Helpful Travel Tips To Book A Hotel
Whether you're travelling alone or with your family in tow you're often in unfamiliar territory. Be a smart traveler and study up on some of your destination's norms and conventions. A bit of working local education will go a long way to make your journey more safe and enjoyable. You may even avoid personal embarrassment or humiliation. Or worse yet, if you don't know the local or regional customs you could insult someone unintentionally and not even realize what you have done or why you are being treated poorly by your hosts. We've scrubbed the web for the best and most helpful travel tips and ideas and assembled them with a smattering of our own to help you make the most of your holiday or vacation away from home!
Tips on Tipping
Who do you tip? When? How much?
The practice of tipping is meant as a form of thank-you for services rendered, or beforehand as a subtle bribe for special treatment.
Tipping in Macau need not be considered mandatory or automatic. Too often, tips are taken for granted or expected regardless of the quality of service. Tipping should be done at your discretion and as a reward for good or superlative service.
Below are some tipping suggestions for travelers. At nearly every step of the traveling process, there are professionals waiting to "lighten your load" or provide assistance. So remember to carry a lot of change and small bills for tips.
Taxi/Limo Drivers: A $2 to $3 tip is usually satisfactory; more if he helps you with your bags and/or takes special steps to get you to your destination on time.
Porters: A standard tip for airport and train porters is $1 per bag; more if your luggage is very heavy.
Hotel Bellman: Again, $1 per bag is standard. Tip when he shows you to your room and again if he assists you upon checkout. Tip more if he provides any additional service. Note: A $5 tip upon arrival can usually guarantee you special attention should you require it.
Doorman: Typically, a $1 tip for hailing a taxi is appropriate. However, you may want to tip more for special service, such as carrying your bags or shielding you with an umbrella.
Concierge: Tip for special services such as making restaurant or theater reservations, arranging sightseeing tours, etc. The amount of the tip is generally dependent on the type and complexity of service(s) provided-$2 to $10 is a standard range. You may elect to tip for each service, or in one sum upon departure. If you want to ensure special treatment from the concierge, you might consider a $10-$20 tip upon arrival.
Hotel Maid: Maids are often forgotten about when it comes to tipping because they typically do their work when you are not around. For stays of more than one night, $1 per night is standard. The tip should be left in the hotel room in a marked envelope.
Parking Attendants: Tip $1 to $2 when your car is delivered. Waiters: 15-20% of your pre-tax check is considered standard. The same applies for room service waiters. Some restaurants will automatically add a 15% gratuity to your bill, especially for large parties-look for it before tipping. If the 15% is added, you need only tip up to another 5% for superlative service.
Cloakroom Attendants: If there is a charge for the service, a tip is not necessary. However, if there is no charge, or extra care is taken with your coat and/or bags, a $1 to $2 tip is appropriate.
Tour Guides/Charter Bus Drivers: If a tip is not automatically included, tip $1 for a half-day tour, $2 for full-day tour, and anywhere from $5 to $10 for a week-long tour. Tip a private guide more.
These are some of the people you are most likely to encounter while traveling in the U.S. Undoubtedly there will be others. If there is one standard rule in tipping it is this: If someone renders special service to you along the way, show your appreciation with a tip.
You Don't Get Something for Nothing
Beware of travel companies that misrepresent information about the bookings and transportation costs. For example, a company that offers an unbelievably low airfare may make up the loss in another way such as overpriced hotel accomodations. In most cases, one should assume that "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
Don't be taken by solicitations by postcard, letter, or phone claiming you've won a free trip or can get discounts on hotels and airfares. These offers usually don't disclose the hidden fees involved, for example, deposits, surcharges, excessive handling fees or taxes.
Some travel scams require you to purchase a product to get a trip that is "free" or "two-for-one." You'll end up paying for the "free trip" or more for the product than the trip is worth, and the two-for-one deal might be more expensive than if you had arranged a trip yourself by watching airfare deals.
Be wary of travel offers which ask you to redeem vouchers or certificates from out-of-state companies. Their offers are usually valid only for a limited time and on a space-available basis. The hotels are often budget rooms and very uncomfortable. The company charges you for the trip in advance, but will the company still be in business when you're ready to take the trip?
Check the reputation of any travel service you use, especially travel clubs offering discounts on their services in exchange for an annual fee. Contact your state or local consumer protection agency or the Better Business Bureau.
Request copies of a travel club's or agent's brochures and contracts before purchasing your ticket. Don't rely on oral promises. Find out about cancellation policies and never sign contracts that have blank or incomplete spaces.
Never give out your credit card number to a club or company with which you're unfamiliar or which requires you to call 900 numbers for information.
Don't feel pressured by requests for an immediate decision or a statement that the offer is only good "if you act now." Don't deal with companies that request payment in advance or that don't have escrow accounts where your deposit is held.
Research cut-rate offers, especially when dealing with travel consolidators who might not be able to provide your tickets until close to your departure date.
You can protect yourself by using a credit card to purchase travel services. If you don't get what you paid for, contact the credit card issuer and you might be able to get the charges reversed. Be aware that you have 60 days to dispute a charge.
When going away, make sure you cancel all newspapers, pay bills before you go, and get someone to look after your house - give them the spare key, and ask them to clear your mail. Also, if possible, park a car in your driveway if you are taking your car with you.
