What Really Happens When You Miss A Flight?

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You’ll feel stressed, confused, embarrassed and have “why did it happen to me?” doing loop da loops in your head until you finally get to your destination. For slightly more helpful information, read on…

1. It depends on the reason you missed your flight

Missing your flight because you got the date wrong or because your passport is out of date when you show up – this is your error, totally avoidable and you should have noticed. In this instance you will have to reschedule your flight and bear whatever costs that involves!

If you spent too long browsing duty free or fell asleep and missed the call for your gate, you have the added inconvenience that your luggage may well be on its way but you are not! In this awful situation find a relevant member of staff and see if your bags got booted off the plane, then work out how you get on the next flight. In many cases you won’t be charged, or you may have to pay a small fee to change your ticket, whereas some will charge you the difference in flight fee.

If you missed your flight in a wave of abject panic from being stuck in traffic, dealing with a broken down car, or train services were unexpectedly not running then you may be able to get on the next available flight at no extra cost. This is down to an unofficial “flat tire” rule. As it’s unofficial it is never definitely a choice, and it varies between airlines. General rules of it are:

  • The reason for missing your flight must be out of your control e.g. like having a flat tire.
  • You must arrive at the airport within 2 hours of your original flight departure.
  • You must have notified your airline of your unfortunate predicament so your probably vacant seat could be offered to some other poor soul that missed their own flight if you don’t turn up in time.

2. It could depend on your travel insurance

 If you have travel insurance, which really you should, you may be able to recover some unexpected costs as a result of missing your flight. Please note that this is different from costs incurred due to a flight being delayed or cancelled! Your policy will outline if you are covered in the event of a missed flight, and also what qualifying circumstances are required to be eligible to claim. You may be able to book any ongoing flight to get you to your destination at the soonest opportunity rather than wait for a standby slot – but as always, please read the terms of your own policy for clarification!

3. The terms of your ticket may play a role

Not all tickets are equal, and if you are on a budget airline, or have a super-economy ticket, or booked a special deal, you may find that if you miss your flight then that’s just tough luck and you will need to pay out for another.

4. It depends on what other flights are available

Usually your airline will put you on standby for the next available flight, but that might not be until the next day. You can always opt to book an entirely new flight if you are happy to accept losing your original fare to get to your destination sooner.

5. It definitely depends on how you handle it

As with anything, politeness will get you a long way, as will being pro active! If you think you are going to miss your flight, let the airline know – you will have more chance of getting on the next flight and may well be able to without much extra cost. If you are at the airport and have missed a connection or it took longer than expected to get through security, remain calm, go to your nearest desk or representative and ask how they can help in this situation. If you have already checked out your options during the mayhem sharing them with the helpdesk may well make the whole process quicker and get you on a flight sooner.

 

Three of The Best Halloween Holiday Destinations for 2018

Looking to put some spook into your October holiday? Check out these freakish and frankly quite terrifying Halloween themed breaks happening this year!

New York City, USA

© Joe Buglewicz courtesy of nygco.com

Deja Voodoo at the Annual Village Halloween Parade

In October, New York goes all out to celebrate Halloween with as many as 50,000 people joining in the annual Village Halloween Parade on 31stOctober. This year the parade is celebrating 45 years of spooktastic fun! It gets rolling at 7pm and heads north up Sixth Avenue to 16th Street featuring a wealth of wacky costumes and the sounds of numerous live bands. If you want to join in the parade, a creative costume is a must!

Gothenburg, Sweden

© Liseberg Amusement Park

Cirkus Bisarr at Liseberg Amusement Park

A trip to this Swedish theme park in October holds an extra eerie treat as around 200 actors scare visitors in specially constructed horror houses and alfresco horror areas! Visitors are warned to expect the deeply unsettling, involving creepy clowns, zombies, monsters and blood-splattered surgery rooms and prisons. What we love about this event is that the experiences have been divided up into Horror Experiences and Terror areas of which there are 4 horror houses and 1 horror attraction in the former, and 2 horror areas and several mysterious, wonderfully cosy areas for the younger ones in the latter. Open days: 12-14, 19-21 and 26-31 Oct, and 1-4 Nov.

