Affair Travel Blog

News and Reviews From Affair Travel

Must See Castles In The South Of France

Written by Camille Dubos on December 11, 2013 — Leave a Comment

Castles have an undeniably attractive, yet peculiar charm that most people find hard to resist. They seem like a gateway to the long forgotten ancient times and give an opportunity to come to know their secrets. If you are interested in taking a journey back in time, you can plan a trip to south of France, as this is the place where you can see some of the finest examples of medieval architecture of this type. 

One of top places to visit is Palais des Papes (Palace of the popes) in Avignon. It is a remarkable Gothic building, which will immediately grab your attention with its impressive size and imposing architecture. You can spend several hours wandering around the many premises in this huge complex and use the opportunity to learn many interesting facts about France’s history and the papacy in particular. 

Chateau Tarascon is beautifully located on the banks of the River Rhone and therefore offers some delightful views over both the river and the village. Please keep in mind that there are a lot of stairs to climb in the castle, which might not be suitable for elderly people or small children. The castle’s rooms are not richly furnished, but still, the place deserves a visit due to its characteristic atmosphere and splendid views. 

One of the most spectacular and impressive places that you can visit in south of France is Chateau Peyrepertuse. Do not expect anything lavish, as the castle is basically a ruin, but this is precisely the main reason to visit it. You will need to walk a steep path from the car park beneath the site, in order to get to it (the castle is situated on the top of a limestone ridge in the French Pyrénées), but the view from high above is definitely worth the effort. The eerie, yet romantic look of the castle will easily make you feel as if you have gone several hundred years back. 

If you want to visit one of the last fortified castles built before their era began to fade away, organize a trip to Chateau Bonaguil, situated near the town of Fumel. Some parts of the castle are in ruins, but it can be considered to be well preserved. It is recommended to visit it in the end of July when a spectacular fireworks show takes place. 

 

While you are in the Dordogne area, you can also take a trip to Chateau de Castelnaud. It has been actively restored in the recent years and remains one of the well-maintained castles in France. One of its best features is the museum of medieval warfare, where you can see excellent examples of weaponry such as siege engines and trebuchets. Close to this castle is another excellently preserved one - Château de Beynac, which is impressively situated on the top of a limestone cliff. As you can easily guess, the views over the Dordogne valley and river are delightful, but it is also recommended to explore the dungeons on the lower level. 

Posted in Destinations

Luxury Villas Near Groznjan Istria

Written by Camille Dubos on November 26, 2013 — Leave a Comment

The green oasis of Istria has become a favourite holiday spot for many of Affair Travel customers. Our villas are scattered throughout different parts of the peninsular and are well positioned in close distance to important sightseeing points and places of interest.

We would like to introduce our luxury properties near the lovely town of Grožnjan. It will surprise and enchant you not only with its authentic Croatian atmosphere, but also with its exciting and rich cultural life, especially during the summer months, when the internationally famous jazz festival takes place.

If you plan to make up the most of Grožnjan’s entertaining calendar and the variety of workshops, musical and art events, it might be good to consider renting the gorgeous villa Laurus well in advance. It not only enjoys a favourable and peaceful position on a little hamlet, but is also situated just 6 kilometres away from Grožnjan. In the village you can find some excellent restaurants to try the tastyCroatian cuisine, although your culinary search can be further extended to the towns of Brtonigla, Novigrad and Motovun.

Guests will also surely be tempted to use the villa’s spacious and contemporarily equipped kitchen and enjoy the freshly cooked meals in the privacy of the front garden and its swimming pool, which offer sweeping views towards the lush vineyards and gorgeous countryside surrounding the property. Besides the kitchen, on the ground floor you will also find a living room, dining area and games room, which provides home entertainment in the form of a TV, snooker and table football. The holiday villa can accommodate up to 6 people and features 3 bedrooms (two with a double bed and one with a twin bed) with ensuite bathrooms located on the first floor.  

