Make hay while the plane is delayed

There are few things worse than finding your flight number on the board and as you search for the gate number all you see is DELAYED. 

But, the airport can be a part of your vacation, a part to be enjoyed instead of dreaded. The airport itself will mostly likely have a bar, places to eat and some form of shopping so you can always kill some time there. 


The real trick is to bring your own entertainment. Music, movies, T.V shows and books can all be accessed on your phone or tablet without WIFI if you download before you leave home. 

Netflix allows you to download a variety of shows and movies while Spotify or other music streaming services takes care of your music needs. 

I always recommend bringing a physical book to get your eyes away from a screen for a period, this will help prevent headaches which is the last thing you need if you are delayed. 

Of course, have your charger in your hand luggage so you can recharge your devices if you are delayed long enough to see them run out of battery. 

Enjoy the holiday pictures! We take so many yet we rarely stop to look through them and enjoy them. The airport is a good place to do this and if you find one you really like you can always upload it to social media. 

If you are lucky enough to have access to lounges in your airport then you will have little trouble relaxing and if you are not one of the lucky ones, ask the airline staff if there is anything they can do to make your wait more comfortable, there is no harm in asking. 

Remember delays came before smartphones so there are some old school ways to wait it out; a deck of cards is always handy and will kill so much time if you’re half as competitive as I am. A simple piece of paper and a pen will allow you to play all sorts of childhood games. 

Being stuck in the airport is one of the rare times you can do nothing  but that also means you don’t HAVE to do anything.  Enjoy the time. Read the book you’ve always wanted to or listen to an entire album for the first time since 2002. Use the time productivity. 

Essential Travel Apps Part 1

The most important part of any trip is the planning. A good holiday or travel experience runs smoother when everything is organized. Instead of a polite travel agent to organize everything for you, there are now apps so you can do it all yourself.

These are my favorite travel apps to use when planning a holiday.

5: Duolingo

In many places around the world it may be necessary to have a couple of words in the local language, even if it is just “Hello”, “Goodbye”, “Please” and “Thank You”. Manners and a good effort at a language is almost always appreciated.

Duolingo is one of the best language-learning apps at the moment. It uses pictures and voice response to teach everything from basic words to more complicated grammar.

An excellent app if you want to brush up on the Spanish you haven’t used since you left school or to learn a new language from scratch.

4: Tripit

We have all had the nightmare of looking for a booking and booking reference numbers before a trip. Whose email was used? How long ago was it? Tripit puts all your bookings in one itinerary once you forward your emails to the app.

As soon as you make a booking, it is added to your itinerary and not left to languish in your inbox until the day of departure.

Tripit is especially useful for group trips where information needs to be shared quickly.

3:  TripAdvisor

One of the more well-known apps on the list is TripAdvisor. If you need ideas for activities or detailed reviews of any resort or location, TripAdvisor has been the go-to place for many years now.

Still unrivalled thanks to the vast number of reviews it receives, TripAdvisor is one of those apps that works because of the honest input of its users. Gone are the days of hotels advertising without any question or review.

Nobody believes the tan actor advertising a holiday, they believe the parents of four who just reviewed the Kids Club on TripAdvisor.

2: Skyscanner

Sky scanner could easily be number 1 on this list. It is such an amazing app when planning a trip. The app allows you to search flights and accomadation. In the flig section, you can choose from direct flights or connecting flights as well as loads more filters. 

Typically I would only search major airlines but Skyscanner has shown me a list of affordable alternatives which make any holiday a little bit more affordable. The accomadation a section is not as well rounded as the flights but Trivago and others have that area of the market covered.

 

1: Trivago/Airbnb

Trivago is essential when booking any hotel for holidays. The extensive filters and price comparison makes it so easy to find the perfect hotel within your price range. 

The reason I have put Trivago and Airbnb together is that it depends on the type of accomadation you are looking for. Airbnb has grown hugely popular in recent years. The more people who book, and rate, on Airbnb makes it more trustworthy and reliable for users. 

