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20 Things You May Not Know About Night Flying

Darkness comprises roughly half of every day, but that’s no reason to avoid flying at night, if’€¦

By Bill Cox Updated December 3, 2023 Save Article


Back in the day when I was young and stupid (I’m now much older and still!), long before I discovered I could make even less money in aviation, I was determined to become one of the world’s great trumpet players. To that end, I studied with one of Hollywood’s hardest-working studio lead trumpet players, Bud Brisbois. After a stint with Stan Kenton, Bud was working regularly with Henry Mancini, playing gigs all over the U.S.

Mancini was in great demand at cities with symphony orchestras to conduct a program of his music. Like many musicians, Mancini didn’t enjoy being on the road, and he accepted the dates on the condition that he be flown in by corporate jet with four of his favorite soloists; typically, Bud on trumpet, Bud Shank on sax, Shelley Mann on drums and (I think) Milt Bernhart on trombone.

The musicians would typically depart in one of Clay Lacy’s Learjet 35s early on a Saturday morning, arrive in Kansas City or Dallas or New Orleans in time for a rehearsal, play the job and fly home immediately after the concert. Bud said they were always treated like royalty, made great money, and he was usually back at his home in Encino by 2 a.m., Sunday morning. Bud wasn’t a pilot and didn’t know much about airplanes, but he always felt that was one of the great fringe benefits of working with Mancini, even if he did have to fly in the middle of the night.

Under some circumstances, night can be an enjoyable time to fly. We may not all fly Learjets halfway across the country in the dark, but night can still be a seductress. The weather is usually better, the temperature improves aircraft performance, the air can be almost glycerin smooth and, as the haze of the day settles out, the visibility becomes so good, you could see Hawaii if the Earth were flat.

Less than a dozen years after earning my license, I began ferrying airplanes internationally, and nearly all of my first 40 trips across the North Atlantic from Canada nonstop to Ireland were at night. The time change between Gander, Newfoundland, and Shannon, Ireland, is three hours, so if we departed at, say, 6 p.m. (9 p.m. in Ireland), we’d be landing sometime in early morning in Shannon after a nine- to 11-hour flight.

In those days, I was taught that night was the best time to fly the ocean. Weather was usually better, HF signals carried further, the airplane was happier, and we pilots got to take 36 hours off rather than 24 in Ireland. If the worst did happen and we had to ditch, an emergency strobe could be visible for 30 to 40 miles (provided you survived the landing, got your raft deployed, succeeded in climbing aboard, didn’t suffer hypothermia or get eaten by sharks).

I’ve since learned better, but there’s no question night has its attractions—and its detractions. There’s less traffic and more visibility, no glare from the sun, instrument scanning is easier with well-illuminated dials, cities stand out from surrounding terrain, and airports and traffic are easier to locate with their telltale beacons.

After way too many trips, I don’t do too many Atlantic crossings—my West Coast domicile favors Pacific trips—but I still do my share of night flying, primarily because it’s often difficult to get everything done in daylight. Why sleep when you could be flying?

Yes, I know. That attitude can get some pilots into trouble, and it does exactly that every year. Accident statistics suggest that flying by night accounts for about 10% of the general aviation accidents, but 30% of the fatalities. That suggests night flying must be inherently more dangerous than aviating when the sun is up.

The rules for night flying are more stringent in many countries than they are in the U.S., apparently in recognition of an increased level of risk. In Mexico, all night flights must be conducted IFR. Several African countries forbid ANY general aviation flights at night. (Airlines aren’t so constrained.)

Of course, just as with flying over water, the airplane doesn’t know it’s dark, so the problems of night flying are more related to pilots than airplanes. Here’s a short list of considerations for flying at night.


1 Smart aviators may plan a slightly different route at night, one that takes advantage of available airports en route. There’s no logical reason for more mechanical malfunctions at night, but any problem may be compounded by the difficulty of executing emergency checklists and spotting reasonable landing sites. Accordingly, many pilots will plot a course that zig-zags between airports rather than simply punching “Go To” on the Garmin and flying GPS-direct. The distance will be slightly greater, but not as much as you might imagine. For fans of pilotage, the old trick of picking a prominent point on the far horizon, flying to it, and picking another and then another, may be a challenge when you can’t see a horizon.

2 Many pilots plan for a higher cruising altitude at night, simply because suitable emergency landing sites may be fewer and farther between. The difference between cruise at 8,500 and 10,500 feet may not seem like much until you have to glide back to Earth at 800-900 fpm without power. That extra 2,000 feet represents an additional two-plus minutes of time to make important decisions.

3 Just as you’ll want to consider flight planning for alternate airports and climbing higher to prolong glide, you should allow more generous fuel reserves at night. It’s easier to become disoriented in the dark, so there’s a slightly higher risk of “temporary disorientation,” as the military calls it. We call it lost. Also, pilots flying at night have a greater sense of get-there-itis, and that may mean decisions they wouldn’t make in daylight when things are actually visible. Even if the problem is only one of being a little short on fuel and needing to stop for a few gallons, not every airport offers fuel sales in the wee small hours. That can encourage dumb decisions.

4 If you haven’t looked at a chart in years (raise your hands), a night flight might be a good time to actually mark a course line on a WAC or Sectional. Consider using a wide-point pencil or pen, perhaps even a Sharpie, for your flight track line and flight log. Don’t use a highlighter, as the color may appear as a solid-black line under red light.

5 You’ll obviously need a flashlight or two for the preflight. I use a hands-free miner’s or camp light that straps to my forehead and shines wherever I’m looking, plus two or three Maglites of various sizes for other tasks. To keep flashlights and other important stuff where I can find it, I use industrial-strength Velcro.

6 Checking for fuel contamination can be a challenge at night, so I hold the sample against a white surface and shine a light through the cup from the side. That allows me to see any crud at the bottom of the cup.

7 Keep in mind that your eyes demand more oxygen than the rest of your body as you climb away from Earth into thinner air. For that reason, you might consider using supplemental O2 on any flight above 5,000 feet. If you live in Denver or Albuquerque, your body has probably adapted to the reduced atmospheric pressure, and you have a natural advantage over the rest of us. Also, remember the story of the two families that live in your eyes, the Rods and the Cones. The Rods live in the center of your eyes and need plenty of light to see. The Cones are more sensitive souls who live in the suburbs, so they can see things the insensitive Rods can’t. In other words, if you’re looking for a beacon at night, use your peripheral vision.

TAKEOFF AND CLIMB 8 When it comes time to actually commit aviation, use aircraft lighting to warn others that you’re coming—up to a point. Years ago, a not-so-grizzled but well-experienced instructor suggested leaving the rotating beacon switch on all the time, so it would come on with the master. Prior to start, this suggests to any and all that you’re about to do something serious, or just did. Be a little more judicious with the landing/taxi light and strobe. If you’re using position lights and rotating beacon, that may be plenty on the ground. It might be best to save the landing light for the lights/camera/action check as you take the runway.

9 Unless you have excellent visibility and there’s a bright moon overhead, it’s probably best to make a semi-instrument departure, regardless of how you’ve filed, especially if the departure path crosses unlighted territory (the dreaded black-hole departure). Double-check that your altimeter is set for field elevation before takeoff and note any error. Keep a close eye on the altitude, airspeed and ADI during the initial ascent.

10 After the liftoff and 500 feet of climb at Vy, it’s probably best to lower the nose for a cruise climb to improve forward visibility and let you see the strobes of all traffic ahead. If you have any form of traffic alert (TIS or TCAS), have it displayed before takeoff in case someone forgot to turn on his strobes.

11 In some respects, night flight flies in the face of human habits. Our circadian rhythm clues our bodies that night is the time to sleep, and unless the trip is a short one, the (hopefully) monotonous drone of the engine, comfortable warmth of the heater and gentle vibration of the airframe may make us drowsy. For that reason, pilot currency is all the more critical. Pilots familiar with the syndrome are more likely to make a wise decision, but others may need to recognize their own incapacity, land short, get some rest and continue the trip in daylight.

12 Trouble is, everything about night flying inclines us to do the opposite. Fuel exhaustion may be more common at night, because the consequences of an extra stop—lack of available fuel, landing at an unfamiliar airport in the dark, the expense and inconvenience of an extra night on the road—may incline us to go for it rather than take the conservative approach. In daylight, we can see the mountains, highways, rivers and lakes sliding by below in predictable patterns. At night, especially when operating over patches of black earth, there may be almost no perception of speed, and any night cross-countries may seem to take forever. There’s a certain get-home-itis that sometimes afflicts pilots at night. If the speed of light is very fast, the speed of dark can seem very slow.

13 Though cities, airports, antennas and other traffic stand out at night, clouds don’t. They usually dissolve to invisibility. That’s another reason to fly higher. Though the haze of the day tends to settle out at night, clouds may linger stubbornly along your route. Even Xenon landing lights suitable for a Baja 1000 truck won’t help you spot clouds ahead.

14 It’s a good idea at night to ask for flight following, both to keep you awake and to provide an assist in “seeing” other traffic. A controller may also advise about weather and restricted areas, and direct you toward an airport if things go wrong.

15 An engine failure at night isn’t any more likely than in daytime, but there are few hard-and-fast rules for handling one. Forced landings take on a whole new level of difficulty when you can’t see where you’re landing. The old joke used to be: If the engine quits and you’re forced to land into a black hole, turn on the landing light for the flare. If you don’t like what you see, turn it off. These days, GPS’s nearest-airport function has relegated the problem of finding the ground academic, since you can interrogate the system to learn the exact elevation at any point. If you did your preflight preparation correctly, you should know what local ground elevation is below. Most experienced night pilots agree the smartest idea is to fly toward something as bright as possible, so you can at least see what you’re about to hit.

16 If well-lit areas such as cities appear to blink, or suddenly disappear completely, beware. There may be something in between you and the lights that you can’t see, clouds, an antenna or, worst of all, big rocks.


17 Altimeter settings become more critical when the ground may be invisible, and you should take every opportunity to update yours, factoring in any necessary corrections. Every pilot knows it’s especially important to update the altimeter as you approach the destination, but it’s critical over a boondock airport with minimum lights.

18 Consider using square patterns at night with a relatively wide base to give you plenty of time to judge the final turn and the landing approach. Leave the constant-turn, carrier-style approaches to the Marines. Square turns and a longer, higher final provide a hedge for judging your approach path. If there’s no ILS but there are VASI or PAPI lights, use them. They’re a good visual representation of a three-degree glide. Remember that a standard glideslope is 300 feet/nm, so if you have GPS or DME on board, you can construct your own manual glideslope—1,500 feet at five miles, 900 feet at three miles and 300 feet at one mile.

19 If there’s haze in the air and the airport lights are in sight but barely, you can ask the controller to go to high intensity or click the mic five, seven or nine times (after hours or at some uncontrolled airports) to boost the brightness.

20 Finally, if conditions are IFR and near minimums, avoid the temptation to duck under. You may start seeing lights through the bottom of the overcast as you descend, something you might not see in daytime, but you need to have a clear view of the runway lights at minimums to complete the approach. Duck under even once, and you may discover the real meaning of the phrase, “What a difference a day makes.”

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Due to the downward trend in respiratory viruses in Maryland, masking is no longer required but remains strongly recommended in Johns Hopkins Medicine clinical locations in Maryland. Read more .

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6 Tips for Better Sleep When You Travel

Nothing can upset your sleep schedule quite like stepping on an airplane and jetting off to a foreign land — even if it’s for fun. 


“All of us have an optimal period when our bodies want to sleep — typically around 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. This is called your ‘circadian window,’” says  Charlene Gamaldo , medical director of the  Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep  . “And any time you travel, particularly across two or more time zones, it ends up wreaking havoc on your circadian window,” she says.

Whether you’re traveling for work or for play, here are a few tips to keep sleep disruption to a minimum.

Sleep strategically.

Three days before you’re scheduled to travel, begin moving your bedtime an hour earlier (or later, as appropriate) than you normally would. Add another hour the second evening, and a third hour on the third day. Gamaldo notes that it takes one day per time zone for your body to adjust, so planning ahead can help ease the transition.

Go with the local flow (usually).

After you land, try to sync up with the local schedule. “If you’re landing when people are awake in the middle of the day, that’s what you want to do, too. Sleep as much as you can on the plane,” she says. “If you’re going to be landing at night, do your best to stay awake on the plane and sleep at your destination.”

Abide by the two-day rule.

“If you’re going to be staying somewhere fewer than two days, try and keep to your own schedule. By the time your body adapts, it’ll be time to come home,” she says. In these cases, she suggests requesting that any obligations or meetings happen during the equivalent of your peak waking hours at home whenever possible.

Let there be light.

If your flight touches down first thing in the morning as you travel east, bring along a pair of sunglasses to minimize light exposure, Gamaldo suggests. It’s preferable to get maximal light exposure in the late morning and early afternoon, which shifts your rhythms closer to your destination’s time zone.

“The goal is to recalibrate the clock so that it’s closer to bedtime at your destination,” she says. If you’re traveling westward, which is less disruptive, aim for light exposure in the early evening. Eat outdoors or go for a walk to push your rhythm a bit later.

Move your body.

When you’re ready to begin the day, Gamaldo recommends taking a warm shower and heading outside for exercise to signal your body that it’s time to get going. “Increasing core body temperature is a trigger for your circadian rhythm,” she says.

Take melatonin.

Natural levels of the hormone melatonin typically rise about two hours before bedtime, preparing your body for rest. If you’re traveling, your body might need a little nudge. Melatonin is available as a nonprescription sleep aid in doses of up to 10 milligrams.

It helps your body produce natural  melatonin  at the appropriate time when your schedule is off-kilter. Gamaldo cautions that melatonin is not a cure-all for jet lag, however. Studies indicate that light exposure during the day is more effective for resetting your internal clock.

Should I take over-the-counter sleeping pills when I travel?

Many over-the-counter medications have a long half-life, which means they linger in the body. This can leave you feeling groggy the next day, Gamaldo warns. Use sparingly, especially if you take anti-anxiety medications to fly, because those drugs also cause sedation.

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Solo Travel: What to Do at Night When Traveling Alone

Last Updated on January 11, 2024 by Christine Kaaloa

I’ll admit, there are times being a solo traveler at night can feel like… well, a single gal alone on a Friday night! In solo travel, w hat to do at night when traveling alone? In this post, i’m sharing 19 things to do at night when traveling solo .

