Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Avoiding a Big Fat Greek Drama

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

According to Bloomberg Business, Greece is in a worse spot than America was in 1933. The situation for the Greeks is looking bleaker than ever and many holidaymakers are beginning to ask questions about their safety and access to money.

If you’re one of the thousands of Brits who will be making your way to the popular holiday destination this summer, fear not. There are ways you can head to Greece prepared and we’ve compiled our top tips for staying savvy in Greece:

Take out travel insurance

Experts have advised travellers to take out travel insurance as soon as they book their holiday – or as soon as possible if the holiday has already been booked – to provide protection should they need to cancel or change arrangements.

It is worth noting that the Foreign Office has stated that it “does not see the prospect for people getting stranded”, however travel insurance is still highly recommended to cover medical emergencies, flight delays or cancellations and lost luggage.

Why not take a look at the travel insurance offering from our preferred partner Holiday Extras?

Sensible sightseeing

Many travellers will no doubt be concerned about the outbreak of political violence at this time. If you see signs of unrest, leave the area immediately. According to the Association of British Travel Agents, Syntagma Square in Athens’ city centre is an area to steer clear of when protests break out.

Whilst it’s difficult to predict exactly when and where violence could break out, following the news can give you an idea of where to avoid. Seeking advice from hotel and resort staff may also be of use during your stay.

Cash is king

Experts have advised travellers to be prepared and take both cash and cards but have warned holidaymakers that establishments may enforce a limit on the amount that can be spent on cards.

Although it is deemed unlikely that Greece will leave the Euro in the immediate future, in light of the uncertainty surrounding the banks in Greece, travellers have been told not to rely on withdrawing cash from banks and ATMs. Ensure you have enough Euros to cover unexpected delays or emergencies and take more than you think you need, it can always be exchanged upon your return to the UK.

Stay Alert

Keeping a close eye on bags, valuables and identification is strongly recommended when travelling to any destination, but with concerns over rising crime in light of the crisis, looking after your cash, passport and expensive possessions is paramount. According to the Telegraph, holidaymakers in certain resorts in Greece are being given additional safety deposit boxes to store money when they arrive so ask at your hotel if this is a service they provide.

Money wallets or bum bags have never been the most glamorous accessory, but you can’t fault their functionality. For extra peace of mind (and to avoid a run-in with the fashion police), purchase a more discreet zipped money wallet and wear under clothing.

Shine On

We hope with this information you will be prepared for a safe and savvy trip to Greece, but it is equally important to enjoy your time in what remains a beautiful part of the world. After all, the economic crisis cannot take away the sunshine.

If You’re Going to Fly, You Need Power

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Last summer there was a change in the rules about travelling with any electronic or battery-powered devices, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, if travelling to the United States. If you cannot show the security teams that they have power in them, you may not be allowed to board the plane with them.

This has meant that utilising charging points at any of the UK’s airports has become an important part of many passengers’ airport routines. With free wifi on our transfer buses and in our car parks and free wifi in the airports too – it’s bound to put some strain on your battery life. So here’s a helpful guide to charging your phone at some of the most popular airports where Airparks can help you find parking.

Before you leave home – make sure you have your charger packed inside your hand luggage – and if you have multiple devices with different charging sockets then you can purchase an all-in-one charger too. You might also find our previous blog on conserving battery power useful too.

You’ll find coin-operated ChargeBox charging points at Bristol and Gatwick airports. To save time (and battery power) at the airport, you could download the ChargeBox app before you leave home.

Heathrow Airport

  • There are 4,500 public USB and power sockets spread around its five terminals, which are free to use.
  • Free Power Pole charging stations are available in all the terminals before and after security. They are compatible with UK and European plugs as well as USB cables.

Gatwick

  • There are free charging points available across Gatwick airport both before and after security as well as free wifi and internet kiosks.
  • If you want to charge while you shop, then ChargeBox kiosks located in the departure lounges also allow you to securely store your phone in a locker while it charges.
  • You can enjoy 90 minutes free wifi through myGatwick and if you want to surf for longer, then high-speed wifi is provided by Boingo Hotspot.

