Summer Holiday Deals Under a Monkey!

30 May 2013

Summer Holiday Deals

Apologies for the cockney reference (‘Monkey’ = £500) but we’re excited. None of these deals are literally under a real monkey. That would be ridiculous.

As summer approaches (perhaps in name only), the time has come to plan an excursion to a country that perhaps knows a little more about what summer entails (hot weather, no low cloud, fewer sheets of unforgiving cold rain, etc.). Luckily, the thoughtful souls at a certain leading international shipping company for those moving things around the world have found a number of deals priced under £500 for those looking for an affordable trip this summer.

Airholidays are offering a sensational deal to Crete for 7 nights at the Aquis Silva Beach Resort including flights and free transfers from £325 pp. Not to be sniffed at. This offer is valid in June, September and October.

For a more relaxed city break, we recommend Travelwasp’s offer to stay 3 nights in Amsterdam at a 4 star hotel between June and September. Expect to fork out a mere £159 pp for the privilege.

Southall Travel are currently providing flights to Dubai for £353 return including taxes, allowing you soak up the sun, do a little shopping and revel in the uneasy affluence of this billionaires’ playground.

Fancy an all-inclusive trip to Turkey this summer, staying in the Halici Semera Holiday Village in Marmaris? Broadway Travel will charge you an unbeatable £249 pp. 

Another matchless city break offer comes from Packageholidays4less who are offering 3 nights in Barcelona at the 4 star Salles Pere IV Hotel for only £189 pp. This offer includes flights plus a free Montjuic cable car ride!  Plus if you eat out in the city, you may also find your table being waited on by a man who looks like Peter Sellers. That’s what happened to me. If you see him, say hi.

If you need a little help with excess baggage for your summer holiday, don't forget to get a free online shipping quote from us. We're shameless, but we're also great at what we do.

Posted in: Holidays, Travel

Village People Person - Travels in Malawi by Travis Monk

28 May 2013

Travels in Malawi

Our own travel writer Travis Monk takes a look at village life in Malawi and the travails of an intrepid travel writer with far too many bags to carry on his adventures. Should you wish to unleash the travel writer within, grab a quick online shipping quote to see how much we could save you at the airport with all your excess baggage needs.

Driving through Malawi for international shipping company Seven Seas Worldwide in what we westerners would call ‘rush hour’, it struck me how that there’s not much of a difference between the city commuter and the Malawi villager: when the sun sets, we want to go home to our families. The only disparity is that the Malawi villager prepares food and interacts with their children, whereas we grab something in a microwavable pouch and watch Masterchef. The sun doesn’t really set in Malawi; it drops. The moment it changes colour, it plummets like a stone behind the horizon and within seconds, you become nothing more than a mosquito banquet in the unforgiving darkness.

I was looking for a lodge to rest my head for the night but due to the fact that my jeep was rather cumbersome (plus I was also towing a cage full of agitated cheetahs) it was clear no one would be fluffing a pillow or changing the sheets for this recipient of the ‘Colgate Silver Tongue Travel Writer Award 2006’ (North-West Finals).

As I stopped to break up a fight amongst my precious cargo, a farmer approached me with two boys. They were very friendly and we attempted to communicate with one another with hand signals, drawings and elaborate shadow puppetry. From our disjointed conversation, I had worked out that I had been offered a place to stay. As they lead me to an undisclosed location, I was still a touch concerned that they might rob me, so I threw all my valuables into a nearby swamp to be on the safe side.

I needn’t have worried because soon I found myself standing outside a mud hut with ample parking. The farmer informed me I could have the guest bedroom. I had landed on my feet, although there was a problem when it came to requesting a mosquito net and was presented with a piece of material no bigger than a stamp. ‘It’s a bit small,’ I said. ‘So are mosquitoes,’ said the farmer. We quarrelled for a little while but our argument was cut short when we ran out of paper.

The next morning, I opened my window and looked out over the beauty of Lake Malawi, winding across the landscape like a silvery cable leading to an enormous, though out-of-sight, Apple product. It wasn’t long before a local tradesman appeared and shouted up to my window: “Hello, my friend! England, yes? Wayne Rooney! David Beckham, yes? Hugh Grant! Leveson Inquiry, yes?” I nodded and waved, though I realised only a face-to-face encounter would convince this opportunistic seller that I wasn’t interested in his suitcase of questionable merchandise.