When taking a purse or wallet, only take two credit cards and Driver's ID and only necessary business cards. Leave ALL other credit cards at home and always write down the credit card numbers you're taking with you and place them elsewhere in your luggage in case your purse or wallet is stolen. Also write down important phone numbers of people to contact in case of any emergency (doctor, dentist, pharmacist, credit card companies, etc.) and put them elsewhere in your luggage. They can be a life saver!
If you're going to a popular tourist attraction, buy your film at home!
If you take trips that require any special wardrobe or equipment, keep it all in a duffle bag so that when the time comes, it is already packed and ready to go. For example, I have a ski bag that includes ski sweaters, hat & gloves, ski socks, thermals, goggles, etc. It saves a lot of mornings of buying equipment at the mountain at inflated prices.
Several days before leaving, make up a checklist of everything you need to take. Start with morning things (medications, shower necessities, etc.) and mentally go through and write down everything you will need for a day. Don't forget things like a clock, camera, laundry soap, etc. You can keep this list on your computer and pull it up whenever you need it.
Always carry lots of quarters and dimes. A used film canister works very well. You never know when you will need to catch the bus or train or make a pay phone phonecall.
Make sure your will and personal papers are all in order. If something were to happen to you while traveling, it's good for your family and heirs to know where your will is, where your insurance papers are kept, where the safe deposit box keys are, etc.
Eat yogurt two weeks before you leave - this builds up a "friendly" bacteria in your system and you can then tolerate more things. Drink bottled water and no ice. (Better hotels have their own ice making that uses purified water). In third world countries only eat cooked food or fruit that can be peeled (bananas or oranges) - raw food (salads, etc.) may not have been cleaned properly.
Create a list of all your travellers' check numbers. Keep this entirely separate from the actual documents so that if they are lost/stolen you will have immediate reference to the correct information.
Always carry wet naps in your bags, and tissue paper.
Have a photocopy made of your passport ID page and airline tickets before you embark on your trip.
Bring lots of single dollar bills for tips during endless airport transfers, hotels, and courtesy busses.
Before leaving home photocopy all your credit cards, ID, and travel documents and leave a copy with your housesitter or someone reliable.
What to Do When the Airlines Lose Something You Need
What to Do When the Airlines Lose Something You Need Right Away Although airlines handle millions of suitcases every day without a mishap, the system isn't without its faults. Although the chances of having your bags misdirected or lost are small, if you travel a lot for business, sooner or later you may have to deal with this irksome situation.
So what do you do when you've got an important presentation in the morning and your luggage never made it to the baggage carousel? For starters, don't panic. Most luggage is only delayed, not lost permanently. File a missing-luggage form--even if the airline agent insists that your bags will turn up on the next flight. Don't leave without a copy of the report and the toll-free airline telephone number to their claims department.
Ask about the airline's immediate reimbursement policy. Airlines usually have leisure travelers buy a new wardrobe at their own expense and then file for reimbursement. This process can take weeks or months. However, if you need to make a major purchase immediately, the airline may advance you some cash. For example, if you arrive at night, and the suitcase containing the $500 suit you planned to wear the next day for an important presentation doesn't show up, the airline may give you money to replace it in time for your meeting.
If your bag is missing or significantly delayed, you'll probably need to buy more than just a suit. Many airlines offer a daily stipend in the neighborhood of $25-$50 to buy things like toiletries. The airline may also have toiletry kits to give out--be sure to ask, because not all airline officials will be forthcoming about freebies.
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to lessen the chances your valuables will be lost is to carry them with you. Although many airlines are tightening carry-on restrictions, many airlines will still allow business passengers to carry two items, especially if they do not check any other bags.
If you do check baggage, be sure to check in as early as possible to make sure both you and your luggage make the flight. Try to schedule a reasonable amount of time--at least 45 minutes --between connecting flights.
Consider buying additional insurance--without it, airlines are only liable for the first $1,250 worth of lost items on domestic flights (and even less internationally). Additional coverage typically costs $1 for every $100 in value declared over $1,250.
Traveling With a Laptop
These days, being a business traveler means lugging around a lot of expensive equipment, including cell phones, electronic datebooks, laptop computers, and more. Here's a few suggestions on how to keep one of your most valuable business-related items safe and secure.
To help keep thieves at bay, it's always smart to keep your laptop in a case that doesn't immediately identify it as a computer. The same advice holds true for cameras, VCRs, and other expensive equipment you might take on your business travels.
When entering a metal detector at the airport, do not put your laptop on the conveyor belt to be x-rayed. Rather, ask the security guard to conduct a manual search of the computer and any other electronic equipment you may have with you.
Once on the airplane, keep your laptop nearby. Don't store computers in overhead bins because they can get thrown around during the flight. So when you're not furiously typing away on a business proposal--or playing solitaire--keep your computer underneath the seat in front of you.
Once on the airplane, keep your laptop nearby. Don't store computers in overhead bins because they can get thrown around during the flight. So when you're not furiously typing away on a business proposal--or playing solitaire--keep your computer underneath the seat in front of you.
Always travel with extra batteries and call the hotel ahead of time to make sure it has modems and data ports available in guest rooms or in the hotel business center. Also, if you plan on doing a lot of work in your room, pack an extension cord so you can use the laptop from your preferred spot, regardless of where the outlet is located. In a pinch, move the furniture to suit your needs.
Keep in mind that outside of North America, you may encounter phone jacks that are incompatible with your modem. Be sure to check out what kinds of adapters you may need before you go.