Some solo travelers will avoid going at night for fear it is unsafe. But it doesn’t have to be so, especially when you see families going out at night.

In fact, would you believe that when I travel alone , I often don’t return to my pad until midnight? I practice safe creativity and street smarts, because a city at night offers a lot of unique experiences, charm and local variety.

Read 31 Safety tips for Solo Travelers

Table of Contents: Solo Travel: What to Do at Night When Traveling Alone

  • 1.0.1 1.   Take a romantic stroll through the city
  • 1.0.3 2.   Make your own city bus tour at night
  • 1.0.4 3. Sightsee, sightsee, sightsee!
  • 1.0.5 4.   Explore night markets and indulge in street fairs
  • 1.0.6 5. Dinner shows, concerts and cultural performances
  • 1.0.7 6.   Follow your curiosity
  • 1.0.8 7.   Brave creepy crawlers on a night safari
  • 1.0.9 8.   Dine alone
  • 1.0.10 . 9.   Explore Street Food culture
  • 1.0.11 10. Explore the local shopping experience
  • 1.0.12 11.   Hang out at your lodgings, chat and find travel friends
  • 1.0.13 12.  Catch up with family and friends
  • 1.0.14 13.    Enjoy the quiet time reading a book or writing in your journal
  • 1.0.15 14.  Cozy Up for a Movie Night (Solo Style)
  • 1.0.16 15. Research the local events & make a new discovery
  • 1.0.17 Join one of my group adventures!
  • 1.0.18 16. Take a Night Tour with a Twist
  • 1.0.19 17. Take a food tour
  • 1.0.20 18. Join a Cooking Class (and Eat the Results!)
  • 1.0.21 19.  Do take long-distance journeys at night
  • 1.0.22 Conclusion
  • 1.0.23 What would you add to this list of solo travel things to do at night ?

Solo Travel: What to Do at Night When Traveling Alone? (19 Options)

1.   take a romantic stroll through the city.

If you feel unsafe going out at night, then this first tip might not be for you… I like to explore the city and fall in love with it.

Each city takes on a magical face in the evening, as it’s veiled in light, shadow and occasionally in neon. Locals and families go out at night.  Explore streets lined with lights, visit a popular boardwalk, sit at a cafe, observe how locals come out to play. Unwind through the smells wafting from restaurants and homes.

Romance isn’t only for couples, but are for soloists too. Go ahead, make a date with the city!

Check out anti-theft bags for solo travelers

This post contains affiliate links. I have travel insurance on all my trips ( get a quote ). If you want to find an insurance plan based on your needs & budget, use this trip  insurance finder tool . Read my guide on trip insurance options for U.S. Travelers. .

2.   Make your own city bus tour at night

Some tour agencies and cities offer  city bus tours at night and these tours are like cheap all-inclusive holidays, taking you around the city to all the major landmarks lit by light. But if you can’t find one, go ahead and make your own! I’m a big fan of D.I.Y. (aka do-it-yourself) tours.

Public transportation services such as city buses, ferries and monorails make perfect and cheap way to see the city lights at a slow pace. (Read my post on  Bangkok’s transit options  to get an idea of ways to see a city through its transportation)

3. Sightsee, sightsee, sightsee!

Although m useums , theme parks and government attractions typically clock out when it hits sunset, temples, churches, shopping malls, night markets and shops are still operating under working hours. As long as there are things to see, these shoes will go until it closes the town down.

Below you see me visiting a temple that is alongside a night market in Chiang Mai. Streets are crowded like a country fair, street food is available and craftsmen set up their stalls to sell cute knick knacks. I love Chiang Mai at night.

4.   Explore night markets and indulge in street fairs

One of the best things to do at night when traveling solo is visiting night markets. Southeast Asia has wonderful night markets I love indulging in. Thailand has walking streets which are like huge block parties or street fairs… they’re all pretty much the same fun. Haggle for cool local craftwork and souvenirs or dive into the local foods and snacks, watch street performers jangling for change or fuel up with local cuisine at an outdoor restaurant. Watch my tips on how to haggle when traveling

Night markets for local folk can get a little more gritty, less sparkly with a feeling more foreign, but you’ll often see families and friends enjoying them.. Foods are authentically made for local taste and shopper’s items are aimed at more practical and household variety. Interesting nonetheless!

Watch your money though, it’s sure to drain fast.

Read 24 ways to avoid pickpockets

5. dinner shows, concerts and cultural performances.

Did you know that Vietnamese water puppet shows originated as a form of entertainment in villages, when rice fields got flooded?

…Or that in Bali , Legong dancers are played music, while still in the womb and taught the hand gestures before they can walk? I saw a Legong dinner show on the beach and it was included on an all-day sightsee- snorkel- and-beach tour package I got…for $40. Snap, don’t you love great budget tour deals!

A culture’s art is very indicative of its people’s history and many places offer engaging dinner shows and cultural performances to showcase their local talents and give tourists a vibrant understanding of who they are.

download checklist 25 travel tips for solo travelers

Download my 25 Solo Travel Mistakes to Avoid Checklist

6.   follow your curiosity.

Curiosity pays and occasionally, wandering off the grid can lead to discoveries, which are more rewarding than seeing the Taj Mahal . Never underestimate off-the-beaten-path places, even if at first glance it looks… too  grassroots for your taste!

Just when I was scraping the barrel of ideas for evening activities in the little Indian town of Gokarna , I came across a small town Indian community theater blasting Bollywood music in a shoddy dirt lot.  I’ve never experienced community theater in a rural town before. This was entertainment put on for the locals- not its tourists- and it was a blast.

Keep an open mind and follow your curiosity. It may lead to adventures that most tourists don’t think to try and you’ll be glad you did.

7.   Brave creepy crawlers on a night safari

Flashlights out everyone and don’t forget to hit yourself with insect repellent before you start!  Night safaris lead you on tours of the jungle, to point out the type of animals and critters that come out after dark.  It’s fun, eye opening and enough to give you the heebie-jeebies !

Read about my stay and night safari at Bako National Park

8.   dine alone.

There’s a myth that many soloists hold around solo dining, and it’s that others will see you as lonely or pathetic. Well, have you ever noticed someone dining alone? The likelihood is… not really , unless you’re another soloist or the only person in the joint. But ordinarily, our eyes are drawn to movement and activity (i.e. many vs. one).

Sorry soloist, hate to burst the bubble, but you’re not exciting enough to catch attention. In a busy restaurant, you’re actually wallpaper! So lose self-consciousness.

Read tips on How to Eat Alone.

Alternate ways to get over the fear of dining alone:

•   Look for other solo diners in the restaurant. They’re immediate validation that you’re not an anomaly and if you have the fortune of getting seated next to another soloist, use it as an opportunity for possible conversation. •   Ask for a table near a window or outside, so you can people-watch and experience your surroundings. •   Bring a book, magazine or journal to occupy yourself as you wait for your food to arrive.

. 9.   Explore Street Food culture

Forego the table-for-one at a restaurant and eat on the streets. Street food culture is alive in certain cities and it’s the place to be! With street food, you can eat standing up, sitting on a plastic stool on the sidewalk as motorbikes zip past you or amidst the cluck of foreign chatter. It’s real dining just the way locals do it :  authentic food and cheap prices!  Next time you visit street foodie capitals, like Thailand , Kolkata or Taipei , dare to step outside the tourist box and experience it local style.

Read my tips on street food safety and how to avoid getting sick abroad

10. explore the local shopping experience.

One of the best things to do at night when traveling solo is to explore grocery stores, convenience marts and shopping malls. They are absolutely safe! Doing your shopping at night also makes time for you to do your historical and monument sightseeing at day..

I ooh  and  aaah  at unique products, raise my eyebrow at strange ones and even pick up souvenirs for friends, which might have them guessing…  I’m always curious about how a country is different from my own.

In Asia, you can get a lot of skin care products with whitening in it (even underarm deodorant!), in India they sell a lot of Ayurvedic products. Islamabad, Colombo and Bangkok have mega-glam shopping malls that would blow any American one out of the water! Don Quijote in Tokyo at night… I could stay there until closing!

spam korea

11.   Hang out at your lodgings, chat and find travel friends

The fallacy about solo travel is that you’re always alone . On the contrary, often I find it’s quite the opposite.  You’re almost always meeting people on the road.

But occasionally, you have to know where to look.  I’ll never pooh-pooh hostels and guesthouses. They’re a soloist’s salvation and these days, it’s not just for the young, but for the budget-minded in general!   Some joints host nightly events, book budget tours and often it attracts open-minded and friendly compadres, who are willing to share advice and recommendations of where to go and what you shouldn’t waste your time seeing. You can find a dinner companion or more or even strike up a group of friends to go to a bar with. It happens all the time. Sometimes, you’ll wish you were actually alone. (Read about my experience in finding friends to go to Bangkok’s X-rated ping pong shows ).

Read how to make friends when traveling alone .

12.  catch up with family and friends.

Skype your family, update your Facebook status, write a new post on your travel blog and… unload your photo card so you have something new to work with the next day.

I like to Skype or Facetime my mom to let her know how i’m doing and to talk to my dog, Tinker.

13.    Enjoy the quiet time reading a book or writing in your journal

Journalling is also great for taking notes on your observations and putting all your experiences into perspective.

Lastly, if you’re like me, you’ll also spend it trip planning and figuring out my transportation route for the next day!

14.  Cozy Up for a Movie Night (Solo Style)

Grab some popcorn and find a cozy outdoor cinema screening, light show or visit an actual cinema and watch a movie in a foreign language without subtitles. It can be quite fun! Immerse yourself in a different kind of story, surrounded by strangers who become your movie-night companions for a few hours.

I watched a Bollywood film in a historical movie house in India and took in my first 4DX movie in Thailand watching an American film about a big whale while having my chair rock and shoot mist at me to simulate being on a boat at sea. Note: this was before 4D came to the U.S.! In Mexico, I discovered the city center was aglow at night and certain historical monuments had light shows.

15. Research the local events & make a new discovery

All cities have a local event calendar where you’ll find concerts, opera, festivals, markets, etc…  Many main cities have a Time Out magazine. 

Tip: Ask your hotel front desk or concierge. The night I arrived in Valladolid, Mexico , I asked my hotel front desk if there was anything to see at night and they told me that the city had a carnival festival celebrating the virgin. It was the biggest carnival I’d ever been to in my life! Mexico has insane carnivals.

Join one of my group adventures!

Dive into local culture, food and off-beaten-path gems without the stress  , 16. take a night tour with a twist.

One of the best things to do at night for solo travelers is to take a night tour with a unique spin.  The traditional ghost tours aren’t bad. But how about a bike tour to navigate the city with the wind in your hair, or a photography walk to capture the city’s nocturnal charm? I did a night tuk tuk tour in Bangkok , exploring popular street food while sightseeing famous monuments lit up at night.

17. Take a food tour

Another safe thing solo travelers can do at night is to take a night food tour or pub crawl. Explore hidden culinary gems as you eat your way around the city with other travelers.

18. Join a Cooking Class (and Eat the Results!)

Learn the secrets of local cuisine in a hands-on cooking class. Not only will you gain culinary skills, but you’ll also connect with other travelers and locals, sharing laughter and delicious meals.

19.  Do take long-distance journeys at night

Overnight sleeper trains and buses are hotels on wheels. They help you maximize your daylight hours for sightseeing as you travel during the evening.

You might think you want to watch the passing landscape from the train during the day, but in reality, you might just watch half an hour of it before slogging off! You’ll maximize your sightseeing, by scheduling your long-distance travels for night instead.

Some buses and trains accommodate for instance, I love taking the overnight train in Thailand and India , while the Myanmar overnight Hello Kitty bus was surprisingly comfortable.

Tip: Check out my Resources page to see the tools I use for transportation

crashed out

Remember, what to do at night when traveling alone is entirely up to you.

Embrace the freedom, chase the unique experiences, and trust your adventurous spirit. The night holds endless possibilities for solo travelers who dare to explore. So, go forth, my friend, and paint your own masterpiece on the canvas of darkness.

What would you add to this list of solo travel things to do at night ?

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13 Ways To Sleep Better While Seeing the World

Last Updated on February 22, 2024

Written by Jess Carpenter

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Find out more from our sleep team on a several ways on how to sleep better while traveling.

Gearing up for your trip around the world? Nothing ruins a vacation more than being exhausted the whole time. There are some things that you can do to spend more time seeing sights than the back of your eyelids.

Before we get to some tips, let’s chat about the thing that rules our lives even more than our jobs: circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are our body’s natural clocks. They are to blame for your troubles sleeping in on weekends, making you tired as soon as the clock ticks 10 p.m. every night, and triggering jet lag on your big trip to Europe.

When it comes to travel, your body starts to notice a big difference after crossing two or more time zones. Taking the proper precautions before you leave and during your trip should help maximize the sleep you can get when you are far from home.

Prepare for Jet Lag

Jet lag is no joke — altering your circadian rhythm can take days if you travel far enough away. To avoid this, start moving your bedtime a few days before you leave an hour or so earlier each night. It takes about a day to adjust for each time zone that you cross.

Change your watch right when you board the plane to get yourself a little more prepped. Try not to schedule anything too taxing the first day of travel because you will be tired, but get outside if possible.

This works if you are staying in a new location for more than two days. If it is a short trip, your best bet is to stick to your usual schedule as closely as you can, otherwise, your body is going to be pretty confused. In cases of two-day trips, try to schedule any obligations at a time that you would usually be awake at home.

Learn more: Jet Lag – Meaning, Symptoms and Treatment

Try to Stay Awake until “Bedtime”

As soon as you leave, you will want to pretend that you are on local time in your destination. This means that your bedtime is going to be a bit later or earlier than usual. Try to go to sleep around 10 p.m. “local time.” A good rule of thumb is to do what those around you are doing — if they are out and about, you should be too!

Yes, you might be walking around like a zombie in the market, but it will make the transition a lot faster.

If you are only staying for a couple of days, this tip will not apply to you because you should be trying to stick to your routine at home.

Plan Your Travel to Arrive at Night

Getting to your destination at night works best for most; sleeping on an airplane can be excruciating at times, so unless you are one of the lucky few that can easily catch some zzzs on your flight, you will not be getting much rest during travel.

