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Travel Tips

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					Travel Tips

From hiking in the Highlands of Scotland, to kissing the Blarney Stone, to            5 If you’re a confident traveller, and you are travelling off-season (especially in
climbing the Eiffel Tower, to taking a safari in Africa...the opportunities are         the winter months), you may get a better deal on your accommodation by
endless! Living in the United Kingdom means you live so close to so much -              waiting until you get to your destination to find and book your room.
take full advantage of it! Below are some travel ideas to help you decide
where, and how, you wish to spend your well-deserved holidays!                        6 Ask around! Others may know of a reputable independent travel agency
                                                                                        who can undercut the big high street agencies.

Some suggestions to assist you in                                                     7 Don’t fly direct. Traveling non-stop to a long-haul destination is often a lot
                                                                                        more expensive than traveling to the same destination via a European hub;
your travel search:                                                                     for example, London to Nairobi on KLM via Amsterdam can be considerable
                                                                                        cheaper than London to Nairobi non-stop on British Airways; it may take a
• Visit your local bookstore or library and have a look at travel books such
    as the ‘Lonely Planet Guides’ or ‘Rough Guides’ for the country or city to          few hours longer, but then the pounds saved may pay for some of your
    which you are planning to travel. They contain excellent information about          accommodation at your destination. It also applies to European
    accommodation (budget to comfortable), places to eat, and how to get                destinations. A recent quote from one of the numerous internet companies
    around and hot spots you don’t want to miss out on.                                 had London to Barcelona for almost half the price of a direct flight, simply
                                                                                        because it went via Paris. Once again, it will take a bit longer because of
• For those in London pick up a copy of TNT. It’s free every Monday and                 the change of flights, but there just may be that little bit of extra cash for
    contains lots of cheap deals and travel information. For those outside              some holiday luxuries.
    London and with access to the web visit www.tnt.com. Listed in it is a vast
    selection of travel agents and tour companies, including the ever popular         8 Register for frequent flyer programmes with the airlines on which you travel,
    ‘Contiki’, ‘Busabout’, ’Haggis Tours’ and ‘Road Trip’. We now have corporate        as membership can help maximise your travel opportunities. Many airlines
    partnerships with Contiki, Busabout, STA travel and the Backpackers Co. so          belong to huge global alliances, such as ‘One World’ and ‘Star Alliance’, and
    make the most of the great discounts they are offering.                             frequent flyer points can often be used on these or a partner airline to
                                                                                        obtain free flights. If you’re doing a lot of long-haul travel, the frequent flyer
• SHOP AROUND! Don’t just accept the first deal that sounds cheap to you.
    Fares and packages vary enormously from travel agent to travel agent,               points will accumulate rapidly, and you could end up with a free flight to
    according to particular airlines they have alliances with - so phone at least       somewhere in Europe before you know it.
    five or six of them, or check their websites. Also, phone particular airlines     9 Check out what your local supermarket can do for you. Tesco is
    directly, as competition between them is stiff, and they can often give you         associated with the ‘Air Miles’ programme - every pound you spend on
    an even cheaper deal than the travel agents. If you are under 26 years of           groceries accumulates to earn you vouchers which can be converted to
    age, visit specific ‘student oriented’ travel organizations such as STA Travel,     air miles and then used to redeem free flights. Sainsbury has a similar
    Travel Cuts or Campus Travel. You can reach STA at 020 7361 6148 or                 programme that is linked to BMI British Midland (the UK’s second
    www.statravel.co.uk, Campus Travel at 087 0240 1010 and Travel Cuts                 largest airline) and Virgin Atlantic Airways.
    at 020 7792 3770. Be sure to inform the travel agent if you are less than
    26 years and ask them about cheaper ‘youth/student’ fares.                        10 If you are looking for a travel companion, leave your details with your
                                                                                         local office. We keep a register, for other travellers to check, of fellow
• Some newspapers advertise half price deals on selected airfares by saving              travellers who are looking for company during their ventures.
    a series of tokens, as well as other last minute deals. Watch out for them!
• If you have Teletext on your television at home, check the current deals
    on offer!                                                                         Travel Essentials - Don’t Leave
                                                                                      Home Without Them!
Keeping the above in mind, here are our                                               • Travel insurance - Absolutely vital, especially if you are travelling to and
TOP TEN TIPS for getting that cheap deal:                                                around the less developed countries. Make sure you have a high level of
                                                                                         medical cover, and that it includes emergency repatriation. Read the fine
1   Book that package deal at the last minute! Many travel agents                        print carefully, and consider carefully exactly what you are paying for, as
    specialising in package (charter) holidays (e.g. ‘Thomas Cook’) will make            the benefits will vary enormously from company to company - some are
    a substantial discount in the last couple of weeks before departure.                 really poor value for money, and do not include many adventure activities
    Whilst it may limit your choice of destination, it may leave a few more              such as skiing and paragliding. The best value-for-money policies are the
    coins in the pocket for those sunset drinks. Check also the last minute              annual worldwide policies; these can be purchased for around £75 per year,
    deals on www.lastminute.com or www.cheapflights.com, they do not
                                                                                         and the number of trips you can take is unlimited. If some of the more
    only list last minute holiday deals but also just flights on charter airlines.
                                                                                         extreme adventure activities are covered, your policy can usually be
2 Book via the Internet. Many operators will offer a discount of between 5%              expanded on payment of a supplement (usually around £20). Shop around
  and 20% on bookings made on line. You need to be confident that you                    for the best deal; many banks and travel organisations offer this type of
  know exactly what you are looking for, as there is generally no direct                 insurance. Also, bear in mind that if you have house contents insurance
  contact with a travel agent, though a ‘Help Line’ will probably be given.              already, many insurers will make a substantial reduction in your premium
3 Book flights on the low-cost / no-frills operators (such as Ryanair, EasyJet and       for travel. When booking a charter holiday through a high street store,
  bmibaby) as early as possible - months in advance if you can - to get the              the company may try very hard to get you to buy their home brand of
  cheapest seats. The cost of the tickets increase dramatically the closer you get       travel insurance; by all means consider it, but no matter what they say,
  to your departure date. Register on the websites of these airlines to receive          you are not obligated to take it. The Post Office and Boots also offer
  their regular newsletters and information about their flight sales.                    Travel Insurance.
4 As you shop around, let travel agents know your best current deal. Most             • Vaccinations - Ensure that you have the appropriate vaccinations, if
  travel companies will give their sales consultants a certain amount of                 necessary, for the countries you are visiting. Contact your doctor for
  leeway to make sure that you make that all important booking through                   advice. Some shots you need may be free. Anti malarials are available
  their company.                                                                         over the counter in any chemist.
Travel Tips

