Essential kit for travel in Europe: the smartphone?

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 27-04-2011

Travelling in Europe can provide experiences that will stay with you for a lifetime.  There are several key issues to consider when you are preparing for your trip.  After you decide where you want to go, three of the main logistical issues are navigation, arranging cheap travel, and finding affordable accommodation.  Smartphones can now help make short work of addressing all three issues when travelling in Europe, but the devices can also present problems in themselves – here we look at some of these issues.

Guide and phrase books were essential pieces of kit just a few years ago, and the need for the information contained within has not diminished.  The advent of the app supported by the smartphone, however, has not only supplanted the printed word as a source of information but now often provides many solutions to the logistical issues outlined above.

There is always an argument about the type of experience that you wish to have while travelling, with instant access to information perhaps an unwelcome barrier to the romance of getting a bit lost and truly exploring.  However, you don’t always need to have a smartphone switched on, and the devices can provide a useful backup and a degree of security when travelling alone.  If you will be travelling with such expensive equipment, make sure that you check out the terms of your travel insurance.

Stipulations such as high excess payments, or relatively low single item limitations in the travel insurance package can be a real let down should something happen to your smartphone, especially if you are using the full capacity of the device to navigate, and arrange travel and accommodation.  Make sure that you take some time over the purchase of a travel insurance package before you set off, and check the detail of policy.  Comprehensive cover need not be expensive these days, thanks to the increased market competition created by the newer players in the travel insurance field like Santander, as long as you can take the time to shop around a little.

Another issue to consider that can have a major impact on the cost of your travel are the roaming charges incurred for using a mobile while abroad.  Downloading information in particular can cost a small fortune if you find yourself on the wrong mobile package.  Just as with travel insurance, this is something you need to check out before you set off on your travels, especially if you are relying heavily on a smartphone for accessing information.  Sometimes, bypassing the roaming process by buying a new sim card and using the local mobile network directly is the most cost effective answer, but this requires some research.

Unfortunately, when it comes to mobile charges, this information will often have to be gathered on a country by country basis.  Perhaps easier is to use local internet cafes as well as your smartphone whenever possible, especially when downloading maps and other data heavy information that can be sent to your phone free via Bluetooth connection.

Summer 2011 in Edinburgh – what’s going on

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 20-04-2011

Edinburgh is a fantastic city to visit at any time, there are plenty of all year round attractions such as the Zoo and Edinburgh Castle which make it fantastic for holidays.  During the summer 2011 however, there are a number of things going on which tourists may want to know about before they book their holiday so they can plan to be there for the events they most want to be a part of.

Imaginate Festival – 9th to 15th May 2011
This festival has been going on for 21 years now, and celebrates world class performing arts for kids.  It takes place at various locations across the city offering workshops, plays and much more.

Edinburgh International Tango Festival – 27th to 30th May 2011
The festival is organised by the Edinburgh Tango society and you can learn from visiting masters, take your first tango steps in beginners workshops or see some of the best tangoers in the world perform. www.eitf.org.uk

Leith Festival – 10th to 19th June 2011
A ten day community arts festival with over 150 events spread across 50 venues around Leith.  www.lethfestival.com

Edinburgh International Film Festival – 15th to 26th June 2011
This incredible festival is in its 65th year now and showcases the best new British and International film making.  From documentaries to short films, animation to world premiers.  Takes place at a number of venues across Edinburgh. www.edfilmfest.org.uk

Royal Highland Show – 23rd to 26th June 2011
A festival of Scotlands farming, food and rural life with best produce from around Scotland and demonstrations from some of the best Scottish chefs.  Livestock competitions, childrens events, arts, crafts and fashion all go to make this a great weekend for the whole family.  www.royalhighlandshow.org

Edinburgh International Book Festival – 13th to 29th August 2011
This is the largest celebration of the written word in the world.  Writers, bring entertainment and inspiration to Edinburgh.  With talks, book signings and more across the city.

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo – 5th to 27th August 2011
This tremendous outdoor spectacle presents performers from across the globe both military and civilian all set against the magnificent backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburgh International Festival – 12th August to 4th September 2011
This world renowned festival brings together the best in classical music, theatre, opera, dance and visual arts from around the world and takes place in venues across Edinburgh.

Cheap flights to Edinburgh are simple enough to find there days from anywhere in the world due to its fantastic international airport.  Those closer to home can reach the city by train, car or coach too.