Manchester

  • Manchester airport has recently doubled the free wifi time from 30 to 60 minutes in any 24-hour period.
  • In the airport – look for an SSID called ‘spectrum’ or ‘MAG Airports WiFi’.
  • In the airport lounges, the BA lounge uses the ‘BA lounge WiFi’ SSID and Servisair uses ‘Servisair’.

Bristol

  • Internet desks and charging points are available throughout the airport and there are wifi and printing services available before and after security.
  • The wifi is free for up to 30 minutes in the terminal, with a charge for longer periods and VPN access.

The Airparks Guide to Beating Jet Lag

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Travelling a long-haul flight is great fun and can take us to some of life’s most exciting places. Returning from a holiday is not always so much fun, particularly if jet lag sets in.

Jet Lag is the common name for a change in our circadian rhythms, as they take time to adjust to the new time zone we have arrived in or are returning to. Instead our daily rhythm remains loyal to its original biological schedule, telling us to sleep during the day or leaving us wide awake in the middle of the night and sometimes even leaving us feeling weak and disorientated.

Jet lag is worse when you move from west to east because the body finds it harder to adapt to a shorter day than a longer one. GP Dr Dawn Harper from the NHS sleep clinic explains: “Our body clock is primed to respond to a regular rhythm of daylight and darkness. It is thrown out of sync when it experiences daylight at what it considers the wrong time, and it can take several days to readjust.”

Here are some tips we have gathered that we think might be help towards minimising the effects of jet lag.

  1. Try to adapt your sleep routine a few days before you travel. If you are travelling east then go to bed slightly earlier and get up earlier too. If you are travelling west go to bed later and get up later in the morning.
  2. When you book your holiday, try to book a flight that gets you to your destination in the early evening. Stay up until around 10pm local time.
  3. Make sure you’re fully rested before you travel. Booking an airport hotel will ensure you can sleep well before you fly.
  4. If do end up flying on an overnight route, try to get a bit of sleep on the flight. Take a sleep mask and earplugs to facilitate the best rest you can get. It will help you to stay up until nighttime once you arrive at your destination.
  5. Although it isn’t always easy during a flight, try to eat and sleep according to your destination’s local time. Prepare yourself in advance of the flight – you may need to take some food of your own.
  6. When you arrive on holiday or back home then modifying your behaviour can help your body overcome jet lag. There is little point in attending a social gathering as soon as you get there! Try to avoid a long car journey, particularly if you are the driver. Consider a hotel stay instead or cut down on some of the travelling time by booking a meet & greet service to avoid having to collect your car or catch the transfer bus.
  7. Get outside in the sunlight whenever possible. Daylight is a powerful stimulant for regulating the biological clock. Shutting yourself away in a dark room only makes it worse. Children and young adults may need some gentle persuasion.
  8. The Sleep Foundation recommends Melatonin which is an over the counter product that can also help. Always seek the advice of your doctor or pharmacist.
  9. Travellers who take medication according to a strict timetable (such as insulin or oral contraceptives) should seek medical advice from a health professional before their journey.
  10. Keep well hydrated or you will intensify the effects of jet lag. Aeroplanes are particularly ‘drying’ and any alcohol or caffeine will exacerbate the problem and both act as “stimulants” and prevent sleep.

Five Top Ways to Entertain the Children Without a Charger

Friday, May 29th, 2015

In some controversial research revealed in The Telegraph last year it was found that more than 80% of parents admitted that handing over devices with games and apps loaded was an easy way to relieve travel boredom. And half of parents said that giving their children electronics as entertainment in turn gave them an hour of respite from complaints.

The research showed just how much parents now rely on mobile technology instead of interactive games with their children, with only 14% considering games such as ‘I Spy’ essential to their trip.

Parenting expert and broadcaster, Liz Fraser said in an interview with The Daily Mail: ‘There’s nothing quite like that sinking feeling when you first hear ‘are we nearly there?’ – often when you’ve only been on the road for ten minutes! Tablets and smartphones are fantastic tools to make the journey more bearable for everyone – and we can all talk about the games together, and interact while they’re playing and learning. I wish they’d been around years ago!’

