Monday, 29 July 2013

How to Find a Last Minute Travel Deal

By Keely Capel

The travel industry is a worldwide and continues to grow at a phenomenal rate. Whilst it took at hit with the crisis of 2008 it has already began to bounce back. So whilst the large majority of holiday availability it sold, each week there is unsold holidays, plane seats and accommodation that sits empty.

If you are a savvy traveller who wants to find a last minute travel deal, then it is this unsold availability that you should be focusing on. But how do I find a last minute travel deal I hear you ask?

Firstly you need to be prepared. Be available to travel at short notice and perhaps even have you bags packed ready so you can leave within a matter of hours. Secondly you need to keep you eyes open!

Whilst the really exceptional travel deals come at the very last minutes, you may have to look harder to actually find them. The best place to start if you decide on what type of travel deal you are actually looking for.

There are so many sectors within the travel industry from cruises to ski and spa breaks that having some idea of what you would like to experience will allow you to eliminate the chatter and focus in on the theme that is most appealing to you.

Next establish your budget. If you don't know how much you have or want to spend, you may get caught up in the excitement of it all and end up lost and confused. Or worse; spending more than if you had booked a conventional holiday several months out.

Start with checking local travel agents and tour operators to see if they have received any cancellations. Often they will wish to resell these as quickly as possible and this will present you with the opportunity to make a saving on the price and perhaps even waiver any fees.

Get online and search out communities and travel companies who focus on and offer last minute travel deals and cancellations holidays.  It may be the trip is schedule to take place within 72 hours but if you are on standby and ready, there is no reason for you to miss out.

Be flexible with you what you expect and open to accepting the unexpected. This will really open up huge opportunities to you in the last minute travel sector and you may find you try something new that you would never have considered previously.

Track changes, if you are a few weeks to play with it, begin watching what is being offered in advance. Look at the prices that the flights, accommodation or holiday package are being booked at ahead of when you plan to travel. This will give you a good indication of what price to expect with you come to book your own.

Check back daily, hourly or more often if you can. Things can change in the blink of an eye and if your not watching you could miss out. Many last minute travel companies, will allow you to set up notifications for any changes so you get them directly into you inbox. If they do make sure you sign up.

If you want to try packaging your trip yourself you may find you can also cut on costs, use a flight monitoring service like which will allow you to monitor flights to a variety of destinations and will keep you informed on the prices increasing or decreasing. They even provide you with a percentage rate on how like it is the price will change. Then use a service likes ours, which will allow you find the accommodation in the same location and place a bid on it. You can then predetermine the price and calculate if the two elements combined will come within your budget. If you use services like this you don't have to be limited to one flight or property, you can watch monitor and participate in several different locations or a handful of holiday properties in the same location to ensure you don't miss out and get the best last minute travel deal.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Holiday Auctions: A Glossary of Commonly Used Terms

By Keely Capel

Holiday auctions are relatively straight-forward and not largely dissimilar to other auctions such as those found on eBay. However whether you are an old pro at buying and selling in auction or not, there are some terms used in holiday auctions that may differ from other auctions. Therefore we thought today it would be a good idea to give you an insight into some of the terms used in holiday auctions so that you can get a good feel and understanding before you place you next bid.

Auction - Method of selling holiday availability to the general public through open and competitive bidding.

Auctioneer - The person or company whom the seller engages to direct, conduct and over see the responsibility of the sale by auction.

Availability/Travel Start Date - The dates and duration in which the holiday property can be used that is currently being offered within the holiday auction.

Bid - A prospective buyers indication or offer of a price that they are prepared to pay to purchase the holiday availability in auction. Bids are normally made in set increments that have been pre-established by the auction house or auctioneer.

Bid Increments - The amount by which a bid increases each time the current bid is outdone

BuyNow -  The opportunity to purchase the holiday property availability immediately without waiting for the auction to finish by paying a pre-determined and fixed price set on the listing.

Country - The country in which the holiday property currently being offered within a holiday auction is located

Lote/Listing - Individual holiday property and selected dates available that has been entered into auction and is open to bidding. Each lote or listing will provide details of the property available, its location, amenities and features along with the date offered.

