Friday, 27 January 2012

Airline Travel Restrictions – Know the Rules

By Keely Capel

The UK, USA and Europe among other worldwide locations have some very strict security measuresin place when it comes to air travel. Toensurethat dangerous items cannot get onboard a flight and cause safety or securty risks to you and other paasengers.

Know What You Can Take on a Flight.

The rules on what you are allowed to take on an aircraft as hand luggage are very strict and it is advisable to check directly with the airline you are travelling on as to how much hand luggage and the size and shape you are allowed.

Rules on Liquids

You are still allowed to take liquids onboard a flight, however there are restriction in place on what you can take in your hand luggage. Liquids include everything such as sprays, gels and pastes and creams. For a full list of these items then please read our post on carry on restrictions.

Dangerous and Restricted Items

Airline security means that you will not be allowed to carry onboard any object that is considered dangerous inyour hand luggage that may cause injury to you or other passangers and these items will be confiscated by airport security if yous should attempt to.. Some items that are not allowed in your hand luggage might be premitted in hold luggage though. The list below is a guideline as to what you can and cannot take in your hand luggage, but other restrictions may apply so its always worth checking with your airline before you pack.

Item                    Allowed in Hand Luggage                     Allowed in Hold Luggage

Corkscrew                           No                                                                   Yes
Spoon                                  Yes                                                                  Yes
Knife(with a sharp or               No                                                                   Yes
pointed blade/or a blade
no longer then 6cm)
Small Scissors                    Yes                                                                  Yes
(with blades no longer
than 6cm)
Larger Scissors                  No                                                                    Yes
(with blades longer
than 6cm)
Round-ended/blunt             Yes                                                                   Yes
Scissors (of any
Disposable Razor              Yes                                                                   Yes
Nail Clippers/file                 Yes                                                                   Yes
Tweezers                             Yes                                                                   Yes
Kniting Needles                  Yes                                                                   Yes
Sewing Needles                 Yes                                                                   Yes
Umbrella                              Yes                                                                   Yes
Walking stick/ 1                  Yes                                                                   Yes
cane, walking aid
Strike anywhere matches  No                                                                    No
(non safety matches)
Fireworks, Flares               No                                                                    No
or other pyrotechnics,
including party poppers
and toy caps
Cigarette Lighter                No (may carry a single                                       No
                                             lighter on your person)
Contact Lens Solution       Yes (but no more than Yes

Electronic Items

Nowdays almost all electronic items are premitted onboard a flight and are find to take in your hand luggage, although may devices cannot be used at certain times of the flight: This included things like, mobile phones, laptops, ipods/ipads, camcorders, and cameras, Pagers, Blackberrys and PDA's, hairdryers, straighteners, travel irons and electric razors.

Sports Equipment.

The only item of sports equipment permitted in the cabin is a parachute, all other items must be stowed in the hold of the aircraft, however in the case of diving equipment then oxygen cyclinders are not premitted on a plane at all and some airlines may restrict the carriage of firearms.

Medical Supplies.

All medical supplies are allowed onboard a flight and in the cabin itself. However on certain itemssuch as medical liquids or gels then airline or airport clearance may be required, especially if measuring over 100ml.

Baby Food and Milk.

Security has been relaxed on baby supplies, however certain restrictions still apply. You are only premitted to care baby milk or made formula ifyou are a parent travelling with the child and any sterlising fluid must be contained within a baby's bottle.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

How to Make Your Holiday Rental Eco-Friendly

With global warming on everyone's lips, eco-friendly holidays are becoming increasely popular with tourists.and holiday rentals are no exception. With many of the holiday rental websites adding dedicated sections for owners who have eco-friendly rentals and promoting these with featured listing, how can you make your holiday rental eco-friendly and join this growning trend?

So you holiday home may have been purpose built but without the evironment mind, but no fear there are still a number of things you can do to make your holiday rental appeal to eco-friendly tourists and save you money at the same time.

Become Energy Efficent

Make sure your holiday rental is properly insulated around the doors and windows and install ceiling fans as a cost effective alternative to air conditioning. Buy energy efficent applicances and make sure you have your fridge and freeze set at the proper temperature as setting it to low will actually cost you more money and use more energy.

