# Thursday, May 31, 2007

If you are taking your car abroad you should check your motor insurance to make sure you are covered, that’s according to this article. Most drivers do not realise that their comprehensive policy does not apply when driving outside the UK. Apparently only one in ten policies include European breakdown cover and policies that do include it will often only give third party cover when driving outside the UK. So if you are planning on taking your car abroad it’s sensible to call your insurer to make sure you are covered before you go.

posted on Thursday, May 31, 2007 1:38:03 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Mail to parts of Derbyshire will be delayed following a localised postal strike. The strike will last for four days from Wednesday 30th of May to Saturday 2nd June when normal service will be resumed. The strike is as part of a protest at the closure of Heanor sorting office.

posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 2:39:14 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Have you been somewhere interesting recently. Do you have a travel story you want to share? Or perhaps some advice that will help other travellers. Then we want to hear from you. You can submit your travel stories by emailing us 

posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2007 12:46:53 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Fees can really mount up when using your debit card abroad. It doesn't help when you think your card is free to use and then find out that you have been charged a fee after all. HSBC advertise the fact that their debit cards are free from transaction fees when used abroad. They do however, charge 2.75% on top of the exchange rate for overseas withdrawals which they say is not a fee, its simply how they calculate their exchange rate. It sounds like a fee to me.

posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2007 12:19:19 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, May 28, 2007

If you've traveled a lot and have spent time in extortionately charged Internet cafe's trying to read your email and sending letters from the Internet  you've probably decided to start taking your laptop with you and making use of WiFi hotspots instead.

WiFi hotspots enable you to connect to the Internet from your own laptop or WiFi enabled device usually for a small fee and in some cases for free. I signed up with BT OpenZone which enables me to access the Internet from various WiFi hotspots world wide for a monthly fee which works out considerably cheaper than using an Internet cafe.

Accessing a WiFi hotspot is usually a simple affair and involves you turning on your computer and accessing any web page which will redirect you to the WiFi providers website. If they are one of the larger providers such as T-Mobile or BT OpenZone they'll provide you with a login screen to login to their service, or if you are from another service provider you are sometimes given the option to log into that service via them. If you don't have an account you can usually sign up for an account online or just buy time online, usually in 1 hour increments. After you are logged in, most WiFi providers will display a status page showing you how much time you have left online. 

If you would like to find WiFi hot spots in the location you will be traveling, sites such as WiFinder and BT OpenZone  are a valuable resource.

posted on Monday, May 28, 2007 1:20:58 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, May 25, 2007

As usual when we have a Bank Holiday in the UK, the volume of traffic increases on the roads, often meaning total gridlock. You can try to avoid this by planning your journey in advance to avoide traffic blackspots. The Guardian has a useful guide to areas that are expected to have large volumes of traffic. You can also plan your route using the RAC's journey planner, which helps you to avoid traffic blackspots.

For those people planning to travel by train this weekend, you might want to refer to this list of planned engineering works from National Rail as many works are carried out over the weekend leading to further disruption.

posted on Friday, May 25, 2007 11:25:06 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Monday 28th of May is a bank holiday in the UK. This means that there is no postal collections. Any mail sent after 11am on Saturday 26th of May will be processed and posted on Tuesday 29th of May.

posted on Friday, May 25, 2007 11:18:23 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

The City of Derry Airport has been closed because of safety concerns after problems were found with runway drainage and bird conrtrol in the area. Ryanair have now cancelled all flights to and from the airport as of Midnight on Friday 25th May. Any passengers booked on flights are advised to contact their airline for a refund.

posted on Friday, May 25, 2007 10:05:55 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ryanair announced today that it will fly to 13 more destinations from Bristol International Airport. The extra flights will start in November and are expected to produce a fivefold increase in passenger numbers at Bristol. The new destinations are Bratislava, Budapest, Derry, Dinard, Katowice, Knock, Milan, Porto, Poznan, Riga, Rzeszow, Salzburg and Wroclaw. With these new budget flights it seems like the ideal time to book a long weekend away.

posted on Thursday, May 24, 2007 4:34:42 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Still on a holiday theme I came across this article on thisismoney about the cheapest destinations for UK travellers taking into account the current exchange rates. Apparently you can currently get the most for your pounds by heading to countries such as South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. This is because the pound has strengthened greatly against those local currencies within the past year. For example a pound will now get you 12.8 rand, 10% more than this time last year. It’s a different story though if you are thinking of heading off to Eastern Europe you are 13.6% worse off than last year.

The same article has an interesting section about using credit and debit cards abroad. Last time I went abroad I was aware that there would be a charge for overseas transactions but didn’t really pay much attention to what the charges were. It was a bit a surprise to see how the charges had mounted up just in one week. The article contains a handy table comparing what providers charge for overseas transactions. Interestingly enough if you have a credit card from the Nationwide or the Post Office they do not charge you at all. Most other credit card providers have a 2.75% charge when used overseas. Likewise with debit cards most companies charge not only for making card purchases but also to withdraw cash. This is where I got out with my Bank who charges 1.5% on every foreign withdrawal. Once again Nationwide does not charge its customers for overseas transactions. It might be time to open another account to use when going on vacation. I’m sure in the long run it will help save a lot in unnecessary fees.

posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 3:40:36 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, May 21, 2007

This was my first trip to Ireland and although most of our time was spent at a friends wedding, I left with the intention of going back again for a longer stay. It definitely wasn’t the weather that made my stay enjoyable, it basically rained on and off all weekend. I did however find it refreshing to be surrounded by beautiful countryside instead of feeling rather crammed in as we tend to be back in London. One thing that immediately struck me was that every person we came across whilst in Ireland greeted you with a cheery good morning or a friendly wave. Back in London, things are slightly different, if you even so much as glance at another person on the bus or train, you are met with a blank, unfriendly look.

During this visit we hired a self catering cottage from Dream Ireland. The cottage is located in the grounds of the Mount Wolseley Hilton Hotel. It included a double room with en-suite bathroom, two rooms with twin beds and a third room with a single bed. It also had another bathroom and toilet as well as kitchen and large living/dining area. In fact it was much bigger than our house and cost 420 Euros, that’s about £287. I was very impressed with the accommodation offered for the price and you also had the option to use the hotels pool, spa and gym. The cottage also had the advantage of being located within an easy five minutes from the main hotel which has several restaurants serving food for most of the day and several bars which were open until very late.

The atmosphere in the hotels bar was a welcome change from a smoky pub; smoking having already been banned in public places in Ireland. On the night we arrived, at nearly midnight, we were surprised to find the hotel’s main bar still open and the locals enjoying a good singsong well into the early hours of the morning. In fact they were still singing when we left at three in the morning. In all it was an enjoyable few days and I will definitely be going back.

posted on Monday, May 21, 2007 9:16:05 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback

I and my husband are heading off to Ireland this weekend for a friends wedding. It always occurs to me when going away how much easier it is for men to pack. They simply pack a pair of jeans and a pair of trousers and a couple of tops. My packing dilemma goes something like this. We are going away for 4 days. The first day we are at the wedding, so I have my dress and shoes, but what if it is cold, I might need a jacket. The next day I will need something casual to wear during the day, so I pack jeans and trainers, but wait I am going out in the evening, will I need something smart? So I pack a skirt and top, but what if it’s too cold for a skirt… I pack trousers. The thing is trousers require different shoes to a skirt so I pack my smart boots as well as my strappy shoes. Ok, the bag is starting to get heavier at this point and thats before I think about day three. Men have it easy. 

posted on Monday, May 21, 2007 9:15:05 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback