How to Clean the Interior of Your Suitcase

February 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Maybe you’ve never thought of this, until right this very second (you’re welcome): what happens to all the microbes, germs, and general dirt that we get on our clothes while we travel?

Especially when you put your dirty clothes into your suitcase for your return trip?

Do the germs evaporate? Remain on your clothes? Or do they somehow get transferred to the interior lining of your bag, leaving your clean clothes susceptible to germs, bugs, and cooties when you pack for your next trip?

We asked our service department for tips and suggestions about how to maintain or return your bag’s interior to the cleanest state possible.

Tpro Bold 2 Duffel

Our Tpro Bold 2 Duffel. Have you ever thought about how to clean the inside of this? It’s easy.

In travel, as in life, forewarned is forearmed. Choosing a bag that has been designed to help you manage soiled or wet items is the best plan. In many of our lines, we have taken the extra step to include either a wet pocket that is waterproof or apply an H2O Guard to the fabric of the entire interior lining that helps prevent stains or smells that come with possible spills or wet garment garment storage.

If your bag doesn’t have this built-in protection, use plastic bags, such as those provided at hotels for laundry service or from home, to separate your wet, dirty, or simply worn clothes from those that are still clean. Most bags have a mesh compartment in the interior lid or a zippered pocket on the exterior that can be used to store these if a plastic bag is not available. It won’t keep the cooties out, but it will separate things a bit.

If you find a spill or stain or smell in your bag’s lining, you can clean it by mixing equal parts of denatured alcohol (also called industrial alcohol), and water to form a solution. Use a damp towel or sponge to apply this, and thoroughly wipe out the interior. Do not soak the lining, but try repeated applications if the situation persists. Leave the bag open so the solution can dry completely.

If you want to deal with a spill or stain while you’re still traveling, disinfectant wipes or baby wipes can be used to mitigate the worst until you can fully attend to it.

Do you have any other suggestions? Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page.

New Technology to Reduce Hotel Noise

February 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

If you’ve ever been in a hotel trying to sleep and the wedding party — or fraternity formal, high school band, college football team, or rampaging horde of invading Mongols — returns from its festivities, you know how frustrating it can be to have your peaceful night interrupted.

Now imagine if the hotel could monitor the decibel levels in its rooms and environments and handle the partiers without you having to call down to the front desk?

Quietyme does just that. Founded in 2012 and currently deployed at the Radisson Hotel in Madison, Wisconsin, as well as throughout the HotelRed chain, Quietyme installs sensors in rooms for $3/month subscription and samples the noise level in those rooms once per second.

The Phoenix HotelIt streams the results to the front desk so that management can proactively respond. Through independent studies, Quietyme found that its technology reduced hotel noise levels by 65 percent at properties where it was deployed. It also helped reduce property damage.

According to the JD Power’s 2015 North America Hotel Satisfaction Survey, hotel noise is the second largest problem guests report to management after Internet connectivity. According to Huey Zoroufy, chief technology officer for Quietyme, instead of reporting the problem, customers are going online and leaving poor reviews about their stays. Quietyme gives hotels an opportunity to anticipate their clients’ needs, and solve problems before they become problems.

That anticipation translates into a higher score for the hotel, according to the same JD Power study. Hotels scored 310 points higher out of 1,000 if they strongly agreed that the staff anticipated their needs rather than responded to them.

Don’t be surprised if you see this type of technology spread to more hotel chains in the coming year. It might make you think twice about what kind of “in-room activities” you choose to participate in, or not participate in, while on vacation.

What do you do when you have noisy hotel neighbors or other hotel noise? Leave us a comment here or on our Facebook page.

Photo credit: Ben Chun (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons)

7 Newest Travel Startups

January 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

We’re more mobile than ever, and not just in our day-to-day lives. Over 1 billion of us traveled internationally last year, and that number is expected to increase by three to four percent this year. There’s lots to manage when you’re on the road, and seven companies have new apps to help you get the most from your experience. We found several new travel start-ups and apps that can ease the burdens of travel and make it a lot more fun.