Well here at Airparks we believe in traditional values, but we are also modern and forward thinking – and we like to think that we are able to service and predict your every need. Our mission is to provide the highest quality secured airport car parking to our customers and every year 0.75 million passengers trust their parking to us. That is a lot of car journeys – and a lot of people. But you’re not just a number to us and we care about your journey and your travel and that’s why, when you come as a family we want you to have had a relaxing journey – not always possible with children. So here are some traditional games to keep things running smoothly – and if all else fails, then the more modern devices can be employed when that traffic gets a little slow! (Remember to bring the chargers in your hand luggage – you may need them!)

  • I Spy: Whilst you are looking for the next services to stock up on coffee, or looking for the next exit that signals your imminent arrival, this game vcan keep the children amused without too much worry. “I spy with my little eye something..” One person spies something beginning with a letter of the alphabet and everyone else takes turns trying to guess the mystery item. Note – some little ones often get the letter wrong. This leads to a very, very long game.
  • Road Trip Bingo: This takes a bit of preparation, but if you make a list of things that you may see along the journey, such as a red car, a yellow camper van etc then give each child a flat surface, such as a clipboard to put on his or her lap then when a player spots one of them on his card, he covers the picture with a one penny piece. Just like in regular bingo, the first player to cover all the squares in a straight line wins. Note: save up your pennies before the journey – and make sure you have spare for the ones that slide into the nooks and crannies of your car.
  • My Grandmother: My Grandmother went to the market and she bought… The first person says, “My grandmother went to market and bought a (noun).”  The second player builds on this by saying, “My grandmother went to market and bought a (first noun) and a (new noun).”  You continue until a player is unable to keep the chain going.  A chain would sound something like this, “My grandmother went to market and bought an anchor, an apple, a bird, a sweater and a car.” Note – this game takes some concentration and adults get into big trouble if they mess it up!
  • 20 Questions: This easy game is a good one for the younger children. Somebody thinks of a person, place or thing. Everyone else takes turns asking questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. After each answer, the questioner gets one guess and it keeps going until a player guesses correctly.
  • Activity books such as drawing, colouring or puzzles – are a surefire way to while away the hours. Traditional story or picture books are great if your children love to read, too.
  • Travel games: Main high street shops such as WHSmith all sell magnetic travel games are in many forms, such as Connect Four, Backgammon, Battleship, Chess, draughts. Note: teaching them to play these games before they enter the car will probably minimise any boost to stress levels as you attempt to turn around and explain it as you go.
  • Hangman: Hangman is a quick and easy game that requires nothing more than paper, pencil – and the ability to spell! One player thinks of a secret word, while the other player tries to guess the word by asking what letters it contains. However, every wrong guess brings them one step closer to losing as they start to draw the hangman’s noose!
  • Top Trumps: Top Trumps is an old fashioned game that really has stood the test of time and is still made and bought today. It is a card game published in 1968 and normally contains a list of numerical data with images of all sorts of things – from cars to ponies and toys to animals. The aim of the game is to compare these values to try to trump and win an opponent’s card.
  • Name That Tune: For those with singing/whistling/humming talent, this can be as much karaoke as a guessing game. Choose a theme for the game, such as show tunes, movie or TV themes. The winner gets to be the singer for the next round.
  • PunchBuggy! The concept is that players keep track of how many Volkswagen Beetles they spot on the road. This great fun if your children are relatively sensible! The idea is that you punch your seat mate when you spotted a Bug, counting on your fingers as you go (first to 10 wins) or something more in keeping with the Bug’s peaceful hippie history. Note – this game could all end in tears – and they might not necessarily be the children’s.

Getting to Grips with Travel Gripes

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

The Airparks Guide to being a Traveller, not a Holidaymaker

There’s nothing like a holiday to look forward to – and there’s nothing like packing up and making those final preparations to go. Releasing your car into our care is the final piece in the jigsaw before your adventure truly begins. You enter the transfer bus and head off……it’s just such a pain that there’s an airport between you and the freedom of your time away!

