Planning a Family Ski Holiday? 5 Top Tips for Success

From gourmet meals to adventurous black runs, romantic evenings in to early morning snow fights, a family skiing holiday has something for everyone. Make sure you get it right with our top five tips for success.

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  • Pick the Right Time

 

Obviously we are all slaves to the school holidays. Since this restricts us to expensive, busy periods, it pays to do your research and make sure your break coincides with the best snow. If your kids are too young for school, make the most of it and opt for off-peak weeks in January, March and April. For slightly older families, the Easter break is a great choice. The weather in European destinations is not only warmer during March and April, but the daylight hours are longer too, giving you the most time on the slopes.

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  • Research Accommodation

 

Accommodation choices for skiing holidays are very varied and largely dependant on your destination and budget. A great way to keep the costs down on a skiing break, inviting other families with children of a similar age makes hiring whole chalets cost effective. You can also tag team the child care responsibilities, giving mums and dads the opportunity to have an evening alone. If you have slightly older children, a club resort is the answer. With a choice of evening entertainment, daytime activities and a safe environment, teenagers have the freedom to do their own thing. Not sure what’s the best option for you? Companies such as Momentum Ski can advise you on all the available options and suggest which will work best for you.

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  • Take Lessons

 

If you want to make sure you’re ready to hit the slopes the minute you touch down, taking lessons at an indoor slope at home might be just the answer. These are also a great way to introduce the kids to the basics before they hit the nursery slopes. Giving everyone the confidence they need to feel safe on the mountains can make all the difference between a great family experience and a holiday flop.

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  • Plan Ahead

 

Most popular ski destinations offer a variety of childcare options, from private nannies to English speaking creches. These are all in very high demand and often booked up for weeks, so it pays to book childcare well in advance.

Renting ski equipment at your destination is the best way to save on extra baggage costs and the inconvenience of carrying heavy bags around. It is best to work out exactly what everyone needs and pre-order it, since demand is always high, and many resorts have limited numbers of items in childrens sizes.

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  • Limit The Snow Time

 

This sounds a bit counter intuitive when you’ve spent a small fortune flying the family out to the ski slopes, but it is important for family harmony if nothing else. You might be happy to tolerate the cold for long periods but it’s a new environment for the kids, navigating deep snow with heavy clothes and lots of equipment. Limit the amount of time they spend on the slopes and intersperse it with other fun activities. That way everyone will still be up early and excited to get out on the new snow first thing in the morning.

What Type of Cruise is Right for You?

Cruises are a popular activity for vacations with people from all walks of life. There’s something about sailing the open seas, and of course getting to stop at lots of exciting places that people love. But not all cruises are made the same. There are several different types of cruise, in different sized ships with a range of activities on offer. Some cruise ships are huge vessels with entire resorts onboard, from restaurants to spas. But some ships are small and intimate, focusing more on the stops along the way than the activities on the boat. If you’re considering a cruise, but you don’t know which one is right for you, have a look at this short guide to the different types of cruises.

All-inclusive Cruises

These types of cruises are popular with a lot of people. They aren’t any more expensive than any other all-inclusive holiday. If you think of those huge cruise ships with the equivalent of a small town on them when you think of cruises, those are the sort of ships used for all-inclusive cruises. You might go to the Caribbean, for example, and spend almost as much time on the ship as on excursions on land. These big cruise ships will have anything from restaurants and swimming pools to garden and mini golf courses. You could have an enjoyable holiday without ever leaving the ship. Accommodation, food and drink and some excursions are usually included.

7109374535_c4ce6045ed_zRoger Wollstadt

Mini-cruises

If you’re unsure if you would like cruising, test the waters with a mini cruise. These cruises can last between two and four days, so you can find out if cruising is for you. They might be on a small or large ship, depending on where you go and which cruise company you choose. Some mini-cruises cruise along rivers, instead of the ocean.

Luxury Cruises

Some people find that cruises on huge ships with masses of people aren’t to their taste. If being able to see a Vegas-style show on your cruise ship isn’t your idea of fun, perhaps a luxury cruise is more your speed. These refined cruises, such as the ones provided by Kimberley Cruises, usually have fewer guests accompanying you on your journey. With an exclusive guest list and a carefully selected range of shore visits and activities, luxury cruises are worth the extra cost.

Adventure Cruises

Some people are after more than just hopping from port to port and relaxing on the ship in between. If you’re a thrill seeker, an adventure cruise will keep you entertained for your whole vacation. You can explore some incredibly diverse landscapes and see some amazing sights on these expeditions. Some popular locations for adventure cruises include Alaska, Antarctica and several places off the coast of Africa. Along the way you could be leaving the boat to go hiking, do some kayaking or staying on the boat for some whale watching.

