Turkey – a popular destination for the whole family

Holidays to Turkey are now extremely popular and it is fast becoming the latest booming tourist venue, last year alone it saw around 2,500,000 visitors from the UK and although it has not reached the 14,000,000 UK visitors, it is a growing destination.

Turkey is a good value for money destination and whilst there is a massive amount of culture to see, it is the Mediterranean style sun, sea and sand that attract the visitor. The people are very hospitable and they love children, shopping is plentiful and reasonable priced as well. Most of the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts are really beautiful. The gently shelving beaches in the stretch from Antalyta to Alanya, a distance of about 87 miles are the major centre for holidays and the all-inclusive is the most popular.

Antalya is the gateway to the region and it is a fully-fledged resort, the restored old town are a must if holidaying here. Alanya at the far end is now a major resort with a multitude of new hotels but the charm of the old quarter has still been maintained. Between these two numerous holiday centres provide a host of attractions and activities on offer, from parasailing to scuba-diving, tennis to shows. Flight times from most major airports to Antalya are under five hours.

We would issue a word of warning if you are thinking of taking children in the high season; the temperatures can rise in excess of thirty degrees and can reach as high as forty! So the best at time to visit this area if you are not restricted to the summer school holiday period is May, early June and mid-September and October.

Antalya MarinaPicture: Jason Drury

Orlando Florida – the perfect family getaway!

A few years ago, Orlando was a place that many dreamed of, but it always seemed too out of reach, that may have been the case, but not anymore. Regular flights take place from a number of regional airports and with fast modern aircraft the flight time is just over eight hours, where you can relax watch the latest films and be transported to your hotel.

Orlando is world renowned and is the gateway to Florida with its many attractions, but a great holiday destination or a base to explore features such as Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld Orlando, plus many others. Florida is also a fabulous base for some of the best golf courses in America, which are naturally all season round. Shopping is not forgotten of course and you will catch a few bargains in the Florida Mall where you can call in at the famous Macy’s store.

Perhaps you would like to take in a cruise but have promised the kids that you will take them to Disney, well Orlando is the place where it can happen. You can stay in, or close to the Orlando resort or in the City itself and visit Disney, Universal studios, spend time in some of the Orlando attractions and then take a cruise around the Caribbean before flying back to the UK. Orlando is closer than ever and is a great base for an entire holiday or combined with a cruise.

Walt Disney World, Orlando, FloridaPicture: twg1942

Avoid hassle at the airport

We are all fully aware that security at airports and when taking flights is a very necessary part of holiday and business travel. Now that security is being stepped up further due to a terror warning in the United States travellers have to prepare themselves for further delay at check in but there are some ways in which you can make the situation slightly more bearable.

The first thing that we have to say is that you should absolutely ensure that all your electronic devices are fully charged before you leave home and it would be wise to have them switched off whilst travelling and at the airport.

Weekends are a busy time and if it is possible to travel outside of them it will be better for you. Now that most, if not all airlines and travel companies allow online booking and printing of boarding cards, doing this will ease your time in the airport. Fast track through security for around £3 can prevent frustration in the snaking line of stressful passengers.

Whenever it is possible and particularly if you have had a long journey to the airport with young children, book a lounge, it may cost you a few pounds but it could prove to be money well spent. Airport security checks are an absolute necessity and as travellers we just have to make the best we can of them.

Airport securityPicture: redjar

Take the hassle out of your holiday travel

You have booked a wonderful Mediterranean cruise which is due to depart from Malaga and take in some beautiful places over the next ten days, but there is a snag, your are flying out on a budget airline and of course you inevitably come up against the excess baggage charge, worse still you are over the weight allowance.

This is a nightmare situation that so often causes headaches for travellers, you know that although the dress code on your cruise ship is going to be reasonably relaxed, it still requires smart casual wear for both the men and women, this naturally means that you may have to pack a little more that you might have to on say a beach villa holiday, when shorts and a shirt are all that is needed.

So what is the answer to this dilemma, if fact is there an answer short of packing less than you feel you may need for a ten day holiday? Well it is simpler than you could possibly imagine, you contact Send My Bag and they will resolve the matter quickly and without fuss. They will collect your bag from your home and deliver it safely and securely to the cruise liner, and you can also arrange for it to be collected from the dockside and delivered home to you. No hassle, no excess baggage, no aching back, just a smooth journey to embarkation and ten days of relaxing sailing ahead for you.

Cruise Caribbean

Picture: 16g

Visiting Ajaccio, Corsica

The main city in Corsica, Ajaccio is a wonderful holiday destination, especially for tourists searching for the perfect combination of beautiful beaches, picturesque harbours and peaceful rivers. Roman remains boasting medieval magic, majestic cathedrals, charming buildings with impressive contemporary architecture, bustling markets and a rich assortment of restaurants and bars are surprisingly in contrast with the mountain range in the background.