If you are travelling with a larger party, you might prefer staying at the lovely Mirna Vista villa, which is ready to welcome up to 8 guests. It is situated within some of Istria’s most beautiful landscapes, which can be easily admired from the property due to its location on the edge of Vizinada. A five minutes’ walk will take you to the village where you can find two grocery shops for fresh supplies and 2 bars. A short car ride (15 to 20 minutes) is necessary to get you to some of Istria’s most fascinating towns and villages - Motovun, Groznjan, Porec and Umag. They offer numerous possibilities for entertainment, sightseeing, shopping and dining. 

The holiday villa itself is so comfortable and well-designed that you will most likely spend a great deal of your time relaxing within its premises and staying by the spacious pool or in the garden, admiring the breath-taking views. The villa features a large living area, dining area that can seat 10 people and an open plan kitchen equipped with all necessary facilities. The ground floor also houses a twin bedroom and a shower/WC area. On the first floor there are 3 bedrooms (one with a twin bed and two with a king size bed), each of them with a private balcony and a bathroom area.


Posted in Destinations

Adventure Activities in Split

Written by Camille Dubos on September 25, 2013 — Leave a Comment

If you are planning a visit to Croatia’s fascinating Adriatic coast, one of the recommended things to do is to take a few days to explore the wonderful Split area. Without a doubt a must do activity while you are there, would be a trip around the historical core of the town of Split combined with a walk along its famous promenade. But your Split adventure should not conclude with that, as there are a great number of exhilarating things to do in the area.

From Split you can easily get to one of the most beautiful nature parks in Croatia – the Cetina Valley and the gorgeous Cetina River. Here you can enjoy a thrilling day filled with adrenaline and fun, as well as grant yourself the possibility to test your body and mind in an unforgettable way. Canyoning is one of the most popular forms of entertainment here, as it may combine numerous activities such as swimming, walking, climbing, etc. It gives you a great chance to explore the canyon’s natural formations – cliffs, lakes, rapids, etc. It is very important to do this accompanied by an experienced guide and protected by appropriate and reliable equipment. The licensed companies offering such services should provide you with all necessities. Canyoning usually does not require initial training or great physical skills, but depending on your general health condition and desire for adventure you can choose what kind of difficulties you want to overcome. For example, the extreme level of canyoning includes abseiling down the 50-metres high Gubavica waterfall.

If you want to try rafting down the river, you have to make sure you meet the standards and requirements necessary to participate in such an adventure. A good level of physical strength is essential in order to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Your instructor cannot only guide you to what to do during the ride over the river’s roaring waters, but also consult you on what to expect if you are wondering whether you can handle the experience. By all means it requires careful consideration and preparation.

Water sports can be, of course, also practiced in the Adriatic Sea. While you are in the Split area, you can go kayaking and snorkelling in Brela or Trogir (an excellent possibility to circle around the Old Town and savour its beauty from the sea).

Hikers accommodated in the area can visit the Mosor Mountain, whose highest point is 1339 metres. One of the most popular trails is a round trip that starts at Sitno Gornje and takes you back there, meanwhile giving you the chance to relish some breath-taking panoramas. There are some great viewing points towards the town of Split and the nearby Adriatic islands. The western parts of the mountain are most recommended for a daily trip. Another great way to explore the Mosor Mountain is to go on a Jeep safari. Most tours start from Split and reach Cetina River. Along the tour you will also be able to visit picturesque villages and towns, such as Blato na Cetini, Zadvarje, Omis, etc., depending on what’s included in the tour pack

Posted in Destinations

How To Choose The Holiday Villa That Is Perfect For You

Written by Camille Dubos on September 23, 2013 — Leave a Comment

Affair Travel offers first class accommodation in 5 fantastic destinations – France, Corsica, Croatia, Montenegro and Portugal. Our customers’ satisfaction has always been our top priority, therefore you can be sure that by choosing our services you have already taken a big step towards finding your dream holiday. The properties that we offer for rent have been carefully handpicked and will provide you with excellent conditions to relax in style.

However, it is also very important to choose a holiday villa that will completely meet all of your individual necessities and requirements. Before booking any of our beauties, it is good to consider what you expect to find in a holiday villa and how you imagine spending you holiday.