• Visas - Check to see if you need a visitor’s visa for the countries you are         France: The South
   visiting, and leave enough time for the visa to be arranged prior to your travel
   - they can take time! Some embassies require proof of employment as a part         • Offers: Great food and wine, fantastic scenery, some of the best-
                                                                                         preserved Roman remains in Europe, superb camping spots, and the
   of the application process. We are happy to provide this documentation for
   you. www.worldtravelguide.net/navigate/world will provide you with                    glorious French Riviera.
   current information regarding visa requirements for countries you intend to        • Best for: Longer breaks of two weeks or more, although Nice and Monaco are
   visit. The requirements change frequently, so don’t assume that because you           perfect for a long weekend. Those who want to do some serious travelling
   didn’t need a visa a year ago to visit a particular country, you won’t need one       and don’t mind camping out will find the area brings endless delights, though
   now! If you are very short of time or you are lazy, there are specialist visa         it’s best if you have a car as you can get way off the beaten track and see
   companies that will do all the footwork for you for a small fee.                      rural France and spectacular villages untouched by tourists. For the more
                                                                                         adventurous you can kayak down on one of the many rivers in the south.
Where to Head?                                                                        • Getting there: The low-cost carriers will fly you to many destinations in
Depending on what you’re looking, and what you want to get out of your                   the south of France. Eurostar now has direct weekly services to Avignon,
vacation, certain parts of the globe can be more appealing than others. Here’s           though the TGV services from Paris to Marseille and Nice are just a quick,
a quick guide on what to expect from most of the main holiday destinations               and more regular.
from the UK (and a couple of the more unusual ones too).                              • To keep in mind: The Riviera may be the haunt of the rich and famous,
                                                                                         but it is unbelievably expensive.
Ireland:
                                                                                      Spain:
• Offers: All those tourist clichés plus scenery straight out of a travel agent’s
   brochure. Dublin is perfect for a city break, and copious amounts of ‘real’        • Offers: Real weather (the sun actually shines warmly for a good part of
   Guinness. If you want to party, Dublin is happy to oblige, especially around          the year!), proper beaches with sand, some fantastic city breaks and, of
   St Patrick’s Day (17 March). Otherwise, a short motoring or coach tour                course, the backpacker ‘must dos’ of Barcelona, Pamplona (Running of the
   round the coastline for sights like the Blarney Stone, the Cliffs of Moher,           Bulls) and La Tomatina (where you get to throw tomatoes at everyone!).
   and the Giant’s Causeway (Northern Ireland), and some superb diving.                  The islands (Ibiza, Majorca, Menorca and the Canaries) are ideal for
                                                                                         dedicated sun worshipers, clubbers and partygoers; Ibiza is probably the
• Best for: A weekend in Dublin or as Ireland is a fairly compact country;
   it lends itself well to short tours either by car or coach.                           best if your idea of fun is non-stop partying.

