Top Travel Hacks That'll Save You Time, Space, And Money

Published in Travel Tips & Tricks

Our Top Travel Hacks that'll Save You Time, Space, and Money
We have travelled in over 200 planes, 30 countries and 6 continents and we cold not count how many travel disasters we have had, but learning from our mistakes, we can give our top Travel hacks that’ll save you not only time and space but also money.

1. Carry a handy bag to increase hand luggage.

One of the simplest yet most effective hacks that we use almost every week on our travels is carrying a string bag or airport duty free bag with you when travelling as airplane fares are going down but airlines such as Easyjet are now limiting only one bag for hand luggage causing excessive charges for a passenger travelling with say a handbag and a hand luggage suitcase, but if you carry an airport duty free bag and put your handbag or other stuff in that they can’t refuse it on the plane.


2. Carry a multi-travel adapter.

When travelling to a country that uses a different plug type, bring one adapter and an extension lead or carry a handy 4 USB one international plug adapter to keep your devices charged. *check out our review of this handy affordable option*

3. Use any old card you have in your hotel room.
Many hotels now use a card system to keep the lights and plugs on to make sure you are in the room, but you don’t have to use the room key. You can use any card in it to keep your devices charging when your dipping down to the pool or have more than one guest staying. Our business cards work a treat ;)

4. Use your Hotels amenities to keep your clothes clean.
If you have been exploring a bit off the beaten track or have been at a music festival and your shoes have got dirty, use the hotel's shower cap to keep your shoes from dirtying up your clothes.

5. Use Netflix’s Download & Go feature.
 We spend a lot of time on planes and in airports and it can sometimes get a bit boring. If you have a tablet or phone and use Netflix, you can now use their download & go feature to download your favourite movies and shows to keep you or your kid occupied on that 4-hour flight.


6. Use those shades to hold your phone up.
Okay, it's no Imax cinema experience, but you can use your sunglasses you’ve already packed to hold your device up when you're watching a film in the airport or on a plane.

7. Use currency cards or non-international fee cards.
Cards like The free Revolut Card or credit cards like the Halifax Clarity card offers you no fees when using your card abroad for transactions or with cash withdrawals and you also get the MasterCard exchange rate which is normally a lot cheaper than a travel currency exchange service.

Explore our section on Best Travel Money options

8. Book the window and the aisle seat.
One of the ways to maximise your space on that cramped Boeing 747 is by booking the Window and the aisle seat if your travelling in a pair. Normally then you will get the middle seat to yourselves, But worst comes to worst and somebody sits there you just ask politely if they could swap seats with your or your travel buddy to sit beside each other.

9. Go Ninja style when booking flights and Hotels
Unfortunately, in this day and age flight and hotel companies save all of our details so the more you look at that flight the price will go up. Use A browser such as Google Chrome or Safari to go in Incognito mode to look like your a new customer.

10. Don’t be that person holding up the Security line.
When we travel we buy sealable transparent food bags that not only are a lot cheaper than some airports bag fee, but it means we can pack our liquids before we even get to the airport saving time and stress when going through security.

11. Bring your own healthy food and empty bottle on the plane.
When travelling you're limited to how much liquids you can bring but not snacks. Save money by bringing your own snacks on the plane. Not only will they be cheaper but also healthy than the plane food reducing tiredness and jet-lag.
*Also when travelling most airports have water dispensers in the airport so bring and empty plastic bottle and fill your bottle up on the other side of security.

12. Make your hotel or apartment your own.
There's nothing worse than travelling to a foreign country and not having one channel in your own language. Most hotels now will have a HDMI cable slot that you can plug your laptop or device into to watch your favourite shows. Also, most TVs now have a USB slot that you can charge your device off as well.

 

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Hand Luggage Travel Ban

Published in Essentials

Laptop and tablet ban: How will this affect your travel plans?
On March 22nd 2017, the UK and the US announced a ban on laptops and tablets in all hand luggage on board direct flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, and the change in hand luggage restrictions has now come into force.
So how will this affect your travel plans?
The US flight ban affects the following airports:
• Cairo (Egypt)
• Istanbul (Turkey)
• Dubai (United Arab Emirates)
• Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)
• Kuwait (Kuwait)
• Doha (Qatar)
• Casablanca (Morocco)
• Amman (Jordan)
• Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)
• Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)

