channel.org.uk

Helping you explore the world!

Embarrassing moments at the airport security check

We all have to go through the necessary airport security checks, but a survey carried out by the luggage delivery company SendMyBag has revealed that some passengers suffer embarrassing moment when asked to explain items in their bag.

The survey, which was carried out amongst UK travellers, listed a top ten of items that the owners of the bag, wish had not been revealed! A number of the things were perfectly normal every day medications, but the timing was not exactly perfect, one was the haemorrhoid cream was pulled out of his case in front of his new and younger partner; it was their first trip away for a romantic holiday. Then how about the large tub of personal lubricant a man was questioned about, the questioning was necessary because it contravened the airplane liquid allowance, nonetheless somewhat embarrassing.

Another item was one which you would not particularly want your parents to see when they went on holiday with you would you; it was a sex toy for personal use! Perhaps amongst the worst though was when a pharmacist was going away with a new partner when she was asked to explain what the cream was, it turned out to be an anti viral for genital herpes, a possibly shock for the pharmacist and it no doubt left the lady mortified too.

One that we think could have had a happy ending though was when the security scanner went off as a man was walking through, he had to produce a nice new engagement ring that he was going to surprise his girlfriend with, shame she had to find out his romantic intentions that way.

If you are happy to, we would welcome your comments, particularly if you care to reveal any embarrassing moments that you have had at airport security.

Airport SecurityPicture: ECP

The Historical city of Prague

Prague is a magical holiday destination reminding travellers of the renaissance period. A wonderful mixture of cobbled streets, bridges framed with beautiful wrought iron fences, cathedrals with gold-tipped towers and majestic buildings looking down on flowered plazas are just a few things that entice thousands of tourists to visit this city.

Climate

Prague has a temperate oceanic climate characterised by cold winters with low rainfall, and hot summers with plenty of sunshine. Summer time can sometimes bring violent storms.

Things to do and see

Several operators organise city tours, giving tourists the opportunity to discover the history and culture of this city. While in Prague, holidaymakers can attend festivals such as Prague Spring and Prague Folklore Days, or opt for a river cruise that offers surprising combinations of delicious dinners and great shows.

Travellers have many options in Prague, including sightseeing flights, water sports and relaxing spa treatments at Lakshmi Tantric Massage Temple. Prague also has a variety of restaurants serving traditional dishes centred on chicken and pork, along with delicious desserts and drinks.

Lodging

Travellers can find a variety of lodging options, most of them being located within walking distance of the city centre. Since Prague is one of the most visited capital cities in Europe, accommodation prices can double during summer and winter holiday season. Besides regular accommodation alternatives, including holiday apartments, villas, hostels and hotels, Prague also has a splendid ‘botel’ (boat hotel) renowned for its gorgeous city views.

Transportation

In general, a flight from London to Prague takes up to two hours. Public transportation is very reliable, taking tourists anywhere they want to go inside and outside the city.

PraguePicture: Moyan_Brenn

My ski chalet was on a mountain and other hilarious holiday complaints

It is a true saying that you can please some of the people, some of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time and this is what was revealed by a holiday home insurer who listed a number of hilarious complaints to holiday home owners in the UK and abroad and these are some of the funniest ones that we feel that we would like to share with you.

Now we have all heard about beds being lumpy, hard or just darned uncomfortable, but what about a complaint received that the beds were so comfy, they could not get out of them and so they missed too much time when they should have been sightseeing!

A contradiction in terms perhaps when a couple requested a holiday home away from mobile phone access or internet and then complained they had missed an important email, getting into trouble back at work, “if you had internet access it wouldn’t have happened”!

We are not sure what the couple who went to a ski chalet wanted, but they were mortified to find the chalet was on a mountain and demanded a full refund. Then there is the smart lady who rented a beach home abroad and complained that the sand ruined her designer shoes, we always thought that beaches usually have sand on them, perhaps she thought it would be like Brighton!

