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# Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Travelodge will open 22 new hotels before Christmas. The hotel chain is benefiting from the credit crunch as people seek lower cost accommodation. Travelodge will spend £125m on the new hotels which are part of its plans to increase its number to 1,000 hotels by 2020. The move will create 450 jobs. Travelodge already has 339 hotels in the UK and 11 overseas.

posted on Wednesday, October 29, 2008 4:08:08 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Trackback

The budget airline Sterling has collapsed because of financial problems. Two flights to Billund in Denmark were scrapped at Gatwick airport as well as three to Copenhagen and one to Stockholm. The carrier has warned people that have booked direct through the website that they will not get a refund. Around 500 to 700 passengers are thought to be affected. Those who have booked by credit card have been told to contact their credit card company.

posted on Wednesday, October 29, 2008 1:55:58 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Trackback
# Tuesday, October 28, 2008

blogoftheweek_thumb This weeks Travel Blog of the Week is Slow Europe written by Pauline Kenny and Steve Cohen. The blog as the name suggests looks at travel within Europe and offers a number of interesting articles. The most recent post starts with an open letter to vacation rental agencies and vacation rental owners and asks "Please, Tell us who you are!". The post highlights the fact that many vacation rental websites do not give any information about the owners of the accommodation and often don't include prices and availability meaning you need to email them to find out vital information. The good news, however, is that there are some websites that do this rather well and these are highlighted in the article. The Castle Montalto website is recommended for this reason. It gives a photo of the owners and some background information. You can even see a picture of the person who will meet you when you arrive and the name of the pet dog. The names of the two cats, however, are not mentioned, shame, cats have feelings too. Still, the main thing is that with these recommendations you should be able to plan your perfect holiday before you go instead of leaving things to chance.

Another post looks at how to make your own European style bread. Although she confesses to being an inexperienced baker Pauline appears to have perfected the recipe and gives a step by guide that even the worst cooks amongst us should be able to follow and if the photos are not enough there are videos as well. The important thing appears to be using a mix of whole wheat and white flour. You then to need to make up the dough and let it rest before shaping it into a ball. Unusually no kneading is required the bread is simply left to rise for a couple of hours before baking in a covered pot. It looks great I will certainly be trying this out at home.

posted on Tuesday, October 28, 2008 5:37:22 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Trackback
# Thursday, October 23, 2008

An airline pilot has been arrested at Heathrow airport on suspicion of being drunk. The United Airlines pilot was scheduled to fly to San Francisco but was led off the plane after a breath test. It is thought that the police had been tipped off by a member of the ground staff who suspected the pilot had been drinking before the flight. The man has been released on bail  and asked to return to Heathrow police station on January 16 pending further enquiries.

posted on Thursday, October 23, 2008 9:18:41 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New plans could mean that George Best Belfast City Airport will have an extra 3,000 scheduled flights. The plans would mean that an additional 0.5m passengers would be able to use the airport every year. The airport will also be subject to tighter regulations on noise and activity levels. Local residents groups have reacted angrily to the plans for more flights.

posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2008 8:47:53 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Tuesday, October 21, 2008

British Airways and Virgin will cut their fuel charges in response to falling oil prices. The charges will be cut by up to £13 for most passengers as the airlines pass the reductions onto their customers. Whist the charges will be cut in their two cheapest classes those who fly in classes above Virgin's premium economy and BA's World Traveller Plus will not see a reduction.

posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2008 2:54:57 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Monday, October 20, 2008

The Spanish airline LTE International has suspended operations because of serious financial difficulties. LTE stopped taking bookings last Thursday after it announced it could not cover costs for the next few days. The company said that several thousand passengers had been affected by the cancellation of flights. Some customers were also stranded in Spain. LTE currently run flights from Spain to the UK, Italy and Saudi Arabia. They employ 300 staff and have a fleet of seven Airbus 320s. The company has said that it will refund the cost of stranded customers flights but that it is unable to provide alternative transport. It has also said that around 3500 LTE passengers had their charter flights from Tenerife to Europe cancelled and that tour operators are legally obliged to find these passengers an alternative carrier.