If you have already set your watch to local time, it should not be too much longer until a “bedtime” of 10 p.m. This works well because you won’t have to trudge through a whole day with no sleep, and you will most likely be exhausted from a full day of travel (that bed will be calling your name as soon as you land).

If a nighttime arrival is not an option, taking a short nap during the afternoon once you arrive is doable, just make sure it is not too late in the day and is shorter than a couple of hours so that it does not interfere with night sleep.

Stay in the Sun

The sun is the ultimate calibration tool; light tells our brain when we should be awake and when we should be sleeping. If the world around you is awake when you land, try to stay out in the sun as long as you can. Walk around town, eat your meals outside, and stay away from dark rooms.

If traveling east, try to get the most amount of sun exposure in the late morning and early afternoon; some suggest wearing sunglasses in the very early morning to limit the amount of light your body gets. If your destination is western, stay in the sun during the evening. This should help you adjust your clock more quickly to the new time zone.

Avoid Rich Foods at Night

After a long day of travel, nothing sounds better than a giant, hot, carb-loaded meal. Unfortunately, if you want to sleep better, this is where self-control comes into play. 

There are a couple of reasons for this one: First, filling meals often make us tired, and if you fall asleep too early, the effects of jet lag can be even worse. Second, rich food, despite sometimes making you tired, actually decrease the quality of your sleep. Heartburn, stomach aches, and issues with digestion can awaken you throughout the night.

Learn more:   The 17 Best Healthy Nighttime Snacks

Bring Your Own Pillow

There is this thing called the “ first-night effect ” that scientists discovered years ago. Essentially, the first night of sleep that people get in a new place is so bad, that during research, scientists would just throw out the data for that day. Not the best sign for someone traveling, huh?

Our brains are not as easy to shut down when we are in a new environment, possibly a biological trait from back when we had to protect ourselves from predators out in the wild. To make ourselves more comfortable, making the hotel room more similar to our bedrooms at home can be just the trick. Bringing your own pillow or blanket gives us something familiar to sleep with to make us feel right at home.

Avoid Alcohol the First Day

I know, you are on vacation, and this feels like blasphemy. But hear me out: Alcohol might make you sleep like a log initially, but research shows that it hinders the quality of rest overall. Plus, it is a diuretic, so your slumber will probably be interrupted by frequent bathroom trips.

Anything that messes with your sleep schedule while your body is adjusting to a new rhythm is no bueno . Do not worry, though; once your body is regulated, you can go back to buzzed bliss.

Say No to Coffee and Nicotine

Like alcohol, coffee and nicotine can alter your sleep rhythm, which can be problematic when trying to rework your schedule. Unlike alcohol, coffee and nicotine are stimulants, which effectively convince your body to stay awake.

Caffeine can stay in your system for up to six hours, so try to limit the amount that you consume in the afternoon. Nicotine is addictive, and users often feel withdrawal symptoms during rest because its effects do not last very long. These might cause unwanted midnight wake-ups and overall restless sleep.

Pack Some Lavender Soap

Lavender is known to help you relax , so it is a perfect natural trigger for sleepytime. An easy way to expose yourself to lavender is by using it in soap, which can help the smell linger and the effects last longer. Plus, there are only a few things more relaxing than a delicious-smelling, warm bath before bed.

Our bodies thrive on routine, and following a bedtime ritual every night is good sleep hygiene. Involving lavender into your routine while at home and continuing to do so during a trip can heighten the relaxing effects as your body associates the smell with rest.

Keep the Curtains Open

Because the sun helps our circadian rhythm regulate itself , it could do you some good to keep the curtains open.

As the sun rises in the morning and the room gets brighter, you should wake up naturally. This is an easy way to help move along that adjustment period and reduce the effects of jet lag.

Keep Moving

We are getting a little “sciency” here — research shows that our body temperature has a huge impact on our circadian rhythm, and increasing our temperature tells our body that it should be awake. 

If you need to stay awake longer, be sure to keep it moving. Although you may be tired, it helps regulate your wake and sleep times. In the morning, take a warm shower and a short walk to signal that it is time to get going.

Get Strategic with Lodgings

Planning is key for this tip. You will want to do some research to make sure that your accommodations can provide a conducive sleep environment. If your hotel is on a busy street and you are used to it being extra quiet at night, you might have a rough night.

Blackout curtains (used strategically! Not for afternoon naps), a comfortable mattress, and a clean room are a few things that can improve your rest. Your hotel should have a list of provided items and amenities. Make sure that rest is a top priority when choosing a hotel.

Consider Melatonin

Many people claim that sleep aids are life-savers, especially when overcoming jet lag. Melatonin is among the most popular, with millions of users each year.

By definition, melatonin is the hormone that triggers our need for rest and makes us tired.

The purpose of using supplements is to prompt melatonin release either to help those who struggle with falling asleep or to alter a bedtime; however, studies show that exposure to natural light throughout the day is a more effective way to adjust circadian rhythms, so discuss options with your doctor before trying it out.

Read More: Best Melatonin Supplements

Generally, less is more when it comes to melatonin, and you do not want to mess with your body’s natural levels permanently, so use it sparingly.

Sleep might be the last thing on your mind when planning a trip, but it could make or break your vacation. Adopting a few simple changes can impact your rest in a big way, and preparing beforehand can set you on the fast track to dreamland. Seeing the world takes a lot of energy, so take your rest seriously — no one wants to spend their vacation sleeping in the hotel room.

If you do happen to sleep great, consider “bringing home” a piece of your trip: shop our top picks for best hotel mattresses of 2024 or best mattresses for Airbnb and vacation rentals here. 

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traveller at night

Night Safety for Solo Travelers: How to Have Fun and Be Safe

Janice Waugh

May 24, 2023 by Janice Waugh

night safety for solo travelers

You can travel solo, go out at night and be safe. All three are possible despite the concerns some people have. Night safety for solo travelers just requires a bit of thought and planning.

It's really not that difficult. I say the same thing when I am asked whether it's possible to go out alone as a woman safely. It's not that difficult. Many of the same safety rules we follow at home apply on the road as well. But, given that you are in an unfamiliar place and possibly an unfamiliar culture, there a few additional things to consider.

Here's my post with suggestions of things that solo travelers can do at night . Let's get into the night safety tips for solo travelers.

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How to Stay Safe at Night: 17 Tips for Travelers

traveller at night

Through many small experiences, I've learned how to stay safe at night. From New York City to Memphis, from Paris to Hong Kong, these are tried and true night safety tips for solo travelers.

1. Check with someone reliable first.

Before going out, make sure that where you're going is safe. While everyone has a different sense of what safe is, it's helpful to have an opinion or two before you go.

2. Plan for getting there and getting home.

Depending on where I am and what time I'm going out, I may take public transit there but I almost always take a taxi back. Make sure that the taxi is licensed. Don't take pirate cabs. If you take public transit, sit near the bus driver or choose a subway car that has many people in it.

3. Leave a note and take a card.

Leave a note in your room saying where you're going in the evening and take a card from your hotel or hostel and keep it in a pocket. If you don't know the language, you can simply show the card to your taxi driver to get home.

4. Don't take a purse or backpack.

I suggest leaving a purse or backpack behind. They can be targets for petty theft and just one more thing to worry about. However, this does mean that you have to leave things in a safe place in your hotel. I use the hotel safe though every online source will tell you that they are not completely secure. It's still better than trying to hide things. Please don't use 1234 or 0000 as your code for the safe. This is as good as leaving the door open.

5. Stash your money in more than one place.

Have some money easily accessible but, just in case you lose your money (or worse), have some tucked away in a shoe, your bra, or wherever works for you.

6. Have fun, make friends, but be cautious.

When you go out and meet people remember that they are strangers. You don't really know them. Also, on vacation you may be more relaxed, less careful, and, in another culture, you might interpret comments incorrectly. Stay in a public place with them at all times.

7. Don't accept lifts from new friends.

Along with staying in a public place, night safety for solo travelers also includes not accepting a lift from people you meet or sharing a taxi with them.

traveller at night

8. Gain the backup of a server.

If you're in a pub or bar, befriend the server or bartender so that they'll come to your aid if someone starts hassling you.

9. Be aware of your drink.

Don't let someone distract you so that they can slip something into your drink. Be aware of it at all times.

10. Go rested. Stay sober.

It's important to have your wits about you when you're out at night, so go out rested and don't drink too much.

11. Men and women are equal.

Sometimes people assume that women are safer to connect with than men. This isn't really the case and should not be assumed.

12. Where you're staying is your business.

Your accommodation is your safe haven. Don't tell people where you're staying. Here are tips for handling intrusive questions from strangers .

13. Dress appropriately.

I hesitate to suggest that a woman could be responsible for inappropriate attention from men based on their dress but the truth is that if you dress conservatively you will attract less unwanted attention. Also, wear a minimum of jewelry to protect it from theft.

14. Engage the support of strangers.

If I get turned around, as I did in New York City once, I'm careful about who I ask for directions. My first choice is to approach a family and then perhaps a couple.

how to stay safe at night

15. Know how to get help if needed.

If you carry a smartphone, there are many safety apps available. Read 10 Solo Travel Safety Apps: Technology for Peace of Mind . At minimum, learn the local emergency number.

16. Find help for someone who needs it.

If someone appears to need your help, find someone else to lend the help needed. As a stranger to the area, you are not the best source of aid. It's also possible that the help required is a ruse to get you engaged and in danger.

17. Be rude if necessary.

If you're being bothered by someone who just doesn't get the message that you don't want their attention, be rude and noisy. They'll usually back away.

Take care. Have fun. Night safety is possible for solo travelers.

night safety for solo travelers

For more, see our most comprehensive safety post: Solo Travel Safety: 50+ Proven Tips to Keep You Safe .

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How to Stay Safe at Night

Last Updated: March 3, 2024 References

This article was co-authored by Adrian Tandez . Adrian Tandez is the founder and head instructor of the Tandez Academy, a world-renowned self-defense training center in Mountain View, California. Trained under the renowned martial artist Dan Inosanto, Adrian is a certified instructor in Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do, Filipino Martial Arts, and Silat, among other things. Adrian has over 27 years of self defense training experience. This article has been viewed 106,062 times.

Fear of crime can make you wary of walking or traveling at night. But being uneasy doesn’t mean you need to stay home and miss the good times with your friends. Being prepared, planning your route, and knowing what to do in an emergency will make your night out safe, as well as fun.

Being Prepared

Step 1 Tell someone where you are going.

  • You can also download an app such as FindMyFriends that allows you to share your location with others, as well as find friends nearby. Several of these apps also contain ways to quickly broadcast your location in an emergency situation. [2] X Research source

Step 2 Plan your travel route.

  • Pepper spray needs a little practice to use correctly. Get comfortable using your thumb to push the button so you can hold the canister securely in the palm of your hand with the other four fingers. Learn how to unlock the safety switch quickly. Practice a few times with your canister to learn how far away you can stand and still reach your target. Some sprays can reach up to ten feet.

Step 5 Carry a small flashlight.

Getting to Your Destination

Step 1 Travel with a friend or in a group.

  • Many cities and universities provide free shuttles around town to popular restaurants and clubs. Using this option provides a safe way to get to and from your destination. Another popular option with college students is a "call a buddy" system that has volunteers on-call to walk you home.

Step 2 Stay away from unsafe places at night.

  • Be confident but don’t attract the wrong kind of attention. Flashy jewelry, large purses, expensive clothing and attention-grabbing antics can make you a target.

Step 4 Be aware of your surroundings.

  • You don’t want to be distracted by chatting on your phone when walking, but it can sometimes make you feel safer to talk to someone when you are alone so they know where you are. Just make sure the conversation allows you to keep track of those around you.

Step 5 Follow a familiar route.

  • Park in well-lit areas, as well. If it is still light when you park, visualize what the area will look like in the dark when you return. Look for overhead lights and park there. Always take note of where you park so that you can easily find your car. [10] X Research source

Step 7 Carry keys in your hand.

Handling an Emergency

Step 1 Have a plan.

Adrian Tandez

Fight instead of cooperating. Adrian Tandez, a self defense expert, says: “Never cooperate with your captors. If someone says, “Do what I tell you, and I won’t hurt you,” don’t believe them . They will get what they want from you no matter what. You need to fight as hard as you can and run away.”

Step 3 Make noise.

  • Telling people what to do is more effective than yelling something like, “Fire.” Instead, yell, “I’m being attacked – call 911!” Or yell directly at the attacker: “Get your hand off me!” or even just “Stop!”

Step 4 Get to a safe place.

Expert Q&A

Adrian Tandez

  • Avoid anyone who looks suspicious. It’s better to hurt someone’s feelings than find yourself with someone dangerous. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • If you feel that you're being followed, look around and make it clear that you know someone is there. In this situation, try to direct your route to an area where there are more people or a place you know well. Turn everyday objects into last-minute combat tools. You can make Wolverine-like claws with your keys In between your fingers and be ready to fight or flee if someone ends up attacking you. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Look confident, even if you aren't. Criminals prey on those who look vulnerable. Behaviors that make you look submissive, such as slouching and shuffling your feet, make you an easy target. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

traveller at night

  • Avoid suspicious-looking people, such as individuals covering their faces, individuals loitering, and people in dark streets and alleyways. Thanks Helpful 14 Not Helpful 0
  • Never enter unsafe neighborhoods if you can avoid it. If there is a safe route that takes longer compared to a short but dangerous route, take the safer one. Saving your life is better than saving time. Thanks Helpful 15 Not Helpful 1
  • Never look down at your phone when out at night. This gives the impression that you aren't paying attention to your surroundings and makes you a good target. This includes talking on the phone to a friend while you walk. Thanks Helpful 15 Not Helpful 2

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US Overnight Bus Network

Overnight bus travel in the US

Don't want to spend the afternoon traveling? Planning on meeting your friends for breakfast? FlixBus has you covered with overnight bus connections!

Comfortable seats and extra legroom allow you to relax and sleep all the way to your destination so you’re fresh and ready to explore your new city when you wake up. You could fall asleep in Los Angeles and awake to the sights of Las Vegas.

Not sure if catching a night bus is the right choice for you? Traveling at night is surprisingly convenient. Booking your overnight bus ticket online or in our FlixBus App takes only a few clicks. Just book your ticket online, pack your bag and you are ready to go on your adventure!

Our overnight bus route network is constantly expanding so be sure to check this page frequently. Like our Facebook page so you are always the first to find out about all our new connections.