These are just a snapshot of the many amusing complaints that the holiday home insurer Schofields found when they carried out a study which involved 2,581 participants, concerning their holiday experiences, and complaints, if you have heard of any amusing complaints and would like to share them with us, we will be delighted to hear from you.

complaintsPicture: Life As Art

Dive in to Australia’s ancient wonder – a guide to the Great Barrier Reef

It’s one of the seven wonders of the natural world, larger than the Great Wall of China and the only living thing visible from space. It is no wonder then that the Great Barrier Reef is a destination for millions of tourists every year.

The marine park runs parallel with the Queensland coast and stretches over 3,000km2. The reef is 65km wide in some parts and has the most vivid coral in the world, making it a scuba diver’s paradise. There are over 400 different kinds of coral on the reef and 1,500 species of tropical fish; it is also home to mussels, sponges, rays and dolphins. There are over 200 different species of birds and approximately 20 types of reptiles living in the park, including sea snakes and turtles.

Hundreds of tour operators and thousands of vessels and aircraft are permitted to operate in the marine park every year as tourists flock to see the stunning fish or the humpback whales that travel miles to reproduce there. The natural beauty of the Great Barrier Reef extends, both under the water and above it and visitors enjoy an experience of the senses as well as learn about the world heritage aspects of the park they are visiting. The Dugong and large Green Sea turtle are just two of the endangered species that inhabit the reef. The marine park was established precisely to protect such creatures from extinction.

Great Barrier Reef, AustraliaPicture: eutrophication&hypoxia

Air travel with kids – what you need to know

Travelling abroad with children can be an incredibly stressful experience, particularly for parents with babies and toddlers. Concerns about keeping the kids entertained and healthy while you are air-bound can often ruin the lead up to the holiday not to mention the holiday itself. Here are five top tips to follow in order to enjoy a successful family trip.

Book a night flight

If possible, book a night flight to give your children the best chance of sleeping during the trip. Check in during the day and keep the kids as mentally and physically active as possible during the hours leading up to the flight. That way they are more likely to sleep once on board.

Make you child as comfortable as possible

Put the kids in loose fitting, non-itchy clothing. There are few things more irritating for them on a long flight than wearing tight trousers or anything else that makes them feel stuffy. Layering is the key; make certain you have clothes to cover all eventualities. It is possible you may have an unexpected stopover or the weather at your destination may be worse than expected.

Protect their ears

As adults, we know how frustrating and uncomfortable flying is on the ears due to the change in air pressure. For children, the effects are often felt three-fold. Have sweets, dummies or bottles handy for take-off and landing so your kids have something to suck on. Other ways to lessen these effects include placing warm towels over the ears, eating bland food prior to flying and getting lots of sleep the night before.

Make a list of the essentials

Have all the vitals within easy reach; wipes, drinks and snacks, books and an extra set of clothes will all serve a purpose. Flights tend to dry out the skin and can induce thirst, so ensure you have plenty of liquids handy; many containers will have to be empty pre-flight to pass through security, however.

Keep them entertained

Many parents worry about issues with fellow passengers caused by screaming children. Have a selection of activities at hand; many of the classic games are available as travel sized alternatives and a pack of cards can keep children amused for hours. Personal devices, such as tablets and laptops are also a good idea.

Experience Catalonia

Surrounded by Andorra and France to the north, Aragon to the west, Valencia to the south, and the Mediterranean Sea to the east, Catalonia has everything a tourist may look for: a mild climate just perfect for an unforgettable holiday; beautiful, ample beaches with fine sand and crystal waters; and the Pyrenees, a beautiful mountain range.

Climate

Catalonia’s climate is very diverse, with a Mediterranean climate affecting the provinces such as Girona, Barcelona and Tarragona located along the Mediterranean coastline; a continental Mediterranean climate characterising the inner part of the region; and an Alpine climate surrounding the Pyrenean peaks and valleys. 

Things to do and see

Catalonia is a semi-autonomous community in Spain with a unique culture easily distinguished from that of other Spanish regions. Besides its cultural heritage, Catalonia offers a wide assortment of water sports, many natural wonders, beautiful monuments and modern attractions that are well worth a visit. A few highlights include the incredible Costa Brava with romantic small coves and steep cliffs, the Golden Coast, the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona, aqueducts, an amphitheatre, the birthplace of Salvador Dali, and a few outstanding monuments such as the Tomb of the Scipios, a reminder of the Roman Empire in Tarragona.

Travellers are also invited to try Catalonia’s excellent traditional seafood platters, accompanied by superior wines and famous desserts like the ‘Catalonia Cream’. Additionally, travel agencies operating within this region recommend a variety of wine tours that give tourists the chance to taste some of the best wines in the world, such as Grans Muralles and Mas La Plana Cabernet Sauvignon.

Lodging

With hundreds of hotels, villas, apartments and private holiday rentals, Catalonia can compete against the top holiday destinations in the world. Depending on the area a tourist intends to visit, he or she can opt for an elegant villa on the coastline, a small apartment in the heart of Barcelona, or a luxury hotel with all the amenities needed for a perfect holiday.

Transportation

Catalonia has a vast network of trains, trams, metros, buses, and car and bicycle rental services that allow tourists to explore the entire region. Since a direct flight from London to Barcelona only takes about one hour and forty-five minutes, most British tourists planning to spend their holiday in Catalonia choose this route.

CataloniaPicture: Scott Wylie

Stay a night or two in Gianni Versace’s Miami mansion, as it reopens as luxury hotel

Almost 14 years after his death, Gianni Versace’s Miami mansion has been reopened as a luxury hotel. The boutique hotel, which will fully reopen at the end of March features 10 suites and a 54 foot swimming pool lined with 24-carat gold, which was designed by Versace himself.

Situated in South Beach, Miami, the five-star property was the scene where the Italian designer died; he was shot dead on its front steps by serial killer Andrew Cunanan in 1997, but now has been transformed into what the new owners say is the ‘ultimate sensory experience’.

Rooms range in size from the 434sq-ft Medallion Suite to the 1,428sq-ft Venus Suite, featuring two private balconies and access to the swimming pool. Guests can also stay in the Italian designer’s former bedroom; the 1,174sq-ft Villa Suite features a 9ft double king-size bed, two private balconies and an ornate ensuite shower room.

The mansion, officially named Casa Casuarina for over a decade is still known as ‘the Versace mansion’ by local residents.

Prices start from $795 (approximately £475) per night.

Gianni Versace's Miami mansion

Top Tourist Attractions in the USA

As one of the biggest and most culturally diverse countries in the world, The United States of America boasts some of the best tourist attractions in the world, they may not be an old and historic as those in Europe or Egypt, but they are still as stunning.

Natural wonders combine with manmade monuments and structures to form the iconic country we see today, so where should you visit first? Here are our top attractions to visit in the US:

The White House

The White House

Possibly the most recognisable residence in the world, apart from Buckingham Palace in London, the White House is an icon of the United States. Built between 1792 and 1800, the White House is the official residence and principle workplace for the President of the United States (currently Barack Obama).

Since March 2013, White House public tours have been suspended because of federal budget constraints, however if you wish to visit the White House you may be able to do so by contacting your embassy in Washington, DC.

Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas

The number one gambling mecca of the world, Las Vegas is full of glitz and glamour. Nestled neatly in the midst of the Nevada dessert, the city bills itself as ‘The Entertainment Capital of the World’ and rightly so. The casinos are the main draw of Las Vegas, but there is much more to the city than just gambling.

Shopping, fine dining and nightlife are all bigger and better in the city that doesn’t sleep. The Las Vegas Strip is probably the most popular destination in the city, with a multitude of mega-casinos and hotels, theatres and bright lights.

Las Vegas really is one of those places you have to see to be believed and with over 40 million tourists a year you’ll be in good company.

