Travel health disasters and how to avoid them

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When you jet off on a well-deserved holiday, you no doubt want to forget about your worries and relax and unwind. However, there are certain practical issues that you simply can’t afford to ignore, and your health is one of them. If you’re not careful, your blissful break away from home could quickly turn into a nightmare. Fortunately, help is at hand. This brief guide talks you through some possible travel health disasters, and offers top tips on how to avoid them.

Malaria

If you’re travelling to a tropical or subtropical destination, you’ll need to be aware of the risk of malaria. Each year, around 1,750 people return to the UK with this serious and sometimes fatal disease, which is spread by night-biting female mosquitoes that carry plasmodium parasites. The parasites enter the bloodstream and, depending on the type, they may then multiply and do potentially serious harm.  Broadly speaking, the ill-effects can include headaches, chills, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhoea and night sweats. In the most serious cases, this can progress to anaemia, low blood sugar, abnormal liver function, kidney failure, convulsions, difficulty breathing, confusion, severe dehydration and a range of other severe symptoms.

To minimise the risk of contracting malaria, it’s important to seek advice from a travel health expert before you set off. You might need to take antimalarial tablets, and bear in mind that the courses of some of these medicines start before you set off on holiday. It’s also important to try to avoid being bitten while you’re away, especially after sunset. To do this, cover up in loose clothing and use repellents. You might also benefit from sleeping under a mosquito net impregnated with insecticide.

Infectious diseases

Of course, malaria isn’t the only disease to watch out for. Depending on where you’re going, you might also be at risk of dengue, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, rabies, meningitis, yellow fever and travellers’ diarrhoea. You’ll need to do your research before you set off and speak to a doctor to see if you require any vaccinations or medicines. You should look into this at least four to six weeks before you’re due to jet off.

Also, bear in mind that many infectious diseases are spread through food and water, so it’s wise to follow thorough hygiene guidelines. For example, don’t drink tap water or use it to brush your teeth in areas where there’s poor sanitation. Also, don’t put ice in drinks and steer clear of foods like salads, uncooked fruits and anything that has been kept at room temperature in warm environments.

Sunburn

Another health risk is sunburn. Severe cases may lead to painful blisters, but even mild sunburn can be highly damaging because it increases your risk of skin cancer later in life. To ensure you don’t get burned, stay out of the sun when it’s at its strongest, which is between 11am and 3pm, and apply plenty of sunscreen at least every two hours when you’re out, even if it’s overcast. When selecting a cream, go for one that has a high sun protection factor.

By following advice like this, you should be able to enjoy your holidays without experiencing any health disasters.

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The Cheltenham Festival 2015

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Horse Racing is all the rage nowadays- hundreds of thousands of spectators across the country regularly flock to racecourses located across the breadth of the nation, and it’s not just well established race days that are enjoying the massive influx of new custom. Ascot, Redcar, York, Warwick, Windsor and a host of other cities have their own racecourses, and as economic woes ease up, many are relishing the chance to dress up, kick back and place a couple of bets at these classy, exciting race days. One of these to look out for next year is the Cheltenham Festival, known throughout the country as one of the most entertaining, family friendly racing events of the year.

Also known as the National Hunt Meeting, the Cheltenham Festival is one of horse racing’s most long-established events, and the second largest in the UK in terms of visitor numbers. The one hundred and forty year-old festival also has the second-largest prize pot available in the racing circuit, just below Ascot, and this fact, paired with the sheer number of races that take place across the four day event; 29 fence and hurdle challenges in all; means that teams, owners, jockeys and even the steeds themselves will be viewing the festival with avid eyes!

Kicking off on the 10th of March and culminating on the 13th, the festival is geared towards providing entertainment for a variety of audiences. The 10th is the most eclectic day of the series and is suitably titled Champion Day, thanks to the Stan James Champion Hurdle Race (the most anticipated race of the early season) taking place on this day. Those that like to make their time at the races a little more exciting will want to make sure Coral’s mobile app is loaded on their smartphone before they arrive; with racing news, information on the various equine contenders, odds and even live streaming of races it’s a must-have!

Wednesday the 11th is Ladies Day, a day when gals can put on their favourite frocks and exquisite hats and enjoy a fanciful day of fun and frivolity, topped off with the excellent Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase! On Thursday 12th St. Patricks Day tears through the ground, and with all manner of food, music and, naturally, drink on offer, as well as some excellent races, this day looks to be a belter!