There are, of course, thousands of apps on the market that attempt to assist you in booking and planning your perfect getaway but these are the 5 I find most helpful and easiest to use. The 5 combined also cover everything from flights and accomadations  to learning the language. 
If you have any apps that better the ones above, do mention them and make life a little easier for everybody. 

“Born a Crime” review

The election of Donald Trump has inadvertently led to the rising fame of saturable talk show hosts in the US. Trevor Noah is one such presenter but his book “Born a Crime” describes the childhood of the daily show host. 

Donald Trump sketch
Born in South Africa during apartheid, Noah discusses the struggles of navigating issues of race in a country where his very existance is proof of a crime.

Noah reading his book [Source: Twitter]

Negotiating social life in South Africa with a strict and religiously devout mother was not easy for Noah and his eventual rise to fame in the US is the end result of an unpredictable,  funny and at times heartbreaking story which is told with humour and entertains throughout. 

‘Born a Crime’ book cover

Noah’s story only details his childhood and his career now shows how he uses humour and comedy to cover social issues he has been overcoming his entire life. 

“Born a Crime” is an honest and brave autobiography by one of America’s emerging television talents and would be a perfect holiday read . 

Bucket lists

At 22 I have seen some of the things I have always wanted to and more! But there still is more I want to see and of course there always will be.

If you have done any of the things on my list below please get in touch about your experiences.

1. Volunteering

I have always volunteered in some capacity at home but I would love to combine this with travel. There are some amazing humanitarian causes and animal sanctuaries which I would love to work with while experiencing a new and different cultures.

Volunteering can offer amazing non-monetary rewards to those involved. The difficulties surrounding volunteering is that the volunteer must be in a financial position to work for free for a period of time.

2.  Cruise

Many people have said a cruise holiday are for a slightly older traveler. I see a cruise as a fantastic opportunity to visit several countries on the same trip while also spending some time at sea.

Many people travel around the world to visit Europe, Asia, America or Australia but while air fares are so expensive it may be hard to visit more than one or two countries on each continent.

Great cruise opportunities arise for travel to the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and Asia. Cruise holidays have also become more and more affordable as they have become more popular.

3. Iceland

Iceland has been the rising star of travel and tourism in recent years and its popularity has grown hugely. From the natural wonders to the food and people of Iceland, there are more reasons than ever to visit the island.

iceland

Flights are becoming more frequent and more affordable with WOW.com and others now flying to Reykjavik from European cities. Bloggers and social media personalities have been front and centre in promoting Iceland and all it has to offer. Instagram and Snapchat are excellent platforms for the extremely photogenic country.

4. Safari

Many people adopt animals or sponsor animal sanctuaries around the world. Animals also provide tourism to many countries in Africa and Asia especially.

Animal habitats and environmental sustainability are providing excellent holidays in places such as Kenya, Cambodia, South Africa and many more.

Safair SA.net

These holidays are enjoyable, educational and provide more than a fleeting sense of relaxation for a week or fortnight but rather they provide a lasting sense of understanding and achievement.

5. Washington D.C

Being a love of politics and history, I have always wanted to visit Washington D.C. While Washington doesn’t receive the same hype as New York or L.A, it does offer its visitors plenty to do.

The White House and the Smithsonian museum are the two big hitters in Washington D.C for tourists. A place of history and education which is often overlooked, Washington D.C is close enough to New York, New Jersey and other areas so the visit does not have to begin and end at the White House tour.

 

There are multiple places I have left off the list for the sake of brevity but if there is any place I have obviously missed out on please let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Public transport abroad- money saver

There are many ways to save money when travelling, most involve a little bit of preparation and planning but public transport is an easy one.

Once you arrive in the airport and collect your luggage you have the task of getting to your hotel, hostel or Airbnb. Almost all major cities have some transport system from their airports to the city centre.

My own city (Dublin) actually has pretty poor public transport from our airport but thankfully that is the exception.