“Hello, my friend!” he said again as I put on my ‘Keep Calm and Write a Pretentious Blog’ T-shirt and squelched through the mud to greet him. He wore a red vest with combat shorts, open-toe sandals and a winning smile which he kept in his thigh pocket. He opened his suitcase to reveal a variety of watches, sportswear and assorted gifts. “Gift for your wife?” he said, showing me a car battery. I declined on account of the fact that I already got her one for her birthday. “Do you have children, my friend?” he asked, producing a puff adder in a biscuit tin. Again, I refused his generous yet deadly offer, irked somewhat by his presence obstructing the paradisiacal view of the lake.

As I watched him depart to deal with a group of agitated cheetahs attacking his car, it made me think about how in some corners of the globe, a traveller needs an equal amount of trust and suspicion if they are to reach their particular piece of paradise. Luckily, I reached mine because I’m an award-winning travel writer (Thomas Cook Writer of the Month, April 2002).

Posted in: Travel, Holidays

Where to Go (and Where Not to Go) in Malaysia

25 April 2013

Visiting Malaysia

It seems many people tend to gloss over going to Malaysia as a holiday destination. Thailand is usually the preferred country in Southeast Asia, particularly among student backpackers and those keen to do a bit of ‘living’ before surrendering to the inevitable securities of middle age. But Malaysia has just as much to offer, so as a way of tipping the balance a little, here are some places to go and things to do if you're thinking of a Malaysia holiday. Or are shipping something to Malaysia and want to find out more about where your parcel is going. You know, so you can be sure it'll be happy when it gets there.

Firstly, we recommend Penang which is both a state in West Malaysia and a separate island on the northwest coast. Penang is home to a tropical rainforest climate all year round, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the form of George Town, cultural festivals and street food that's worth moving to Malaysia for alone (check out Gurney Drive).

Of course there’s the capital city of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia with its magnificent Petronas Twin Towers - two giant, imposing symbols of Malaysia’s economic development, standing at the heart of the city like robot legs missing a body. The presence of Malay, Indian and Chinese communities ensures a healthy cultural scene and some exceptional cuisine too. However, the concentrated hub of affluence in Kuala Lumpur, surrounded by impoverished communities may leave a sour taste in the mouth for some.

Malacca in the Malay Peninsula is also a World Heritage site and boasts a rich variety of cultural and colonial landmarks such as the Malacca Sultanate Palace Museum and St Paul’s Church. The old town in Malacca is a beautiful and undisturbed place to visit and counter-balance the extremes of the capital.

Perhaps an area of Kuala Lumpur to avoid is Petaling Street, a Chinatown notorious for its pirated merchandise and bootleg DVDs of films that haven’t stopped shooting yet. As you bargain with a market trader over a fake designer watch or an imitation handbag, remember that you will never get the upper hand. Every piece of junk is made in sweatshops for a pittance and whatever price the trader agrees, you will always be walking away with something you’ve paid far too much for. Plus, think about the extra baggage a spending spree will create (though, naturally, we'll be happy to help you with any excess luggage you may accumulate). If you do pass through Petaling Street, stop only for the hawker food.

As with many tourist destinations, you will find people driving around claiming to be taxi drivers. Hop into one of these without checking their validity and you could find yourself being charged ten times the original fare. It’s best to hail a cab rather than approach a man leaning against his vehicle, waiting for you to emerge from a bar or restaurant. The genuine cabs never park up unless they’re at a legitimate taxi rank.

So there you go. Have fun, stay safe and remember, if you find yourself with excess baggage travelling to or from Malaysia, have a chat with us.

Oh, despite what you may see in Petaling Street, Fast and Furious 12 hasn’t come out yet.

Posted in: Holidays, Travel

Early Summer Holiday Deals

12 April 2013

Early Summer Holiday Deals

According to someone in meteorology who presumably doesn’t have a window to look out of, summer is approaching, and there are a myriad of affordable holiday packages for those wishing to holiday abroad for a week or two to sunnier climes (or just sunny climes would be nice) so we’ve compiled a list of some of the most enticing offers currently available. We may work in international shipping but that doesn't mean we're all about logistics and boxes - we know a thing or two about the best places to visit too. (Though if you do have any future excess baggage concerns, you know who to chat to.)

