Beat The Travel Agent

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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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Travalo The World- The Refillable Perfume Spray

Published in travel accessories

 Travalo Refillable Perfume Atomizer Spray
When travelling you want to look and smell the best but there's always one major issue with that; you're limited to what you can bring on a plane. This is where Travalo comes in, they have invented a 5ml easy fill perfume spray that even Ryanair wouldn't have an issue with size wise. 

The Travalo perfume atomizer comes in 4 different models; Classic HD, Milano, Pearl and the Devine. All models come in various colours to match that perfect bag or purse. Made from Aircraft grade aluminum and totally free of glass this little friend is aircraft approved carry-on baggage.

We tested both the Classic HD and the Milano and true to Travalo's claims they really do refill in seconds. On the bottom of each Travalo Perfume atomizer, you will find a fillable hole which fits perfectly on nearly all perfume and aftershave bottles. 

The Innovative Genie-S 'pump to fill' works a charm with just a number of pumps it transfers the fragrance from your unfriendly sized perfume bottle to a handy pocket-sized travel accessory.  


We used the Travalo Milano for a recent trip and it lasted the whole 4 days of the trip and that's even with a generous respraying each morning, noon and night.


The only issue we were worried about was leakage and issues refilling which we've seen with other products like this. But overall we haven't had one leak. We actually found when playing about with the Travalo that not only can you refill again with a different perfume after cleaning but that Travalo has integrated a U-change removable inner vial to change in an instant. 

Verdict
Both the Classic HD and the Milano are not only brilliant for travel but for everyday use in your purse, make-up bag, pocket or in your car. We love the idea of it and think it really is the future, the only issue that comes into question is the price but when you consider how much it costs for a large and smaller travel sized bottle of your favourite spray over time you really can see a massive saving not only in money but in space.

Rating: 
Where to buy
Buy now for £12.99 and free delivery from Debenhams or Travalo
Understanding our rating class.
We rate our Travel Accessories ranging from, First class being the best and Last class being the worst.

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Dublin

Published in Destinations

(Photography by Steven Pratt- Instagram)
Overview

You've probably heard that Guinness tastes better in Dublin (fresh from the factory), but what you may not know is that Dublin is a perfect destination for the whole family. No, we're not suggesting you let the kiddies drink a pint. Instead, take them to the Dublin Zoo, to feed the ducks in Stephen's Green or on a picnic in Phoenix Park. Scholars enjoy walking in the literary footsteps of such writers as Yeats and Joyce, while discerning shoppers have their pick of designer boutiques.
Best Time to Visit

Dublin is delightful year round with many Irish festivals year round, especially St Patrick's day in March, Although the weather is best in summer.
Dublin
 Transportation
Getting around the Dublin area is easy. Jump on the coastal train, the DART, to discover the beautiful towns and villages dotted along the coast, or use the extensive public bus network or the Luas tram system to get you out to the suburbs too as well as bicycle hire throughout the city! If you are here for a few days then the best value across bus and rail options is the Leap Visitor Card.
Dublin Weather
December to February are the coldest months, with an average low of 45°F (7°C) and July is the hottest month, with an average high of 66 °F (19 °C).

Know Before Visiting
Although Dublin is an amazing city, don’t spend all your time there, Ireland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and to really see Ireland you need to leave the City, go see the spectacular scenery of the Irish coasts.

Language
Mainly English, although you might hear a bit of Irish.
Electric
Type G (three-prong plug)

Currency
Euro (€)
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Things to do
Guinness Storehouse

What better place to begin your Dublin adventure than the city's number one attraction, the Guinness Storehouse. Located in the heart of the St James’s Gate Brewery and home to the black stuff since 1759, this massive seven-storey building, a former Guinness fermentation plant, has been remodelled into the shape of a giant pint of Guinness. A visit will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about this world famous beer. The highlight for many visitors is the Gravity Bar where they receive a complimentary pint of Guinness and a chance to relax and enjoy the breathtaking 360-degree views across Dublin City.

(Photography by Steven Pratt- Instagram)
Opening Times: Daily 09:30-17:00 (Sep-Jun) 09:30-19:00 (Jul-Aug)
Admission Fees: Yes
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes
Address: St James's Gate, Ushers, Dublin 8, Ireland
Website: Click Here
Dublin Zoo
See many rare and exotic animals living and roaming in a wide variety of natural habitats at Dublin Zoo. Wander through the African Savannah and gaze at the giraffes, zebras, scimitar oryx and ostrich, then head to the Kaziranga Forest to see the magnificent herd of Asian elephants that call this beautiful place home.

Opening Times: Daily 09:30-4:30 (Mar-sep closes at 18:00)
Admission Fees: Yes
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes
Address: Phoenix Park, Dublin 8, Ireland
Website: Click Here

Trinity College Library
Dublin’s Trinity College Library isn’t only the biggest library in Ireland but one of the most eye catching in the world. With over 5 million printed volumes reflecting more than 400 years of academic development. The most famous of its manuscripts, the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow written around the year 800 AD and is one of the most beautifully illuminated manuscripts in the world. It's 680 pages of vellum contain the Latin texts of the Four Gospels.

