The Italian ice-cream parlour’s windows were small, but they still saw four British tourists coming from a long way away. An Englishman named Roger Bannister (not the runner) and his three companions were flabbergasted when they were charged £54 for four gelatos from Antica Roma, a bar and ice cream parlour in central Rome this week. They’re hopping mad about it, and even the mayor of Rome has waded in, calling the prices a scandal. So how can you guard against being ripped off while in Europe? Continue Reading »
Paris is known for many things, but not its live music. Which is a shame, seeing as it’s given us Serge Gainsbourg and, err, Johnny Hallyday. Its government policy making every radio station play a majority of songs in French hasn’t helped its international musical credibility. But the city of love is also a great city of intimate live music. Here are five of the best places to see great bands up close, often for free.
The stickers all over the walls in this tiny rock pub show that it’s the place bands play before they get big. From Klaxons to Jeffrey Lewis, they’ve all rocked out in the basement (and then stickered the walls). Continue Reading »
It helps to know how dangerous a country is before deciding whether to travel there, especially if it’s one of the world’s more exotic locations. So it’s good news that Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs has put together an interactive map detailing how dangerous each country in the world is for tourists.
In the map publicised by CBC News, countries with extremely repressive governments or ongoing conflicts such as North Korea and Syria are given a red alert, which means they’re extremely dangerous. Large blocks of Africa and the Middle East including Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen are also to be avoided at all costs because of the political upheavals happening there currently. Continue Reading »
One of the deciding factors in being able to travel anywhere is often how much the flights cost. And that means your travel destinations can often be determined by the routes of the world’s budget airlines.
Until recently Moscow wasn’t so much out of bounds as out of range – for anyone relying on budget airlines, at least. From western Europe, you had to fly over a whole heap of continent you could get to for a fifth of the price. Berlin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm can all be reached for under £100 on Ryan Air, EasyJet and a host of other low-cost airlines. To bypass those places to appreciate the Kremlin took dedication.
But the first budget airline to spread its wings from London to Moscow has just made the journey a whole lot easier.
EasyJet’s new flights from London Gatwick to Moscow start at £47.50 one way and £125 return. This is a marked improvement on the prices offered by other airlines, which started at over £200, but rocketed up to £1,000 for late bookers in peak season.
Trip Advisor says the new EasyJet route to Moscow has caught the eye of many travelers, causing a 99% increase in hotel searches in the Russian capital. The only trouble is, any money saved on the new cheap flights is negligible compared with the extortionate prices of Moscow hotel rooms. It was recently named the most expensive city in the world for accommodation.
One of the hidden costs of going on a foreign trip is the connections at both ends. This is particularly true if your holiday includes catching flights, with airports being located various distances from the place you’re trying to get to. And if you’re flying to and from airports a long way from the city centre, your connections can end up cost more than your flight. So here are some tips on how to cut down on the cost of connections.
Book in advance
This may sound obvious, but it often costs more to travel to the airport on the day than it does if you book your tickets in advance. A lot of bus companies such as National Express and Megabus have a few limited tickets on special offer, but these tend to go quickly. So if you want the best deal, after you’ve booked your flight don’t log off and think it’s job done – get straight to booking those connections.
Share a lift
With the internet offering us ‘collaborative consumption’, teaming up with a stranger to share the cost of a ride to the airport has never been easier. From liftshare sites like BlaBlaCar and Liftshare.com to message boards like Gumtree, save yourself and someone else a lot of money by offering to occupy a spare seat.
Check where you’re flying to
Not just the exact city – you certainly don’t want to end up in Mogadishu when you thought you’d booked a ticket to Moscow. I mean check the exact location of the airport. Often, big cities have more than one airport, some further away from the place you’re staying than others. The names can be particularly deceptive. So while London Luton airport sounds like it’s going to be somewhere near Big Ben, it’s actually way outside the city, thirty five miles away from Westminster. As such, it’s going to cost a lot more, and take a lot longer, than going from Heathrow.
One of the most frequent insecurities of a traveller is knowing whether to leave a tip. In some places it’s pretty much compulsory to leave some extra money after a meal or a taxi ride, while other cultures will be offended if you do. So here’s a rough guide to tipping – who to tip and how much – in some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.