All of our properties are located within scenic and peaceful locations, but some of them are yet more secluded than others. Take your time to decide whether you prefer a villa situated within or near a village or town, so that all of the important amenities will be just a short walk away. For example, you can have a look at villa Les Voiliers on the Atlantic Coast of France – 500 metres from the centre of La Flotte ; Sea Gem near Dubrovnik, Croatia - 300 metres to the centre of Mlini; Villa Bijela in Montenegro –  just 100 metres to the centre of Bijela and many more. If you prefer the ultimate privacy of our rural retreats, you might check out Amarante-House in the Portugal Minho region, which is situated 4 kilometres from the town of Amarante; villa La Calade in Languedoc, France (5 kilometres from St Hyppolyte du Fort) or Les Dentelles in Provence, France (6 km from Beaumes de Venise). Each villa description, available on our website, contains a detailed description of the property’s features, location and available premises, which will further help you make your choice.

It is also necessary to consider renting a villa, whose size and accommodation possibilities (number of bedrooms and bed types, number of bathrooms) will best suit your party. If you are travelling with children, it is necessary to consider child friendly villas, which will also provide the little ones with enough facilities to play and have fun. Holiday villa Les Lavandieres in Provence, France, for example is set within various spacious grounds, perfect for various outside sports and activities and also has a charming children’s playhouse.

In case you are travelling with seniors, you may consider a property, where the most important premises, such as bedrooms and bathrooms are situated on the ground floor. Les Chenes in Corsica is a good example and is furthermore located within a walking distance to the village of Araggio (5 minutes) and 2 good restaurants.
If you find it hard to make up your mind, you can also rely on our team for guidance and advice, as well as offer suitable options. You can either call us (020 3504 0248) or fill in our online form, which will help us better understand what you are looking for.

Posted in Holiday Tips

Adventure Activities in Provence

Written by Camille Dubos on September 20, 2013 — Leave a Comment

Provence

If you have never visited Provence before, you may not believe that it is possible to spend several weeks there without getting bored. However, this is very easy to achieve, as in Provence there is a wonderful variety of thrilling activities to choose from to keep you entertained.

It might be interesting to start your Provence adventure in a way that will help you explore the beauty of its diverse landscape from above by taking a spectacular hot-air balloon flight. The service is offered throughout the year (but it is most recommended to book your trip between the beginning of April and end of October) and usually takes place early in the morning or during the later afternoon hours if the weather conditions are favourable. One of the great things about this activity is that no previous knowledge or any special skills are necessary.

If hot air ballooning is not adventurous enough for you, it may be interesting to consider paragliding, especially if you already have some experience. Even if you decide to try this for the first time during your holiday, there are several licensed companies that offer proper training and supervision for beginners. The paragliding conditions in Provence are excellent and the scenery is absolutely fantastic. Gliding is another option that can be explored by those who cannot get enough of the sheer ecstasy provided by the different kinds of air sports.

One of the best natural sights in Provence that should definitely make it to your must see list, is the Parc Naturel du Luberon. Biking is a very popular activity here and is one of the most preferred ways to travel between the numerous petite villages – Cadenet, Ansouis, St Martin de la Brasque, La Bastidonne, Villelaure, etc. The complete circuit of Luberon runs along the impressive 236 kilometres, so there are plenty of different roads and sections to choose from, depending on what you want to see. In case you are not looking for any challenging experiences, you can go for the many hiking roads that go through picturesque vineyards, lavender trails, hilltops, mountain gorges, etc. The amazing variety of trails can be found in most detailed hiking maps, which are available on site and hikers are further assisted by the clearly distinctive marks on the roads.

Caving is another enthralling activity that you can discover in Provence, especially if you visit the karsts in the Vaucluse region. In order to enjoy a safe experience it is necessary to be properly equipped and accompanied by an experienced guide.

Our list of adventure activities in Provence cannot be complete without a review of the attractive water sports activities. When it comes to canoeing, the Cèze and Gardon Rivers can be an excellent choice for beginners or families with children and the more experienced canoers might prefer to head for the Ardèche River. By all means you should first check the current state of the rivers, which can greatly vary during the different seasons and months. Besides canoeing, there are many spots and sections suitable for white water rafting, kayaking, etc.