Package Holidays is offering trips to Turkey with prices starting from £303pp. With a choice of 8 departure airports, a stay at the 4 star Manas Park Oludeniz Hotel and free shuttle bus transfers from the airport to the hotel and hotel to the beach, this is an unbeatable offer from Package Holidays.

For those looking for one of those typical ‘sunny beaches/tropical paradise’-type holidays, take a look at the offer from Tropical Sky, providing a 7 night break to Barbados from £749pp. It’s one of those places where you take a picture of the clear waters from your hammock and then use it as a screensaver back home to torture yourself with for the next few years. 

Package Holidays is also giving people the opportunity to escape to Majorca for a week at just £300pp making a saving of 38%. This deal comes with a 7 night stay at the Ola Club Maioris Hotel and an all inclusive board.

Our hot choice of the month is Tunisia. Yes, it’s our hot choice. Very hot. You shouldn’t even read this bit without wearing oven gloves. A1 Travel is offering 37% off a holiday package to Marhaba Beach Resort in Sousse at £308pp. But hurry, places available are flying off the imaginary shelf.

Fancy flying to the Altinkaya Holiday Resort in Cyprus from just £299? That’s a whopping 33% off the brochure price at Cyprus Paradise. Enjoy the beauty of the Kyrenia mountain range (where the resort is located) and explore the fascinating ancient sites that North Cyprus is famous for.

Remember, should you find yourself with one suitcase too many, check out how we can solve any excess baggage problems today and save you a whole bunch of hassle and money at the airport.

Posted in: Holidays, Travel

Don't Buy This Stuff (4)

08 April 2013

Excess Baggage Ideas

It’s amazing how frequently we can write a blog post about new worthless yet purchasable gadget shop tat but here we are.

Of course, this blog post isn’t just about gadgets. We throw the net wider to incorporate all manner of items that you don’t need and shouldn’t buy. As a global shipping company, we believe that holidaymakers should be made aware of the junk thrown at them as a targeted demographic - shiny junk in nice packaging, but junk nonetheless.

Skyfall was not only a terrible James Bond film, it was also a terrible film in its own right – half-baked, badly-acted, illogical, sexist, dated nonsense. What signal did that lady give to James Bond that she wanted him to join her in the shower? None. But in he went – because he’s a presumptuous old lecher. Luckily, the one saving grace of this tedious film which somehow turned Javier Bardem into an ironing board in a wig, was the presence of a really nice rifle case which has inspired this limited edition suitcase from Globe Trotter. Only £5000!

For those going on holiday with their baby son or daughter, please don’t. A baby? What’s wrong with you? What do you expect them to do? They won’t remember anything. They just want milk and sleep, not hidden excess baggage fees and hotel bar entertainment.

If you haven’t just changed your mind however, you might be interested in the Guava Family GoCrib Portable Travel Crib from The Fancy. It’s a funky, portable, lightweight tent/crib that folds into a backpack. Sounds great, of course, but anyone who’s ever erected one of these things on the beach knows that a stiff wind will take it into a bordering country before you can say 'nap time'.

You know what it’s like when you go on a camping holiday. Well, I hope you do anyway, because I don’t. I like warmth and walls and bars that serve wine, so camping isn’t my thing.  But you know what it’s like when you go camping – so much equipment to carry, so much time wasted pitching the tent, so much…hmm, no I can’t think of a third thing. But anyway, if you’re plagued by these concerns, look no further than the Jakpak from Firebox – a tent, sleeping bag and mosquito net that folds into a jacket! It’s an ingenious idea, until you see the promotional pictures of a young man wrapped in what looks like an ill-fitting body bag. I know nothing about camping but even I can see the ‘tent’ in the JakPak looks like it’s been designed to accommodate half a ladybird. Only £150. 

That price again. One hundred and fifty pounds. Seriously. Put it in an ISA or something. Or, if you decide you really do need to take this along with every other gadget and widget you own on holiday with you, look at an excess baggage service like ours - it'll save you a bundle on those airline fees. Really.

Posted in: Travel, Packing