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March 2009

Holiday In The World's Most Expensive Hotel Rooms

Posted March 25, 2009 by BookingBuddy

Palmisland These days, with the world’s economies plunging ever deeper into recession, most people tend to opt for cheaper holiday deals. Most people, that is, except for the super-rich. Let’s face it, money is no object to this select group, and they can still afford to splurge on luxury hotel rooms decked out with giant rotating beds, private elevators and gold chandeliers.
If you fancy having at go at what it feels like to be super-rich for a day, then perhaps its time to take out a mortgage and book yourself into one of these hotels?

1 - Have you ever wondered what it was like to live like a Playboy? Well, try and get yourself a cheap flight to where else but Sin City itself. Once you get a cheap flight to Las Vegas, head to the Palm Fantasy Towers and book yourself into the Hugh Hefner Sky Villa. The suite, spread over two floors, is decorated in the same style as the Playboy Mansion, and includes round the clock butler service, a shower big enough for eight people, an eight-foot wide rotating bed, and even a steam room and gym. While the Playboy patriarch stays there for free, you’ll have to cough up US$40 000 per night for the privilege (and you’ll have to provide your own bunnies too).

2 – If Playboy living isn’t your cup of tea, how about looking for a cheap flight to the Bahamas? Make your way over to the Atlantis Resort and check in to the Bridge Suite. This sweet suite spans the whole 23rd floor of the resort, providing you with an eagle's eye view of the Bahamas. Your £18 000 per night gets you two entertainment centres, seven private staff, and of course, a gold chandelier.

3 – Or, you can make your way over to the Atlantis’ new sister resort on the Palm Islands in Dubai, and check out what the Bridge suite is like over there instead. You may only get three bedrooms even after paying £25 000, but at least you’ll be eating your dinner off an 18 seat, gold leaf coated dining table. To help your digest the meal prepared by your personal chef, why not make your way down the private elevator to an aquarium filled with dolphins and sharks? Find cheap flights to Dubai here

How to bag a cheap holiday.

Posted March 19, 2009 by Jaklien van Melick

470x303 It looks like this credit crunch is long from over, so I am just going to keep coming with the cheap travel tips. Like you, I refuse to stay at home because of the financial situation so here are some tips to find great budget travel deals.

  1. You still need to buy groceries, so why not save for a holiday while you shop for food and get a Nectar card or Tesco Club card? With the Nectar scheme you can use your points towards trips with Expedia and the Tesco Club Card scheme lets you redeem Tesco vouchers for British Airways miles or Airmiles.

  2. Another good way to save for cheap flights while spending money is to get a credit card that is linked to an airline frequent flyer programme or hotel loyalty scheme. Both British Airways and British Midland for instance work with American Express and sometimes you already get points for just signing up.

  3. If you are not too fussed about where you go on your next trip you might want to wait till a few days before departure to book. Most tour operators will try to fill up empty seats and hotel rooms by dropping a lot of their prices at the last minute. This is a great way for you to bag a cheap holiday package or a cheap flight.

  4. Or what about booking a courier flight? When I read about this it smelled like illegal drug trafficking  and  I already pictured myself behind bars in some South American correctional institution. However, it appears that you can book these with some of the major airlines such as British Airways.  Check with their reservations department for more information on these cheap flights.

  5. For the true adventurers out there this might be an interesting idea. Some tour operators look for people who are willing to try out their new tours. You not only get to travel to some undiscovered places, but they also let you try out these tours for a fraction of the normal price.  Check out www.wildfrontiers.co.uk for more information and book yourself a cheap tour package.

(Photo: theage.com.au)

How To Stay Abroad For Free

Posted March 17, 2009 by BookingBuddy

470x303 The credit crunch may mean that more of us are cutting down on luxuries, but that doesn’t mean you have to do without a holiday. After all, what better way is there to take your mind off financial misery than by escaping to a far away place, where you don’t have to be in front of the TV or computer if you don’t feel like it?
And these days, it doesn’t even have to cost a lot to escape. Flying on a low-cost carrier ensures you’ll get a cheap flight almost anywhere you wish. And once you’re at your destination, just follow these money-saving tips and you’ll even be able to bag some free accommodation for yourself.

