Dec 4, 2012 13:30 - sohaibmsiddique | 1,667 views
Whether you’re in need of some travel inspiration or simply lost in London, there’s always an app that can help you. Biking, using the Underground, on the bus, etc.—your iPhone will always have your back. The capital has its positives and negatives; one thing’s for certain though, it doesn’t lack the resources. New and innovative apps are constantly being flooded in the iTunes store as a result of London being a popular tourist destination. Only some are useful, though. This is my pick of five apps that you certainly need if you’re in London.
Isn’t it weird how a black taxi is most difficult to find when you need it the most? The Hailo app will help you find a cab closest to where you are at the time. It can also tell you how long it will take to arrive and can put you through to the driver. You’ll be able to see where your taxi is in real-time on the app’s map. If you find yourself travelling the city on taxis often, then this is certainly an app you can’t go without. Of course, this doesn’t mean there won’t be any delays when rush hour hits.
It seems like Londoners can’t live without the 8,000 Barclays Bikes that are spread across the city centre. An ordinary businessman will be riding away through central London as if he was just another tourist. The London Cycle app is one that you must-have, especially if you live closer to the city centre. It’s essential for both occasional and regular users. You can even get routes, find nearby parks, and give you an overview of the city’s map.
TubeMap is arguably one of the best travel apps out there today. It has saved many people from rube-related problems countless times. It turns navigating through the underground into a delightful and easy experience. No more confusion about changing lines and figuring out the easiest way to a stop! This app includes real-time service updates, a station finder, and a route planner. If you set your oyster card, you can update and check your balance, too.
London Bus Checker
Buses are an excellent alternative to the underground. There may be bus lanes on almost every single road in the capital, but you’ll still be amongst traffic, and it can get annoying. It’s even worse when you’re in a hurry or late for work. Some bus stops have digital screens that update you about estimated arrival times, but most of the stops don’t. The London Bus Checker app will rid you of all these worries; it checks the arrival times for the next bus and updates you in real-time. It’s certainly an essential if you’re a regular bus user.
The harsh reality is that London is quite expensive. It can be difficult to actually have a good time while you’re on a budget. Vouchercloud really helps in those situations with its selection of discount vouchers that are regularly updated. It’s ideal for students; from restaurants & entertainment to pubs & bars, it has it all. It could be discounted London hotels, or a day out in the city centre, Vouchercloud will have an offer for you.
Sohaib is a tech-geek and an iPhone enthusiast. He is currently lives in London, where he is trying to find the best spots on a budget. When he isn’t around and about, you’ll find him writing for HotelClub, a website for booking hotels and more.
Dec 3, 2012 00:55 - holly | 3,540 views
For sun-worshippers, a cruise to the Caribbean is a great way to soak up the rays on the journey as well as at the destination. As you buy a new swimsuit and stock up on sunscreen to explore the world’s most beautiful beaches and coral reefs, monetary woes should be the last thing from your mind. This infographic can give you the tools for exploring the best time of the year to go on your Caribbean cruise, as well as how far in advance you should book in order to get the best deal. So, get your scuba gear and flotation devices ready and prepare to feel the sand between your toes as you stroll under the Caribbean stars.
Prices of caribbean cruises vary by season, though you can expect the same blue skies and white sands all year long. Late spring and mid-summer are peak season for these cruises, and a substantial leap in prices should be expected. This infographic shows that in March, a Caribbean cruise will cost about $138 per person per day, while April and May come in at about $131 and $132. Summer prices are steeper, with $164 in June, $170 in July and $144 in August. Fall is the season with lowest prices, with average prices coming in at $108 in September, $112 in October and $122 in November. Winter sees a jump and then drop in prices with $152 in December, $125 in January and $132 in February. According to this data the best time to go on a Caribbean cruise is in the fall, just when the leaves start to turn. Relive your summer with an autumn tour of the Caribbean to get the most for you money.
Another question to consider is how far in advance you should book. When it comes to Caribbean cruises, the answer is the sooner the better, though you likely won’t save too much by booking in advance. In any season, booking one month in advance will cost you $142 per person per night on average. Two months in advance will save you a few dollars at $138 on average, while four months will get you $139. The most savings begins to emerge at the six month mark with $136 per day, $134 for eight months in advance, $135 for 10 months in advance, $132 for a year in advance and $131 for fourteen months. The average saving overall, however, is less than the potential savings gained when booking with an eye toward seasonal price variation.