In the USA it’s expected that you’ll leave a tip not just in restaurants and cafes, but in taxis, bars, hotels, hair salons and to repairmen and delivery people. It’s not unknown for waiters or taxi drivers to chase you down the street if you don’t leave a tip – especially in New York. Foreigners may think they’re being ripped off by having to pay more than the quoted price, but American service staff are usually paid very badly, and rely on their tips to pay the rent. An acceptable amount is usually in the ballpark of 20%, although there still isn’t a consensus.
It’s not a part of Aussie culture to tip, although barmen won’t mind if you buy them a drink.
In most of Europe, a service charge is included in the cost of a meal or a drink at a café, so tips aren’t customary. Continue Reading »
On top of the cost of accommodation, flights, tax and excess luggage fees comes the most loathsome part of foreign travel for many tourists: insurance. Whether you need it for your trip is something you can only know when it’s too late – if you wind up in a doctor’s office, a hospital bed, or even being lifted off a mountain by air ambulance.
In tight economic times, travel insurance is the corner a lot of people are cutting in an attempt to save money from their trip. While 20% of holidaymakers travelled abroad without insurance in 2011, the figure rose to 24% last year. Skimping is at its highest among young people, with 48% of 15-24-year-olds travelling without cover.
Of course, if you have a blip-free holiday, this is money saved. But if something happens – if your flights are dramatically delayed, or you get ill – it can be a costly oversight. And besides the cost, which is the biggest reason people do without travel insurance, there is a fear that even if something does happen, it may not be covered.
A lot of insurance companies hide their exceptions in the small print. So for example, a lot of people who get injured skiing later discover their basic insurance plan doesn’t cover sports injuries, even though this was a major reason they purchased insurance in the first place. It’s understandable, after some horror stories of people not being covered for incidents for which they assumed they were protected, that people are thinking twice about forking out for insurance.
The key to knowing whether it’s worth getting travel insurance is knowing exactly what will be covered with and without insurance. So for example, learning that basic medical care is covered within the EU – including sporting injuries – but things such as being airlifted from a ski slope aren’t. If you’re travelling with valuables, make sure you know exactly how much you are insured for, and the conditions under which you are covered for loss or damage. And, crucially, how big the bill will be if the unexpected does happen.
Only by being informed can you make the right decision.
Posted by travel clever 14th February 2013 in Cruises category
The cruise industry has had some bad publicity of late – sinking, fires, staff deaths, and those continued unexplained disappearances. So that’s probably why the public relations arm has gone into overdrive, trying to reassure passengers that everything is ship-shape aboard their boats.
Royal Caribbean International has set up a helpline to allay different fears: those of bored children and teenagers. The family-friendly cruise company has unveiled the Royal Mums and Dads, who are on the line to assure potential passengers that their kids (or other people’s kids) won’t ruin their holiday.
The advice line was launched on Monday, and is staffed by members of Royal Caribbean staff and passengers who have travelled aboard with children. They’ll be making customers aware of the entertainment available to kids of all ages, and the range of care options while aboard, which they hope will enable parents to cruise in peace.
To check out the service, visit: www.royalcaribbean.co.uk/mumsanddads.
But be warned: even though Royal Caribbean claims the Royal Mums and Dads are there to offer ‘candid’ advice, they are paid representatives of the company, just like their salesmen. But this doesn’t mean they don’t have some sensible suggestions if you are planning on taking a holiday at sea with children.
Posted by travel clever 29th October 2012 in Flights category
Recently, the European Court of Justice made an historic ruling that airlines must pay compensation for flight delays lasting more than three hours to their passengers, after more than two years of frozen claims as UK airlines presented a legal challenge against the regulations.
It is now required that if a flight arrives at its destination more than three hours later than anticipated, and the delay is due to the airline’s fault (delays by circumstances outside of airline control cannot be claimed against), then passengers can request compensation.
Posted by travel clever 22nd October 2012 in Tours category
We always try to give you tips and tricks on how to save money or fantastic deals you can use to make sure that your travelling is always the best experience on offer. Well, what could be more clever than getting a holiday for absolutely nothing?
Mosaic Holidays are a luxury tour operator, and the prices reflect that. They travel to 5* hotels in the Middle East, Mediterranean, North Africa and sites on the Indian Ocean. Beautiful sights, exceptional comfort and unforgettable times are part and package of the what the company offers.