For those who operate hotels, getting customers to choose your establishment isn’t such a shot in the dark any more. Kaptivating targets potential customers by studying their social media activities and initiates a relationship with them to let them know how a specific hotel could meet their needs.

Lyft car with pink mustacheDo you use Uber and Lyft when you are in a different city? Pistats allows you to analyze all the details of your experiences — frequency, spending, and locations most used — via an integrated map.

Want to get out of Dodge but don’t have a traveling companion? Eo will match your interests, budget, and travel plans with others wanting to go where you’re going. Scroll through profiles, make a connection, and make new friends before you leave town.

Ever wondered where in the world all the best jazz festivals or art festivals are held through the year? Cronomio is a travel calendar that will help you sync your travel with events you don’t want to miss (not just jazz and art).

If you’re a tour operator or travel agency desiring to make and maintain connection with your customers before and after a trip, Keeptrax makes that possible. Keeptrax collates travel information, details of places visited, and photos to help travelers remember all the good things that happened on their trips when they’re making their travelogues for friends.

Moving to Bora Bora and need a nanny? Expat Helpers is an app that explains local labor laws and currency denominations to expedite the process of connecting with and hiring local help.

Get Out is an app that connects those with less run-of-the-mill interests who are looking for out of the ordinary travel experiences with one another. This will help you find that needle-in-a-haystack adventure to do underwater basket weaving in the Great Barrier Reef.

Here are a few other apps that will help you travel safely.

STEP stands for Smart Traveler Enrollment Program and is a free service of the US State Department that makes the US Embassy in the country you’re traveling to aware of your presence there.

SOS is an emergency app that provides you with local numbers for police, fire, and hospital. It has a location finder to help you know where you are in an unfamiliar city.

Medical ID is an emergency app that will allow someone to access health conditions about you even if your phone is locked and you’re unable to communicate.

Finally, Trip It is a password protected app that collates your itinerary, passport, visa, identification information in one place in case those documents are lost or stolen during travel.

Seeing the world is supposed to be fun, not a hassle. These new apps offer you, the savvy traveler, an individualized, unique experience, tailored to needs and desires.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Photo credit: PraiseLightMedia (Wikipedia, Creative Commons)

Travelpro® Maxlite® 4 Collection Offers the Pinnacle of Comfort and Convenience for Savvy Travelers

January 27, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Lighter and more durable than ever, this extensive line features 11 uniquely lightweight and durable pieces

Lighter and stronger than ever, the Travelpro® Maxlite® 4 Collection allows you to travel with more comfort and convenience than you could ever imagine. This extensive collection features 11 singularly lightweight and durable pieces, including Spinners and Rollaboard® models, which have the look and quality of much more expensive luggage. Packed with innovations like tapered expansion for added stability, the Contour Grip on Spinners for more comfort, and stylish accents throughout, Maxlite 4 makes travel a pleasure, rather than a hassle. Plus every piece is tested to our most demanding standards and backed by our reassuring Lifetime Warranty.

Travelpro Maxlite 4 Collection

Travelpro Maxlite 4 Collection

The Maxlite collection includes a H2O Guard that protects the interior lining from moisture while the DuraGuard® exterior coating features stain and abrasion resistance for greater durability. The 4-wheel 360-degree Spinner wheels are easy to navigate through any airport, providing maximum maneuverability and a smooth glide in every direction.

“Originally developed by a pilot, Travelpro luggage has all the qualities flight crews and frequent travelers look for: amazingly durable construction, travel-tested features, premium fabrics, innovative design and quality materials built to go the distance,” said Scott Applebee, Vice President of Marketing for the Travelpro family of brands. “Maxlite 4 is our lightest weight collection, but not at the expense of durable construction.”

Other welcome extras include a Patented Contour Grip with rubberized touch points which give you greater comfort and control when pushing Spinner luggage. Plus you get a telescoping handle that adds length and strength, with stops at 38″ and extra-tall 42.5″ to ensure a comfortable roll for users of different heights.

An airline-grade aluminum extension handle with grooved tubes add strength and stability to support a tote or case. High performance ball-bearing inline wheels on the Rollaboard models are built for high-mileage travel, tested to the same standards as those on our more expensive collections.

