22 Posts
dubai

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When visiting Dubai, the journey there is half the fun. If you haven’t already travelled to the Middle East, then you really are in for a treat, especially if you choose to fly with Qatar Airways.  It makes the 7-hour journey from the UK feel more like part of your holiday, rather than a necessary evil that you just have to grim and bear.

Unlike western airlines, which relentlessly try to make as much money out of their passengers as possible by squeezing them into overcrowded cabins, Qatar airways, oozing with all the style and extravagance you would expect from the richest nation in the world is in a class of its own. Here are my top reasons why I only fly Qatar Airways when travelling from the UK to Dubai.

Exceptional Service

Described as a 5-star flying experience, it’s not hard to see why. From the moment you arrive at the airport to check in your bags, to the moment you step off the plane in Dubai, the service and quality of both the aircraft and staff are second to none.

It’s easy to forget the importance of the pre-flight facilities when choosing your airline. This is a rooky error. Remember with most international flights you will be hanging around the airport for about 3 hours before your flight. Present in most of the main UK airports, Qatar Airways lounges are definitely worth upgrading for.

The premium lounge in Heathrow is particularly impressive, boasting Arabic style water fountains and elegant seating areas and restaurants. There are some great opportunities to upgrade using Qatar Airways promo codes if you know where to look.

It is the on-board service however, where Qatar Airways absolutely excels in terms of service. Their cabin crew have been voted the best in the Middle East for seven consecutive years and it’s not hard to see why. When you step onto the plane the attentive flight attendants will show you to your seat and explain the ins and outs of the on-board entertainment and food and drinks menu.

Before and after take-off the attendants walk around the cabin offering passengers complementary scented flannels to freshen up which is a nice touch, especially at the end of the flight. A truly international airline, Multi-lingual flight attendants are common place with Qatar airways.

The meals on board a Qatar Airways flight are the best you will find on a flight. They are always served warm and taste fantastic, which is saying something coming from a self-proclaimed fussy eater. On flights from the UK you usually have the choice of a western style meal like roasted chicken or pasta, as well as middle eastern dishes such as an Arabic Meze. The one small thing they could improve on is increasing their vegetarian options.

Comfortable Flight

Flying economy class with Qatar Airways is more like flying the business class of other airlines. The seats are comfortable and spacious with plenty of room so you can make yourself comfortable. You are also supplied with a fresh blanket and pillow.

Most of their flights now have on-board wi-fi available throughout the plane and there are power outlets, USB plugs and a personal telephone available to economy passengers. This is a huge plus as most airlines will only supply business and first class customers with these facilities. The inflight entertainment system is superb with more than 3000 options to choose from. This range from newly released films, TV shows, radio stations and video games to choose from.

Reasonably Priced

The best part about flying with Qatar airways to Dubai is that this exceptional service is extremely reasonably priced. You are exposed to a continuous fell of luxury, without the luxury price tag to go with it. Keep your eyes peeled for speical promo codes which can offer you upgrades or extra travel points.

In summary, after flying with Qatar Airways once, it’s hard to imagine travelling on a long-haul flight with a different airline again. As a frequent flyer from the UK to Dubai, I have yet to find an airline with better value for money or service.

heli-skiing

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Heli-skiing, as the name suggests, involves taking a chopper up the mountains and then skiing down – it’s just as awesome an experience as it sounds. The practice actually began over the pond in Canada’s British Columbia, but you can now find heli-skiing venues all across the world, including several in Europe.

Here are just 4 reasons why you should really give heli-skiing a shot.

  1. You’ll Be Drowning in Powder

In case you hadn’t already guessed, one of the biggest reasons people head out heli-skiing is a chance to get knee-deep in the white stuff. This is one for serious powder hounds; instead of skiing on a piste that has already been gone over thousands of times, or venturing onto the mild-mannered backcountry to the side of some runs, you’ll be travelling across unbroken powder from top to bottom.

  1. Take Advantage of the Longer Ski Times

Deep powder might be the central draw, but another massive plus that comes with heli-skiing is the amount of time you actually spend going down the mountain. When you’re at a resort, you’ll probably spend a lot of time simply waiting on lifts; when you heli-ski, you’ll enjoy long run-times since you start right at the top and go right to the bottom.

  1. You Don’t Need Any Special Skills

Heli-skiing might sound like the sort of thing only attempted by the very best, but, truth be told, this isn’t something you need any particular skill for. Of course, you’ll need to be a fairly competent skier, but that doesn’t mean world-class. If you can handle the black runs at your resort, you should be able to handle heli-skiing.

