Whi oh Whi!? Getting to Grips with Gripes about Free Wifi

March 20th, 2015

Free wifi may well be a modern age miracle, but it’s also a great source of annoyance to many of its users – but is that through a lack of understanding in some cases? A recent question posed on facebook said; ‘What is your biggest gripe when it comes to using free wifi?’ This is what they said;

You nearly always have to ask for the code. Why not write it under the wifi symbol on menus.
4 March at 22:16

McDonald’s like other places expect you to register with them and share some of your information/details. I personally don’t like that and didn’t avail of their wifi whether it was free or not.
4 March at 22:17

Having to log in and thus giving details out.
4 March at 22:23

Not enough gumption! Holiday parks with so called wifi do not have the man power to cope with demand where there is no other signal!
4 March at 22:25

Businesses will always want your data to sign up, that’s effectively why they are doing it after all. Cheryl is bang on though, if you’re going to offer it at least make it work.
4 March at 22:28

yep, the not working, everything loading at a snails pace and having to log on all the time, makes me not bother
4 March at 22:42

Not enough power to send emails so having to opt for data usage anyway, if that makes sense.
4 March at 22:44

Oh and our local shopping centre gives you just 1 hour of free wifi then you’re cut off.
4 March at 22:48

There’s a scheme in Australia at the moment rolling out nationwide on the coast by a phone company called Telstra. You get free WiFi at any phone box and you don’t need to give any details.
5 March at 00:24

Sloooooow. Some are not worth using. Our sports Club won’t let you use your 3G in the building, you can ONLY use their wifi which involves creating an account – annoying. Most hotels’ wifi is fantastic & v fast.
5 March at 06:06

Hotels who now offer free wifi tend to only provide a very basic service i.e. slow speeds, disconnecting regularly etc, and then suggest you upgrade to their paid option.
5 March at 07:27

    At Airparks we provide all of our customers with free wifi in our buses and in the car parks themselves, its easy to access, it’s fast and it’s exactly what you want when you are on the move. We find it helps our travellers to send those last few messages to friends and family, check the weather at their destination, post one last message to colleagues stuck back in the office, or to finish off some work before they have to shut down electronics on board their aeroplane.

    But what are the myths and the truths behind free wifi. The cynic would say that there is no such thing as ‘free’ wifi – after all nobody offers something for nothing, do they? Originally of course, wifi hotspots were sought after and the access to them was a great pull to those looking for a spot to lunch or have coffee. But nowadays you can supposedly wander from zone to zone across town and access it wherever you like, but how do you avoid all the dangers? Are you likely to be digitally mugged?

    No matter how irritating it is putting those passwords and details in, it is much safer to do it! Tempting though it might be, do not connect to an unsecured network. If your smartphone automatically connects to a hotspot run by an identity thief then you have given them the best chance at accessing your private data – including all your passwords. Plus, without checking you’re using that safe connection, someone across the room could run a piece of free software that sniffs every bit passing over the network and grab passwords, credit card numbers and more!

    Wireless hotspots are essential these days. But you wouldn’t sit in a cafe with your purse in an easy-to-grab place. If you use public wifi at Airparks, in the airport, hotel room and abroad, awareness and encryption are paramount and the right connection and given password is one way to ensure you are safe online. Plus, when you are connected and browsing the web, if the web address displayed by your browser starts with HTTPS, you’re safe. If not, everything is potentially exposed to the baddies.

    But with these secure provided networks come the annoyances and the disadvantages. Many of these public wifis are designed as a data collection engines. You may be asked to put in your email address, your date of birth and your full name. Some people have set up a specific email account – such as in Hotmail – to use as a ‘login details’ account specifically for this purpose. It means that their true email account is not subjected to the spam that this process might incur.

    But why register details in the first place? Usually it helps protect you from nasty viruses and fraud and more often than not, legally they need to ask people to register some information before using the service to comply with European Data Retention directives. This information might, in case of anything illegal, be made available to authorities as required, but unless they state otherwise in the terms and conditions shouldn’t be shared with any third party companies.