The UK flight ban affects all flights coming from:
• Turkey
• Lebanon
• Jordan
• Egypt
• Tunisia
• Saudi Arabia
Which airlines are affected?
The ban will affect six UK airlines:
• British Airways
• easyJet
• Jet2.com
• Monarch
• Thomas Cook
• Thomson
And these eight overseas carriers:
• Turkish Airlines
• Pegasus Airways
• Atlas-Global Airlines
• Middle East Airlines
• Egyptair
• Royal Jordanian
• Tunis Air
• Saudia


Which are electronic items are banned from cabin baggage?
UK flight ban:
Prohibits any electronic device bigger than 16cm x 9.3cm x 1.5cm in hand luggage. This means mobiles and smartphones, like the larger iPhone 7/Samsung Galaxy S8, can still be carried in hand luggage.
US flight ban:
Prohibits the following items, as detailed by The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) - but they have said that this list is not exhaustive:
• Laptops
• Tablets
• E-readers
• Cameras
• Portable DVD players
• Game consoles larger than a smartphone
• Travel printers and scanners

What can I pack in my hand luggage?

If you're like us and travel with a ton of electronics you're probably left a little confused as to what items you can and can't bring on board, but from the UK, it only seems to affect laptops and tablets bigger than an iPhone 7 plus for now. But we will keep you up to date.

What about electronics on connecting flights?
Some of the airports affected by this latest hand luggage ban are big airline hubs, with lots of UK travellers passing through on business or holiday. The ban is to be enforced from your last point of departure, so if the last airport you departed from is on the list, then the ban will apply. Therefore, catching any connecting flight from one of the airports affected to the UK will mean that your laptop or tablet will not be allowed in the cabin. The safest thing to do if you're transferring through one of these airports is to put any electronic devices into your hold luggage at the first airport you're originating from.

Will travel insurance cover electronics in hold luggage?

Policies can vary, but as a general rule, most travel insurance will not cover theft of and unattended items which you can't see or aren't close to you. So if it goes in the hold, there's a chance your policy won't pay, should your laptop or tablet get damaged or go walkabout. Some insurance providers might be flexible in this situation, having been effectively forced to place such items in the hold, but if in doubt and when possible, leave valuable devices at home and save yourself the stress.

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Top Tips For First Time Flyers

Published in Essentials

Top Tips for First Time Flyers

So you’ve booked your first flight, your wondering what know? whats my next step? If you’re like most people, exploring something new—like the cabin of an airplane, it can be daunting. While not every first-time flier will mistake the emergency exit for the bathroom, there are some tips that will help not only new travellers but frequent travellers alike.
Check in for your flight online and print/mobile your boarding pass

In this day and age where everything is done digitally, you can check in for your flight up to two weeks before your flight depending on your airline. Checking in online not only saves hassle at the desk but if you’re only carrying hand luggage you don’t even have to go and wait at the airline desk. Also on many airlines they will let you pick your own seat free of charge when your checking in online or one will be allocated for you.
Don’t pack too much

Our general rule when you pack for a trip is that you don’t need as much as you think you need, Realistically if you think ‘you may wear or need this’ you probably don’t. Off course, everybody wants to look their best for those holidays photos but you don’t need 14 outfits for a 5-day trip, just be realistic and think about space. (check out our how to pack like a pro guide here)
Check Your Carry-on Is the Right Size

Each Domestic and international Airline each have a different set of rules when it comes to carry-on bag sizes. Before you head to the airport with your luggage, make sure your tote qualifies as a carry-on handbag and check your airline’s size restrictions before you leave home as some airlines won’t allow items such as a handbag as well as a hand luggage suitcase. (check out our best-rated suitcases under £50 here)

Don’t pack any liquids or forbidden items

If you’re not checking a bag, remember that carry-on liquids, gels, and aerosols have to be 100ml/3.4 fl. oz or less and fit in a clear, quart-size bag. We normally use kitchen Ziploc Bags when travelling and have our liquid bag already packed before arriving at the airport.

