The comfort essentials you’ll need on your next trip

Travelling is good for both the body and the soul since it allows you to take a break from your routines and immerse yourself in a new environment. You get the chance to experience new cultures and see new places, and you also do some exercise at the same time since, during a trip, you’ll most likely try sailing, hiking, biking or skiing. Even walking around busy cities, quaint towns, or picturesque villages can help you get quite a lot of movement in. 

However, travelling can also take its toll on you, and there are some stressful situations that you may encounter, both along the way as well as after you reach your destination. Fatigue, not eating enough or drinking too little water, as well as the simple fact you’ll be confined to a plane for a significant amount of time, sometimes for upwards of ten hours, can be pretty challenging. You don’t want to return home more tired than when you left, and neglecting your well-being means that you won’t be able to enjoy your journey to the fullest. 

Before you set out on your trip, consider some factors that can help you travel comfortably. If you haven’t spent much time on planes and are unsure where to start, here are a few starting points that can help you out. 

Before you arrive 

Getting ready in advance can help save you a lot of trouble. If you do everything last minute, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll forget to pack something. Realising that later, when you’re unpacking your luggage in the hotel room, can leave you angry and frustrated and even put a damper on your whole trip. It might also mean that you have to make extra purchases. For instance, if you’ve booked a day at the pool but left your swimsuit behind, you’ll have to buy one from the resort or risk losing your reservation. 

If you travel to the airport by car, you must ensure you have all the parking arrangements. Airport Parking Heathrow offers a wide selection of parking spots, but since the demand is so high, you don’t want to leave it to the last minute. The site you want might not be available anymore, or you may have to pay extra to secure it. You can visit to get the best deals on airport parking that have left over two million customers satisfied. 

Changing environment 

One of the aspects that can create the most discomfort when travelling by plane is the low temperatures. While the median levels are somewhere between 22 and 24°C, which should be pleasant in theory, it often feels much colder due to the fact you’re sitting still in your seat for a long time. If you moved around, you wouldn’t feel so chilly, but that is not advisable or permitted for air travel. To stay comfortable while travelling, make sure to dress warmly. Pack a jumper or pullover, and bring a blanket for extra comfort. Dressing in layers can also help you, particularly if you’re prone to getting cold easily. 

Humidity is another important factor. Most aeroplane cabins maintain typical humidity levels of around 20%, around half of what the general population would deem comfortable. This can be problematic because low humidity causes mucous membranes and skin to dry out. This makes you more susceptible to viruses, as your body’s natural barriers are affected, and the environment helps pathogens linger in the air for longer. 

The best way to combat the negative impact of low humidity is to stay hydrated. You should drink one cup of water for every hour you spend on the plane. Eye drops can help you fight off the sensation of dry eyes, particularly if you’re wearing contact lenses, which can increase the feeling of dryness. Steam helps as well. You can bring a washcloth with you, ask for some hot water, and place the towel over it so that your face is fully covered and you can breathe in the steam. You should also bring a concentrated moisturiser with you, especially if you’re dealing with dehydrated skin regularly.

Lastly, you should be mindful of the possible effects of altitude sickness. Sometimes, the air pressure can translate to roughly 8,000, or nearly 2,500 kilometres. Since air offers less oxygen and water evaporates faster, you might end up with altitude sickness symptoms such as lightheadedness, back and headaches, tiredness, stomach pains and muscle cramps. Some ways you can avoid feeling ill are stretching regularly, getting plenty of rest, and drinking enough water. Some anti-inflammatory medications can also help, but you should speak to a doctor before following any treatment.  

Careful what you eat 

Adequate nutrition is essential, particularly if you’re embarking on a long-haul flight. While eating junk food feels great in any environment, getting a lot of crisps and fizzy drinks will deplete your energy levels. You don’t want to be worn out before arriving at your destination, and you most likely don’t want to feel nauseous on the plane. The best way to maintain your energy levels and fight off hunger pangs at the same time is to get some healthy foods and snacks. Veggie and grain salads, sandwiches, biscuits, deli meats, pre-sliced cheeses (to make things easier), protein bars and dried fruit are some of the things you should try. 

The bottom line 

Travelling can take a lot of your energy and stamina. You have to sit in the same position for many hours, might feel bored after a while, and if you’re seated next to loud or obnoxious people, it can feel like a downright chore. However, since you don’t want to reach your destination already worn out, you must do everything possible to protect your well-being. Wearing comfortable clothing, getting some good food, protecting your skin, and bringing your headphones and a good book along will see you through any flight. And remember to stay hydrated. 