Tarragona, Spain

© PortAventura

Halloween at Port Aventura World

This resort is host to one of the biggest and best Halloween parties in the world staged over a whopping eight weeks! Promising everything from absolute terror to spooky family fun visitors can experience terrorific shows, creatures from the beyond, passages of terror, clusters of monsters roaming freely around the resort, blood-thirsty menus, and a fantastic parade that will take over the streets as night falls.All the parks, hotels and restaurants will be decorated with giant pumpkins, bats, ghosts and other terrifying creatures that take visitors to “another world” and a realm of fun. Two special nights will also be held during this new season: “Night of the Vampires” on 13th October and “The Great Night of Halloween” on 31st October.

X Marks The Spot – Lost Treasure Holidays

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Bored with your regular package holiday? Why not go on an altogether different kind of adventure where you could hunt for lost treasure during your break!

Destination: New Orleans

The lost treasure: The loot of pirate Jean Lafitte

Jean Lafitte was known for plundering merchant ships in the Gulf of Mexico and stashing the loot to retrieve later. It comes as no surprise then that, following his sudden death in the 1820s, word got out of treasure to be found. Two locations have been identified – Lake Borgne off the coast of New Orleans, and 5km east of the Old Spanish Trail near the Sabine River in a gum tree grove!

The best time to head to New Orleans is in April when the music festival season starts. The weather is pleasant at this time of year, but there are likely to be hints of the extremely hot days in store during the summer months. October is another key time to visit, not only has the weather cooled off a little, but there is a great carnival atmosphere around Halloween. 

Mardi Gras Image by skeeze CC0

Destination: France

The lost treasure: A golden owl originally to be exchanged for a 1 million francs

In 1993 Max Valentin hid a golden owl somewhere in the French countryside. His aim was to inspire everyone in France to become a professional treasure hunter and his carrot on a stick, so to speak, was for what would have originally been a 1 million franc reward, in the form of a more valuable replica owl, to whoever found it. Max – not his real name by the way, he was actually author Regis Hauser – went on to dish out 11 clues, apparently one person came very close to finding it in 1999. Max Valentin died in a car crash in 2009 taking the precise location with him, but it has been announced that the reward will be honoured to whoever finds the owl.

France is huge – so where should you go if it is your first visit to the country? Paris is top of the bill, followed by the Loire Valley; Provence, and the French Rivera are also absolute musts! The Alps! Got to squeeze the Alps in, and it would be an absolute shame if you missed some key winemaking regions such as Champagne, Burgundy, or Bordeaux.

Provence Image by kirkandmimi CC0

Destination: New Mexico

The lost treasure: 16 tonnes of gold

While you might have trouble getting the gold back in your suitcase, finding the buried treasure of Leon Trabuco and co. in the New Mexico Desert will certainly spice up your Instagram stream! Story goes that in the Great Depression Leon and his associates predicted that the price of gold would explode sometime soon, so they decided to keep hold of as much as they could by burying it in the desert. While Leon was right, gold became worth LOADS, he didn’t foresee the Gold Reserve Act coming into force, which basically made private ownership of gold illegal and they were unable to sell their stash. When he died Leon took the exact location of the gold with him.

New Mexico is known as the Land of Enchantment, but there is even a place within this land that stands out from its neighbours – Taos. The landscape here is powerful,  behind the town are snow-capped mountain peaks, volcanic plateaux that spill dramatically into the Rio Grande Gorge, and the skies are HUGE. Expect magnificent sunsets, dreamy blue skies, and spectacular storm clouds capable of dwarfing these epic vistas.

New Mexico Image by mdherren CC0

Destination: Key West

The lost treasure: $200 million+ of gold and silver.

