago, your vacation most likely began with a visit to a travel agent, who relied on a combination of expertise and connections to find the best deals on plane tickets, hotels, tours and more.

  21. Best Host Travel Agency of 2023

    The 5 Best Host Travel Agency Award Categories. Now, onto our award categories! HAR Luminary Awards recognize hosts in four different ways: Supernova Award: Recognizes the hosts that received at least one new review the previous year and have an average star rating of 4+. Nebula Award: Recognizes the hosts with a certain number of new reviews.

  22. MICE India & Luxury Travel Congress

    MICE India & Luxury Travel Congress 2024 The highly coveted 10th Annual MILT (MICE India and Luxury Travel Congress) organized by QNA International since 2013 ... Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) Vice Chairperson, Federation of Associations in Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH) ... 2023 Read More HR Tech Saudi Summit. November 7th-8th, 2023 ...

  23. Is it possible to visit Russia as a tourist in 2023?

    Visa requirements. First things first, it is worth checking if you need a visa to cross the Russian border. In 2023, citizens of some 65 countries can visit Russia without a visa. This includes ...

  24. At least 115 killed and scores wounded in Moscow concert hall attack

    Islamic State claims responsibility after gunmen in combat gear opened fire and reportedly set off explosives at Crocus City Hall At least 115 people have been killed and 145 wounded in Russia's ...

  25. Is Moscow Safe to Visit in 2024?

    Sandy Mitchell is a travel expert and the content reviewer/fact checker at Travellers Worldwide. Using the experience she gained working in the travel industry for more than 20 years, as a travel agent, travel marketing executive, and cruise school administrator, Sandy fact-checks and reviews each of our guides to ensure they're as accurate and helpful as possible...

  26. The Deadly Moscow Concert Hall Attack in Photos

    A group of gunmen stormed a concert venue on the outskirts of Moscow on Friday night, killing at least 133 people and wounding more than 100, Russia's top security agency said, according to ...

  27. Moscow concert hall attack: Russia says many killed, over 100 wounded

    2 of 20 | . A massive blaze is seen over the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly ...

  28. Privately owned vehicle (POV) mileage reimbursement rates

    Per diem rates look-up Allowances for lodging, meal and incidental costs while on official government travel. Mileage reimbursement rates Reimbursement rates for the use of your own vehicle while on official government travel.

  29. Padres Broadcast Goes Off on Hilarious Tangent About How Amazing Air

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  30. Moscow shooting latest: More than 130 killed in concert attack

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