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Travel Tips

Fit or Flab? Enjoying a Healthy Holiday

Posted January 13, 2011 by BookingBuddy

DSC09027 You may have spent hours in the gym in order to look good in that teeny-weeny bikini, but all that hard work may be wasted as soon as you leave the office to go on holiday. It’s no surprise that many people find they’ve put on weight after their break. Once the ‘holiday mentality’ kicks in, you may find yourself eating unhealthily or cutting back on exercise. However, there’s no need to let all that workout time go to waste. Here are some simple tips to keep the pounds from piling up.


Look for healthy options at the airport. The fast food available at airports may help fill you up before your flight, but many choices can be highly calorific. Skip that burger and chips, and opt for a sandwich instead. Even a seemingly innocuous latte can be surprisingly high in calories.


Walk around. It can be tempting to hop into a cheap taxi or hire a car to take you around, but it won’t keep the holiday weight off. Bring along some good walking shoes, and explore the place on foot instead. You’ll also be able to see much more of your destination this way. Some cities are also bicycle-friendly, so rent a bike from the nearest outlet and start zooming around while getting a good workout at the same time!


These easy tips may not help transform you into a triathlete, but at least you won’t have to give up the yummy local dishes for fear of piling on the pounds. 


(Photo: Joyce Wan)

Christmas Markets Around The UK

Posted November 11, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Christmas-market With just over a month left until Christmas, it may want to get a start on your Christmas shopping, (unless you fancy getting into a fistfight over the last PSP left in Curry’s). Sites like eBay and Amazon may make Christmas shopping easy, but they take all the fun out of actually choosing the perfect gift. This year, if you’d like to get a gift that’s just right for that special someone, why not visit check out these Christmas markets and fairs instead? Enjoy some Christmas treats, have fun and search for that perfect gift while you’re there.


12th November – 19th December - Christkindelmarkt, Leeds

This hugely popular Christmas market takes place in Millenium Square, which is transformed into a German-style market for the duration. The wooden chalet house stalls selling products from German traders – jewellery, handmade toys and cards, as well as Christmas decorations. Feast on gluhwein, bratwurst, stolen and warming soups.


19th November – 4th January - Winter Wonderland, London

Hyde Park is transformed into a – you guessed it – winter wonderland for this Christmas extravaganza. There will be over 100 craft stalls here, as well as food and drink stalls and cafes. Take a break from shopping and show off your skills on the ice-skating rink, or enjoy a ride in the huge Ferris wheel. You’ll also find a number of rides here, from hair-raising thrill rides to more sedate carousels. Don’t forget to visit Father Christmas in his grotto before you leave!


3rd – 19th December - Dickens Christmas Market, Rochester

Immerse yourself in a Victorian-style Christmas market on Rochester’s High Street. Actors dressed in period costumes stroll through the streets, while carollers entertain passersby outside the market. The market stalls offer a variety of unusual items such as candy bouquets, juggling equipment, stuffed toys and handmade candles. Treat yourself to goodies like waffles, roast chestnuts, hot chocolate and mulled wine.




Haunts Around The UK

Posted November 3, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Avebury Halloween may be over, but that doesn’t mean the spine-tingling chills have to stop. If the popularity of horror films is anything to go by, then it seems most people love a good scare. If you love to be frightened, why not get your shivers for real instead of sitting through an onscreen shock? Here are some ghastly, ghoulish spots where you can experience some real life chills and thrills.


The Red Lion, Avebury, Wiltshire

The standing stones of Avebury are shrouded in myth and mystery, so it’s no surprise that the Red Lion pub – inside the stone circle – lays claim to being the most haunted pub in the UK. Florrie is perhaps the pub’s most famous spectral resident. The story goes that she was killed by her husband after he caught her with her lover, and then dumped her body into a well. Other apparitions include ghostly children and strange orbs of light.