On Spinner models, there is an innovative, full-bottom tray which aligns and stabilizes the wheels for enhanced durability and effortless maneuverability. Crash-guard wheel housings, a skid guard and molded corner guards provide protection over the long haul.

Thoughtful touches abound, such as an exterior ticket pocket on carry-ons which allow for quick and easy access to documents and accessories. Cushioned top and side carry handles provide convenient and comfortable handholds, which you will appreciate after a long day of travel.

Seasoned travelers will enjoy the roomy main compartment that has tapered expansion capability of up to 2″ on select models, maximizing packing flexibility while keeping the center of gravity low. The line also features an “intelligent” interior with a full-size lid compartment that zips open to keep pressed shirts and pants wrinkle free. The zippered side mesh pocket is ideal for storing bulky power cables, chargers, other portable electronics, or socks and belts, while adjustable hold-down straps keep contents in place during travel.

The Maxlite 4 Collection consists of a Soft Tote, Bi-Fold Garment Bag, Rolling Tote, 22″ and 26″ Expandable Rollaboards, 21″, 25″ and 29″ Expandable Spinners, Rolling Carry-On Garment Bag, International Carry-on Spinner and an International Carry-on Rollaboard. All pieces are available in your choice of ocean mist blue, black and purple fabric colors.

About Travelpro

For over 25 years, Travelpro International has prided itself on design innovation and durability in crafting the highest quality luggage for travelers worldwide. Since transforming the ease of modern day travel with The Original Rollaboard® wheeled luggage, Travelpro® has been the brand of choice for flight crews and frequent travelers on every continent. The company is dedicated to building a lifelong relationship with its customers by consistently meeting and exceeding their expectations.

Among other honors received, in 2015, The Wirecutter, a cutting-edge source known for promoting the ‘best gadgets and gear for people who quickly want to know what to get’ tested 31 bags over the last three years and determined that the Travelpro® Platinum® Magna™ 2 22″ Expandable Rollaboard® Suiter is the best carry-on bag on the market. The Travelpro® Crew™ 10 22″ Expandable Rollaboard® Suiter received the 2nd place award.

Please visit the Travelpro website for a full list of the latest products and retail locations. You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @Travelprointl.

Choosing Luggage: A Whole Set or Individual Pieces?

January 26, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Luggage is a very personal purchase, as personal as buying your own clothes or even a new car. Not only does what you buy need to meet specific travel needs, it’s an expression of personal taste and the statement you want to make to your fellow travelers.

Platinum Magna 2 Collection

Platinum Magna 2 Collection

Let’s consider buying the luggage set versus the individual piece. If you purchase a set, all the pieces in that set are designed to the same specifications. Travelpro has 11 different lines because we’ve studied the many different factors that determine each traveler’s purchase. Each collection is manufactured to meet the specific rigors of that particular travel experience. Material, hardware, and framework are all chosen carefully in order to design the best pieces for each type of traveler.

The business traveler, for example, may need a briefcase and a carry-on Rollaboard in order to avoid time spent waiting at the baggage carousels. The leisure traveler may do most of his traveling by car, or may want varying sizes of luggage for different members of the family. The weekend blitz trip versus the over-the-river-and-through-the-woods extended stay for the holidays is also part of the decision of set versus individual pieces. The adventure traveler may want flexible luggage that doesn’t add weight to an outdoor backpacking trip.

Purchasing several essential pieces at the same time from the same collection will ensure that you have the same look. It will also ensure that you are looking for only one color or style of luggage when multiple pieces are used during a trip. It is also important to realize that pieces in a collection all meet the same specifications and will perform similarly.

If a single piece already sits in your closet and you’re looking to add another, determine first which way you travel the most. Purchase the piece or pieces that will best meet your needs. If what you own is part of a set, consider those pieces first, particularly if you’re pleased with the performance and functionality of your current luggage. If you own a stand alone piece, realize that there probably will be only a few times when you use both of them at the same time. If you are adding a piece to create a set that will be used together, determine whether color matching or construction is important to you. Eclectic is just as chic as a matching set.