Raging hurricanes are fairly common in this part of the world, and back in 1622 they sealed the fate of a number of cargo ships passing through. It is said that these ships were in fact carrying an unusual cargo – gold and silver, to the tune of $700 million no less in today’s money. In 1985 a whopping $500 million worth of this treasure was found buried less than 160 kilometers off the coast of Key West leaving experts convinced that there is still plenty left to find!

Key West, AKA the pathway to paradise, is billed as a tropical oasis ideal for diving – made all the more enticing at the thought of finding $200 million worth of treasure! Lionfish, angelfish and stingrays are just some of the fish you’ll find in the reefs here, plus dolphins and turtles make the Keys their home too. The crystal clear water, along with occasionally turbulent weather, also makes this the place to be for wreck diving, presently tours take in the newly sunken Vandenberg, a 520-foot U.S. military missile-tracking ship.

Key West Image by nextvoyage CC0

Jetcost Flights Comparison Review – Travel App of the Month September 2018

Everyone loves a bargain, especially if it means having more spending money for holiday! People also want finding that bargain to be super easy. Enter an app that makes it a cinch to find competitively priced flights, favourite searches, and works offline….

What is the Jetcost App?

It is a free flight comparison app and the new updated version has a range of features that makes it really easy to use.

What does the Jetcost App do?

Jetcost offers the usual comparison service and adds a customised search experience by allowing users access to their search history and bookmarked results. Users can do this EVEN WHILE THEY ARE OFFLINE! This makes it perfect for browsing your travel itinerary while still on a plane, or in your remote destination that has no signal or wi-fi.

  • Access flight information – departure and arrival locations, times, duration, number of stops, waiting times, etc.
  • Filter results by flight duration, airlines, stops, travel class, departure and arrival times, smart time intervals, etc.
  • View search history and favourite
  • Continue searches where you left off.
  • Access search history at anytime, anywhere.
  • Swipe to either delete an itinerary, or add it to bookmarks.

Who is the Jetcost App good for?

Thrifty travellers, frequent travellers, business travellers, backpackers, bargain hunters, savvy travellers, busy travellers.

What do the Jetcost App Reviews say?

Reviews focus on the ease of use and lack of ads – not bad for a free app! Links to less than reputable travel agents has been mentioned, but Jetcost only claims to offer users the info, not recommend which bookings to make.

Jetcost Comparison App is available on iTunes

Filling The Void: 10 Ways To Kill Time Before Checking In

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Ever been stuck in that post-check-out, pre-check-in void while travelling, or even just arrived earlier than scheduled and can’t book in for four hours? It sucks, especially when you just want to enjoy a holiday vibe! Here are a few ways to pass that time without feeling like you are waiting.

First, ask to stash your luggage so you are free to explore – you could even take this opportunity to find out if there is a different room already free and avoid waiting around altogether!

  1. Ask to use the hotel facilities – whether it is a lounge, lobby, or leisure area they’ll probably let you in before you check in.
  2. Head to a local spa – it will be relaxing, refreshing and will wash away the dreaded travel grime.
  3. Seek out a nearby gym – a burst of exercise will hopefully leave you feeling energised, plus you can get cleaned up with a well-deserved shower after.
  4. Go for a leisurely brunch – enjoying a bellyful of food while watching the local life pass by will soon get you in the holiday vibe.
  5. Take the opportunity to exchange currency – or do any other tedious tasks that need doing just to get them out of the way.
  6. Go to a local museum or gallery – not only will you fit in something that might not be on your itinerary, but you’ll also learn heaps about the local culture during your visit.
  7. Go for a walk – by exploring the local area you’ll find out what you’d like to see and experience more of during your stay. It is also a great way to scope out hidden gems that you’d otherwise miss with a set itinerary.
  8. Journal – whether you head to a nearby open space, a café or bar, finding somewhere to journal is a great idea for whiling away time.
  9. Revise your itinerary – this is the best time to take a look at your ideas because you can pick up local literature for lesser known attractions and excursions, and you can also ask the locals, and other holiday makers what they would (and would not) recommend.
  10. Ask for early check-in – if you know you are going to be early, ask in advance about an early check-in. In most cases hotels and hosts are able to accommodate given enough notice, but may charge for the service.