More Gift-Giving Dos and Taboos
Gift giving, hard enough in a familiar culture, can be daunting when traveling on business. Keep in mind that in many cultures, a lavish gift will embarrass the recipient. Also remember that in the United States, the Internal Revenue Service will not allow you to deduct more than $25 per gift as a business expense.
It is also important to consider the local culture, as Americans are notorious for accidentally offending foreign hosts. The following tips should help you get your business relationships off on the right foot while traveling overseas.
To the Chinese, clocks symbolize the passage of time, and, by extension, death. As Chinese gift giving etiquette, then, timepieces are sometimes seen as a morbid gift.
Because the Chinese language is difficult to type, the Chinese often write by hand, and pens make a welcome gift. As in Japan, two is a lucky number, and gifts should be presented with both hands.
In many Asian countries, white is the color of mourning, and gifts in this color should be avoided. Red and yellow are considered to be auspicious colors.
While a bottle of wine would be a welcome gift in many countries, such a gift should be avoided in Muslim countries, which have strict religious prohibitions against alcohol.
Crystal, linen, and leather goods are all appreciated in Arab countries--just make sure the leather isn't pigskin!
Another thing to keep in mind in Muslim countries is that gifts should be presented with the right hand only--the left is considered unclean.
If you are invited to someone's home, flowers for the host (followed by a thank-you note the next day) are usually appreciated the world over.
However, in much of Europe, chrysanthemums are associated with funerals, and red flowers have a strong romantic connotation. These should both be avoided. In Austria and Germany, even numbers of flowers are considered unlucky, as is the number 13. (It might be safer to offer candy instead!)
Using Hotel Telecommunications Facilities
While most hotels appreciate their professional guests, not all of them make it easy or inexpensive to telecommute from their rooms. The following tips can help save you money--and keep your blood pressure down--when using phone and data lines away from home.
If your hotel has a dedicated business floor, make every effort to stay there as these rooms are set up with the business traveler in mind. These rooms are more likely to offer dual telephone/modem lines, fax machines, and free local calling than other rooms. You are also less likely to have punk rockers or screaming children for neighbors.
Hotels often charge guests high service fees for making long-distance calls from their rooms. However, in the United States, hotels are required to provide a connection to any long-distance company's access number for the same charge as a local call. So use your calling card and save money by placing your calls through your own long-distance carrier. Or, just go downstairs and use a lobby pay phone.
Hotels usually charge hefty fees to use their fax machine. If you need to send or receive a fax and it's impossible to do so from your room, a cheaper option might be to use one at a nearby store or business center.
Remember that many parts of the world--including most of Europe--use a different voltage system. This means that you'll need adapters for anything you plan to plug into the wall, including your laptop. Also, some European countries (notably Germany and Austria) have noise on their telecommunications lines called "tax."
This noise, used to monitor rates of usage, can be very disruptive to modem communications. Consider buying a filter.
Tips to Maximize Your Frequent-Flyer Rewards
Most airlines offer some sort of reward program to their frequent flyers.
Some programs reward travelers based on the number of flights taken in a 12-month period while others reward frequent flyers based on the number of miles traveled. Frequent work-related travel can really pay off with free flight coupons, pre-boarding privileges, and upgrades. These benefits become yours to use as you please, whether you use your frequent-flyer miles to visit the Italian Riviera or the in-laws.
Here are some tips that will help you maximize your frequent-flyer benefits:
Focus on one frequent-flyer program If you are not already a member of a frequent-flyer program, there's no time like the present to sign up.
If you belong to one or more programs, try to concentrate on one. Focusing your energy into one program will yield considerably greater perks than accumulating miles all over the place. While new services are popping up to consolidate and trade miles, it is still faster, easier, and simpler to choose one program and milk it for all it's worth.
Collect miles aggressively. Read your frequent-flyer program's newsletters, sign up for the airline's newsletters, and check the Web sites of both the program and airline for special offers. You can also collect extra miles through your frequent-flyer program's partners. Car-rental agencies, hotels, long-distance companies, and other retail operations are often eager to help you accumulate more miles--as long as you are willing to try their products and services. Use these specials to your advantage--but before signing up for a special offer, make sure the benefits outweigh the costs.
Get a credit card linked to your program. Earn miles for the credit-card purchases you're making anyway! Find out if your frequent-flyer program offers a credit card that gives you free miles for the dollar amounts you charge. Many of these cards have annual fees, but the fees pay for themselves if you use the card strategically.
If you have yet to join a frequent-flyer program, be sure to check out the fees and benefits of each card and the program it is linked to. Since credit cards are offered through various banks and have different interest rates, annual fees, and mileage accrual programs, choose and use the card wisely.
Keep track of your miles. Upgrades, flight coupons, and elite status depend on your mileage accrual throughout a 12-month period. Make it a personal goal to stay on top of programs and special offers run by your frequent-flyer program and its affiliates. Many programs offer e-statements, which can be accessed through the Internet, making your account available to you wherever you are.
Whether you use electronic statements or good old-fashioned paper ones, be sure to save your receipts and statements and check them against your own records. Keep track of your mileage and contact your program if there are any discrepancies. Monitor expiration dates. Be sure to use your miles before they expire. If they are close to expiring, plan that trip! Changing the dates will cost a nominal fee, but it's better than losing the free flight.
Also, if you are within a few thousand miles of reaching elite status towards the end of the year, it may be to your advantage to take an extra trip just to rack up a few more miles. Special
boarding privileges and free upgrades are granted to elite, premier, and platinum members.