Finally, on Friday 13th of March Cheltenham’s Gold Cup Day takes place; a true day for racing aficionados, Cup Day is packed to the brim with exciting races, celebrations and the all important podium events! If this all sounds good to you, make sure to purchase your tickets in time for the festival!

 

Top 10 Places to Visit in London

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London enchants everyone who comes here. This is a place filled with fun and entertainment and it also has a history to bank on. Palaces, parks and museums are there in good number. So let us start our journey and explore London.

Tower of London: Located on the north bank of river Thames, this is marvelous palace to go for. Recently it has also been included in UNESCO world heritage list. Earlier this place was known for torture and great misery.

Buckingham Palace: Visit this place for the changing of guards. It is quite funny to look at the guards with big black hats. This place attracts millions of visitor every year.

St Paul’s Cathedral: Built in 1710, this is a beautiful church. St Paul’s Cathedral has awesome interiors and go to this place for men and women who risked their lives for its safety. Also look out for acoustics because it is very interesting.

West End: This is art capital of London and has many theatres. Enjoy plays and musical shows which run throughout the day. There is every chance of meeting your favourite actor because they are also regular visitor here.

Westminster Abbey: This place is one of the tourist attractions of London. There are many big names buried here. Visit this place for the architecture and rest assure about cherished memories you will carry home.

Trafalgar Square: This is a place once visited for feeding pigeons but that is not allowed these days. Go there for many monuments and you will not be disappointed.

Clock Tower: Often referred to as Big Ben this is one of the most pictured tower. Visit this place for having fun and taking snaps of the world largest four faced chimney clock. The whole experience will be amazing.

Harrods store: Any vacation is incomplete without shopping. Harrods store is world famous and you can get many things for near and dear ones back home.

London Eye: Take a ride of this London Eye and you will say why I did not come here earlier? London Eye gives you a panoramic view of London.

Hyde Park: Spread over more than 300 acres, this is one of the parks that give London a greener look. You can check this one and also since it is closer to many other attractions, this is a must for your London visit.

The MUSTS of planning your honeymoon

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After the turbulent ride of planning your wedding comes the calm; your honeymoon. Often the trip of your lives, it embodies you as a couple and is the beginning of a whole new life together. But where are the key places to visit at the moment? And what are the musts of organising such an amazing holiday?

For your wedding, there’s no doubt that you’ve made a To-Do List and it happens to be as long as your arm. With the worldwide web converting all our paper lists into electronic ones, have you got yourself a free wedding tool to do all the hard work for you? Often complete with wedding site directories, these include suppliers, seating plans and budget tracker so you can really keep a firm grip on your wedding but they can also really help your honeymoon too. The to-do list in particular can list everything you need to take. You can keep notes and head back to elaborate more when you have the time, and it’s all there – no-one is going to be throwing it away, that’s for sure! Especially with the hectic wedding schedule, when you have that odd moment to think about life after the big day, this To-Do list certainly is a nifty gadget…

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Here are a few things to start you off:

Passport – start off with the obvious.

Money – don’t forget to convert!

A good book – even if you’re planning an adventurous honeymoon, you’re going to need some time to relax.

Weather appropriate clothing – not everyone dreams of a hot honeymoon sunning in the Maldives. Considering a skiing trip? Do you have all the right gear?

And how about location? Here are the top holiday destinations around the world at the minute:

New Zealand – those of you that love the Lord of the Rings Trilogy will be familiar with New Zealand’s stunning countryside, and it happens to be an up-and-coming honeymoon destination too. Nature is definitely one of New Zealand’s main pulls, perfect for the active couple, but there are so many other adventures you can embark on. Whilst a day or two of hiking or climbing should be high on your list (those views will have you breathless), New Zealand is surrounded by glorious beaches and freshwater lakes teaming with life. Whether you want the adrenaline rush of the white water rapids or a calming afternoon catching your supper down by the river, this place is unspoilt paradise.

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Bali – if you’re after an interesting blend of spirituality and traditional life, Bali is the place to go. Whilst the majority of the country is Muslim, the freeness of the Hindu religion comes through. This is one relaxing environment indeed! Whilst it is close to all those selection of islands (Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia for example) that have become staple backpacking/travelling places for many Brits, Bali is somewhat untouched by the masses. Keeping its authenticity is so important to the country and its people, and you can embrace it on your honeymoon! It’s important to consider exactly when you wish to visit as you don’t want to hit monsoon season. May to September is considered their dry season and the perfect time to exploring the watery world too.