Highest Bid - The highest value entered as a bid on the current listing, this is often displayed whilst the auction is still running and indicates that a new bid higher than this value must be entered to take priority. This indicates the current price this holiday auction will be sold at if no other bid is placed before the end of the holiday auction

Minimum Bid - This is the lowest bid that must be entered at the start of an auction for you to participate within the holiday auction.

No Sale Fee - The fee charged to the seller in the event their holiday availability remains unsold at the end of the holiday auction. In the case of we do not charge sellers if they are unsuccessful at selling their holiday availability.

Offer Range - Indicates if the seller will accept offers on the holiday availability within a set range. An offer must be made within this range for the holiday auction to be closed and the holiday availability to be secured at that price.

Opening Bid - The first bid to be placed on a holiday auction for it to begin.

Onsite Auction - Meaning an auction that takes place online using a website where the auction format is automated and no auctioneer is present

Property Type - Specifies the type of holiday accommodation that is being offered for sale in the holiday auction. This could be an apartment, villa, farmhouse, cottage etc.

Region - The region within the country that the holiday property that is offered within the holiday auction is located

Rental Feature - A list of all the items featured within the holiday property that is being offered within a holiday auction. Rental features could include a heated pool, extras like daily maid service or access to use a golf course, Ipod docking stations etc

Reserve Price - This is a price fixed by the seller which will not allow the holiday availability to be sold unless bidding is above the set price. It allows sellers to being auctions lower than their minimum accepted price but offers the security that bidding must get above this price in order for the holiday availability to be sold 

Resort - The name of the resort, city, town or village in which the holiday property being offered in a holiday auction is located.

Start/End Time - The time that the holiday auction will begin to run or is due to end. All bids must b placed on the holiday auction within these times. If a bid is placed after the end time of a holiday auction it will not be accepted and the winner will be the highest bid last received before the end time of the auction

Start Price - Indicates the price in which the holiday auction will or did start at.

Winning Bid - The last and highest bid received on the holiday auction before it ended that was high enough to reach the reserve price and won the auction. The winning bid will secure the holiday availability that was offered in the holiday auction

We hope this helps explain some of the terminology that is used within holiday auctions, but if you come across any others you are unfamiliar with then please leave a comment below and we will be happy to explain it.

If you would like to see how a holiday auction works and watch or participate within a live holiday auction please visit our website now. 

Monday, 22 July 2013

Booking a Country Escape: What Accommodation Works Best

By Keely Capel

Many of us look to escape the city when our holiday time comes, and what can be better than heading out to the countryside, taking in the fresh air and being at one with Nature?

Slightly different to a beach retreat and world's apart from a city break, picking the right holiday accommodation for your countryside escape can make or break your holiday experience.

So, if you are looking to escape the city and take a relaxing break in the countryside, then here are a few pointers on what accommodation will fit your theme:

Country Cottages

With distinct characteristics, low ceilings, trims and moulding, many have stone fireplaces, french doors, mullioned windows, hard word floors and front porches. With thatched roofs and picturesquce flower boxes, they nestle often in small villages or hamlets surrounded by greenery, shrubbery and ornate gardens where you ca relax and unwind with an early morning coffee or an early evening drink.

Located close to others you will normally find a small village shop, country pub or post office all within walking distance. Neighbours are friendly but respect your privacy being available only if you need them or wish to socialise with them.

Quaint and cute, country cottages will offer you a warm welcome, often steeped in history these sometime 100 year old country cottages allow you to go back in time when people had a slower pace, said good morning to one another and allowed life to reveal its twists and turns. However that doesn't mean you have to return to the dark ages. Nowadays many country cottages come equipped with all your mod con's as well as fully functional modern kitchens, indoor toilets, and luxurious bathrooms.

England is one of the most notable places for you to find or rent a country cottage, however you will also find quaint stone cottages in Europe, with the south of France having many stone cottages available for rent. 


Renting a farmhouse has grown in popularity in recent years. Not dissimilar to what you could expect from a cottage rental, Farmhouses are often old, built of stone and offer a cosy and welcoming environment with a cheerful stone fire place. However there has been many farmhouse renovations which will allow you to enter into a plush and modern environment whilst still remaining in the heart of the country.