Couchsurfing – Couchsurfing’s popularity has been on the rise for the past few years. The basic idea is to offer up a bed (or in this case, a couch) and in turn, you get a free couch to crash out on when you’re travelling. There’s more to it than free accommodation, though. You’ll often get a host who’ll show you around and provide a deeper insight into the local culture than what you’d get lounging around a resort. Some hosts may even go beyond the call of duty - one of my Icelandic hosts once drove a friend and I six hours from their tiny town up north to Reykjavik.

House-swapping – Pretty similar to couchsurfing, except you get an entire house instead of just a convertible couch. House-swapping is also a great money-saver, providing you with all the comforts of home while letting you discover much more than you probably would have. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to stay somewhere really swanky like an ocean-side house in Los Angeles with it’s own private beach. Find cheap flights to Los Angeles here

Camping in the wild – Most campsites charge for staying in what is essentially a fenced off, often overcrowded carpark. So why not camp in the wild instead? It’s not only free, but you’re often by yourself, with only Mother Nature for company. There are a few basic rules to remember though – try to camp away from livestock, don’t build any open fires, and leave the place as it was when you found it.

(Photo: theage.com.au)

Share Your Top 5 Best and Worst Travel Experiences.

Posted March 15, 2009 by Jaklien van Melick

470x303  It is always exciting to come home after a trip and share your travel stories with friends and family. After many years of travelling around the world for both business and pleasure I have told many of them. But sometimes it is one single experience that makes your holiday the trip of a lifetime or the journey to hell. So here are my top 5’s of the best and the worst of my travel memories around the globe.

The best 5:

  1. Making my Spanish teacher cry of happiness and her daughter jump for joy by giving them each a bottle of non branded perfume in Santiago de Cuba. The most gratifying reaction to a present ever!
  2. Being serenaded in Dutch by a group of village children in the mountains near Chiang Rai in Thailand. It still puzzles me how they knew the Dutch lyrics, given the fact that we were in the middle of nowhere...
  3. Riding the train in Indonesia. Not inside the train, but on the roof. A bit like riding a rollercoaster, but the views were amazing.
  4. Opening the door of an outhouse in the Australian Outback and finding it occupied. By a kangaroo!
  5. Coming home. Always the best part of the trip.


The worst 5:

  1. Driving from New York City to Canada in a heavy snowstorm for hours and hours only to slide into a ditch 5 miles before arriving at our destination.
  2. Riding on a cockroach infested sleeper coach in Mexico. I can still feel them crawling through my hair.
  3. Running out of fuel on a little motorboat 10 miles out off the coast of Nacula in Fiji. And sitting mid ocean for about 4 hours in the scorching sun. Got a really good tan that day!
  4. Having enjoyed a great meal in Brazil, only to find out that I had just eaten bull’s testicles.
  5. Coming home. Always the worst part of the trip.


So now that I have shared my top 5’s, I am curious to hear about your funny most memorable and/or most shocking horror holiday stories. So feel free to share them with me!

(Photo: theage.com.au)

Cheap Eat Ideas While on Holidays.

Posted March 11, 2009 by Jaklien van Melick

Kids-food

Are you always spending way too much money on food when you are on holidays?

True, eating out at restaurants three times a day for one or two weeks in a row can cost you an arm and
a leg. But there are ways around it and it doesn’t mean you have to live on dry bread and water.
If you follow my tips you will be able to eat like a king or a queen on your next holiday.

Tip 1: When you book your cheap hotel, always make sure that breakfast is included. On the continent breakfast is usually served buffet style, so you can really fill up. Everybody knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so if you really fill up, you might be able to hold out till dinner. Tip: Bring a big bag and sneak some fruit or small rolls to snack on later in the day.