Croatia – An unlikely choice for the third and final honeymooning idea. Often overlooked in terms of Mediterranean locations for the typical Greece and Spain resorts, Croatia is really coming into its own. Whilst the beach towns can be difficult to decipher from one to the next, Croatia has that unusual mix of old vs new. The architecture is beautiful, giving that traditional old European vibe whilst the weather isn’t stifling meaning you can explore with ease. This is perfect for couples who still want the option of a delicious beach for a couple of days, but mainly want the adventure too.

 

Thomson’s new Sensatori Resort, Jamaica: a style maven’s haven

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With immaculate shores of pristine, white sand and the clear, blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, idyllic Jamaica sees temperatures reaching up to 80°F all year round.  Already boasting a seven mile stretch of coast, its beautiful town of Negril on the western coast now has another glorious feature, with Thomson’s highly-anticipated new 5-star Sensatori Resort.

No one needs convincing to visit Jamaica, but this contemporary resort with chic designer touches (more about that in a minute) is an alluring addition that can really turn holidaying into a luxurious experience. The resort performed an industry first, by projecting a video of model Nadja Giramata onto the waters of the Caribbean Sea, viewed from Negril beach. Innovative and stylish, the Sensatori has a lot of exciting things in store for guests.

A pool like no other

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 Every resort has a pool but a pool like this? Not a chance. Leading British fashion designer Jonathan Saunders took his first venture into interiors by designing and naming the exclusive Amber pool and beach area. Here you’ll find Saunder’s unique seal of approval on brightly colored cushions, patterned drapes and umbrellas. The vibrant turquoise, yellow and blue featured on the poolside’s Bali beds and loungers help create a relaxed, airy feel to this part of the resort. Think of it as your own aqua catwalk.

Designer beachwear

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 Negril’s famous beach calls for some seriously worthy beachwear, so it’s a good job that Saunders created a limited range for both men and women staying at the hotel. Throw on one of his unique pieces and you’ll feel on top of the world. Amongst the bold collection is a glamorous sarong, available in four striking color palettes. The perfect feel good factor for any holiday, pick your favourite (a hard task!) and get ready to show off it on the beach.

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 Rooms: take your pick

Fancy casually swimming up to your room after a quick dip? Swim-up rooms are just one of the many deluxe options that the resort has to suit all visitors, including families, couples and even honeymooners. Ranging from 2-bedroom apartments (that sleep up to 6!) to the beach front honeymoon suite, rooms come equipped with luxuries including a rainfall shower, iPod docking station and plasma TV. Fitted with the same panache as the rest of the resort, everywhere has a high-end feel.

Very fine dining

 Food is always a major draw when taking a holiday and the fine dining at Sensatori Resort Jamaica is impressive to say the least. Book the Gourmet All Inclusive package and you’ll be treated to breakfast, lunch and dinner in any of the four restaurants in the resort, not to mention a complimentary minibar in your own room. Want a taste of the local cuisine? Head to the Ackee Caribbean restaurant for locally inspired dishes or the Garfield International Beach House for seaside dining.

Cool, accommodating and a new way of experiencing Jamaica, the Sensatori Resort is a designer dream.

 

What to Do in Brisbane

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The third largest and fastest growing city in Australia, Brisbane is the capital of the famous province of Queensland. It is home to many famous sites and the world famous story bridge.
With over two million people, Brisbane demands attention from the rest of the world and has been working furiously to bring itself up to par with the other powerhouses.

Dubbed the “new world city”, this city knows the right combination to success; a bright attitude and a lot of fun. With one of the most vibrant and laid back atmospheres, Brisbane has propelled itself into one of the most sought after vacation destinations. There are many different cultures that come into one in a unique melting pot here that creates a fun energy that no one could turn down.

Despite many people skipping Brisbane on their visits to Australia because Sydney seems to steal all the attention there’s lots to see and do in Brisbane.

If you are looking for cheap flights to Brisbane, you can discover affordable holiday packages and booking your air ticket to Australia before the peak season is a great way of securing even better discounts.

Being right on the water allows Brisbane to have an excellent beach and watersport activities. Take a short ferry to Bribie Island or the Southern Bay Islands and enjoy the stretches of gorgeous and pristine beaches.

Water sports here are quite unique and a little different than home. Here you can take a group tour sand tobogganing or maybe four-wheel driving for more speed! There are also diving and snorkeling. You can even go marine watching and spot turtles, dolphins, and dugongs in the water; maybe even a whale.

Cruises are available daily that go up and down the river with excellent sites of the city and banks. If you are looking for a land activity head over to Mt Coot-tha. This cool mountain is popular for its make-out spots, but more importantly has an amazing view of the city from above.

