Yearly Archives: 2014

Cheap and cheerful accommodation

Posted on December 16, 2014 at 10:11 pm

Recently I’ve had a couple of trips away with my partner and our baby for various family events such as weddings and birthdays and we’ve had to find somewhere to stay overnight.

Personally in these kind of situations I really begrudge spending a lot on a hotel room that we are only going to be coming back to for somewhere to sleep. It also seems unnecessary to stay in a hotel with great facilities such as a spa, gym and restaurant as we’d have no time to use them anyway.

So I started to search for cheap and cheerful hotels, but the problem is that so often cheap is really not that cheerful and after reading reviews of dirty bed sheets and filthy bathrooms I was somewhat put off.

One of our main priorities now that we have a baby is for the hotel room to be functional and clean so I was looking through reviews to find a hotel that fitted both of these criteria and I must say on each occasion the best options were always Holiday Inn or Premier Inn. Although basic these hotels are generally all at the same standard across the country and they also provide a travel cot. So we took our own bedding for the baby and had a comfortable and fairly inexpensive stay.

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Review of the Sharrow Bay Ullswater

Posted on November 30, 2014 at 9:19 pm

The Sharrow Bay hotel is located on Ullswater in the Lake District. The hotel is quite literally right over the lake and most of the rooms have a balcony that looks right out over the water.

When we were driving up to the Sharrow Bay we came along a very narrow country road and as we got closer and closer to where the water comes right up to the level of the road we were starting to get a little alarmed and then we saw the hotel and breathed a sigh of relief.

As soon as we arrived we were greeted (by name) by the management staff and asked if we’d had a pleasant journey, we were then shown to our room, aptly named ‘Pinkie’ and it was beautiful, a fairly small room but beautifully done out with a nice big bathroom and a stunning view over the lake from our own balcony.

In the room was complimentary port and shortbread biscuits as well as the usually tea and coffee making facilities.

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Business trips – keeping track of your expenses whilst away

Posted on November 14, 2014 at 3:37 pm

When away on business it’s essential to keep track of everything that you are entitled to claim back from your company. However if your away for a few days or more it can get complex to keep track of everything especially given scraps of paper are likely to get missed once you return back home.So what can you claim for and how can you make it easier?
Well it’s all dependant on what has been agreed by your company however it usually covers travel cost, e.g flights, trains, hire cars and fuel, along with food expenses (you are usually given a daily allowance) and anything that’s classed as essential during your trip away.
With so much to remember an easier way of logging it all can be to use an app to store the necessary details.
Some of these apps can log and calculate miles driven against pence per gallon to give you an overall sum. Always remember to keep all of your receipts though as most companies will require you to evidence your purchases.

It’s also important to consider cost effective options even when things can be claimed on expenses as if you over indulge (by upgrading to first class or hiring a more expensive car) you could find yourself liable to pay the excess.

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UK – Three Peaks

Posted on October 28, 2014 at 7:27 pm

The UK National 3 Peaks Challenge consists of climbing 3 mountains in the UK one in England, Wales and Scotland. For an extra challenge many participants attempt to do this within a 24 hour period. This requires a good amount of planning and we strongly recommend that you have a support team or at least a driver to take you from place to place as this is a very strenuous challenge to complete in that amount of time. The estimated completion times are 4 hours for Snowdon, 5 hours each for Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike and this doesn’t include the travel time between destinations. To recoup your energy we you can sleep whilst travelling between destinations!
There are several ways you can take part in this challenge, either as a self-organised, professionally-organised or charity-organised events.
There are maps available for you to purchase should you wish to attempt this as a self-organised event.

Posted in Travel

Adult only

Posted on September 26, 2014 at 4:00 pm

For couples, staying at a standard all inclusive resort may not be for you as these tend to be very family orientated (unless they are specifically for adults). The risk is with these types of hotels/resorts is that even though they say they are suitable for couples, you may find yourself surrounded by children and families. This will bother some people. For couples looking to get away for a retreat, we suggest you look to go to an adult only resort/holiday. This could be a holiday resort, or it might be an adults only cruise. Or, it might be worthwhile looking to hire out your own apartment or villa as a perfect get away location. Some places around the world are more renowned for offering couple get-aways like the Maldives which is favoured amongst honeymooners.
Unfortunately many adult only holiday packages can come with a hefty price tag, so you will need to look harder for a bargain.