Check your passport Validation

There is nothing quite like the panic that comes from booking a spontaneous vacation and realising your passport is expired—or expiring. Adding to the challenge is that some countries won’t allow you to visit within six months of your passport’s expiration date in case you take an extra-long vacation and they want to make sure you have a valid passport to travel back. In short, it never hurts to check your passport’s expiration date and, if necessary, renew it before your next big trip. (Find out how long your passport needs to be valid for here)
Double-check Your Itinerary

Traveling between time zones or around the world can be confusing. That’s why it always pays to make a list and check it twice. Go through your itinerary, confirm your airport (Did you book Heathrow or Gatwick? JFK or Newark?), your connection times (How long does it take to get to the train station? Which time zone is that?), and your plane tickets, including whether or not your name is spelled correctly on your documents.
While you’re working your way through the list, confirm your reservations for everything from hotels, flights, trains, buses, and activities.
Download that M-app

Getting lost when travelling is part of the fun and not taking that wrong turn may have never lead you to that beach, restaurant or neighbourhood, but when it comes to travel sometimes you can’t rely on that french you learned in school to ask for directions. We always carry a piece of card with the hotel/hostel/apartment’s address on it, so no matter what you have the address to at least make it back to base. We also use offline maps through either Google maps or a free third-party app from the App Store just in case we don’t have Wifi or Data. Speaking of phones…
Check Your Phone Plan

Before you head out of the country, hop online or call your service provider to get a data roaming or international calling plan. If you do not want to use your phone while traveling abroad, shut off the data roaming on your phone or risk a hefty phone bill.
Plan your currency options

It’s a good idea to have some of the local currency on hand when you land, but don’t overdo it. We recommend carrying some local currency and using a non-sterling transaction fee card when abroad to not only save money but save the disaster of having your cash lost or stolen. (explore the best travel money options here)
Alert your bank before you travel

There are few things more frustrating than having your credit card frozen when you’re on vacation because your bank thinks your card has been cloned or stolen. Before you go, notify your card company’s fraud department that you’re leaving the country. This can normally be done through the online app or a quick call to the number on the back of your card.
Pack comfortable shoes

We understand you're not climbing Mount Everest but the best way to really see a city is by foot and there is nothing more unrelaxing than sore feet. So pack your favourite trainers or shoes that go with most outfits and leave the heels at home.
Have a rough restaurant list

With sites such as TripAdvisor getting bigger and bigger its quite easy to find out where is hot and where is not. There is nothing more disappointing than spending your hard earned money on a terrible expensive meal. Make a small list either on your phone or a piece of paper with good cheap-eats, dessert bars, cafes, and nightclubs on it, We like to do this a couple of days before going to get excited about your adventure.
Don’t over schedule

Yes there are hundreds of amazing things to do in most cities but the sad truth is your not going to have time to see every nook and cranny in your short vacation. Plan what your must-sees are and don’t build yourself up for disappointment.
Don’t stress and enjoy your trip

Sit back, relax and enjoy it. More than likely something will go wrong its just the way things are, just laugh it off and take it as a memory, some of our greatest vacation memories are from things going wrong and looking back and laughing at them.

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Dos And Don’ts Of Eating In Europe

Published in Essentials

Dos and Don’ts of Eating In Europe
Everyone gets ripped off at one time or another while travelling and it seems to be more common when there can be a language barrier. So we are going to do our best to arm you with a little bit of knowledge to avoid being ripped off in Europe’s restaurants and cafes so you can get back to the serious business of eating some of Europe’s most delicious food.

The farther away from a tourist site you eat, the less likely you are to be ripped off
It’s a sad truth that in some less-than-honest establishments, tourists can be seen as easy prey. Restaurants and cafes right near the big tourist sites are the most likely candidates. It’s not always the case of course, but well-located eateries that don’t cater to a local (and therefore repeat) market are more likely to charge inflated prices.

Avoid restaurants and cafes with a host outside forcing you in.
Another tip-off that you’re in a touristy establishment: There’s a “host” outside the door asking you to come in (any restaurant catering to locals, won’t have this since they’ll rely on word-of-mouth)

Where you sit can really affect the price

It is quite common in cities like Rome, Paris, and Amsterdam that you will have to charge differently depending on where you sit. In Rome for example, you will find it cheaper to have a coffee or drink at the bar and may notice different prices for “banco” (standing) and one for “tavolo” (sitting).
Also in places like Paris and many other European cities restaurants may charge extra to sit outside ‘al fresco’, so be aware of any charges.

Understanding charges on your bill
You may find in some European cities that there can be extra fees or charges on your bill. In Rome, for example, you may see ‘“pane e coperto’ on your bill which is a charge for your bread that is generally not per basket but per head. You may also find almost all restaurants in Europe will charge you for water.

