Thursday, 27 September 2007

Really Expensive Flights!

I just did a few checks with my regular travel agent on the price of a flight ticket to London next year and was really shocked to find it in the regions of RM4,500 plus tax! The airport tax portion alone was already around RM1,000 which is really extremely high!

I also asked her to check up on the Middle Eastern airlines and those were slightly cheaper but will mean having to take a transit through either Dubai or Bahrain. I guess we're okay with either as we've never been that way before. But for now, I'm just waiting to see if any promotions come out towards year end which will enable us to get cheaper flights.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Expiring Nights

I had 3 nights of my timeshare programme expiring by early November. It's such a waste to just let them lapse and I wasn't sure of my ability to take leave then due to the coming festive holidays so last weekend, I gave my dad 2 nights for him to use in his coming Bangkok trip. I've put through the booking and am now waiting for their response. I do hope it goes through! At least my nights wouldn't go to waste and my parents can have a nice hotel to stay in when they're in Bangkok.

Lose That Weight

When I was in UK two months ago, I noticed a new diet revolution that seemed to be sweeping across the nation. Every other newspaper, advertisement and magazine was touting the powers of the hoodia patch in helping people successfully lose their unwanted pounds and keep it off! It’s a herb that has weight loss properties which have been harnessed by scientists to help those with obesity or weight problems. It seems like we’re starting to turn back to ancient herbs and cures for our modern day illnesses.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Tips & Tricks

I recently took part in a great project organised by Daily Blog Tips. It brought together bloggers from all over the world to share their tips and tricks on everything and anything! It was amazing how much I learnt from those bloggers, from career to technology and blog and site optimization tricks, there's something for everyone!

So, I'm putting up the list of great tricks I've learnt. Hopefully you find them just as useful too! :)

Blogging

Business & Career

Entertainment

Food

Health & Fitness

Make Money Online

Photography

Technology & Internet

Travel

Web Development & SEO

Random Topics


Shopping Cart Software



When I was traveling last month to UK, I happened to be seated next to a man who was constantly working on his laptop all throughout the flight. Curious as to what he was doing with such intent, I asked him what he was working on. It turned out that he was an entrepreneur who owned his own online store selling all kinds of designer gowns at knock down prices. He promised me they were original and he managed to sell them cheaper as he had a cheaper source of getting them. He was trying to revamp his site on the long flight and installing a new shopping cart feature on his site to make it even easier for his buyers to shop online now. He told me that this new software he found makes it so easy for him to build a highly professional, user-friendly and secure site for just a low monthly fee. It integrates all major payment sources, from banks to gateways and even Paypal so it makes it easier for his customers to shop at his site. I came away rather impressed with his site and ended up being very tempted by some of the dresses there!

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Much Shorter Route

Continuing from my last post, what do you think is the shortest route to West Africa? Well, when I had to make a trip there 2 years ago, we took an unconventional route.

Most of my colleagues who had to travel there always took the Paris route which was long as a flight to Paris was already 13 hours added with another 7 hours down to West Africa. So, when we went, my boss at that time opted to try going via Kenya on Kenya Airways. It was a much better flight as it broke the journey up into two flights of approximately 8+ hours each and we arrived in West Africa around noon.That gave us enough time to catch a full night's sleep before the day started the next day.

On our way home, we had a 12 hour transit in Kenya but that was great fun as the airlines had provided a hotel room in a swanky hotel which we didn't get to use much as we were too busy going on a short safari in Nairobi! That was truly quite a memorable trip for me and someday I'll definitely wish to return to South Africa for a proper safari on the Serengeti Plains.

Longest Route to Africa

A colleague of mine has been sent yet again to West Africa. Poor guy! West Africa really isn't my idea of a holiday!

His secretary was booking the tickets for him and when I stole a peek at his itinerary, I was surprised to see that he was taking one of the longest and worst routes there which was via the Middle East and Casablanca. That route always arrived in West Africa in the early hours of the morning which left not much time to rest as the work day starts almost always immediately.

So what's the fastest route there? It's coming up in my next post!

Travel Booting Up Again

I just got news from a colleague that we may be scheduled for travel yet again next week. Boohoo...it's my birthday on Friday and I don't want to be celebrating it by myself in some foreign land! :(

I'm hoping that I wouldn't have to go on this trip. Let's keep my fingers crossed. At times like this, I really wish there was some way we could just teleport ourselves over. It'll save so much time, fatigue and traveling costs!

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Flight Options

We have yet to finalise our travel dates for our UK trip next year. This is making it a little difficult for us to book our accommodation and flight packages. Nevertheless, I've been on the lookout for airline ticket fares and was shocked to see how expensive some of them are. A ticket is ranging between RM3k upwards, depending on the carrier. I guess if we were prepared to fly the Middle Eastern airlines which do a stopover in the Gulf, we might be able to get them cheaper.

Will see how it goes.

London Serviced Apartment

Our last trip to London was really fun. We managed to get a service apartment for the whole family at a really great price. We had actually booked a smaller apartment but due to its unavailability, they upgraded us to a much bigger one instead. It was a completely furnished apartment with swanky Brabantia bins and stylish microwave ovens. We had a great time there and loved the convenience of being able to whip up a quick breakfast or dinner instead of having to eat out all the time. It made our holiday extra fun! The next time we go, however, we’ll probably try to get our timeshare hotel rooms. Although less convenient, at least it’ll be free.