What is it about an airport that sends people into a spin? Despite being the gateway to adventure it’s impossible to pass through like a summer breeze – there are a whole host of seemingly unnecessary obstacles. These are called holidaymakers. You of course are not one of them. You are a traveller – an adventurer. Holidaymakers are different; they’re the ones with the annoying habits that are spoiling your fun. You could of course avoid them as much as possible by opting for the tranquility of an airport lounge, but if not, then here’s a list of top gripes. Take note of them – be a traveller not a holidaymaker!

1. Water is a Liquid!
Why is it, that despite the signs, despite the many years that this has been the case, there are still people that don’t realise that liquids must go in a re-sealable see-through plastic bag? Every bottle of water, nail varnish and tube of hand sanitizer in the bulging bin by security represents 3 or 4 minutes of frustrating delay in the queuing process. Bag it before you leave, people!

2. Holding up Security
As you are stuck in the inevitable line through the security checks there are several signs to remind you to remove your belt, your shoes, your coins, your mobile phone, your laptop…..these signs are not just to keep folks in the queue entertained – they mean you have to do it. In the queue. Not beside the irritated security officer. That goes for the other members of the family too.

3. Duty Free for all
Airport shops. You can buy a tube of toothpaste or a multi-thousand pound outfit, a diamond bracelet or a Paddington Bear. Whatever you buy, you need your boarding card to verify your purchase. It’s not because of the tax, it’s because they want your marketing information – but have it ready instead of holding up the line of slightly anxious passengers because you have to locate your other-half who’s patiently guarding the bags.

4. Walking Slowly or Standing Still on Airport Walkways
Walking the moving sidewalks make it easier to get from point A to point B. However, they aren’t a ride and you are not in Disney World yet. Meandering along or stopping to browse your mobile can hold up other travellers and put you in an embarrassing and ungainly position when you reach the end. Keep walking, stay to the right and avoid stopping or blocking the way for others. Oh – and nobody thinks it’s funny when you try to walk on it backwards, or forwards whilst going backwards. Old joke.

5. Boarding Traumas
Now there are several different types of people in an airport boarding lounge. Those that get there as soon as the gate number is called, those that arrive at the last minute in a red-faced flurry, those that queue up before their group number is called, those that edge around the outside of the queue and those that remain nonchalantly in their seats with arrogant confidence that ‘the plane won’t leave without us’. Give it too much thought and any of those types can provide fuel for annoyance.

6. Baggage Offences
In one of our previous posts we gave you the rules and guidelines around the size allowed for carry-on luggage. Obviously the holidaymakers didn’t read it. Why do they have more than one bag? A suitcase that doesn’t seem to fit down the isle despite their insistence on trying? A bag that will not fit in the locker without someone revealing their bare tummy as they agitate the carefully stowed luggage around it (squashing your neatly folded coat) to make it fit. Then later, just before take off, they remember something in that luggage that they desperately need. And the process begins again.

7. Seat Etiquette
Never has a sanctioned action made so many so irate. The seat recline button is there for a reason and when it’s our turn to press the button it feels reasonable and right to do so. When it’s you that is pinned by your own tray table in an already restricted environment, it is absolutely the rudest thing that has ever happened and it seems only right that you should ‘tut’ and shove the seat and jiggle the table in disgust. Or does it? What about the armrest? Shared space or a rule of first come first rest? Invasion of territory is a real blood boiler on an aeroplane.

8. All about Timing
Why is it that some people hover their finger over the seatbelt release as if their life depends on it? When that release seatbelt light pings – are there prizes for the first to the draw? No! These are the people who decide that it’s ok to walk around while the flight attendants are heading towards us with the food and drinks trolley, the ones that need to get their book from the overhead locker just as you find a comfortable position for your tiny cushion to support your sleepy head.