Understanding when to tip
Restaurant tips are more modest in Europe than in America. At restaurants, check the menu to see if service is included; if it isn’t, a tip of 5–10 percent is normal. In most places, 10 percent is a big tip. As a matter of principle, if not economy, the local price should prevail. Please believe me — tipping 15 or 20 percent in Europe is unnecessary, if not culturally ignorant.
Tipping is an issue only at restaurants that have waiters and waitresses. If you order your food at a counter (in a pub, for example), don’t tip. The “service charge” (Servizio in Italian, service in French, servicio in Spanish) can be handled in different ways. Sometimes the menu will note that the service is included (“servizio incluso”), meaning that the prices listed on the menu already have this charge built in. When the service is not included (“servizio non incluso”), the service charge might show up as a separate line item at the end of your bill.

If you can, check for reviews 
The best way to know what you're getting before you get it is to look at genuine non-biased reviews. By using Tripadvisor or Mytable, which both offer an honest rating of the restaurant, bar or cafe. You can also search restaurants near you and can also specify if you want cheap eats or fancy 5-star cuisine. 

Find A Park, Pack a picnic
To keep the cost down and live like a local,grab a take-away sandwich from a bakery or Supermarket and have a picnic. Picnics can be an adventurous money saving option. Also be aware In stores, unrefrigerated soft drinks, bottled water, and beer are one-third the price of cold drinks. Avoid buying drinks to go at streetside stands; you'll find them far cheaper in a shop.

Be aware of cultural differences
Keep in mind that by Uk/American standards, many Europeans such as the French undercook meats: rare or saignantis close to raw; medium or à point is rare; and well-done or bien cuit is medium. Also keep in mind that in an around certain cities of Europe you may find raw eggs put on top of items such as Pizza.

Have fun and enjoy some of the best Cuisines in the world.

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How To Pack Like A Pro

Published in Travel Tips & Tricks

With your flights and hotel booked, the luggage is the last thing stopping you from that great holiday. We know it feels like a chore, but if you pack like a pro you’ll never have to worry.

1. Make a list
Ok, so it sounds a little boring, but idiot-proof lists are the gateway to a stress-free holiday. Separate your essentials from your desirables, and be realistic with your luggage limitations. Check our packing list here.


2. Don’t forget the first aid kit
We’re not asking you to prepare for ER, just a small bag with the most necessary pills, plasters and medicine you might need. After all, nobody wants to suffer a punishing headache, high-climate fever, upset stomach or all three during a holiday.

3. Limit your liquids
We all know about it by now, and yet there’s still a mass confusion and hold-up when some chancer tries to sneak a bottle of water past airport security. Much to everybody’s knowledge, baggage restrictions state that all liquids carried in hand luggage must be no more than 100 ml per item, and must fit into one small and resealable transparent bag. If you’re carrying anything larger, stow it with your checked-in suitcase.

4. Name tags are there to help
Unless you’re an international man of mystery, you shouldn’t have to worry about travelling incognito. Most suitcases come with name tags fitted as standard, so be sure to fill them in just in case you, or the airline lose your luggage.

5. Observe restrictions on baggage

Overstuffing your suitcase is never a good idea. If your airline says: “23kg”, then they mean 23kg! Weigh your bags before you get to the airport and make sure you are within the restrictions, otherwise you’ll be forced to cough up extra cash at the airport or, even worse, have to say goodbye to that lovely hand-knitted cardigan your grandmother spent so long slaving over. Which brings us on to our next Point…

6. Save bag space for all your holiday purchases
Whether it’s duty free goods or holiday mementos, it’s inevitable that you’ll be bringing more back home with you than when you left, so make sure you have room for it.

7. Skip the shoes
The biggest and most frustrating item of luggage. How many pairs of shoes you should take is very much dependent on how long your vacation might be, but we’d suggest that three pairs is a reasonable average for a 1-2 week getaway. More important than volume is versatility, so make sure you’re not stuck hiking in stilettos by bringing a pair of shoes for every realistic occasion of your trip. Wear your most cumbersome pair on the plane – plus, stuff your socks in the rest – and you’ll save even more space.

8. Cosmetics – at a minimum
Unless you plan on travelling to a desert island, it’s likely that you’ll be able to pick up popular shampoo or sun lotion brands in almost any corner of the world. Fewer cosmetics also mean that you’ll be less likely to find an explosion of nondescript gooey liquids spoiling everything in your suitcase when you arrive at your destination. If you really can’t live without that special face cream, try to take only as much as you’ll need for your trip and nothing more.

