Planning a Holiday with the Entire Family

The warmest seasons of the year are approaching and this typically brings the task of planning the family holiday. No matter where it is you want to go the first thing you will probably want to consider is where you will stay. Depending on how long your holiday will be, you might find renting a cottage more satisfactory. This is because they are usually self-catering, allow pets and have plenty of space for everyone. If you want to get away from the business of the city then a cute country cottage will be just what the doctor ordered.

Spending quality time with the entire family in a quaint country setting is so much fun. There are not as many distractions as there may be in a large hotel or resort, leaving plenty of time to get together and play games, walk the countryside or even just relax together and watch TV. If you have a large dog, he/she will fit right in as most of the time holiday cottages have ample space for pets to roam and play. In fact some of them even have special quarters, bathing areas and “playgrounds” just for the dogs.

It is simple to find cottages by browsing online and listing your search requirements. All you do is enter the number of people and/or pets, the dates you wish to check in and check out and of course your desired location. For example, if you’d rather take your holiday in Wales then you can type that into your search criteria. Perhaps you just want to stay close to home but outside of the city. There are holiday cottages located all over the UK and finding the perfect one is not difficult. The only thing you want to remember is to start booking early as you want to be sure you do not miss out on the one that appeals to you most.

Dos and Don’ts in Dubai

When in Dubai, it’s important to remember that there are local customs that must be observed. A number of visitors and expats have fallen foul of local laws in the past few years and have been surprised at the severity of the authorities’ response. To make sure you don’t get in trouble on your next trip to Dubai, check out some rules you should adhere to on your holiday.

Whereas once it was a lovely Arabian port, welcoming people from far and wide in a relatively relaxed and cosmopolitan environment, in recent years the authorities have started to assert Islamic law more strongly and ‘tidy up’ what they view to be a slow eroding of standards and increased Western influence.

Tourists who fall foul of local customs may find themselves causing offence where they had no intention of doing so, or even finding themselves in trouble with the law. Even when laws don’t explicitly forbid something, failure to conform to ancient customs can unwittingly cause real upset.

For this reason, it is well worth reading up on local customs and understanding the rules and etiquette of Dubai – and indeed any country that you are visiting as a tourist.

The important thing to remember is that Dubai is a Muslim country. In many ways it seems very Westernised, particularly with its luxury consumer goods, large expat population and huge business and industrial activity.

However, its laws are still conservative and in line with the religious guidelines of Islam. For example, alcohol is prohibited and Muslims aren’t allowed to drink. However, alcohol is easily available from restaurants, bars, leisure clubs and hotels. You can’t buy it from supermarkets and you absolutely cannot be drunk in public or drink on the street. Of course, you cannot drink and drive and if you’re caught doing so, a prison sentence is likely. If you’re in Sharjah, alcohol is totally banned. The local sentiment around alcohol can be variable, so test it by observing local customs before acting.

Drugs are absolutely outlawed on a zero-tolerance basis and the penalties are extremely harsh – the death penalty can be incurred for possessing even the smallest amounts. Be aware that baggage is very carefully screened when entering the country and you also need to check the banned medication list before entering Dubai, as some prescription medicines are outlawed.

Be careful when engaging in conversations about world affairs and politics, particularly if you are tempted to criticise the royal family of any of the Emirates or senior business families. This can land you in hot water and innocent comments can be taken out of context, particularly in the current heated state of world affairs. So err on the side of caution, particularly when passing the time of day with strangers.

Watch out for your safety as a pedestrian, as driving can be erratic and speeding is very common. Don’t cross the street unless it’s a marked pedestrian crossing and when driving, avoid using the furthermost left lane so you won’t be forced over by aggressive drivers. Road rage and poor driving are both becoming issues and if you’re tempted to make ‘inflammatory’ hand gestures which are picked up by the police, you could find yourself fined or even landing in jail.

Be careful of your possessions when you are out and about in the crowded tourist areas of Deira, particularly Naser Square. Don’t withdraw large and conspicuous sums of money from cashpoints – go into the bank or conceal the money well. Robberies are fairly frequent and they tend to go unreported in the press.

Equally, watch out for conmen. Don’t arrange any meetings with people who approach you, give out personal details or engage with any requests. Speak to the police if you find yourself harassed or uncomfortable. Be incredibly careful too if you’re visiting Dubai on a property-purchase trip as there are a number of new estate-agent scam rings operating.

Photography can be an issue. Don’t take pictures of women, especially those wearing national dress as they can take exception unless you’ve asked them first. It’s always good practice to seek consent before photographing strangers.

Be aware that the rules around nudity are far more conservative than in the West and nude sunbathing, for example, is not permitted. It goes without saying that sexual acts in public are absolutely forbidden and there have been several cases of Westerners caught in the act, receiving jail time and then being unceremoniously deported.

Women should also take care to dress sensibly and avoid skimpy outfits, particularly in busy areas. This is especially the case in districts such as Deira and Karama. Avoid small bikinis on the beaches. It’s much better to dress conservatively out of respect for your hosts than get yourself into trouble. Similarly, men should not go shirtless in public.

Homosexual travellers sadly do have to exercise caution, as homosexuality is still considered a criminal offense in Dubai and can lead to deportation. Cross-dressing and public displays of affection are considered enough to fall foul of local laws in this respect.

Finally, bear in mind that Dubai may be modern, but it’s strictly Islamic and its laws need to be understood and respected. As with all countries, ignorance of the law is not a defence. Exercise common sense – such as not criticising Islam and following local customs around Ramadan and other holy festivals. Planning, observing local rules, showing respect and being alert to your surroundings will help ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable trip to this fascinating and diverse country.