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The Appalachian Mountains Come Alive At Night

traveller at night

Have you ever wondered what happens in the ancient Appalachian Mountains when the sun goes down and darkness creeps over the forested slopes and rolling hills? If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Appalachian Mountains take on an entirely different character at night, with nocturnal animals waking up while most birds and animals sleep, trees and plants undergoing fascinating nighttime processes, and the mountains displaying their majesty under starry night skies or when aglow with moonlight .

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll transport you to the Appalachian Mountains after dusk and walk you through everything from the unseen nightlife stirring in the forest to the illuminating astronomical light shows overhead.

You’ll learn secrets that only the mountains themselves know after nightfall.

Stirrings of Forest Nightlife

When the sun sets over the Appalachian Mountains, the forests come alive with a vibrant and captivating nightlife. While many animals retreat to their dens for a restful sleep, others emerge from the shadows, engaging in a variety of activities that are both fascinating and essential for their survival.

Foraging Mammals Venturing From Their Dens

As darkness falls, an array of foraging mammals begin to stir within the Appalachian forests. Creatures such as raccoons, opossums, and foxes venture out from their dens, guided by their keen senses to locate food sources.

These nocturnal animals, with their heightened sense of smell and excellent night vision, navigate the forest floor with ease, searching for berries, nuts, insects, and small mammals to sustain themselves.

Their presence adds a touch of mystery and excitement to the nocturnal landscape of the Appalachians.

Light Spectacles From Fireflies and Foxfire

The Appalachian Mountains are known for their mesmerizing displays of light after dusk. Fireflies, also known as lightning bugs, twinkle and dance in the night sky, creating a magical atmosphere that is truly awe-inspiring.

These bioluminescent insects, with their fascinating ability to produce light, use their glowing abdomens to attract mates and communicate with each other. As they flit through the air, their enchanting display captivates both young and old, turning the forests into a scene straight out of a fairytale.

Another phenomenon that adds to the nocturnal charm of the Appalachians is the occurrence of foxfire. This natural phenomenon, caused by certain fungi found in decaying wood, produces a soft glow that illuminates the forest floor.

The ethereal greenish-blue light emitted by foxfire creates a surreal ambiance, as if the forest itself is alive and pulsating with its own mystical energy.

For more information on the unique nightlife of the Appalachian Mountains, you can visit National Geographic or Outdoor Project .

Moonlight and Starlight Transforming Mountain Landscapes

When the sun sets and darkness blankets the Appalachian Mountains, a magical transformation takes place. The moonlight and starlight cast an enchanting glow over the landscape, turning it into a truly captivating sight.

The mountains, already awe-inspiring during the day, take on a whole new level of beauty at night.

Bioluminescent Plants Glowing In The Dark

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Appalachian Mountains at night is the presence of bioluminescent plants. These unique plants have the ability to emit a soft, otherworldly glow in the darkness.

Imagine walking through the forest and being surrounded by tiny points of light, as if the forest floor were covered in stars. It’s a sight that truly feels like something out of a fairy tale.

Bioluminescent plants are able to produce light through a chemical reaction within their cells. This light is often green or blue in color and can be seen in various parts of the plant, such as the leaves, stems, or even the flowers.

Some common examples of bioluminescent plants found in the Appalachian Mountains include the Jack-in-the-pulpit and the Ghost Plant.

If you’re lucky enough to witness these bioluminescent plants in action, it’s an experience that you won’t soon forget. The combination of their soft glow and the surrounding darkness creates a surreal and almost magical atmosphere in the mountains.

Captivating Night Skies When Conditions Are Right

Another reason why the Appalachian Mountains come alive at night is the breathtaking display of stars that can be seen when conditions are right. Away from the bright lights of cities and towns, the night sky in the mountains is a canvas filled with thousands of twinkling stars.

The lack of light pollution in the mountains allows for a clearer view of the night sky, revealing constellations, shooting stars, and even the Milky Way. On a clear night, you can spend hours gazing up at the heavens, marveling at the vastness of the universe.

For avid stargazers and astrophotographers, the Appalachian Mountains offer a prime location to observe celestial wonders. From the highest peaks, you can get a panoramic view of the night sky, with the mountains serving as a dramatic backdrop.

Whether you’re exploring the bioluminescent plants or stargazing in the Appalachian Mountains, the night brings a whole new dimension to the beauty of this natural wonder. So next time you find yourself in the mountains, don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate the moonlight and starlight that transform the landscape into a truly magical place.

The Restorative Darkness Of Appalachian Nights

When the sun sets behind the Appalachian Mountains, a new kind of beauty emerges. The darkness that blankets the region brings a sense of tranquility and restoration to both the plants and animals that call this area home.

The unique characteristics of Appalachian nights create an environment that is teeming with life and hidden wonders.

Plants and Trees Conducting Unseen, Vital Processes

While the world sleeps, the plants and trees of the Appalachian Mountains continue their essential work. In the darkness, these natural wonders conduct unseen, vital processes that contribute to the overall health and balance of the ecosystem.

For example, many plants release oxygen during the night, helping to cleanse the air and improve its quality. Additionally, the absence of sunlight allows certain species of plants to thrive, as they are better adapted to low-light conditions.

This phenomenon makes the Appalachian Mountains a sanctuary for unique and rare plant species.

Furthermore, the darkness of Appalachian nights plays a crucial role in the reproductive cycle of many plants. Some flowers only bloom at night, relying on moths and other nocturnal insects for pollination.

This intricate dance between plants and their nighttime pollinators is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of nature.

Soothing Sounds Of Cascading Water And Night Birds

One of the most enchanting aspects of Appalachian nights is the soothing sounds that fill the air. The region is known for its cascading waterfalls, and their gentle roar becomes even more magical under the cover of darkness.

The symphony of flowing water creates a peaceful ambiance that is hard to replicate during the day.

In addition to the melodic sounds of water, the night in the Appalachians is also alive with the calls of various nocturnal birds. Owls, whippoorwills, and other species take advantage of the quiet and stillness of the night to communicate with one another.

Their unique songs and calls create a mesmerizing soundtrack that adds to the overall charm of the Appalachian nightscape.

Exploring the Appalachian Mountains at night offers a completely different perspective on the beauty and vitality of this region. Whether it’s witnessing the unseen processes of plants or immersing oneself in the symphony of cascading water and night birds, the restorative darkness of Appalachian nights is a true wonder to behold.

As this guide has illuminated, the Appalachian Mountains take on an entirely different personality once the cloak of darkness has descended. Nocturnal creatures emerge to hunt and forage, plants and trees carry on restorative activities, and the mountains themselves transform under the glow of the moon and stars overhead.

Venturing into the Appalachian wilderness at night reveals a whole new set of sights and sounds that most miss out on. Now that you have some insider knowledge of what happens after dusk, you can plan your own after-dark adventure into these ancient mountains.

traveller at night

Jennifer Morris is an avid solo travel adventurer who founded Solo Traveller after many years of journeying on her own around the world. She has backpacked through over 50 countries across 6 continents over the past decade, striking up conversations with locals along railway platforms, learning to cook regional dishes in home kitchens, and absorbing a global perspective while volunteering with various community initiatives.

With a Masters in Tourism and Hospitality, Jennifer is passionate about responsible and meaningful travel that fosters cultural exchange. Whether trekking through the Atlas Mountains, sailing to Komodo National Park, or taking an overnight train across Eastern Europe - she is always seeking her next epic destination.

When not globetrotting, Jennifer calls Vancouver, Canada home. There she enjoys kayaking local waters, curling up with books on faraway places, and gearing up for her next solo backpacking trip. As the founder of SoloTraveller, she hopes to motivate and inform fellow solo explorers from all walks of life to take the leap into their own adventures.

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traveller at night

The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog

Night Bus Travel: 11 Tips for Safety, Survival and Sleep

Written By: The Planet D

Travel Tips

Updated On: January 17, 2021

Taking an overnight bus while traveling is often a great option. Not only can you cover a lot of ground without losing time, but you can also save money on a flight or hotel room.

The journey itself, however, can be challenging—especially your first time.

After taking numerous overnight buses over the years, I’ve come up with a list of tips that will hopefully make your experience easier and safer —and one during which you can sleep easy.

Bus Travel – SAFETY

1. make sure the route is safe..

Check local travel advisories and be sure the bus route is not one where robberies and/or accidents are common at night.

If you see warnings about this, you might want to opt for a day bus.

2. Splurge on the first-class bus.

traveller at night

Think long and hard before buying a ticket for the cheaper or cheapest overnight bus.

Does it look safe and decently maintained (eg, are tires bald)? Can you imagine being in one of the seats all night?

Will there be two drivers, taking turns—or just one for the entire night?

If you’re unsure and/or have a bad gut feeling, then it might be best to take more expensive, higher quality overnight bus.

3. Choose your seat carefully.

bus travel safety

There are several things to consider when picking your seat:

  • Window or Aisle? Some people feel they’ll sleep better near the window; it means more ways to create a makeshift pillow. Others (like me) prefer the aisle because there’s more space and a way to stretch out.
  • Near a man or woman? You should sit where you feel most comfortable. I tend to sit next to a woman or a teenager. The few times I’ve sat near a man (whether seats were pre-assigned or not), I had some unpleasant encounters. If you’re a male traveler, then the choice might be easier. My advice is to state your preference when you buy the ticket if seats are assigned in advance.
  • Front, back or middle? The further back you sit, the bumpier (and possibly weirder) the ride may be. Sit too close to the front and you might see things you don’t want to see—the road in front of you, that is, and the scary way in which the driver is taking the hairpin turns. Of course, if you like rollercoasters, then you might enjoy a seat up front.

Middle of Bus is the Safest Place

bus travel seats

According to safety experts, the middle is generally safer. If an accident occurred, the chance of serious injury would be minimized since most accidents involve head-on collisions or rear-ending.

For this reason, and those discussed above, I tend to sit in the middle.

4. Hide your money/other valuables in more than one place.

bus travel waist pack

It’s not ideal to keep all of your money and credit cards together.

In the event of a robbery, the thief would get everything. Try to split up your valuables.

I prefer to use a slash-proof waist pack (which has a ‘trick lock’ on it) and to hide some money in my shoes.

Read: Top Scams to Watch out for in India

Bus Travel – SURVIVAL

Moving beyond basic safety, there’s ‘survival’—that is, making the journey more comfortable and bearable.

5. Pack as if you’re flying.

bus safety tips

You’ll probably have to stow your larger bag underneath the bus (if there’s no room for it above you).

If so, then make sure your daypack has what you need (eg, medication)—as if you’re going to be on a plane.

6. Pack an energy drink (to avoid needing to use the bathroom).

Buy a Gatorade or another beverage that replenishes electrolytes. Or pack small packets of powder drinks to make your own.

This will hopefully keep your thirst quenched and your bladder, empty—meaning that you won’t have to use the bathroom as often.

That’s a good thing since there may or may not be one (if there is, it’ll probably be unpleasant) on the bus and those at rest stops may be atrocious.

7. BYOS (Bring Your Own Snacks).

bus travel snacks

Most often, there will be a stop or two at roadside restaurants; in some cases, the food is quite good.

But there are no guarantees. I once ate at a low-quality place in Indonesia and got sick the next day.

If I’d had snacks, I might have skipped that meal. You should always have something (eg, nuts, fruit or an energy bar if possible) just in case.

8. Use noise-canceling headphones and entertain yourself.

bus travel megabus

Night bus rides last from 6 to 12 or more hours.

During this time, you will encounter many unpleasant sounds: a loud TV, staticky music, someone snoring and/or other conversations. Use good headphones (noise-canceling would be best) to block those sounds and to listen to your own music.

If you want to read, be sure to have a reading light because chances are the overhead light won’t work.

Check out 10 Things that will Ruin your Sleep in India

SLEEP on the Night Bus

9. use earplugs plus an eye mask..

bus travel sleep mask

When it’s time to sleep, you’ll want to drown out the noise.

I recommend earplugs, which you can buy at an electronics store. (See Tip # 6.)

An eye mask is also important. It helps block out light from inside the bus at night and in the morning, when the sun coming in through the windows can make you feel like a vampire.

10. Use a neck pillow.

bus travel safety tips

If you travel with a suitcase, then you might want to purchase a neck pillow.

If you’re a backpacker, you won’t want the extra bulk of a pillow in your bag, so you should consider getting a blow-up neck pillow.

It will make you feel more comfortable whether you’re reading or resting.

11. Take meds if you need to (but nothing too strong).

It’s not always easy to sleep on these buses, so you might need some help.

Taking medication (check with your doctor first) could be a solution. I use a combination of antihistamine and Xanax.

You want to sleep, but you don’t want to be so knocked out that you can’t wake up and react quickly if you need to.

Your Thoughts/Ideas?

Have you ever taken an overnight bus? If so, have you used any of the tips above or do you have any to share/add? If so, please comment below.

About Lisa:

Lisa Egle is the author of Magic Carpet Seduction , a collection of off-the-beaten-path travel tales set in China, Latin America, Turkey and the Middle East. She also runs the travel blog, Chicky Bus , which takes readers/’riders’ to unique destinations around the world via photos, videos and stories. Her writing has been published on BlogHer and Matador Network, and one of her stories was featured in an article on the blog. Follow Lisa on Twitter .

Photo credit: All photos are @L Egle/ChickyBus, except for one of the snacks. Thanks to  Liza , a photographer whose work can be found on Flickr.

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15 thoughts on “Night Bus Travel: 11 Tips for Safety, Survival and Sleep”

Thanks I’ve never rode on bus before. I’m planning a night trip but theirs like 6 stop because I’m going to a small country town. Thanks for your tips.

Additional note, get high before the ride

Wonderful and useful tips. I agree with you.

Id rather get robbed than wear a fanny pack lol!!!

This is my personal tip- loop the straps of your purse or bag around your arm or ankle while you sleep, so no one can grab it without waking you up. Many people may get on and off between where you get on and your final destination, and there are some shady characters who hop on and off of inter-city buses! If you get off the bus to buy a snack or use the facilities at any point, take your stuff with you (always!)

Great Tip! Thanks for sharing Macy. I agree, I always loop things around my feet.

Oh man, always always pay for the best you can get. Sleeper buses in Asia were an adventure, but I hope to never repeat the experience! My own tips are here:

Thanks for the tips. We agree when it comes to ground transportation, we try to pay for 1st or 2nd class. Most of the time it isn’t that much more expensive by Western Standards, but the difference is unbelievable.

