Jan 3, 2017

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Booking now vs booking late: The great holiday dilemma...

Booking now vs booking late: The great holiday dilemma

With Christmas done and dusted for another year and the back-to-work blues setting in, it’s easy to start 2017 under a cloud. So what better way to give this year a boost than by planning a holiday?! It all boils down though to the great holiday dilemma: will I save by booking early or are their better deals available at the last-minute? Here we place both arguments head-to-head to help find the best option for you. Your situation If you have a family with school-aged children, work in a job with restricted holiday periods or have a set idea on the type of holiday you want to go on, booking as soon as possible will be your best bet. Getting in early means you get the pick of the crop and will be able to snare the holiday you want before everyone else piles in and snaps up those valuable seats on the plane. This is especially important for departures during the busy school holiday periods. However, if you’re just after a week away in the sun as a pick-me-up or are happy to be inspired by available deals, booking late and waiting for a bargain might suit you better. Your flexibility If you have to travel at a certain time or have a specific room or hotel requirement, booking now will mean you won’t have to compromise on your day of departure, or any other element of your break – as one of the first bookers of the year, you’ll get the best choice of hotel or hotel room type, destinations and holiday length. If, on the other hand, you are truly flexible in terms of where and when you can travel then leaving it late and playing ‘holiday roulette’ can pay off with some excellent late deals. You won’t find many last-minute bargains in peak dates, though, so be aware that choice will be limited and last-minute prices can actually rise, not fall – even for package holidays. Note too that any holiday involving a low-cost or scheduled flight is highly unlikely to ever get cheaper except on an off-peak date to a destination that is not currently popular. Prices for these trips only ever go upwards, in our experience. The offers The best offers are always available at the last minute, right? Wrong! Booking early means you can...

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Dec 21, 2016

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How to do Edinburgh on a budget

How to do Edinburgh on a budget

Whether you’re heading to Scotland’s capital for its amazing Hogmanay celebrations, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival or simply just to check it out, here’s what to see and do in this exciting and vibrant city.   Where to stay Princes Street and the cobbled Royal Mile might be Edinburgh’s biggest attractions, but these areas aren’t necessarily the best for accommodation. Do you really want to be woken by whining bagpipes after a night in Edinburgh’s pubs? Instead, consider the buzzing waterfront Leith area, a short bus ride or 40-minute walk from Princes Street. For a beautiful view without the price tag, check into the Premier Inn Leith Waterfront. If shopping’s your priority, consider staying in the New Town, home to George Street, famous for its designer shops. The four-star Angel’s Share is a New Town boutique hotel known for its huge wall murals and fine Scottish toiletries, and rooms start from around £80 per night. If you’ve still got your sights on the tourist-filled Old Town and the Royal Mile, don’t panic – there are plenty of fantastic hotels away from the chaos. The nearby Grassmarket has some of the best, including the nearby Castle Rock Hostel and several self-catering apartments. 2017 will also see the unveiling of the Old Town’s shiny New Waverley project – a £150-million development incorporating two Premier Inn hotels.   Where to eat If fine dining’s your thing, head to Commercial Quay’s The Kitchin, owned by chef Tom Kitchin, who became the world’s youngest Michelin-starred chef aged 29. Another option is the Number One at the Balmoral Hotel, which has clung onto its Michelin star for 15 years. But some of Edinburgh’s best restaurants are also its quirkiest. Union of Genius, near the National Museum of Scotland, describes itself as Edinburgh’s first soup café. “We treat soup with the love it deserves, serving six different soups every day,” explains the café’s Elaine Maison. “We also match them with locally-made artisan breads.” For traditional Scottish pub grub, head to the Royal Mile’s cosy taverns. This is also where you’ll find the award-winning Wedgwood, where dishes include Douglas fir-cured salmon and beef fillet with haggis. Several fantastic independent coffee shops have recently sprung up in Edinburgh, and one of the best is Cairngorm Coffee Co, on Melville Place and Frederick Street. The cafes are light, airy...

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Dec 21, 2016

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The best holiday destinations in 2017...

The best holiday destinations in 2017

With another exciting year in travel ahead, we’ve picked out 15 destinations that we think will be popular in 2017 – only time will tell if our predictions are correct! Whether you’re after the value of a package holiday, a new city to explore or a once-in-a-life time adventure, our list should have you covered.   Package holidaymakers Spain Spain has been smashing records for tourism recently and 2017 looks like it will be no exception. Close to home, safe and...

Dec 20, 2016

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10 things to do on a city break in Havana...

10 things to do on a city break in Havana

Dancing through thick clouds of sweet cigar smoke in the heady Caribbean heat, enjoying late rum-fuelled nights and seeing brightly-coloured classic cars idling on every street corner – Havana conjures up images of decadent fun in a city of faded grandeur. That this is part of Havana’s charm is undeniable. But while Cuba’s capital is a place of music, dancing and drinking, it’s also one of history, culture and revolution; a city that never ceases to fascinate and confuse,...

Dec 19, 2016

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Where should I stay in New York?

Where should I stay in New York?

One trip to New York City would never be enough to see it all – you could spend weeks there and barely scratch the surface. And we’re not just talking about the attractions. This is a city with several distinct and interesting boroughs that are ripe for setting up base in and exploring. From neighborhoods famous for their literary pedigree to up-and-coming areas full of cosy restaurants and friendly locals – if you’re wondering where to stay in New York,...

Dec 19, 2016

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Tricky Travel Quiz: December 2016

Tricky Travel Quiz: December 2016

Fancy yourself as a bit of a travel trivia whizz? Put your knowledge to the test! Don’t forget to share with your friends to find out which of you is the true master of travel...

Dec 19, 2016

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Spring city breaks for under £99pp

Spring city breaks for under £99pp

Fancy a quick city break before the summer but don’t want to break the bank? From Prague and Copenhagen to Lisbon and Dublin, we round up some amazing budget deals that won’t make your wallet wince. All prices were correct at the time of writing and based on a two-night stay and – prices are subject to change over time. Prague from £76pp The deal: Flying from London Stansted on March 28 A historic capital with a flair for...

Dec 19, 2016

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10 brand new travel experiences for 2017...

10 brand new travel experiences for 2017

The New Year is nearly upon and already it’s shaping up to be an exciting one for travel. From alien worlds and Ferrari theme parks to country-spanning hiking trails and overnight desert safaris, there’s plenty planned for 2017. Check out some of these new attractions and events to get yourself pumped up for another year of exciting experiences! Experience Pandora – The World of AVATAR in Orlando, USA The latest addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom will allow intrepid...

Dec 13, 2016

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What should I do if my travel company goes bust?...

What should I do if my travel company goes bust?

When a travel company becomes insolvent or bankrupt and collapses, the fallout for customers can be extremely stressful. Many people can be left out of pocket, while others may be stranded overseas without a ticket home. If the worst has happened to you, read the advice below to find out what your options are and the next steps you should take. Did you pay by credit card? If the holiday, flight, car rental or other travel service you purchased cost £100 or...

Dec 13, 2016

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10 of the best spring city breaks

10 of the best spring city breaks

It’s wintry and cold now, but spring is fast approaching – a fantastic time to discover a new city or see a different side to an old favourite. To help you pick your next urban adventure, we’ve rounded up ten of the best spring city break destinations.   Amsterdam Amsterdam explodes into life during the spring season as the Netherlands’ famous tulips come into bloom – see the best displays in Keukenhof, less than an hour from Amsterdam. What’s...