    Quick Tips

    • For webmail or other sites that require a login password, ensuring there is an “https” in the website address means that the data you send and receive is protected from sniffers and snoopers.
    • If you use Outlook or another desktop email program, adjust your account settings to require a secure connection when sending or receiving mail.
    • Online banking or purchasing is usually encrypted as is Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook.com, and Facebook. Be aware though that some sites offer a secure login page, but after you’re logged in, they revert to non-encrypted mode!
    • Always read the terms and conditions that are presented to you before logging on!
    • Hotels that offer free wifi and then encourage you to upgrade are usually targeting those business users that will upgrade because they can claim it back on their expenses. The free usage should be enough for a guest that wants to access it in the short-term.
    • Don’t bother trying to connect to “Free Public Wi-Fi” (or “hpsetup” or “linksys”). It’s never a working Wi-Fi hot spot. It’s actually a viral “feature” of Windows XP running amok.
    • Don’t forget that once you have finished accessing wifi, then turning off your device’s wifi connector will save battery power, which is will be very important to travellers in particular.

    Is your relationship in the doldrums? It may need a holiday.

    March 20th, 2015

    In 2014 people in the UK were asked in a survey published by Relate to identify the top three challenges to their family relationships. Around three-fifths reported money worries as the main factor that placed the most strain on their relationship. This was followed by working long hours, maintaining a work-life balance, infidelity and not understanding each other.

    Getting away somewhere together is exciting and feels adventurous and if the place is new to both of you, the experience is one that you will share with absolute equality. It demonstrates and reinforces the correct priorities in life and can reignite the little sparks that fuelled your relationship in the first place.

    Here’s what a few Relationship Experts have to say on holidaying with your partner:

    • Relationship consultant Paula Hall, author of ‘Improving Your Relationship for Dummies’, thinks a couple’s getaway could be the key to improving things. Are you arguing non-stop? That’s the most obvious signal of a relationship on the rocks. But not even caring to have an argument can be worse. Paula says: “Although conflict can be very damaging to a relationship, indifference is even worse. If you’re finding that you just can’t be bothered to raise issues anymore or fight for the things that matter to you, then it’s definitely time to look at your relationship.”
    • Sharon Bexley, of femail.co.uk says, “We dream about, plan and save for them all year – with so much expectation riding on our holidays, perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised if they don’t live up to our hopes. Many couples feel more distant, rather than closer, when they’re away from the daily grind?”
    • Relate Counsellor Christine Northam; “Along with Christmas, holidays can be among the most testing times for a couple. Being away from home and your normal routine magnifies any cracks in a relationship that isn’t all it should be.”
    • Counsellor and psychosexual therapist Julia Cole suggests in her book, ‘Make Love Work For You’; “Assuming that your partner will want what you want is the quickest way to a major holiday falling-out (and may reflect a tendency to assume things about them in other areas of the relationship.) Whatever it is that you particularly want to do, try to alternate days of activity with days of rest. This will help you let go of the idea of schedules and living to a timetable that happens at home.”

    So if you want your break away to be the one that strengthens your relationship and doesn’t damage it, how can you do it?

    Looking for the ideal trip is all part of the fun – so keep an open mind as to where you want to go. The more you do together in the planning, the more together you’ll feel when away and less strain is paced on just one of you. Everything planned together is less to argue about if it doesn’t go to plan!

    At Airparks we are constantly trying to make your journey to the airport as smooth and as stress free as possible, we know that this can be one of the things that really gets the temper near the surface for anyone, but particularly for a couple under strain! So we provide simple pleasures such as valet car parking, quiet airport lounges a car cleaning service, Return Greet service and free wifi in the car parks and on the buses. We feel that these small personal touches can really help to make your decision as a couple to take time-out from life, and the travelling to your holiday just that much more enjoyable.