The energy drink tip is interesting! I’m trying that next time, because I’m always torn about drinking water: long bus trips make me really dehydrated, but there’s nothing worse than having to pee and waiting an hour or more for the next rest stop.

Oh man, that’s the worst. That’s why I never drink, I always have to pee!

These are helpful tips for any kind of travel. I employ many of these on planes too! Didn’t know that about Gatorade, though. Will be adding that to my repertoire!

Hi, Heather. True re: planes. The tips definitely work well there, too–and also on overnight trains. Glad that you’ll be trying out the Gatorade (the tip, I mean). 🙂

Great tip for sure!

Great tips!

Thanks, Andi!


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The Night Travelers

Written by Armando Lucas Correa Review by Waheed Rabbani

Berlin, 1931. A young German poet, Ally, falls in love with a Black German musician, Marcus. They have a daughter, Lilith. To avoid hateful stares, they travel at night, as “by night, we’re all the same color.” When the Nazis seize control and Marcus disappears, Ally fears that the authorities might have seven-year-old Lilith sterilized. She persuades her Jewish neighbors, who are fleeing to Cuba, to take Lilith with them.

Havana, 1958. Lilith grows up blissfully in Cuba. She falls in love with Martin, an air force pilot in the Batista regime, and they have a daughter, Nadine. When Castro comes to power and Martin is imprisoned, Lilith makes a heart-wrenching decision, much like Ally’s.

Berlin, 1988. Nadine works as a scientist, ignorant of her family’s past. Her daughter, Luna, makes efforts to unearth their family’s history and discovers the appalling duplicities that have affected them.

Correa has used one of Rumi’s thought-provoking poetic lines, “Night travelers are full of light,” to title this novel, a multigenerational saga that stretches from 1931 to 2015. The plot weaves through that period’s historical events. Their harsh and traumatic impact on the lives of four women, Ally, Lilith, Nadine, and Luna, and their families, through war, revolution, and redemption, are narrated nonlinearly. The novel takes the readers on a journey through pre- and post-WWII events in Germany, the Cuban Revolution, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and other incidents. Correa mostly tells events, rather than show them, and his story has numerous flashbacks, perhaps to condense Ally’s family’s chronicle into one book. This structure reduces the multi-character fictional story’s dramatic impact, rendering it more like a biography. But the novel’s theme of the Nazi regime’s racist policies adversely affecting generations is well elucidated.

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11 Sleeping Tips for Overnight Flights That Are a Game Changer

tips for overnight flights

Historically, I’m not a great sleeper on land, let alone on a long-haul flight. The combination of a cramped seat and altitude have never been particularly relaxing for me (I’m guessing you can relate 😉 ), but after years of professionally traveling all over the world, sleeping on planes has become somewhat of an unfortunate necessity. Over time, I’ve developed and refined a list of tips for overnight flights that have been a game changer. 

Through practicing these tricks for long-haul flights, I’ve trained myself to maximize my opportunity to sleep on the plane, waking up (relatively) refreshed by the time I arrive in my destination.  

While at first glance a red eye may sound like something to be avoided at all costs, there are definitely times when they’re an advantageous choice. For example, if you only have a few days of time off work but want to visit an overseas destination, taking an overnight flight can help you maximize your vacation time and land with a full day ahead of you. 

Plus, when flying from the United States to Europe or Asia, most of the flight options are overnight flights, giving you more range in terms of airlines, timing, and pricing. In some cases, you may not even have a choice between red-eye and daytime for long-haul destinations.  

After spending COVID close to home, many of us are likely out of practice when it comes to mastering the overnight flight. But as the world starts to open up again with more and more people getting vaccinated, I hope this post will help you prepare so you have the best experience possible on your next long-haul journey or quick domestic red-eye. 

Getting the right routine down can be revolutionary, turning your experience from something you dread to something you’re able to enjoy. Keep reading for my absolute top tips for overnight flights to help you master sleeping en route like a travel boss.

Tips for Overnight Flights to Help You Sleep Like a Boss

sunset looking out of plane window

Know When to Splurge on First Class or Extra Legroom 

While it would be a dream to only fly first class for the rest of time, we all know this isn’t a feasible option for most of us already paying a pretty penny to get to our destination. However, whenever booking an overnight or long-haul flight, it’s always worth it to look into the cost of upgrading to boost your comfort and ability to sleep on your flight. Depending on the airline and specific flight path, sometimes there can be reasonable upgrades to any level.  

However, whether you choose the upgrade or not is really dependent on your particular situation and budget and there are quite a few factors to consider. Let’s take a look at some of them.

What Type of Plane Are you Flying?

First, you’ll want to look into the plane you’re flying. If you’re taking a shorter domestic red-eye with little difference between economy and first class seats, a paid upgrade is probably not worth it. On the other hand, if you’re traveling overnight to The Maldives with life-flat seats in business class, it could mean the difference between sleeping like a baby or waking up in paradise with a crick in your neck.

How Long is Your Trip in Total?

Another factor to consider is the total length of your trip. If you only have a few days and need to hit the ground running as soon as you arrive, splurging for an upgrade may be worth the cost. Getting a good night sleep on the plane will enable you to feel more refreshed and enjoy your trip and limit any downtime needed napping in your hotel room.

How Does the Upgrade Cost Compare to Your Hourly Wage?

I tend to look at the cost on a per hour difference. For example, if a 12-hour flight costs $750 for economy and $1,250 for business class, that’s a $500 difference, divided by 12 hours makes it around $42 per hour increase for an upgrade. If the 12-hour flight is $750 for coach and $4,000 for business class, that’s now around $270 per hour of upgrade. 

Each person should make the decision based on their own budget, but take into account your hourly rate at work. Is it worth X more hours of work to you to have a more comfortable flight? With this mindset it can make justifying that extra $500 a bit easier.  

Plus, some airlines like Aer Lingus, Aeromexico, Alitalia, Icelandair, Lufthansa, Quantas, and more, will even let you bid on an upgrade. Using the cost-per-hour math is great when bidding on an upgrade because you can bid exactly what it’s worth to you.  

Get Upgraded with Status or Miles

If you don’t want to have to pay out of pocket for extra space, you can also score free upgrades if you have status with an airline or have racked up enough miles to use those towards upgrades. It’s a lot harder to get free upgrades these days out of the blue, but asking politely with your gate agent never hurts. Keep your fingers crossed and maybe you’ll get lucky!  

Don’t Forget That an Upgrade Doesn’t Always Mean First Class

Lastly, remember that there are all different types of upgrades. Most airlines offer at least coach, coach with increased leg room, business, and first. Just because you aren’t jumping to row one doesn’t mean that some type of upgrade won’t provide more comfort and value. A little bit of extra space can make all the difference when you’re trying to sleep on a red-eye flight!

interior of airplane with rows of seats

Book a Window Seat

If you want a key for how to sleep on an overnight flight, it’s this: book a window seat. There’s nothing worse than leaving your seat assignment up to chance and then learning you were assigned the dreaded middle seat. Save yourself the discomfort and book a window seat upfront.  

Window seats are optimal for red eyes because you have control of the brightness of your row, plus an extra wall to lean against when you want to sleep (for me personally, this is crucial). Plus, you’ll have the least amount of sleep interruptions in this seat from guests waking you up to climb out for a bathroom run, or flight attendants hitting your elbows with the beverage cart.

For me, getting the window seat is a non-negotiable to ensure maximum comfort with minimum disturbance on any flight and is one of my top tips for overnight flights especially.  

Avoid Watching a Show or Movie Right Before Shut-Eye 

One important tip for overnight flights—that most people ignore—is to turn off the screens. With the increase in popularity of blue light glasses, we all know that staring at a screen right before sleep isn’t great for our health or ability to get deep slumber.

According to the Sleep Foundation, “Electronic devices, including computers, televisions, smartphones, and tablets, all emit strong blue light. When you use these devices, that blue light floods your brain, tricking it into thinking it’s daytime. As a result, your brain suppresses melatonin production and works to stay awake.”  

With sleeping on planes being difficult enough as it is, give yourself a break and turn off the screens at least an hour before you’re trying to doze off, and opt to pick up a paperback book instead.  

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A beginner’s guide to earning free flights, 101 ways to travel cheaper, how to plan a trip with google maps, wear something cozy that you can move in .

If you’re anything like me, you find it extremely difficult to sleep on a red-eye flight due to unregulated temperatures. One minute you’re freezing you’re ass off and cursing at the air vents that won’t close. The next, you’re sweating profusely and wishing you could strip down to a bikini. So how do you stay comfortable enough to sleep on an overnight flight? 

Layers. Layers. Layers.

I’ve made the mistake of not bringing anything warm on the flight when heading to a tropical destinations (because why would I need a sweater in Bali?) and let me tell you, you don’t have to learn that lesson the hard way more than once!  

I’d recommend bringing comfy socks, an oversized scarf or shawl that can double as a blanket, and both a long sleeved shirt and sweater so you can add and subtract layers for optimal comfort. Make sure everything is easy to move around in too. You want the option to curl up in your seat, stretch comfortably when you get up for bathroom breaks, or generally not have to deal with waistbands digging into you while you’re attempting some shut-eye.  

Avoid Seats Near the Bathrooms and Galley

Equally as miserable as getting woken up from a neighbor climbing over your aisle seat (see tip #2) is getting woken up by slamming bathroom doors and food cupboards. While it may sound advantageous to be near the bathroom for easy access, if you want to sleep on your red-eye flight steer clear of common areas like bathrooms and the galley.  

Bathrooms and galley areas tend to have the most light and the most noise, as people often gather here and chat.  If you want to get some solid sleep on your red-eye flight, stick to the middle of the cabins away from these spaces.  

sunset out airplane window - tips for overnight flights

Get into Your Zen Routine

How do you typically wind down after a busy day at work? What does your go-to evening routine look like at home? While I know you can’t recreate this perfectly at 30,000 feet, one of my top tips for overnight flights is to bring elements of this up in the air to mimic your nightly routine as closely as possible. This will set you up for successful relaxation mode.  

Consider making (and downloading pre-flight!) a calming playlist on Spotify or some meditations on an app like Headspace or Calm. Breathing exercises (like inhaling for five and exhaling for five, all through the nose) or journaling are also solid options. Even a (travel-size, of course) essential oil like lavender or sandalwood can help ease you into a relaxed sleep-ready state. 

For me personally, reading to exhaust my eyes is a pretty no-fail trick to sleeping on overnight flights. No matter what you pick, find elements of your home routine that work for you and stick to them as best as you can.  

Wash Your Face

I don’t know what it is, but I have a much harder time sleeping knowing that I have makeup on my face, especially if I have a eye mask on or am smushing my face into a pillow on the plane. Don’t forget to bring some wipes to remove makeup before you pile on the eye mask and neck pillow. Plus, waking up with raccoon eyes from smudged makeup is not the cutest look for your highly-anticipated first day of travel ahead.  

Even if you aren’t a heavy makeup wearer, using a wipe is still a good idea before falling asleep—you’ll be surprised (and grossed out) by how much dirt and grime accumulates from being in an airport!  

Be Prepared with the Essentials in Your Carry-on: 

Next on the list of must-know tips for overnight flights is to ensure you have all your essentials easily accessible. For me, a light-blocking eye mask is top priority.   This one is the best I’ve personally found and it’s only $10 on Amazon. 

Another essential? Ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones. I’m a huge fan of the Bose headphones in my day-to-day life, but they’re not always comfortable for everyone to wear in tandem with a neck pillow. There are many smaller options that could work better for sleeping on a red-eye flight like noise-cancelling Airpods.

The biggest game-changer for me in getting decent sleep on flights was finding the right neck pillow. I’m simply not the kind of person that can fall asleep sitting straight up with my head upright, and I tried many neck pillows over the years that didn’t seem to help much—until I found this one .

If you want a good balance of support and softness, this neck pillow is a must-have and scrunches up into a tiny ball for easy transporting. I love that it can connect to your seat’s headrest wings if you please for maximum support, and it also has a drawstring to make it as tight or as loose as you want.

Finally, make sure to have the essentials that will help you get tired. Whether that’s a book, a soothing playlist, or some Melatonin or Advil PM to ease you to sleep. Just remember, don’t pop any pills until you’re already in your seat!  

Airplane getting loaded for take-off

Book a Direct Flight if Possible 

Maybe my most important tip for long-haul flights: take the most direct flight path possible. If you’re newer to long-haul flights I understand the temptation to want to break it up and spend some time on land to stretch your legs, but trust me, this is not the way to go. The more stops you have, the more times you have to wake up, move around, and then re-acclimate yourself in a new seat.  

Plus, more layovers take more time, which ultimately reduces the amount of time you have in your destination.  The less time in an airport, the better!  

Think Twice About What You Consume Before Your Flight

You know your body best, but things like caffeine, loads of sugar, or irritants that don’t jive with your body like gluten or dairy can make for an uncomfortable flight. Stick to healthy foods that are easy to digest and skip the over-salted airplane snacks like peanuts when possible.  

One of the most tempting things can be drinking the free alcohol on flights (trust me, I know), but this can also disrupt sleep or increase risk of having to get up to use the restroom. Find the right balance of staying hydrated (with water!) and not disrupting your flight with frequent bathroom breaks. And avoid the post-flight hangover so you land feeling your best.  

Keep Your Itinerary Light on Day One of Your Trip

While you may want to hit the ground running as soon as you land, try to take it easy for the first day if possible. The pressure that you must sleep because of all the things on your itinerary can lead to unnecessary anxiety that actually will hinder your ability to get a good night’s rest during your flight.

Instead, plan to check into your hotel or Airbnb, nap if you need, and give yourself space to explore at a leisurely pace. By giving yourself time to adjust to the time change and overcome jet lag you’ll be in a much better position to enjoy the rest of your trip!  

Did you find these tips for overnight flights helpful? Let me know in the comments below!

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( -1776 to 0 ): Long Night

  • The Long Night was a period of intense anarchy, widespread tragedy, and interstellar disaster between the fall of one major polity, the Second Imperium or Rule of Man , and the succeeding polity, the Third Imperium .
  • Also called an interregnum and represents the historical period extending from the Second Imperium to the Third Imperium .
  • A timeline in Traveller: The New Era gives 2992AD or -1526 as the start date of the Long Night [p.9].