Glamis Castle, Angus

With over 600 years of history behind it, Glamis Castle has more than a couple of ghouls to its name. The Monster of Glamis Castle is name given to a deformed child said to be born to the family in the 19th century, whose rooms were sealed after his death. There’s also Earl Beardie, rumoured to have lost his soul to the devil in a game of cards, and the famous Grey Lady, Janet Douglas, burnt at the stake on false charges of witchcraft. The castle is also said to have a host of secret rooms and passages.


Tower of London, London

Imprisonment, torture, and royal deaths – it’s no wonder the Tower of London is said to be one of the most haunted spots in the UK. The Tower’s most well-known apparitions are the Princes in the Tower, rumoured to have been murdered by their uncle Richard III. You may also spot the spectre of Anne Boleyn walking around, with her head held under her arm. Other ghosts include Lady Jane Grey, Henry IV, the White Lady, as well as that of a huge bear.



Know Your Passenger Rights

Posted July 8, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Passenger rights  The chaos caused by the Icelandic ash cloud may have subsided, but the fallout continues. Thousands of passengers were left stranded, and had to deal with the ordeal of cancelled flights and lost luggage. Through it all, many were also unsure of what sort of compensation (if any) they were entitled to.


The ash cloud crisis has also highlighted the fact that many passengers are unclear about their rights, and how they deserve to be treated by transport companies. However, the European Commission has now announced plans to change that with an eye-catching publicity campaign about passenger rights.


The EC’s Europe-wide campaign covers 23 languages, and includes a website where passengers can go to check up on their rights. There will also be posters and leaflets in airports throughout Europe. The campaign aims to educate passengers on the treatment they can expect from air and rail companies, and covers vital issues such as lost luggage, cancellations, and delays. The EC also plans to extend these rights to passengers using other forms of transport, such as coaches and ferries.


It may be too late now to claim a refund or compensation for your cancelled flight, but why not head on over to the website to have a look anyway? The next time a volcano decides to disrupt your travel plans, at least you’ll know what you can expect from the airlines.



Pack A Picnic For Your Next Plane Ride

Posted February 18, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Lunch  The advent of low-cost, no-frill airlines has seen the demise of many an unappetising inflight meal. While most passengers are happy to go without food on a short-haul flight, some people’s bellies do start complaining on longer flights. It’s not a great idea to starve yourself during a longer journey, so you’ll probably need to eat at some point. However, instead of opting for the unhealthy snacks many airlines offer, why not pack your own healthy and delicious inflight meal instead? Here are some important points to keep in mind when packing your inflight picnic.

See-through containers -
 Pack your food in transparent plastic containers - like the kind you get from takeaways - so it’s much easier for security staff to see what you’ve brought with you. This way, you won’t need to spend much time opening up all the containers, then repacking them into your bags again.

No liquids - Bring an empty water-bottle with you, and fill it up once you’ve passed the security checkpoints, to save the hassle and expense of having to throw away a full bottle, and then buying a new one. Try to avoid bringing dips with you, as they may be thrown away too, and soups are a definite no-no!

Finger food - Bring along hassle-free food that can be easily eaten straight from the container. Baby carrots, pre-cut fruits (e.g apples or pears), grapes, rice crackers, nuts and granola bars are all healthy, yet fuss free, and you’re left with hardly any mess to clean up after the meal. Sandwiches are great too - cut them into halves or quarters to make it easier for little hands. Cutting your food into bite-sizes pieces also mean you won’t need any cutlery.

No smell - Be considerate to your fellow passengers – after all, you’ll need to share a very tight space with them for the next several hours. Try to refrain from packing foods that may smell strongly or linger in the air for ages. So, no garlic or blue cheese, and try to pop a couple of breath mints after your meal so you won’t smell like Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Do you have other tips on how to pack food for flights? If so, we’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment!


