Air Turbulence whilst flying – What is it?

We have, most likely, all experienced some air turbulence whilst flying. Whether you are flying to one of the popular holiday destinations or flying long haul, air turbulence can happen anywhere. So, what is air turbulence? and what causes it? If you have a fear of flying then it is worthwhile understanding what air turbulence is and understanding that it is not something to worry about!

Turbulence is caused by the weather. There are three types of weather that normally cause turbulence. First there is strong winds close to the ground, storm clouds and clear air turbulence.If an aircraft is coming into land or taking off and there are strong winds this can cause turbulence. Airports are often surrounded by hangars and terminal buildings and wind blowing across these can cause turbulence, this is similar to the effects of a stone being placed in the middle of the stream. This can make the approach or take off bumpy but pilots are trained to deal with these situations. If the wind is too strong pilots will often hold off until the wind drops or divert to another airfield where the wind is not as strong. Pilots never take off without having received the weather forcecats for the destination so they know what to expect.

Storm clouds can also cause turbulence and pilots will always do their best to avoid this type of weather, they do this not because the turbulence is dangerous but because they aim to make the flight as smooth as possible. In the centre of storm clouds there can be quite strong up draughts and down-draughts and this is what pilots are doing their best to avoid. Pilots remain clear of storm clouds by either looking out of the window or by using their weather radars.

Clear air turbulence is associated with strong winds at higher levels . These can be caused by jet streams which travel west to east at usually very fast speeds. At the edge of the jet stream the winds can make the air quite turbulent, whereas in the centre of the jet stream the conditions can be quite smooth. Often if you are travelling across the Atlantic from the UK to the USA your flight will take you away from the jet streams, but on your return the pilot of your flight will attempt to fly in the middle so as to benefit from the winds and this can reduce your journey time by as much as an hour.

Take a look at this fascinating video which explains in simple terms what causes air turbulence.[youtube=]

Accommodation rental – the downside of booking yourself.

I have just returned from a really good holiday in Fuerteventura. As a travel agent I know the benefits of booking through a good travel agency. You get financial protection, professional advice, good quality products and low prices. I have been preaching these benefits for a while as well as telling customers that there are risks in booking your own separate flights and accommodation on the internet because if a single part of the holiday is changed or cancelled or the airline goes bust or the accommodation owner sells you a dodgy villa or apartment then because you probably won’t have ATOL protection you could find yourself with a financial loss.However, when my wife found a nice looking house on the internet I agreed that she could book it despite the fact that I had reservations about it.

The house we booked was in a great location and I can’t fault that. The photograghs on the website were accurate. However, after we arrived and had admired the view we discovered that we had no cold water. A phone call to the owner solved the problem as he came out to sort the problem for us. The next day we woke up and decided to go into the local town, Corralejo. There was a problem, however as we couldn’t open the gate as the locked was jammed !

This gate had a high wall on each side so there was no alternative but for me to climb over the wall and try to unlock the gate from the other side. After jumping from a great height I managed to unlock the gate. It was only a minor problem but nevertheless I don’t want hassle when I’m on holiday.

A couple of days later my wife decided to use the washing machine but she couldn’t get it working. It turned out the power to the washing machine was off because of a fault. By this time as well my back was aching because the mattress on the bed was old and very uncomfortable. Half way through the holiday we decided to stay in and use the kitchen to cook a meal and have a bottle of wine whilst watching a DVD. The house owners website advertised the fact that the house had a DVD player. The good news is – the house did have a DVD player, but the bad news is, it didn’t work ! Oh well, no a major problem as I still had my bottle of wine and the lovely view from the terrace outside !

The saga of problems however didn’t end there. The house next door, and with the same owner as ours, had a burst pipe which brought the ceilings down. Some unlucky holidaymakers were due to arrive at the house in a few days so they were going to be in for a nasty shock. Luckily our house wasn’t affected though ….. or so we thought because from that time on we had problems with our hot water. Most mornings and evenings we didn’t have any hot water for having a shower although it did come back on sometimes. We mentioned it to the house owner but he never got round to sorting it out. Two days before the end of our two week holiday the lights in the kitchen went out and there were no replacement bulbs.