Posted in Travel

Family holiday locations

Posted on September 19, 2014 at 3:23 pm

You may not believe this but most locations can become family holiday locations, but this is hugely dependent on your family:

How old you and your children are

Whether you’re active or not

What type of activities you enjoy doing together

How many of you there are

And of course, your budget
Even locations like Ibiza can be very family friendly – you just need to know where to stay and go and where not to!
Research is crucial to a family holiday. Finding a hotel, villa or campsite that will suit your family is of course key, but making sure it is located near to attractions that you want to visit – this will save on travel time and will reduce the amount of stress on you and the children, especially if they are not good on car journeys.
Making sure you plan activities into your holiday is a sure way to keep the whole family entertained, make sure you aren’t too strict and don’t over pack the days or you could end up with some very over tired children!

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The Search for Wildlife and Tasteful Accomodation

Posted on September 16, 2014 at 12:24 pm

In today’s world going on a safari no longer means days out in rough terrain with no luxury in sight. From the grand area of Zambia all the way to Kenya there are more than enough 5 star safari venues to stay. At this locations you will commonly be allocated a luxurious suite, there are even pools and some have private transportation such as helicopters. Even with this all seeming a little farfetched to some, luxury and safari can be one in the same. For example there is one lodge that offers standalone gazebo style rooms equipped with four post beds and grand baths. You may even find some venues who boast having their own staff or butler services available. Even better yet there is a particular lodge in on a private game reserve were its guest have the opportunity to stay in treehouse style rooms connected by swing bridges. (more…)

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Pro’s and cons to all inclusive

Posted on September 13, 2014 at 2:36 pm

By choosing all inclusive you are removing the hassle of having to find places to have your meals, leaving more time to enjoy your holiday.
Soft drinks and local alcoholic drinks are usually free of charge, some hotels will provide more than this though, so check what yours includes.
You don’t need to take as much money with you as you won’t be like most tourists who spend a large portion of their “holiday spends” on food whilst on away.
Having paid more money up front for your hotel stay, if you find that the food is not to your taste or you find yourself taking lots of day trips you’ll find yourself purchasing meals anyway.
You can feel more tied down to your hotel so that you get your money’s worth.
Meals are available at set times, some hotels will offer additional snack bars, but if you want to have a sit down meal, you will need to stick to the allocated times – which won’t suit everyone.

Posted in Travel

Where do you stay when abroad?

Posted on September 5, 2014 at 6:45 pm

The internet has opened a whole range of opportunities to research holiday locations and destinations to stay. Doing this research can be a huge benefit to you buy opening up options you might not have considered and possibly saving you money.

Consider whether you want a beach, countryside or city break as well as main location you want to holiday.

If you have a family are you wanting to stay somewhere totally self-contained? Or would you rather stay in a resort or facility which has activities to amuse your children without your attendance?

Some locations you may even find the best of both worlds, usually in a camping resort, you may even find resorts with self-contained villas, but this is not as common.

Cost is a crucial factor when considering a holiday, especially when holidaying in peak summer holiday months!

Really compare the options carefully between staying in an all-inclusive hotel to being in a self-contained villa! You may find that the total cost isn’t that different in some locations!

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Ensuring you plan!

Posted on August 30, 2014 at 6:45 pm

When you go on holiday, be prepared and plan to try and reduce the overall cost and stress.

Start with comparing the benefits of package deals to separate flights/hotel. You should also consider the option of all inclusive compared to going half board or just bed and breakfast. If you don’t want to visit any local restaurants as you plan on spending most of your time at your resort, then you’ll probably benefit from all inclusive. However check what the restrictions are, some hotels are stricter than others.

Research your hotel to see what is provided in your room, are there towels, hairdryers & toiletries. Do you have a mini fridge?

Check out the local amenities, if you have local shops and supermarkets, then consider not taking toiletries, this will save you a lot of weight in your suitcase. You can also stock up your mini fridge with cheaper alternatives from the store!

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