Visa charges for UK citizens travelling outside of Europe

Author: jayzep  |  Category: Travel News, Travel Tips

As most of you will now be aware of, from April 2014 all visitors travelling to Turkey will have to purchase their visa online before they travel, but what about other countries visas? Airport Parking and Hotels (APH.com) has you covered.

APH has compiled a comprehensive table comparing visa regulations and prices for UK Citizens travelling outside of Europe. This handy guide also tells you how to apply for the visa, period it is valid for and an estimated processing time. The list contains 14 countries from outside Europe including Australia, China and Cuba, as well as India and Kenya.

The list shows a huge difference between the cost of a single entry tourist visa and the processing times throughout the world. For example, visitors traveling to Cambodia will only have to pay £12.25 for their tourist visa, where those travelling to Tanzania will have to pay more than double (£31). Processing times also differ substantially ranging from being available instantly to taking over a month to process.

Travellers are urged to be aware of the documents needed and processing time of their chosen visas to avoid disappointment. Those who are still unsure should ask for help at a visa application website. Companies such as IXP Visas are renowned for making the visa application process quick and stress free.

You can also go to your local foreign embassy to ask for advice for your travel visa; they will usually be able to start the application process there as long as you have the correct paperwork.

Cruise Companies – P & O Cruises

Author: jayzep  |  Category: Cruise Holidays, Travel Tips

P & O Cruises is the UK’s premier cruise company.  We offer our passengers a second to none five-star service throughout our cruise fleet.  P & O Cruises has the trip which is tailor-made for you, whether you opt for a meander around the Mediterranean, a foray through the fjords or a cruise across the Caribbean.

With P & O you can expect luxury service during the day and haute cuisine table service and cocktails in the evening.  We specialise in luxurious living and our top quality service, coupled with our exciting destinations and day trips, promise a premier holiday experience for all members of the family.  Offering cruise destinations suitable for both couples and families, we arrange day trips at each of our port destinations to ensure our passengers have the best value and safest day trips.

Your dream holiday begins as soon as you step on board a P & O cruise ship.  Our friendly crew will do all they can to ensure your stay with us is both memorable and pleasurable.  Nothing is too much trouble for this team of professionals who offer courteous and friendly service throughout.

P & O is a long established UK company and our cruises are specifically geared to the British taste and lifestyle.  With P & O cruises you can experience the world whilst retaining the familiar home comforts we all enjoy.  Choose P & O for your cruise requirements today and look forward to your holiday of a lifetime.

Picture: Scott Anderson

Some tips for older travellers

Author: jayzep  |  Category: Travel Tips

We are an ageing population, but that does not mean that we do not like to go away to our favourite holiday destinations, the reverse in fact as our elderly population now has more disposable income than our predecessors.

If you have decided that you want to take an elderly relative on holiday or maybe helping them to book one, please remember to make sure you know its position and its suitability for elderly holidaymakers. Access is important, high floors and hill climbs can be a problem, also avoid noisy locations, they are not going to enjoy it if it is near to loud bars and clubs. If mobility is an issue, does it have wheelchair access? Check with the online travel site and get this information.

UK airports are required to offer assistance to passengers with reduced mobility, by that we mean not just disabled people, but anyone that has difficulty walking. This raises the travel to and from the airport, if you are driving to the airport, then consider booking a meet and greet parking facility. This is ideal for elderly people all you do is simply drive right up to the airport terminal, meet your driver and go straight through into the airport to check-in avoiding the hassle of the need to park your own car. On your return from holiday, you will be met by your driver with your vehicle in the same place you left it and ready to drive home.

How to protect yourself from holiday rental scams

Author: jayzep  |  Category: Travel Tips

The emergence of the internet is great for holidaymakers, you can now search for the perfect holiday in your own time and find the cheapest deals, but booking a holiday online can leave you vulnerable to scams and bogus websites.

This is especially true when looking for holiday villas and apartment lets, so here are some tips to help protect you when you’re booking your dream holiday.

How to check that the holiday villa or apartment is genuine

•    Check how long the villa or apartment has been registered with your chosen website, the longer the better. If it has only been on there for a short time then ask for the owners details so that you can contact them directly.
•    Contact the owner and ask them about the villa/apartment, the location, local attractions etc. A genuine rental owner will be happy to oblige.
•    Look for trusted or verified reviews online to see what other people thought of the rental.
•    Search for the property on Google maps, does it match the pictures on the rental website?
•    If the rental owner has their own website, do a whois lookup; this shows you the details of the website, is the owners name the same?