    Don’t put yourself under financial strain to achieve your time away – that’ll just leave some problems hibernating for when you return. Instead, choose something that you can afford and instead add a few affordable treats and luxuries as you go.

    Choose a stress-free destination that offers a range of activities that can be both relaxing and stimulating. Rushing around sightseeing all the time is tiring, but equally, sitting around doing nothing can be boring and unfulfilling.

    Pack together – think about new or special things to pack to make the holiday extra special. Think sexy lingerie or scented oils.

    Talk and enthuse each other before you go! What do you want to get out of the holiday?

    If things at home have been stressful and busy and it has been disturbing your sleep pattern, it’s a good idea to let yourself have time to wind down before you leave. That way, you’ll enjoy from the moment you arrive.

    Spend some time on holiday just talking. You can often make good decisions about your future and build closer ties when you have time just to be together and chat about your feelings. It’ll mean you have some unity in your personal goals when you get home.

    Last but not least – don’t forget your camera! You’ll want to capture some of those special shared moments to help make the memories last a lifetime.

    ‘APPy Travels

    March 9th, 2015

    Mobiles are shifting the way we approach all the facets of our lives, especially the way we research, book and manage our travels and adventures. Whether it’s personal advice from a friend on Facebook, instructions from a travel guide, or some incredibly helpful assistance from a blog piece like this (!), your mobile can be all the guidance you need. With that in mind, here’s our list of top 10 travel apps to help your way – and don’t forget that you can use them all across our free wifi in AirParks car parks and on our buses!

    1. aCar

    aCar is an essential tool to have, before you start your holiday. This straightforward and easy-to-use app helps you manage all things to do with your car, making sure nothing stops you getting to the airport! Just enter information about your vehicle’s make and model and it will make some really clever calculations like the cost of running your car per day and per mile. It’ll also tell you how far you are driving each day, predict when your next fill-up should be, calculate your fuel efficiency and chart it all for you. The app will also remind you when your next MOT or service is due so that your journey is a hassle free as possible and there’s absolutely no chance that you’ll miss that flight!

    2. Yplan

    Friends and family can make their best recommendations, but what about having your very own team of Entertainment Specialists? Take away the worry about planning where to go. Don’t wander the streets looking for the place with the brightest lights and loudest music. Yplan has your back. It will lead you to the best local events from live comedy nights to dinner deals that can all be paid for in a couple of clicks. Check out this Vimeo video for more info: YPlan, Tonight’s Going Out App (London)

    3. Holiday Countdown App

    How many friends do you know that have use social media to count the ‘sleeps’ before they head off on their holiday? The excitement has set in and as much as you try otherwise, it’s all that’s on your mind. The Holiday Countdown App is all you need to tell you and your social media followers just how long you have until the eagerly awaited day arrives. Simply enter your destination and the date you travel, add your own tantalising background image and then let the countdown begin!

    4. CityMapper

    If you want to travel around your foreign destination on anything but foot, then the challenge is working out what to use, where to find it and what time it runs! CityMapper is the answer! Available in 14 cities across the world – from Tokyo to Budapest, London to Washington DC – this navigation app plans a route for you. It’ll provide you with journey times, distances, prices – all with the click of a button! It even caters for future travel with catapult or teleport options to see how your journey could look in the future! Beam us up!

    5. Cost Split

    Cost Split is an app designed to save those terribly embarrassing moments when you are travelling with a group of friends. This helps you share costs within a group, with everyone able to add to the expenses from their own devices thanks to the cloud sync. You can pre-set a budget and all the names of your travelling companions so that at the end of the trip a report can define who should pay what to whom; making buying rounds at the bar so much simpler!

    6. Accuweather

    Discussing the weather is a typically British conversation starter, but this free, award winning weather app could take your ice breaking to the next level. With minute-by-minute hyper-localised precipitation forecast, accuweather is all about personalisation. You can even hide the less noteworthy conditions (who wants to hear about humidity?!) with the swipe of a finger, and create 5 day plans in advance, making sure you have those flip-flops packed if you need them.