Tip 2: book self catering accommodation and prepare your own meals. I find that this is not only a cheap way of eating while on holidays, but it is also a great cultural experience to discover the produce at the local supermarkets and farmer’s markets. It is also a safe option for you picky eaters if you don’t want to be surprised by the local cuisine.

Tip 3: Another option is of course fast food and take out. And no, I am not talking about Micky D or the King. When travelling to the Netherlands for instance, try out the local snack bars and have a friet met. (Chips with mayonnaise) Ad a kroket or frikandel from the snack vending machine and you have got yourself a real Dutch meal for less than £3. Or when in Bangkok try eating at the street stalls. It is quick, inexpensive and much more interesting than having your dinner in the normal tourist hangouts.

Tip 4: BYO or bring your own
. Especially if you are camping this is a good idea, however if you are flying to some far flung destination and are only allowed to bring one bag, then this will seriously limit the number of shoes you can bring.

So my advice: stick with options 1,2 and 3.

(Photo: Reuters)

 

Staying Healthy Inflight

Posted March 11, 2009 by BookingBuddy

470x303 You might be feeling pretty lucky right now. After all, you’ve had your fill of all the street food India had to offer, and still managed to leave the country without even a twinge of the infamous Delhi-belly as a souvenir.
However, before you lean back in your seat on the plane and start feeling smug about your guts of steel, you might want to take some inflight precautions. After all, sharing the air with a couple of hundred others in an enclosed tin can for several hours can have its side effects. Here are some tips to make sure you don’t end your trip on a down note.

Try not to travel if you’re down with a cold, flu or sinus infection. Cabin pressure can make your symptoms feel much worse, by leaving you with a painful, blocked up feeling in your head. Also, flying sick is not only bad on your health, but disrespectful to other passengers too. After all, they’re sharing the same air as you (and probably will have to for the next several hours), which makes them susceptible to any germs you may be handing out. On that same note, it may be a good idea to take a dose of vitamins before you board your flight, as there may be others on the plane who may be sharing their sniffles with you.

Keep hydrated throughout the flight. The air in a plane cabin is notoriously low in humidity, and can often leave you feeling parched. Alcohol and coffee both have a diuretic effect and can cause headaches, and therefore should be avoided. If you do decide to have some, it is important to remember to drink lots of water to compensate.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and blood clots can affect passengers, especially during long-haul flights, and the best way to avoid this is to stretch and move about as often as you’re able to. The best way to achieve this is to ask for an aisle seat at check-in, which eliminates the potentially awkward situation of climbing over another person. Try to walk up and down the aisle at least once an hour. Also consider taking a pair of compression socks with you, which is supposed to help combat DVT.

These tips may not guarantee that you’ll be totally healthy during and after your flight, but they will at least ensure you have a safer and more comfortable journey the next time you fly.

Check here for cheap flights to Delhi

(Photo: guardian.co.uk)

Looking for Cheap Accommodation in Europe? Go camping!

Posted March 6, 2009 by Jaklien van Melick

470x303 Now that you’ve booked your cheap flight for your next trip to Europe all that is left is the cheap accommodation. Staying at a nice hotel could hike up the cost of your holiday quite substantially and really, why should you spend bags of money on accommodation when all you do there is sleep anyways? So here is a suggestion, why not go camping? Not only is it a lot cheaper than staying at a hotel, but you will also make your trip a lot greener. And no 5-star resort can compete with falling asleep under a sky full of stars. So get the old tent down from the attic (or buy one) and check out these camping options.

If you want to rough it and pitch a tent in the wild, you should head to Scandinavia where they allow you to camp pretty much everywhere you want. In Norway and Sweden you don’t need any permits from local authorities, as long as you stay outside of cities and off farm pastures. Anywhere else is fine. Price: Free.

If you want to feel close to Mother Nature but still appreciate to have access to running water, staying on the grounds of a farm might be an option for you. In France and in the Netherlands you will find many official campsites that are actually on farm grounds and it will also give you an insight into farm life in these countries.  Prices start from around 11 euro.