Climate

Ajaccio is ready to enchant its visitors with a Mediterranean climate, which tempers the heat and dryness of summer with a cooling breeze. Although winters are quite dry, heavy rainstorms may occur in spring and autumn.

Things to do and see

Casa Bonaparte, the most important tourist attraction in Ajaccio, is a large yet simple residence where Napoleon Bonaparte was born. This residence is now a national museum boasting numerous paintings and objects that once belonged to the French military and political leader and his family. Another attraction is the Gorges de Spelunca, a natural wonder plunging into a foggy green torrent at the confluence of five magnificent rivers: Aïtone, Campi, Onca, Tavulella and Porto. Tourists looking for relaxation and fun will find numerous bars, restaurants, clubs, cinemas and a great casino.

Lodging

Ajaccio makes available a variety of budget accommodation options and excellent boutique hotels, such as Les Mouettes and Bella Vista, set in superb historic buildings with private beaches, swimming pools, Jacuzzis, gardens and terraces embracing splendid panoramic views of the city and Mediterranean Sea.

Transportation

One flight per week takes British tourists from London to Ajaccio in about two hours. To get around the city, travellers can opt for different transportation options, including buses, ferries and rental cars.

AjaccioPicture: Thilo Hilberer

A tale of two cities – eats and laughs in New York and San Francisco

The United States is famous for many things, not least for its food and comedy. Here are just a few of the more popular eateries and stand-up attractions in two of America’s most vibrant and bustling cities.

New York

Fifth Avenue Restaurant & Diner: Whether it’s a quick bite or a full on feast, time is certainly not of the essence when hunger strikes in the Big Apple. Fifth Avenue’s offering is no exception; the best bit about this diner is that it also delivers around the clock 24/7. Renowned for mouth-watering omelettes, the only downside to the Fifth Avenue Diner is knowing which of the wonderful four-egg creations to go for.

Comic Strip: This New York comedy club is best known for being the venue where the greats were discovered; think Eddie Murphy, Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock. Opened in 1975, the club started out as a multi-talent venue with novelty acts, singers and musicians taking to the stage. Since transforming into an exclusively stand-up venue it has become one of the city’s most popular homes of comedy. Many visitors claim they feel part of comedic history as they sit in the modest, yet charismatic, auditorium.

New York CityPicture: kaysha

San Francisco

Sparky’s Diner: San Francisco’s 24-hour eatery is infamous for both its pizza and ice cream. A plethora of other typical late-night bites are also available, such as burgers and custom milkshakes. Situated near the Castro, many partygoers will head to Sparky’s to soak up the evening’s alcohol intake and the varied and vibrant in-house jukebox is a hit for revellers who don’t want the night to end.

Improv: San Jose’s oldest theatre was built in 1904 and is officially designated a historic landmark. The club is revered for its reasonably priced food and drink and its two level tier set-up. Harry Houdini and Charlie Chaplin frequented the nightspot in the days when vaudeville acts and corporate parties were the main attraction. Today, the venue primarily hosts comedy nights and features popular acts such as Jeff Garcia and the Filipino Kingz.

Cable Car San FranciscoPicture: Peter Hijenhuis

Read the small print before you blame the insurer

There are hundreds, if not thousands of cases were an insurer has not paid out on a policy when a claim has been made, because the cause of neglect, accidental or otherwise, by the insured means that they have undervalued the items when making the application. Take one example, that of a house insurance policy. Assume that you have insured your home and on the declaration to the insurer you have stated that the contents of the property are worth £20,000 when in fact they are probably worth nearer £40,000. You may get very slightly cheaper premium, but what happens if disaster strikes and the house is flooded?

The likely outcome will almost certainly be that you will be paid out, yes you will but it could be at half the value of the contents, which is all you have insured for. If the house is burgled and that nice piece of jewellery which you bought was stolen, you might just get half the value.

Insurers will always pay out on genuine claims for travel, motor insurance accidents, but they will always check that you have taken out the correct cover and if you have not read the small print and decided it is not important, you should not be surprised if the insurer raises an item in the terms and conditions! It has come to light through a survey carried out by a holiday home and travel insurance company, that a remarkable fifty percent of homeowners have an insurance claim rejected and further 60% of people never bother to read the terms and conditions when taking out insurance. This is hardly the fault of the insurers and this is why the small print should always be looked at and questioned if you are in any doubt.

insurance

Experience one of the most beautiful cities in Europe – Dubrovnik

One of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Dubrovnik, also called the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, is a real feast for the eye and soul.Located on the coastline of the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is home to numerous historic buildings with stunning sculptural detail, splendid churches, museums set in amazing buildings surrounded with artworks, a surprising café society, and dozens of luxury resorts that have turned the city into an elite holiday destination with first-class service and remarkable hospitality.