Newcastle Airport recognised for assistance provided to disabled and less mobile passengers

Newcastle Airport has been placed in the ‘Very Good’ category in the latest Civil Aviation Authority Airport Accessibility Report.

The CAA Report monitors the performance of UK airports in assisting disabled and less mobile passengers during their journey. Of the 31 airports assessed, Newcastle was one of 15 airports to be featured in the highest ‘Very Good’ category. The airport was specifically praised for exceeding all of its performance standards and providing a ‘well researched and extensive training programme for its staff.’

Newcastle Airport’s Passenger Assistance Team supported over 70,000 passengers with their journey in 2019, an increase of 22 percent compared to 2018.

Andrew Alexander, Terminal Manager of Newcastle Airport said: ‘I am extremely proud that the Airport has been ranked ‘Very Good’ for the assistance we provide our passengers. We work closely with local disability groups to ensure we understand the challenges faced by passengers and also provide extensive training to all staff members.

‘In 2019 the business invested over £250,000 in new vehicles and equipment dedicated to making travelling through the Airport easier for passengers with disabilities or who are less mobile. We also became one of the first UK airports to install a sensory area for passengers to use in our newly refurbished dedicated Passenger Assistance Lounge.’

The CAA has set up an Airport Accessibility Framework to ensure that airports give disabled and less mobile passengers the required assistance to travel confidently. The framework was introduced in 2014 and includes a set of quality standards relating to the assistance services airports provide passengers. These standards include set metrics relating to the length of time passengers wait to receive assistance as well as softer metrics such as engagement with local disability groups and surveying users of the service.

Kerrie Highcock, Family Development Manager at the North East Autism Society said: ‘We are delighted to hear Newcastle Airport have achieved ‘Very Good’ in the latest CAA Accessibility Report.

We have worked in partnership with the team at the airport for a number of years, this has included the development of the Autism Passport and bespoke Accessibility Guides for customers. The aim of this work is to change attitudes, increase staff knowledge and make environmental adjustments to make the journey through the airport better for everyone.

We look forward to continue this partnership going forward into 2021.’

Summer holidays to return? – Virgin Atlantic announces flying programme

Virgin Atlantic has announced its flying programme for summer 2021 with services operating from London Heathrow, Manchester, Glasgow and Belfast.

As countries start to lift travel restrictions and demand for travel has surfaced, Virgin Atlantic will steadily increase passenger flying in the second half of the year, with further gradual recovery through 2021.

Virgin Atlantic will operate flights to 24 destinations from London Heathrow during summer 2021, including Barbados, Delhi, Havana, Las Vegas, New York JFK and Orlando. It will also increase the recently launched route to Tel Aviv to twice daily. The airline will continue to operate flights from Manchester Airport, flying to Atlanta, Orlando, New York JFK, Barbados and Los Angeles during summer 2021. Seasonal flights from Glasgow and Belfast to Orland will also be offered.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer, Virgin Atlantic commented: ‘As the Covid-19 crisis stabilises and demand gradually returns, we are looking forward to welcoming our customers back and flying them safely to their favourite destinations. We have taken the opportunity to pause, reflect and reshape our 2021 flying programme looking at efficiencies in our fleet and connectivity across our network, to ensure it is fit for the future, flying to the destinations we know our customers love to fly.

‘We’re delighted that our popular Tel Aviv service, which launched in September 2019, will now increase to double daily, whilst regional flying from Manchester, Glasgow and Belfast will continue to play an important part in offering choice to customers and connecting UK travellers to Orlando, Barbados, New York and Los Angeles.’

The 2021 schedule will be operated using a modern fleet of wide-body, twin-engine aircraft comprising of A330-300s, 787-9s, A350-1000s, as well as A330-200s before they retire in early 2022 as planned, the airline said.

Virgin Atlantic’s flights for summer 2021 will begin on March 28, 2021, and will be on sale from May 16, 2020.

London and Paris launch new campaign to end US vacation procrastination

London and Paris have come together for the first time in tourism history in a bid to end US millennial vacation procrastination, according to a release by London and Partners.

The move comes as a new research found that US millennials are putting off activities compared to any other generation. From getting up in the morning to checking something off their bucket list, American 18-34 year olds are hitting the ‘snooze’ button on their life more than their Generation X and baby boomer counterparts, it said. The most common things that millennials put off include getting up when the alarm goes off as well as calling parents.