Posted in Destinations

Hiking and Adventure Tips in Dubrovnik

Written by Camille Dubos on September 18, 2013 — Leave a Comment

 

Dubrovnik is one of the most popular touristic spots in Croatia. Every year thousands of people visit the magnificent Old Town, which is surely the top attraction in the area. However, if you are planning to spend a couple of days in the vicinity, there are some excellent hiking and adventure possibilities that will make you both enjoy Dubrovnik in a different way and have great fun.

Most people enter the Old Town by simply walking through the main gate. Yet, there is a much more exciting way to do this, by abseiling down the city walls and stepping directly on the famous Stradun (the Old Town’s main street). This can be a truly excellent and unusual way to start your tour. It does not require any special skills or experience as a climber but has to be booked in advance with the company, which offers it.

If you want to boost your adrenaline level even more, you can go further south of Dubrovnik (18 kilometres) to the beautiful Konavle region. This is a popular area for rock climbing and offers different types of climbing routes to choose from, depending on your stamina, physical skill and experience. Those looking forward to more relaxing activities can explore the region by hiking or cycling and simply relish the splendid Mediterranean landscape, as well as some of Konavle’s major historical attractions, such as the Franciscan monastery and the Prince’s palace located in the village of Pridvorje.

Let’s not forget that one of the main reasons to visit the beautiful Dalmatian coast is to take a dip into the turquoise waters of the Adriatic. You can take the normal swimming and sunbathing routine one step further by trying one of the half day tours of kayaking. They usually start near fort Lovrjenac and will take you to the magnificent island of Lokrum, which hides some superb caves to explore. Snorkelling in some beautiful spots is also a part of the experience.

One of the most popular hiking trips near Dubrovnik is the one to mount Srdj, which is suitable for people from different ages and is relatively easy to take. Even if you do get tired at times, you will be rewarded with spectacular views from above, over the Old Town, the Adriatic and the nearby islands. Once you reach the hill (412 metres), besides taking numerous shots of the breath-taking panorama, you can also examine the Imperial Fortress and the Homeland War Museum. The views are so enjoyable that you will easily decide to visit the spot several times by using the other available transport means, some of which definitely guaranteeing an unforgettable experience. For example you can buy a ticket for Dubrovnik’s cable car, which will take you right up the hill in three minutes. If you feel reluctant to hike, but still want to take the ride in an old fashioned way, without the help of modern technology, you can hire an experienced donkey that will do the walking instead of you.

Posted in Destinations

Dealing With Emergencies Abroad

Written by Camille Dubos on September 16, 2013 — Leave a Comment

While you are on holiday abroad it is very likely to have a smooth and pleasant experience, especially if you have accurately organized and planned your travel beforehand. However, emergency situations can still occur, even if your initial preparation is flawless. It is important to know how to react in the different problematic occasions that may arise.

First of all, it is necessary to write down the contact details and phone numbers of local authorities, such as the police, fire department, hospitals, etc. that you might need. Affair Travel operates within four European destinations and the information you need for each of them is as follows:

Country

Police

Ambulance

Fire department

Emergency number

France

17

15

18

112

Corsica (a French island)

17

15

18

112

Croatia

92

94

93

112

Portugal

112

112

112

112

Contact information of British embassies:

Country

UK Embassy

Opening times:

France

Paris: +33 (0)1 4451 3100

Monday to Friday; 9:30am to 1pm and 2:30pm to 6pm

Corsica (a French island)

Paris: +33 (0)1 4451 3100

Monday to Friday; 9:30am to 1pm and 2:30pm to 6pm

Croatia

Zagreb: +385 (1) 6009 100

Monday to Thursday, 8:30am to 5pm

Friday, 8:30am to 2pm

Portugal

Lisbon: +351 21 392 40 00

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

 

You can contact your embassy in the following cases:

 

To get travel advice and up to date information concerning safety, conflicts, laws, etc. in your country of visit.
To register the birth or death of a British citizen.
In case your passport is lost or stolen and you need to apply for a new one or an Emergency Travel Document. Keep in mind that in this case you will be required to provide a police report for your accident and any other documentation that will help you identify yourself.
You have become a victim of crime.
In case of mass events such as natural disasters, conflicts, etc.
In case you are taken into custody or seriously injured and you need to get in touch with your family and keep them informed.
Need information about the local system of laws.
Need help finding a local lawyer, although they cannot actually give you any legal advice.