The point of this story is that if things go wrong and you haven’t booked through a tour operator then you could find yourself in a situation where you can’t get problems resolved. A tour operator would have resolved this situation and possiby paid compensation.

Want to book an ATOL protected holiday through a good quality tour operator so that you get financial protection?

Call FREE on 0800 433 2300

Mexico Travel Advice

UK residents are being advised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office against all but essential travel to Mexico. If you have booked a holiday or flight to Mexico  departing in the next few days you should contact your travel agent, tour operator or airline for advice.Once the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to Mexico then you will probably be offered a full refund or the chance to change your booking to a different date or destination.More details on how long this restriction will apply for will emerge over the course of the next few days. If you are not travelling in the next week or so it may be a few days before further details emerge about how long flights will be cancelled for.We will post further information here as soon as we know it.

Lost Luggage – How to Avoid It

lost luggage at an airport50 million pieces of luggage are mishandled or lost every year. This breaks down to a staggering 95 pieces every minute of every day globally.

As I stood at the baggage carousel in Dublin airport in Ireland six months ago, I never thought anything about how the system worked; I just expected my bag to appear. I waited with my fellow travelers as per usual, but as they headed off to meet their business colleagues and loved ones I was still standing there. I waited there for another 20 minutes in the hope it would appear, until finally giving in.I preceded empty handed to the information desk where the staff member asked me to fill out the lost luggage form. This quiet simple to use form outlines the bags description and distinguishing features etc. I like many others had a medium sized rectangular, black case. I was assured that my bag would be found, but after waiting seven days it never appeared.

So what should every traveler know about before they make a journey with luggage?

The main source of lost luggage is the airline industry, and reports say that they miss- handled 42 million pieces last year and by 2015 the figure will be around 65million pieces annually. The remaining 8 million pieces of missing luggage come from trains, buses, and taxis.If you are planning on checking in your bag, make sure you do not pack any of the following, as I found out to my expense there are many things not insured when you travel. These include money, jewelry, tobacco, keys, cameras, laptops, medicine, spectacles contact lenses watches, mobile phones, iPods’, passports or business documents. This is not widely known but when you click the Terms and Conditions button, while making a booking on many large airlines websites you giving up your rights to these items. This means that when lost you are not entitled to insurance for these items.

So what happens to the remaining items that are meant to be insured in your luggage?

This is what frustrated me the most, when you go to claim for the remaining items in your bag, you have to provide proof of purchase. This means you have to find receipts and credit card statements showing you actually owned the items you claimed for.In my situation I had 2 receipts adding up to around $60, when I estimated there was $1400 worth of items in my bag. In the end after many phone calls and emails I settled for $300.

When travelling makes sure you have a robust luggage tag on your bag. I recommend one from The mistake I made was I expected the system to work, but it didn’t and the experience short changed me.

Written by John McCarthyFounder of after a lost luggage experience.

How To Pack A Suitcase

We all love going on holiday. Part of the fun is planning your holiday and thinking about what you are going to do when you are actually on holiday. Before you even think about heading off to the airport, however, you need to consider what you are going to take with you on holiday in terms of luggage.

Most airlines have a luggage allowance maximum weight limit. Your actual luggage allowance will vary depending on which airline you are flying with. Several airlines, especially the no-frills airlines do not allow any luggage allowance at all unless you pay extra. Some airlines will only allow you 15kg luggage allowance but it is essential that you check your allowance before you actually book your ticket as the low fare you think you have just found may not be as cheap as you think once you add on the extra cost of taking a suitcase.

It’s important, therefore, to know how to pack a suitcase and to be ruthless in deciding what to take with you. Taking too many toiletries for example will weigh a lot more than you think so only take the essentials. And you ladies. How many pairs of shoes do you actually really need to take. If you are going to the Maldives you may not need any !

There is also a knack in knowing how to pack a suitcase. Folding shirts and dresses so that they arrive at your destination without creases in the wrong places is knowledge that you should have. Now though we are about to present to you all the knowledge that you need to be able to pack a suitcase with any hassle. Being able to pack a suitcase to save space may well save you money.