When considering adding to your travel collection, whether you choose an individual piece or a set, each piece will serve you best if you’ve really thought through its function. What’s the one piece you want to add to your collection, or what’s your favorite piece? Let us hear from you in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Is it Time to Graduate from Backpack to Briefcase?

January 21, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Since we already talked about how backpacks aren’t necessarily the slacker bags they once were, we tried to approach this as more of a probing to see whether and when it’s necessary.

You see them in the airport, on the street, and on the train. Their advocates are fiercely loyal. We’ve even addressed the appropriateness of carrying one. Other than a sense of style or an unwritten industry-specific standard, though, what are some reasons to graduate from a backpack to a briefcase?

Crew Executive Choice Checkpoint-Friendly Backpack

Crew Executive Choice Checkpoint-Friendly Backpack

Perhaps you’ve been carrying a backpack since high school. You’ve changed styles, but you still perceive the flexibility that its unrestricted open compartment and deep recesses afford you for your essentials. It’s true, capacity is core to the design. But have you ever had to dig through each and every pocket in order to find what you really didn’t have time to look for? If you’ve never really compared the features of a backpack to those of a briefcase, you may be surprised to find the briefcase has benefits you may not have considered.

Travelpro’s Crew Executive Choice collection has a backpack and a briefcase, and both integrate fine leather accents and durable fabrics to create bags of outstanding functionality and craftsmanship.

The features are the same in the two bags, but the main difference between the two really comes down to bulk. The Checkpoint Friendly Computer Backpack is eight inches deep, while the Slim Brief is only three and half inches. You’re not going to have to choose between the two for durability, convenience, versatility or fashion. So what other reasons might cause you to take a look at a briefcase?

Travelpro Crew Executive Choice Slim Briefcase

Travelpro Crew Executive Choice Slim Briefcase

Maybe you just want to appear more professional. Maybe you want something that you won’t have to fight to slip under the seat in front of you on an airplane or between the seats in your rental car. Maybe you’re tired of the heat that carrying a backpack against your back creates as you hustle through the airport. Maybe you don’t need to carry as much as you used to, or you shouldn’t so your back doesn’t bear the brunt.

Is it time to graduate? Now you know the options are equal, the choice doesn’t have to be so difficult.

What do you carry? What would you rather carry? Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Tiny Travel Gadgets You Didn’t Know You Needed

January 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Have you ever seen some cool gadget and wondered, “Where has this been all my life?” or how your life was ever complete without it? While those may be few and far between, we’re always on the lookout for the next great gadget to make our life easier. Here’s a list of some very helpful gadgets we found, for use while traveling or at home:

VoltReady. This credit card sized dual charger has built-in Apple Lightning and micro usb cords and you can use them at the same time to charge two devices. We’ve heard reports of phones below ten percent being fully charged within an hour with this!

Chamberlain Jump Starter. This little two-pound gadget eliminates the need to find someone with jumper cables and a car to jump your car (or rental’s) dead battery. It can jump-start a vehicle up to 20 times before requiring a charge itself.

Waka Waka Power SupplyWaka Waka Power+. This solar charger stores the sun’s rays for that time when you need to charge your phone or just need light in the dark. The unit can charge a phone or provide 150 hours of light in its flashlight setting, and with each purchase the company donates a solar light to someone without electricity.

Kenu Stance. We all take pictures with our phones these days, but sometimes it really would be handy to be have a tripod available to steady the shots or videos. This tripod mounts to the phone’s charging point and folds down smaller than a pack of gum.

Victorinox Jetsetter 3-pocket Knife. The pocket knife guru has created a TSA-friendly, bladeless pocket “knife” includes tweezers, a screwdriver tip, toothpick, scissors, key ring, bottle opener, and wire stripper. Some reviewers have said it has almost been confiscated, though, so buyer beware.

Shavetech USB Rechargeable Travel Razor. Electric razors are convenient, but bulky and require their own charging cord to be useful. Not so with this razor. The built-in USB connector cuts the cord and is smaller than your phone. No word on how close a shave it gives.

Ivation Super Portable Bluetooth Speaker. We’re a bit skeptical about how good the sound quality could be from such a small speaker, but you can afford to give it the space to find out, since it’s only as wide as a quarter and the built-in USB connector results in four to six hours of augmented listening.