If you’re still not sure what sort of cruise is for you, try out a mini-cruise to help you find your sea legs.

How to Plan an Amazing City break to London

Planning on heading over to London? You can’t just go without a plan. If you turn up with no idea on where to go or what to do, you’ll be overwhelmed with the amount of opportunities you’re presented with. If you show up with a plan, you know exactly where to be and when. Nothing is saying you need to be rigid and stick to your plan if you find something better to do, but at least you’ll have a loose idea of what you might be doing. Read on to plan an amazing city break:

How do You Envision Your Trip?

Imagine your trip and think about how you envision it. Is it full of tourist attractions such as the London Eye? Do you want to take part in quirkier, less touristy activities? Do you just want to party the night away? Make sure you know what kind of trip you want to have, even if you plan on doing a mix of activities.

Do Your Research

Research the best things to do in London and make sure you search for things that will give you the kind of trip you want. If you want a trip that is based around partying, you might find a private boat party on the Thames a lot of fun. Tripadvisor is really helpful for this kind of thing and will give you an idea of all of the tourist and non tourist attractions you can partake in. Other sites are helpful too; do lots of research and note down your findings!

Find a Great Place to Stay

You can’t expect to have an amazing city break if you haven’t got a great place to stay, can you? This is another time when you’ll need to do your research. Make sure you get great value for money in terms of the rating of the hotel and the features included. If you don’t plan on spending that much time in the hotel, this part isn’t that important. However, I do like to take into account where the majority of my activities will take place and find accommodation nearby.

Get Familiar With the Tube

If you can get familiar with the tube before you go, you’ll save yourself all kinds of hassle. It can be a bit stressful for first timers, but once you know what you’re doing you can go anywhere in the shortest amount of time possible.

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Book Your Activities in Advance

When you know the things you’re going to be including on your itinerary, book what you can in advance. You can usually save money doing it this way, but make sure you won’t want to swap this activity for something else later on. You’re bound to find something that you want to do in London on the spur of the moment!

Having a fantastic city break in the capital of the UK is all about planning, planning, and more planning. Once you’ve got the hard bit over with, you can relax and enjoy your stay!

Top Tips For Moving Overseas For Your Job

You’re busy at work clicking through the travel blogs and holiday sales again. Dreaming of a sunny beach with a fresh sea breeze blowing through your hair puts a smile on your face. Naturally, you start thinking about getting a new sun hat. Just as you’re about to click on that link for some rather fabby looking sunglasses, the boss appears…

Fortunately, all your dreams are about to come true! You will be heading out on a flight to meet up with some business partners overseas. Chances are, it will be a regular occurrence, so lots of chances for sunbathing in warmer climates. Of course, if you are traveling to other countries all the time, it may be sensible for you to start thinking about buying your own property over there.

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Relocating is a massive undertaking. You need to spend quality time in your new country to get to know the local laws and customs. Most importantly, you need to get to know some of the local areas you would consider moving to. House shopping overseas is hard work as you may need to navigate language barriers when speaking to property agents or reading up on property specifications. Each country has its unique process for buying a property, and as a foreigner there may be strict rules you need to follow. For example, if you are buying a property in Spain, you need to apply for your NIE Numbers a good couple of months beforehand. This helps ensure you are legally eligible to proceed with the sale.

Removal costs for shipping overseas doesn’t come cheap either. If you work for a big company, part of their job offer package will likely include shipping your belongings overseas for you. This will help a lot. If you undertake the move yourself, you may want to look up some overseas removal experts to help you.

If you are planning to relocate to a foreign country, try and visit the new area as often as you can before making any final commitments. Favorite holiday destinations can be very different places off-season and may not have the same appeal. You may want to do some in-depth research on crime statistics and cost of living too. If you are unable to sustain the same quality of life you are used to at home, it may not be worth going. This may be due to the cost of living being higher in your new country than what you are used to. Check your new wage is appropriate.

You may be relocating quickly and not have much time to pick and choose where you live. You may not be buying a property at all at first because your company is providing a villa or hotel accommodation until you find your feet. Another consideration is the working environment. If you are going to miss your friends in the office, you can ask if you can meet up with your new office mates once or twice before the move. This will help you build rapport, and hopefully someone in the office will help you with the move.

Going On A Road Trip? Five Things You Need

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Undertaking a road trip can be a fantastic way to spend a summer. Taking in new sights and exploring previously unseen places can be thrilling, but only if you’re sufficiently prepared. It can be very easy to get excited about your trip and forget the essentials you need to set off with! Take a look below and make sure you’ve got everything you need to have the time of your life on the road!