9. Keep on rollin

This tip is certainly up for debate, but we think that rolling your clothes really is the only way to go. Not only will it reduce those pesky wrinkles and creases in your gear, it’ll save you some much needed suitcase space.

10. All valuables go in hand luggage
It’s rare that airlines lose luggage these days, but why take the risk? Stay safe and stow all your expensive luxuries from your camera to your diamond engagement ring in hand luggage.

11. Don’t forget the adapters
If you do need them, save on the crazy airport prices by buying them ahead of your trip. Pound stores is one of the best places to get adaptors, or if you travel regularly get a multi-purpose one like this.

12. Categorise your clothes
Pack clothes in groups: that means shirts with shirts, pants with with pants, it’s easier to find what you need and unpack on the other side.

13. Pack a mini wardrobe in your hand luggage
Not literally, of course, but it’s always a nice idea to add a clean set of underwear and a garment in your carry-on bag, in case of your luggage being lost in an aeroplane mix-up.

14. Don’t predict the weather
Check it here.
Depending on where you’re going, weather forecasts are either your holiday’s best friend or your worst nightmare. Come rain or shine, meteorologists will always give you the best idea of what weather to expect on your holiday. Check the day before you fly and pack accordingly, and save room for that trusty pac-a-mac or umbrella you hope you’ll never have to use.

15. Don’t leave home without the essentials
This last tip is a big one as without these necessities, you won’t be heading anywhere but home: check and check again that you have your monies, a valid passport and – for the sake of your holiday companions – a toothbrush. Keep these all on hand and then you’ll be able to remember the most important thing.

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Top Up-and-Coming Destinations Of 2017

Published in Travel Tips & Tricks

Top up-and-coming destinations for 2017

1. Reykjavik, Iceland
Recently An increasing numbers of tourists are heading to Reykjavík for the city’s arts scene, cool nightlife and the abundance of natural wonders that lie right on its doorstep. With the increase in cheap flights from such companies as WOW Air and Easyjet, this beautiful city is more accessible than ever leaving it the up-and-coming destination of 2017.

2. Mexico City, Mexico
When most think of Mexico City the first thing that comes to mind is “Isn’t it dangerous?” But so long as you take the same precautions you would in any large city, the answer is no. Mexico’s bustling capital and economic powerhouse can be a fun and safe destination. With its Hip neighbourhoods, incredible architecture, lively street markets and diverse culture makes this lovable city a must stop destination. Mexico City’s energy is almost addictive and with flights coming down in price from the UK and Europe it can be the ultimate money saving holiday.


3. Seoul, South Korea

If you haven’t visited Asia’s mighty hub of pop culture, it’s about time you did. Beyond the billboard k-popper’s and the glass towers of Gangnam, Seoul has a vibrant culture that much of the world is just beginning to discover. Far more than just chic cafés and Korean craft brews, the city is home to graffiti-covered basement bars and hidden restaurants serving both traditional and fusion cuisines. With the 2018 Winter Olympics looming, now is the time to experience Korea’s capital before the crowds take over.

4. Ljubljana, Slovenia
Winning the well-deserved award of European Green Capital of 2016, the elegant Slovenian capital boasts a wealth of green spaces. If you’re feeling green yourself, the car-free centre is perfect to explore by bicycle, or else you can navigate a stand-up paddle-board along the gorgeously green Ljubljanica river that flows through the centre. Low prices mean you can find brilliant budget food and accommodation options without compromising on quality, plus it’s just a hop to the country’s stunning mountains, vineyards and beaches.

5. Wrocław, Poland
After a devastating flood in the 1990s Wroclaw hasn’t really been heard of, until now. Painstakingly rebuilt to its former glory explore the restored churches, Flemish-style mansions and rich palaces. Though Wroclaw has yet to attract the large crowds of other Polish hotspots such as Kraków or Warsaw, it’s all set to change with its title as European Capital of Culture. Join the lively student population and scores of Nobel Prize winners who call Wroclaw home, as plenty of special events run throughout the year alongside the many arts festivals that earned the city its reputation as a cultural hub.

