Make destination research a part of your holiday planning

  • 15 Aug, 2014
  • Jurga Sefton
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camo Jamaica

Heading off to Jamaica for a holiday soon? Did you know that camouflage clothing is illegal in Jamaica and Barbados?

A recent research by online travel agent Sunshine.co.uk revealed that Britons spend on average 32 work hours planning, researching, booking and talking about their holidays. And this is just at work; for most of us holiday planning continues during lunch break, on the commute home, at weekends and pretty much occupies all our thoughts right to the point when we board the plane.

The planning itself, however, to most of us entails budgeting, comparing accommodation, airfares, transfers, car hire, local sightseeing spots, kids facilities, spas and the ins and outs of half-board /full-board menu; finding out local customs and laws takes somewhat a back seat.

The FCO’s Know Before You Go campaign urges travellers to research local laws and customs of their destination before they travel, to avoid misunderstandings or simply stay out of trouble with local law enforcement.

According to the FCO’s new study, while 70% of people believe that researching local laws and customs would make their holiday more enjoyable, less than 50% would actually make it part of their preparations when visiting somewhere new. Read More

Jet lag demystified: symptoms and prevention

  • 01 Aug, 2014
  • Jurga Sefton
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Timezone Jet Lag

Jet lag, or desynchronosis to give it its proper medical name, is a physiological condition resulting from a disturbance to the body clock when travelling rapidly from one time zone to another. Passengers travelling by ship are less likely to be affected as their body clocks have longer to adjust, but for travellers flying across different time zones it can be a real problem and the further you go the worse the effects are.

It varies from person to person but jet lag usually lasts several days and as a rough guide you can expect the disruption to last one day per time zone crossed. This means that if you are spending a fortnight in New Zealand, you could well spend the majority of your holiday feeling lethargic and not quite with it.

The body’s circadian rhythm (or body clock) is set to our local time so that we feel tired at night, alert in the morning and ready to eat at set times of the day. Travelling east to west or vice versa means that we cross various time zones resulting in us either having difficulty sleeping when we have travelled west to east, or wanting to sleep early in the evening when we have travelled east to west. It is easier to delay our bedtime than make ourselves sleep when we are not tired so, in general, flying east to west is easier to cope with.

Who does it affect?

People who have a very rigid routine for going to bed and getting up in the morning will find it harder to adjust to a different time zone. Conversely babies and young children who are used to falling asleep during the day will find it easier. Jet lag seems to hit the over 60s hard, although the reason for this is not known. Read More

Travel related DVTs – risks, prevention, advice

  • 22 Jul, 2014
  • Jurga Sefton
  • 2 Comments

Deep vein thrombosis

DVT, or deep-vein thrombosis, is a condition which occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep leg vein (typically the calf or thigh). If the clot stays put, stuck to the wall of the vein, it causes redness and swelling to the area. But if part of it breaks off it can travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolus) and cause serious illness or even death. It can also be a contributory cause of a stroke or heart attack. Unfortunately some DVTs cause no symptoms, for instance in the pelvis, and the first that is known of the condition can be a pulmonary embolism.

Why does it happen when flying?

Travel-related DVT is caused by sitting still for long periods of time in cramped conditions. The blood flow slows down and the blood collects in the legs when in a sitting position. Slow blood flow is more likely to cause a clot to form. A “long period of time” is considered to be four hours or more, and DVTs can be caused not only by flying but also travelling by car, coach or train. Read More

Parking ticket appeals on the increase

  • 17 Jul, 2014
  • Jurga Sefton
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Parking warden issues a fine but parking ticket appeals are on the rise

More motorists are likely to complain after receiving a parking ticket, figures show. In the period of two years (March 2013 – March 2014) 12 times as many car owners appealed their parking tickets, an official watchdog revealed.

The level of appeals has now reached more than 600 a week, according to the Parking on Private Land Appeals service (POPLA), which deals with contested tickets from car parks at locations including supermarkets, service stations and sport / leisure centres.

POPLA assessed a total of 23,500 appeals in the year ending March 2014, and made the decision to quash more than 10,000 tickets.

Complaints usually involved motorists receiving an invalid ticket, or purchasing the correct ticket but being accused of not displaying it properly.

Established in October 2012, POPLA handles appeals against parking charge notices involving parking on private land in England and Wales.

The report found that one of the main reasons people felt they’ve been issued a parking ticket unfairly was unclear, missing or confusing car park signage.

Please note that parking tickets are not likely to be issued if motorists are using long-term airport car parks, and most airport parking fines are incurred when dropping off or picking up passengers without using the short-term car park. Read this blog post where we’ve explained how to appeal if you were issued a parking ticket at one of the UK’s airports.

14% of Brits forget where they parked their car

  • 16 Jul, 2014
  • Jurga Sefton
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Car parking space from birdseye

We’ve all been there: you park it, lock it, leave it, forget it. A recent poll by Direct Line DrivePlus shows that as many as 14% of British drivers in the last two years forgot the exact spot where they parked their trusted travel companion.

Even though it is not applicable to those who park at airports, as with some airport parking services such as Meet and Greet you don’t even get to know the location of the secure compounds your car gets driven to, the findings reveal some interesting facts about our parking habits.

Women were found to be slightly more absent-minded than men, as only 16% forgot the exact place of their parked vehicle, compared with 12% of male drivers.

Interestingly, the survey of over 2,000 adults showed that men took much longer to track down their car (an average of 50 minutes), whilst women took much less, an average of 27 minutes, to get back behind the wheel of their car.