Opening Times: Mon-Sat 09:30-17:00 (May-Sep) and 12:00-16:30 (Oct-Apr)
Admission Fees: Yes (for the book of tells and tours)
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes
Address: College Street, Dublin 2
Website: Click Here

Temple Bar
Located on the south bank of the River Liffey in central Dublin, Unlike other parts of Dublin's city centre, it is promoted as Dublin's cultural quarter and has a lively nightlife that is popular with tourists. Popular venues include The Palace Bar, The Temple Bar Pub, Oliver St. John Gogarty's and The Auld Dubliner (fine boys bar).

(Photography by Steven Pratt- Instagram)
Opening Times: 24/7
Admission Fees: No
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes (but cobblestone roads)
Address: Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Ireland

National Botanic Gardens
Located on the south bank of the Tolka River, the National Botanic Gardens is a great place to have a picnic and explore the exquisite gardens.

Opening Times: 9:00-17:00
Admission Fees: No
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes
Address: Glasnevin, Dublin 9, Ireland
Website: Click Here

The National Gallery of Ireland
Today the National Gallery of Ireland's collection includes over 2,500 paintings and some 10,000 other works in different media including watercolours, drawings, prints and sculpture. The gallery's highlights include works by Vermeer, Caravaggio, Picasso, Van Gogh and Monet.

Opening Times: Mon-Sat 09:15-17:30, Thurs 9:15-20:30 and Sun 11:00-17:30
Admission Fees: No
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes
Address: Merrion Square West, Dublin 2, Ireland
Website: Click Here

Croke Park
Gaelic football and hurling at Croke Park are an unusual and essential experience for those with even a modest interest in sport. On match days, make noise on the Hill 16 terrace cheering on the sky blues of Dublin.

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 0930-1700, Sun 1030-1700 (Jan-May and Sep-Dec); Mon-Sat 0930-1800, Sun 1030-1700 (Jun-Aug).
Admission Fees: Yes
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes
Address: Jones Road, Dublin, Dublin 3
Website: Click Here

Kilmainham Gaol
A former prison that housed the leaders of failed uprisings against the British from the 1780s to the 1920s, this museum gives a detailed insight into Ireland’s political history and includes the site of the execution of 14 members of the Easter Rising in 1916. The history of the prison itself is also explored. Access is by guided tour only.

Opening Hours: Daily 0930-1730.
Admission Fees: Yes
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes
Address: Inchicore Road, Dublin, Dublin 8
Website: Click Here

Ha'penny Bridge
The Ha'penny Bridge, known later for a time as the Penny Ha'penny Bridge, and officially the Liffey Bridge, is a wonderful pedestrian bridge separating Dublin’s city centre and a popular love lock bridge.

(Photography by Steven Pratt- Instagram)
Opening Hours: 24/7
Admission Fees: No
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes
Address: Bachelors Walk, North City, Dublin, Ireland

Public transport
Bus, train (DART) and Luas (tram) from the main transport infrastructure in Dublin, though only the bus makes its way out to the airport.
The Luas is quick and modern, but best for commuting and short city-centre hops.
Dublin Bus is far more extensive and easy to use thanks to sign upgrades and the handy Dublin Bus app.
For travel to the coast, local train services via the DART are frequent and efficient.
Most public transport options don’t run late at night, so you need to make alternative arrangements after midnight.
You can pay for a bus, Luas, DART and suburban rail services using a Leap Card, available online or at 400 Payzone outlets across the city. You load the smartcard with money and the fare is deducted each time you travel, with daily and weekly caps and savings on cash fares. A Rambler card (which you can also load onto a Leap Card) allows five or 30 days of unlimited bus travel.

Taxis
Taxis sit on almost every street corner in Dublin. Well-established companies like Eight Twenty Cabs and NRC are safe bets, while the Hailo app is a popular option. A nightlife ‘rush hour’ at around 3 am invariably leads to long, expensive rides at weekends. Tips are typically in the 10% range.
*Uber is also available in and around Belfast and is a great alternative than Taxies. Click here for your first journey free.

Driving
While driving in the city is generally safe, rush hour traffic (0830-0930 and 1645-1800) can see aggressive driving. Dublin features a somewhat confusing one-way system, based on single-direction traffic along the quays. Outside the city centre though, driving is relaxing and comfortable.
The city’s ring road, the M50, has a camera-based toll that requires online payment within 24 hours.
Street parking is limited in the city centre. The city’s main car parks, with various hourly rates, are Arnotts, Middle Abbey Street, and Brown Thomas, Clarendon Street. For street parking, kerb side pay-and-display meters are standard.

Bicycle hire
While busy times of day can be less than pleasant for nervous riders, cycling is a great way to get around. Dublin Bikes offer a city-wide bike share scheme with lots of central hubs to collect and deposit bikes. 

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