Climate

Dubrovnik has a humid, sub-tropical climate, with hot and dry summers and mild, wet winters. Although summer is usually characterised by thunderstorm conditions, the best time to visit Dubrovnik is from May through September.

Things to do and see

Located minutes away from the superb Elaphite, Mliet, and Lokrum islands, Dubrovnik invites tourists to visit its wonders, ranging from virgin landscapes with unique flora and fauna to internationally known churches, monasteries, museums and historic edifices, such as Rector’s Palace and Sponza Palace.

This city also boasts a wide array of superb beaches, public parks and cultural centres offering numerous workshops, exhibitions and concerts. For the most active tourists, Dubrovnik offers vibrant nightlife and a series of day activities, including snorkelling, diving, sailing, and even rock climbing and hiking.

Lodging

Dubrovnik has a wealth of accommodation options, ranging from luxury resorts to budget alternatives. Hotel Excelsior has luxury accommodation, located close to the heart of the Old Town. Villa Dubrovnik, recently renovated to offer modern facilities along with spectacular views over the Old Town and the Adriatic Sea, and Hostel Marker, with private rooms and apartments with kitchenettes, bedrooms, living rooms and private bathrooms, are just a few of the establishments that holidaymakers should try.

Tourists can also find a plethora of restaurants serving Mediterranean and local cuisine, renowned especially for fresh seafood and rakija, a distilled drink made from local fruits.

Transportation

Getting in and around Dubrovnik is quite easy. A regular flight from London to Dubrovnik takes about two and a half hours. Dubrovnik also has a reliable land and sea transportation network, connecting buses with trains and ferries.

DubrovnikPicture: Jon Culver

Travellers guide to Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, the capital city of Finland, is a modern metropolis with its origins in a charming medieval town. Cobblestoned streets with beautiful old buildings and artworks illustrate Helsinki’s exciting history and rich culture.

Climate

Influenced by the Baltic Sea, Helsinki features a humid continental climate that brings long, warm summer days with average temperatures ranging between 19 and 23 degrees Celsius.

Things to do and see

Helsinki hosts many festivals throughout the year, including Lux Helsinki, Vappu and Juhannus. To enrich its cultural landscape, the city also offers a variety of theatrical plays, concerts and film festivals. For nature lovers, Helsinki makes available a few surprises in the form of outdoor activities. Both travellers and locals can go to the beach, visit a local farm, choose a boat trip or try one of the trekking routes surrounding the city.

For the tourist looking for relaxation, the city has a few spas with body treatments, saunas and Jacuzzis. Families with children can opt for a great day out at one of the amusement parks. In addition, the city hosts a number of restaurants and bars that will make tourists feel at home.

Lodging

Although quite expensive, accommodation is of a high standard. Several budget hotels are CheapSleep Helsinki, Eurohostel and Summer Hostel Karavaani. Travellers who can afford luxury accommodation are able to find a variety of options, including Radisson Blu Royal, Hotel Haven and Crowne Plaza.

Transportation

The public transportation system, including taxis, trams, buses, metros, trains and ferries, covers all areas of Helsinki. A tourist choosing a direct flight from London can reach this beautiful city within three hours.

HelsinkiPicture: Tuija Aalto

Adults only in all-inclusive luxury

Adult only holidays are relatively recent phenomena. More and more people are seizing the opportunity to enjoy a childfree getaway and meet like-minded adults for a relaxing break. There is the added benefit for those without children who are now able to take a relaxing holiday without a plethora of little ones running around.

Adult exclusive trips tend to be the epitome of sophistication and luxury and the hotels are handpicked by specialist tour operators who are experts in the field. The level of accommodation offered is usually 5 and sometimes 6 or 7 star – the best to be found anywhere. Couples and groups are able to enjoy a relaxing lounge poolside without the noise of excitable children; they can also experience a quiet, romantic meal; a rare treat far from the stressful daily teatime routine at home.

An abundance of adult only activities will be on offer; think scuba diving and boat trips, while the in-house spas will be the order of the holiday, ready to offer deep tissue massages, cleansing facial treatments and a bubble-filled Jacuzzi in which to sip champagne. On adult only holidays it is usual for the hotels to have their own private beaches and rooms with sea view balconies. The accommodation tends to be contemporary in style with a refined décor; the service will be of world-class standard.

Whatever your reason for choosing an adult only getaway, be it a break from the kids or a chance to make new friends, the stylish retreats typical of these holidays are sure to provide the perfect setting.

couple beachPicture: Wicked Cool