The powers of the embassy are of course limited by the local laws and you should not expect wonders, but during an emergency you should surely receive adequate information or advice by someone who speaks your mother tongue. It is important to note that besides turning for help to your country’s embassy you can also contact any of the local British Consulates if they are near your current location. You cannot expect your embassy to pay for any bills related to your emergency case. Its employees can, however, help you receive money from relatives abroad, in case, for example, you have lost all your money.
Remember that simple actions, such as having a good medical and travel insurance and researching valuable information, such as contact numbers of important intuitions in advance, can save you a lot of trouble and money.

Posted in Holiday Tips

Airline Passenger Rights

Written by Camille Dubos on September 13, 2013 — Leave a Comment

Travelling by plane is definitely the fastest way to reach your destination point when it comes to long distances. Nowadays the security control followed by most airlines is very strict and the majority of people are usually well aware of their obligations as passengers, in order to avoid unpleasant situations. However, it is also very important to fully know your rights and what you can expect your airline to do for you. Of course, the general rules of the different carriers might not be alike, but there are some norms that should be met by all companies, especially if they are operating within the European Union. Before buying your ticket make sure you have carefully read what you are entitled to in case of unforeseen events such as baggage loss, flight delay, cancelations, etc.

First and foremost, all airline companies should follow a politics of non-discrimination, meaning that their basic set of services, included in the price of a regular ticket should be available to all passengers, regardless of their race, nationality or age. Negative and disrespectful behaviour based on personal preferences or beliefs should not be tolerated.

Passengers are entitled to detailed information regarding their ticket price and should be aware of all taxes, fares and commissions that it includes. In case you are paying for any extra services, they should be clearly marked. If you are not sure why you have to pay for a certain tax and whether it is obligatory, simply ask. At all times travellers should be able to receive accurate information about their flight details (duration, delays, etc.), as well as such concerning their rights and obligations.

If you are a frequent traveller, chances are that you have experienced the unpleasant effect of a flight delay at least once. Most airline companies will offer a certain type of compensation, which will depend on the length of the delay and type of flight. Keep in mind that you cannot expect to be entitled to reimbursement, if your plane took off just half an hour later than planned. Most companies usually offer different services in terms of compensation after two or more hours of delay, so it is advisable to check in advance the official procedures and policies of the airline you plan to use. This may be very important if you have to change flights and a delay to one of them might result in missing a key connection. Some of the services you can expect to receive in case of long delays or short notice cancellations include free meals and drinks, accommodation, transport, partial or full refund, etc.
In cases of lost, delayed or damaged luggage, you should also be entitled to compensation. This also counts for passenger accidents, which are proven to be the airline’s fault and not due to your negligence or unsafe behaviour.

It is very important to note that most airlines have strict procedures, which need to be followed in case you want to ask for compensation or file a complaint. Keep all flight related documentation you have till the procedure is finished and remember to start it on time, so that your request does not become void.

Posted in Holiday Tips

Travelling Tips for Seniors

Written by Camille Dubos on September 10, 2013 — Leave a Comment

If you ever wondered whether there is an activity that will help you stay young at heart and keep your body in a good shape, the answer is yes. Travelling can do wonders for your general feel of well-being, regardless of your age. If fact, elderly people can derive as much joy and satisfaction from a holiday abroad as younger people. As a senior you have reached a stage in your lifecycle, when you can fully retire from most routine duties and obligations and simply enjoy the small pleasures of life. Holidays can be a truly relaxing and fulfilling experience, especially if you keep in mind a few general pieces of advice that will make travelling safer and easier.