9. Overstepping the Carousel
Ok – so this might not be so bad in the excitement of reaching your holiday destination, but you can bet your last piece of foreign currency that it’ll be the straw that breaks the camel’s back when you’re on your way home. Why oh why do they find it necessary to crowd around the baggage carousel desperate to be the first to retrieve their luggage? Not only does it mean that you have no view of yours, but it also means that when you do see it, it’s a scrabble to reach, an effort to pull it off and you are likely to injure yourself in the process.

Mind Your Ps and Avoid the Queues!

Friday, May 8th, 2015

Your holiday is all booked. You’ve worked for it, waited for it – and paid for it! Finally the day is nigh.

Most of us will be travelling to the airport by car, and it will often involve a few hundred miles of motoring – more than our everyday commute or school run.

The last thing we would want is to hit the buffers with a car-snag before we even get to the Airparks car park (or indeed on the way home afterwards) so what tips are there to reduce the stress and the risk to a minimum?

Let’s break it down into three sections – Mind your Ps!

  • Planning the Journey
  • Preparing the Vehicle
  • Providing for the Passengers

Planning the Journey really does matter!

Start from the point of making sure what time you MUST be at the Terminal by (and monitor any security issues that might mean an earlier arrival) and calculate back from there, working in your route to the Airparks location and transfer-to-terminal time. You can keep an eye on our Airparks Newsfeed to make sure you know if there are any snags en route. We will also keep updating our social media feeds with traffic reports too.

Add an hour for unexpected traffic chaos, dial in some coffee time, and never ever leave yourself tight for time – you simply don’t need the stress of a rushed journey.

Airport hotels offer the chance to start or end your holiday with a touch luxury. They are also a practical and convenient solution to the problem of arriving back to the airport late at night or having to depart early in the morning. Rather than endure a tiring drive home late at night after a draining flight, book a hotel near the airport. You can be in a warm, comfortable bed within minutes of stepping of the plane, and awake the next morning refreshed for the last part of your journey home.

Research the route and get it programmed into your magical electronic gadgets; you might even make some old-fashioned paper/pen/map provisions in case you forget to charge your device!

Time spent planning is rarely wasted.

Preparing the Vehicle is perhaps the most frequently overlooked part of our travel plans. We take it for granted that our modern cars will do what we want, without letting us down. But a few simple checks can go a long way to alleviating the risk of a breakdown.

Here is a simple aide memoir – POWDER

P – Petrol (And this includes Diesel!) So many motorists ‘break down’ for lack of fuel; will you have enough for the mileage (there AND back?) and where can you refuel if you need to? Fill up before you travel – one less job to do on the day.
O – Oil. When DID you last check yours?
W – Water. Coolant and screenwash. A clean screen makes driving – and especially night driving – so much easier and safer.
D – Damage. Does anything need rectifying before you leave?
E – Electrics. Does everything work? ALL the lights checked?
R – Rubber. Tyres and Wipers! Check your pressures, and make sure you have plenty of tread; get any dubious tyres examined or changed.

Providing for Passengers can go a long way to giving you a stress-free journey – especially if you will be travelling with children.

Food and drink, games, books, movies, stops for a leg-stretch or loo – have them all ready. Make sure you will have enough charge or chargers for all the devices in the car!

Most of all – enjoy the trip, and enjoy the Airparks service!

Stepping on the Scales to Travel Light

Friday, May 1st, 2015

It’s coming up to the silly season – when all those phrases that we ‘love’ to hear keep cropping up in the press: ‘Bikini body’, ‘Beach Body Ready’, ‘Sexy Summer Abs’, ‘Get in Shape for Summer’, ‘Get the Perfect Beach Bum’, and ‘Summer Slimming’ – not forgetting all those quick fix holiday ‘must haves’.

Well, you’ll be glad to know that we don’t really care whether you’ve fake-tanned, detoxed or consumed your own body weight in celery and cabbage soup to prepare for your holiday! The only thing we care about it making sure that you have a stress-free trip, a wonderful holiday and a smooth, uneventful return home. So we thought we would help, by coming up with suggestions, not based on the result of the scales you stand upon, but the scales that weigh your ‘holiday essentials’ (sorry – that’s another one!).