 

Arriving way before your check-in time is a pain, but not as bad as missing your flight or connection and missing out on holiday time! Make sure your travel insurance covers you for missed departures!

The Secrets to Making The Most of a Short Break Abroad

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The truth about short breaks is that they are exhausting – right? Just when you need a few days respite, with a splash of adventure you end up travelled out, rushed and wishing you’d spent a long weekend at home with a book instead. Unless you do it right of course – here’s how!

1. Follow the cardinal rule – the number of hours you travel should not be greater than the number of days of your trip.

Going for 4 days? Limit your flight time to four hours! You could even argue that the time spent in travelling to and from the airport should count too. Breaking this rule will mean that you will spend most of your trip getting from A to B rather than enjoying your destination, and you might just add a bit of jetlag into the mix if you travel really far!

2. Pick a destination or experience that is very different from “real life” at home.

The more novel your travel experience, the more you’ll feel like you have had a proper holiday and a decent break.

3. Stay at one hotel or apartment rather than travelling through your destination.

The post-check-out, pre-check-in void between 11 and 2 is best avoided, especially on a short break. Time is of the essence, so don’t spend it waiting around!

4. Upgrade yourself!

If you yearn to live a luxury lifestyle, a short break may well be the perfect opportunity to do it. A five-star hotel for 3 days is going to be more financially accessible than for a long holiday. OK, you might spend the same as you would on a 7-day budget break, but instead you have a long weekend of absolute bliss to enjoy!

5. Create the perfect “holiday experience sandwich” when you plan your itinerary.

Make the first day a day to relax, unwind and do things that aren’t mentally, emotionally, financially or physically taxing. Use the middle section of your trip to see, do, and experience everything on your to-do list so that you really feel like you’ve made the most of your trip. Finally, save the last day for unwinding – maybe head to a local spa, or have a long luxurious feast at a local restaurant.

Follow these tips and not only will you have a full and rewarding holiday experience, but you’ll also come back feeling like you have managed to relax and unwind – a rarity with a short break abroad!

A Newbies Guide To Wildlife Volunteering Holidays

Male Lion on Borana Conservancy © culsansgaptravel.co.uk

If you want to work abroad for a bit helping the local wildlife, you need to be very careful about who you book with and what you’ll be doing, otherwise there is potential to cause more harm than good, or miss what you went to experience. Here are a few pointers to steer you in the right direction when researching your options.

Look for recognised affiliations and partnerships with reputable responsible travel companies. Companies such as Long Run and Responsible Travel really put operators through their paces to showcase honest, supportive behaviours. Booking with affiliated companies means your volunteer experience should be a help to the wildlife not a hindrance.

Pick your time of travel carefully. For example, if you want to get up close with African wildlife, you don’t want to book a volunteer trip in the green season – not only will your job be harder because of the thick turf, but you’ll have less chance of seeing the wildlife. Migration patterns should also be considered before booking!

Go for the right reasons. No-one knows what mother nature has in store, or what wild animals might do next, so don’t sign up for a wildlife or conservation programme just to see wild animals. Make sure you are going because of the good you will be doing. Any close encounters you experience are a bonus!

Observing animal tracks with James, Head Guide, from Il Ngwesi © culsansgaptravel.co.uk

Get Vaccinated. It is absolutely vital to get the correct vaccinations for your location. Whether you need the likes of rabies shots or malaria pills depends very much on where you are going – so get the advice of your GP or tour operator.

Get Insured. Animals can be very dangerous and unpredictable, and you are immediately putting yourself in a high-risk environment when signing up to volunteering with wildlife – that is why adequate travel insurance is essential!

Beware of close encounter opportunities. Volunteering in a contained environment with wild animals, or volunteering with companies offering physical human contact should raise alarm bells. As an untrained volunteer you only pose a risk in such a situation.

