Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Best Duty-Free Buys

Holidays do not just present us with a chance to get away from the stress and strains of our often mundane existence - They also present us with the chance to stock up on quality luxury items that can be found in the treasure trove that is the duty free section of International airports!

There are certain items that we should steer clear of in duty free, (think of those gigantic novelty chocolates that you devour as soon as you get home), but there is a trio of items that are fairly priced and are far too good to be ignored. If you are venturing out of the comfort of the EU you will find that your savings are even greater on these goods.

1) The item that you will make the most saving on is cigarettes. Without the vast amount of tax the British government imposes on these cancer-ridden little sticks, you will find you can make a profit of £5 per pack. Better still, you can potentially earn yourself a few extra pounds by selling to smoker friends.

2)If you are a regular drinker of spirits you can stock up in duty free and save yourself many a pound. The best technique is to buy in bulk, raising your long-term savings even more. You will also find that duty free sections stock local spirits that are difficult to find in Britain.

3)Fragrances present another duty free choice that often undercuts our high-street retailers. There are often special deals and promotions on these products, providing even better savings for flyers.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Avoiding Check-in Problems

The whole flying process has become so streamlined and generic that we rarely encounter problems these days.

But there are still times when things can go wrong - usually at check-in.

There are a number of common problems that you may encounter at check-in, most of which can easily be avoided.

The first and most obvious problem to avoid is related to your baggage. Airlines make a large amount of money from baggage fees. Charging passengers for bags that are over weight has become a profitable source of income for airlines. Make yourself aware of your airline's baggage rules before you get to the airport to avoid this.

You should also double check the contents of your hand luggage. There is nothing worse than finally getting to the scanners then realising that you have can of hairspray or an unopened bottle of water in your bad that is about to be confiscated by a burly security guard. You may not look like a terrorist, but they're just doing their job! Leave purchases such as these in your main baggage, or alternatively, hold on until you are through to the waiting lounge.

Queues at the check-in desk go hand-in-hand with the flying experience, but they are an annoyance that can be avoided. Numerous airlines now offer the option of online check-in. This means you can go straight to security rather than having to pay a visit to the check-in assistants. Online check-in is usually only available on domestic flights due to more stringent passport checks on international flights.

If you are a frequent flier, you should really have applied for a frequent flier number by now. This can speed things up hugely as you can check-in at an automated kiosk by typing in your personalised number and all of your flight details will be instantly recognised, completing check-in in minutes.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Dealing With Tears and Tantrums on Long-Haul Flights

The other day a friend of mine told me how he and his family had taken the arduous 21 hour flight to Australia for a two week holiday and catch-up with recently emigrated family.

He told of the nightmare he and his wife had in entertaining his two young children, 5 and 3 years old respectively, and how they struggled to cope with the dreaded child jet-lag. I personally would have baulked at the idea of spending so much time in a cramped cabin with nothing more than a colouring book and a series of recently released Hollywood blockbusters to keep them happy!

Tears and tantrums on such a flight come with the territory, but there are a few little things that can make the journey a little more bearable. Firstly, you should make sure that the airline you are travelling with caters for little ones. If the airline provides digital entertainment, make sure that the screens are incorporated into the back of the seat rather than a communal screen for sections of the plane, thus ensuring small children can actually see the screen. Perhaps you could ask if there is a children's T.V channel before opting to fly with them? Better still, see if the airline offers a gaming channel, this will entertain the kids for hours and can give you much needed time to yourself.

Portable DVD players can be a real saving grace, just make sure you pack their favourite DVDs! An excellent tip that you may not necessarily have thought of is to take small presents for your children that you could get them to open at certain times during the flight to relieve boredom and give them something to look forward to.

Dealing with the after-effects of a flight can be equally as tricky, but it's important to remember that a child's body acts in the same way as an adults when it comes to jet-lag. The same rules apply, so try to keep up with the new time zone and go to bed at night time to ensure your body adjusts, This may sound difficult for young children, but you will find that excitement gets them through the first signs of sleepiness!