    7. What3Words

    It seems like family and friends are never in one place at the same time these days. Fear not… What3Words allows you to pinpoint your friends and family to their specific location using a GPS map has the mapped out the entire world to 57 trillion squares, each 3m by 3m with their own code names!! Wow. Send location info to other users of the app so they can find exactly where you are (if you want them to!). Like the sound of that? Watch this video for more details!

    8.  Travel Bingo

    If the phrase ‘Are we nearly there yet’ is wearing a little thin and ‘I Spy’ has turned into a situation more like educating the children on their spelling techniques, then Bingo! The Travel Bingo app is great fun for the family. Look for road signs, vehicles, animals and road marker to score points. The first to spot all of them wins the game and the app sounds an alert for Bingo!

    9. WhatGas Petrol Prices

    Now we know that you have probably stretched yourself to get the best out of your holiday. So here’s one small way to save some pennies if you can. This app will help you to locate the closest and cheapest petrol station, giving you the option find a cheaper alternative down the road and save money when you fill up. It features the UK, Ireland, Germany, Portugal, Czech Republic and Hungary with more than 50,000 petrol stations including Shell, BP, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and ASDA. Click here to download the app.

    10. Trip Journal

    Last but certainly not least is the #1 Google Awarded Travel App; Trip Journal. Taking the rather retro idea of a travel diary, Trip Journal allows you to document your adventures and share them with your friends and family in an unfolding journal. Impress everybody with well designed updates, travelling routes, full screen photos, videos, comments and blog entries; all shareable though social networks and content sharing portals, including Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, YouTube and Twitter.

    … So that’s our ten steps to an ‘appy trip but hey, we’re not the Oracle on all this! We’d love to hear about your favourite travel apps so leave a comment, tweet us or post your ‘must haves’ to Facebook.

    Cheap airport parking for my Paris trip made me go ooh la la

    June 22nd, 2010

    I’m off to Paris soon and I can’t wait. I’ve managed to book a deal for one week which would have cost me more if I’d booked for just a few days. And although I’m probably going to spend more money now, at least it’ll be on things that I actually want to buy. I’ve heard that there’s so many great places to visit, so I’m sure I won’t be stuck with things to do in my extra few days there.
    I’ve been to Paris before on a school trip a fairly long time ago, but never got to venture into Paris centre. In fact, we stayed at a lousy hotel and ended up venturing to McDonalds as the food was pretty lousy at the hotel too. Very cultured!

    Probably me being a little tacky, but I really do want to visit the Champs Elysées and the Eiffel Tower (rather than a French McDonalds where I struggled to order a Big Mac). I’m also very interested in visiting the Louvre museum and art gallery. And whatever people may say about the Mona Lisa and it being pretty uninteresting, I still want to be able to say, ‘I’ve seen it’. The one thing that does worry me though is money. I’ve heard all the stories about Paris being more expensive than London, especially the food and drink. And what with the euro nearly matching the pound at present, I well believe it. The thing is, I really don’t want to rein back on my spending – I’ve wanted to go to Paris for a while and I want to see places and do the things I want to do. So, what did I do to save money in other ways?

    Well, I did manage to save myself a huge amount of cash on those additional extras that are needed for an overseas trip – airport parking and travel insurance. With a current promotion being run by Airparks on parking for eight or 15 days (to suit those on one or two weeks’ holidays), it meant that I could get parking from just £29.92 for my trip. A bargain if you ask me! Plus, if I’d gone for a long weekend like I’d originally planned to, it probably would have cost me about the same. So, not only did I get a bargain on my city break, but I also saved a considerable amount on my airport parking too.

    So, what about that all important travel insurance? Well, from my own personal view you’d be a bit of a fool if you didn’t buy it, especially with the recent volcanic eruption catastrophe. I booked my comprehensive cover with Holiday Extras, the best travel insurance provider at the Globe Travel Awards 2010. It cost me under £9 for the week and that way I know I’m fully covered because it includes cancellation cover, medical cover and baggage cover. That means more money for me to spend on the things I actually want to spend it on – like clothes, food and sightseeing!

