Friday, 24 October 2014

UK AIRPORT, beat the liquid and baggage allowance and make life easy

Since the introduction of limits on liquids in hand luggage travelling light has become a little more difficult.

I have recently discovered and very easy and convenient way to get around this problem.

All airlines (including budget ones such as Ryanair) must now allow passengers to carry on a duty free bag of goods in addition to their regular cabin baggage allowance.

This means that you can buy goods including toiletries in the airside shops at the airport, (any size liquids) and take them on board.

This does not affect your baggage allowance weight.  

You can even save time and be sure your goods are available by ordering on line for pick up at the store.  A classic example is Boots where you place an order 5 - 14 days before departure.

If for any reason you cannot pick up your order it is returned to Boots head office 14 days after the order was placed and you receive a refund.  

For further savings go through a cash back website where for example Top Cash Back offer between 1.5% and 8.7% (depending on the product type) cash back on your a Boots order.

The icing on the cake is if you see a space for a promotion code when you are checking out your on line order.  At this point you can do a search for current codes.  I searched "voucher codes for Boots" + the month and year and came up with a further 10% off my order total.

If you are taking connecting flights Boots will seal your goods in a special bag and give you a ticket enabling you to continue on your journey with everything.

Taking a baby abroad this is a great way to deal with the bulk of disposable nappies.

I guess the starting point for all this is to go to the departure airport website to see which stores are on the airside and their opening hours.  Next find out if they have a website with on line ordering for collection in store as I know that WH Smiths also offer this service and there are bound to be others.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

DIAMOND PRINCESS Ancient Capitals 9 day cruise to Japan and South Korea

Just got back from a truly amazing cruise.  Never intended doing this one but it found us when it jumped out of a news paper back in May.

The deal from Travelbag had a lead in price of £1199pp for a 14 day package - return flights from UK, 3 nights hotel in Tokyo with 2 full day tours, 9 night cruise and transfers.  We opted to go for the balcony at £1399 but somehow got myself up sold to £1500 but that's another story.

We're not used to packages and usually book flight only then make everything up as we go along but this time we needed an easy option.

Mistake number one was not fully appreciating that after a 3 hour then 12 hour flight we would arrive at Shiba Park Hotel in Tokyo after 9pm.   We had to be ready to go on tour at 8am next morning and with the 8 hour time difference from England this was a tough call.  With hindsight we should have negotiated a deal where we flew in a full day earlier.

The tours were a great introduction, one a city tour and another to the countryside and invisible Mount Fuji.

Day 3 we were transferred to Yokohama port to board the enormous Diamond Princess.
Cabin B607 on the Baja deck had a balcony and was not overlooked unlike most balcony cabins.  It also had cabins above and below so was nice and quiet.

The ports of call turned out better than expected and easy to do on your own.  In each port a Tourist Information stand was set up, free wi-fi was offered and except Nagasaki a free local shuttle bus was provided.  Finally when we left port the locals put on a wonderful send off show.  Never known anything quite like it in terms of hospitality.

These are our ports of call and what you can do on your own -.

Monday, 6 October 2014

GALAXY S4 ZOOM is it a phone, is it a camera ? Wrong it's both

We like to travel light and I was in need of a phone upgrade and also a new camera I set my trusted nephew on coming up with options.

This time he surpassed himself suggesting one item that does both very well.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom has all the features of the Samsung Galaxy S4 phone but also a 16mp 10xzoom camera.

Still haven't fully figured out all the camera options but you can use it on auto, manual or many different pre programmed modes.  I'm still having fun with these including the panorama and a special one for taking pictures of babies as the camera makes a noise to attract their attention.

Picture quality is superb and the fact that you hold it and press a button like a conventional camera makes it much easier than using a phone as a camera.  I've also added a cheap case and strap to protect it and feel much happier leaning over things to take a picture knowing the camera/phone is secure around my wrist.

Possibly the only downside is the slight bulk and weight but if you need a camera and phone then I would say this is almost certainly lighter and less bulky than carrying both.

Luckily ASDA direct had it on offer at £169 instead of the recommended £249.  Another plus of buying from a supermarket is that should anything go wrong (my first one had a tiny chip within the lens) you just buy another then when you have transferred your info across you get a refund on the faulty one.  Far easier and quicker than going through a dealer.

Well worth considering as a 2 in 1 and way cheaper than an IPhone.