  1. An Experience to Remember

At the end of the day, this would be the experience of a lifetime even if no skiing took place. There probably won’t be many other times in your life when you’ll be taken above soaring alpine peaks in a helicopter, after all.

 

Heli-skiing is becoming more and more popular all across the world, and it isn’t hard to understand why. If you’re interested, just check the next resort you’ll be heading to for available providers. You’ll be glad you did!

smog

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China can be an exciting country for expats, with astounding historical sites to enjoy and lively modern cities in which to live. However, many Chinese cities also suffer from poor air quality, which is why many pictures taken in more built-up areas show residents walking the streets wearing face masks.

Here’s a quick overview of everything you need to know as an expat dealing with China’s smog.

What Does Smog Contain?

Smog is made up of several compounds, including:

  • Ground Ozone (O3)
  • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)
  • Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)
  • Carbon Monoxide(CO)
  • Particulate Matter (PM 2.5 and PM 10)

All of these substances can be harmful, but PM2.5 and Ozone (O3) will have the biggest impact on your health. PM2.5 comes from combustion, such as coal burning, petrol burning in cars, power plants, and industrial sites, while ground ozone forms when Nitrous oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) react to sunlight.

Do You Need to Wear a Mask?

To know whether you need to wear a mask, you first need to check the air quality index for the city you’re in. This can vary, so checking the index should become like checking the weather.

You’ll generally not need a mask if air quality is ranked below 100, though anyone with current respiratory conditions should wear one anyway. Severe problems usually occur once the air quality index reaches around 150, the level at which air is classified as unhealthy. Ratings of between 300 and 500 are often seen in some parts of the country, and they certainly demand the use of a mask.

How Should You Pick Your Mask?

Not all masks are created equal, so make sure that yours:

  • Is rated by the NIOSH or EU FFP at N99.
  • Has a carbon filter to protect against Ozone and S02.
  • Fits securely around your face.
  • Allows you to breathe without difficulty.

You should also make sure that filters are changed regularly since they can become clogged with dust and pollutants.

How Can You Protect Your Children?

Your children’s respiratory systems will still be developing, so pollutants will be more harmful. Make sure they wear a child-sized mask when outdoors. When looking at schools, ensure that all classrooms are sealed, indoor playgrounds are available, and air quality levels are constantly measured.

6-best-restaurants-in-narita

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Craving an adventure? Whether you’re looking for a taste of authentic Japanese cuisine or simply want to tuck in to some familiar fare, our guide to the city’s best eats has got you covered.

Ramen Bayashi

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The top spot in Narita for steaming bowls of Ramen, Ramen Bayashi’s speciality of leek, miso and pork noodle soup sees throngs of hungry patrons fill its tables each day. Also offering handmade dumplings pan-fried to perfection, this traditional eatery tops the list of must-try restaurants in Narita.

Gyoza no Osho Keisei Narita Ekimae

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An ideal choice for travellers who see dumplings as more than a side dish, this gyoza-focused dining hall has plenty of sumptuous varieties to choose from, along with accompanying meals like karaage chicken and stir-fried vegetables to match. Also home to impressive list of local and international beer, Gyoza no Osho Keisei Narita Ekimae dishes up the perfect combination of food and drink for lunch and dinner alike.

Teco Teco

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Offering a tasty alternative for travellers who need a break from traditional Japanese fare, Teco Teco is an unexpected gem in the heart of Narita. Catering primarily to carnivores, the South American specialties at this Brazilian steakhouse include everything from picanha a cavalo (grilled beef with fried eggs, potatoes and rice) to calabresa defumada acebolada (smoked sausage and onion).

Sushi Kyotatsu

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No time to get to Narita between flights? No problem. This top-notch sushi restaurant in Narita San International Airport brings all the colours and flavours of the ocean directly to your gate. Swapping average transit fare for world-class cuisine, the delectable dishes at this Narita airport restaurant are the perfect way to begin or end your culinary tour of the city.

Kawatoyo Honten

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A cultural experience and dining destination combined into one, Kawatoyo Honten carves up live eels right before patrons’ eyes to create the freshest unagi dishes in town. Conveniently located adjacent to the Tourist Pavilion, this authentic eatery sees locals and travellers alike queue for a bento box full of this delicious, flame-grilled seafood.

California Restaurant

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Want to get a taste of Narita all in one place? Experience the flavours of this vibrant city on your doorstep at Radisson Hotel Narita’s California Restaurant. An all-day smorgasbord of traditional and international dishes, this buffet-style venue serves up everything from sashimi and gyoza to hamburgers and calzones, complemented by garden and swimming pool views.
Ready to dig in to the city’s best dishes? Whether you’re planning an extended holiday or simply passing through, the beautifully-appointed rooms and suites at Radisson Hotel Narita have everything guests need to get a taste of Narita. Plan your stay today.

brexit

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June 23rd 2016 will always be remembered as the day Britain decided to leave the EU; one of the most significant and historic decisions to take place this century. It has seen a divide across Britain as citizens have had passionate and opposing opinions as to whether the country should Leave or Remain.

