Whilst there are far fewer ads on the TV than there used to be, the holiday booking season is upon us. It’s time for our annual flock to the sun in search of a little time out of the rat race. So where are we going? It seems that the Costas are (finally) on the wane and our tastes are increasingly diversified. ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) has just released its report on travel trends for 2010. They make interesting reading and show how fashions have changed in the last 10 years or so. (more…)
Archive for January, 2010
I used Sealink a lot in the 60s, 70s and 80s as a child and then as a student going back and forth from France and Spain.Â For those old enough to remember, Sealink was what we used to get to continental Europe before the Channel Tunnel came along. It was real travelling. No antiseptic, air-conditioned high-speed trains here. This was real contact with the wind, air and diesel fumes.
Paris is famous for its romantic springtimes, iconic buildings and grumpy waiters. But it’s far more than just that. Since the Revolution, the French and particularly Paris, have absorbed people and influences from across the world. Today, it’s possible to spend a week in Paris and hardly meet any French people! Â (although you might be missing something there).
By the way, the waiters are far less grumpy with tourists if you attempt to speak some bad French – especially if you’re American).
Here’s a quick splash of the non-French things you can find in the French capital. (more…)
There is a widely held idea that once you get beyond a certain age, you won’t be able to get travel insurance any more. Just like the idea that life insurance companies get jittery when you have anything that’s even remotely likely to affect your ability to live a full and active life. While this is true to some extent – actuaries will always be actuaries – there have been significant changes in the travel insurance industry recently that mean that even if your ticker is a bit dodgy, someone will trust you to go away and not expire before you get back. (more…)
Benny was really happy. He’d just come away from the Big Travel Agent in the High Street after booking his cruise with the Big Tour Operator. He was going to take his wife on a once in a lifetime cruise around the Caribbean. Everything was included, the entertainment, the meals and even a couple of excursions. He’d got his eye on trying some scuba diving for the first time in his life. His wife was looking forward to playing some tennis on the ship’s deck but was wondering how that was done without losing a lot of wayward balls in the sea.
Later that evening, he took a closer look at the documents. He had a particular look at the invoice. There were a lot of figures on it and, to be honest, he didn’t understand them all. One however did jump out. Insurance Â£103.34. He was flabbergasted. That was not much less than he’d paid to insure his car for a whole year! (more…)
For us British drivers, we think that everybody else drives on the wrong side of the road. In fact, 25% of the world’s cars are driven on the left, so a quarter of the world’s population are with us. The French however think that we do everything the wrong way round. There’s no pleasing some people!
Unfortunately, driving on the wrong side of the road is the least of our problems. They have different rules too! So here’s a few guidelines to getting around safely and not ruffling the feathers of local drivers, wherever you are. (more…)
Travel insurance, like any other insurance, is always too expensive until you need it. Then, it miraculously turns into something of a shrewd investment. There seems to be a lot of mystery around this type of insurance and many people don’t bother with it at all thinking they’ll be covered by anything from their home insurance, some product provided by their bank or just by sheer luck or divine intervention. So what does this mysterious animal actually cover? Obviously specific policies and conditions vary greatly, but here’s a short list of the main features. (more…)
Many years ago when I was a teenager, I set off with a mate from school on a train (well, a few trains) across Europe with a final destination of Istanbul. We both went away with backpacks, tickets and passports, our wits and not much else. We had the transit visas for Yugoslavia and Bulgaria that we needed in those days when the Berlin Wall was still very much in still standing, but that was about all the planning we did. We had a couple of scrapes, particularly losing each other in Belgrade when the coaches were shunted off to a different platform. (more…)