6. Nashville, Tennessee, USA
As one of the fastest growing cities in the US, change is in the air for Nashville. This famously conservative place has experienced a huge surge in young professionals, who have brought new life to the city’s more liberal, artsy side. It’s an exciting time for the city, but culturally Nashville’s soul remains unchanged: a fierce love of southern cooking and deep passion for music still prevail. This year, take a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to go firefly watching, before kicking back with fried chicken and a night at a classic honky-tonk.


7. Amsterdam, Netherlands
With a new London to Amsterdam Eurostar service set to start in 2016, the Dutch capital is about to get a whole lot more accessible, if it wasn’t already by air. Amsterdam’s compact streets and winding canals make it a wondrous place to visit with its historical buildings and strong art galleries and museums. Amsterdam is ‘naughty but nice’, with a lax attitude towards all the guilty pleasures you could dream up. So stuff your face with delicious foods, wander the windows of the red light district and relax in an Amsterdam café.


8. Bangkok, Thailand
With an increase in tourism over the last year and with UK flights getting cheaper, Bangkok is becoming a popular destination for many Europeans alike. A larger-than-life city where magnificent temples, historic markets, skyscrapers and rooftop bars create an intoxicating vibe that’s hard to resist. A blend of the traditional and the modern, Bangkok's every street has a surprise in store.



9. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
New North American and transatlantic flight routes continue to roll out of Vancouver as airlines try to meet the world’s demand to visit this truly stunning city. Thought to be Canada’s most liveable city, with a temperate climate and wraparound views of snow-capped peaks, it’s also the country’s most expensive. But that hasn’t stopped a host of exciting independent attractions from popping up. Amidst the new microbreweries and restaurants making international waves. A gateway to the slopes of Whistler and the rainforests of Vancouver Island, this city is a must-visit all year-round.

10. Agra, India
India’s majestic former Mughal capital is too often experienced in brief as a traveller’s day trip from Delhi to the Taj Mahal. But there’s much more to enjoy here, extravagant monuments and tombs lining the Yamuna River bank, the Taj Mahotsav arts festival held in February and the crumbling Mughal gardens dotted across the city. Making this a must see destination when touring India.

 

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Best Places To Spend New Year's Eve

Published in Travel Tips & Tricks

Ringing in a new year in a new place
New Year’s comes but once a year, so it’s worth it to make the festivities memorable. But where’s the best place to be when the clock strikes midnight on December 31? myself and my partner have celebrated new years eve in a different country for the last 5 years now and we find that it’s the best way to ring in a New Year.

New York City
It may not be for everyone, but there’s no denying that New Year’s Eve in New York City has an atmosphere that few other cities can rival. Most popular, of course, is the annual gathering of a million people in Times Square to see the ball drop On Times Square. For a slightly less chaotic experience, book a reservation at one of the bars or restaurants overlooking Times Square. And for something completely different, consider a night-time boat ride on New York Harbour, which offers the best views of the midnight fireworks display on Liberty Island.


Rio de Janeiro
Known for its wild carnival festivals, Rio knows how to party and its New Year's Eve celebration is no different. The Yearly event known as 'Réveillon' is Held on the Iconic Copacabana Beach, Where two million people cram onto the two-and-a-half-mile stretch of sand for the worlds largest and arguably wildest New Year's party. Locals dress head to toe in white (believed to bring good luck) and toss handfuls of flowers into the ocean as gift to Yemanjá, goddess of the seas. The celebration also includes large oceanfront stages for live musical and dance performances, and a colourful fireworks display at midnight to complete the scene.


Sydney
Sydney is famous for two claims to fame on its New Year’s Eve celebrations: first, because of its location, it’s the first major city where the clock strikes midnight and second for the largest fireworks display in the world, with one at 9 pm and another at midnight, with the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House making for a striking setting. More than a million people attend the waterfront show, which also includes an air and water show featuring aerial acrobatics, an Aboriginal smoking ceremony and the Harbour of Light Parade; a mix of more than 50 illuminated boats in the harbour.


Edinburgh
The Edinburgh Hogmanay translates to “last day of the year,” but the annual New Years festivities in Edinburgh actually last three days. Things kick off on December 30th with a torchlight march through the city that finishes with a fireworks finale. While New Year’s Eve is all about massive street parties and outdoor concerts, including a open-air Kelidh (traditional Celtic party). At midnight, 4.5 tons of fireworks explode over Edinburgh Castle while the streets ring out with celebrators singing “Auld Lang Syne.” .