Claim your rewards. To avoid losing your hard-flown miles, check your mileage statement and try to redeem your miles for travel awards before they expire. Remember, travel awards are not the same thing as tickets. You usually have a year to turn in your travel awards for a ticket to a specific destination. Save your frequent-flyer numbers .
Remember to enter your frequent-flyer numbers into your Travelocity travel profile along with your other travel preferences. Your account number will automatically be sent to the airline whenever you purchase a ticket.
When you fly, double-check that your frequent-flyer account number appears on your boarding passes so that your mileage will be credited to your account promptly.
One last note about mileage: Don't ever try to buy or sell frequent-flyer miles. If you're caught, you could have all the miles in your account revoked--even legitimate ones.
Staying on top of your program and your mileage will pay off, especially if you travel frequently for business. Elite, premier, or platinum status awaits--as do those coveted flight coupons.
So, get out there and rack 'em up!
Staying Sane While Traveling
Sooner or later, just about every frequent traveler begins to tire of life on the road. No matter how adventurous your spirit, loneliness, airplane food, and general disorientation have probably made you a little blue on at least one occasion. While this is normal, the stress of being away from home doesn't have to overwhelm you. The following tips can help you stay happier and healthier on your next business trip.
Paying attention to your diet--whether you have a tendency to overeat or skip meals while traveling, can make you feel a lot healthier and happier. One healthy hint is to call ahead and order the vegetarian or low-fat meal on the plane, even if you're a meat-eater.
These meals are often healthier (and tastier) than the standard meals. If the hustle and bustle of air travel gets you down, try stopping in at the airport chapel. You don't need to claim any religious affiliation, and you may find the quiet, reflective atmosphere soothing.
Remember that attitude is everything. When you're alone in your hotel room, you may find yourself missing loved ones at home. If this happens, try to make the best of the fact that you're alone: Read a novel, take a long bath, indulge your secret love of Gilligan's Island reruns.
Do any of those things you never seem to find the time for when you're at home. Make your hotel room as homey as possible. Stave off homesickness by bringing along photos, candles, or mementos of home.
One of the best ways to combat stress is to make sure you get enough sleep. This can be hard on the road, especially if you have crossed time zones.Bring earplugs and eye shades. Go easy on the caffeine. Alcohol, too, can disrupt sleep patterns and should be consumed moderately, if at all. Some travelers report that the hormone melatonin helps them sleep better. Exercise can also combat stress.
Many hotels either have their own exercise rooms, or can provide a temporary membership to a nearby health club. Be sure to ask if your hotel has any such arrangement.
Treat your business trip as much like a vacation as possible. Make time for something you would normally save for pleasure travel, like a fancy dinner, or an afternoon at a museum. Or treat yourself to a night in your hotel's best room. Even if you have to pay for it out of your own pocket, treating yourself like a king or queen for a night might just give you the lift you need to get through another night away from home.
Making the Most of Your Time in the Airport
With flight delays rippling across the nation, many business travelers themselves find stranded in airports with work that needs to get done. For every minute a flight is delayed, the pile of work left waiting back at the office can seem to grow commensurately.
Surprisingly, in the midst of all the airport hustle and bustle are several convenient possibilities for those who need to engage in business-related activities.
Here are some tips on how to take advantage of airport services to get your work done in the most efficient manner:
If you're tired of trying to plug your laptop into a public payphone, look for one of the many Aerzone Business Centers that are popping up in airports all over the world. Formerly known as Laptop Lane, these centers contain virtually everything a business traveler needs to work in a quick, efficient, and productive manner.
Here, you can check your e-mail, send a fax, make a phone call, and much more. Features include T-1 Internet connections, faxes, phones, copiers, printers, and support staff.
Some even have meeting rooms available and facilities for Web conferencing. You pay a fee for the use of the office (usually $5 for the first minute and $0.65 for each additional minute), so it helps to be organized.
All calls in the U.S. are free.
Similar to the Aerzone Centers, but with extra amenities like cozy couches and tempting treats, most airlines have special members-only clubs or lounges in the airport. Serving as comfortable oases in the midst of busy terminals, most come with fax, phone, power outlets, and other tools you need to get the job done.
As an added reward, most have complimentary snacks, sodas, and juice. Some also have fully stocked bars, conference rooms, and meeting facilities.
Perks like these often come with a price, or are awarded to travelers who log a certain number of miles per year with a particular airline. Check with your airline to see if you qualify for any of the programs they have in place.
Restaurants and bars can provide a more relaxed setting to work in--as long as the Super Bowl isn't showing on the big-screen television. If you're in a time crunch, you get the added bonus of taking care of your appetite and your work at the same time. If you want to check your investments, some airport restaurants and bars have televisions that display stock-ticker symbols across the bottom of the screen.
You might also be able to use this time to make important business contacts with other stranded travelers.
Although the bar may look tempting, you may want to avoid alcoholic beverages as they will make you both dehydrated and lethargic.
Specialty stores and boutiques are increasingly setting up shop in airports both large and small. Since you are already stranded in the airport, they can provide a good venue for you to buy a gift for a business associate or client.
Your family back home might appreciate a gift or souvenir as a momento of your trip as well. Since there is nothing you can do about flight delays, another option is to take advantage of this time to relax.
Allowing yourself a few stress-free moments can actually help increase your productivity later on. Read the paper, do the crossword puzzle, take a nap, or just settle in with a good book.