Along with consequences such as David Cameron stepping down from his post, and the initial wobble of the pound, the question on many peoples lips is, “what about travel?” Europe is home to some of the worlds most beautiful, cultural and influential cities and millions of travellers flock there each year, so what does it mean for those headed for an EU country, and also the rest of the world? We have tried to provide some answers below!

Travelling TO the UK Just Got Cheaper

When it comes to the actually exiting of the European Union, we are looking at a time scale of around 2 years, however what was the immediate impact? The falling of the pound. Following the decision, the pound saw quite a drop in its value, particularly against the US dollar; the Euro also experienced a drop. While of course, this is not a cause for celebration it does mean that traveling to the UK from US became more affordable. It now sits with other destinations such as Denmark and Australia that have become more affordable in recent years with round trips dropping between 19-25% in cost.

But Travelling FROM the UK increased

The pound becoming weaker means that UK tourists will find that travel becomes more expensive. This could mean that popular long haul destinations could become significantly less crowded, especially in the United States when you take the exchange rate into consideration.

Travelzoo gave their professional opinion, “If British tourists, because of currency fluctuations, change their plans or don’t come to U.S., you may see some ability to get some better prices in some cities…We’re seeing a little of that effect now with the Canadian travellers. As their currency has plummeted against the dollar, Canadians are staying home.”

Discount Airlines May Raise Their Prices

As much as we all like to have a pop at the discount airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair, many of us don’t think twice when it comes to taking advantage of their low fares. The reason that these companies were able to offer such low fares is because the EU allows airlines based in Europe to fly anywhere in the single market.

Now that Britain is leaving that single market, the budget airlines may need to revisit their strategy and that could eventually lead to the ‘discount’ title becoming questionable.

CNN reported that “Ryanair, from Dublin, flies on an Irish operating certificate, so its mainland European bases will be safe. But its U.K. operations across more than a dozen bases may need a new British operating certificate. Ryanair has already forecast that fares will rise because of Brexit.”

Be Prepared to Queue

As it stands currently, there has been no impact on the way that British Citizens move with countries in the EU and vice versa; HOWEVER once the deed is done and Britain officially leaves the Union the immediate access that the British passport grants will be changed and British travellers will be joining the ‘Non EU’ queues with other international travellers, which could lead to longer wait times…OR it could lead to a more efficient process at airports being created? (You have to look on the bright side don’t you!) Of course, using the online check in services, having an E Passport and being smart with your flying times can make the experience of getting through the airport much easier.

However CS Global are keen to reassure travellers that they should not be disheartened by this news and should look to far flung corners of the world, “CS Global Partners’ philosophy is to assist clients to become “citizens of the world”. Therefore, we are looking at a wider audience, not only those individuals/citizens in UK and Europe. We embrace global citizenship.”

It has also been suggested that long term, people may want to avoid long haul flights that connect in the UK before heading on to Europe. We may see that travellers are required to enter customs in the UK and also in their final destination….nobody got time for that.

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It was USA Today which declared that Houston is the ‘dining-out capital of the nation’ due to the fact those living there eat out more often than any other city in America. It’s inexpensive to eat great food which is always going to be a deciding factor when planning a vacation entertainment budget, so with the average number of nights out being three times a week to the 9000 restaurants across the area nicknamed the Space City, here’s the other reasons why Houston is a great place to dine.

Diversity

The three most popular styles of food in Houston are Lousiana Creole, Tex-Mex and Vietnamese. Whether established chains or niche boutique restaurants, the flavors of these styles of gourmet eating permeate much of the city. For those celebrating a birthday or the acceptance of a wedding proposal and have been shopping for Houston jewelry, the colors and flavors of Houston food are unique.

You’ll find fantastic fresh seafood combined with spices of the Far East and Mexican heat mixed with home-reared Texan beef. Close by Louisiana offers the creole taste from those who moved to Texas a hundred years ago and the result is a mouth-watering mix of fantastic places to try.

Ease of opening a restaurant

Houston is a little unusual in local planning rules in that it has a no-zoning policy. This means that there’s freedom to open a restaurant pretty much anywhere, so there’s no need to travel to a particular part of the city to eat out as there will be a varied choice on your doorstep or just a few feet away from your hotel room.