Guest by TravelSupermarket, where you can compare flights to Dubai to find the best price before you book your holiday.

Beach Villa Breaks in Lanzarote

Lanzarote is one of the more unusual holiday destinations in Europe. It is one of the Canary Islands, which although part of Spain and the EU are in fact located off the North West Coast of Africa. So the climate here is very different to the European mainland. Whilst the scenery is literally out of this world, thanks to large scale volcanic activity which partially transformed Lanzarote back in the 18th century.

The secret to Lanzarote’s popularity is undoubtedly the climate – as like the rest of the Canaries the island basks in sunshine all year round, thanks to its location off the African coast and close to the Tropic of Cancer. This makes the weather here markedly different from mainland Spain – as on Lanzarote you can hit the beach even in December.

As a result there is also year round demand for accommodation in hotels, apartments and villas in Lanzarote, especially amongst British tourists, who are the largest visitor group by nationality, accounting for some 800,000 arrivals per year. But you’ll be glad to know that the island isn’t in any away dominated by British bars screening non-stop Sky Sports, as Lanzarote also boasts a welter of interesting cultural attractions too.

But what most visitors want to do on arrival is hit the beach – and there are plenty of perfect playas to explore around the island. Lanzarote’s beaches are regarded as amongst the best in the Canaries and once you’ve paid a visit to the 8km long golden sandy bay of Famara or the bright white beaches of the Caletones Blanco you’ll see exactly why this is such a beach lover’s paradise.

Visitors will also find that there are excellent beaches in all of the main resorts. Playa Blanca in the south of the island is arguably the best choice if you just want to lounge on the sand all day as there are three great beaches within the resort itself whilst a short walk to Papagayo produces another five coves to enjoy.

Costa Teguise in the north of the island is also a good choice, as the resort is home to no less than five large expanses of golden sand, the most popular of which is Playa Cucharas. This beach is located in the heart of the resort and is also patronised by the local windsurfing community, making it a good spot to sit and soak up all of the action.

There are close to 100 beaches on Lanzarote in total and it is possible to book good quality self catering accommodation in close proximity to nearly all of them. Some of these villas are situated well away from the main towns and resorts though so it pays to hire a car if you are planning to stay in one of these locations. Fortunately car rental on Lanzarote is very inexpensive so this won’t bite into your holiday budget too deeply. Remember to take your driver’s licence and birth certificate with you though as these are mandatory documents for anyone planning to hire a vehicle on Lanzarote.

Hurghada Airport

Located in the Red Sea district of Egypt, Hurghada Airport sees seven million people per year pass through it, with an average of twelve flights per week from various destinations across the globe from more than forty different airlines.

I found that it has a lot to offer in the way of killing time whilst waiting for a flight or as I can’t wait to get started it’s a great place to shop having just arrived. With a newsagent and a bookstore essential to pick up the perfect holiday read, shops selling traditional local made jewellery, clothing and souvenirs, and a duty free store for the all important perfumes and confectionary products. There is also a 450 square metre duty free store in the recently added extension to the terminal. Here I found all of my favourite brands of duty free cosmetics and perfumes, tobacco and liquors as well as some new exciting additions. The many banking facilities available came in very handy to enable me to continue browsing the great selection of shops without running out of money.

We all know that children can get rather bored waiting around but not in Hurghada, in the lounge is a children’s play area to keep the kids happy. I noticed that disabled passengers can benefit from platforms for wheelchairs and services at both departures and arrivals were available, apparently with these you need to advise before you fly. An extremely convenient concept is a cloak room where I stored my suitcases and bags safely while waiting for my flight, leaving me free of worrying about losing any luggage. Travelling home, I was able to continue my vacation in the style that I had become accustomed to when I located and made use of the VIP area. I needed to book this in advance but it is an ideal place to relax and take it easy.

I discovered a car hire station within the terminal for vehicle rental, as well as plenty more just off site. Also available are regular taxis and tourist cabs outside and I was given the advice to agree on the fare before departing. The regular taxis do tend to be cheaper than the tourist cabs. Also available on site are minibuses, these have no set time table and only leave once they are full to capacity with passengers.

A post office on site provides mail services as well as Internet connection, money exchange units and several payphones to let your loved ones know that you have arrived safely at your dream destination.

There are plenty of snack bars, cafes, vending machines and a restaurant to relax in, as well as various lounges for the all-important stop over nap! The restaurants cater for traditional and local cuisine as well as standard European food. There has been a recent three hundred-metre extension of the terminal, making it all the more roomier and spacious. In the café area, movies are usually shown on the TV screens, very useful whilst I was take off.

All in all I declared that this was the perfect airport to start my Red Sea holiday resort holiday.

Moving to a Foreign Country

All around the world there are people who live in countries that are not their own. These people are there for many different reasons but some of the most common are school and work related purposes. Moving is already one of the most involved processes that most people can go through in their personal lives and being able to make the move efficiently is a very good way to avoid a lot of stress and make the process much easier on yourself.

When you are moving it is always a good idea to assess the situation well before you actually move so that you are able to figure out what it is that you will be taking and what you may not necessarily want to take with you at all. However, when you’re moving out of the country there are a lot of other things to consider as well. When you would normally need a moving truck you may find it useful to have a shipping company instead.  

Having a company that is able to move all of your things across the world without having any of them damaged or broken is a very valuable tool when you are making an international move. Finding a company that is able to move all of your things and give you a good price is a very good thing to have access to when you are moving over long distance.