Description ( Specifications ) [ edit ]

The period of interstellar decline and anarchy between the fall of the Rule of Man (also known as the Second Imperium ) and the establishment of the Third Imperium by Cleon I .

  • The galaxy is only just emerging from this period which is commonly held to be from -1776 to 0 according to the Imperial calendar .

History & Background ( Dossier ) [ edit ]

It was a period where worlds were cut off from one another, technology was lost and the population on many worlds simply failed to survive.

It could be said that the First Imperium was "meta-stable": stable, but only because of active effects enabled by its stability. Disrupt it (such as by the slow decay that was already occurring prior to the Interstellar Wars , or by said wars themselves), and it would not naturally return to its prior state.

The main facilitator of this meta-stability was trade. Many worlds depended on routine import of components - manufactured things, rare ores, or the like - not locally available. Once routine import was disrupted, the colony's capabilities deteriorated (in many cases, life itself became impossible, resulting in a Dieback World ), so it could not in turn supply its unique components that other worlds depended on. There were a few worlds with all the basics to support their own technologically advanced civilization, but as the worlds around them collapsed, supporting them - previously a profitable activity - often became unprofitable, then unsustainable, and in those cases such efforts eventually ceased.

Many of the "false dawns" (which seemed to offer an end to the Long Night, but did not last) were centered around a brief resurgence in interstellar trade that turned out to be unsustainable. The birth of the Third Imperium was as much about financial engineering (learning from over a thousand years of failed attempts all across the former Imperiums ) as about Fusion+ or any other specific factor.

It has been noted that even the Third Imperium can not expect to live forever, which some use to question whether the Third Imperium itself is a false dawn. While it is true that such measures are subjective, the fact that the Third Imperium was still around and actively expanding at the end of its first century set it leagues above most other dawns. When the end of its second century saw the same status, there were no officially recorded objections from the few sophonts in Imperial space who were alive (via anagathics, low berths, or other measures) in both 0 and 200 .

References [ edit ]

  • John Harshman ,  Marc Miller ,  Loren Wiseman . Library Data (A-M) ( Game Designers Workshop , 1981), 6.
  • John Harshman . The Solomani Rim ( Game Designers Workshop , 1982), 5.
  • John Harshman ,  Marc Miller . Solomani ( Game Designers Workshop , 1986), 8.
  • Marc Miller . Imperial Encyclopedia ( Game Designers Workshop , 1987), 6.
  • Frank Chadwick ,  Dave Nilsen . Traveller: The New Era ( Game Designers Workshop , 1993), .
  • Christopher Griffen . The Third Imperium ( Mongoose Publishing , 2021), 60.
  • Articles at intermediate completion state

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Home » Hanafi Fiqh » » Is Travelling at Night Forbidden or Disliked?

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Is Travelling at Night Forbidden or Disliked?

Is it true that it is disliked to travel during the night? I have been told that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) forbade travelling at night.

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

No, it is not forbidden or disliked to travel during the night. The Shari’ah does not specify any particular time of the day or night for travelling or desisting from travelling. One may choose to travel at any given time of the day or night as long as it is safe and there is no other external factor prohibiting travel such as the time of prayer is about to end and one has not yet performed it.

In fact, there is a Hadith in which there is encouragement to travel at night. Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “You should travel during the night (dulja’), because the land is rolled up at night [i.e. the land is travelled faster at night than it is during the day].” (Sunan Abi Dawud, no: 2564)

Mulla Ali al-Qari (may Allah have mercy on him) states in his renowned commentary of Mishkat al-Masabih titled Mirqat al-Mafatih that the term “Dulja” in this Hadith refers to either travelling during the early part of the night or travelling during any part of the night. He states that the latter meaning is more suitable, hence the encouragement is for travelling during any part of the night. He further explains that the meaning of the Hadith is that one should not suffice with travelling during the day, but rather one should travel during the night as well, because it is easier and one is able to travel faster. (See: Mirqat al-Mafatih 7/333)

Having said the above, if travelling at night is unsafe and one fears harm unto oneself because of weakness or the journey-route not being safe, or one fears being tempted and mislead by Shaytan into committing a sin, then it is disliked (makruh) to travel at night, especially when alone. It is in this context the following Hadith has been mentioned:

Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “If people knew what I know about being alone, no rider would travel at night alone.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 2836 and Sunan al-Tirmidhi, no: 1673)

Imam Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him) records this Hadith under the chapter-heading “Travelling alone” and Imam Tirmidhi (may Allah have mercy on him) under the heading “The dislike (karaha) of one travelling alone” demonstrating that this Hadith is more about travelling alone than travelling at night.

In his commentary of this Hadith, Imam Teebi (may Allah have mercy on him) explains that the apparent wording of the Hadith should have been “… no one would travel alone” but the night was mentioned because darkness poses more danger to the traveller and it is normally more difficult to avoid harm unto oneself during the night than the day. (See: Tuhfat al-Ahwazi bi Sharh jami’ al-Tirmidhi 5/313)

As such, in conclusion, there is nothing wrong with travelling at night rather encouraged if it is more convenient. However, if it is unsafe to travel – such as travelling alone in empty and remote areas – or one fears committing a sin, then it is disliked (makruh). As for well-travelled routes where there are likely to be helpers, it is not Makruh. Travelling during the night on planes, trains, ships and buses is also fine, as long as it is safe, because the one who travels by these means is not considered to be alone and is generally safe.

And Allah knows best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam Darul Iftaa Leicester , UK

This answer was collected from , which is headed by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam Al-Kawthari . He’s based in the United Kingdom.

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The latest on the massive solar storm

By Angela Fritz, Elise Hammond and Chris Lau, CNN

Incredible lighthouse picture from Maine

From CNN's Chris Lau

A long-exposure photo shows the aurora borealis over Portland, Maine, on May 10.

Among a flurry of surreal images capturing the dazzling auroras is one taken by Benjamin Williamson of a lighthouse in Portland, Maine.

"It's one of the most incredible things I've ever seen, the awe and wonder," Williamson told CNN.

He said he used a long-exposure technique to snap the shot, but did not edit it.

Watch the full interview with Williamson here .

Things could be about to ramp up

If you still haven't seen the aurora, hold on for another 30 minutes to an hour, according to CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.

The next wave of coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, which cause the aurora, is about to arrive, he said.

"Just wait a minute because things are going to start to ramp up here," he said, adding that the increase could arrive "anytime now." "When it comes, get outside, get ready, put your coat on."

For those who are too busy to witness the phenomenon tonight, Myers said the aurora is expected to last three nights.

Why does the aurora last for a weekend?

By CNN's Chris Lau

The northern lights can be seen from Eaton Rapids, Michigan, on May 10.

Generally, it takes just eight minutes for light to travel 93 million miles to the Earth from the sun, but astrophysicist Janna Levin said the energized particles causing the current wave of aurora travel a lot slower, causing the phenomenon to last for the weekend.

"Some of these mass ejections are trillions of kilograms," she said. "They're slower. So they're taking longer, but still hours, maybe tens of hours."

Here's how the solar storm looks in the South and on the East Coast

The aurora was visible across the East Coast and in the South Friday.

Here's how it looked in Chester, South Carolina.

Down in Florida, waves of color swam through the sky.

Up north in New Jersey, a purple-ish haze could be seen in the sky.

Will solar storms get more intense and risky in the future?

The answer is probably not in the short term, according to astrophysicist Hakeem Oluseyi.

He said scientists study what is constantly happening on the surface of the sun and have found a pattern.

“Geological data shows us that in the past the sun was way more active than it is today. It has cycles where it goes very quiet ... and you have events that show that the solar activity was much, much greater,” he told CNN. “So there's no evidence that we're going to see those big maxima this cycle." 

But the astrophysicist also spoke of a caveat - the limitations of modern science.

“Even though it's predictable in the short term, we still don't quite understand what creates the magnetic fields in the sun,” he said, adding: “That's why NASA has so many satellites looking at the sun.”

In Pictures: Auroras light the sky during rare solar storm

From CNN Digital's Photo Team

The northern lights glow in the night sky in Brandenburg, Germany, on May 10.

A series of solar flares and coronal mass ejections from the sun are creating dazzling auroras across the globe .

The rare solar storm may also disrupt communications. The last time a solar storm of this magnitude reached Earth was in October 2003, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center.

See more photos of the aurora from tonight.

Behind dazzling aurora could lie “real danger,” Bill Nye the Science Guy says

Bill Nye the Science Guy speaks to CNN on Friday, May 10.

The massive solar storm could present “a real danger,” especially with the modern world relying so much on electricity, according to Bill Nye the Science Guy , a science educator and engineer.

Scientists are warning an increase in solar flares and coronal mass ejections from the sun have the potential to disrupt communication on Earth into the weekend. Solar flares can affect communications and GPS almost immediately because they disrupt Earth’s ionosphere, or part of the upper atmosphere. Energetic particles released by the sun can also disrupt electronics on spacecraft and affect astronauts without proper protection within 20 minutes to several hours.

In comparison to tonight's event, Nye drew comparisons with another incident in 1859, known as the Carrington Event, when telegraph communications were severely affected.

“The other thing, everybody, that is a real danger to our technological society, different from 1859, is how much we depend on electricity and our electronics and so on,” Nye said. "None of us really in the developed world could go very long without electricity."

He noted that there are systems in place to minimize the impact, but “stuff might go wrong,” stressing that not all transformers are equipped to withstand such a solar event.

“It depends on the strength of the event and it depends on how much of our infrastructures are prepared for this the sort of thing,” he said.

Bill Nye breaks down significance of the solar storm | CNN

Bill Nye breaks down significance of the solar storm | CNN

This post has been updated with more details on solar flares' impact on electronics.

Here's where clouds will block the view of the northern lights in the US

From CNN's Angela Fritz

An infrared satellite image taken around 10:30 p.m. ET.

After an incredibly stormy week, most of the Lower 48 has clear skies to see the northern lights. But there are some areas where clouds and rainy weather are spoiling the view.

A deck of clouds is blocking the sky in the Northeast, from parts of Virginia into Maine, as an area of low pressure spins off the East Coast.

In the Midwest, the aurora will be hard to see through thick clouds in parts of Wisconsin, Michigan — including the Upper Peninsula — and Illinois.

A stripe of clouds is tracking across Texas, including Dallas-Forth Worth, and into Louisiana.

And in the Southwest, patchy clouds across the the Four Corners region could make the northern lights difficult to spot.

Aurora seen at least as far south as Georgia

Barely visible to the naked eye, the aurora can be seen in Atlanta in the 10 p.m. ET hour. 

It is easier to see through photographs using a long exposure. The photos below, taken by CNN's Eric Zerkel and Emily Smith, used 3- and 10-second exposures.

Aurora seen in Atlanta around 10:15 p.m. ET.

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Senate Approves Bill to Reauthorize F.A.A. and Improve Air Travel

The Senate also passed a short-term extension of the current F.A.A. law to give the House time to clear the longer-term package early next week.

A traveler walks through an airport. Delta airplanes are seen through a window in the background.

By Kayla Guo

Reporting from the Capitol

The Senate on Thursday passed legislation to reauthorize federal aviation programs for the next five years and put in place new safety measures and consumer protections for passengers, at a moment of intense uncertainty and disruption in the air travel system.

The bill , which still must win final approval in the House before becoming law, would provide more than $105 billion to the Federal Aviation Administration and another $738 million to the National Transportation Safety Board for airport modernization, technology programs and safety. It would also bolster the hiring and training of air traffic controllers, codify airlines’ refund obligations to passengers, ensure fee-free family seating and strengthen protections for passengers with disabilities.

“Aviation safety has been front of mind for millions of Americans recently, and this F.A.A. bill is the best thing Congress can do to give Americans the peace of mind they deserve,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, said on the Senate floor on Thursday evening.

It passed in an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 88 to 4, just one day before the current law is scheduled to lapse. The Senate also unanimously approved a short-term extension to allow time for the House to take up and clear the longer-term package next week, a step that would send it to President Biden.

The legislation is a bipartisan compromise negotiated over months by the Senate and House committees with jurisdiction over the F.A.A., after Congress authorized several short-term extensions of the agency when lawmakers failed to meet earlier deadlines. The House passed its version of the bill almost a year ago in a lopsided vote of 351 to 69.

Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington, chairwoman of the Commerce Committee, celebrated the bill’s provisions on consumer protections, aviation safety, air traffic controllers, airport infrastructure and work force development on the floor after passage.

“This is a big moment for aviation,” Ms. Cantwell said. “We have had safety issues and concerns that we need to make a big investment. This legislation is that investment — in safety standards, in protecting consumers and advancing a work force and technology that will allow the United States to be the gold standard in aviation.”

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, the top Republican on the Commerce Committee, said: “This legislation is a strong, bipartisan, bicameral bill that includes hundreds of priorities for senators and representatives, both Republican and Democrat. This bill gives the FAA the safety tools it needs at a critical time.”

As one of the few remaining bills considered a must-pass item this year, the F.A.A. package, which prompted several regional disputes, became a magnet for dozens of amendments and policy riders that threatened to delay it in the Senate.

With the legislation threatening to stall, the House on Wednesday approved a one-week extension for the F.A.A. before leaving Washington for the weekend. The Senate followed suit on Thursday, steering around lingering disputes that had threatened to scuttle the effort and cause a brief lapse for the F.A.A.

The debate came at a time of acute uncertainty about the aviation system, which has had a recent spate of concerning episodes such as dangerous near collisions on runways, plane malfunctions and thousands of flight delays and cancellations.

It was unclear for much of Thursday whether the Senate would be able to push through the legislation and the extension, as senators demanded votes on amendments or threatened to block speedy passage. No amendments were ultimately brought to a vote.

The most intense regional fight was over a provision in the bill that would add five round-trip long-haul flights out of Ronald Reagan National Airport outside Washington. Proponents, which include Delta Air Lines, have said they want to expand access to the nation’s capital and increase competition.

The proposal incensed lawmakers representing the area , who argued that the airport maintains the busiest runway in the country and cannot support additional flights. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner of Virginia and Benjamin L. Cardin and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, all Democrats, filed an amendment to strike the new flights.

Mr. Kaine and Mr. Warner threatened to hold the bill up if they did not receive a vote. But Mr. Cruz blocked an effort to bring up a compromise amendment that would have given the transportation secretary the final say on new flights after considering any effects they would have on delays and passenger safety.