The Brisbane Botanical Gardens and Planetarium are here as well. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is only a fifteen minute bus ride from the city. This koala sanctuary is a one of a kind experience. It is the World’s first and largest koala sanctuary, with over 130 koalas. There are also kangaroos here that you can buy food and feed right out of your hand. There is much more wildlife here. Take a walk through the premises and experience the true outback feel with beautiful scenery.

If you are looking for the historical roots to Brisbane go to Brisbane City Hall and King George Square. Located right next to each other, you can walk around the square and see the most famous architecture in the city. There are tours of City Hall. You can also take a free lift ride to the top of the clock tower for a great aerial view.

 

A Glamping Guide for First-Timers

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If you’re someone who enjoys their creature comforts while on holiday, but would like to experience the freedom that camping promises, then glamping may be for you. Glamping is, as the name suggests, glamorous camping and it allows you to reconnect with nature and enjoy all the benefits that accompany camping in style and comfort.

Plan Carefully and Pack Smart

It’s important to do your research early on, particularly when the weather starts to get warmer. Some popular campsites become booked up very quickly in June, July and August. Decide what kind of setting will best suit you and your family or friends and book early to avoid disappointment. There are plenty of excellent essential glamping checklists available online that you can draw inspiration from. Remember to write or print out your own so you can triple check that you haven’t forgotten anything before you leave.

Gourmet Food and Drink

Remember that when you’re glamping, you don’t have to stick to the usual menu of hotdogs and burgers. You can cook high-quality, gourmet food on a campsite, just think steak, salmon and grilled vegetables. You can buy deluxe camping stoves and propane-powered ovens for your camping kitchen, and tableware that is 100 percent biodegradable instead of using Styrofoam or plastic cutlery and crockery.

Camping coffee makers will provide you with delicious, freshly brewed coffee and so you can forget about drinking instant. If you’re considering a glamping trip with your girlfriends, why not bring a portable bar that includes stainless steel martini glasses, a wine carafe, a corkscrew, a bottle opener and a cocktail shaker.

Get Comfortable

Glamping is all about being as comfortable as possible. There’s no reason why you should sit on damp grass or spend an uncomfortable night’s sleep on the ground. Bring an air mattress and add a memory foam topper. Some glamping guides will even recommend silk sleeping bag liners, as they protect the inside of sleeping bags and will feel truly luxurious against your skin. A waterproof coat may not always be the most stylish item, but it’s a necessity on glamping trips, so check out specialist retailers like E-outdoor. It’s also a good idea to invest in a high-quality folding chair. They come in every colour and some have reclining functions and built-in footrests. The most stylish glampers usually have a hammock in their luggage too, so that they can kick back between the trees on lazy afternoons.

Eco-Friendly Glampers

Remember that your campsite needs to be left exactly as you found it at the end of your stay. Respect the environment and use biodegradable shampoos, soaps and washing up liquids. You should minimize your impact on the natural world by leaving nothing behind when it’s time for you and your party to return home.

Dolly Parton is coming to The O2

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Dolly Parton tickets are now available for her forthcoming concert at the O2 Arena. Dolly Parton has made dozens of albums, sold millions of records, sung with countless stars, even has her own theme park – and now she’s coming to London.

With her trademark platinum-blonde hair, luminous smile and sweet songs, she could melt the coldest and most cynical of hearts.

Dolly Parton is a smart and fierce businesswoman. She decided to become a solo artist in the early ’70s when country music was a primarily male-driven industry. She’s made no apologies for being a woman, and writes songs that bravely share her feelings on love, insecurities, family, and hope. She’s one of many fearless steamrollers who helped paved the way for women in the music industry.

Dolly’s written some of the most touching and powerful ballads in music history. Her most famous, “I Will Always Love You,” is pretty good at tearing your heart out, throwing it in a blender, and serving you an emo-smoothie. However, she also wrote one of the most complex and unorthodox love songs, “Jolene.” The lyrics were written to another woman whose guile has bewitched her man. It’s been covered by many artists spanning different genres, such as The White Stripes, Mumford and Sons, and Ellie Goulding

She’s unabashedly genuine. Her courage to be vulnerable is her strength. She’s brutally honest about herself, but doesn’t take the critics too seriously. She’s an eternal optimist who isn’t afraid to love deeply and share it with others. Plus, I love her Dolly-isms. They’re marked with her raucous sense of humor and wisdom.

“Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”

“I was the first woman to burn my bra – it took the fire department four days to put it out.”

“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”

How could you not love this woman?Be there!