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Sri Lanka has some of Asia's loveliest, most surf-able beaches – and plenty of affordable places to stay. Here are 10 of the best hotels and guesthouses, starting at just £5 a nightThis simple collection of rooms has been around for almost 25 years, and the atmosphere is pure surfer-casual –...
Bologna city guide: what to see plus the best bars, restaurants and hotelsSaturday the 21st, 2017
The opening of a foodie theme park will further elevate Bologna’s reputation as Italy’s culinary capital but the city has plenty more to offer, including superb art, music and medieval architectureEurope’s oldest university town (it was founded in 1088) has been a haven for intellectuals...
Bilbao city guide: what to see plus the best restaurants, bars and hotelsSaturday the 30th, 2017
In the 20 years since the Guggenheim opened, the Basque port city has not looked back – the museum acting as a magnet for great art and architecture as well as buzzing nightlife and restaurantsThis year sees Bilbao celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Guggenheim museum, an institution that...
Denver city guide: what to see and do plus the best restaurants, bars and hotelsSaturday the 16th, 2017
The Mile High City gets a little closer with new direct UK flights giving visitors the chance to soak up a wild west boom town with a roaring food and nightlife scene‘Gold!” went the cry in the summer of 1858 after a party of prospectors rolled into what is now Denver’s Confluence Park and...
Holiday guide to Somme, France: what to see plus the best restaurants, bars and hotelsSunday the 10th, 2017
The area of northern France known for battlefields and memorials also has pretty landscapes, unspoilt beaches and some of the country’s best cuisine – all just a short hop from the UKThis bucolic region of northern France is forever associated with memorials of the first world war, but it has...
Portugal’s top 10 hidden beachesSaturday the 2nd, 2017
Catch some late summer sun on Portugal’s stunning coast. The author of the new Wild Guide to the country, picks 10 beaches for adventure and solitude Continue reading...
Galicia coast holiday guide: the best beaches, bars, restaurants and hotelsSaturday the 19th, 2017
White sandy beaches, epic Atlantic scenery and supreme seafood combine to great effect on Spain’s most beautiful coastlineLush green valleys and rugged mountains, sheer cliffs and wild, frothing, slate-grey seas. Bagpipes, baroque cathedrals and the smell of grilled seafood. The architectural...
Lisbon city guide: what to see plus the best bars, restaurants and hotelsSaturday the 8th, 2017
Portugal’s capital is bursting with culture and great places to eat, stay and party – and it’s the cheapest city break destination in western EuropeAssemble a city-break destination from a wishlist of components and you get Lisbon: a wide glittering river, limpid skies, steep cobbled...
Toulouse city guide: what to see plus the best bars, restaurants and hotelsSaturday the 1st, 2017
In France’s sunny ‘pink city’, ancient palaces show world-class art and crowds sip pastis and eat cassoulet and top-notch tapas at lively food markets Ask French people where they would prefer to live and one answer that keeps coming up is Toulouse. Some 10,000 people settle here each year,...
East Sicily: what to see plus the best bars, beaches, restaurants and hotelsSaturday the 24th, 2017
With baroque palaces, fine beaches and Mount Etna, the Ionian coast is home to most of the island’s crown jewels – underpinned by glorious local food and drinkLight reflecting off churches and palaces, views of craggy mountains and blue sea, smells of orange blossom, oregano and mint …...
Portland city guide: what to see plus the best hotels, bars and restaurantsSaturday the 27th, 2017
It’s famous, derided even, for hipster coffee and craft beer, but there’s so much more to one of America’s coolest cities – and there are new direct flights from London, tooAll hail Portland! The Pacific Northwest trail-blazer is a vibrant hub that celebrates the four cool “Cs” of...
Goa, India’s little sunshine state: travel photo of the weekThursday the 23rd, 2017
Vivid, vibrant Panjim market in Goa caught the eye of photographer Annapurna Mellor on her first trip to the state Continue reading...
It's a husky's life, Finnish Lapland: travel photo of the weekFriday the 17th, 2017
Photographer Brice Portolano specialises in capturing lives lived close to nature in remote spots. His Arctic series looks at the life of a husky sledder who lives in a cabin in northern Finland Continue reading...
Cafe culture in Buenos Aires – in picturesWednesday the 15th, 2017
In our weekly look at people’s travel through three of their Instagram shots, Vicky Martínez beautifully captures the timeless atmosphere of the Argentinian capital’s cafe scene Continue reading...
Let there be light, Chiang Mai, Thailand: travel photo of the weekThursday the 9th, 2017
Thousands of people gather in Chiang Mai to release lanterns into the night sky at the Yee Peng festival of lights Continue reading...
Petals, pilgrims and passengers: a snapshot of India – in picturesWednesday the 8th, 2017
In our weekly look at people’s travels through three of their Instagram shots, Damon Beckford captures revealing images from India Continue reading...
Instagram snapshots: Isabel Choat at the Lego House, Billund, DenmarkThursday the 2nd, 2017
In our weekly look at people’s travels through three of their Instagram shots, Isabel Choat is wowed by the wonders of the new Lego House in the hometown of the brick Continue reading...
Readers' travel photography competition: October – the winnersTuesday the 31st, 2017
This is the best crop of images so far this year according to our judge, who could have chosen three winners this month. Scroll down to see who receives a £200 holiday voucher from Exodus Travels. The overall 2017 winner will go on a 16-night wildlife holiday for two to Costa Rica with...
São Tomé and Príncipe – in picturesSaturday the 28th, 2017
Príncipe is a photographer’s paradise, as well as a tropical one. Kevin Rushby snapped birds, landscapes and a blind snake to accompany his story on the island Continue reading...
