Sunday, 18 March 2018

Restrictions for flights in Europe, March 2018

Following on from my Think twice before considering Ryanair post I was asked whether my old post regarding Restrictions for flights in Europe, written back in 2014 was still up to date. Surprisingly it isn't too far off ... it seems not a lot has changed in 4 years.

However, by way of update, as there were a couple of airlines which are no longer in existence, read on for the latest version of the list.

If you are planning a trip to Europe sometime soon, ensure you check the latest travel restrictions before you travel.

If you are in the UK, like myself, the website, should provide details of the latest changes, although I have summarised the latest restrictions below.
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Sunday, 4 March 2018

My picks from: Thailand

Planning a trip to Thailand solo, with a friend or other half, or even kids; it's one of the easiest places to travel or experience. Here's a few recommendations to help with planning a trip. Of course you can check out all my Thailand posts here but I've tried to summarise the best bits below so you can pick out what suits.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Think twice, before considering Ryanair - February 2018

The recent changes announced by Ryanair in January, removing the ability to take 2 cabin bags on board, were quite controversial it seems. The 1 small bag allowance (roughly the size of a hangbag or laptop holder) is tiny. In fact it potentially restricts most people from taking a bag at all; even a foldaway cloth bag you would now carry to avoid the carrier bag charges in the UK, is too big!

Travelling on a Ryanair flight is something I actively try and avoid, particularly after the cancellations of flights at the back end of last year that left passengers stranded and stuck making alternative arrangements.

Of course, for research purposes and, because I'm tight and didn't want to shell out a couple of extra quid at the time of booking (before these changes came in), I accepted the inconvenience of travelling with Ryanair, just this once. Now I'm regretting my decision.

As I sit crammed into the middle seat (I like the window), on reflection, I can now honestly say I'd rather pay the extra and fly with another airline, than forego the frustrations of Ryanair's new policies.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Quick list: where to find a bite to eat in Hong Kong

First timers to Hong Kong may find it difficult when trying to find a place to sit down for just a bite to eat. 

There are numerous choices to suit every budget. This is just a quick list with a handful of recommendations from my recent trip to Hong Kong, which may come in handy if it's your first time visiting.

Top tip: don't just eat dim sum, although do try it and eat plenty if you enjoy it.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

7 specialities to savour; all made in Taiwan

I remember when it seemed like everything was made in Taiwan. Plastic items, dolls, computer parts; all with the same little 'Made in Taiwan' label.

Back then it didn't really dawn on me that Taiwan was much more than a gigantic factory, or that its status as a country was so ambiguous.

These days everything is made in China, as Taiwan advanced quickly to a creation industry and those labels were replaced by 'Designed in Taiwan'. It's now the original technology pieces that dominate the export markets.

However there are some things that are originally Taiwanese, still made there, and are worth tracking down if you visit. All food stuffs of course...

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Where to visit in 2018

The 2018 recommendations from Lonely Planet (countries and cities) and Rough Guides (destinations) make interesting reading as always, and in fact, I'm able to second a few of those for sure.

As for my own list of where to visit in 2018 - it's hard to start a new year without compiling more than one. Of course I've already planned most of my travels over the next 12 months, leaving room for a little last minute flexibility as well - I'm anticipating the highlight will be India as a return visit is planned (hopefully, if the Taj is uncovered after it's recent clean up).

Rather than share my New Year resolutions, now is a good moment to look back on this time last year, whether or not my plans were ever fulfilled and share a few recommendations.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

How many countries are there?

Most people like to compare or compete in the number of countries they have visited. However, I'm not the competitive type. So, I used to have to sit and count how many countries I had visited, each time someone asked me the question. 

These days I'm not inclined to share my 'number' unless someone particularly cites an interest.

For me it's about the stories. Of course I'm going to tick things off my bucket list just like any other traveller. But the numbers don't mean much on their own. If I revisit a place I can build on an experience or share a view of how it used to be. Who cares whether I've made double figures or the Travelers Century Club; the latter only exists to make money from its members which takes all the fun out of counting in my view.

If we have to talk numbers, what's interesting is the rather complex process in which one has to go through to determine exactly how many countries have been ticked off so far. It seems to change every year, and is dependent on which governmental, academic, or agency organisation is validating the claims.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Dubrovnik 6 years on: and tips to avoid the crowds

Back in 2011, when I first visited Dubrovnik, in Croatia, it was much less touristy than it is today. Despite this, the number of visitors to this UNESCO site was still fairly high.

As I stood at the main entrance calculating the ticket price to climb the walls, I quickly determined that the contents of my blue spined guide book, should be read with caution. Prices were double, which confirmed my view regarding the speed at which information can become out of date and possibly behind the times. As a budget traveller, in those days, this wasn't ideal.

Six years on and today, at 20 Euros, a climb along those same city walls is still the highlight of a visit to Dubrovnik, so you wouldn't want to miss it. Plan a visit with caution as it's not the cheapest destination in Europe, by far.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Plan a visit to Albania before it changes

Not many people have been to Albania it seems. In fact I was surprised at how few seem to know where it is.

Bordering with Greece, Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia, Albania is often overlooked. Being so close to the likes of Croatia and Italy, it would be difficult not to assume some similarities to those destinations, as they were maybe some 20 or 30 years ago.

Of course Albania is not undiscovered, but the infrastructure and tourism is still in its infancy, making it a great destination to experience ahead of the crowds.

When Albania successfully joins the EU, having yet to be accepted following it's application in 2009, there's a strong chance of it following in the footsteps the likes of Croatia; at least in respect of tourism.

So, of course I'm suggesting you visit as soon as possible. My 'Impressions of Albania' post gives a flavour of what to expect, but here's a little more info to help you plan a visit there.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

5 small island escapes in south-east Asia

With a lifetime of adventure, south-east Asia is way up on my recommendations list. At this time of year as we start preparing to scrape ice off our windscreens before work, it's the palm fringed islands that I would suggest if you are planning an escape.

Throughout south-east Asia many islands are becoming so popular they are falling foul of over development and this sadly applies to some of the smaller, lesser known islands too.

Backpackers can still find budget accommodation, but more and more islands are becoming less and less affordable, unless you are looking a little more towards the top end and often all inclusive options.

When planning an island visit I recommend you consider some of my favourites, before they become over developed and unrecognisable.