• Getting there: Fly into Dublin, Cork, Kerry, Knock, Shannon and City of Derry       • Best for: 1 to 2 week sun breaks; though do check out Seville and
   (Northern Ireland) with Ryanair, or Belfast with Easy Jet. Alternatively, take        Barcelona for short city breaks. In the summer break, the wide-open
   the ferry (as a foot passenger or a car driver/passenger) from Holyhead in            roads lend themselves to touring. If you want the beach: The Costa del
   northern Wales.                                                                       Sol, the Costa Brava, and the Costa Blanca offer everything you could
                                                                                         possibly need for a holiday in the sun (including a veritable array of
• To keep in mind: Pack a spare liver; you’ll probably need it!                          ‘English’ pubs and fish-and-chip shops) but these areas pull in the tourist
                                                                                         crowds like you’ve never seen before. If it’s culture you want, and a more
Netherlands:                                                                             authentic Spanish experience, leave the beaches and head for the hills.
• Offers: Amsterdam has a wonderful mix of delightful tourist sights, canal              The hillside villages of Andulucia in particular are an absolute treat.
   boat trips, great cafes and bars, its legendary ‘ladies’ and for the more
   seriously-minded, Anne Frank’s house, as well as being home to one of the          • Getting there: The budget airlines seem to cover most of the country.
   finest collections of Rembrandts and Van Gogh’s you’ll find anywhere!                 If you’re touring, take the car on the overnight ferry from Portsmouth
                                                                                         to Bilbao on Spain’s northern coast, using P&O Stena Line.
• Best for: Long weekends, and for those who want to chill out with a little
   culture. Also good for clubbers (but expensive!) and alternative lifestyles        • To keep in mind: Spain has been on the tourist trail for decades now
   (the city has some of the best gay and lesbian bars and clubs in Europe!).            and the most popular beaches and festivals are extremely crowded;
                                                                                         however, the country is huge and with a little effort it is possible to find
• Getting there: Fly EasyJet (though check out deals from the likes of                   lots of beautiful spots which are relatively free of the crowds.
   KLMuk or British Airways); take the ferry from one of England’s numerous
   ports (Harwich to Hoek van Holland near Rotterdam is a popular route,              Italy:
   with an easy train connection into Amsterdam) or the more expensive
   option of Eurostar to Brussels with a direct train connection to Amsterdam.        • Offers: Everything from skiing in the north to fierce sunshine in the
                                                                                         south, with some spectacular scenery and beautiful towns on the way.
• To keep in mind: Crowds, litter, and watch out for those crazy bike riders!            It’s perfect for truly amazing city breaks, culture till it comes out your
                                                                                         ears and, of course, the best coffee in Europe.
France: Paris
                                                                                      • Best for: City breaks for Milan, Rome, Florence, Venice, Verona, Turin, and
• Offers: Everything and more that you have come to expect from one of                   Pisa (the list goes on!). Milan is ideal for the fashion conscious, Florence is
   the most beautiful cities in the world! Like London, it can’t be done in one
                                                                                         best for cheap leather gear, and Rome offers just about anything you
   single trip and if you love it, you’ll find yourself returning again and again.
                                                                                         could ask for. The countryside is great for touring; Tuscany, and the Amalfi
• Best for: Long weekends and day trips; it’s an absolute must for all those             Coast (south of Naples) are worth longer visits for spectacular scenery
   romantics (don’t miss a walk along the Seine at sunset) and pretty much               and ancient villages and sites. The trains in Italy are fairly easy to
   everyone else - you won’t fail to be captivated. Our favourite spots are:             negotiate and are a great way to get around the countryside.
   The Latin Quarter for food; the Musee d’Orsay; sunset over Paris (with a
   good bottle of red) on the steps of Sacre Coeur.                                   • Getting there: The budget airlines cover the length and breadth of the
                                                                                         country. Don’t forget, however, to check out what the mainstream
• Getting there: The Eurostar is the most popular way these days, as it’s door-          airlines are offering.
   to-door from London to the Gare du Nord in Central Paris, though to beat this
   competition many airlines offer very reasonable flights - check them out.          • To keep in mind: In July and August the cities in Italy go crazy with
                                                                                         tourists - it’s probably best to avoid these times. Keep your valuables safe
• To keep in mind: Watch out for the doggie do, and a little bit of French               (tourists are easy targets for pickpockets) and watch those crazy drivers!
   goes a long way!
Travel Tips