Often the main house in a farm or farming community, farmhouses are large than cottages and will offer you more space. They are excellent for groups or large families looking for a countryside retreat and are found in a rural and agricultural setting.  Either stand alone or connected in a terrace with other farmhouses. There is often a pleasant courtyard in which you can enjoy the outdoors and dine alfresco.

Farmhouses are ideal for those looking to be slight more removed from everyday life, normally set with rolling hills or sprawling fields surrounding them for you to wonder and explore. They are set a little further out often on the edge of the local village or within a 5 to 10 minute drive of one.

Whilst England offers some amazing farmhouses if you wish to holiday at home, you will also find a wide variety across Europe in areas such as Germany, Italy, Norway and Spain. Farmhouses can be renting across the pond as well in Canada and the United States.

Barn Conversions 

Originally old barns used by farms for storing produce or animals, barns have become fashionable to be converted into residential use, as modern farm practises and meant their use has become redundant.

They retain the history and character of the original purpose yet combine this with comfortable, modern and often open place and spacious living quarters. They are self contained, equipped with modern kitchens and bathrooms and have often have insulation and fireplaces added along with additional windows which allow the light to come streaming in.

Due to their original use, many will be located close to the main farmhouse and will offer splendid views across the surrounding countryside. They are often located close to villages or towns and will be approximately 10-15 minutes drive away from amenities. Although if located on a working farm you may find there is a farm shop on your doorstep that can provide you with daily fresh produce for you to enjoy.

Many people adore the feel of a barn conversion due to the country setting or the exposed wooden beams and historical features or interesting ceilings.

The UK offers a wide selection of barn conversions and is one of the most prominent places in which to rent a barn conversion. However with a vast farming community in Canada and the United States you will also find an excellent of Barn Conversion rentals available here also.

So whether a cosy country cottage to sleep 2-4 people, a farmhouse rental to house the family or a barn conversion rental to experience something different, these are three most favoured types of holiday accommodation available for a countryside escape.

To check availability for a countryside holiday, please visit today 

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Travel Auctions: What to Look For

By Keely Capel

Travel auction sites have revolutionised the travel industry in recent years, however there has been a lot of bad press with regards to them and warnings of being defrauded or scammed. However travel auctions can present you with a great opportunity to find your ideal holiday at the best possible price, you just need know what to look for when participating in one.

The first thing I recommend to anyone looking to book a trip using a travel auction, whether a package, flight or holiday accommodation is to take some time out to watch the auctions that are currently running on your chosen travel auction site. Look at the number of people participating, what the bid increments are; are they in £5 increases or £100's increases.  Is there a lot of last minute activate which pushes the price up at the very last second?

Travel auctions are often formatted just like eBay, with detailed listing explaining what is and isn't included and pictures showcasing what is being offered in the auction. When it comes to travel auctions, take time to check the end provider. Many will list information as to whom you are actually purchasing from. If its for flights, do you know which airline will be operating it? Is it someone you have heard of before? For a package holiday who is the tour operator are they ATOL protected. For holiday accommodation,  what is the name of the resort or development? try googling them to look for reviews.

When bidding on travel auctions, check if the company running the site offer transparency. Do you know who owns the company? Do you know where they are based? Can you pick up the phone and call someone?

Travel auctions are not much difference to buying something from an eBay auction, so be sure to do the same level of due diligence as you would when using eBay.

Payment is another factor. If you are paying for goods before they are received, then check out what payment methods are offers. Will you credit card company cover you in cases of fraud, does the site operate using an Escrow account where the funds will not be received until the good or services have been supplied. Do they use a reputable online payment process like PayPal?

You should take the time to check the travel auctions terms and conditions, which should be clearly advertised on their website and easy to find. Make sure you know what you are liable for. You may often find local or government taxes are not included within the bidding price and will be an additional extra, so be aware of this and look out for it on listings.

So whilst the above my lead you to air on the side of caution, and the press may warn of scams, travel auctions in general are a safe place where you can find and secure holiday accommodation, flights and other elements sometime at below average price. But an auction is an auction and the prize goes to the highest bidder, so don't forget to factor in a cut of point as to where you draw the line or you could end up paying over the odds for that dream vacation.

