Suite dreams at sea

My motto for all travel is to do what you can comfortably afford to do. As I’ve written, if you want to fly business- or first-class, and you have the money to do it, don’t let anybody persuade you otherwise.

First-class cabin on the Titanic (origin unknown)

The difference between business and economy class on a plane — especially on long-haul flights — is painfully obvious. That is, the ever-more-cramped economy-class seats will induce pain; the lie-flat options up front will not. Continue reading Suite dreams at sea

A dummy’s guide to travel

I recently read an online guide to budget travel that really got my goat*, as my granny used to say.

Spending more is sometimes worth it

It also got me thinking about all the bad travel advice I’ve read online, and how some of it ought to be challenged. Which is what I’m about to do.

Continue reading A dummy’s guide to travel

Gratuitous advice about tipping

Tipping is a way of life in some parts of the world, and something to be avoided in other places. Travellers soon learn whether they need to tip or not.

Do you need to tip on ships?

But it’s on the high seas where things get confusing. Cruise holidays bring together passengers from all parts of the world, and there is often no consensus about how much, or even whether, they should tip.

Continue reading Gratuitous advice about tipping

Keeping it clean

I wouldn’t normally write about a press release announcing that a cruise line, or other travel company, had won some kind of award or distinction.

ms Eurodam (hollandamerica.com)

However, this is different. Holland America Line has announced that its ms Eurodam has registered a particular achievement for the 11th consecutive time. And that should interest everyone who has ever cruised, or has ever contemplated a cruise holiday.

Continue reading Keeping it clean

A premium flight experience

In the current climate of austerity, many people are thinking twice about paying for business-class airfares.

Emirates is introducing a premium economy option on some flights

As I’ve argued before, if you can afford to fly business and you want to, nothing should stop you from treating yourself. However, if it’s going to break the bank, you don’t have to totally slum it in the ever-tighter economy or “basic economy” seats.

Continue reading A premium flight experience

Death of the travel agent?

The demise of the bricks-and-mortar travel agency has been predicted ever since airline and hotel bookings first became available online.

(thomascook.com)

But these shopfronts have been quite resilient, and there are still many to be found in shopping malls and high streets.

However, the numbers are slowly declining, with reports that the venerable Thomas Cook is to close 39 stores in the United Kingdom. That will still, however, leave 719 open for business under that brand alone. Continue reading Death of the travel agent?

World’s cheapest, and dearest, cities

Zurich, Switzerland, is the most expensive place on Earth for tourists, according to research by airport transfer company Hoppa.

Sofia (bulgariatravel.org)

And the cheapest of 84 cities rated is Sofia in Bulgaria. The survey threw up quite a few surprises.

Continue reading World’s cheapest, and dearest, cities

Stream while you fly

Is this the beginning of the end of dedicated in-flight entertainment? Some airlines have already announced plans to remove seat-back screens since almost everybody has their own mobile device.

(Qantas Newsroom)

Now Australian airline Qantas has announced that its onboard Wi-Fi will enable passengers to stream Netflix, Foxtel and Spotify content on domestic flights.

Continue reading Stream while you fly

How much for a hotel room?

Here’s a interesting exercise. Go into a hotel without a booking and ask: “How much does a  room cost?” You may as well ask the length of a piece of string.*

How much for a bed for the night?

The answer to both questions is: it depends. In the case of the hotel room, while there is a “rack rate” for each room there are several factors that will influence what you will actually be charged.

Continue reading How much for a hotel room?

Where’s the romance?

Followers of this site will know that I have a love-hate relationship with lists. As a journalist, I know such offering as “the 10 best …” or “20 most exciting…” or “12 cheapest..,” are popular with readers.

Barcelona

But, as an educated and rational person, I know that nobody is in the position to offer the best of anything, unless they’ve tried everything — and nobody has.

Continue reading Where’s the romance?

Mind your behaviour

The simplest advice for people who are travelling or living in a foreign country is: be on your best behaviour. if not, you may face the full force of the law — or, in Vietnam, a public shaming.

Hanoi (vietnamtourism.com)

Residents, foreign students, expats and tourists in Hanoi will be “named and shamed” in the media is they dress or behave inappropriately.

Continue reading Mind your behaviour

What does a basic airfare buy?

There’s no doubt that budget airlines have shaken up the airline industry. With their cheap fares, they have allowed many people to have their first experience of flying.

(aa.com)

But it’s also the case that no-frills flight isn’t for everybody. After all, budget carriers often have minimise onboard comforts, and put a price on extras, such as onboard food and drinks, and luggage space. And they sometimes use smaller, out-of-the-way airports, increasing travelling time.

So, why would the full-service carriers want to emulate them?

Continue reading What does a basic airfare buy?

Getting tough on air ragers

I’m pleased to report that a judge  in the United Kingdom has taken a tough stance over misbehaviour onboard an aircraft.

(jet2.com)

According to The Telegraph, a man who took control of the intercom on a Jet2 flight as it was about to land in Tenerife and shouted “What does it take to get a —-ing drink in this place?” has been jailed for seven months.

Continue reading Getting tough on air ragers