Friday, September 14, 2012

Self-Catering Holidays

When I travel to London, one of my “musts” is an apartment or a hotel with a kitchen. The city is one of the most expensive in the world and the easiest way to save is by cooking some of our own meals. We always eat in for breakfast, because a bagel or cereal will keep us full until lunchtime and will also save us £30 or more. We can eat while getting ready and not have to get up earlier in order to rush out the door to grab food and get on with sightseeing. It can be hard to find affordable apartments or hotels with useful amenities, but Robert and Polly Arnold have gathered them all in one website for you. They are native Londoners and know the city inside and out.

Using their extensive knowledge of London and its sights and attractions, the Arnolds have conveniently located accommodations for any traveler, whether you are a solo traveler, business traveler or bring your whole family. The personally inspect and choose the lodgings that they offer for rent, which gives you peace of mind when booking.

Jump online and choose from the long list of suitable London apartments. Not only will they keep you in the middle of the action, but you can find one that will also be far enough away from the action that you won’t be kept up all night by revelers. Postings have all the relevant information you need to choose the best apartment for you: plenty of photos to show you what the units look like, amenities of each room, what there is see and do nearby, the closest transportation stops and the overall features of the hotel. If you have a specific part of London you want to stay in, you can sort by neighborhood, too!

Apartment-Hotels has a separate section for corporate travelers. Need to find things to do when you aren’t working? They have that covered. Need a longer rental? No problem. Robert or Polly will help you choose the best London apartment for you by going with you on viewing appointments. Who else gives you that kind of personal service?

I’ll be traveling back to London next fall and you can bet I’ll be staying in an apartment again, just like I did before. Our first day always finds us at the local Sainsbury, gathering supplies for breakfast, snacks to take with us and even some dinner staples. It makes travel so much more affordable and gives us a reason to enjoy our room more often. It’s the perfect choice for the budget traveler and gives you an excuse to buy interesting new food items that you don’t have where you live.

Are you looking to travel to London? If so, have you decided to rent an apartment for your stay?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Library in Your Travel Bag

Nobody likes to be bored when they travel. No matter where I go, I bring along some form of entertainment, whether it’s reading material, a game or a puzzle book. Sitting on the airplane, train or in the car, you can’t always pass the time sleeping or shooting the breeze with your fellow companions. Also, sometimes you just want some time to yourself. In anticipation of the Shereen Travels Cheap book coming out in the next week, I’ve been thinking more and more about ebook readers and what great travel companions they make. While I LOVE a good book, I also love saving space in my luggage. Before Kindle came along, I always took up too much room in my packing with physical books. With one book that I was in the middle of and another as backup for when I finished in the middle of my vacation.

Are you a lover or books and reading? If so, this may still be your problem. While you can leave books in many hotel lobbies for other avid trip readers, books still take up room in your bags. Whether they are travel books, reference books, novels, journals or text books. Now, I carry 80% of the books I own with me, as well as blogs and newspapers I read often. I take notes on my device, too. The space I save by owning a Kindle is invaluable, because I have a wealth of information at my disposal, infinite reading material as well as Internet access, should I need it.

You rarely see me go anywhere without my Kindle and anytime anyone asks me about it, I am singing its praises. I love, love, love my Kindle, though I know it’s not the right ebook reader for everyone. There are new and improved models, but you can also choose from Nook, the Sony ereader and numerous others. There is certainly one for everyone now. While they may get smaller, the font size is always adjustable. Great for your little sister or your grandma!

Ebook readers can be super useful, as many have Wi-Fi now and can be used as tablets on-the-go. Plus, if you own an iPad, you already have a book reader. With free reading apps, they do double duty. Take pictures, write notes, check email, pay bills, Skype with friends and family, update your blog and read all the books you want. In the same space of a regular size novel, you can take every book you own (or at least the ones you downloaded). Kindle books run cheaper than actual books and you save paper and space at home and on the road. You can find most books for around $9.99, though some are more if they are new releases and many are cheaper to entice you more. In fact, there are many free and $.99 books for download and this is true on other services that are not on Amazon. Order with the credit card you have on file and get it wirelessly in under a minute. Lend books to friends, upload your own books and even listen to audio books or MP3s.

Here I am enjoying my own Kindle.
I prefer my Kindle with the 3G, because I don’t have to find a Wi-Fi connection to download a new book. As long as there is cell service, I can read something new. If you spend a lot of time in coffee shops and other places that are Wi-Fi hotspots, then you may wish to save money on your ereader and get one that has Wi-Fi only. As long as you aren’t continually using the wireless function, your battery will last much longer than you would have thought. When I’m not on vacation, I read on my lunch break at work. I have been able to read for 8+ hours on one battery charge, which is more than I can say for the battery life of any other electronic device I own. So, whether you’re on a 2 hour plane ride or a 15 hour train trip, your ereader can make the journey with you without needing recharging for a long time, making it one of the best travel companions you could own.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Vegetarian Traveling

Being a traveler on a specific diet can be difficult, but you can always make it work by going to destinations that are more accepting to your needs. Everyone knows that the U.S. is fairly easy to travel in when you are a vegetarian, but are you looking for somewhere "exotic" to travel that is vegan- and eco-friendly? Here’s a list of international destinations for you:
  • Bahamas – Nassau is very popular, but affordable. For a less touristy location, check out Exuma Cays. Perfect for snorkeling and diving and avoiding hoards of people.   
  • Belize – Beautiful and lush, you will find many eco-lodges here and locally grown produce everywhere you go.
  • Berlin, Germany – Berlin has become a mecca for so many things. Not only is it becoming the hot new vacation destination for families, but now for vegans, too! VegNews recommends visiting VönerChipps, and Lucky Leek.
  • British Columbia – The Pacific Northwest is chock full of vegan dining spots and BC is no exception. VegNews recommends visiting Gorilla Food,Edible Flours, and Grub.
  • Costa Rica – South America has so many amazing fruits and veggies that grow on the land that you almost can’t avoid eating some vegetarian meals.
  • Ecuador/Galapagos – Another South American treasure. Try those yummy potato balls and other delicious produce that they grow everywhere while you’re observing the colorful wildlife.
  • Greece – The economy is in ruins – just like many of the tourist attractions, ha! – so your dollar will go pretty far. Make sure you carry plenty of small bills, since if you pay in larger bills, you may not enough change back and could end up paying twice as much.
  • India – Did you know that about a third of the country is vegetarian? Now you do! Make sure you ask about ghee, creams and cheeses in dishes before ordering. 
  • Kenya – Even though you’re surrounded by wildlife, it’s still easy to find eco-lodges that specialize in vegetarian food. It would be hard to go on safari if you ate all the animals!
  • London – Hotel rates are slipping and it’s always more convenient to explain your food preferences when people speak your language. VegNews recommends visiting SafInspiral, and Manna Cuisine
  • Thailand – Like India, Thailand is super easy to find non-meat cuisine. 
  • Vietnam – Pack your lightest clothes, because it is hot and humid here. The economy lends itself to a meat-free diet, so you won’t have any problem finding a place to dine here.
Do you have a favorite vegan food destination that you’ve found on your travels?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Air New Zealand Infographic and Giveaway

Air New Zealand is celebrating 30 years of flying from London to New Zealand via Los Angeles. Check out this fun infographic and then enter their giveaway to win a trip for two to London from Los Angeles.