London
Join a crowd of more than 250,000 across the banks of the Thames and its numerous bridges to see the spectacular light and firework display or listen to the chiming of Big Ben at midnight. Then on New Years Day the streets of central London are meet with colourful parade floats, followed by the Queen of England’s horses.


Paris
The City of Light lives up to its nickname on New Year’s Eve, when the Eiffel Tower, arc de Triomphe and Disneyland Paris become the back drop of a spectacular light show. Live like a Parisian by popping a bottle of champagne and exchanging cheek kisses at the Champs-Elysées street party. Recently in the past couple of years the ‘official fireworks displays have been absent due to safety threats but that shouldn’t stop you from bringing in the nouvelles années.


Hong Kong
One of the world’s most dramatic skylines lights up every year with a display of fireworks that grows more impressive every year. The events kick off in Hong Kong’s Times Square shopping mall, where a replica ball drop takes place in homage to New York City’s famous festivities. Victoria Harbour is the center of the evening activity, though, so savvy locals party on boats, rooftop terraces, or at the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Tsa Shui for the best views of the dazzling lightshow.


Berlin
The German capital has a reputation for being a party city year-round, so you can imagine what New Year’s Eve (known as "Silvester") is like here. The centerpiece of the celebration is “Party Mile,” a two-kilometer stretch of bars, international food stalls, laser shows, video screens, party tents, music stages, and more between Brandenburg Gate and Victory Column. After the fireworks show at midnight, the crowds head to the city’s many dance floors, where they stay out until dawn or later.


Las Vegas
More than 300,000 revelers descend on this party capital for the big night, when the Las Vegas Strip becomes car-free and transforms into a giant street party with live bands, light displays, and laser shows. The city also hosts a mind-boggling number of concerts, shows, and parties in clubs, hotels, and casinos, meaning there’s no shortage of evening entertainment options. Come midnight, fireworks are launched from seven rooftops along the Strip, so chances are you’ll see them whether you’re on the street or a rooftop club.


Walt Disney World
New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney World is a dream come true for families traveling over the holiday. The theme park stays open until 1 am, but it’s packed with fun activities all day long. Leading up to the midnight fireworks show, there are many performances, dance parties, live entertainers, and confetti explosions to keep visitors of all ages entertained. Disney’s Magic Kingdom is the most popular for New Years Eve, while Epcot puts on an impressive lights and laser show just before midnight. Be aware that you may need to arrive at the park early on New Years Eve as the parks will reach maximum capacity and they will close admission.


Vienna
This atmospheric city is famous for its New Year’s Eve Grand Ball, hosted at Hofburg Palace, but there’s more on offer than just throwback elegance. Vienna’s famous Christmas markets transform into New Year’s fairs, and hundreds of thousands of revelers crowd the Silvesterpfad (New Year’s Path) in the city center on New Year’s Eve. Fueled by mulled wine, the party starts at 2 pm and goes until well after midnight, with fireworks appearing over the Wiener Prater fair.


Amsterdam
A city that knows how to party and New Years Eve is no exception. The Oosterdok is the main place to celebrate NYE but throughout the city, especially Rembrandtplein, Nieuwmarkt, Leidseplein and Dam Square are famous for the fireworks that include numerous kinds of firecrackers and sparklers or even crackers and bangers. At Museumplein a big event is organised where the high fireworks strike the audience with awe. The most important factor that the city of Amsterdam offers to the crowds of the New Year’s Eve is that each and every person who desires to enjoy the night without spending money can hit the streets and enjoy with the crowd as a big friendly group. No matter where you decide to spend your New Years Eve in Amsterdam you will be sure to have a good time.


Reykjavik
With only four hours of daylight in late December, locals in the northernmost capital of the world are ready to party like no one else. New Year’s Eve kicks off with community bonfires around which people sing, dance, and play music. Meanwhile, fireworks light up from every corner of the city thanks to fairly relaxed government restrictions. As midnight approaches, crowds gather around local landmarks like Perlan and Landakotskirkja church for the best views of the official fireworks displays.


Cape Town
New Year’s celebrations span three days in this vibrant South African city. On New Year’s Eve, the Victoria & Albert Waterfront hosts a concert and midnight fireworks display. (check out Table Mountain for unobstructed views of the fireworks).