Creative Inflight Entertainment Ideas

Posted December 16, 2009 by BookingBuddy

Anthrocircle Going on holiday may be exciting, but the flight there and back is usually a whole other story. No matter how fancy the inflight entertainment system may be, there are only so many repeats of Family Guy that you can put up with before you start grinding your teeth into bloody stumps. And that’s only if you’re lucky and your chosen airline does offer inflight entertainment! What do you do if you’re not one of those who can fall asleep anywhere, anytime, and you’re facing a cramped eight hour flight? Here are some suggestions on how to pass the time -

Finger-knitting – As many avid knitters will no doubt agree, security restrictions these days mean that it’s nigh on impossible for me to bring a pair of knitting needles on the plane. So finger-knitting seems to be the way to go. Bring a skein of yarn along, and simply watch the hours fly by as you loop bits of string around your fingers. This rudimentary form of knitting may seem childish, but it is strangely addictive. And an added perk is that you end up with a hand knit scarf at the end of your flight – great if you’re on your way to a cold destination!

Origami – Airlines provide a ton of free inflight magazine and catalogues for your entertainment, but once you’ve read one, you’ve probably read them all. So put them to good use instead, and improve your paper-folding skills. Rip pages out of the magazines, and start folding them into birds, boxes and even make a few paper planes. It’s also a very cheap way to entertain your kids if you don’t fancy buying them colouring books and pencils with the airline’s brand plastered all over.

Food Architecture – Even with the fancy chefs the airlines are bringing in these days, most inflight meals are still hardly stuff to write home about (unless you’re writing a letter of complaint). So if you can’t face chewing on another luridly yellow, strangely sweaty block of cheddar the next time mealtime comes around, why not play with your food instead. Join forces with your neighbours, and assemble the mini cheese version of Stonehenge. Try to build a bread roll version of the Coliseum. Indulge your geeky side and erect a water cracker and butter ode to the Millennium Falcon. The possibilities are endless (and slightly more entertaining than chowing down on that mysterious brown ‘beef Wellington’).


Hand Luggage Restrictions

Posted June 10, 2009 by BookingBuddy

Luggage_sample Alright, so you’ve decided to heed our advice and only take carry-on luggage with you on your next trip. You’re about to start packing your bag, but all those changes to hand luggage restrictions over the last couple of years has left you confused about what you’re allowed to take onboard. What’s the largest bag you’re allowed to carry on, and will that £30 bottle of shampoo be confiscated by security? This week, BookingBuddy is here to help clear up your packing confusion.

Size Of Luggage
The Department of Transport has stated that the maximum size of carry on bags are to be no bigger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm (including protruding parts such as wheels or handles). However, some airlines, such as British Airways, only allow smaller bags, so it’s important to find out about each airline’s size restrictions before flying.
Anything larger than that will have to be checked in, unless you’re carrying a musical instrument, in which case you’ll have to check with the airline as you may be required to buy an extra seat for your instrument.

Carrying Liquids
For security purposes, liquids are defined as drinks, cosmetics and toiletries, sprays, pastes, gels, contact lens solutions, lighters and other items of similar consistency.
There are restrictions on the liquids you take onboard, so if you’re intent on bringing that expensive shampoo or shower gel along, make sure you decant it into containers smaller than 100ml. All containers must be smaller than 100ml, as anything larger than that will not be allowed on even if they are only partially full. Those containers must also be packed into a transparent, re-sealable plastic bag no larger than one litre in volume. Many airports now provide free re-sealable sandwich bags that you can pack your liquids into before going through security.
Lighters also need to be packed into the plastic bag and screened, and have to be kept on your person for the duration of the flight.

Other Items Allowed As Hand Luggage
If you need to carry essential medication in containers larger than 100ml as part of your hand luggage, you will need prior approval from your airline and the airport you are departing from, as well as a letter from your doctor. This also applies to any essential medical equipment you may need for your trip.
Other items such as laptops and electrical equipment (such as a hairdryer), as well as walking aids, wheelchairs and prams, are allowed on as hand luggage, but all need to be screened by security.