However as a whole travel auctions are run by reputable companies, often owned by much bigger travel organisations who have many subsidiaries many of which you will know and those small independent ones, can sometime offer even better deals. As long as you know where the company is based, can make contact with someone and can see they are actively involved in the travel auction market place then they are safe.

To take a look at our travel auctions and test you skills at bidding competitively for you next holiday please visit 

Monday, 15 July 2013

What Are Holiday Apartments

By Keely Capel

By definition a holiday apartment is a furnished apartment that is rented out on a temporary basis to holiday makers. Holiday apartments are generally thought of as alternatives to booking a hotel and are encompassed by the general term holiday rental within this niche section of the travel industry.

If you are located within the US, then you may also find the word vacation replaces holiday meaning you would be looking at a vacation apartment and vacation rental instead.

Holiday apartments can also be referred to by other terms including: holiday home, holiday let or self catering rental.

Holiday apartments within the holiday rental industry will usually be privately owned holiday properties as opposed to holiday apartments owned or managed by a hotel group or travel company. This will lead you to find a great dept in the variety of options often available.

Holiday apartments come fully furnished with everything you will need for your stay and are most commonly rented by the week, although a number of owners will also offer per night prices as comparison to hotels. They offer temporary accommodation for short periods such as a week or two up to perhaps several months.

Holiday apartment options can range from budget studio accommodation right through to lavish penthouse suites, with private elevators and doorman. Yet with most you will find that they will offer many of the same amenities as hotels, for example many will have a front desk check-in, 24 hour maintenance, house-keeping and swimming pool and gym facilities.

A popular option both in Europe and the US and Canada, holiday apartments can be found in all the main destinations such as France, Spain, Greece or Turkey and major tourist destinations in the US such as Florida, California and Hawaii.

As mentioned earlier most holiday apartments available within the holiday rental industry are privately owned, however they are not exclusive to the industry and you will often find holiday apartments advertised with tour operators and travel agents as part of an inclusive package including flights and transfers.

Which every options you prefer to choose, holiday apartments can make an excellent base for you to go out an experience your holiday destination, generally located close to all the amenities of the resort and within easy reach of town centres and beaches. offers a wide variety of holiday apartments around the world so for more information on where to find a holiday apartment or to book holiday apartments, please visit our website today.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Lagoon Delights in Faro

By Keely Capel

Located that the southernmost tip of Portugal, the city of Faro is surrounded by lagoons, sweeping dunes and spotless beaches and is an area favoured as a holiday destination by nature lovers.

The Ria Formosa national park is a collection of islands that reach the sea through inlets, protected from the sea by 60 kilometres of beaches and sand dunes. There are several tours operated from Tavira, Faro and Olhão to the Ria Formosa, or alternatively tourists can book a boat tour and enjoy viewing the landscape, from the comfort of a sunset cruiser.

The beaches surrounding the city of Faro often attract jet skiers, wind surfers and swimmers, while boating enthusiasts take their craft on the lagoon through canal mazes, marshlands and between sand bars that glitter in the sun. Ideal for bird watchers there are hundreds of migratory birds, and in particular, flamingos that nest in the marshland. The adventurous can take a trip out to the isolated Barreta Island or Deserted Island.

Without a doubt, a holiday on the coast of Portugal should be spent by the sea, on the sand, in the sun, and two of the best beaches to visit in Faro are Praia de Faro and Praia da Culatra. Culatra is an island to the east of Faro that can be reached by ferry, and which offers both lagoon and beach landscape; popular for families who enjoy the wooden walkways and scenic shoreline.

Look at Holiday Accommodation in Faro and enjoy this natural beach destination, where lagoon, marshland and canals are bursting with wildlife.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Explore Istanbul in the Heart of Turkey

By Keely Capel
As the largest city in Turkey, Istanbul is in a league with London or Moscow in terms of its size and population. With its ancient Roman occupation it has been called Byzantium and Constantinople previously in past times and has long been the busiest city within the region as well as the largest. Whilst located in the North West of Turkey, Istanbul has long been a city of culture, economics and finances at the heart of Turkey.