Bangkok
This bustling metropolis’s locals and expats come together for New Year’s Eve festivities, the centerpiece of which is a massive gathering in Central World Square. The crowd numbers hundreds of thousands, and entertainment includes a spectacular light show, live concert, and video screens projecting celebrations from around the world. At midnight, of course, a series of fireworks displays illuminate the riverside. Afterward, the party continues at nightclubs and the lively beer gardens lining the streets.

 



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Best Travel Money Options

Published in Travel Tips & Tricks

best travel money options

Spending the wrong way abroad could be costing you, when travelling you have many options for getting the best rate. If you don’t consider your options and go and get currency at the airport or off your high fee debit card it could be costing you up to £100's.
For example if we where to spend 1000 euro.
From a Speciality credit card repaid in Full- £781
Cash, via UK Cheapest exchange- £798
Cash from the post office – £802
Using a debit card with fees (Halifax) - £829
Change at airport (Heathrow not pre-ordered)- £864
As you can see being prepared for travelling could have saved just under £100 which could have went on a romantic meal or an attraction ticket, so planning the foreign currency prior to arrival is always key. 

The best option normally is a non-sterling transaction fee credit or debit card meaning that you don’t get charged to use your card abroad for card payment and in some cases ATM’s. When travelling regularly these cards are a must travel accessory. Although the currency conversation is very important as well as the fee, when you use a credit/debit card abroad you get a choice to either get it converted by the ATM’s bank or your own card provider. Always do the transaction in the countries currency and let your own card provider convert it as it is always a better rate regardless if you get charged by your bank/card provider or not. In our experience MasterCard and AMEX exchange rates seem to be a lot better than Visa and I would always consider this when getting a travel card.

Top pick credit cards.
Halifax Clarity MasterCard
-This card has no fees when using the card abroad for card-based transactions.
-No annual fee.
-No Cash withdrawal fees but you will get charged interest from the date of the cash withdrawal but it will only be charged at standard interest rate, but this can be dodged if you either use the card only for card based transactions or pay of the cash withdrawals every couple of days.

MBNA Everyday Plus
–This card has no fees when using the card abroad.
–There are no ATM withdrawal fees home or abroad.
–Very low interest of 7.4% APR for both Cash and card Transactions.
–This card has no fees when using the card abroad.
–There are no ATM withdrawal fees home or abroad.
–Very low interest of 7.4% APR for both Cash and card Transactions.

Aqua Reward MasterCard
–This card has no fees when using the card abroad on spend based transactions.
–Has high interest 34.9% APR but if paid off at full every month this shouldn’t matter
–APR is charged on Cash Withdrawals regardless of when it paid off though.
–Overall this card is a lot easier to get compared to other travel cards, as these may require a stronger Credit file.

Other top cards:

Post Office (MasterCard) 
–No fees when using the card abroad on spend based transactions.
–0% on all purchases for the first three months
–No cash fee to buy travel money from the post office Saga (Visa)
–No fees when using the card abroad on spend based transactions.
–0% on all purchases for the first nine months
–0% Cash interest for 55 days – but a 2% fee

Nationwide's Select (Visa - for Nationwide current account customers only).
–No fees when using the card abroad on spend based transactions.
–£25 reward on your first £25 transaction
–Earn 0.5% unlimited cash back on Sterling transactions

Top Tips
Always repay in full To make the saving of no fees you need to pay of in full every month, either via direct debit or by keeping on track of it as if you don’t you will not make much gain if you are paying interest on your spend.
Beware - Foreign ATM’s charge Cash fees as well Regardless of the card you have certain ATM machines will charge there own fee and this can slowly add up, if you are going to do a cash withdrawal I would plan your spend in advance and withdraw the maximum from the ATM so you only get one charge for one large cash withdrawal instead of a lot of smaller ones over the space of a week.
Avoid- Debit cards can be the worst way to spend abroad Eight debit cards (everyday bank cards) are the worst cards. Not only do they add a load and an ATM fee, they also charge up to £1.50 EVERY time you spend on them. These card providers are- Bank of Scotland, Halifax, IF, Lloyds, Santander, TSB, NatWest/RBS. check out our charges and fees table to find out what you are getting charged.

prepaid travel card
The next option you have is a prepaid travel card or ordering currency to be delivered online, which can work out cheaper than getting physical currency at the airport or from a high street bank. But be careful, as some companies don’t let you use credit/debit cards so you are less protected.
Revolut
Weswap
FAIRFX

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