Food/Toiletries

This should be common sense, but a surprisingly large amount of people forget to bring any nourishment with them. Eating well on the road is very beneficial. Not only will you have more energy, but you’ll save a lot of money on buying junk food. Healthy snacks like fruit and nuts will help tide you over and make sure to bring plenty of refreshments. Sandwiches are the best portable snack you can have for going long stretches without dining properly. Picnic lunches are also great if you find a nice sunny spot to sit down. You should try to grocery shop periodically as restaurants every night aren’t cheap!

As well as consumables, items such as tissues and paper towels will come in handy. Medicine and first aid kits can be a lifesaver if you end up having an accident of any kind.

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GPS/Maps

Although it’s likely you’ve planned your route already, maps can work wonders. They are particularly useful if you decide to deviate from the beaten path – or simply get lost. They are also good for finding useful amenities during your journey. Anything from finding RV camper parts if your van is having problems, to seeking out the nearest petrol station are examples of what they can be used for. Nowadays, many people go completely digital. Whilst there is a quaint feel to using a traditional map, GPS systems can provide many of the same options, plus more.

Playlist

Although its lovely talking to your friends during a trip, it always makes sense to bring some of your favourite tunes to sing along to. Having an iPod or Smartphone for this purpose is more than handy. Make sure to take a variety of songs to fit your mood – listening to the same stuff will get stale! Blasting the radio is also pretty good, but traveling far out can cause you to lose signal.

Bedding/Clothes

Regardless of whether you’re in the driver seat or taking a nap, comfy clothes and bedding will keep you warm. Loose jeans and tops will save you from getting uncomfortable. This also applies to shoes – slip off any tight footwear! Having a duvet and pillow are important for getting proper rest, especially if you have driving duties. If you and your buddies disagree on the temperature, you can always use your blanket to stay warm.

Camera

Cameras aren’t as necessary as everything else on this list, but they are a wonderful addition to your itinerary. Any road trip will have fantastic memories for you to share with family and friends, and what better way to relay them than to have photos at the ready?

Take these tips on board and you’ll have no problem planning your road trip. With all the work done for you, you can focus on what an amazing time you’re going to have!

How to have a luxury night out in London

How to have a luxury night out in LondonIf you are looking to have a luxury night out in London, there are plenty of options out there to keep you entertained. This article lists our top 5 things to do in London in the evening, we hope you enjoy!

Visit the Ice Bar

Start your night with a delicious cocktail, served in a glass made solely from ice. No matter what the occasion, this bar is sure to impress you and your friends. The glasses aren’t the only things made from ice as the tables, chairs and bar is made from it too! Try the specially designed menu of cocktails, like the Antidote or Crumble, which are a taste sensation. You will be given a designer cloak and gloves to keep you warm whilst you’re there which means you can enjoy the icy surroundings without getting chilly.

Go out for a bite to eat

There are lots of restaurants in the capital to choose from so there’s always somewhere to go when you get peckish! The Arabica Bar & Kitchen has a great range of tasty meals including spiced popcorn, falafel and haloumi cheese. If you still have room when you finish your main course, they also serve a choice on delicious deserts like chocolate pot, ice cream and sorbets. A perfect way to treat yourself to some of the best cuisine that London, and perhaps the whole country, has to offer!

Try your hand at cocktail making

If you are looking for something a bit different to do on your luxury night out, cocktail classes are a great option. Places like Harvey Nichols and The London Cocktail Club hold these types of nights; all you need to do is book places for you and your friends! You’ll get to learn how to make a tasty cocktail with a bar tender on hand to help you every step of the way. This type of evening is guaranteed to impress your friends!

Watch a show at the theatre

London is known for is West End shows which means that if you haven’t seen one before, you really are missing out! There are over 200 professional theatres in the capital, which brings in hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Shows that are scheduled for before the year is out include Cats, The Lion King and Mama Mia! If you’re looking for discounted tickets, head over to www.hellodarling.co.uk, where you can get the latest offers, including dining deals.

Go clubbing

If you want to go out for a boogie after your meal or drinks, then you can head on to a club and experience the capital’s best nightlife. The Penthouse is the best place to go if you wanted to be treated like VIP and this club also attracts a lot of celebrity appearances, so you may get the chance to meet your favourite singer or actor. These types of bars are open until very late, which means that you can party until the early hours of the morning if you want!

City Guide: New York

4073541805_20086cda1c_zThanks to Sreevishunu Byrakur for the image.

New York might just be the best city in the world. With its iconic skyline, the culture and the food, there’s a reason they sell so many ‘I love New York’ T-Shirts. There is nowhere quite like it. Tourists will instinctively head to the Statue of Liberty and Central Park, but there is plenty more on offer. These are our tips to get right into the heart of the city and make the most of your time in New York..