While this article tries to provide an overview of current hand luggage restrictions, it's recommended that you always check with the Department of Transport for any recent changes before flying.


Tips For Long Haul Travel – Having A Stress Free Flight (Part Two)

Posted May 27, 2009 by BookingBuddy

Airline_Cabin_Crew_2 Last week, we left you with a bunch of tips on how to lessen your stress levels before a long haul flight. This week, we’re back with some tips on how to relax while on the flight itself.

During The Flight

Be quick
Once you’re actually on the plane, try to stow your carry-on luggage in the overhead storage compartment as soon as you get to your seat. You can always open it up later on in the flight to get your necessities out of your bag. If you wait till later to store your bags, you may not be able to keep them near you as all the available space nearby gets taken up by other people’s luggage. Instead, you may end up having to keep your bags further away. You do not want to spend the duration of a long haul flight worrying about strangers accidentally walking off with your carry-on luggage when you could be relaxing and enjoying the flight.

Sit down
After your carry-on bags are safely stowed away, sit down and let the other passengers get past you and on to their seats. There’s always time to stand up and chat or stretch later on in the flight. Boarding the plane can be a long and tedious process, so the faster everyone gets seated, the sooner the plane is able to take off. Besides, you probably wouldn’t like having two hundred angry people shoving past you and yelling at you to sit down.

Pillow talk
If you’re travelling in economy, it is also a good idea to pack an inflatable travel neck pillow along with the rest of your carry-on stuff. This supports your neck when you sleep, giving you a more comfortable and restful sleep. You’ll also wake up without that annoying pain in the sides of your neck that you get when your head keeps slipping over.
You may also find it useful to carry a sleep mask and earplugs with you, to help block out ambient light and noise, for an even more peaceful sleep.

Mind your P’s and Q’s
You may be in a relaxed holiday mood, but that’s no excuse for relaxing your manners. The cabin crew are there to help you, so remember to be nice and polite to them, and they will help make your flight more comfortable. After all, their journey will be just as long as yours, and they will be just as tired and stressed out as you will be. It’s also never a good idea to antagonise someone who serves you your meal.

Be patient

Once again, patience plays a large part in having a stress free flight. When the plane lands, wait for your turn to disembark. Pushing and shoving won’t get you off the plane much quicker, and also leads to increased stress levels, both yours and the passengers you’ve annoyed. Wait till people in the rows in front of you have got off, then quickly get in line and file off the plane.

We hope these tips have contributed to you having a more enjoyable flight. Have you got any other stress-busting tips you’d like to share?


Tips For Long Haul Travel – Having A Stress Free Flight (Part One)

Posted May 20, 2009 by BookingBuddy

Airport For many people, travelling can be an extremely stressful time. There’s so much to organize and so many little things to remember, that sometimes, you feel like pulling your hair out (but then you'd be bald in all those holiday photos). This week, we’re here to offer some times on how to lower your stress levels before travelling.

Before The Flight

Be prepared
Start by making some lists – a packing list, a list of chores you need to finish, a list of appliances to be switched on/off before leaving, and a list of emergency numbers you may need while on holiday. You don’t want to have an ‘Oh no! I left the kettle on!’ moment halfway through a trip. If you have pets, you may also need to make sure that someone will care for them while you’re away.

Start packing your bags more than half an hour before leaving for the airport. Cutting it too close to the flight will send your stress levels through the roof, and it’s also highly likely you’ll forget something. At the very least, try to pack it the night before you leave, so you can go through the bag again just before you leave and see if you’ve left anything out. Have all your paperwork and documents organized and packed in a handy carry-on bag, then go through it all the night before you leave just to be sure you have everything.

Travel non-stop
If you can, try to book a non-stop flight instead of one with stopovers.  This saves you from worrying about possible delays, and whether you’ll be able to make your connecting flight in time. Some countries also require you to have a transit visa even if you’re simply stopping over, so a non-stop flight saves you from the hassle of dealing with visas. 