Take a look at this excellent video which will show you how to plan, what to take, and also how to pack a suitcase.

Air Travel :How To Pack Your Bags For A Sun, Sea And Sand Holiday

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Holiday Essentials – What to take on holiday

You Can’t Beat A Good Travel Agent !

travel agent gives advice to a customerThere are many advantages to booking a holiday or flights via a good independent travel agent. For a start, you will get honest impartial advice about the best holiday for your needs and you will get a good competitive price. You will also get a better choice of holidays or flight options than you would if you booked direct with an airline or tour operator.

Apart from choice though a good travel agent will make sure that your holiday runs smoothly. As an example, take this story that appeared in the Daily Telegraph about the family who went to India without Indian Visas.

The woman had booked flights direct with the airline and they had not informed her that she needed an Indian Visa. She was allowed to board the plane and arrived at Delhi airport but was then turned back and had to catch the next plane home because she did not have an Indian Visa.

We sell a lot of  holidays to Goa in India every year and before we make a booking for a customer we always inform them about the Indian Visa requirements. We also follow it up in writing. As a result, we have never had a customer arrive in India without a Visa. This is one of the many benefits of booking a holiday or flight with a travel agent.

We believe that the Internet has now become too big. There are too many places to look and it can take you days to find what you are looking for. You can’t beat having proper advice, help and someone friendly to talk to on the telephone and that is why we believe that good travel agents will always do well.The issue of which countries need a visa before you can enter is a complicated one. For example, British passport holders need a visa to enter Cuba and Cuban passport holders are not allowed to travel on a holiday charter flight from the UK.

You also need a visa to enter Egypt and Kenya but these are normally issued to you when you arrive in the country.

The USA has a visa waiver scheme for British passport holders but this has recently changed. You now need to complete the visa waiver form online before you travel. Click this link to go to the US Visa Waiver Online Form. We have heard that there are some unscrupulous websites on the Internet who advertise a charge for the US Visa waiver service.

These websites are just a con as the real website we have mentioned above is free of charge.

India, China and Russia are the main countries which tourists or business people visit when you will need a visa. India alone issued 500,000 visas last year. Also, you will need a visa to visit Australia and another thing is that the USA, Canada, Australia and Singapore take a dim view of spent convictions so you need to take advice from the relevant embassy if you have any.

Finally, it is always a good idea to make sure that your passport has at least six months left on it at the time of your trip. Whilst travelling to most EU countries is not a problem most other countries need you to have at least six months unexpired on your passport.

If you need a good travel agent you are always more than welcome to give Global Holidays a call on 0845 2994450 !

How To Avoid Jet Lag. Top 10 Tips

Man suffering from jet-lagWe all love going on holiday but getting to our destination can have its problems. As well as queuing at the airport the problem of jet-lag is one problem that we wish there was a cure for. I suffer from it quite badly.

 Last year when I flew to Las Vegas I suffered really badly from it. The problem was that my body thought that USA time of say 9pm should have been 5 or 6am in the morning of the next day. So, by 9pm every night I was shattered and even after a week in Las Vegas I was suffering badly.Jet lag is a problem for us all, especially when travelling long distances across several times zones.

My worst experience though was after I flew west from the UK to New York and then after a week flew back to the UK and then after only one day in the UK I flew to Mauritius which is east and in the southern hemisphere. I can remember that when I arrived I stood in the lobby of the hotel and the floor seemed to be sloping at 45 degrees !Various theories exist as to how you can avoid jet lag so I thought that I would ask for your comments on what you think prevents jet lag. 

Here a few opinions on how to avoid jet lag that I have heard of over the years.

1. Get as much sleep as you can on the flight.2. Stay awake for the whole overnight flight and most of the next day and then conk out exhausted on your first full night at your destination.

3. Flying dehydrates your body and dries out your skin. Drink as much bottled water as you can. This helps to make you feel fresh when you arrive at your destination.