posted on Monday, October 20, 2008 12:30:34 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Sunday, October 19, 2008

blogoftheweek_thumbThis weeks Travel Blog of the Week is TravelGearBlog. The blog as the name suggests is  concerned with stuff you might need when you are travelling and it contains useful reviews of various travel related products. One of the more recent reviews looks at lightload towels pictured right. These are pocket sized that expand when you get them wet. They come in a dish towel size and a full beach towel size and are super absorbent, quick drying and biodegradable. According to the article they also roll up smaller than a regular towel even after you have used it. They sound like a great space saving idea and at just $6.95 won't break the bank, they get a 10 out 10 rating from TravelGearBlog so its certainly something I will be packing for my next trip.

A product that gets a slightly lower rating scoring only 5 out of 10 is TravelSmith's Disposable Briefs. According to the review the briefs are made out of lightweight cotton and look and feel like regular briefs. The only difference is that they are biodegradable so you can wear and wash them a few times and then simply throw them out with very little environmental impact. The initial reaction of the reviewer is that the product is a little unnecessary but upon further consideration they reach the conclusion that the product could be useful on a backpacking trip when saving space is a concern. They also have the advantage that you can dispose of them before you fly home leaving more space for an extra souvenir. Apparently the same company also makes disposable socks.

steripen Another product that receives a very good review is the SteriPEN Traveler Handheld Water Purifier. This device is a pocket sized travel ready UV powered water purifier. It works by submerging the mini UV flashlight in water for 45 to 60 seconds. Any viruses and bacteria living in the water are then killed, in fact it kills 99.9999% of bacteria. The reviewer points out that the device has the advantage of being quicker and easier the using a pump filter and without the aftertaste of iodine pills. The only drawback seems to be that the device is battery powered but you can purchase a solar charger accessory separately.

These are just a few products highlighted on this blog but it has a wealth of information on a variety of products and is well worth checking out before purchasing any travel gear for your next trip.

posted on Sunday, October 19, 2008 7:29:56 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Thursday, October 16, 2008

This article suggests that rail passengers are likely to see above inflation fare rises coupled with more overcrowding. Despite fares rising by as much as 20 per cent last year, overcrowding increased on may routes. Passengers on routes into London are likely to see increased overcrowding at peak times until plans to increase capacity can be carried out.

posted on Thursday, October 16, 2008 12:52:24 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A man who attempted to hijack a Turkish Airlines plane was overpowered by fellow passengers. The man had claimed to have a bomb but he was quickly subdued by other passengers. No explosives were discovered on the man who was reportedly drunk. He was taken off the plane and arrested by Russian police. No one was injured in the incident.

posted on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 11:47:26 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Monday, October 13, 2008

blogoftheweek_thumb This weeks Travel Blog of the Week is Travel Wonders of the World. The blog was created with the aim of bringing together in one place what the author believes are the true wonders of the world. One of the more recent posts which is in two parts looks at Machu Picchu (lost city of the Incas) in Peru. Part Two of the article provides a useful map to help guide you around the site with an in depth description of the various parts of the city and pictures of some of the main features of the Inca city. Part one of the same article gives an overall picture of how the city would have functioned with different areas being set aside for the nobles and leaders and residential areas for the rest of the population. The article also points out that the Incans understood how to build their structures to withstand tremors  and that many of the structures are precisely aligned to the equinoxes. The detailed information combined with a number of pictures makes for a very informative and interesting read.

Photo Vermont Fall1 Another article looks at fall in New England and the stunning array of colours that the season brings (pictured left). The author describes the local past time of leaf peeping where newspapers publish a daily map to help people pin point the best locations to see the vibrant colours and travellers sneak down little known back roads to try and get a better view of the vibrant autumn colours.