More significantly, more millennials are reportedly putting off taking a vacation from work (43 percent) and doing something on their bucket list (55 percent) than any other generation. For 35 years+, 36 percent put off taking a vacation from work and 49 percent put off pursuing things on their bucket list respectively, it said.

Following the findings of the research, London and Paris have come together to encourage people to travel, as only 1 in 10 millennial Americans (eight percent) having visited both cities, while over seven out of 10 (72 percent) have expressed a desire to visit both destinations as part of one vacation. Visit London, Paris Tourist Office and Eurostar are now promoting a campaign which urges US travellers to make #oneepictrip now to discover over 177 Michelin restaurants, 325 museums and galleries, 371 theatres and over 490 nightclubs across the two European capitals, separated by a short rail journey of just over two hours.

Laura Citron, chief executive of Visit London said: ‘Vacation procrastination seems to be a very real problem, with more people than ever putting off taking a break to check experiences off their bucket lists. We want to change that.

‘We know that once people experience London and Paris, they fall in love and want to visit again and again to discover more. Just over 2 hours apart, whether it’s enjoying an Instagrammable afternoon tea at Sketch in central London or hovering over Paris in Ballon Generali; riding down the Champs Elysees in a sidecar with Retro Tour Paris, or zipping up the Thames in a speedboat rib, visitors can flit easily between the two European capitals and uncover all they have to offer.

‘These are destinations that have inspired some of the most prolific minds in the world, from Shakespeare to Monet and that passion and vitality can be felt by all that make the journey.’

Pierre Schapira, Chairman of Paris Tourist Office said: ‘Let’s keep things simple: 2 incredible cities, 2 different cultures, a little more than 2 hours apart by Eurostar. If you’re someone who wants to get the most out of life, why pass up the opportunity to experience London and Paris in one go? With so many experiences on offer, you’ll need a whole lifetime. So, don’t wait! Start checking off those bucket list must-dos now.’

Ryanair launches 2017 schedule in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Liverpool

Ryanair, the Irish low-fares airline, has launched its record Edinburgh summer schedule for 2017, with five new routes to Barcelona G, Ibiza, Milan, Porto and Vigo, as the airline expects to grow its Edinburgh traffic by eight percent in 2017 to over 2.5m p.a.

Ryanair’s Edinburgh 2017 schedule will see more frequencies to sun destinations for summer holidays, including five new routes to Barcelona Girona (twice weekly), Ibiza (twice weekly), Milan (five weekly), Porto (twice weekly) and Vigo (twice weekly); new summer routes to Warsaw (thrice weekly) and more flights to Palma (twice weekly), Rome (five weekly) and Tenerife (five weekly). The schedule will operate 38 routes in total, delivering 2.5m customers p.a.

In Edinburgh, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said: ‘We are pleased to launch our biggest ever Edinburgh Summer 2017 schedule, which includes 5 new routes to Barcelona G, Ibiza, Milan, Porto and Vigo, and a new summer route to Warsaw which will deliver over 2.5m million customers p.a. and support 1,800* jobs at Edinburgh Airport.

‘Customers can look forward to even lower fares when they make advance bookings for summer 2017. As our recent guidance confirmed, Ryanair expects average fares to fall by between 10% to 12% in the 6 months to March 2017. There’s never been a better time to book a low fare flight on Ryanair and we urge all customers who wish to book their summer 2017 holidays to do so now on the website, where they can avail of the lowest fare air travel to and from Edinburgh.

‘To celebrate the launch of our Edinburgh summer 2017 schedule we are releasing 100,000 seats for sale across our European network from just £19.99, which are available for booking until Monday (12 Sep). Since these amazing low prices will be snapped up quickly, customers should log onto and avoid missing out.’

The Irish airline has also announced its Glasgow summer schedule for 2017, with four new routes from Glasgow International to Lisbon, Palanga (Lithuania), Valencia and Zadar (Croatia), and a new route from Glasgow Prestwick to Barcelona G; six new summer routes to Alicante, Brussels, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Malaga and Sofia and more frequency to Berlin.

Further, Ryanair has announced its Liverpool summer 2017 schedule, with three new routes to Bari, Barcelona Girona and Prague, two new summer services to Marrakech and Sofia, and more flights to Alicante, Faro, Gran Canaria, Palma and Warsaw. Ryanair celebrated the launch of its Liverpool summer schedule and new routes by launching a 100,000 seat sale at prices starting from £19.99, across its entire European network, for travel in October and November, which must be booked by midnight Monday, September 12.