Protecting your payments

Protecting your payments is crucial to getting your money back if something bad should happen, but the level of protection will vary depending on what payment method you use.

•    Electronic transfers and cheques are the preferred method of payment for rental owners, but offer little protection to the holidaymaker in cases of fraud. Instead ask the owner if they will accept an alternative payment method.
•    Paying using a credit card is the safest way to protect yourself against fraud. Most banks protect payments of £100 or above and most genuine travel agencies should offer this facility.
•    Some owners may let you pay via Paypal; this allows you to pay using your credit card and is covered by Paypal for up to 45 days after payment against fraud. This should give you enough time to make a claim if something is wrong.
•    Most holiday payment procedures take a 25% deposit with the full balance to be paid 6-8 weeks before departure. This is standard procedure so be wary if full payment is requested up front.
•    Some owners who live near to the rental may offer a cash on collection of the keys, although this is a risk on the part of the owner due to no-shows.

The best way of protecting yourself is by using a registered website that has ATOL or ABTA protection; this will protect you against any unforeseen circumstances including airline or travel agencies going bust.

For more information on how to protect yourself when booking a holiday villa or apartment online click here.

Picture: Lucas Fox

Things to see and do in Portugal

Author: jayzep  |  Category: Travel Guides, Travel Tips

Portugal in a beautiful country with a vast array of thing to do for the eager tourist. Here are our top destinations and attractions to see in Portugal:

1.    Ericeira – approximately 22 miles northwest of the capital Lisbon, Ericeira is a popular seaside resort with a range of sandy beaches and is home to Portugal’s largest surfing association. This traditional Portuguese town still has its old charm and is a great destination for those who want to chill out and relax or want to hit the surf.
2.    Feira de Barcelos – the Feira de Barcelos is a weekly market held in the main square in Barcelos. It features a plethora of local pottery and traditional handicrafts, as well as seasonal fruit and vegetables. Attracting tourists and visitors alike, Feira de Barcelos is a must see for those who want to get a feel for the culture and tradition of the area.
3.    Museu Gulbenkian – this museum in Lisbon is full of historical artwork and sculptures from all over the world including oriental and classical art from Egyptian, Greco-Roman and Armenian cultures. It houses some of the best gold and silver objects and furniture in the world and is well worth a visit when you’re in the city.
4.    Bom Jesus do Monte – The Bom Jesus do Monte just outside the city of Braga is Portugal’s most photographed church. It is most famous for its Baroque stairway that twists and turns its way up 116 meters to the church entrance. The church is an important tourist attraction for the city of Braga and offers a range of great photo opportunities and vast views of the city and surrounding countryside.
5.    Monastery of Batalha – the Monastery of Batalha is a marvel of Gothic design and took over a century to build. Finished in 1517, this huge monument was built to commemorate the Battle of Aljubarrota (1385) in which Portugal gained its independence. It is a must see attraction for anyone with an interest in history.

Picture: Loredana

Why choose an all-inclusive resort

Author: jayzep  |  Category: Travel Tips

When booking a relaxing holiday, you’re likely to choose the easiest options to get the best service you can, but at the lowest price. That’s why it is often a good idea to book an all-inclusive holiday, and here are a few more reasons why.

If you’re planning a holiday with young kids, it can be difficult trying to keep them occupied while you’re relaxing can be a difficult task to undertake. All-inclusive resorts tend to have a kids’ club or some form of entertainment to keep them busy during the day.

When you’re working out the costs for your holiday, one thing you often forget to factor in is how much you will spend on drinks on top of food. The benefit of an all-inclusive resort is that all the food and drinks are paid for within the package, so there will be no unexpected surprises. You will most likely have a good range of options to choose from, and some hotels also offer an a la carte restaurant meal included in the price. Just remember that if you choose drinks that aren’t part of the deal, these will most likely be fairly expensive.

Not only that, but it’s much easier to deal with overall. All-inclusive packages usually include flights, transfers and excursions as well as accommodation and food. This means that as well as paying for everything in one go, all the aspects of the holiday are under one company, so if anything goes wrong, it’s a much more reliable service.

Picture: ambernambrose

What to do before, during and after a cruise

Author: jayzep  |  Category: Cruise Holidays, Travel Tips

Going on a cruise is truly an unforgettable experience.  To make it even more memorable, make sure to do three things: check, do not check, and check again.