BlueDriver. Now this tool could get you on your way faster if your car breaks down while you’re in route to your destination. The tool works in conjunction with your phone to allow you to diagnose problems with your vehicle.

Do you have any devices you never leave home without? Do you have any experience with these gadgets? We’d love to hear about them. Leave us a comment below oron our Facebook page.

Photo credit: Alper Çuğun (Flickr, Creative Commons)

How Many of the World’s Best Airports Have You Been To?

January 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Each year, Travel + Leisure magazine gives awards in various categories. In 2013, it added World’s Best Airports to its annual reader survey. 2015’s winners were divided into international and domestic airports, and with all the glowing endorsements, each could be a destination in itself.

International Five Best Airports

Amenities abound and set each of the top five international airports apart.

  1. Changi International Airport, Singapore. The aesthetics, from the layout to free foot massages, combined with unique experiences like a butterfly habitat, a rooftop pool, and five garden environments, all work together to help travelers forget they’re even in an airport.
  2. Hong Kong International Airport, China. Diversions abound, be they iSports, a regulation golf course, an IMAX theater, or Michelin-starred dining all set the tone for hassle-free experience in this world-class city.
  3. Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

    Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  4. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Netherlands. Paintings by Steen and Rembrandt and a library with tomes in 29 languages offer two options for fine art experiences during a layover here. A calm atmosphere is created before you ever enter the complex with noise-reducing ridges and ripples that are featured in the Buitenschot Land Art Park.
  5. Zurich Airport, Switzerland. Speaking of calm, the Swiss logic and order that this airport exudes creates a graceful backdrop for the stunning scenery available at the twin rooftop terraces allow you to cleanse your lungs and clear your head by inhaling crisp Alpine air.
  6. Munich Airport, Germany. It’s no surprise that readers listed the impressive German engineering on display at this airport, which boasts impressive runway views. Not surprising either was the mention of Airbrau, an onsite brewery with live music, which offers a taste of Bavaria without every leaving the terminal.

U.S. Five Best Airports

Domestic airports were also praised for their conveniences, customer service, and food, although none of them sported a golf course or onsite brewery. Still, none of the international picks had goats!

  1. Portland International Airport, Oregon. An impressive on-time record and convenient location, along with the best quirks of this eclectic town made it number one with travelers. Goats remove invasive plant life and food trucks offer unique, local dining options.
  2. Tampa International Airport, Florida. An uncomplicated layout and design that lets the sunshine elevate this airport to number two. An indoor/outdoor terrace offers concessions, an automated train that will take you to your terminal, and estimated checkpoint wait times are among the modern features.
  3. Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport, Minnesota. While Minneapolis can’t offer sunshine and a warm climate, it warmed the heart of travelers with its cheerful service and upscale shopping.
  4. Dallas Love Field, Texas. Everything’s bigger in Texas may be the saying, but smaller is better when it comes to a leisurely airport experience in the state. Murals, sculptures, and paintings by artisan Texans, combined with fabulous local food favorites give this airport a unique vibe.
  5. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Texas. On-time, hassle-free, and excellent customer service, all just minutes from downtown make Austin’s airport the pride of the city. Those wanting one last taste of the world-famous local food scene can also get Salt Lick Bar-B-Que before they take flight.

Which airport is your favorite? Did we miss one? Leave us a comment below oron our Facebook page, and let us know which are your favorite airports in the world.

Eight Ways to Spot a Lousy Hotel

January 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

You know the feeling you get when you show up at a hotel, and it’s nothing like you imagined? That sinking feeling when you open the door to your room, and wonder if someone is playing a prank?

Thankfully, today there are many tools at your disposal online to help you spot a lousy hotel before you get there.

The Cecil Hotel, which inspired the American Horror Story: Hotel series.

The Cecil Hotel, which inspired the American Horror Story: Hotel series.