If you are eager to visit the beaches of the Bahamas and the resorts of Puerto Rico, or to parasail along the coast of the Virgin Islands or Jamaica, keep these tips in mind when booking your next adventure.
This inforgraphic was originally published on cruisemarketwatch.com
Nov 30, 2012 11:45 - holly | 1,695 views
If you scanned the Black Friday tablet deals this year, you probably noticed that the landscape has changed. For the last few years you’d have gone with Apple without thinking too much about it – it wasn’t just the best option, it was one of the only options. Today there’s a huge range of possibilities from many manufacturers, and the choice isn’t so easy.
There are too many individual products to go into, but they’ll use one of the three main operating systems. A good start is deciding which one’s best for you – and that means knowing what you plan to use it for. If you’re planning to be on the move and this is the only the system you’ll have access to for long stretches, you need it to cover a lot of ground. Here is an overview of the three most popular operating systems for tablets: iOS, Android Ice Cream Sandwich, and Windows 8.
The company that started it all. Apple turned tablets from a novelty into a force to be reckoned with in the computer world, but what are Apple tablets really the best for? Apple’s software only runs on Apple hardware – and looking at the iPad 4 or iPad mini, it’s clear that they are meant to be used primarily for fun. The display dazzles, and the app store is full of games that work seamlessly with the touchscreen and tilt sensors. These tablets hook directly up to the Apple store, so it’s easy to download movies, TV shows and games from a Starbucks or the airport lounge. Coupled with an impressive battery life, the iPad 4 won’t let you down if you want something to keep you entertained on a long flight.
Android Ice Cream Sandwich
Android has worked out the kinks in earlier versions to deliver an operating system every bit as smooth and functional as Apple’s. The main selling point for travelers is the increased flexibility and range of software available – while Apple restricts you to apps approved through their online store, Android is a little more free-form. That means you don’t have to leave your favorite game at home while you’re away because it doesn’t have the Apple seal of approval, and it also lets the more technically-minded tablet owner fiddle around with the inner workings a little more. Try the Google Nexus 10, a great performer with a higher screen resolution than the iPad, to make the most of what Android can offer.
The great thing about the new Windows operating system is that it’s so easy to sync up with your workstation and that it lets you carry the same programs. The operating system has clearly been designed with that in mind, letting you set up the standard desktop with handy programs like Dropbox. That’s great for the travelling workaholic who doesn’t want to be interrupted – but is it as good for entertainment? Well, it doesn’t have quite the instant connectivity to apps and media downloads that Apple’s integrated service gets you, and as of now can’t offer the same range of apps. It’s easy to see that the system has legs, though, and the pool is growing every day.
Nov 29, 2012 15:13 - Troy Ganey | 4,885 views
The time-honored tradition of heading south for the winter is a part of the American bloodstream. That is, as Americans, we routinely take to the road, air and sea, seeking far-off destinations to get away from our daily grind. While many vacationers head for tropical destinations as soon as the weather turns cold, it can be more advantageous to head west instead of south. Arizona is one of the most affordable states for tourists, offering beautiful landscapes, more camping than you can shake a stick at and modern metropolises with every amenity available.
Before you hit the high road, invest in identity theft protection to add peace of mind on your vacation. You’ll want every bit of relaxation on your trip and companies like these will monitor your personal information for any unusual activity. Staying in touch with how to better protect your information, follow Lifelock on Twitter and stay in the know. Regardless of the region of Arizona you end up staying at longest, the state almost surely will have a place to your liking. From the mountainous north to the desert in the south, Arizona is a premier location for an affordable winter getaway.
The High Desert
The common misconception of Arizona is it’s always hot and full of nothing but cacti couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, the high desert of Arizona can be snowy and cold in the winter. Flagstaff, for instance, sits around 7,000 feet in elevation and gets piles of snow in winter as well as lows in the 50s in the dead of summer. Most people come to Arizona in the winter to get away from the snow, but Flagstaff is just an hour or two from the warmer climates and provides a nice weekend winter getaway during your Arizona visit.