When visiting the city why not enjoy a cruise along the Bosphorus, which is a 32 kilometre strait joining the Marmara sea with the Black sea in Istanbul. Running through the heart of the city, passed crumbling Ottoman palaces, fortresses, shore villages and forests, the trip will take around half a day to reach the Black sea. Perhaps while away the afternoon returning back across land along its Mediterranean shores taking the time to stop and explore the Ottoman architecture up close along the way.

Whilst in Istanbul don’t pass up an opportunity to see the whirling dervishes, these Sufi monks are seeking a close relationship with God, with their worshipping taking on the characteristics of whirling dance, which is where their nickname originates from.  You will find a number of event halls, where the “Semas” or ceremonies can be seen. However spectacular such a display, you must also try to keep in mind that the Sufi monks are religious and respect should be shown to these devout followers.

Whatever you choose to do or experience, embarking on a cheap holiday to Turkey will give you the best opportunity to explore the many delights that Istanbul has to offer. Be it haggling in the grand bazaar, visiting a traditional barbers for a haircut, shave or massage or relaxing in its many well-known bars and clubs whilst watching a glamorous troupe of belly dances. Istanbul can offer a unforgettable experience for everyone.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Beautiful Los Angeles Beaches

By Keely Capel

Los Angeles offers excitement and the opportunity for dreams to come true. Take a leisurely walk and stroll past stars dedicated to the famous such as Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, Drew Barrymore, Dolly Parton and hundred more located on the Walk of Fame or enjoy the sophisticated shopping on Rodeo Drive. LA offers a great selection of vibrant nightlight all over the city.

California’s beautiful coast offers some of the most amazing beaches literally at your fingertips. Santa Monica located to the west of Los Angeles has a truly electric atmosphere, with a wealth of attractions including an amusement park with its beautiful historic carousel. There are plenty of places to relax and enjoy a leisurely lunch or drink.

Another favoured spot with locals and tourists alike is Venice beach. Here you will find many creative and artistic individuals all looking to absorb the inspiration it offers. Whether you want to soak up the sun, swim in the sea or experience the fun of roller skating along the famous promenade. Also you will find many souvenir shops and the opportunity for the ultimate indulgence, of sampling the famed funnel cake with whipped cream

Dug in 1904 the canals in the neighbourhood of Venice will leave you feeling like you have been transported to Italy, with some of the finest houses in the city located in the area, where the wealthy enjoy the serenity offered.

Search holiday rentals in Los Angeles now and book your adventure in this intriguing and cultural city that is just waiting for you to explore it

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The Difference between a Holiday Auction and a Holiday Auction

By Keely Capel

In the work that I do for I have come to notice that when you enter the term holiday auction or holiday auctions into a search engine such as Google or Bing, the results you get can be somewhat confusion.  If as an experienced member of the holiday rental industry I myself have noticed this, then I am convinced that dozens of holiday makers and holiday rental owners will undoubtedly have noticed the same thing.  This is what has led me to write today’s post.

The word holiday can have several meanings, particularly depending on which side of the Atlantic you reside. In the UK for instance the word holiday is defined in the Oxford dictionary as: (often holidays) an extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in travelling: I spent my summer holidays on a farm.

However hop across to the USA and the word holiday takes on a completely different meaning with the Cambridge dictionary defining it as; a day for celebration when many people are allowed to stay away from work or school: a national holiday.

Now search engines are very clever things and are constantly looking at ways to refine the search results to ensure that they provide you with the most are relevant and useful information. This is just as true when you search the term holiday auction, however due to the language difference with the use of the word holiday; holiday auction will return you both travel auctions and speciality holiday auctions which could be based around a national holiday such as thanks giving or Christmas. So what is the difference?

A holiday auction or travel auction as it can often be referred to, will offer you the opportunity to book and secure holiday accommodation, holiday rental properties, package holidays or flights to a selection of destinations. These holiday auctions are not tied to any national holiday for their promotion; they could and can offer you a wide variety of dates for availability and any time of year for any duration and in various countries would wide.  This type of holiday auction, is the type that runs offering a select duration in holiday villas and apartments worldwide. You just pick your location, dates or rental property preference search our selection and place a bid on the one that is most appealing.

