Car hire chaos predicted this summer

Do you have a UK driving licence? Are intending to hire a car on holiday? If so, there’s an important change from early next month that you need to be aware of.

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Keeping connected abroad without paying a fortune

Most of us now carry a smartphone and many travellers have realised it is much lighter to carry a bundle of books on holiday in an iPad or e-reader.

Communications
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Set your calendar back 40 years

The old joke is that, when you land in Aukland, the cabin crew announce: “Welcome to Auckland. Please turn your watches forward 13 hours and your calendar back 40 years”.

Milford Sound, New Zealand Read More...
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Are you sitting comfortably?

When faced with a long-haul flight getting the right seat arrangement can make a huge difference to your enjoyment of the flight.
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US Government shut down

We can count ourselves lucky. We had just completed a road trip in California and were on our last day in San Francisco when we first came across a “closed” sign as a result of the US Government shutdown.

US government shutdown Read More...
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Searching for flights? Empty your browser history

Searching for flights online? One recent tip I read is that you should empty your browser history.

searching for flights Read More...
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The ultimate US road trip

It was really Route 66 that made the American road trip possible. This is the route that gave life to the West by opening it up to the automobile and the truck - hence it is often known as 'The Mother Road'. As one who enjoys road trips in the United States, this was the ultimate - the road trip we really had to do.

Santa Monica Read More...
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The teeming plains of Kenya

No matter how often you have seen big game in a zoo, nothing comes anywhere close to an eyeball-eye-ball encounter with a cheetah, lion or leopard in its natural environment.

Masai Mara Cheetah Read More...
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Dining differences in the USA

I am currently in the USA and having to remember my US etiquette. There are a number of things that are different on this side of the atlantic that can surprise a British diner.

cutlery Read More...
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California here we come!

California is a land of amazing contrasts, great experiences and wonderful landscapes. How best do you get a flavour in ten days or a fortnight? I still think the route I took, on my first recent visit to California, takes some beating.

cablecar Read More...
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Brussels has hidden charm

Brussels - the European capital. Centre of the European Union. Home of NATO. With that background it is no surprise that much of Brussels consists of rather soulless high-rise office buildings. But there are hidden charms to reward those who explore a bit further.

Grand Place Read More...
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Istanbul - where east meets west

Istanbul is one of the world's great cities with a population of more than 11 million. It also has an amazingly diverse society, thanks to its role as centre of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires and a city, quite literally like Turkey as a whole, straddling Europe and Asia. That makes it a fascinating destination for visitors.

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Capri - the enchanting Italian island

The island of Capri has been drawing visitors across the Bay of Naples since the 19th century and before. But, the tiny Italian island's stylish image was really boosted in he 20th century when it became a Mecca for the famous stars from the silver screen.

Capri Marina Grande Read More...
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Easing security checks

The suggestions from British Airways chairman Martin Broughton, that some security check requirements at airports should be eased, is appealing. Appealing, that is, as long as we can be sure that safety and security is not compromised.

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Whale watching

On previous trips to California we have seen whales from a distance. One time we watched them out at sea, with the occasional spout, sometimes a fin and occasionally a tail fluke. Later, from Point Lobos, we had a closer view of a whale in Monterey Bay, including the elusive tail fluke.

Blue Whale fluke Read More...
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Don't forget photo ID if you head Stateside

f, like me, you still have an old-style UK driving licence without a photo, you may want to pay the Chancellor the necessary to upgrade to a photo licence if you are planning a trip to the USA.

Credit Card Read More...
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Reclaiming Amsterdam as a destination

In recent years Amsterdam has really been simply our preferred European airport for international connections. So we found ourselves, for the first time in nine years, planning a trip to Amsterdam as a destination.

Amsterdam Read More...
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America, the land of the free… or cheap?

In the UK one of the standard topics of conversation among travellers is how much money they saved holidaying in the USA. Well, judging by our recent trip, these days are over.

