Finding the best travel bargains

April 2nd, 2013

One of the main reasons for discounting is unsold places. Another reason for discounting is competition. A litle research on your part in plenty of time before travel can save you many dollars that can be used once you get there.

Once you have decided where you wish to go, there are two main avenues open to you: the first and easiest is to make one booking to include your flight, hotel, car hire, etc. This method is generally preferable if you are short of time. Travel agents can often offer good value, which is obtained from individual firms due to bulk buying.

Another main avenue open to you is to book your travel components individually. There are many speciality online search engines that allow you to find the best values for your needs.

Nevertheless, there are some other possible steps that you can take in order to get a better discount:

1. Book early. Generally, the nearer to the date of travel, the more expensive are the seats on flights.

2. If you are buying more than one ticket, further discount is possible.

3. Be flexible. Sometimes weekend outward and inwards journeys can be cheaper (less business travellers). Similarly, some flights which leave later at night can be cheaper.

4. If your timetable allows, consider taking indirect an indirect flight. Indirect flights take longer, but can be cheaper than direct flights.

5. If possible, consider travelling other than peak periods. For example, flights during certain periods such as school holidays, christmas, and easter are more expensive than other times.

6. All airlines overbook in order to compensate for no shows. Sometimes everyone shows up, in which case there are more passengers than seats! If you are offered, consider taking a later flight because it means further savings in the form of vouchers.

7. Another option may be to travel as ‘stand by’. But this method usually means little or no notice before travel. Furthermore, you may have a long wait ahead until an empty seat becomes available.

8. For some lucky independent travellers, it is possible to fly as a ‘courier’. Some companies will pay for your flight in exchange for delivering important letter and packages. However, do bear in mind that due to speciality firms, ‘courier’ flights are very rare.

9. Buy a suitable travel insurance. In case of illness, accident, loss of property, etc, the insurance premium is money well spent to counter any eventualities.

The more time and effort you apply, the greater your savings are likely to be. In many instances, your savings can be substantial. So much so that you’ll be able to add extra days to your holiday at no extra charge!

Choosing the best travel accommodation

April 2nd, 2013

The time has come to book your travel accommodation for your all- important holiday. But before making a firm booking, there are a few points that have to be taken into consideration. Get it wrong, you’ll end up spending a miserable or an unpleasant time at your destination. Get it right, you’ll enjoy yourself immensely, not to mention the possibility of saving some money in the process.

1. The first rule is to book as early as possible. Generally, the more popular the accommodation, the earlier you’ll need to book. Don’t risk it by leaving the accommodation booking until the last moment. After travel, accommodation should be the next priority.

2. What type of accommodation? If you’re intending to spend most of your time sight seeing, chances are that all you require is a place to put your head down at night. On the other hand, if you intend to spend more time at your accommodation, then you’ll need to pay more attention to the amenities that are provided.

3. The most convenient type of accommodation is the hotel, where depending on the type of hotel, the majority of your needs will be taken care of. If you don’t feel very adventurous, then stick to the brand name hotels. The large chains deliberately set out to decorate all their hotels to look he same. So by sticking to that kind hotels, you’ll know what to expect, regardless of where in the world you’ll be going.

4. Hotels basically come in two types: business hotels tourist hotels. Make no mistake- both types of hotels are suitable for everyone. It’s just that if you’re on a tight budget, staying at a business hotel will not be your best option. Business hotels also provide services such as fax machines, which are not a lot of use to a typical tourist.

5. Peaks and troughs. If at all possible, try and avoid traveling during national and school holidays. For, during those times, due to the natural increase in demand, prices of tickets and accommodation rises considerably.

6. If you’re traveling with kids, you’ll want to know whether your resort provides a kids’ club for the all important few hours peace for the adults. Other amenities such as suitable swing pool is also agreeable to most kids.

7. For very young children, some hotels provide cots (often free of charge) in order that children may sleep in the same room as their parents. But that is not provided as a matter of course. You’ll need to ask.

8. Self catering. Self catering is ideal for visitors that enjoy cooking, have more spare time, or have special dietary requirements. The obvious advantage to this type of accommodation is because you’re not tied to a menu, you’ve got more choice in what and when to eat. However, you’ll need to wash up afterwards!

9. Camping. If you intend to stay in open spaces, or are going hiking, then camping may be the right choice for you. Provided the weather is reasonable, camping is favored by many.

10. Hostels. If you’re on a very tight budget such as students.

Choosing holiday accessories

April 1st, 2013

Your holiday is fast approaching. How do you decide what items to take?

The first rule is to be realistic. If you are only going away for a long weekend, then you are not likely to need to take much accessories with you. Similarly, if you are staying at a fairly large hotel chain, many of your needs will be provided. So there is no need to ‘double up’.

The second rule is to travel as light as possible. In order to achieve the desired minimum accessories, ask yourself what you may need, as opposed to what you could do with. This way you’ll manage to cut out many unnecessary gadgets, thus saving weight.