The Near and Middle East: Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt                                  Cheaper Hotel rooms:
• Offers: These destinations can sometimes be overlooked, but they all                •   www.hoteldiscounts.com
    have a lot to offer, including costs that are often cheaper than comparable       •   www.lastminute.com
    European resorts. All three countries offer beautiful sandy beaches and           •   www.laterooms.com
    spectacular desert scenery - and the diving at the Red Sea in Egypt is            •   www.all-hotels.com
    ranked among the best in the world. They also offer the chance to hone            •   www.lodgingdiscounts.com
    your bargaining skills in the exotic souks, and to broaden your mind in
    magnificent ancient ruins.
• Best for: Longer trips - give yourself time to get into the stride of a different   Useful telephone numbers:
    way of life, although if you’re feeling the need for some sun come January,       •   National Rail                         08457 48 49 50
    they are fabulous for a week in the sun. Ideal for the independent traveller      •   National Express (Coach)              08705 80 80 80
    as well, as the Arab culture is very friendly and welcoming to strangers (even
                                                                                      •   Eurostar                              01233 617 575
    a few words of Arabic will stand you in good stead for making friends).
                                                                                      •   Eurotunnel                            08705 353 535
• Getting there: Take a scheduled or charter airline, or find a package deal          •   Gatwick Airport                       0870 000 2468
    which suits your needs and taste. If you are already in the Mediterranean,        •   Heathrow Airport                      0870 000 0123
    a cheaper option to get to Morocco is to take the local hydrofoil across          •   London City Airport                   020 7646 0000
    to Tangier from Algeciras (near Gibraltar); Egypt is equally as accessible        •   Luton Airport                         01582 405 100
    from Cyprus.
                                                                                      •   Stansted Airport                      0870 000 0303
• To keep in mind: Female travellers can feel intimidated in these countries;         •   Manchester Airport                    0161 489 3000
    however, with a few sensible actions these countries are perfectly safe to        •   Birmingham International Airport      0870 733 5511
    travel - remember, you wouldn’t walk down dark streets on your home town.
                                                                                      Don’t forget to let us know of any great travel bargains, travel experiences, or
This is just a taste of what you can do; the list is endless, from the
                                                                                      travel destinations you have found, so we can pass it on to fellow travellers...
Scandinavian countries to the former Eastern Block countries, to Russia
                                                                                      and don’t forget to send us a postcard!
and the Greek Islands. Think carefully about where you want to go, and
plan well. And don’t forget to talk to your consultant...between us all               Above all, take the time to make sure that whatever holiday you choose,
we’ve ‘been there, done that’!                                                        it is the holiday you want. A little investment of your time and very
                                                                                      careful research can mean the difference between the holiday of a
                                                                                      lifetime and the holiday from hell.
Fabulous websites:
                                                                                      TRAVEL SAFELY, and ENJOY!
General information:
• www.roughguides.co.uk
• www.lonelyplanet.com

Flights:
•   www.opodo.co.uk
•   www.expedia.co.uk
•   www.jet2.com
•   www.mytravellite.com
•   www.ebookers.co.uk
•   www.travelocity.com
•   www.cheapestflights.co.uk
•   www.flynow.com
•   www.ryanair.com
•   www.easyjet.com
•   www.buzzaway.com
•   www.go-fly.com
•   www.bmibaby.com
•   www.cheapflights.com

Train and Ferry:
•   www.eurostar.com
•   www.eurotunnel.co.uk
•   www.eurorailways.com
•   www.hoverspeed.com
•   www.posl.com
•   www.stenaline.co.uk
•   www.seafrance.com
•   www.ferrysavers.com




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