Here’s some advice that we think will help to do all those things – avoiding stress, making up time and saving money – leaving some extra cash to spend on something such as one of our airport lounges or even an upgrade to get your break away off to a great start by making it even better value for money.

Why consider just taking hand luggage?

Even if it isn’t a business trip or a city break it doesn’t mean that you cannot make hand luggage work for you. If you can pack it efficiently you can make it work for a week or even longer. The benefits are that

  • It’s quicker and less stressful – no need to join a check-in or bag-drop on departure
  • Easier to put on and off the transfer buses
  • No long wait at the luggage carousel
  • Get ahead of everyone else for a taxi or car hire
  • No worry about your luggage going missing, or bursting open
  • Avoid checked-in bag charges, which can be up to £160

What bag should you use?

It’s amazing how many people nowadays will use the small hard cases as their hand luggage bag, simply because they are marketed as being the ‘right’ one. However they’re unforgiving. A hold all or soft-sided bag on wheels could mean that you can fit your belongings far more efficiently and they are lighter to start with too. But before you make the final decision, do make sure that you have checked the hand luggage restrictions for the airline(s) you are travelling with.

Tips for Travelling Light

  • Wear Your Heaviest Clothing. If you are travelling somewhere warm, then the heavy clothes will only be needed whilst you travel. But if you are heading to a cooler destination wear your heavy items like jeans, hooded tops and coats.
  • Pick your Pockets. Use the pockets of the clothes you’re wearing to take heavier items such as phone chargers, cameras and books, which you can then transfer to your bag once you are on board
  • Roll, Don’t Fold. Despite looking as if it were an ironing nightmare, rolling can actually prevent unsightly creases and reduces space. Remember that the insides of shoes can provide storage space for small items too.
  • Be ruthless! Unless you are heading to a catwalk in Milan – you probably don’t need to pack as much as you think you do. Lay out in piles, the outfits you have chosen, along with the shoes, the underwear, and accessories if you have them. Then reduce it by a third! Could you mix up a couple of them to provide more options?
  • Wash and go. Don’t forget that you can only take 100ml bottles of liquid, sealed in a clear plastic bag in your hand luggage. Now is not the time to introduce a whole new range of toiletries to your collection. You can buy small empty bottles from the chemist and add small amounts of your usual ones. It will cut down on expense and limit the use of space. Small travel versions are often available of you need them – such as deodorants.
  • Duty-free. Alcohol, food, tobacco and other items can be bought and carried in one duty free bag. Some airports such as Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester also allow you to buy duty free, collecting it on the way back.

Have you got some packing tips for travellers? Send us your packing pictures and let us be the judge of your expertise!

10 Tips for Making Allowances Work

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

When you are travelling, whether it is on the way to the airport, sitting around the airport waiting for a flight, or during your adventure, it is a good idea to keep a close eye on how we use our phone.

For many of us, our phone will be more than just one thing; it will be our camera, our translator, access to games, social networking, our guidebook, weather forecaster and of course – a phone!

With smartphones, there’s one small problem, unusual data usage can make your data quota disappear very fast as it can be costly to access abroad. Wifi can not always be easy to come by either.

When you park in an Airparks car park we provide free wifi within the car park itself, and in the buses too and often you can use wifi in the airport. But it’s once you are abroad that the costs of being online can mount.

So what can you do to conserve data? We have provided top tips that we think will be useful.

Turn off mobile data
This is going to sound a little obvious really – but we had better say it anyway! Cut down on mobile data use until you absolutely need it! Switch it off in settings.

Don’t Stream Video
Streaming video is a surefire way to use up your data. This includes videos on a facebook newsfeed, on apps like YouTube or NetFlix, or just within your internet browser. This also includes streaming music on Spotify.

Facebook recently added a feature that means when you are scrolling through your news feed any video that’s been posted will automatically stream – even if you aren’t on a Wi-Fi network. To stop this happening when you are trying to conserve data, change your settings so that it only streams if you are in Wi-Fi. Go to Settings > Facebook > Settings and scroll down to Video and switch to Auto-play on Wi-Fi only.