  1. Photos. If the pictures online feature close-ups or artistic shots that don’t give you a clear impression of the room or the amenities, chances are something’s up.
  2. Too good to be true Photos. If the property seems to feature amenities that don’t jive with the neighborhood, like a beach in Kansas, or they feature something that seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  3. Dated website. If it’s obvious, either by the outdated material or the glaring typos, that the hotel’s management doesn’t seem to care that much about maintaining its online presence, you should be wary of your physical presence on their premises.
  4. Google Maps street view. If the site is short on pictures, but touts its amazing location, do yourself a favor and put the address in Google Maps to take your own look around. Sketchy neighborhoods can’t be hidden when you do a 360 view at street level.
  5. Poor reviews. You can usually tell if the recent reviews are factual or fake. Take note if every review is glowingly positive or completely negative. Black and white reviews aren’t a true representation of a property or an experience.
  6. Poor online etiquette. If management replies to the negative reviews online, that should be your first clue. Customer complaints should be handled privately, not responded to publicly. The one caveat: if management is actually showing how they’ve positively responded to a situation, that’s great. But if they get into arguments with customers, that’s not so great.
  7. Bed Bug Registry. It’s a real site. It only takes a few minutes to do a quick search before you book your room, instead of frantically searching for the bedside light in the middle of the night to find what you felt crawling on you!
  8. No interior photos. If the site has no pictures of the accommodations but only of the area surrounding the hotel, odds are what you see around is better than what you’ll see inside.

How do you spot a lousy hotel? Do you have any favorite websites or review sites? Tell us about them in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

T-Pro® Bold™ 2.0 Collection Represents Next Generation of Action Luggage Including Spinners

January 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Perfect for Travelers with a Sense of Adventure

The T-Pro® Bold™ 2.0 Collection by Travelpro® is ready to go anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice, over rough terrain or down busy city streets. Amazingly durable, lightweight and versatile, this 9-piece collection is perfect for individuals and families with a sense of adventure. Loaded with extras, creature comforts and flexible packing options, Bold 2.0 embodies Travelpro’s next generation of action luggage.

Tpro Bold 2 Group Photo

Our Tpro Bold 2 line of bags includes rollaboards and duffel bags.

“Travelpro has always prided itself on design innovation and durability in crafting the finest luggage for the experienced traveler,” said Scott Applebee, Vice President of Marketing for the Travelpro family of brands. “The T-Pro Bold 2.0 Collection is sporty and also includes two spinner models, which adds to our long tradition of quality luggage.”

Made of high-density polyester fabric with a water-repellent coating for greater stain and abrasion resistance, this rugged line features a comprehensive offering, including Spinner and Rollaboard® models, a backpack, a soft duffel bag and two drop bottom rolling duffel bags. Multiple carry handles make the luggage easy to transport in and out of a car or airplane overhead bin. The drop bottom rolling duffel models include a zippered divider panel for two separate packing spaces or, if opened, one large main compartment. The backpack, 22″ Rollaboard and 21″ Spinner models provide a padded tablet pocket for protection and easy access during travel. An “intelligent” interior on Spinners and Rollaboard models offers packing flexibility with a mesh pocket and wet pocket, ideal for toiletries or wet clothing, built into the lid.

T-pro Bold 2 with spinner wheelsAvailable in distinctive blue and purple fabric colors with black accents, the T-Pro Bold 2.0 Collection includes 21″ and 26″ dual spinner wheel models that allow an effortless roll in any direction, making it easier than ever to maneuver through crowded airports and airplane aisles. Moreover, an aircraft-grade aluminum telescoping handle system is strong enough to support a tote or case, and protective wheel housings, skid guards and molded rubber corner guards for crash protection. Compression straps provide extra security, while a hidden back pocket allows quick access to keys, electronic cables, phones and more.

About Travelpro

For over 25 years, Travelpro International has prided itself on design innovation and durability in crafting the highest quality luggage for travelers worldwide. Since transforming the ease of modern day travel with The Original Rollaboard® wheeled luggage, Travelpro has been the brand of choice for flight crews and frequent travelers on every continent. The company is dedicated to building a lifelong relationship with its customers by consistently meeting and exceeding their expectations. Travelpro was honored to once again be voted as the “World’s Best Luggage” by Premier Traveler Magazine in 2014.

Please visit the Travelpro website for a full list of the latest products and retail locations. You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @Travelprointl.

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