Farewell to the King, Bangkok: travel photo of the weekThursday the 26th, 2017
Thai artists rehearse the Khon dance – a traditional Thai drama – in preparation for performing it at the cremation ceremony of their late king, Bhumibol Adulyadej Continue reading...
The Pilgrm, Paddington, London: hotel reviewFriday the 17th, 2017
Space may be at a premium in this new hotel, but beautiful reclaimed fixtures and tempting food more than make up for the lack of elbow roomNo, that’s not a typo. It really is called the Pilgrm, and that missing second “i” is not all that’s been dropped from this new hotel near Paddington...
The Masons Arms, Louth, Lincolnshire: hotel reviewFriday the 10th, 2017
This 18th-century pub, in one of Britain’s favourite market towns, has been spruced up – all modern angles and bold statements. But a few rough edges remainThere is a lot to like about the Masons Arms in historic Louth. The handsome, 1775 coaching inn had dwindled into a rather shabby pub –...
Developers fight on to make famed Edinburgh neoclassical building into luxury hotelThursday the 9th, 2017
Urbanist Hotels’ latest appeal against its rejected plans for Old Royal High School reopens battle with group wanting site for St Mary’s Music SchoolA battle over one of Edinburgh’s most famous neoclassical buildings, the Old Royal High School, has intensified after a hotel consortium...
Treasure Beach, Jamaica: life beyond JakesSaturday the 4th, 2017
Jamaica’s coolest hotel was once the only stay in the village, but its success has led to Treasure Beach becoming a destination, with new stylish cottages popping up, says Decca AitkenheadTreasure Beach first appeared on the Jamaican tourist map almost 25 years ago, with the opening of a hotel...
New Year getaways: 25 great hotels, pubs and cottagesSaturday the 4th, 2017
There’s still time to book a cosy New Year break in the UK and see in 2018 in style, with our pick of historic hotels, charming pubs and seaside cottages from Cornwall to Loch Lomond Continue reading...
The Chain Locker, Falmouth, Cornwall: hotel reviewFriday the 3rd, 2017
Once the haunt of drunken sailors, this 17th-century inn has been faithfully restored, and makes a great base in one of Cornwall’s liveliest townsWe were welcomed to the Chain Locker by a multitude of warm smiles. Well, that’s how it felt, as we stumbled out of the gales and driving rain...
São Tomé & Príncipe: a travel adventure that's great, green and diverseSaturday the 28th, 2017
A remote, eco-friendly trip reveals a plantation house that’s now a hotel on the smaller of these two islands off the west Africa coast. Hopes are high it will bring jobs and highlight the captivating wildlifeThe island in picturesNelito, the boatman, took one look at the rocks and the swell...
Langland Cove Guesthouse, Mumbles, Swansea: B&B reviewFriday the 27th, 2017
This smart and friendly guesthouse is a great base for getting to know a possible future UK Capital of Culture, before everyone starts descending on itPoor Mumbles. The attractive, pocket-sized town at the southern end of Swansea Bay is so often bypassed in the scramble to get to Three Cliffs...
The best winter light festivals across the UKThursday the 16th, 2017
Switch on the Christmas spirit at one of these illuminated spectacles taking place up and down the country this season Continue reading...
Take the kids … to Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, CheshireTuesday the 24th, 2017
Jodrell Bank is famous for the monumental Lovell telescope – but alongside all the serious science there are plenty of fun activities and hands-on experiments to inspire kidsThe Lovell telescope, centrepiece of the Jodrell Bank Observatory, which has dominated the Cheshire countryside since it...
Wild in Walthamstow: Europe’s biggest urban wetlands opensThursday the 19th, 2017
Few locals know about Walthamstow Wetlands in north London, which opens on Friday. But now they, and nature lovers everywhere, can enjoy this amazing bird reserve for freeFive more of the UK’s best birdwatching sitesWe’re strolling along Songbird Walk, beneath a row of waterside poplars very...
Take the kids to … Woodlands Family Theme Park, Totnes, DevonThursday the 19th, 2017
Play zones and rides – outdoors and in – make this woodland-set Devon attraction a family treat, plus there’s plenty of half-term Halloween activities on the horizon, tooSet in woods (as the name suggests) in the south-west Devon countryside, this is the largest family theme park in the...
Take the kids to … SS Great Britain, BristolWednesday the 18th, 2017
Set in a glass ‘sea’, Brunel’s revolutionary ship is alive with the sights, sounds and even smells of another ageIsambard Kingdom Brunel’s SS Great Britain was called “the greatest experiment since the Creation” when it was launched in 1843. The first iron ship to cross the Atlantic,...
Take the kids to … Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch RailwayTuesday the 17th, 2017
This dream of a narrow-gauge railway and its one-third size trains make for a grand day out packing in great coastal views and fine fish and chips along the wayA 90-year-old narrow (15in) gauge steam and diesel railway stretching 14 miles from Hythe to Dungeness on the Channel coast....
10 of the best-value family ski tripsSunday the 15th, 2017
Winter sports breaks can be seriously expensive during February half-term and the Easter holidays but there are bargains if you know where to lookAction Outdoors is the UK partner of UCPA, a French non-profit group that works to make outdoor sports holidays affordable. Its all-inclusive ski trips...