Before the cruise, check your tickets, passport and cash.  Check that you have the correct clothes.  Cruise ships, especially the major ones, are equipped with all sorts of entertainment facilities.  Bring elegant clothes to wear to dinner, sports attire for fun activities, casual clothes to walk around comfortably, and swimwear.

Check that you do not forget to pay the bills, finish work assignments, empty the fridge, and so on.  Make sure you are well prepared and ready to leave your home for a number of days.

While on a cruise, there are some things you should not check.  Turn off your computer and do not check work.  If you have to check emails, make sure it is not work related.  Do not check to see if everything back home is fine.  You should have settled everything before leaving.

After the cruise, check again.  Check all the pictures and video footage you have taken.  Post your pictures and let everybody know how much fun you had.

Picture: kansasphoto

Christmas markets

Author: jayzep  |  Category: Travel Tips

It might feel a bit early to be thinking about Christmas already, but it’s now only a few months away, stores are starting to bring out decorations and advent calendars, and people are already preparing gifts for loved ones. One way to find some unique gifts for your family and friends is to explore the Christmas Markets that take place around the world at this time of year.

If you want to stay close to home, the UK has a number of spectacular Christmas markets. Manchester is one of the most popular, with its market hosting more than 300 international stalls and being spread throughout 9 different locations in the city centre.

To get into that Christmas spirit a bit more, you can take a weekend break and head over to the continent to fulfil your festive needs. There are frequent trains and ferries that will get you across the channel in a matter of hours. Belgium is known for being the perfect place for a quick Christmas Market break.

But if you have a little longer to spend, Berlin captures the Christmas magic perfectly at the site of the Charlottenburg Castle. You’ll find everything from handcrafted wooden toys to works of culinary art and choirs. Surrounded by snow and the smells of mulled wine and cinnamon, it’s enough to get even Scrooge in the Christmas spirit!

Picture: Carsten Pescht

Becoming a Travel Agent

Author: jayzep  |  Category: Travel Tips

If you’re interested in travel and have good organisational skills, then a job as a travel agent could be ideal. Travel agents are the first port of call for many people when booking a holiday for business or pleasure and having a well informed and courteous travel agents can make the experience even better.

To become a travel agent there is no need to have any specialist qualifications, so no coursework, but it may be useful to have at least a few good GCSE results. Travel employers will be looking for someone who is enthusiastic, has good customer service skills and a good telephone manner.

What does a travel agent do?

Travel agents are usually based on the high street, but they could also be based in call centres, their work includes:

•    Helping customers to find the right package holiday and travel destination.
•    Checking the availability of holidays for customers through the telephone or computer.
•    Collecting holiday deposits and filling out booking forms.
•    Contacting customers when their tickets arrive.
•    Informing customers about any changes or cancellations and arranging alternative travel.
•    Exchanging currency for customers before they travel.

A travel agent will also advise customers about their passports and tickets plus any other travel documentation that may be needed such as, travel insurance, visas and even vaccinations.

One of the perks to being a travel agent is staff discounts on holidays; sometimes your employer may also send you on short trips abroad so that you can improve your knowledge of a particular resort or test out the features of an entirely new resort before the customers get a chance.

Skills needed to be a travel agent

•    A good telephone manner
•    Organisation skills
•    Customer service skills
•    Be computer literate
•    An interest in travel
•    An interest in geography
•    Willing to work as a part of a team
•    The ability to work under pressure, especially at busy times

Picture: Irwandy Mazwir

Travel mistakes

Author: jayzep  |  Category: Travel Tips

Going away on holiday is supposed to be a time of relaxation and recuperation, and most people want to get away with this on the smallest budget they can while still enjoying it. Unfortunately, small things can be the most annoying and cause you the most stress, so here are some travel mistakes that many people make and how to get around them.

When booking flights, you tend to search around a bit to find the cheapest one to your destination as possible. Sometimes this means booking at one that’s outlying or in another city. This might not be a smart money saving idea in the long run though because it means that you have to arrange extra transportation to your final destination, which can be expensive and a lot of hassle.

Searching the internet for the best looking hotel and resort can be really fun, but you need to be careful about choosing somewhere just based on the website’s pictures. Make sure to check out other sites such as Trip Advisor for ‘real’ photos; don’t just rely on the cleverly angled marketing ones.

Trying to do too much in one trip can be a major problem. You’re bound to find somewhere you really love and want to spend more time there, but have only scheduled a day to see it all. Likewise, trying to fit in too much in one day means you end up feeling tired and overwhelmed at the end of it. Spend more time seeing and doing things you really want to do.

Picture: elitatt