Il Ngwesi anti-poaching ranger © culsansgaptravel.co.uk

Ask about safety. At the very least find out what safety procedures are in place, and what the emergency evacuation procedures are. You should also be able to find out what to do in the event of a wide range of risk situations. If the information isn’t available, doubt the integrity of the operator.

Finally – Be sure to ask your operator the following questions:

  • How much is the total cost of the volunteer programme?
  • What does this cost include?
  • What costs must I cover myself?
  • Where do the profits go?
  • How involved will I be able to get?
  • What will my daily role be?
  • How is my presence there actually helping?
  • How many other volunteers are on the same project?
  • Who is the project managed by and what is their past experience and qualifications?

Students observing a white rhino on Lewa Wildlife Conservancy © culsansgaptravel.co.uk

Don’t forget your travel insurance! Talk to one of our sales team on 01892 833338 or get a quick travel insurance quote online!

PKs List Review – Travel App of the Month August 2018

Welcome to an app that gives you entry to the most luxurious hotel experiences around the world! Not only does this app open doors to magnificent places, it also guarantees a VIP experience as you will be part of one of the most exclusive travel clubs in town.

What is PKs List?

It is an exclusive members travel club, and the result of PKs – aka Phillipe – time spent compiling an extensive ‘little black book’ of the world’s leading hoteliers, granting him access to the world’s finest hotels. The connection means that each hotel in PKs List recognises a PKs List booking, guaranteeing the guests will receive additional perks on arrival, such as upgrades, inclusive breakfasts, spa credits, gift vouchers, late check out and discounted services.

Members of PKs List – of which there are three tiers, the Elite Membership (by invitation only), the Travel Club, and the new App – can trust that the suggestions being offered have undergone a vigorous vetting process and that Philippe has personally visited and arranged for the very best perks for his members.

What does the PKs List app do?

The app was designed for time-poor members wanting inspiration and insight into the world’s finest hotels, offering hotel contact details, a ‘quick book’ option and perks such as upgrades, spa credits, gift vouchers and late check out at select hotels.

  • Uses Subjective Travel Intelligence™- a dynamic database of over 1,000 individually selected, reviewed and visited hotels around the globe.
  • Categorises hotels into types for easy selection.
  • PKs List Travel Club Membership grants users perks such as upgrades, breakfast and VIP amenities (participating hotels only).
  • Guaranteed VIP status and privileges at virtually every hotel brand across the world.
  • Bespoke trip itineraries, access to sought-after events and experiences.

Who is the PKs List app for?

PKs list is for discerning travellers that expect the best, but don’t have the time to vet every booking option themselves. The trust in Philippe’s choices and connections means that VIP status and privilege is guaranteed and you will not be disappointed by your booking! To become a member of this exclusive travel club via the app costs $99 a year, however there is a 7 day free trial to give people an idea of what the app can give access to!

Remember that the app is the lowest tier of membership – to really get the best perks, you will have to pay $500 a year membership and be personally referred by someone who is already a member of PKs List.

What do the PKs List app reviews say?

The app is super new and so far only available in iTunes, so no app reviews available. There aren’t any reviews or ratings on the website either, but that is probably because the target audience is a discerning crowd and probably give feedback to Philippe himself about their undoubtedly magnificent experience.

Download PKs List on iTunes.

Visit the website. 

 

Lagom – The Swedish Goldilocks Principle for Globetrotters

Lagom – a Swedish word that has no direct translation. It more or less means not too much, not too little, just the right amount. It can be applied to every aspect of life – whether that be the amount of cream you have in your coffee, the way you dress, how you decorate your home, or how you travel! Here are some top travel tips that we think hit the lagom vibe.

Image by skeeze CC0

Take an extended break

In Sweden it is common for people to take three to four weeks off in the summer to enjoy the weather. While this isn’t an option for everyone, the key is to make sure that you take more days than you think you need to enjoy your holiday. So, if it is a weekend city break you are going on, add an extra day either side to prepare, and to come home and relax after travelling. Going on a longer holiday? Same principle – take more days than you think you need, you’ll be glad of it when your itinerary is approaching capacity.