Take the kids to … the Mary Rose Museum, PortsmouthWednesday the 11th, 2017
The Tudor warship that sank in the Solent in 1545 – and was raised 35 years ago today – is beautifully presented within its revamped setting and comes with fantastic artefacts and hands-on activitiesIn 1545 the Mary Rose, the pride of Henry VIII’s naval fleet, sank in the Solent during a...
Winter town and city breaks: readers’ travel tipsThursday the 16th, 2017
A party vibe, sunshine, snow, shopping … our tipsters look beyond the major capitals to recommend idyllic seasonal breaks from Madeira to Romania. And yes, of course there’ll be glühwein• Write a readers’ travel tip for the chance of winning a £200 hotel voucherEven in the pelting snow,...
Send us a tip on winter sun stays, for the chance to win a £200 hotel voucherWednesday the 15th, 2017
Know an affordable hotel, guesthouse or other hideaway in a perfect winter sun destination? Share your tips belowHave you escaped the grey and wet to hang out in an idyllic cabana in the Caribbean or bungalow in Bali? If so, we’d like to hear about it. It doesn’t have to be on a white sand...
Send us a tip on a European winter city break and win a £200 hotel voucherWednesday the 8th, 2017
Tell us about a city on the continent that does the season particularly well, with great atmosphere, food, drink – or perhaps a healthy dose of winter sunshineIt needn’t require a blizzard or five feet of snow; a great winter city can be mild and sunny too. We want to hear about markets,...
Best overseas breaks at Christmas and new year: readers’ travel tipsThursday the 2nd, 2017
Our tipsters go cold turkey on the traditional British Christmas in search of a lantern festival, exotic wildlife and traditional markets, from Brittany to the Japanese alpsEnter this week’s competition for the chance to win a £200 hotel voucherLast year we spent 25 December in Giraffe Manor,...
Send us a tip on Malaysia for the chance to win a £200 hotel voucherWednesday the 1st, 2017
Know a fantastic beach, wildlife reserve, remote island or a restaurant serving up delicious local dishes in this diverse south-east Asian country?With renowned cuisine, buzzing cities and immense wilderness tracts – not to mention superb beaches and diving areas – Malaysia offers travellers...
Send us a tip on a Christmas or New Year's escape – and win a £200 hotel voucherFriday the 27th, 2017
Allergic to turkey? Can’t be bothered with New Year’s Eve parties? Tell us about a memorable seasonal break you’ve had overseasWhether it was doing nothing (or sipping cocktails) on a tropical beach, a family holiday somewhere special, or a memorable Chrimbo where you joined in with the...
10 of the best wildlife trips around the world: readers’ travel tipsThursday the 26th, 2017
Polar bears, rare wolves, aye-aye and gorillas – our readers share heart-racing encounters with the world’s wild onesGrowing up on a diet of Gerald Durrell books, it was a childhood obsession to see an aye-aye – one of the most unusual and elusive primates on the planet. And so there I was...
10 of the best attractions in Emilia-Romagna: readers’ travel tipsThursday the 19th, 2017
Fast cars, slow food, hilltop castles and open-air art galleries … Our readers pick their highlights of Emilia-Romagna – classic Italy without the crowdsOn a hilltop between Bologna and Imola is Dozza, a handsome village of classic medieval appearance, with an unexpected twist. The entire...
10 of the best Christmas shopping cities in EuropeSaturday the 18th, 2017
Put some sparkle into your festive shopping with our guide to the best boutiques, gift stores and markets in Europe• Plus where to eat, drink and drop after you shop Continue reading...
Five of the best distilleries on the American Whiskey TrailMonday the 20th, 2017
As sales of Kentucky bourbon and Tennessee whiskey have rocketed, so has interest in the terroir of the region, and distilleries – Jack Daniel’s and Wild Turkey included – have opened for toursUS whiskey has experienced dramatic growth over the last decade, propelled by an unslakable thirst...
On the slide in Germany: sledging in the Bavarian AlpsSunday the 12th, 2017
Fancy swooping down snowy Alpine slopes, but not the hassle of ski school and pricey equipment? It’s easy: all you need is a simple sledge. Sarcastic teenage daughter optionalSome human skills are best learned young. Languages, for example, and horse riding, plus of course, sarcasm. But the one...
Vintage stuff: Belgium’s biggest flea marketSunday the 12th, 2017
Tongeren, Belgium’s oldest town founded in the first century AD, is also home to a vast and fascinating flea market. Perfect for a weekend treasure huntI wake on Sunday morning in Tongeren like a kid on Christmas morning, wondering what goodies are waiting for me. This is the oldest town in...
10 of the best restaurants near Venice’s major attractionsMonday the 13th, 2017
Want to avoid a shock lunch bill in Venice? Follow our guide to great value, traditional trattorie and bars close to the city’s biggest tourist drawsVenice is notoriously difficult for finding reasonably priced restaurants serving good food. The cheap eats challenge only increases when you find...
A whale of a time: a Moby-Dick marathon in MassachusettsTuesday the 14th, 2017
Fans gather in a non-stop reading of Herman Melville’s entire masterpiece at an annual winter festival in New Bedford, where the idea for the novel was bornThe world is filled with people who have never read Moby-Dick, or never finished it, or say they have but haven’t, or would sooner be...
Volunteering on St Kilda is all about DIY and clearing ditches. Yay!Friday the 10th, 2017
Volunteer working trips to St Kilda are oversubscribed every summer. After her two-week stint on these wild Atlantic islands, Jay Sivell can fully understand whyWanted: DIY-er with retail skills – or shop assistant handy with paint brush. Fit outdoor types preferred. Must be happy to be...