As a start seniors need to make a better and more detailed holiday pre-planning. Ideally, the destination you choose should be easy to get to (a 2 to 3 hours flight, for example, instead of a long train or car ride) and with a favourable climate (South of France, maybe?). This might require choosing a time of the year when the weather there is neither too hot nor too cold. By all means, your choice should be aligned with your current physical condition. It is highly recommended to consult with your GP before your holiday and do a routine medical check-up in order to ensure you are fit enough to travel. This is especially important when it comes to people with chronic illnesses or any condition that needs constant monitoring and care.

You will probably feel more secure if you choose to stay in a place, which is close to professional medical services suppliers that could offer accurate help in case of emergency. Write down the address, contact details and working times of all medical facilities before you leave. In case you want to check if certain procedures and care are available, you might also contact them in advance or ask your GP for collaboration. People with disabilities, who require special attention and facilities, should also request and reserve them beforehand, including with the airline or other main transportation company they plan to use.

If you are using any medications, it is necessary to pack enough for the entire length of your holiday. You may handle them easier by organizing them in daily dosage containers once you get to your destination. In order to avoid any complications with authorities or airport securities, any prescribed medicines should be carried in their original containers and accompanied by a signed prescription.

It is good to consider wearing a medical alert bracelet or necklace that includes information regarding any diagnosed illnesses and conditions, allergies or other important medical facts that could be vital in case of emergency. The regular travel insurance does not usually cover any pre-existing chronic conditions, so it is advisable to check well in advance what is included in your package.

The type of accommodation you choose should also be compatible with your needs and requirements and should preferably be easy to reach by foot (no steep paths or slopes), within walking distance from the important amenities and granting easy access to its main premises (no staircases, an en-suite bedroom located on a ground floor, etc.).

Image by Flickr under cc license.

Posted in Holiday Tips

20 Tips For Travelling Abroad In 2014

Written by Camille Dubos on September 8, 2013 — Leave a Comment

Travelling abroad can be one of the most pleasurable, exciting and memorable events in your lifetime. There is a lot of information available on how to make your trip well-organized, secure and trouble-free, but we would like to sum up for you some of the most essential and useful advice that will help you have a great and unforgettable holiday.

1. A few days before your travel make a copy of all necessary documents you will need (a passport or ID, a driving license, visas, tickets, reservations, insurances, etc.). Leave all redundant daily documents at home (e.g. your metro pass, employee or library card, keys to the office, credit cards you are not planning to use, etc.). The night before your departure make sure all of these documents are packed and kept in a secure place that is easy for you to reach.

2. Prepare a small medical record that includes information about your general health, such as blood type, allergies or any problematic conditions, list of medications you are taking, name and contact details of your GP. It is always advisable to have a travel insurance that also covers certain medical costs, as well as apply for the free EHIC card if you will be visiting countries part of the EU. Consult with your GP on any medications you are planning to take with you and if any immunizations or checks are necessary before the travel.

3. Decide in advance a proper way to handle your daily expenses and check if it will be possible to use credit or debit cards, cheques or ATM machines at your destination. Inform your bank of the length of your travel and that you might use your cards abroad. It is always advisable to exchange some of the local currency in advance and get acquainted with the acceptable exchange rates.

4. Pack lightly and smart. Online you can find several useful video clips that will help you make the most of your suitcase and give you some extra free space. In order to fit into the usual baggage allowances of the air carriers, you might try little tricks such as choosing parts of different outfits (blouses, shorts, t-shirts) that could be easily combined with one another, instead of taking several ready outfits. Avoid taking clothes that tend to wrinkle easily and do not forget a pair of comfortable shoes. Keep in mind that some necessities, such as a shampoo, tooth paste, soap, etc. can be bought when you arrive at your destination.

5. Remember to take some zip lock bags with you. They will not only help you easily store your dirty laundry and separate it from the rest of your luggage, but can also be used to keep delicate items such as souvenirs or books intact.

6. It is very important to think beforehand for your money and document’s safety. In order to minimize the potential risks of theft, buy a front-pocket wallet that is usually hard to get to or a belt with a secret compartment, where you can store all your valuables. Coins and cash money should be kept in a separate purse, so that you can easily pay for a small snack or a bottle of water.

7. If you are travelling with several pieces of luggage, remember to properly mark them, so that they can be effortlessly recognized and identified. It is advisable to use luggage tags that will not reveal your personal details to everyone at a glance, such as especially designed ones that feature a cover, which protects the information written beneath.