4. Don’t drink too much alcohol on your flight. Having a hangover when you arrive will make you feel even worse.

5. Visit a Four Seasons hotel as soon as you arrive. They offer a special jet-lag treatment which involves a massage with a reviving eye treatment thrown in.

6. Don’t drink too much coffee as this also dehydrates you.

7. Take fresh clothes and deodorant for use on a long haul flight. It’s a great idea to use these to freshen up so that you arrive at your destination feeling fresh.

8. Melatonin is supposed to be the miracle cure but it is only available on prescription in the UK, so you will need to go and see your GP about it.

9. The trick is to be able to find ways for your body to adjust to the new rhythm’s of daylight and darkness. Eating and sleeping are your bodies time indicators, you you need to fit in with what the locals are doing as soon as possible. Exposing yourself to as much daylight as possible may be a good idea, so heading for the beach is a good idea.

10. Buy a pair of special flight socks and wear them for the whole duration of your flight. They fit tightly around your legs and go right up to your knees. These socks help prevent sore and tired legs and DVT blood clots. Also wear loose clothing and take your shoes off.

New research about jet-lag has just been released in November 2009. Read details  here

Please leave a comment on how you avoid or suffer from jet-lag. We would love to hear your opinions.

Looking for cheap flights ?

Call Global Holidays on 0845 2994450 for a long haul holiday

Travel Agent Sends Holidaymaker to Wrong Country !

An interesting article appeared in The Times recently which shows that you should choose your travel agent very carefully. A woman booked her flights to Costa Rica with the travel agent Thomas Cook in Bristol but ended up in the wrong country as the agent had booked her to Puerto Rico instead !

Every airport in the world has a 3 letter code which is unique to that airport. The flight booking code for the airport in San José, Costa Rica, is SJO, only a letter away from that of the main airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, SJU. Mistakes are easy to make but you would expect a travel agent to know their geography.

After all it’s their job. Unfortunately the big high street travel agents often use inexperienced staff, but there is no excuse for getting it wrong.

A world atlas is a very valuable thing to have, as sometimes we do get unusual requests, and I have used it several times to check my facts are correct. Travel agents can’t be expected to know everything about everywhere so we consult the atlas to check our facts or look on the internet to check the airport code.

Another important thing to remember is that when you receive your travel documents and tickets you should always check that they are correct. Look the airport code up on the internet yourself and double check everything is correct. Mistakes are more easily corrected before you travel than after you have taken off for the wrong destination !

Global Holidays is the travel agent for cheap holidays and expert advice. Call us on 0845 299 4450.

Travel Insurance – Don’t Forget It !

When you go on holiday it is very important that you have good quality travel insurance, but new research from American Express has found that nearly a quarter of Brits intend to cut out travel insurance this year in order to save money.

The survey found that many people are looking at last-minute summer holiday deals to enable them to keep spending down as the recession takes hold in the country. However, it also discovered that nearly a quarter intend to do so without travel insurance.

Whilst going without travel insurance may save money in the short term, it could also end up costing you a lot of money as well. The main reasons for making a claim are health problems, holiday cancellations and loss of baggage, but other claims could include being flown home in an air-ambulance in the event of serious illness or accident or even having to be repatriated due to death. Cutting back on such an essential part of any holiday may end up being a much more expensive trip if anything unexpected happens whilst you are away.

Travel insurance does not have to cost a fortune either. Travel agents have in the past had bad press about the cost of their travel insurance. Whilst many years ago buying travel insurance from your travel agent may well have been more expensive than buying it separately this may no longer be the case.The travel insurance offered by Global Holidays is we think very good value for money. One week single trip cover for one person aged between 18 and 64 and travelling to Europe costs from only £10.21.

Click here to find out more Cheap Travel Insurance

USA Visa Waiver Scheme

The rules have changed for British passport holders visiting the United States. Until recently, when visiting the USA, a Visa Waiver green form was completed whilst you were on your flight.Now, you will need to complete an online USA Visa Waiver application form and get it authorized online before you are allowed to travel. If you do not do this you may be refused boarding of your flight to the USA.Click here to apply online for the USA Visa Waiver