Change your settings
In Settings you will see a list of apps that can use mobile data and by default they’ll be enabled, so you can stop certain apps drying up your allowance by sliding them to the off-position.  Also remember to switch off any push notifications.

Stop background app refresh
One of the features of iOS 7 was an automatically updating operating system. Head to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and make sure that the Background App Refresh switch is set to off.

Maps
Maps can dry up your data too. The maps app re-loads the tiles but when you close the app it wipes clean and has to reload once again – hence the increased data consumption.

Turn off iCloud Sync
Another major source for data consumption is iCloud. Every time you take a photo, add a contact and download mail it’s pushed to the cloud. Photos – large files can really use it up. Turn it off unless you are connected to wifi – and just remember to sync it then instead.

Change App Settings
Some apps can restrict particular functions to only Wi-Fi such as Dropbox. For this particular app you can disable mobile data, preventing it from uploading when there’s no Wi-Fi connection.

Online Games
We all want to keep the little ones entertained on our devices, but be aware that they may be accessing games that use the internet in real-time.

Turn off auto-downloads In Podcasts
If you’ve set your device to automatically download the latest podcast in a series – make sure you turn it off whilst you are away and enable the Wi-fi download mode instead.

Data Monitors and Apps
There are certain apps that can be used to keep track of your data allowance for you and an iPhone also helps. Go to Settings, Mobile, then scroll down to Mobile Data Usage, you’ll see two counters: Current Period and Current Period Roaming. Reset the counters when you start a new month and you’ll be able to stay on top of your stats.

What is the cost of exceeding your data allowance?
If you use a lot of data, then it’s worth paying extra upfront although fees can be high. Vodafone charges £6.50 for every 250MB of data you use over your allotted amount. Three sends texts when you’re at 80% and 100% of your allowance, giving you the chance to buy more data. Charges vary according to plan, as most new Three deals offer unlimited data access. EE will also let you know when your data access is running low and give you the chance to buy more.

Bottling up that Holiday Spirit

Monday, April 20th, 2015

We have all experienced something that we commonly call the ‘post holiday blues’. The holiday may have been planned for a while and so your life has been full of the excitement of its arrival – but suddenly, it’s over and things are threatening to get back to normal! It’s a hard slog to get back into that daily rhythm that you paid good money to escape from.

But we have six suggestions that we think might help. Some of these you can do in advance of the trip – and some on your way home. You might even find that some of these tips could put you on a new direction!

  • Springtime Sunshine
    It’s never nice to come home to a messy house after some time away, but imagine coming back to a house that is sparkling in the light of the springtime sunshine! Why not invest in a good Spring Clean? Get a local cleaning company in to give your house the once-over just before you go away, or if you can leave the task in the hands of a trusted friend, have them do it whilst you are away!
  • Let us add some Sparkle
    Consider the same for your car. Whilst you leave it in our car park we can provide a professional valet at any of our Airparks car parks and we’ll have it sparkling for your return! Packages vary between sites, but normally there are three different types of valet – bronze, silver, and gold. Some sites have platinum packages. They all start from just £10.
  • Look on the Bright Side
    On your way home, write a list of the benefits of the good side to the end of the holidays:
  • You’ve had an opportunity to rest and relax, you have been able to do things that are different to your usual routine – which is good for the spirit and providing you with the chance to rejuvenate.
  • You may have managed to get some fresh air and exercise if you have been walking, skiing or taking part in water sports? Maybe you should challenge yourself to keep up the good work and continue it at home. Exercise will give you the mood-boost you need.
  • Perhaps you have managed to get some time to get a new perspective on your work/life balance or your relationships. Are there some changes to be made
  • Finally, make those changes – realistic changes of course! Time away can often highlight the things that you really want to change in your life, be it for anything from sorting out your finances, redecorating your home, or dealing with the any negativities.
  • Do it all Again?
    Your holiday may have been to get away from your everyday life – but it was most probably full of interesting people, from the locals, to friends, partners or family. As humans it is important for us to be around people when we feel low, so lift your spirits by continuing to stay connected with friends and family. Put some dates in the diary to spend time with them, plan some days out for when you return, or maybe book another small holiday to look forward to?
  • Let us be the Parker to your Lady Penelope
    As if coming home isn’t bad enough – the fuss and bother with passport control queues, collecting luggage, and finding your way to the transfer bus can really add to the post holiday downer. With the Airparks Return Greet service, you can remove the need for a return transfer. All you need to do is step off the plane, collect your luggage and give us a call to say you’re back. A qualified driver will then bring your car from our secured car park and deliver it to you at the airport within minutes. (You can also have the same service to the start of the holiday too!)
  • Eat those Blues Away!
    Has your holiday been a little over-indulgent? Although we enjoy eating all those naughty foods and tasting all those delicious wines or rich coffees, it actually doesn’t make our body very happy! It can leave you feeling a little out of shape and worse for wear in the nutrition department – so eat away your blues with foods that boost your serotonin (feel good) neurotransmitters including bananas, poultry, dairy produce, and peas.