Try and find out as much as you can about your destination, and the kind of activities that you may take up. In this way you’ll become aware of such important information such as the temperature- you’ll be able to pack suitable clothes. Similarly, if all you’re planning to do is to sightsee from the tour bus, then you’ll not need to take with you the heavy hiking boots!

If you are going on a city holiday, you’ll need the following: 1.

A sturdy suitcase of suitable size for your belongings. Remember to allow extra space in your suitcase for your return journey for items such as presents. A sturdy suitcase is a must, because baggage handlers are not generally known for their gentle touch!

2. Appropriate clothing for your destinations. For city holidays, don’t forget the all- important comfortable walking shoes.

3. If the climate at your destination is changeable, take a raincoat or an umbrella with you.

4. Do take your favorite toiletries with you. When you are miles away from home, it is not always easy to buy your favorite toothpaste. This is particularly important if you suffer from allergic reaction to some toiletries.

5. If you use an electric razor, find out whether you need an appropriate adaptor.

6. If you are on medications, ensure that you take enough with you for your entire stay.

7. If you use prescription glasses, consider taking a spare set, in case of an accident.

8. If you are staying in an hotel, you’ll not need to take items such as towels, alarm clock, and radio.

Finally, remember the three most important items: ticket, passport, and credit card. Unless you are traveling to remote places and cities, anything that you may have forgotten can always be bought once you arrive there.

Some tips on backpacking

April 1st, 2013

Most backpackers have their worldly possessions on their backs and little else. It is therefore imperative that all essentials are included, because in some remote areas it is not easy to make up the shortages.

The first and the most important consideration is the backpack itself. Make sure that its size and weight is suitable for you. Next ensure that it fits well. Ill fitting backpacks can cause injury in creating extra friction with the shoulders. At the very least, ill fitting backpacks can make the trip somewhat unpleasant.

Walking boots. Ensure that they fit snugly, and are suitable for rough terrains. Prior to trip, it is a good idea to wear the boots on a few occasions to ensure that everything with them is ok.

Wear heavy duty socks. In such circumstances, boots will be worn longer than normal. So suitable socks can reduce possible injuries.

Make sure that you buy quick- drying towels, as opposed to ordinary ones. For health reasons it is essential that after use, your towel is dry before packing it with the rest of your gear. Furthermore, wet and damp towels are heavier, which places unnecessary strain on your legs!

Wear suitable underwear for the climatic conditions that will be visited. Too much underwear can lead to exhaustion through heat build up. Too little underwear means that the cooler temperatures are felt quickly, and in prolonged cases it can lead to illness.

Wearing of long underwear can be useful in some accommodations. For example, when sleeping in a tent or unheated room, long underwear will contribute in ensuring proper sleep.

Suitable sleeping bag. Make sure that the sleeping bag is the correct size for your body. Consider the weight of the sleeping bag- different weights of the bags can be considerable. Ensure that the sleeping bag fits properly in the backpack, and does not take too much space.

Invest in a money belt. When backpacking, some essentials such as money, passport, and traveller’s cheques, and mobile phones must be guarded securely, and separate from the backpack.

For taking photographs, ensure that the camera is suitable for the job. It must be as small and as light as possible. At the same time, the camera must be sturdy in make, or be placed in a protective case.

If the intended journey includes remote areas, certain items such as a first aid kit, and wet wipes are prudent measures. If possible, include a small container of drinking water- in case of getting lost or breakdowns, the water could make a big difference.

It is a good idea to include an up to date travel guide for the area to be visited. Again, if intending to visit remote areas, include a compact compass.

Depending on the area to be visited, investment in a suitable raincoat may become necessary. Try to choose a light and easy- fold raincoat, which occupies as little space in the backpack as possible.

Finally, include personal hygiene items such as soap, toothpaste and brush, and shampoo. This is particularly important in cases where one has allergies and sensitivities to other makes. make sure that any prescribed medications are included. failure to do so can be costly- a doctor will not be as accessible as in cities.

Washington DC – Day Trip 1 – Virginia Horse Country – J

March 2nd, 2013

There are some early evening additions if you do the day trip loop to the south of Washington DC. This activity requires nice weather, so it’s offered only seasonally. Do check before you head out as to whether they are operating that day. This is only on Saturdays.

Another English “transplant” activity — from turn-of-the-19th century in Virginia — is Polo. As Virginians love their fox-hunting and dogs and horses, for the past 103 years in Virginia, polo is a natural extension.

Polo was actually invented over 2,000 years in Persia, making it the oldest historically-recorded sport!

This attraction is ½ hour’s drive south from the Beltway (more from Downtown Washington DC). It is between Delaplane (to the west) and Warrenton (to the south), yet it’s not far from Middleburg (to the north) or Manassas (to the east). You can combine it with other activities that I’ve already written about nearby e.g. wine-tasting. See the archive link below.

At Great Meadow Polo Field, the crowd’s favorites continuing this year include: entertaining half-time activities, tailgate competitions and dancing under the stars in the Meadow Club polo pavilion, after polo. Make it an evening. If you want to stay nearby, then see below.

Virginia Horse Country Activities

Washington, DC Travel – Archived Articles

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