“The Senate abdicated its responsibility to protect the safety of the 25 million people who fly through D.C.A. every year,” Mr. Kaine and Mr. Warner said in a statement. “Some of our colleagues were too afraid to let the experts make the call. They didn’t want to show the American people that they care more about a few lawmakers’ desire for direct flights than they care about the safety and convenience of the traveling public. That is shameful and an embarrassment.”

The senators from Virginia and Maryland were the only votes against the bill.

Another group of senators failed to secure a vote on a proposal to halt the Transportation Security Administration’s expansion of facial recognition technology at airports and restrict it where it is in use.

Senators had also proposed adding a number of unrelated bills, including one that would compensate people harmed by exposure to the nation’s nuclear weapons program , legislation to fully fund the replacement of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, and a credit card competition measure. Senators Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, and Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, were pushing for a vote on their bill to protect minors online into Thursday. None of them made it into the final product.

An earlier version of this article misstated the name of the bridge in Baltimore that collapsed. It is the Francis Scott Key Bridge, not the Francis Key Scott Bridge.

How we handle corrections

Kayla Guo covers Congress for The New York Times as the 2023-24 reporting fellow based in Washington. More about Kayla Guo

A Divided Congress: Latest News and Analysis

Biden Impeachment: A crop of freshman Democrats on the House Oversight Committee has countered Republicans’ allegations against President Biden with attention-grabbing charges of their own .

Marjorie Taylor Greene: The hard-right congresswoman from Georgia failed spectacularly  in her bid to depose Speaker Mike Johnson. But for a figure who sees her power in creating chaos, the loss was the point .

Aviation Bill: The Senate passed legislation to reauthorize federal aviation programs  and put in place new safety measures and consumer protections, at a moment of intense uncertainty and disruption in the air travel system.

Ted Cruz: The Republican senator from Texas, who made a name for himself trying to shut down the government over the Affordable Care Act, took on an unfamiliar role as a critical player in pushing through the aviation bill .

Antisemitism Hearing: A Republican-led House committee turned its attention to three of the most politically liberal school districts  in the country, accusing them of tolerating antisemitism, but the district leaders pushed back forcefully .

What's your chance of seeing the northern lights tonight? A look at Saturday's forecast

Illuminating the night sky with pink, green and gray colors, the northern lights made its appearance in the United Kingdom and the northern half of the United States on Friday. The magical phenomena could happen again tonight.

The show fascinated many onlookers as they took out their phones to capture the beauty of the night sky. On Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued extreme (G5) conditions across the United States. A storm of this intensity has not been seen since October 2003. The storm gained the name "Halloween Storm" and caused many power outages in Sweden and damaged transformers in South Africa, according to .

Meteorologists have predicted that the northern lights can be visible on Saturday as well as Sunday. If you are going outside to see the northern lights, forecasters want to remind the public that their solar eclipse glasses can be used for viewing the phenomenon.

Here's what you need to know to prepare for the next viewing of the northern lights.

The northern lights: Danced across the US last night. It could happen again Saturday.

What is the cloud forecast Saturday night? Will clouds block the northern lights?

If you missed the aurora borealis Friday night, you might still catch a glimpse on Saturday or Sunday, depending on where you live. But not if clouds get in the way.

The cloud forecast for Saturday night is generally good for most of America, but some of the people who missed their chance last night due to clouds may have a similar problem Saturday, said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Tom Kines. Areas that are likely to be cloudy include New England and Mid-Atlantic regions, as well as parts of the Southern Plains, including Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado.

“Even just a few breaks in the clouds will allow the aurora to be visible,” Kines said. “There’s always hope.”

Peak visibility time Saturday night will be between 9 p.m. and midnight, with some chance until 2 a.m., Kines said. The best views will be in dark areas away from the light pollution of cities, he said, though some reported seeing the auroras Friday night from metro areas like Milwaukee and Detroit.

Sunday night, if there is any aurora to see, those in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic can rejoice, because Kines said the skies should be clearer.

Where can you see the northern lights tonight?

The Space and Weather Prediction Center  offers an experimental forecast map  that shows the aurora may be visible in a wide swath of the U.S. including Oregon, Nebraska, Indiana and Pennsylvania. Other states like California, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida could also see the sky light up again for an encore performance. But visibility will depend on shifting factors that include weather, pollution and cloud cover.

Below are forecast predictions for seeing the northern lights in New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana on Saturday.

Rain and clouds are expected to damper expectations to see the aurora borealis around the Rochester, N.Y. area . Elsewhere in NY, the  Lower Hudson Valley could see the lights again, if weather permits. 

NWS maps predicting the intensity and location of the northern lights Saturday and Sunday show the aurora will be visible in mid to northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

Saturday and Sunday are predicted to be mostly cloudy with some rain showers and isolated thunderstorms. The NWS predicted 48% to 58% sky cover in metro Detroit from 8 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday. The western portion of both peninsulas are expected to have a lower cloud cover.

In the Milwaukee area , the evening is expected to bring mostly clear skies and overnight will have scattered clouds, said Tim Halbach, local meteorologist with the National Weather Service. 

Those living around the Cincinnati region could be treated to the northern lights Saturday night with the NWS' Wilmington, Ohio , office forecasting dry, partly cloudy conditions. Clouds shouldn't be an issue as many Ohioans reported seeing the lights Friday despite some cloud cover.

 In a telephone interview, Mike Bettwy, operations chief of the NOAA's  Space Weather Prediction Center  in Boulder, Co, said Indianapolis and surrounding areas might have a better chance of seeing the aurora today and Sunday.

They can expect clear skies tonight, Bettwy said.

"The aurora itself might be actually a little bit less active than it was last night," he told IndyStar. "I think the ability for you to see it will be better because the skies will be clearing out — at least in the Indianapolis area and that immediate vicinity."

Northern lights forecast path

If you want to get a better idea of if you will be able to see the northern lights from your state, check NOAA's aurora forecast tool , which has a 30-minute forecast window. 

The auroras are a natural light display in Earth's sky that are famously best seen in high-latitude regions.

Scientist left amazed by the aurora

The aurora seen on May 10 amazed Antonella Fruscione, an astrophysicist at Harvard University. She sent photos of the lights and the April eclipse to her friends in Italy. The northern lights weren't as prominent in Italy as it was in other places.

"And I sent them the picture that I took at the solar eclipse and I said, 'Can you imagine how fortunate I was this year, one month apart, I see these two incredible spectacles of the universe,'" she recalled telling them.

The phenomena seen Friday and possibly Saturday night isn't usual, she said.

"It's a very rare occurrence, especially because last night it was really visible," Fruscione said.

That's because the Earth's magnetic activity was at a nine, the highest the index goes, coupled with the Sun being at an active peak, causing eruptions. She added the colors cannot be predicted either as it depends on how the solar energetic particles interact with oxygen and nitrogen atoms. Oxygen appears green, while nitrogen appears purple, blue or pink, she said.

"It just depends on which atoms in the atmosphere this particle interact with," Fruscione said.

She declined to predict how strong Saturday's aurora could be as it's not in her expertise, but said people make predictions all the time about space weather not just for the northern lights, but to ensure communications, space stations, astronauts and other matter in space doesn't get majorly disrupted.

Down on Earth, however, the activity is harmless to humans.

"It's completely harmless because the particles do not don't do not reach us," Fruscione said. "The reason why we see the colors is that the particle interacts with the atoms and they make these beautiful colors and that's it."

For Saturday, and any other day where chatter about the aurora borealis is high, Fruscione encouraged people to download an aurora forecasting app to their phones so they can see the colorful skies.

What are the northern lights?

The northern lights materialize when energized particles from the sun reach Earth's upper atmosphere at speeds of up to 45 million mph,  according to . Earth's magnetic field redirects the particles toward the poles through a process that produces a stunning display of rays, spirals and flickers that has fascinated humans for millennia.

Contributing: Eric Lagatta and Dinah Voyles Pulver , USA TODAY ; Tanya Wildt, Detroit Free Press ; Alex Groth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ; Contributing: Bebe Hodges, Cincinnati Enquirer ; Contributing: Steve Howe, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle; Rockland/Westchester Journal News ; Alexandria Burris, Indianapolis Star

Ahjané Forbes is a reporter on the National Trending Team at USA TODAY. Ahjané covers breaking news, car recalls, crime, health, lottery and public policy stories. Email her at  [email protected] . Follow her on  Instagram ,  Threads  and  X (Twitter)

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Tornadoes tear through the southeastern U.S. as storms leave 3 dead

The Associated Press

traveller at night

Greenville, Ohio, resident Brenda Pollitt wipes the tears from her eyes as she removes papers from her bedroom on Wednesday. Pollitt and her children were home at the time of the strong storm that hit Tuesday evening. She and her family ran downstairs and were all safe. Marshall Gorby/AP hide caption

Greenville, Ohio, resident Brenda Pollitt wipes the tears from her eyes as she removes papers from her bedroom on Wednesday. Pollitt and her children were home at the time of the strong storm that hit Tuesday evening. She and her family ran downstairs and were all safe.

COLUMBIA, Tenn. — Forecasters warned a wave of dangerous storms in the U.S. could march through parts of the South early Thursday, after storms a day earlier spawned damaging tornadoes and massive hail, leaving two dead in Tennessee and one dead in North Carolina.

The storms continue an outbreak of torrential rain and tornadoes that has cut across the country this week, from the Plains to the Midwest and now the southeastern U.S. At least four people have died in storms since Monday.

Amid Wednesday's storms, the National Weather Service continued issuing tornado warnings that stretch past midnight in North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Missouri and Kentucky. Parts of Arkansas and Mississippi were also under a tornado watch through the pre-dawn hours.

Why it feels like tornadoes are becoming more common, according to an expert

One storm that rumbled across northeastern Tennessee on Wednesday brought high winds that knocked down power lines and trees. Bob Brooks, the sheriff in Claiborne County about an hour north of Knoxville, said a 22-year-old man was in a car when he was fatally struck by one of the trees.

A second person was killed in the city of Columbia in Maury County, where the National Weather Service said a likely tornado had touched down. Columbia is just south of Nashville.

Homes were damaged and people injured, according to Lynn Thompson, assistant director of Maury County 911. Thompson told The Associated Press that he could not provide any further details: "We're getting overloaded right now."

Rita Thompson, a spokesperson for Maury Regional Health, said the hospital had received five patients, including the person who died. Another was in serious condition and three had injuries that were not life-threatening, she said.

The storms also prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to issue a temporary ground stop at Nashville International Airport and the National Weather Service to issue a tornado emergency — its highest alert level — for other nearby areas south of the state's capital, including Chapel Hill and Eagleville.

traveller at night

Utility workers survey storm damage along Cothran Road on Wednesday in Columbia, Tenn. George Walker IV/AP hide caption

Utility workers survey storm damage along Cothran Road on Wednesday in Columbia, Tenn.

Meanwhile, torrential rain and thunderstorms led to water rescues northeast of Nashville.

"Do not attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order," the National Weather Service warned when it issued a flash flood emergency.

In North Carolina, a state of emergency was declared Wednesday night for Gaston County, west of Charlotte, following a large storm that toppled power lines and severed trees, including one that landed on a car. One person in the car was killed and another was taken to a hospital, officials said.

The storms rolled into the region Wednesday after parts of the central United States were battered Monday by heavy rain, strong winds, hail and tornadoes, including a deadly twister that ripped through an Oklahoma town and killed one person. Then, on Tuesday, the Midwest took the brunt of the bad weather.

The National Weather Service said tornadoes touched down in parts of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana on Tuesday.

In Michigan, tornadoes swirled through the southwestern part of the state, in and around Kalamazoo County, according to the National Weather Service. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for four counties.

Kalamazoo County's Portage area was hard hit as a FedEx facility was ripped apart, leaving about 50 people temporarily trapped inside because of downed power lines.

traveller at night

Storm damaged mobile homes are surrounded by debris at Pavilion Estates mobile home park just east of Kalamazoo, Mich., on Wednesday, May 8, 2024. Neil Blake/AP hide caption

Storm damaged mobile homes are surrounded by debris at Pavilion Estates mobile home park just east of Kalamazoo, Mich., on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.

Travis Wycoff ventured out Tuesday night after seeing on radar that a tornado had touched down in the Portage area, and he said he helped an elderly couple out of their partially collapsed home and freed a service dog from another home.

"There were a lot of people running through the streets trying to find people and their pets," Wycoff said. "It was just a lot of chaos."

In the adjacent Pavilion Township, more than a dozen homes were destroyed in a mobile home park and 16 people were injured, said Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller.

Samantha Smith clutched a box Wednesday afternoon outside her mother's partially wrecked home in Pavilion Township. Inside the box were her grandmother's ashes. Being able to recover the most cherished of items offered Smith a rare moment of relief amid the storm's devastation. She said her parents and brother were injured during the storm but survived.

"I have thanked God probably a billion times since this happened yesterday," she said. "My kids are healthy and good. We just gotta make back up what we lost."

Tornadoes were also confirmed in Pennsylvania just outside Pittsburgh, in central Arkansas and in northern West Virginia. The West Virginia twister was at least the 11th tornado this year in the state, which sees two tornadoes in an average year.

Both the Plains and Midwest have been hammered by tornadoes this spring.

  • National Weather Service

Prime Video's Most Underrated Sci-Fi Show Has a Time Travel Twist

What would you do if you found a teleportation chamber under your shed?

The Big Picture

  • Prime Video has been making a push into original sci-fi shows, with notable successes like The Expanse and Outer Range .
  • Night Sky , starring J.K. Simmons and Sissy Spacek, is Prime Video's most underrated sci-fi gem, featuring teleportation and time travel.
  • The show explores rich characters and intricate storylines, showcasing compelling multi-generational character arcs in a single season.

Prime Video isn't necessarily known for its original science fiction television shows just yet, but in the last few years, the streamer has made a concerted effort to rectify that. The Expanse is available on Prime Video and is the most well-known of the genre, having a much-celebrated run of six seasons , but it originally aired on SyFy ; Battlestar Galactica was also picked up by the streamer with great success. However, more recent noteworthy in-house efforts like Outer Range , starring Josh Brolin and Imogene Poots , and Philip K. Dick 's anthology series, Electric Dreams , have shown that Prime Video is getting more serious about developing their own smart and mind-bending sci-fi originals.