The other type of holiday auction will normally be focused around a specific date, are often charity events and generally have nothing to do with holiday accommodation or travel. These holiday auctions are called such because they are run at a time when there is some from on national holiday taking place and the auction lots can vary greatly from electronic items, day experiences to services and events. They are not travel auctions generally do not feature travel within their auction lots (although you may find occasionally some may) and are literally running for a very short period to cover whichever impending national holiday is about to take place.

Now when working through the search engines search results for the term holiday auction or holiday auctions, how do you know to spot the difference? 

My suggestion to you is to take a few moments to read the title provided in the search result and if that doesn’t make it clear, read the snippet of text directly below. If you are text stating bid on a fixed number of items,  promoting you to help raise money for charity, or listing auction lots such as lunches, shows or experiences then the chances are these are the holiday auctions you are not looking for.

If on the other hand they state things like buy a holiday, book a flight, travel deals and so forth than this the type you should be looking for. 

However if you are searching from the USA or other places that commonly use the American form of English my advice to you would be to try altering your search term to Vacation Auction or Vacation Auctions as this is the most commonly used word for a leisure holiday or travel trip as opposed to holiday auction and you should find this will filter out the charity events.

It is also worth mentioning that you could try Travel auctions as these term is quite often used by travel companies who run holiday auctions also. However this may be travel experiences or package trips, so again it will depend on what you are searching you.

Yet to really refine the results of a search engine to ensure you are definitely search for holiday auctions that revolve around holiday accommodation, and other travel elements, why not enter the following search term “holiday+travel+vacation+auctions”

Good Luck and I hope you will take the opportunity to experience booking your next trip using a holiday auction.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Holidays Rentals; what you need to know to be prepared.

By Keely Capel

As anyone who was ever a scout will remember their motto was to always “be prepared”.  Whilst this lesson has been taught to many from a very young age; in the rush of everyday life we can often forget to apply the principle, especially when to comes to our holidays.

When it comes to holiday rentals, these self organised trips can often present their own unique set of problems.  Remembering all the little details can often provide a challenge when you are individually booking each and every element separately yourself.

So what do you need to be prepared for when booking a holiday rental?

1.    Choose your holiday rental destination carefully and research it well. Make sure you understand what facilities will be available to you, whether you are going to require any vaccinations and if there are any issues you should be aware off.

2.    If you are considering booking a holiday rental in certain exotic destinations then it is always advisable to monitor the news and political affairs for any developments. The foreign office will issue alerts and advise on whether they feel it safe for people to travel to certain destinations, so it may be worth visiting their website:

3.    Most holiday rentals booked from the UK tend not to be to remote destinations, however that doesn’t mean you should ignore the advice above as currently a number of countries closer to home are experiencing turmoil.

Putting the above aside and assuming you have researched your chosen holiday rental destination; there are still a number of things your need to prepare for when booking a holiday rent independently.

Flights – Holiday rentals provide accommodation but you will need to arrange your own transportation to your holiday rental destination, this in many cases will involve a flight. When you have found and booked the flights that match with your holiday property availability, don’t forget:

1.    Hand Luggage is restricted, make sure you know the size and weight accepted by your airline (especially if choosing a lost cost carrier)

2.    Passport and visa, you need to make sure you have the relevant documents to allow you to gain access into your holiday rental destination, that these are valid for the right period of time and that the children have their own passports.

Travel Itineraries – Whether you are arriving by train, plane or automobile make sure you take time to research the option most suitable for you, this will help you find the best price and times that match your holiday rental booking. If travelling by car, plan your route allowing for stops, delays and journey time. If by train or plane, make sure you know your embarkation point and departure time and allow for enough time to arrive to the station or airport so that you are not rushed.

Before you leave – make sure you have a checklist to ensure nothing is left behind. Check that you have your travel documents, id’s, credit card and currency, any prescription medication and don’t forget your holiday rental confirmation just in case you need it when you arrive.

Ensure you have packed everything you and your family will want and need for your trip and use the internet to research your holiday destination so you know where to obtain any item you might leave behind.
If you prepare several checklists for each segment of your holiday you will find this will assist you in feeling properly prepared and will put you at rest that you have done everything you need to, allowing you to take a nice deep breath, relax and enjoy your holiday!