Grown-up Travel Guide News Update – 07.03.2012

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In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel

One in four English people haven’t been to Wales or Scotland

TNT Magazine.com

Wales and Scotland remain unexplored by at least a quarter of Brits, a survey reveals.

The research also found Scots enjoy a domestic holiday more than their UK neighbours, with Scottish nationals on average having visited 2.02 other countries within the UK. On the opposite side of the spectrum are the English, visiting an average 1.69 countries outside England.

Additionally, the study by discount travel website Hotwire.com revealed that Brits are more familiar with foreign destinations than what lies in their own backyards. That 71 per cent of Londoners have been to Paris, compared to 69 per cent who have been to Wales, reveals domestic destinations are overlooked, the travel company says.

However, this is expected to change as the average spend for travellers reduces by four per cent on average, and holidaymakers are predicted to look closer to home when choosing on where to go for a break.

Fulvia Montresor, senior director at Hotwire.com, says the impending bank holidays, Diamond Jubileee and Olympics present a great opportunity to celebrate Brtishness.

“UK is offering some great deals this year and not just in London where additional capacity has been added in anticipation of the

Olympics, so residents have little excuse to not visit some of the country’s most famous landmarks,” she says.

“With secret hotels rising in popularity, Brits can now save up to 50 per cent off the lowest published room rates across the country making any trip to the UK’s world-famous sites quite affordable.”

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4 scenarios when travel insurance is useless

Fox News.com

In many cases, travel insurance can alleviate some of the financial burdens that go along with canceled hotel rooms, missed flights or lost baggage.  Other times, the cost of travel insurance, including premiums and day rates, won’t add up.

Travel insurance can be purchased to cover a series of possible factors: accidents, illness, delayed or missed flights, terrorism and even death.  Depending on the kind of trip you are taking, travel insurance may or may not be a good idea, according to travel expert Rick Steves.

When risks are low or nonexistent, the expense of insurance might outweigh the expense of what you are trying to protect. Here are a few situations where you might want to refuse travel insurance.

The trip is inexpensive

Check your airline’s cancellation policy. In some cases, it might allow for a full or partial reimbursement of a ticket, negating the need for trip cancellation insurance. Even if your tickets are nonrefundable, you might opt to forgo travel insurance if you are either flying with an inexpensive airline and staying at a cheap hotel. If for some unforeseen reason you need to skip your vacation, it might not be worth the day rate of most insurance programs, according to Rick Steves.

Your luggage (or what it contains) is not valuable

Sometimes we pack priceless, sentimental treasures or expensive electronic equipment, such as jewelry or laptops. Other times, we pack a pair of jeans, a few t-shirts and a toothbrush. In the latter circumstance, baggage insurance certainly isn’t required.  According to the consumer travel website, Travel Insurance Review, if you know items in your suitcase can be easily replaced, “you probably have no need for travel insurance baggage protection.”

Everyone is healthy

Health can be a big concern when traveling. If you are considering medical insurance, figure out first whether your regular insurance will cover you and your family abroad. Sometimes medical visits are available at inexpensive rates and well-informed pharmacists can be found everywhere. When traveling to destinations  where you might be at risk for disease, make sure to obtain available vaccinations prior to the trip, experts advise. If your insurance covers you abroad, added medical travel insurance does not justify the price.

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Pressure’s on transport as Londoners stick around for Olympic Games

News.com.au

London Olympic organisers have a problem – the locals might actually stick around for the Games.

That is the last thing the creaking, 149-year-old underground train system needs during the 16-day sporting extravaganza.

While polls have consistently highlighted the reticence of Brits towards the five-ringed circus starting on July 27, an analysis of flight bookings this month suggests differently.

Instead of fleeing the capital and avoiding the Olympic crowds, bookings for flights out of London have slipped by 11 per cent during the Games.

Bookings for flights into the iconic city have soared by a quarter according to the survey commissioned by an IT provider for airlines.

That comes despite fears the Games would scare off tourists.

An estimated 500,000 overseas visitors are expected for the quadrennial event, with 800,000 people using public transport for the Olympics on the busiest day.

For perspective, on an average day just over three million people will use the world’s oldest metro system.

To cater for the extra bodies, it had been hoped that holding the Games during school holidays would create some wriggle room.

Traffic on the Tube is normally cut by about 17 per cent during the summer break, considered enough to allow for the extra visitors according to organisers.

However the booking numbers for air travel have suggested London’s marketing department might have done too good a job of selling the Games to their people.

It also demonstrated a central problem for any city hosting Olympics.

How do you ask people to fork out, in London’s case £9.3 billion ($13.9 billion) of taxpayer money, for a once in a lifetime party but only invite a fraction of them to it?

That is not easy even in a country renowned for its politeness and handling of delicate matters.

Organisers don’t want Londoners to desert the city for the Games, far from it.

But every major city needs a slice of its population to leave and allow breathing room because of the resource-stretching nature of an Olympics.

Sydneysiders still talk of how much easier it was to get around during the 2000 Games.

In Beijing four years ago, motorists were told to only drive their cars on alternate days to halt the city’s horrendous traffic problems.

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Twitter tips for travellers

BBC Travel

On 22 February, the social networking site Twitter reached 500 million users worldwide.

Given its popularity as a communication and marketing tool, Twitter is also becoming a place where travellers can find bargains, plan trips and seek customer service when something goes wrong.

Spot last-minute deals
Many airlines tweet deals, with JetBlue (through its @JetBlueCheepsfeed) and Virgin Atlantic providing the most worthwhile offers. To see these discounts, follow your favourite airlines, or at least the ones you fly most frequently. You can also check out Wanderlisting, a website that compiles the most worthwhile deal-related Twitter feeds from airlines, hotel and other industry experts.

Sadly, few hotel chains have fully embraced Twitter as a multi-purpose communications tool. Honourable exceptions include Fairmont, Marriottand Starwood (a chain that includes the Westin and Sheraton brands), all of which post interesting deals and also address customer feedback.

Get airfare deals relevant to your local airport
FareCompare, a website that tracks ticket prices, offers Twitter feeds tailored to specific US airports and promotes price drops on fares to thousands of destinations worldwide. For instance, its feed @flyfromPHLoffers deals on flights departing from Philadelphia’s International Airport. Find your hometown airport in the drop-down menu at FareCompare and click on the Twitter handle to follow it.

Use Twitter’s search tool
Get the real-time scoop on your destination by using Twitter’s search tool. A quick search for “Miami hotel deals” recently yielded a few relevant tweets, including one from Valarie D’Elia’s travel blog, which detailed a$199 a night offer at the city’s Shelborne Hotel, via the site Secret Rates. Meanwhile, searching on the term “Vegas spa” turned up a tweet about the “Crazy8” package at the Westin Las Vegas, which included a discount of 20% off treatments at the property’s Hibiscus Spa.

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