Collect Water

Depending on where your holiday rental is located you may already have a cisterna to collect unused water such as rainwater for use in your home. If you don't look at how you can adapt your holiday rental to make use it. It could be as simple as a drum under the guttering to be used for watering the gardern and plants.

Recylce and Encourage Guests to

Invest in a recylcing bin for your holiday rental. Once that has several seperate compartments, one for plastics, one for food waste, one for glass or cardboard. If you can't get a purpose made recycling bin then look at getting 5 different bins and labeling each for a certain use, cardboard, glass, plastic, organic waste, and metals. As well as labelling them clearly, make sure to include your request for guests to recycle within your house book with clear instructions as to where they should dispose of the bags when they are full.

Reuseable Recycled Shopping Bags.

Most supermarkets now offer reusable shopping bags or baskets made from recycled good. It worth investing in several of these to leave in your holiday rental with a note in your house book to encourage guests to take these and make use of them instead of bringing home handfuls of plastic bags with the shopping. If you cannot get hold of the reusable shopping bags, than as a minimum install a plastic bag holder in a cupboard or under the sink so that guests collect and re-use these instead of just throwing them in the bin.

Eco-Friendly Household Products

Invest in eco-friendly cleaning products to be used in your holiday rental along with recycled and chlorine-free toilet rolls and biodegradable rubbish bags for your guests to use.

Recommend Local Green Companies and Produce.

Included in your house book a list of local produce markets and store that yout guests can visit and look at local attractions and activities that promote being green and are eco-friendly that you can advise your guests off.
 And finally once you have made your home eco-friendly make sure you tell everyone about it. Include the details in your house book, update your rental ads to clearly state you are eco-friendly and tell everyone what you are going to help the environment and tell your guests how they can help.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Top 5 Places to Visit in Germany in the Winter

Germany is a beautiful country to visit at any time of the year, but if you want to take advantage of fewer crowds and lower airfares and rental rates then the winter is the perfect time to visit, with the exception of December when the main cities Christmas fairs come to life and the streets will be teeming with visitors from around the world. Germany offers a vast array of activities from winter sports, festivals, and events through the winter months
Munich, Berlin and Nuremberg
German Christmas markets are a wonderful part of the German holiday tradition and there is no better way to get into the Christmas spirit than to visit one. Munich, Berlin and Nuremberg are the three most popular cities to visit for their Christmas markets, which are famed the world over. Although every German city celebrates the season with at least one Christmas market, which will usually take place from the last weekend in November right up until Christmas Eve.
The best way to enjoy each of these cities and make the most of the Christmas atmosphere is to rent an apartment for a city break.
Check out Holiday Apartments in Munich
Check out Holiday Apartments in Berlin
Check out Holiday Apartments in Nuremberg
The Black Forest
In the warmer months, the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) is rolling hills, small villages and lush forests that offer you some of the most breathtaking scenery with hills, valleys and forests stretching from Baden Baden right to the Swiss board. The area offers everything from walking, biking or driving to skiing in the winter months. Two highly recommended tours are the wine route and the German Clock Road, which will take through the history of the cuckoo clock.  With cozy cottages and village rentals, to rural chalets and farmhouses, there is holiday accommodation to suit everyone in the black forest. Not forgetting the famous black forest gateau that originated from the region.
Set on the banks of the Moselle River, Trier is Germany’s oldest city once a Roman colony and favoured by Roman Emperors, the remembrance of those times are still vivid today. Nowhere else in Germany is like Trier  and we highly recommend visiting the Porta Nigra, which is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps or and the Cathedral, which is said to house the Holy robe, which Jesus wore when he was crucified.
Brandenburg Gate
Built in 1791 this landmark more than any other, is the national symbol for Germany – the symbol of peace, crowded with the winged goddess of Victory , riding  a four-horsed chariot. When Berlin was divided in two during the cold war, it was there in front of the Brandenburg Gate that President Reagan made his famous speech.  With the removal of the Berlin wall, the city has become a diverse mix of culture and history and the Brandenburg Gate has become the symbol of Germany’s Reunification.
Neuschwanstein,  Bavaria
The most famous castle in the world, and the inspiration behind Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Neuschwanstein castle is nested in the Alps and really is a beautiful fairytale; especially in the snow. With tours available to take you through the castle, you took an be in your own personal fairytale, while taking in things like the giant crowd shaped chandelier in the throne room and the lavish Minstrels Hall.
Where were you choose to go there is always a wide selection of holiday accommodation in Germany, from city apartments in Berlin to cozy cottages in the black forest. Germany really will create the magic that will make you want to stay and visit again and again.