Florida Keys

Florida Keys

For sun, sea and sand there is no better place than the Florida Keys. This 120 mile long chain of tropical islands situated on the East coast of the US is truly breath-taking. As well as a range of activities to take part in including boating, diving and surfing, the Florida Keys is also home to some of the best shopping malls and golf courses in the US.

Whether you want to sit on a beach and relax or do something a bit more adventurous, the Florida Keys has it all.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Located between the state of New York and the province of Ontario, Canada, Niagara Falls is one of the most stunning natural wonders in the world. Consisting of three different falls, American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls, Niagara Falls is a great day out for the whole family.

Prospect Point Park observation tower provides a spectacular view of the falls from its 282 feet advantage point, or if your want to experience the natural wonder from above you can purchase a ride in a helium balloon or helicopter.

Niagara Falls is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the worlds with over 14 million visitors each year.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Spanning between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate Suspension Bridge is a triumph of engineering. The bridge is a popular with pedestrians and cyclists and has walkways on each side, but the best way to view the bridge is from afar.

Hawk Hill & Battery Spencer and Kirby Cove are two of the best places to see the bridge in its full glory and offers tourists the perfect vantage point for some spectacular pictures.

Interesting fact: The Golden Gate Bridge was painted its iconic red/orange colour to make it more visible through the thick fog that frequently covers the bay.

Europe or long haul for your ski trip?

This is a question that has people debating long and hard, it is all about the snow conditions on the one hand and accessibility on the other. The long haul advocates will tell you that yes, it take longer to get to the resort, much longer in some cases, but the snow and conditions are far better than anything you get in Europe.

Canada has always been a favourite spot with the British. Take the resorts of Banff, Louise, Sunshine and Mount Norquay.  It is a great all round group of connected resorts for all levels of skier, it has a huge vertical drop for those who like a long run, and the snow is near perfect, described by locals as champagne powder! What about the States, some of the best facilities and snow can be found in places such as Aspen in Colorado, or Breckenridge where you might bump into a few celebs?

Well all very nice say the detractors, but they are all many hours away and to go for a week is really pretty much a non starter. Europe on the other hand has resorts scattered all over the Alps, Pyrenees, Dolomites, all within a few hours door to door from here. The snow conditions can be variable, but you are sure to get at least most runs open, even in a bad period; also it is possible to get a snow report and take a quick long weekend, very popular now you can take a snow train from St Pancras and be in the resort overnight or the same day.

It’s an argument that has two sides to the coin and if you can spare two or more weeks holiday in the winter, long haul might be for you, but why not take two separate weeks in Europe at different resorts? There is no winner is there.

Picture: Nick Wadge

Barbados and the Rum Festival

We imagine that there are very few people who do not know that rum comes from the West Indies, Barbados is a prime place and they have a festival to celebrate it, although to be absolutely correct it is called a Food, Wine and Rum festival.

But it is the Rum that Barbadians will shout about and it is here that the first properly commercial rum venture began, dated to 1703, when the Mount Gay distillery was set up in Barbados.  It all goes back to the days of Christopher Columbus who is the one that introduced sugar cane to the West Indies.

In Barbados, which has a strong claim to be the birthplace of rum, the first spirit was made, soon it was discovered by settlers from Europe that the sugar could make them far more money than cotton! Pretty much every plantation had its own still and gallons of the golden nectar became part of the Island’s fabric.

The annual Food Wine and Rum festival is held every November usually towards the end of the month, the 2014 dates are not confirmed but will be shortly. November is also towards the end of the official Atlantic hurricane season. Barbados is fortunate to be positioned at the south end of the Caribbean while hurricanes tend to veer to the north.  Barbados still averages nearly 8 hours of sunshine a day, this is a great time for a tropical getaway.

Picture: foodwinerum.com


Warning: extract() expects parameter 1 to be array, boolean given in /usr/www/users/feedbag/wordpress-multi/wp-content/plugins/ga-google-analytics/ga-google-analytics.php on line 54