West Village

Get lost in the zig-zag streets and charming markets. It’s the only place in New York that breaks away from the strict block roads and you can wander around for hours. You’ll find all the best coffee shops and bakeries here. This makes it the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown New York.

The Highline

This hidden gem in Chelsea is relatively unknown to tourists but it’s worth hunting it out. It used to be a railway line above the city, before it was converted into a beautiful walkway. At around 1.5 miles long, it’s a short walk; though you’ll want to take it very slowly. Lined with hundred of plants and flowers, you can stroll high amongst the buildings. Deep within New York’s cultural hub, the architecture surrounding you is quite remarkable. It’s the perfect place for a romantic walk or just somewhere to take some time to yourself.

Food

You should always be trying out the local food on your travels, but especially in New York. You’ll want to try a pizza in Little Italy and sample a bagel from a street vendor. New York is also home to the Cronut. The Cronut is a recent creation of the Dominique Ansel Bakery. A cross between a croissant and a donut, it is a delicious sweet pastry hybrid. The Cronut is so popular you often see a queue around the corner, so show up early.

Feel Like A Superstar

The city is home to countless superstars and celebrities. Why not hire a limo for the evening and pretend that you are part of the crowd. With a little hunting, it’s not hard to find a cheap NJ limo service and the city is yours to explore. You could cruise through Times Square or take a trip through Broadway. Hit the bars and find the perfect Manhattan cocktail, then back to the limo for the next stop! Live the high life, you earned it.

Take To The Roof

New York has the world’s most recognisable skyline. With plenty of famous landmarks you’ll want to get high enough to look across them. There are hundreds of restaurants and bars offering incredible views. Your hotel or apartment may even have roof access where you can lay out a picnic and enjoy the view. However, the best views are at the top of the Empire State Building and at the top of the Rockefella Center. You can’t go wrong with either of them. Aim to get up there for sunset and you’ll really see the city at her best.

There is far more to New York than the traditional tourist haunts. Take your time to wander the city and drink it in. You’ll soon feel like a true New Yorker!

Snowed-in during your trip? Keep Yourself Entertained with these Fun Activities!

I was travelling in the US a few years ago, enjoying the chilly winter weather when it happened: the anchorman told us all that a blizzard was on the way and it was dangerous to go out. Inevitably, I was stuck in the hotel for the next few days with little to do. Thankfully, we were warm and smug underneath the blankets and the heating, but for a tourist, being stuck in a hotel room for days at a time can be heavy on the soul. So the hubby and I set out to make our next few days enjoyable by finding activities to spend our time, instead of feeling down over the slowly passing hours.

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These are some activities that can keep you entertained, just like us!

Catch up on TV & Movies

Let’s face it – if you’re avid travelers like us, you have no idea what’s been going on in the entertainment industry for the duration of your trip. We had been travelling for over 8 months and took advantage of the ample time to catch-up on new episodes of our favorite TV shows. Luckily, the hotel gave guests free access to all shows and movies, so we could watch whatever we wanted!

Play games online

My husband and I are both huge gambling fans… our stop in Vegas was over a month long because we couldn’t get enough. So we figured: why not try playing some gambling games online? It was as exhilarating as playing them live and in person! Plus, there was the added bonus of cuddling in bed while we played on our ipad. If you’re also a fan of casino games, you can easily find a list of the Top 10 Casinos Online and work through there. Find the games that call to you and bring on the adrenaline!

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Organize your photo albums

Between the necessary updates and pictures for friends and family who are waiting to hear about your adventures, to even going through the pictures yourself, organizing your photo album is a great way to be productive during your travel ‘break’. The downtime gives you the chance to upload your pictures security to the cloud or your computer, publish them online, or make your Facebook albums for all to see.

Get to know the other guests

Everyone has a story to tell and when you’re all snowed in for a few days, there’s nothing quite like hearing them. I was enchanted to hear the romantic story of how a couple met, about the innovative business ventures of a Nigerian man in town for business, and I also got to play an impromptu hopscotch with a few sweet kids. When everyone is snowed in, people often go to the lobby or the restaurant/cafeteria to stretch their legs. Meeting the staff and guests is an unforgettable experience!

Play charades or Pictionary

As pre-internet kids, we used to love playing games like charades or Pictionary. This time, we grabbed the married couple we met in the lobby and asked them to join us in a game of Pictionary. It was so much fun that we actually forgot that we were all stuck inside the hotel! Plus, we built an amazing friendship… we’re still in touch today!

Being snowed-in doesn’t have to be a negative experience in your trip – it is what you make of it. Take advantage of your time to rest (we all get tired during our travels), enjoy the quality time with your friends or family, and make sure to come up with ways to spend the time positively!