The wine country of Verde Valley is a particularly appealing region to visit. The winter is a popular time to tour as many of the wineries and other attractions roll out the red carpet for the fall and winter months approach. With the bountiful harvest, you’ll be sure to get the best tastes of the season.
The North End
Even farther north beyond the Verde Valley is the world-famous Grand Canyon, which is a must-see for any Northern Arizona tourist. At 227 miles long and up to 18 miles wide in some areas, the Grand Canyon certainly does not have a shortage of scenic lookouts. If you are a really adventurous traveler you can even take guided tours down its uninhabited Colorado River on the back of a mule. If aerial views are your thing, you can charter helicopter rides above the majestic natural wonder.
The Urban Scene
Just as Arizona does not lack natural attractions for visitors from all over the world, it also features a great urban culture. The entire Phoenix metro region is bursting at the seams with diverse attractions, from luxurious hotels to championship golf courses and even professional sporting events. Home to a full load of professional sports teams, the Phoenix area has something for every sports fan. Hit the links at one of the many golf courses, including the Phoenician Resort and The Boulder Resort and Golden Door Spa.
Regardless of what type of winter vacation you are in need of, Arizona will likely have something for you. Arizona offers a bevy of choices for a getaway at affordable prices. From the urban sprawl to that big hole in the earth, pack up the family with some added identity protection and enough space on your digital camera for a fun-filled adventure in the west.
By: Troy Ganey
Troy specializes in international travel. He spends most of his time documenting his adventures in Europe and the far East.
Nov 28, 2012 15:17 - holly | 1,422 views
Booking a trip abroad is quite enough of a fuss without considering all the extras – travel insurance, health coverage, car hire, and so on. In fact, you might be tempted to skip the travel insurance bit entirely. But should you?
Australians are traveling abroad more than ever before. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 6.8 million foreign trips were had in the years up to June 2010 – that’s 4.7 million more than in the 20 years prior. Almost all of these trips have been for pleasure – the level of business travel abroad has also risen gently in the past two decades, but at nothing like the astonishing rate of individual holiday-makers.
According to the Australian government website smartraveller.gov.au, however, “many Australians travel overseas without adequate insurance coverage.” In the serious cases, this can leave families needing to make up the shortfalls for transferring seriously ill members back home from abroad, or in the worst scenarios (heaven forbid) burdened with the expense of covering funeral costs. Transferring a body from Europe to Australia can cost over $10,000. Hospitalization alone in Southeast Asia can cost in excess of $800 per day. Being unlucky by, for example, getting food poisoning abroad can get seriously expensive.
Even if you’re not concerned about the potential costs of severe injury or death abroad, knowing you have good travel health care coverage – like the health care coverage you receive in Australia – can relieve the enormous stress caused by the need for medical attention overseas. Health care systems worldwide differ radically in their approach to care provision without insurance: in extreme cases administrations refuse to attend to uninsured individuals at all (this can be true of developing countries).
Effective hospital coverage is, therefore, an absolute necessity when heading anywhere overseas. You will want to make sure that your protection equals or exceeds the hospital cover you have back home. You need to possess a cast-iron policy document to avoid unnecessary financial penalties and to ensure that you are dealt with swiftly and professionally. Patients’ affiliation with high-profile health insurance companies back home can ease the financial worry of the doctors and nurses who should be prioritizing their care. Less paperwork for hospital staff, of course, means better patient care.
The Australian government cannot and will not cover medical expenses overseas. Bear this warning in mind: prescription drugs – normally subsidized heavily by governments – rocket in price if you’re not covered by insurance. The kind of drug you can pick up in an Australian pharmacy for a few bucks – say, a 50-pack of 100mg Sertraline – can cost the equivalent of hundreds of dollars abroad. So, as smartraveller.gov.au says, “if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel!”.
The Australian Government handles over 20,000 individual cases of serious overseas medical incidents each year. In cases where travel insurance is missing, the cost of recovery can be exceedingly steep – Australia is geographically far removed the majority of holiday destinations. Remember – if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. It’s a serious necessity.