Liberty and Manhatten Read More...
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Pump iron before visiting LAX

Visitors to Los Angeles Airport (LAX) would do well to make sure they are in peak fitness before they get there.

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Pompeii - where time has stood still

It is hard to get your brain round the fact that the wall decoration that you are looking is almost 2,000 years old. In one of the rooms it is almost Art Deco in style.

Pompeii Read More...
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Transcontinental marathon

I was reminded recently of an interesting dilemma from a few years back. I was sitting with a colleague in Pisa airport after a press launch waiting for our flight to the UK to be called. It was mid afternoon and I was really tired. The thought of returning home to a good night’s sleep was extremely appealing.

Mercedes-Benz E Class Read More...
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The road to the isles

There is something really enchanting about the Isle of Harris, in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. This really is a place to get away from it all.

Sunset over Pabbay Read More...
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Why is internet a costly extra in Europe

Access to the internet is rapidly becoming a necessity, not a luxury. Especially for travellers it is so handy for making forward bookings, checking in for flights, booking cars, finding restaurants and getting opinions on things to do and places to see on the next day's itinerary.
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Sydney impresses as a destination and a place to live

It was a weird sensation to have left on Sunday night, to have journeyed overnight and to arrive at Sydney on Tuesday morning.

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Blackpool? No, Dublin!

Blackpool? As the guide on the open top bus confirmed, that is what Dublin means in Gaelic - black pool. But, unlike its namesake on the other side of the Irish Sea, Dublin has a very cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Ha'penny Bridge
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Zermatt and the Matterhorn

On a clear day, Zermatt is all about the Matterhorn. But, on the day we arrived in this famously car-free town , where enclosed golf buggy taxis hum around the streets, the Matterhorn was teasing. It's head was stubbornly stuck in the clouds. We joked about our "room with Matterhorn view", but still it was not to be seen.

Matterhorn from Gornergrat Read More...
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Switzerland - mountains, lakes and forests

Somehow European excursions seem to have skirted Switzerland. Apart from a few days in the exhibition hall in Geneva, Switzerland had not been a holiday destination since I was taken there in childhood with my parents. We were long overdue a visit!

Swiss shutters Read More...
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Interlaken gateway to the Jungfrau region

Walk around the main street in Interlaken and there are a couple of impressions that you will probably immediately grasp. Firstly, there are the grand hotels that indicate how long Interlaken has been catering for tourists. Their names suggest that much of that traffic, at least last century, was from Britain.

hangglider Interlaken Read More...
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Rocamadour - the village that clings to a cliff

I've always had a fascination for buildings that are built into, or cling to cliffs. I don't know why. But, as a kid I would pick up National Geographic and look with particular wonder at the cliff houses of Mesa Verde, or the buildings carved into rock at Petra.

Rocamadour1 Read More...
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Uluru has a special magic

Before you go there you realise, of course, that Ayers Rock and Uluru (the aboriginal name for the rock itself) is in the middle of a vast continent. But it is on the flight from Sydney that you really begin to realise how vast the outback is.

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Nairobi- Kenya's bustling capital

Nairobi is East Africa's most populous city with an estimated population in the metropolitan area of between three and four million. Largely an uninhabited swamp until the end of the 19th Century, it became a supply depot for the railway then in 1905 it took on the status of capital city. It is said that Nairobi was chosen because, at 5,500 feet, the temperatures were too low for the malaria mosquito to survive (although current advice is you must take anti-malarial treatments).


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Venice - where the taxis go by water

The idea for Venice arose because we were looking for somewhere to spend a long weekend that would be truly memorable and different. Somewhere were we would not be tempted to try to cram too much into our time. Most importantly, somewhere to relax.

Venice Gonolier Read More...
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Spring break in Prague

Having been in Prague on a business trip some years before, I knew it was a place I wanted to return to. I didn't think too carefully about the time of year to visit and it was only as we saw the fields carpeted in snow as the plane came into land, that I realised March can still be quite cold in Central Europe!

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