Friday, 20 January 2012

How to Keep Your Valuables Safe When Travelling

When going on holiday it is never ideal to take vast amounts of jewellery or other valuable items with you, however with the rise of electronics, the most valuable items we now take away with us are things like ipods/ipads, digital cameras, Kindles and our mobile phones. Most of which are all very expensive.

So how to you keep your personal belongings safe when your on holiday?

Firstly, only take those items that are essential to the enjoyment of your holiday. If you can do without the laptop and can connect to email or internet on your phone, then leave this and/or your Ipad at home.

If you must bring the items, then do not leave them on display. If you are renting a holiday home, then treat it in the same way you would when you leave your own home unattended.

Put them away in draws or cupboaards to they are out of sight to anyone who might peek through a window or door. Better still if your holiday accommodation has a safe then use it. Lock all money, passports, electronics and jewellery you are not using in it at all times.

If out and about, or lyimg around a shared swimming pool, then don't make it obvious that you have expensive items with you and never walk away and leave them on your sunbed or table even just for a second. Theives can steal from you in a blink of an eye without you even noticing. Unfortunately when you are aboard you are more relaxed than at home as well as standing out like a sore thumb as a tourist.

Theives pick up on this and use it to their advantage.

If carrying items in a bag, make sure the bag is firmly closed, and ideally use a bag with a zip and buckle to make it difficult for a theif to sneak inside without you realising. Also don't hang the bag losely on your arm, in your hand or on your shoulder. Where it across your body, in front of you and tucked under your arm to make it difficult for someone to reach without your knowledge.

Bag snatches are one of the biggest causes of theif on holiday.

If you have to carry items such as passports or larger amounts of money with you then it might be worthwhile investing in a money belt that you can strap securely around your waist area under clothing.

If hiring a car, then never have your bag on the seat or near to an open window as its very easy for someone to lean in and grab it when you are stationary at traffic lights or in a jam. Even though you may feel safe in the country you are in, even if they have a lower crime rate than at home, never leave your accommodation or your car unlocked and never leave anything of any value in your car when are not with it. Even if it is out of sight.

Car hire vehicles are easily distinugisable, as they normally have a sticker or number plate logo that states they are a rental car so thieves will target these before local cars in the hope of obtaining items of value.

Above all, keep your wits about you. You may be on holiday, you may be relaxed, but that doesn't mind crime doesn't happen. Act as you would do everyday at home, just because your on holiday it doesn't mean you are exempt from being a victim of crime.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

What to Include in Your Check-In Policy

When planning to rent out your holiday home as a holiday rental one of the most important documents you will need to draw up is a check-in policy.

It's quite a simply and straight-forward job, but its essential that you make sure you establish some bsic rules for your guests to follow. That way you can stop problems before they even occur and address any potential complaints before guests arrive, helping you to keep control on your holiday rental and stopping things escalutung in to major issues.

There are two areas that you need to focus on to ensure the smooth arrival and check-in of all your holiday rental guests:

Pre Arrival Information

Crreate a pre arrival pack that you can forward to all holiday rental guests after they have booked and before they arrive at your holiday rental property. Include things like details directions, check-in instructions, and any specific points that your holiday rental guests should be aware of before they arrive at the holiday rental property.

House Book

Compile a welcome book to be left in your holiday rental for guests when they arrive. Place information about how to operate applicances, local transport services and taxi numbers and information on local attractions that your holiday rental guests might enjoy.

Its always best to duplicate the most important information for your holiday rental so that your holiay rental guests can receive this before and when they arrive.

Always be clear and concise when laying out your check-in policy and include any important rules in your holiday rental contract as well. This should include:

Early Check-in's/Late Departures: This will help avoid guests arrving at your holiday rental property before it has been probably cleaned and will also ensure they depart in time to allow for cleaning before the next guests arrive at your holiday rental.