Lapland=Winter Wonderland

You guys, Santa exists.  And when he isn’t in the North Pole he is in his hometown of Lapland, Finland. Lapland comes into its own during winter; it’s famous as the ultimate Christmas destination and thousands visit every year to get into the Christmas spirit. A trip to Lapland it’s the ultimate winter wonderland experience.

You can meet Santa in person at the world-famous Santa Claus Village, watch reindeer in their natural habitat, take a sleigh ride, ride a dog sled, take long snow hikes, and curl up in the evenings with hot cocoa in an igloo, cabin, or ice hotel. Located in the Western Region of Finnish Lapland the Snow Village is rebuilt every year during the coldest winter months and is a huge ice complex with an ice hotel, ice bar and restaurant, and even an ice disco with light up dance floor!

Going to Lapland and not taking a reindeer sleigh ride is like going to Tokyo and steering clear of sushi – you’re missing the main experience, the country’s ace card.

And if you’re not sold, Lapland is a perfect spot to lay under the stars and watch the Northern Lights (a total bucket list experience).

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Have you ever heard about the Midnight Sun? It’s a phenomenon that occurs in the proximity of the Arctic and Antarctic circle  where the sun does not set at night.  Is the contrast to the polar nights, where the sun keeps hidden below the horizon.  Sounds like magic? It feels like it.

Lapland is situated on the Arctic circle and enjoys both periods. The Midnight Sun happens during the summer months,  while the Polar Nights take place during winter.

The Midnight sun allows you to enjoy incredibly long sunsets observing the sun coming down until the horizon but staying there during the night. This gives Lapland endless days and light to enjoy the nature, or summer festivals as the Midnight Sun Film Festival.

A trip to Lapland on Christmas 2014 anyone?

Experience Midnight sun

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Tips for Last Minute Air Travelers

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Have you recently decided that you would like to take a last minute trip? Whether you are interested in visiting Hawaii, California’s wine country, or another popular vacation destination in the United States, you will want to get started with your planning right away. With last minute trips, you have the same number of travel arrangements to make, but in a much shorter period of time.

Speaking of making your travel arrangements, you will want to go with an airline that is known for its affordable rates. You may also want to choose an airline that you have traveled with before, as this often results in less surprises. If this is your first time traveling by air, you may want to quickly ask your friends or family members for airline recommendations or even warnings.

In keeping with reservations, if you don’t have time to examine all of the airlines individually and their rates, you may want to turn to online travel websites. When doing so, go to the bigger name sites, as they are typically more reliable. Online travel websites allow you to search for flights with flexible timeframe windows. You should also receive quotes from a number of different airlines. For last minute travelers, online travel websites are one of the best ways to get the best deals in the quickest amount of time.

It is also important to remember not to overpay. Unfortunately, this is something that many last minute travelers end up doing. If you are flying out for an emergency, like to see a sick loved one, you may want to make your travel arrangement right away and at any cost. However, if you are simply just looking to take a last minute vacation or a quick weekend trip, be sure to price compare. As previously stated, online travel websites are an easy way to do so. They can allow you to compare the rates and flight times of multiple airlines, all in a few minutes worth of time. For that reason, you should never have to pay more than you need to, even at the last minute.

Once you have your travel arrangements made, you will want to quickly create a checklist for yourself. This is important, as many last minute travel plans are rushed, including packing. As soon as you have five or ten minutes free, sit down and create a checklist for yourself. Do you need to bring your digital camera or laptop computer? How many changes of clothes do you need? Be sure to check each item off of your checklist as you later pack it. This will help to prevent errors and confusion.

It is also important to take the time to familiarize yourself with airport security rules and restrictions. When rushing to plan a last minute trip and pack, you are more likely to make mistakes. You can visit the TSA’s online website to get a quick summary of air travel rules and restrictions. You can also use your best judgment as well. For example, you know your shoes will be removed, so wear comfortable and easy to remove shoes. Also, leave all sharp objects at home or at least pack them in your checked luggage, as opposed to in a carry-on bag.

As for arriving for your flight, all last minute travelers are urged to think like everyday travelers. Just because you made your travel plans at the last minute, it doesn’t mean that you should arrive at the airport at the last minute. Generally speaking, you will want to arrive about an hour and half before your flight is scheduled to leave; however, it all depend on your departing airport. Larger airports sometimes recommend arriving three hours in advance.

The above mentioned tips may be able to assist you when looking to plan a last minute vacation or a last minute weekend trip. By taking the time to at least know what you are doing, your trip can go off without a hitch; in fact, it can appear as if it is a trip that you have been planning for months!