Plan a sensible itinerary

Cramming in sightseeing and activities to a pre-booked holiday is not adhering to lagom. You don’t want to do so little you feel like you are wasting time, but you also don’t want to be rushed off your feet trying to fit everything in – you want balance. Before you book your holiday decide what it is you want to do, how much time you ideally need to enjoy each activity to its fullest, and also how long it will take to get from A to B to C… Then add some time for doing NOTHING – only with space in your schedule can you embrace something spontaneous, or take some time to rest between adventures! Once you know that, create your itinerary and book your holiday. If it feels like there is too much for the holiday time you can take, remember you can always come back another time!

Get close to nature

Lagom is about keeping things simple, something a spell in the great outdoors can provide in abundance, but remember we aren’t aiming for extremes! Enjoy outdoor activities that are within your skill-range, environments that aren’t going to cause discomfort, and above all, remember to dress for the weather. There is a saying “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.”

Eat fresh, eat local

You can also use the concept of lagom to enjoy the local cuisine – in moderation of course. So, bingeing on steak and red wine in Argentina is not lagom, but indulging in a fine cut with a reserve occasionally during your stay is. Choose items off the menu that do not have a negative impact on the wellbeing of local wildlife or ecosystems – something to be mindful of in places where the popularity of seafood is leading to an overfishing problem. Finally, only eat what you need, no need to go large, order big, or have three courses when two will do.

Choose ethical travel

Low impact and ethical travel is on the rise. This encompasses a wide range of tourist activities that take the excessive side of tourism into account, things like damage to flora and fauna, overcrowding, and negative impacts on the economy and the life of locals. Wherever you travel make sure that you are adding to the local economy during your stay, that you leave as little trace as possible while you are there, and that you are mindful of the impact of your presence in everything you do.

Fun Things To Do In Gothenburg On A Short City Break

Summer in Sweden is the perfect time for a short city break and with a wonderfully short flight from the UK, Gothenburg is the ideal destination!

Image by lenalindell20 CC0

Take A Paddan Boat Tour of the City

The low, wide Paddan tour boats are an idyllic way to explore the city, and learn about the sights from a tour guide. The canal boat goes around most of the 17thCentury canals in the city, passing sightseeing hotspots, harbours, and passing under many beautiful bridges!

Kayak The Gothenburg Archipelago

While there are seal safaris, fishing, and island hopping tours available for visitors to explore this beautiful archipelago just an hour from Gothenburg, kayaking is arguably the best way to explore the area. There are guided tours available for all abilities, plus you can choose to add swimming or fishing to your paddling adventure.

Go To The Fish Church

Feskekôrka is a fish market with the architectural qualities of a church, hence the name! As well as drawing visitors who want to see this sublime building – an architectural experiment built in 1874, Feskekôrka is also the place to go for top quality fish and seafood that is as fresh as it gets.

Image by mammela CC0

Explore The Universeum

This is Scandinavia’s largest science centre, a whopping 9,000 square metres of flora, fauna, and fun. Over seven levels there is room for a tropical rainforest, home to 25 metre tall kapok trees with a suspension bridge, a 1.4 million litre aquarium with sharks and rays, plus monkeys, sloths, and caimans to name just a few. It even has room for visitors to step into a space station.

Check Out The Parks And Gardens

Gothenburg is a compact city, which makes it easy to pass from one splendid public garden to another. The Botanical Garden is one of the largest in Europe, and close by is Slottsskogen, the main park in Gothenburg. Just outside of the city you’ll find historic estates with impressive garden spaces, open for the public to enjoy. Don’t forget that in Sweden there is a right to roam, so visitors can go and explore any open space, as long as they pay attention to the “do not disturb or destroy” policy that comes with it.

Visit Gothenburg Museum of Art

It just won the title Museum of the Year in Sweden thanks to its diverse art collection. So as well as being able to view Rubens, Munch, Picasso et al, visitors can expect a variety of workshops, temporary exhibitions and lectures over the three floors of this stunning museum.