    If you’ve got a trip coming up this summer, the holiday parking packages for eight and 15 days are a real good way to keep the cost down – especially if you’ve got lots of things you want to see and do at your chosen destination. Check out Airparks today.

    Published by Ross Barnard on June 22, 2010

    used under creative commons licence from Neil_Barman

    Glastonbury – I can’t wait to see you!

    June 2nd, 2010

    It’s 20 days until Glastonbury and yes, I’m counting down the days (with the help of a Mac widget). I’ve got my tent, my sleeping bag, a camping stove. And yes – I’ve definitely got my wellies! All I need now is a hiking bag and a crate of beer or three. It may not be the ideal getaway for some (especially with Glastonbury’s reputation for a rather wet climate). But it really is an experience you wouldn’t get on an overseas trip – and that includes doing your business in a portable loo!

    So, what am I looking forward to the most? Well, it would probably be easier to put a small list together of what I’m not looking forward to. And that list includes not having a proper wash for five days, sleeping in a tent for five nights, my hair being a complete mess (yes, my hair is important). But, you know what, those are pretty much the only things I’m really not keen on when going to a festival. The good definitely outweighs the bad.

    To me, the best thing about Glastonbury is the atmosphere. It’s like a completely different world – a community plonked in the middle of a field. Making new friends with like-minded people, spending time with the people you care about and embracing that feeling of total freedom. From the Green Fields, Stone Circle and the Left Fields – there’s so much more to Glastonbury than the music. It’s a festival to celebrate what the world could be like – a complete alternative lifestyle. But, of course, the music is a fantastic addition to that magnificent atmosphere. I can’t imagine my life without it.

    The line-up this year is huge and not surprisingly, I’m spoilt for choice! From Vampire Weekend, Muse, Editors, The Courteeners – the list is pretty much endless. And of course, I’ll definitely be sneaking down to shake a mean hoof at the dance tents. With the addition of new tents and areas each year, the place just seems to grow and grow. But as I said, it really isn’t just all about the music – and once you’ve been, you’ll understand why I say that.

    You could say that Glastonbury is similar to jetting off to the other side of the world. It’s like going travelling and experiencing another culture, where no one frets and capitalism seems a distant way of life. I’ve not met anyone who’s been to Glastonbury and hasn’t wanted to go back again and again. I guess the only thing that lets it down is the weather – but I suppose Glastonbury wouldn’t be Glastonbury without mud-baths and wellies. So, Glasto 2010 here I come. And I really cannot wait!

    Published by Ross Barnard on June 2, 2010

    used under creative commons licence from al_green

    Venice – the floating city

    May 17th, 2010

    I wanted to write about my favourite destination in Italy. And to tell you the truth, I was torn. Italy is my favourite place in Europe and there’s so many interesting things to see and do. The quandary was between Florence and Venice – eventually the floating city won. But why? I guess I’m a bit of a romantic and, to me, Venice is just the place for it. Other than that, its beauty, charm and culture really won me over.

    Famous for fine food, a fascinating history and erratic driving behaviour – Italy is a truly unique place. The thing that struck me in Venice, as obvious as it sounds, was the lack of cars. Maybe ‘the lack of’ is an understatement – there’s none! And whatever you may think about me being in a beautiful, cultured city and singling out no cars, if you’ve been there before you’ll understand why I said it. It’s incredibly peaceful wherever you go (apart from the hustle and bustle of the locals). Something you rarely get anywhere else in Europe. That means when you’re in Venice you can either walk among the beautiful and picturesque streets or take a water taxi. Of course, if you’re energetic enough you can walk across Venice’s 455 bridges.

    And no, I haven’t forgotten the gondolas. I was saving that bit – it’s my favourite! To be fair, it’s probably the reason why I decided to write about Venice – and what an amazing experience it is too. Peace, tranquility, paired with beautiful views. Yes, it is expensive, but I can whole-heartedly say it was definitely worth the £150 I paid to go on one. Would I do it again? Yes.

    Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square), another fantastic sight-seeing favourite. If you don’t visit St Mark’s Square when you go to Venice, it’s like going to Paris and not visiting the Eiffel Tower. With plush bars and restaurants along with cafes and outside seating, it’s an idyllic way to wile away an afternoon in the Venetian sun.

    What else is there to do? I could go on! But here’s another memorable moment of mine from Venice. Why not take a walk over the Rialto bridge (or up, it’s quite steep!) You’ll find many gift shops on it, along with pleasant views across the city. If you’re snap-happy make sure you get some shots of the bridge, it’s rather spectacular and captures the essence of this idyllic and unique city.

    So, if you’re thinking of taking a trip to Venice, take it from me – you won’t be disappointed. If you’re already planning your travel arrangements, don’t forget Airparks’ low-cost airport parking.

    Published by Ross Barnard on May 17, 2010

    Rialto bridge, Venice. Used under creative commons licence from Liamnudds

    No eruptions at Airparks

    April 22nd, 2010

    Well, it’s a week today that the volcano crisis hit Europe; and hard. For some there is still no end in sight, with continued disruption and chaos to travellers and businesses. And for travel companies, the knock-on effect is huge. Not to mention some holidaymakers who can’t get back until May at the earliest.

    As you can imagine it has been a very busy time at Airparks HQ, but at our car parks it has been eerily quiet. Although there’s been an excess of at least 400 cars at each site, there definitely hasn’t been an excess of people!

    So, in short, what has Airparks been doing to make things as hassle-free for our customers? Well, apart from being unable to bring back our stranded customers (we would if we could), we’ve tried to do everything possible from our end to make sure everything runs smoothly. From making sure our customers don’t suffer financially with unfair charges, to constantly giving up-to-date information on our website. Not to mention taking up to 8400 calls in just one day and answering near-on 1000+ customer emails per day. Yes, we’ve been pretty busy! But it’s never too much for us at Airparks.

    Mr Hopkinson from Wolverhampton, who had to cancel his booking at Airparks Birmingham after a cancelled flight, said: “Thank you for your trouble. I couldn’t believe how quickly it was dealt with.”

    Down at Airparks HQ, we’ve also been making sure that our special volcano webpage is giving customers the most useful information if they’ve been stranded or couldn’t make their trip. To cancelling bookings to cancellation policies, flight information, car park information, video updates from our CEO and expert advice from travel experts for stranded customers – It’s all been on there and by the looks of some comments we’ve received, much appreciated too. We’ve even been tweeting updates on Twitter!

    But primarily, we’ve made sure that our customers don’t suffer unfairly during this uncontrollable situation and therefore we aren’t charging customers to amend their bookings or transfer them to another date. We’re also not charging customers for the extra days’ parking incurred because of being stranded abroad.

    Penny Frankel from Ascot, one of our customers who booked parking through our preferred partner Holiday Extras, said: “Exhausted, but I just want to feed back that I was stunned to find you weren’t charging anyone stranded extra parking costs from Airparks.

    “There is a god afterall and I think it’s named Holiday Extras.”

    Now Europe’s airspace has re-opened, there’s been a steady influx of customers at some of our car parks, to a large stream of customers at others. And that’s why we’ve drafted in extra staff to make sure it all runs like clockwork.
    Of course, if you’re still being affected and you still need to speak to us, drop us an email at volcano@airparks.co.uk or give us a call on 0800 747 777.

    Published by Ross Barnard on April 22, 2010

    used under creaive commons licence from Hello, I am Bruce

    Will you be flashing your white bits this summer?

    March 30th, 2010

    I recently came across an article on the Travel Weekly website. Well actually, it rather stood out to my selective eyesight when I saw the title, ‘Hottest ever’ summer could hit trade’. I think everyone across the UK is wishing the summer here. And I know full well that I am. There’s only so much snow I can take in one year – and I know what people say when it feels like this winter has gone on forever!