Clearly state things like day, date and time of arrival and departure i.e:

Check – In Is Saturday, 14th June at 14:00 –No Early Check-In
Departure is Satuday 21st June at 10:00 – No Late Check-Out

Reporting of Complaints: Make sure your holiday rental guests let you know straight away about any complaints they might have by stipulating that complaints are reported immediately on arrival. Its crucialy that your holiday rental guest inspect your holiday rental property immediately on arrival so that you may notify your property management company or cleaner of any issues regarding cleanliness or maintenance allowing you to safeguard yourself again refund requests or negative rental reviews later on.

Please inspect the holiday rental immediately on arrival for cleanliness. If ANYTHING is not to standard, please contact the housekeeper immediately on XXX XXX XXX.

To make sure guests remember to do this as soon as they arrive, its an ideal to put a reminder on the front page of your welcome book.

As an example, your front page of your welcome book should be a letter from you as the holiday rental owner ans read something like the followimg:

Dear Guests,

Welcome! We hope you arrived safely and had no problems in locating our home.

We know you are ready to start your holiday and relax and we would like you to make yoursself at home right way. However we would like to ask all guests to take a few minutes to check the property and report any issues they find immediately to our property management company on XXX XXX XXX

In this welcome book you will find all the information you will need to know whilst renting our home. From instructions on how to operate applicances to suggestion for restaurants and bars and a list of local attractions.

Should you have any question through-out your stay then you can contact our property manager on XXX XXX who will be happy to help you.

Please enjoy your stay and we hope you will come back and visit us again soon.

Ted and Jane Smith

Monday, 16 January 2012

Top 5 Places to Ski in France

If your thinking about a last minute ski holiday then France is an excellent place to go. Easily reached by plane, train or car. France is just across the english chanel and offers some excellent ski resorts.
With so many Ski resorts on offer in France we're listed the according to various criteira.

Top 5 Ski Resorts in France with the Maximum Vertical
French ski resort that offer the largest accessible vertial (From the highest piste to the lowest lift)

1.Chamonix 2800m
2.Brides-les-Bains 2600m
3.Les Deux Alpes 2300m
4.Vaujany 2200m
5.La Grave 2150m

Top 5 Ski Resorts in France with the Highest Ski Areas
French ski resoirts offering the ski areas with the highest altitude (the maximum height above sea level)

1.Chamonix 3840m
2.Grande Galaxie 3600m
3.La Grave 3550m
4.Espace Killy 3450m
5.Alpe d'Huez 3330m

Top 5 Ski Resorts in France with the Biggest Ski Areas
French ski resort with the lagerst available ski areas (total km of downhill pistes)

1.Avoriaz 650km
2.Brides-les-Bains 600km
3.Megeve 445km
4.Paradiski 425km
5.Espace Killy 300km

Top 5 Ski Resorts in France for the Best Expert Skiing
French ski resorts that offer the best skiing for the expert skier

5.TignesLe Lac

Top 5 Ski Resorts in France for the Best Intermediate Skiing
French skiresort that offer the best skiing for the intermediate skier

3.Valle du Louron / Loudenvielle
5.Tignes Le Lac

Top 5 Ski Resort in France for the Best Beginner Skiing
French ski resorts that offer the best skiing for the beginner skier

4.Tignes Le Lac
5.St Colomban des Villards

Top 5 Ski Resorts in France for Snowboarding
French ski resorts that are best for the snowboarding

2.Villard Reculas
3.Vic Sur Cere

Friday, 13 January 2012

Remember to Pack These Essential Items

Most people take a holiday to get away from the stresses and strains of everyday life. To escape work, house, kids and responsibility and relax and unwind. So the last thing you want to find when you arrive at your perfect holiday rental is that you have forgotten the essentials and will have to spend the week running around trying to sort out the mess…. More stress!!

Planning out a few things in advance and drawing up a list of essential items to take with you will help make sure that doesn’t happen. So here is a few tips on essential items to remember to pack. 

We all know it’s not a wise idea to take a significant amount of money with you when travelling aboard and now days you can find a cash machine in even the most remote places in the world. Your bank may charge for an overseas withdrawal and there might be commission payable but this is a small price to pay versus losing all your spending money if it’s stolen. However just in case it is a wise idea to take some cash with you and if you do not want to use your cards aboard then think about taking travelers cheques or the prepaid holiday money visa cards which are now readily available in the most common international currencies. 