London voted favourite UK city for sixth straight year


London has won two prestigious accolades at the annual Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards 2016, London & Partners said in a release.

The UK capital was ranked as the Best UK City for the 6th consecutive time, and Best UK City for Restaurants and Bars for the second consecutive year. The top five UK cities in that order include London, Edinburgh, Bath, Glasgow and Salisbury.

The results of the 19th annual survey are based on millions of votes submitted by readers of the Conde Nast Traveller magazine.

The awards comes as recent research from London & Partners, the Mayor’s official tourism body for London, found last year that international visitors made 18.7 million visits to the city’s cultural centres – nearly 1.8 million more than in 2012. A not-for-profit public private partnership, London & Partners aims to build London’s international reputation and to attract investment and visitor spend, which create jobs and growth.

London’s hotels have also won 12 of the top 15 UK Business Hotels awards, with the Soho Hotel winning silver for best UK Holiday Hotel. Three of the city’s spas also topped the UK Hotel Spas category, viz. The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, The Bulgari Spa at Bulgari Hotel & Residences, and ESPA Life at Corinthia Hotel London.

Julie Chappell, Head of, the official city guide from London & Partners, said: ‘These awards have come at a perfect time for London, as the capital is primed to stage yet another fantastic blockbuster season of culture – which is the main reason tourists visit the city.

‘London’s culinary scene and nightlife are clearly going from strength to strength, with cuisines from every corner of the globe, eclectic and traditional bars and pubs, and 65 Michelin-star restaurants to enjoy – it’s no surprise that Conde Nast readers have voted for the capital’s bars and restaurants’.

Separate research carried out by TCI Research, an UNWTO accredited company, on behalf of London & Partners, also revealed that London’s thriving tourism industry is set to continue post-Brexit, as two thirds of Americans who visited in the last two years have said that they will definitely return due to a more favourable exchange rate, London & Partners noted. American results are based on a representative sample of 509 respondents from the USA, men and women, aged from 18 to 65, who have visited London at least once over the past two years, it added.

bmi regional offers 50-seater jet for aspiring James Bonds

bmi regional, the UK-based regional airline, will offer aspiring secret agents private jets from £300 per person per day, ahead of the latest instalment from the world’ favourite spy in November.

Budding Secret Service agents looking for successful international exploits and secret stakeouts can hire a 50-seater jet aircraft from bmi regional for their own private use, which includes full in-flight service. bmi regional offers private charter of its 50-seater Embraer aircraft – decorated with a personal livery, if required – starting from £15,000 per day.

Based on 50 passengers travelling from a UK airport to a short haul destination like the south of France, Croatia or Switzerland, the cost stands at £300 per person including full in-flight service.

Flyers and guests can choose their own schedule, a UK departure airport and a short haul destination – and even have their own name, or an alias for undercover operations, on the aircraft exterior. The aircraft can fly and return within the day, while flyers may choose a classified trip to Cannes, top-secret mission to Milan or a National Security mission in Scandinavia.

Lee Rennie, Head of Charter at bmi regional, said: ‘We’re sure that many agents, diplomats and undercover operatives have hired bmi regional aircraft but further details are strictly on a ‘need to know’ basis. The comfort, convenience and cost of a private jet makes it an obvious choice for those on a mission, whether it be for business or pleasure.’

With over 70 years of flying expertise, bmi regional has significant experience in offering personalised solutions to suit private charter requirements. Full in-flight service with full bar service are included and are customisable to exact dietary or special requirements.

Brittany Ferries UK offers more pet-friendly holidays for 2015

Brittany Ferries has added more pet-friendly holidays for 2015 for UK holidaymakers.

The move comes as the number of pets travelling on Brittany Ferries has increased for the sixth year in a row. For 2014 they totalled 57,670, up almost five percent on 2013. To cater for this growing demand the company has expanded its range of pet-friendly hotels, campsites, gites, cottages and villas to over 800 in total.

And for travellers wanting to stay with their pet during the crossing, Brittany Ferries offer pet-friendly cabins travelling to both France and Spain. The cabins feature a hygienic, laminated floor and offer plenty of room for a dog basket, along with open deck walking areas.

Christiane Barker, General Manager Holidays, commented: ‘With the ever-increasing costs of boarding kennels in the UK, it makes sense to take the family pet with you on holiday, particularly as many properties make no charge. Being less stressful for the pet and more fun for the family, it’s a win-win for everyone. It’s also worth remembering that if you book before 10th February, you can save 20% on the price of the holiday.’