A slightly more humorous article looks at Australia's obsession of all things big. The author here, highlights the Big Pineapple, the Big Banana, the Big Potato, The Giant Earthworm and The Big Crab just to name a few. It certainly seems that Australia is the place to go if you want to have your photo taken with something big.

posted on Monday, October 13, 2008 4:05:21 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Friday, October 10, 2008

Thousands of bus workers will stage a 24 hour strike over pay starting today. Staff at First, Metroline and Metrobus will walkout in a move that is expected to cause widespread disruption. Unite has called the strike in support of a campaign for a single pay rate of £30,000 per week for drivers. The rate currently varies among the 18 bus companies by up to £6,000. The dispute may escalate as Unite is currently balloting workers in other bus companies for industrial action later this month.

posted on Friday, October 10, 2008 8:23:20 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Thursday, October 9, 2008

Easyjet has been flying more passengers despite the economic downturn. Passenger numbers rose 22% between September 2007 and last month. Easyjet have also said that their planes are fuller than last year with aircraft being 86.9% full in September, 2% higher than the same month in 2007. Although the firm has been hit by high oil prices and is facing an increase of £185m to its annual fuel bill, the company is hoping to offset around 50% of the oil price by carrying more customers.

posted on Thursday, October 9, 2008 2:28:09 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Wednesday, October 8, 2008

BA has revealed a 5% drop in passenger numbers in just one month as passengers start to feel the effects of the economic situation. The number of passengers flying with BA dropped by 5.6% last month with 160,000 fewer flying than usual. 2.9 million passengers flew with BA last month compared to 2.96 million in September 2007. BA have said that bookings for future flights are being affected by anxiety in the financial markets and the uncertain economic outlook.

posted on Wednesday, October 8, 2008 2:20:49 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Tuesday, October 7, 2008

We have recently had some problems with customers not receiving email confirmation when their letter has been sent. The majority of the time this is caused by overzealous spam filters catching the automated emails that are sent from our system. If you do not receive a confirmation email to show that your letter has been sent then this might have been moved to your junk email folder by your spam filter. Customers can also check the status of letters by logging into their account. Any letters that have been sent will appear under the sent items tab once they have been passed to the postal service.

posted on Tuesday, October 7, 2008 2:15:51 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Sunday, October 5, 2008

blogoftheweek_thumb This weeks Travel Blog of the Week is soultravelers3. The blog follows the travels of a family of three who have sold their home to travel the world. The family have now been travelling for a couple of years and as you can imagine during this time have built up a wealth of useful tips. One post that contains some useful tips for family travel is entitled Top 10 Family Travel Tips. The post recommends using an RV when travelling because its a great way of saving money as you can stay in campgrounds overnight rather than having to find cash for expensive B&B's or hotels. Another recommendation is to combine the use of an RV with some extended stays at a more permanent rental home. The tip here is to try and book off season to cut costs and if possible to choose a village house rather a country house so you are not too isolated and can connect with the local community better. Another tip includes having someone at home that you can use as a snail mail address to handle any parcels that you might need to receive. Of course for letters you can always sign up for a PC2Paper mailbox and we can make these available for you to read online. Other useful posts on the blog include How to Eat Healthy & Cheap Traveling Europe, How to do Extended Travel & Mini retirements and Dentists and Travel.

posted on Sunday, October 5, 2008 9:43:44 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback
# Friday, October 3, 2008

According to this article if you are caught driving in France without a reflective jacket and a warning triangle you could face a fine. The equipment which is not a legal requirement in the UK must be carried in the vehicle under French law. People who do not have it will have to pay a fine of between £70 and £110 whilst the cost of purchasing the kit can be as little as £29.99. The French authorities have been accused of specifically targeting UK registered cars because many UK drivers are unaware of the requirement. Under French law vehicles must have at least one reflective jacket for the driver although many French families carry a jecket for each member of the family.

posted on Friday, October 3, 2008 4:56:12 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Trackback