Singer Imelda May on New Orleans: ‘It has magic and mystery and voodoo’Monday the 13th, 2017
Nola’s people, its doughnuts and po’ boy sandwiches, and above all its music make an intoxicating mix for the Irish singerGo to New Orleans and you get why so many people have written songs about it. There is nowhere else like it. It has magic and mystery and voodoo and it’s colourful in...
Eyes on the prize: on the civil rights trail in Washington DCSunday the 12th, 2017
As America lurches to the right, we check out the cultural heritage sites associated with Martin Luther King and the civil rights movementAt his memorial in Washington DC, the statue of Martin Luther King is half finished. The legs and back disappear, like a ghost, into a slab of uncarved white...
In Grandpa’s footsteps on the shores of Carlingford Lough, IrelandSunday the 29th, 2017
Hannah Louise Summers uses a new ferry service – a lake crossing on which her grandfather once worked – to explore both sides of Carlingford Lough, which straddles the Irish borderEvery school holiday was the same. For hours we’d trundle south from Belfast in my grandpa’s battered blue...
Uluru climb banned from October 2019 after historic voteWednesday the 1st, 2017
Traditional owners and park managers agree central Australian rock is ‘not a playground or theme park’ and support banClimbing Uluru in Australia’s red centre will end, traditional owners and national park managers have announced.The historic decision came on Wednesday after a management...
Meeting the locals is a piece of cake in GothenburgSaturday the 28th, 2017
From jogging in a nature reserve to joining in the Scandi ritual of fika, a new initiative in west Sweden gives visitors the chance to connect with the inhabitantsWithin a couple of hours of landing in Gothenburg, west Sweden, I am having lunch at street food truck Jinx with a local named Jonte,...
Eataly World opens but leaves a bad taste in BolognaFriday the 17th, 2017
It’s the world’s biggest food park with over a kilometre of shops, big brands, even farm animals. But is Eataly World a betrayal of Italian gastronomy?Italy’s “City of Food” has a new attraction. After wandering the alleyways of Bologna’s Mercato di Mezzo – which is filled with...
10 of the best small UK towns for winter breaksSaturday the 19th, 2016
The historic buildings, modern restaurants, cosy pubs and independent shops of these towns banish any notions of a backwater. And they sparkle in the Christmas season – perfect for a weekend break or day tripYou’d expect the home of the Bakewell pudding to know a thing or two about keeping...
Guide to Patagonia: what to do, how to do it, and where to staySaturday the 13th, 2014
Forty years ago this month, Bruce Chatwin visited Patagonia and his subsequent book lit a beacon for the remote region in many travellers’ minds. Chris Moss picks the highlights among its peaks, glaciers and lakesFor my first forays into Patagonia, in the 1990s, I left behind my guidebooks and...
The best UK Christmas days out – for kids and adultsSunday the 22nd, 2015
Whether you’re looking for markets, carols, mulled wine, ice-skating, Narnia or, of course, Santa – we have Christmas all wrapped upWinter wonderland, CardiffThe new Ice Kingdom is a fantasy world created from ice sculptures, and there’s also an open-air ice rink, a fairground and an Alpine...
10 of the best clubs in Amsterdam – chosen by the expertsWednesday the 22nd, 2017
Amsterdam’s nightlife is thriving, with three major new clubs adding to the existing scene. We asked local DJs, producers and music writers to name their favourite party venues De Marktkantine has been around for about two years. For me, it’s the most unappreciated club in the city even...
The alt city guide to YorkWednesday the 15th, 2017
It’s time for the Romans and Vikings to make way for a new insurgency in the North Yorkshire jewel: a sparky, creative scene fuelled by innovative music, food and drink outletsWhat images come to mind when you think of York? The Minster, steam engines, Romans and Vikings, a city resisting the...
Top 10 national parks in CaliforniaTuesday the 17th, 2013
Yosemite, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Redwood … California’s national and state parks are home to some of the most iconic views and landscapes on the planet. Here’s how to explore themIt sounds like a place to avoid, but don't let the ominous name scare you away. Most of the year, this vast...
JLL Real Views - Can Saudi Arabia Build a Popular Tourist Destination? - By Neasa MacErleanThursday the 31st, 2017
Tourism in the Middle East has long been dominated by the high-end resorts in Dubai, Egypt and Jordan yet they could soon have a new challenger in their midst. Saudi Arabia is turning its attention to tourism and entertainment as it seeks to not only reposition its economy but also meet a...
Last Americans Rush to North Korea Ahead of Travel Ban - CNNMonday the 28th, 2017
A looming US travel ban has prompted some daring American globetrotters to fast-track their vacations to North Korea.
Pain in Spain: Are Tourists Still Welcome? - BBCThursday the 17th, 2017
As anti-tourism protests hit Barcelona, can visitors happily coexist with local residents?
Vancouver Island Boasts One of the Most Expensive Luxury Hotels in the WorldMonday the 24th, 2017
A resort in Vancouver Island ranks among the most expensive hotels in the world, according to a survey conducted by Luxury-Hotels.com.
InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa Unveils 10 Pool Overwater VillasTuesday the 11th, 2017
The Pool Premium Overwater Villas offer horizon infinity views and the Pool Overwater Villas feature scenic sights of the lagoon and beach. Modern and luxurious, the one-bedroom villas feature sleek, contemporary décor with Polynesian touches, each encompassing 1,345 square-feet including...