High Flyer, Low Battery

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

A Guide to Emergency and Portable Phone Chargers

We have all been there – phone out of charge, with an important call awaited or the need to look up directions to a meeting. That’s bad enough in your everyday life, but if you are abroad with no real idea or possibility of finding a mains power source you are clearly headed up a muddy creek with no paddles left in the shop!

When you travel with Airparks, we try to make things as easy as possible for you – particularly if your trip is for business. That’s why we provide all of our customers with free wifi in our buses and in the car parks; it’s easy to access, it’s fast and it’s exactly what you want when you are on the move. We also have free wifi and internet access in our airport lounges as well as the opportunity to charge your phone before you fly.

But whether you travel for leisure or business, it is important that you have planned ahead.

  • Made sure that your device is fully charged at the outset
  • That you are carrying a mains charger to fit whatever mains outlets you expect to find, as well as USB and car sockets
  • Be aware of how you use your device and how much power those functions consume – kill unused screens and the Bluetooth, don’t play games or watch video!
  • Limit your use to what is essential if you need to make it last!
  • There are many other solutions available to back up your battery or provide an alternative means of charging. We have listed five choices that you may find it useful to invest in before your trip.

Some of these draw power from an off-the-shelf battery and convert it for phone use (becoming less popular); others are pre-charged from a USB source to be carried as a spare for when the need arises. These are fast becoming the most common with the element of choice being ‘how big do you want it?’.

Remember – ‘you get what you pay for’ so try before you travel! You need to know that your system works, how quickly, and what limitations it may have.

You will find the more basic back-up’s in a wide range of shops or online; if you need something more than ‘basic’, a good first port-of-call is Power Traveller who market a wide range of ‘chimp’, ‘monkey’ and ‘gorilla’ devices across the price and size range.

Battery transformers

These commonly use one or more AA batteries (you will therefore need some of those in your bag!) Rapidly falling from favour as USB/rechargeable based devices become increasingly available.

Maplins stock this basic AA battery model for just £2.69

USB-charged back-up batteries

All computer monitors and most TV’s will have a USB socket nowadays; as well as allowing data to flow, they provide a small power source. Ask before connecting to somebody’s computer though!

For £59.99 via Amazon, the ANKER Astro Pro2 can take a charge from USB or mains sources and provide up to 9 full charges for your phone – or even one charge for a laptop.

The Monster Power Card (around £30) is a credit-card sized back-up battery that should give you the charge when you need it for very little size or weight.

The Nomad Chargekey is a novel design, fits on your keyring, and retails for around £20. One end fits a USB socket, the other fits your iPhone. Simples!

Alternative Power Sources

You won’t need bright sunshine but you will need a decent amount of light. This might seem obvious, but if you will be travelling by day and static at night you’ll need to plan how you will charge on the move. The independence may come at a higher price but is very worthwhile. Remember that in a group you can share the charger, and also between devices – so it can still be cost effective.

For £65 the Powermonkey Explorer can charge your phone and other devices.