Pet-friendly properties featuring in Brittany Ferries’ offer include Mobile Home in Village le Domaine d’Inly, southern Brittany and Gite in northern Brittany. Mobile Home is close to holiday spots such as the golden cliffs of Mine d’Or and the fishing port of Trehiguier, and features forest lands with a lake and its own horse riding centre. Gite is a three bedroom detached property, renovated with stone walls and terracotta floors, with a shower room and a lounge with inset fireplace. It also offers the bonus of available swimming in the Trieux River nearby.

The charges for a week in late July 2015 for two adults, two children and a dog with car is around GBP940.00, if booked before February 10, including return ferry crossings and cabins both ways.

Brittany Ferries offers a pet-friendly property search option on its website, as well as a section dedicated to pet owners giving hints and tips and information on the pet passport scheme.


UK holidaymakers urged to carry ATOL certificate

Holidaymakers in the UK are being urged to carry their ATOL certificate when setting off on their summer holiday.

Ahead of the summer holiday season, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is advising passengers to make sure that they have easy access to their ATOL certificate when abroad. The certificate may be a paper copy, or as a document or attachment that could be accessed on a mobile phone or tablet device.

The advice comes as more than eight million passengers are expected to depart the UK for a relaxing summer break, despite the excellent weather at home.

The ATOL certificate authenticates that the holiday is financially protected and also confirms the agency protecting it. The authentication would imply that if the travel company fails, tourists will be refunded – or if already abroad, repatriated at no extra cost.

The ATOL certificate also explains what to do and who to contact if a travel operator fails.

Head of ATOL, Andy Cohen, said: ‘So long as you have an ATOL certificate you can rest assured your holiday is financially protected and, if your travel company collapses you will not lose out.

If you are yet to fly, we will make sure you receive a full refund and if you are abroad we will work to ensure you can finish your trip without disruption. It is important to take your ATOL certificate with you abroad, so you know what to do and who to contact, and you can continue to enjoy your holiday with the minimum of hassle.’

‘Many holidaymakers will be looking to snap-up a last minute deal with the hope of getting a cheaper price. However please don’t be too hasty and make sure you check the travel operator is ATOL protected and once booked you should receive an ATOL certificate immediately,’ he added.

By law, all holidaymakers buying an air holiday from a UK-based travel operator will receive an ATOL certificate. In case an ATOL holder collapses the primary source of funding is the Air Travel Trust (ATT), the CAA says in its release.


Thomson predicts the holiday trends for 2014

Holiday company, Thomson, is expecting millions of British holidaymakers to go online during the yearend to plan their 2014 vacation.

Looking ahead, Thomson has predicted the expected destination hotspots and emerging travel trends for British holidaymakers for the next year.

While Mediterranean countries like Greece, Spain and Cyprus remain popular destinations for Brits, Thomson is expecting demand for further away and less known holiday spots in 2014. In the last 12 months, one in five, or 20 percent of web searches, were for long-haul holidays, it said.

In 2013 bookings for Thomson and Thomson Cruise’s long haul destinations increased by 28 percent on the previous year, and this is expected to further increase for 2014. Based on past bookings data, the emerging destinations for Thomson & Thomson Cruises include Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Khao Lak, Thailand; Croatia, Mauritius, Jamaica, Sochi, Russia, Panama, Ukraine, Montenegro and the Roatan, Honduras.

Planning weddings in sunny destinations has been another growing trend over the past decade, a trend that is expected to increase in 2014. Thomson saw an increases of almost 100 percent in the volume of traffic to its Weddings homepage in 2013.

Based on early booking patterns, Thomson predicts that the most popular months for weddings abroad in 2014 will be May and September, besides the traditional wedding months of June, July and August in the UK.

Greece, including its islands, is predicted to be the first choice for families looking for a refreshing and inspiring holiday break next year. Almost a quarter of Greek holidays sold were on a half board basis In 2013, and this is expected to increase in 2014, Thomson said, adding that it will increase its capacity by 9 percent across the country to meet rising demand.

Jeremy Ellis, marketing director at Thomson, said: ‘Understanding where our customers are going and why is key to us delivering the very best holiday experiences. 2013 has seen some interesting trends emerging so we look to 2014 with excitement as we use this knowledge to give our customers the high level of choice and service that they have grown to expect, for an even better holiday in 2014.’