    According to Positive Weather Solutions (PWS), this summer is going to break records. And could well be the hottest summer since 1976 – hooray! But are the predictions just another set of false hope or a string of inaccurate information? I don’t know about you, but the recent lift in temperature has left me feeling a lot more positive, upholding that feeling that summer’s finally on its way. With the clocks going forward and the lighter evenings, it can only get better.

    For the travel industry, is this ‘news’ really a threat to sales? Whether you’re optimistic about this year’s British summer, or you’re a pessimist (you’re usually right to be), would it really stop you from taking your annual trip abroad? Last year, the Met Office wrongly predicted a ‘barbecue summer,’ leaving many sun-worshippers feeling particularly anguished. Do you take a holiday to escape the British weather, or do you take a trip to escape the woes of British culture? For me, it’s both. I need to get my dose of sunshine, and a taste of another culture. The daily grind gets a little bit too much and it gets to the point where I need to get away. So, whether it’s going to be a sweltering summer, or an absolute washout, there’s no doubt that I’ll be jetting-off from the UK this year.

    Looking at it from a different angle, summer in the UK is obviously the time when we have some of the best weather. We have long autumn and winter months, and our climate doesn’t start to improve until springtime. So, why do most choose to go abroad when our climate is at its warmest? I’m sure many of you, like me, enjoy having a good moan about how cold or how wet it is during winter – so why not escape to a sunnier retreat when we’re feeling at our lowest about the British weather?

    Some, that are lucky enough to get away multiple times during the year, may like to spread out their trips. But what about the rest of us who take our only getaway, during the only ‘hot’ period of the year? You could say it’s a ritual, or the ‘common thing’ to do. And I guess, if you tend to take a trip in Europe, the weather only improves more so during the summer months there too. In this case, Europe is the cheaper option, especially if you have a family and you’re tied down to the six weeks’ school summer holidays. You’ll also find that many resorts in Europe close down, particularly the tourist areas which are seasonal. That means you won’t get the atmosphere you’d usually get in the summertime if you go during the winter months. In fact, you may feel slightly deserted!
    The Canary Islands, however, are renowned for their all-year-round sun and being particularly close to Africa. So, for a cheaper winter sun getaway, it’s an ideal destination to grab some rays, without having to fork-out on expensive long-haul trips to places like the Dominican Republic or Mexico.

    So, would you change the habit of a lifetime and make your escape during the winter? I don’t know about you, but it makes sense to me to take full advantage of the absence of snow and sub-zero temperatures in the UK – even if it’s not the ‘hottest ever summer’.

    Published by Ross Barnard on March 30, 2010

    summer sunset, used under creative commons licence from laserguided

    Forget those guilty pleasures – here’s some really sexy tips

    March 11th, 2010

    With the VAT going back up to 17.5% in January 2010, it has left a lot of people wondering whether a holiday abroad is affordable again this year. With the rise of inflation, particularly in fuel, it means the cost of living has become more expensive. In short, it means holidays and travelling to the airport will become an even pricier affair.

    I don’t know about you, but for me, getting away at some point during the year is essential. There’s only so much I can take of dear old Blighty and the grind of daily life, so an escape is mandatory. The only problem it poses is that unescapable issue… money.

    Capitalism is the dominant culture, meaning that money is pretty much the deciding factor when it comes to taking a trip or holiday. And as unfortunate as it sounds, that’s the way it is. So, what can we do and what do we do?
    We’ve heard it all, credit-crunching offers, biggest ever sales, special offers to beat the recession – it’s our only way of taking away the guilty pleasure of consumption. If we know we’re getting that good deal, it doesn’t make getting what we want quite so bad.