The freeway

Compared to many cities in the USA, the freeway of Houston is excellent and offers fantastic accessibility in and around the center. Aside from problems during rush hour, the city is only 15 minutes or so away for anyone in the suburbs so it’s quick and simple to just hop in the car or on a bus and enjoy a night out without the stress of knowing there will be a traffic jam to contend with in either or both directions.

Low cost of living

Comparatively speaking, Houston has a very low cost of living. This means that any excess salary is available for entertainment and it’s now become the norm for it to be channeled into dining out. Labor costs are lower in restaurants than locations such as San Francisco or New York for example and in turn this means that food can be offered at a lower price.

Large numbers of residents

There are over six million people in the rail metro area of Houston. It’s a huge conurbation to feed and combined with the lack of hoops to jump through to open a restaurant, it means that there’s plenty of choice available. This has also created a competitive market; why would a family keep visiting a mediocre restaurant when there are plenty of fantastic ones within a few minutes’ drive?

Eating out then in Houston is a myriad of positive elements which combine to make a great experience at any time of the day or night. Whether it’s shrimp, fried fish or grilled meat and salsa, you’ll never go short of a menu full of flavor – and all at a great price.

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When most people think about skiing holidays, inexpensive and affordable are not the first words that come to mind.  However, there are several ways you can reduce the overall price of a trip on the slopes, if you the right places to look and when.  That is aim of this post, to educate you on some tips that will help you save money on your next or first skiing trip.

Book Last Minute

The best offers are usually available very early or very late into the season.  This means for most skiing resorts that this would be the last couple of weeks in December and April.  Keep a close eye on the snow report, but try and leave it as late as possible before you book because the closer you book your time away to when you actually leave, the more you will save.

Book Away From The Crowds

Okay, so you may have your heart set on travelling to what are considered the Big 5 in terms of skiing experiences – Germany, Italy, France, Austria and Switzerland.  The best way to do this while saving some money in the process is to research and book with one of the lesser known resorts.  If you are really looking to save a lot of money however, you need to look at going to Eastern Europe for your trip.  Particularly to places such as Slovakia where the snow is still plentiful but the bill is a mere fraction of some of the better known, popular places.

Rent and Borrow Equipment And Clothes

If your trip will be the first or even second time you have been skiing, it makes much more sense to borrow equipment and clothes from friends if you can.  This is how most people do it, because at beginner level skiing is not the most budget-friendly sporting activity when it comes to the accessories you need.  If you can’t borrow you should look at renting and there are many places up and down the country that offer this kind of service for very reasonable prices.

With regards to equipment such as boots and skis, try and pre-book these when you can online.  You may have the option to book them separately or as part of your holiday package.  As well as giving you the chance to ride on top-notch equipment, it will also save you a pretty penny in baggage fees.

Research Your Lift Pass Options

Many of the package ski holiday deals offer deals on lift passes too.  However, it is always recommended that you have a good look around at other offers because often you will be able to get them cheaper if you buy them separately.

Consider Taking A Shorter Break

Another option that has become more popular in recent years is taking a shorter more tailormade skiing break.  These enable you to fine-tune your holiday so that you can get the maximum amount of slope time in a gorgeous location without needing to take too much time out of your busy work schedule.

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Are you planning a trip to the Kenton area? If you answered yes, then now is the time to start planning. There are a number of things to do in this city and planning out your activities is the best way to see them all. For most people, getting around during a vacation is one of their main worries. Finding the right harrow mini cabs can help a person to reduce this type of worry significantly. The following are some of the things that a person will need to consider when trying to find the right company to supply Kenton Mini Cabs.

A Good Reputation Goes a Long Way

Finding a company that has a good reputation in the community will help a person make the right hire in a hurry. Taking the time to assess the reputation of a particular company will help a person get all of the information that they need. Usually, there will be a number of different customer reviews that a person can look at to gauge how well a company has performed in the past. The more you are able to find out about the cab companies in the area, the faster you will be able to make the right decision.

The Availability Factor

The next factor that you will need to think about when trying to hire the right cab company is their availability. The last thing that you will need to do is leave your transportation to chance due to the negative consequences this can bring. Taking the time to call the cab companies can help you find out about their level of availability. Finding a company that will be at your beckon call during your stay can be very beneficial.

Can You Get a Deal?

When on vacation, most people are very tight with their money due to their desire to do as much as possible. Hiring a cab company that can provide quality services without charging too much should be a main goal. Calling each of the cab companies in the area will give you an idea of who can best meet the needs that you have. In some cases, you may be able to take advantage of a special a company is running. The effort that you put into this will pay off when you are able to save money.

Hiring the right cab company can make your vacation less stressful and more enjoyable. The money paid for a great cab company is well worth it.