Web check-in
Many airlines now allow passengers to check themselves in online and print their boarding passes out at home. This saves you the stress of having to rush to the airport and wait for ages in a queue– you simply stroll up and present your boarding pass at the security gates at least half an hour before the flight leaves. Of course, if you’re checking in bags, you’ll still have to wait in a queue at the airport, so make sure you get there with plenty of time to spare before the flight leaves.

Lounge around
If you have some time to spare at an airline, why not pay a one-off fee to make use of an airline lounge? Many offer facilities such as shower rooms, free food and beverages, and internet access. A shower before your flight (especially a long distance flight) will refresh you and go a long way in helping you relax.

Be patient
Of course, sometimes, the unforeseen happens – there may be a technical problem, or Mother Nature decides it’s her turn to throw a tantrum. Even the most prepared person can’t do a thing about delays such as this, and you’ll just have to be patient. After all, getting angry and stomping you feet will get you nowhere faster.

Next week, we’ll come back with Part Two of our tips on having a stress free flight. Have any of you got other stress-busting tips you’d like to share?


Tips For Long Haul Flights - Avoiding Jet Lag

Posted May 13, 2009 by BookingBuddy

43838234.sleepy Last week, we started a new series, providing you with tips on how to be more comfortable during your long haul flights. This week, we continue that series, this time with some advice on how to minimise jet lag.

Unless you’re one of the lucky few who can claim never to suffer from jet lag after a long haul flight, you’re probably familiar with the effects it can have on your body. Jet lag occurs when you’re travelling over several time zones within a few hours. You may have experienced disturbed sleep patterns, disorientation, or physical weakness. As it often takes at least a couple of days to recover, jet lag can often affect a holiday or business trip. Here are some ideas on how you can cut down on its ill effects.

Changing sleep patterns
A few days before your next flight, find out which direction you’ll be travelling in and try to adjust your sleep patterns. If you’re heading west, your day gets extended, so try to go to bed a few hours later than usual before you board your flight. If you’re going east, your day gets shorter, so try sleeping a little earlier than your usual bedtime. This helps your body acclimatise to your new sleep pattern at your destination.

Stay hydrated
You may be tempted to take advantage of the free alcohol handed out on some flights. However, saying away from it will probably work out much better for you in the long run. Try to also stay away from coffee and tea. These are all diuretics, and in combination with the dry, pressurized cabin air, will cause you to become dehydrated. Dehydration may also cause a headache.
Instead, try and drink as much water as possible. If you find water to be too ‘boring’, ask for the cabin crew if they can squeeze a little lemon into the water, or try some tomato or apple juice.

Keep active
Nobody’s asking you to have a full-scale workout while confined to a plane. Just try to move around as much as possible. Go for a walk every hour or so, and do some stretches. If that’s not always practical (stuck in the middle seat/ sleeping neighbour etc), then do some light exercises such as stretching your limbs, and moving your ankles and wrists, to prevent your joints from stiffening up.

Get natural light
Once you’re at your destination, try and spend as much time outdoors in sunlight as you can. If you’ve arrived during the day, then try to stay up as late as possible, to help reset your body clock. It may be tempting to have a nap straight away, but spending time in daylight will help your body get used to the new time zone much quicker.

So, those are a few tips on minimising jet lag. I’m sure there are many more of you out there who have your own tricks to combat it. I’d love to hear from you, please write them down in the ‘comments’ section.


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For a trip to the lighter side of travel, where your in-flight meals are always free, there’s plenty of legroom, and your frequent flyer miles are actually worth something, come aboard the BookingBuddy Blog. Wait a minute—we can’t promise any of that—we’re just a blog! So all you’ll actually get are a bunch of words and pictures, and maybe some videos. But they’ll be funny, we swear.

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