Oct 26, 2016

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The ultimate guide to ethical wildlife encounters

The ultimate guide to ethical wildlife encounters

Wild animal encounters can be incredible and fulfilling experiences for travellers, but the welfare of animals at tourist attractions has come under the spotlight in recent times. Over the last few years, major travel operators such as STA Travel, TripAdvisor and Tui have increasingly distanced themselves from unethical wildlife attractions, raising questions about what is ethical and what is not. To help you choose an ethical experience, we’ve put together some general advice to follow before you book, including some expert advice from World Animal Protection. Look, but don’t touch If you can touch an animal as part of an experience, alarm bells should immediately start to ring, warns Alyx Elliott, Head of Campaigns at World Animal Protection. Alyx says: “As a general rule of thumb, any experience that involves hugging, touching, or physical interaction with wildlife should be avoided. For a wild animal to become this tame and subdued, something unnatural has happened to it. “The sad thing is that often the people who visit these types of unethical animal attractions are those that genuinely love wildlife. Unfortunately, they don’t see what goes on behind the scenes and the cruel methods that go into ‘training’ wild animals like elephants, tigers and so on.” TripAdvisor recently launched a “no touching of wild animals” policy, where ticket sales promoting such experiences were removed from its website, in order to distance itself from unethical practices. The website is also in the process of creating a learning portal to help educate people in this area, but this is not likely to go live until 2017 at the earliest. Think about it logically Would a wild tiger sit patiently next to you while you pose for a profile picture? If you’re brave enough to try, let us know! What you need to consider is “what has happened to this animal to make it so docile and tame?” The reality is, you probably won’t like the answer. At attractions such as Thailand’s recently-closed Tiger Temple, for example, cubs were separated from their mothers at an early age in order to make them used to human contact. The same goes for riding elephants – although these huge animals look like they could easily carry humans, an elephant’s back isn’t actually that strong and certainly isn’t designed to haul around the ‘howdahs’ (seats) upon which elephant riders sit. What’s more, the practices that...

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Oct 26, 2016

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How much duty free can you bring into the UK?

How much duty free can you bring into the UK?

Nobody likes to call time on an amazing holiday. However, there’s one last thing that often perks up even the gloomiest of home-bound travellers: the duty-free shop. But what exactly are you allowed to bring back with you, and does it vary depending on where you are travelling from? Here we explain your duty-free allowances. What is duty free? When you travel abroad, you are allowed to bring home a certain amount of certain goods without having to pay UK duty tax (customs charges), as long as they are for you or are a gift for someone else – you are not allowed to sell anything that you have bought duty free. Duty free literally means ‘goods that are exempt from payment of duty’. What can I bring back from within the EU? There is no tax to pay on goods you bring home from within the EU as long as you have paid duty on them in the country of purchase and you transport them yourself and they are for your own personal use or intended to be a gift for someone else. Although there are technically no limits on the amounts of alcohol and tobacco you can bring back from the EU, if you bring back more than the amounts outlined below, you are more likely to be asked questions at customs about your intentions.   What can I bring back from outside the EU? There is no tax to pay on a certain amount of goods that you bring back from outside of the EU. Once again, they must be transported by you for your own personal use or as a gift, and you cannot combine allowances with other people to bring in more than your individual allowance. Alcohol You can bring in 16 litres of beer and 4 litres of wine (not sparkling). You can also bring in either: 1 litre of spirits and other liquors over 22% alcohol or 2 litres of fortified wine, sparkling wine and alcoholic drinks up to 22% alcohol You are allowed to split this last allowance – for example, you could bring back 1 litre of fortified wine and half a litre of spirits (both half of your allowance). Tobacco You can bring in 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco. You are allowed to split this allowance – for example, you could...

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Oct 20, 2016

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Tricky Travel Quiz: October 2016

Tricky Travel Quiz: October 2016

Fancy yourself as a bit of a travel trivia whizz? Put your knowledge to the test with our Tricky Travel Quiz! If you’re feeling inspired, click the image on the right to compare thousands of great holiday deals on TravelSupermarket. Don’t forget to share the quiz with your friends to find out which of you is the true master of travel trivia! Good...

Oct 20, 2016

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How to do Dublin on a budget

How to do Dublin on a budget

A cosmopolitan capital with a torrid history still writ large across its streets, Dublin is shaking off the shackles of a hard-hitting recession and regathering the easygoing buzz that made it a popular tourist haven. Much here centres on the ‘craic’: pubs are ubiquitous and distinctive, music seems woven into the city’s very core, and ageing but carefully-upheld traditions give the city an atmosphere that’s distinct from any other European capital. Here’s how Dublin resident James Hendicott suggests...

Oct 18, 2016

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The world’s safest countries

The world’s safest countries

With a spate of tragic events occurring in popular holiday destinations in recent times, it’s no wonder safety is now such a major factor in most UK holidaymaker’s travel plans. Simon Busch takes a look at some of the countries deemed to be the world’s safest, according to recent reports from the UN, the World Economic Forum and more. Hot and cold safe zones Jittery about world events? Head to Finland! The northern European country, formerly best known for its...

Oct 17, 2016

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9 of the world’s best kid-free resorts and hotels...

9 of the world’s best kid-free resorts and hotels

When you’re child-free and carefree, the screaming of other people’s tots and sub-teens – whether it’s from joy or otherwise – is just what you don’t want on holiday. And even if you do have kids, sometimes it’s nice when it’s just the two of you, like it used to be before the little darlings came along, writes Robin Gauldie. In this spirit of maturity, we’ve picked some top spots in Europe and beyond where you can take a...

Oct 14, 2016

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UK theme parks: 2016’s autumn and winter openings...

UK theme parks: 2016’s autumn and winter openings

The nights are getting darker and the mercury has begun to plummet, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop just yet! Tamara Hinson rounds up the UK’s best theme parks that you can still visit before they close this year. LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, Berkshire Open until: November 5. Christmas opening dates: December 3, 4, 10, 11 and 17 to 24 Although there’s plenty in store for LEGO fans visiting this theme park in 2017 (including a castle-themed hotel), 2016 has been an exciting year,...

Oct 14, 2016

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9 stunning volcanoes you can hike up

9 stunning volcanoes you can hike up

Climbing mountains is all very rewarding, but hauling yourself to the summit of a volcano and staring down at a steaming crater full of molten lava – now that’s a story for the grandkids. Sure, there’s the small chance of a cataclysmic eruption, but where’s your sense of adventure?! From Iceland to New Zealand, here are some of the most spectacular volcanoes around the world that you can hike to the top of. Eyjafjallajokull, Iceland A celebrity among volcanoes for...

Oct 13, 2016

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The ultimate guide to budget city breaks...

The ultimate guide to budget city breaks

Your city break’s all booked – exciting stuff! Now that’s sorted, it’s tempting to switch off, but getting organised now could save you a bundle. The more money you save, the more fun you can have on holiday, so we’ve put together this guide to the best way to do a city break on a budget. Compare cheap city breaks Get the right insurance Boring? Maybe. Potential life saver? Definitely. Get your travel insurance sorted well in advance of your trip...

Oct 7, 2016

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9 of the world’s most beautiful lakes...

9 of the world’s most beautiful lakes

From the heights of Andean South America to the verdant jungles of Africa, millions of magnificent lakes cover our planet, many so stunning that they take your breath away. Here we’ve rounded up a few of what we think are the world’s most beautiful lakes – space limitations mean missing out some spectacular examples, so let us know your favourites in the comments below! Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand Surrounded by the aptly-named The Remarkables mountain range, Wakatipu is renowned in New Zealand...