Substitute Money
If you live in the western world, depending on where you are travelling to a number of disposable everyday items can carry I high price and are a good tool to bargain with. Examples are things such as biros in Kenya, baseball caps, Marlboro cigarettes or levi jeans in Jamaica or bath products in Cuba, can see you secure a great deal on swapping these items in return for Souvenirs you’ll want to take home. So it’s always worth considering a little investigation and perhaps throwing in a think or two into your case. 

First Aid Essentials
Always make sure you pack Asprin, Antacids and other over the counter medicines such as mosquito spray. You never know when you may have to recover from a hangover or get hit but the common cold and by having a small wash bag packed with the essentials it could save you time and money and rule out having to visit chemists or doctors whilst on your holidays, which can add up to a very expensive trip if you are not careful.

Emergency Clothing
If you are taking more than one bag, i.e hand luggage and a suitcase for the hold, make sure you spread your clothes between both and as a minimum have at least one full change of clothing in your hand luggage. There is nothing worse than arriving at your holiday destination to discover your suitcase has headed in the opposite direction. Worse still if you only have the clothes you are standing it. This way you want be forced to have to by a whole new wardrobe whilst on holiday. However in the event you luggage should go missing, you can normally buy additional clothing and reclaim this from your holiday insurance.

Invest in a universal adaptor that can be used anywhere in the world. You may choose not to take electronic items like a hair dryer, but even your phone and ipod require some form of charge and it is not always easy or cheap to pick up an adaptor in your holiday destinations. Another point on plugs and this might sound very silly, but take a bath plug! You would be surprised at the number of hotels or holiday rentals that do not have them. Especially if travelling outside of Europe. There would be nothing worse than after a long hot sweaty day that you were not able to have a soak in the bath due to a missing bath plug. 

Most holiday accommodation will offer towels as standard, but you cannot always guarantee the size or condition of them (or if they have been used by others before you) so it is always advisable to pack at least one small towel just in case. Whilst on this subject it is also a good idea to pack at least travel size products such as toothpaste, shower gel and shampoo. Not all hotels offer these complimentary and most Holiday Rentals don’ts, but again buying these when in your holiday resort can often be a lot more expensive than bringing them with you.

Now women normally always take to many, however there is a down side to taking too few. Make sure you have a least one back up pair of comfortable safe shoes just in case the ones you have with you should break, become damaged or get soaking wet. There is nothing worse than being stuck barefoot!

Prepare for Anything
You may be heading off to the hottest place on earth, but that doesn’t mean freak weather will not interfere with your holiday. Make sure that you take something warm with you and a raincoat just in case, as its not much fun being in a t-shirt and shorts with bitter rain and wind. This also applies if you are going to a colder destination; make sure you layer up with items that can be removed if you become to warm, use sleeveless tops as vests under t-shirts and jumpers and at least you will not be boiling up if the sun does come out.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Taking Care of your Holiday Home

Although not your main residence, your holiday home is still probably the second largest investment you have made and therefore caring for it is important. However unlikely to main house you are probably only likely to visit your holiday property for short periods of time such as holidays which can cause a number of stresses for even the most experienced of holiday home owners and maintenance can prove tricky and probably the most commonly asked question by anyone who has invested in a holiday home is “how do I take of my holiday property when I’m not there?”

Having been asked this question a number of times, we thought it a good idea to give you some handy and helpful tips on what you can do to ensure your holiday property is taken care of when you’re not around.

Drawing up an inventory of items left or kept in your holiday home is also a good idea. In the event that the property is broken into and things stolen, you will be easily able to identity what is missing and well as make a note of anything damaged that requires replacement .

When leaving your holiday home after a stay, be sure to leave everything ship shape.  Check the walls and ceilings for any signs of damp that could indicate a leaking pipe, if you discover a problem the make sure you get it fixed.  Leaving it could end up resulting in the leak spreading to other areas and creating more damage and a much bigger problem and headache for you in the future. Ideally you should check the property thoroughly to make sure that the plumbing, wiring and general structure is all in good order.

If your holiday home is going to remain empty for a substantial length of time between visits then invest in some dust covers to cover furniture and upholstery and cover items like sofas, dining table & chairs and beds with them.  These can be easily purchased from any main stream home store and are also useful for protecting other items from sun damage that can be caused by the harsh sunlight that might stream through a window onto them.  An added benefit of investing a little time and money into dust covers is that it will save you from having to do loads of dusting on your next holiday.