Many countries in the Southern Europe have a vast network of campsites with all mod cons such as swimming pools, supermarkets, bars , restaurants etc.  Mind you that a mass exodus of Dutch and German campers will migrate down South to these camp sites in July and August, so make sure you have a reservation. Prices range from 20 to 30 Euro per day per tent.

If that’s not enough luxury for you, then you could stay at a tent camp where they rent out fully equipped tents such as Eurocamp. Or even better stay at an independent camp site such as Le Chato in Souvigny. Their Bedouins style tents are stylishly decorated and furnished and are even equipped with a bathroom, but of course this comes with a higher price. Tents start at 865 Euro per week.

And if that’s still not luxurious enough for you.  Will, maybe you should check into a hotel after all.

Check here for cheap flights to Amsterdam, Stockholm, Oslo and southern France Cheap flights to Nice.

Holiday In England and Ireland. Things To Do This Spring.

Posted March 4, 2009 by BookingBuddy

Visitbritain Want to take a short break this month but worried about the exchange rate? Well, why not go where you can still get £1 for £1 – after all, there’s plenty going on at home this month.

March 5th to 8th – Crufts, Birmingham
For the animal lovers among you, how about heading over to the Birmingham NEC for the world-famous dog show? The canine-centric competition has been going since 1928, and is held over four days.

March 17th – St Patrick’s Day, Ireland
Traditionally a holiday associated with the patron saint of Ireland, these days, it’s more famous for featuring lots of green, drinking marathons, and drunk people wearing t-shirts that say ‘Kiss me, I’m Irish’. If that sounds like your kind of religious holiday, then search now for cheap flights to Dublin (where Guinness is supposed to be at its best).

March 29th – Oxford/ Cambridge Boat Race, London
Grab your seat by the Thames and watch the two teams go head to head. The race starts at Putney Bridge and ends just before Chiswick Bridge, and if the weather is behaving itself, why not pack a picnic and wait for the two boats to race by? If you feel inspired by the rowers, you can always hop on over to Cambridge and take a gentle punt down the River Cam.

(Photo: visitbritain.com)

Youth Hostels in Bangkok, Cardiff and Hamburg.

Posted March 4, 2009 by Jaklien van Melick

470x303 Rooms that smell of dirty socks. Metal bunk beds with mattresses wrapped in protective plastic. Dirty shower floors. Is that the image that comes to mind when you think of hostels? Well, think again.

Now that many travellers are downgrading their choice of accommodation, many budget hotel and hostel owners are upgrading their properties. Hip and designer hostels are springing up everywhere around the globe. There is even a new term for the people that stay there; Flashpackers. A.k.a Backpackers with class. No more grotty dorm rooms, but rooms designed by famous interior decorators. No more warming up tinned ravioli in a dumpy kitchen, but food prepared by celebrity chefs. This is backpacking for grown ups. So if you feel too old to slum it, but you don’t want to be pampered or fork out the cash for a 5 star all inclusive resort, try one of these.

The Lubd in Bangkok looks slick and stylish. Designed by local designers P49, it really doesn’t look like a hostel at all. There is a funky bar and even a movie theatre. Dorm beds start from around 7 quid and private rooms from around £19.

The Nos Da in Cardiff has recently been transformed from a hotel into a 5-star hostel.  This place has a gym, a pool, art gallery and a funky TV lounge. And to top it all off, every bed has its private internet connection so you can hook up your laptop and surf in bed. Prices start from £14.50 for a dorm bed and £30 for a single private room.
The Superbude in Hamburg is another example of a trendy hostel.  Every room has a different colour and you can pick the one you like the best. Again this place has a cinema, a cocktail bar and a kitchen club where the fridges are stacked with food for the taking. For a price of course, but you can just pay by card. Here beds start from around £15 and private rooms from £52.

Backpacking will never be the same if you are staying in these places.  Search for cheap flights to Bangkok and  Hamburg.

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