Arguably the best sci-fi show they have produced to date, though, is an underrated gem featuring two of the most decorated and accomplished actors of the last 50 years. Night Sky stars J.K. Simmons and Sissy Spacek ; the Holden Miller -created show debuted in 2022 and delivers eight episodes of science-fiction goodness, including fan-favorite elements like teleportation and time travel. The exceptional chemistry between the talented leads and the compelling premise make Night Sky Prime Video's most underrated science fiction original.

A retired couple living a seemingly mundane life uncover a cosmic gateway in their home that connects to an alien world. Their peaceful existence is challenged as they delve deeper into the interstellar mysteries, facing both the vast unknown and their own past traumas.

What Is 'Night Sky' About?

Franklin and Irene York ( J.K. Simmons and Sissy Spacek, respectively) spend their golden years together on their farm just outside the small Illinois hamlet of Farnsworth. Their existence appears sleepy and uneventful, but they hide a secret that will eventually turn their quiet little corner of the world into a dangerous place sought out by teleporters and time travelers with malevolent intentions. In the pilot episode, when Irene asks Franklin if they can "go see the stars," she isn't talking about sitting on the porch and looking at the sky or lying down on a blanket and gazing out into the Milky Way.

Instead, we see Franklin take her by wheelchair across the yard and into a small wooden tool shed. Heading down a dark tunnel lit only by a single bulb, they eventually reach a vault door, and inside is a teleportation portal to another world. They walk into a room with a beautiful panoramic vista of an alien sun and moon across craggy extraterrestrial terrain . It's a phenomenon that they have kept to themselves and used just as a viewing room for years, but when a mysterious man named Jude ( Chai Hansen ) shows up, their life is turned upside down.

Franklin and Irene's Chemistry Is Thrown a Curveball in 'Night Sky'

Simmons and Spacek share the effortless chemistry and charm that only two screen veterans can pull off; it's supposed to feel like they know each other like the backs of their own hands, and it does. The perfect give-and-take between the two draws you into the slow burn in the first couple of episodes, but then the science-fiction and drama elements kick in with a bang.

Their hum-drum existence gets upended by a few different things: their nosy neighbor, Byron ( Adam Bartley ), Irene's thirst for knowing what lies beyond the pane of glass beneath the shed, as well as an enigmatic stranger who appears randomly inside the chamber covered in someone else's blood. Franklin and Irene bring the wounded man into their house and put him up in the room of their late son, Michael, who died by suicide 20 years prior. Afterwards, Irene convinces Frank that this man must've come from "the other side" of the glass.

Sissy Spacek Wasn’t the First Choice for ‘Carrie’

When they rifle through the man's bag, they find all kinds of anachronistic goodies that could only have come from a time traveler, like 17th-century Spanish doubloons and a small brick of an extraterrestrial element. Once he is nursed back to health, we discover that the stranger's name is Jude. Spacek shines as a headstrong elderly woman who finds new life in the arrival of their mercurial new house guest , while Simmons deftly plays the old and skeptical curmudgeon.

Thoroughly Developed Characters Set 'Night Sky' Apart From Other Sci-Fi Shows

In Episode 2, we're introduced to a mother and daughter who are simple alpaca farmers on a sprawling Argentinian farm. Toni ( Rocio Hernandez ) is the precocious daughter of the doting Stella ( Julieta Zylberberg ). We quickly discover that they, too, have a chamber like the one beneath Franklin and Irene's shed. Stella tells Toni that they are guardians of the time-traveling chamber, and it's the most important job that they could have. Another mysterious and intimidating man named Cornelius ( Piotr Adamczyk ) shows up at their farm, giving them an important assignment that will test their resolve and loyalty to a long line of gatekeepers. Eventually, Stella, Toni, and Cornelius find their way to York's Farnsworth farm looking for Jude, and the true meaning of the chambers and their occupants become clear.

Night Sky is a special kind of science fiction series because it takes its time. Many will call that a "slow burn" or deliberate pacing, but for this particular Prime Video show, it's essential to peel back all the layers of the richly contoured cast of characters. There aren't a ton of visual effects or otherworldly spacescapes to be found in Night Sky , but it's a rare science fiction offering that delivers nuanced and rich characters with carefully-crafted backstories , along with love and loss being explored from the perspective of both parents and children. The time-travel and teleportation element will soothe your sci-fi itch, but caring for the outcome of the storylines and multi-generational character arcs makes this a worthy series. There won't be a second season of Night Sky , so go ahead and take in the terrific eight-episode season that we did get from Prime Video.

Night Sky is available to stream on Prime Video in the U.S.

Watch on Prime Video

Travel chaos at Heathrow and major UK airports over Border Force issue

Queues at Heathrow Airport

Thousands of passengers were stranded at Britain’s busiest airports on Tuesday night as the e-gate system failed.

Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester airports were thrown into chaos as the technology suffered a nationwide fault, leaving passengers facing queues of two hours as they returned from extended Bank holiday breaks.

It is the second time the e-gates have failed in two weeks, raising questions over the reliability of the system which is designed to speed up passengers through passport checks.

There was no evidence to link the border chaos to a cyber attack, but it came just a day after the armed forces payroll system was hacked by a suspected “state actor”.

The gates are understood to have failed at 8pm on Tuesday night just as thousands of passengers landed on early evening planes.

A Home Office spokesman said the e-gates were restored four hours later, shortly after midnight.

“As soon as engineers detected a wider system network issue at 7.44pm last night, a large scale contingency response was activated within six minutes,” the spokesman said.

“At no point was border security compromised and there is no indication of malicious cyber activity.

“We apologise to travellers caught up in disruption and thank our partners, including airlines for their co-operation and support.” 

The main Border Force security database - called “Border Crossing” which was introduced just under three years ago at a cost of £372 million – appeared to have suffered a complete shutdown.

Thousands of arrivals at Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport, were delayed, with passengers waiting in queues for up to two hours. There were also long delays at Stansted, Manchester and Edinburgh airports, and delays of 90 minutes were reported at Gatwick.

Passenger Nathan Lane posted on X: “The entire Egate immigration system at Heathrow Airport is down at all terminals. Now all the systems at the desks are too. Brits and foreigners alike. Nobody is getting through. This is management yelling updates at everyone.”

Richard Gaisford posted on the social media site: “E-gates down at LHR T3, and seemingly across Heathrow Airport. Border Force suggests to passengers it might be a nationwide outage.”

Justin Bronk, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London, who was among those queuing at Heathrow, said: “You see how high-capacity the system normally is by how rapidly things turn to chaos when it breaks; plane after plane of people pouring in and backing up in the corridor.”

Chaos as e-gates are down at multiple airports

There were indications that planes may have been delayed and stacked up in the air to prevent increasing the pressure on queues of passengers waiting to have their documents manually processed by Border Force officers.

Dominic Baliszewski, co-founder of a PR company, said: “Apparently Heathrow isn’t letting planes land and doesn’t have a real plan. E-gates down and they’re processing everyone manually through one gate. This is only a small portion of the queue. Almost no staff on hand.”

At Bournemouth airport, Border Force staff were reported to have resorted to laptops to process passports. Richard Heading, a passenger, reported on X: “All systems are down and they are using laptops to check passports. There are moderate delays.”

A spokesman for Heathrow airport said: “Border Force is currently experiencing a nationwide issue which is impacting passengers being processed through the border.

“Our teams are supporting [them] with their contingency plans to help resolve the problem as quickly as possible and are on hand to provide passenger welfare. We apologise for any impact this is having to passenger journeys.”

There are more than 270 e-gates in place at 15 airports and train stations in the UK that were all understood to have failed. The cause of the issue was unclear. The Home Office apologised last month following the failure on April 25, which it blamed on a “technical issue”.

E-gates usually process the vast majority of passengers, including children aged ten and over, arriving in the UK. They were originally restricted to British and EU arrivals.

However, their use has been extended over the years to include arrivals from Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and the US.

E-gates have repeatedly failed

The e-gates have failed on a number of occasions in the past three years. The whole system collapsed at the start of the late May bank holiday weekend in 2023 because of a failed system upgrade, resulting in four-hour queues at airports. In 2021 technical issues caused the gates to fail three times in two months.

An aviation source said: “It is underinvestment again - the system falls over at peak periods. The last major outage like this was the same weekend last year - the Coronation weekend.”

The apparent collapse of the system will raise questions over Border Force’s ambition to create an “intelligent border” with new e-gates capable of allowing arrivals into the country using only advanced facial recognition.

Phil Douglas, the director-general of Border Force, said that the plans have been designed to bring Britain’s border up to a gold standard that has been developed overseas.

Trials of the new technology are expected to begin at airports later this year before the launch of a full procurement process for new gates.

It comes amid growing concerns in the UK Government about the prospect for chaos at the border over French plans to scan fingerprints at the EU border.

Lord Cameron, James Cleverly and Mark Harper have all recently raised concerns about the potential impact of the new Entry/Exit System (EES), with French ministers.

Rishi Sunak was due to bring up the practical impact of the changes, which start in October, with Emmanuel Macron on a call last month but other issues dominated instead.

From Oct 6, people travelling into the EU will have to scan their fingerprints and be photographed at border checks instead of simply presenting their passport.

Live Reporting

That’s all for today.

Thank you for following our live coverage.

Heathrow statement

“Border Force is currently experiencing a nationwide issue which is impacting passengers being processed through the Border. “Our teams are supporting Border Force with their contingency plans to help resolve the problem as quickly as possible and are on hand to provide passenger welfare. “We apologise for any impact this is having to passenger journeys.”

No relief as travellers face long queues

Long queues continue to build, including at Heathrow, with one traveller describing border officials rushing to manually process passport holders.

“All the e-gates were totally blank and there was just a lot of chaotic scenes,” said Sam Morter, 32, who was returning to London’s Heathrow from a holiday in Sri Lanka.

He told PA: “There was a lot of Border Force officials running and scrambling around. Four or five went to man the posts and start processing the UK passports manually.

“But at the same time, hundreds of passengers started to flood into passport control, so it all of a sudden became chaotic and they couldn’t cope with the number of the people coming in.

“We weren’t given any information. There was no information on the Tannoys or from staff.”

He made it through the airport after around 90 minutes.

Videos posted on X showed long queues of passengers at passport desks.

E-gates appear to be reopening

E-gates are beginning to reopen at some airports, but long queues remain. 

Paul Curievici, from Haslemere in Surrey, landed at Gatwick Airport at around 7.30pm on a flight from Lyon and waited in line for almost an hour at passport control.

The 41-year-old said: “(I was) a little bit resigned at what initially looked like another British infrastructure failing, and (I had) quite a lot of sympathy for the poor buggers furrowing their brows and trying not to look embarrassed.”

Mr Curievici said the e-gates at Gatwick had since reopened but that fast-track passengers continued to be prioritised, which he found “pretty galling”.

He continued: “There was an awkward moment - half of us had been funnelled into the ‘all passports’ queue.

“When the system came back online they reopened almost all the UK/EU gates without opening any for us - I actually raised it with a member of staff and they finally opened one.”

Outage comes a day after MoD hack

The outage comes just a day after news emerged of a hack on the Ministry of Defence, which has been blamed by sources on China. It is unclear if the e-gate crash was caused by a hack. 

‘The system falls over at peak periods’

An aviation source told the Telegraph: “It is underinvestment again - the system falls over at peak periods. The last major outage like this was the same weekend last year, the Coronation weekend.”

Pictured: Long queues at Gatwick

Queues at Gatwick

Issues come after recent strikes

The disruption comes after Border Force workers staged a four-day strike at Heathrow in a dispute over working conditions last week.

The union said the workers were protesting against plans to introduce new rosters they claim will see around 250 of them forced out of their jobs at passport control.

‘Lots of children and no water’

Seems to be a UK nationwide airport system crash. No e gates working. This is the current queue in Gatwick airport with lots of children and no water #welcometotheuk — Rosie (@rxsiebo) May 7, 2024

‘Some passengers may experience longer than normal waits’

Edinburgh Airport statement: “Border Force is experiencing a nationwide technical outage affecting UK airports.

“Although not in a peak arrivals period, some passengers may experience longer than normal waits at the border while UKBF works to fix the issue. Thank you for your patience.”

Stansted Airport statement

“We are aware of an issue with UK Border Force’s systems across the country, affecting all UK airports. “Our operational and customer service colleagues are supporting passengers while UK Border Force and the Home Office fix the issue.”

‘No communication on timeframe’

Pictured: manchester airport.

Queues at Manchester Airport

E-gates closed at Edinburgh

Malfunctioning e-gates at Edinburgh Airport

Passengers reporting chaos on social media

All systems down and thousands in queues across all terminals @HeathrowAirport . No plan in sight either. Water bottles are being handed out, never a good sign. Photo courtesy of my husband in Terminal 5. @SkyNews @BBCNews — Molly Rosedale (@MRosedale) May 7, 2024
@HeathrowAirport all terminals affected by an IT glitch and no one is being processed through the UK border 🥲 left waiting an undetermined amount of time to enter the UK. This is Terminal 5 arrivals. 😬 — Megan Henderson (@mhenderson24) May 7, 2024

Manchester Airport statement

“We are aware of an issue with UK Border Force’s systems across the country, affecting a significant number of airports. “Our Resilience Team and customer services colleagues are supporting passengers while UK Border Force and the Home Office fix the issue.”

Ryanair statement

“Please be advised that the Electronic Passport gates are temporarily unavailable at all UK Airports.  “You may experience extended queue times at passport control in airports in the United Kingdom as a result of this outage.”

Gatwick statement

“Some passengers may experience delays at immigration due to a nationwide issue with UK Border Force e-gates. “Our staff are working with UK Border Force - who operate passport control including the e-gates - to provide assistance to passengers where necessary.”

Long queues

E-gates down at LHR T3, and seemingly across @HeathrowAirport . Border Force suggests to passengers it might be a nationwide outage. — Richard Gaisford (@richardgaisford) May 7, 2024
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  1. Traveler Sitting on the Rooftop Watching City at Night Stock Photo

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  1. Ramadan Kareem!! Al Seef Fireworks|| Casual Traveller|| Night out || Solo Traveller||

  2. tempo traveller night drive Varanasi to Ayodhya dham

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  5. Driving through the streets of Trincomalee in Sri Lanka at night

  6. Jaage jaage rahte rahte the #uditnarayan #raaz #music #shorts


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