8. The airport security rules and obligations considering hand luggage are can be changed frequently. Even if you are a frequent traveller, it is necessary to re-check again before your departure what will be expected from you as a passenger, especially when it comes to the airport security at your country of visit.

9. Once you enter a foreign country, you will be subject to the local laws, therefore it is advisable to get acquainted with the most general rules, as well as get familiar with the informal customs and traditions, which might be different from the UK ones and lead to awkward situations.

10. If you are planning a low cost holiday, it is important to focus on the different ways to minimize your daily expenses. This could be achieved by preparing your own meals in your holiday villa’s kitchen with fresh products from the local markets rather than dining out every night. Riding a bike around the area can also be much cheaper than renting a car and when it comes to long distances you can check the possibilities to use the local transport. Look for free Wi-Fi spots, instead of using mobile internet on your phone.

11. An excellent way to cut down your expenses might be to look for a special travel card that will guarantee you the best exchange rates when you are using it abroad. Most banks offer such a service, but it is important to check in advance if the card will be accepted at your holiday destination and you will be actually able to pay with it in shops and restaurants or withdraw money from ATM machines.

12. If you are using a modern-day phone, such as iPhone or Android smartphone, you can greatly benefit from the variety of free travel applications that will not only make your experience smoother, but also save you money. You can easily download travel routes and maps of entire regions or cities and find desired points of interest by simply entering their GPS coordinates. Other useful applications include travel organizers, phrasebooks, guidebooks, photo storages, hot spots finders, weather reports, etc.

13. Even if you are travelling in a country, which is generally considered safe, it is still necessary to follow some simple rules in order to avoid becoming a victim of crime. Do not show off your money or any expensive belongings and leave your favourite and most valuable jewelleries at home. At all times remember to behave politely and with respect towards the locals and other tourists, even if you feel offended or confronted.

14. It is advisable to inform a relative or a close friend back home of your travel plan and holiday details. Provide them with the contact details of your air carrier, accommodation and car hire supplier, as well as towns, villages and sights of interest you want to visit, so that they have at least a general clue of your whereabouts in case of emergency.

15. Booking a few months in advance can surely save you money when it comes to flight tickets and accommodation, as well as additional services such as car hire and on site excursions. It might also be possible to pre-order online entrance tickets for some of the major tourist attractions and save yourself the time necessary to wait in queues. On the other hand, pay attention to last minute deals, which can also be quite favourable.

16. It is always advisable to travel in a group, rather than alone, as a security precaution. However, in a crowded area it can be very easy to lose sight of your group members and get lost. It may be helpful to wear clothes in distinctive colours, for example hats or small scarves that you can wave in the air, in order to draw your friends’ attention. If you are travelling with small children or seniors, you can take photos of them before you enter a large place of interest, which will help you quickly identify them in front of the police or authorities, if necessary. 

17. Learning as much as possible about your destination will also help you to better plan your holiday. Besides detailed information about the must visit tourist attractions, most guidebooks include valuable information, such as opening and closing times of important institutions, local emergency numbers, as well as safety tips and recommendations on certain areas that should be avoided by tourists. Many pocket guides can be downloaded online for free and printed out for handy use.

18. Keep in mind that reliable locals (such as your villa holiday owner, for example) can give you smart tips about what to see in the area and which the good restaurants to visit are. You should be careful when dining out and avoid places with disputable reputation in order to limit the chances for food poisoning, especially if you want to order potentially risky meals such as sea food, for example.

19. Learn some simple but yet useful phrases (Good morning; Please; Thank you; I’m sorry; Can you help me?) in the local language. Try to communicate with the locals if you want to fully appreciate the place and its atmosphere, even if you have to use only gestures or share a laugh.

20. It is a good idea to carry a small first aid kit with you at all times that includes essentials such as plasters, bandages, a skin disinfection agent or antistatic wipes, painkillers, antacids, etc. If you wear glasses, pack an extra pair, just in case.

Always remember that your main aim is to stay safe, enjoy yourself and have fun.

Posted in Holiday Tips