Taxi’s, Uber’s and private transfers can all rack up a large bill while public transport is more affordable and usually very regular.

If you are visiting a destination which does not have shuttles or public transport, book transfers with your travel agent. Travel agents offer safe transfers and they usually don’t cost too much.

Paris, Rome and London all have rail and bus services which go straight to their city centre. The transport is often clean, affordable and reliable. The transport also adds to the experience of the adventure.

A taxi from Oxford Street in London to Stansted airport would cost approximately £150 while a bus costs about £15 and the train costs roughly £34-£45. Many trains allow you to book your tickets online and reserve seats so you beat the queues at the ticket machines and don’t have to worry about full trains. Stansted Express Tickets

Rome and Paris are similar with regular trains serving Termini and Gare Du Nord. Airports are very often on the outskirts of cities so private cars will inevitably cost considerably more unless you are staying near the airport.

This is one of the best ways to save money while travelling and it requires just a small amount of research to make sure you can get to your hospitality using public transport. It may look cool to have a guy holding a placard with your name but it is usually not worth the cost.

 

One more reason to visit Orlando

There is no shortage of reasons for visiting Orlando but Universal have just added one more very large reason.

Volcano Bay is Universal’s new water park which features a 200-foot man-made volcano at the centre of the park.

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The park includes two lazy rivers, a wave pool with several types of waves not to mention 18 different rides.

Universal are attempting to change the features guests hate most about water parks; queues and carrying rubber rings to the top of slides. Queues are virtual using wristbands and rubber tubes are carried to the top of all rides.

Volcano Bay will replace the Wet n’ Wild park which closed at the end of 2016. Volcano Bay is situated next to Cabana Bay and will be included in the park tickets for Universal Studios.

The park has restaurants, private cabana’s and interactive water features which work using the wristband. Using the Tapu Tapu wristband, guests can reserve a return time for a ride without physically standing in line. The wristband will alert you when it is time to return to your ride.

Volcano Bay opened its doors to guests in May and is sure to be packed as holiday goers trek to the park in the summer months.

 

 

Student travel is crucial. Now more than ever!

The terrorist attack in Manchester was the most horrific of attacks on the youngest members of society.

Chat shows in the UK have run interviews with mothers and children asking if they are too scared to go to concerts, sporting events or Disneyland for fear of terrorists.

If we read the news and the news only we become locked in this cycle of bad news and stereotypes. That is not the fault of the news, it is not their responsibility to tell us every detail, good or bad, in every country around the world.

If students, and indeed and other groups in society, travel and meet people of different views and beliefs we can begin to break down these barriers in our society.

It is up to people to show the terrorists that fear will not stop travel and understanding and it is also up to people to show their fellow citizens that resorting to hatred brand-all rhetoric is not helpful either.

We are in a position to travel, we are in a position to vote, we are in a position to learn new languages and try new foods. It seems irresponsible to base our opinions of world affairs on what is written in any newspaper when we have all of this at our disposal.

These two issues may seem separate but they are not. For simplicity, a narrative of ‘The West’ vs ‘Terrorists’ has evolved. Nobody wants terrorism and those responsible should be brought to justice.

We must not be deterred from expanding our knowledge of other peoples, cultures and beliefs. We must make an effort to enjoy the good in life without fear.

I have heard people say they would never travel to France as “It’s too dangerous” “There isn’t enough police on the streets” etc from people who have never been to France.

I have heard people shocked that the Army are on the streets of Britain but when I tell them it is the same in Paris and Rome they don’t already know that because the news never said so.

The world is far bigger than what can be shown on any television station or indeed all television stations. The world is far larger than what can be covered on the internet but it is no longer too large to visit.

Do it for selfish reasons, break down the barriers you have inherited by osmosis from your news station and boast about what you know about Italian food or Judaism from your trips to Italy or Israel. If each person who can do this does and we all talk about it we will begin to get a far more realistic version of reality than the news can show.