    Putting those guilty pleasures aside, what about a less sexy topic – airport parking. Yes, it isn’t the most riveting subject. But it’s something that everyone needs if they’re driving to the airport, so I guess you could call it an essential. So, how can we help you save cash on your essentials?
    We have over eighteen years’ experience in airport parking and it is our forte, so I guess it’s fair to say we probably have a good idea of the best money saving tips and pointers.

    So, without further ado, cutting all of the credit-crunching jargon, here’s our top five tips to saving money on airport parking…

    1) Tattoo it on your forehead and sticky note your house – always pre-book as early as possible, never turn up on the day and pay the gate prices

    2) Search the mountain tops for a best price guarantee – actually, just click here, it’s a lot easier

    3) Pre-book and sign-up for email newsletters – you’ll get sent discounts and offers to your inbox to help you save even more next time

    4) Don’t park your car on the runway – off-airport parking is close to the airport, up to 60% cheaper than the gate prices and offers FREE transfers

    5) Compare airport parking – don’t just turn up, shop around. Airparks compare rates continually and with 24 hour pricing, it means we’re always up-to-date

    So, the motto of this blog is pre-book and save – it makes sense.

    Published by Ross Barnard on March 11, 2010

    pre-book and save - used under creative commons licence from joeshlabotnik

    Do you need to be kneed? The joys of travelling alone

    February 17th, 2010

    I read an article this week about singles-specialist tour operator Just You launching a new all-inclusive programme. And it made me think about what would it be like to travel alone. I guess if you’re single, you don’t have a lot of other options, and for some it’s the only option.
    It made me think about the positives of being single and having the freedom to do the things you want to do, and when you want to do them. Going away with a partner can often leave you feeling that you’d rather come home without them!

    Valentine’s Day has just been and gone – a cringeworthy time whether you’re single or taken. If you’re like me and didn’t even get a card from your significant other, it makes for a day of pure heartbreak whether you’re coupled-up or unattached!
    For some, being single on Valentine’s is the economic option – especially when the BBC’s research suggested that the average spend in 2008 was around £71.25. 
    So, whether you need a day to show how much you love your partner, or you think it’s just another way to make money, is single life the way forward?

    Well, let’s look at it from a ‘single’ point of view and the positives of going it alone. You can benefit from freedom; there’s more time to see your friends; it’s cheaper; you can please yourself; there’s no being kneed in the back in the middle of the night, you get the double bed to yourself; you don’t have to care what you look like when you wake up in the morning – the list is endless! … oh, and you don’t have to buy a Valentine’s card or pressie.

    So, we’ve already discussed the benefits of being single, but what would it be like to travel singly? There are many who do, going on all different types of trip, from cruises and adventure holidays to travelling the globe. Old or young, for weeks or months – there’s a huge amount of solo travellers out there. 

    I don’t know about you, but coordinating myself isn’t one of my strong points. Maybe I should re-phrase that, perhaps reading things properly isn’t one of my strongest points – as mentioned in one of my previous blogs. I managed for six months to misjudge the date of my flight home, when it was written on paper in front of me the whole time. Luckily, I had understanding friends with me who made me feel better about my stupidity and woe. I guess from past experience that in my case, travelling alone wouldn’t go too well…

    Putting coordination aside, I can imagine that there’s just so many new feelings and experiences that you could get from travelling on your own. Having so much time to think and taking everything at your own pace – it does sound very appealing. My friend Rach, who went travelling to Southeast Asia last year, split from the friend she went out with and decided to make her own tracks halfway through. Not only did she get to take her own route, but she also met a lot of new people and made some great friends through doing it. If she’d gone with a partner, she may not have experienced that. In short, she had an amazing time and it’s given her the taste to want to do more.

    I guess the thing that would get to me the most about travelling solo would probably be going back alone to your room at night, and also going out and eating meals on your own. I’m sure there’s plenty of people in the UK who do this all the time, but in a foreign country, I feel I would struggle. I would admire anyone for arranging a trip of a lifetime and going it alone, because I for one know I couldn’t.

    Published by Ross Barnard on February 17, 2010

    Walking alone - used under creative commons licence from zaqi