Korea Holiday

A friend just asked me if I would like to go to Korea with her and another friend at the end of the year. I was really really tempted to but unfortunately, I already have a trip to the UK planned for early next year which means lots of saving up for. And I've been told that hotels and things in Korea are very expensive so it wouldn't be a cheap holiday either. Otherwise I'll love to go to Korea. I've been told that there's lots to buy there!

Swanky Melbourne Apartment

When I was studying in Melbourne, I used to have some very rich friends who owned their own apartment. Once they had a party there and I was truly amazed at how luxurious their apartment was. It was a huge 3 bedroom apartment and since there was only 2 of them staying there, they had turned one room into a TV room complete with home theater lighting! It was really fun to watch movies in their place especially since we stayed in halls where we had to share a TV with the entire place!

Placement to the UK

I was supposed to go on a placement to the UK for a short stint there. However, until now, some details still remain unsorted so I guess I wouldn't be headed there so soon, not within this year at least. It suits me quite alright actually as I usually have holiday plans or festive plans towards the end of the year. Most people do wind down as December comes along and the festivities start so it's a good time to unwind after a busy year! Maybe I should take a trip down to Singapore this year with my travel buddy to check out the famous Orchard Lights!

Too Much Leave

I looked back at my leave form and realized that I’ve only applied for less than 10 days leave this year! Gasp! And it’s already the last quarter of the year! I have really broken my record this year! Usually, by this time of the year, I would have used up half of my leave already.

I’m not sure why this year is different. Maybe it was all that traveling that I had to do for work or just the need to save a little more money instead of blowing it all on an expensive holiday. Oh well, additional leave next year should come in very handy!

Monday, 17 September 2007

Great Home Improvement Site

I was in UK a month ago for work and since I was there, I took the opportunity to visit my friends who have settled down in London. They have been there a few years already so I wasn’t too surprised to hear that they had all started to put roots down there by investing in their own property. With the expensive rental in London, it only makes sense to put your money towards a mortgage for a home you can own. Since I was there on a weekend, my friends invited me along to look for furnishings for their new homes. They had an extensive list of Home Improvements they wished to carry out on their new home.

Top of their list was Anglian – the leading Home Improvement site for most UK residents as they offer a great range of home improvement ideas and services for a great price. Coming from a tropical country, one of the most important things on their list were double glazed UPVC windows specially designed to keep the cold and wind out. That would certainly make their home a lot warmer and help to save on heating bills as well. All their things come with clear and simple fitting instructions in English which makes DIY work easy. It was truly fun accompanying them on their trips. It made me wish I had a home to start home improvement work on too!

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Tips for a Great Holiday

We all love holidays but sometimes holidays can go terribly wrong or you may end up wasting lots of time without proper planning. So what can you do to ensure your holiday works out just the way you want it to be?
  • Always plan for your holiday early.
  • Book your flight tickets and accommodation early so you can take advantage of any special discounts.
  • Do lots of research on great sites such as Virtual Tourist or Tripadvisor to get honest reviews from travellers from all over the world on your destination.
  • Always check with your travel agent if you will require entry documents such as visas.
  • Pack early so you don't forget important stuff such as passports and foreign currency.
  • Plan a rough itinierary so you have an idea of what you wish to see or visit while there.

Most of all, enjoy yourself and have lots of fun! :)

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Get Your Tickets with Viagogo

I’ll be heading off to the UK and hopefully, Europe, early next year. So far the itinerary’s looking quite open and we’re still wondering what activities to indulge ourselves in while we’re there. One thing I really hope to catch is a performance by one of my favourite singers, Michael Buble. I was surfing around, looking for tickets and found a great site called Viagogo which is one of the leading ticket hubs in Europe which had Michael Buble Concert Tickets all over England! I could have the option of watching him in Nottingham, Bournemouth, Glasgow, Cardiff, Sheffield, Birmingham, Manchester or London. I’ll probably opt for the London one which will be held in Wembley Stadium as it will be closest to where I’ll be. My brother was also pleased to see that they had a huge range of Sports Tickets for the famous 2008 UEFA Football Match.

Viagogo is a novel site that brings together buyers and sellers of tickets from all over Europe. This gives hope to some of us who may be trying to get tickets for a popular concert, football match or theatre show that has been sold out. You have the option of looking for tickets at different prices, if you’re a buyer or selling your tickets for a decent price, if you’re a seller. I think it’s a great site for last minute travelers such as me who may decide to catch a concert or show on a whim. So if you’re headed over to Europe, don’t forget to check Viagogo before you go!


*This is a sponsored review*

Berjaya Nights Left

I just checked and found that I still have 3 nights left with my travel vacation club - Berjaya Holidays. These will expire by early November and I found that I have to complete my travel by then! Ironically, I joined this thinking that the 7 days they assign every year wouldn't be enough. Instead, now I find that I can barely finish using them up!

How ironical for someone like me who loves holidays!

Friday, 14 September 2007

Pain Relief When Travelling



Whenever we travel, we always make sure we pack a small kit of emergency medication for unwanted mishaps that might happen during our trip. Small things like Panadol or aspirin can be incredibly difficult to find in some smaller Third World countries and sometimes language barriers make buying medication from the pharmacies very difficult. We always ensure that we also pack a tube of Voltaren Emulgel as well whenever we travel. It’s a rub-in pain formula that provides fast relief from muscle and joint aches. It also works very well for sprains which came in very useful once when I was white-water rafting in Australia.

It contains an active ingredient called diclofenac which provides fast pain relief. Apparently the chemical can be harmful if ingested so do ensure that you keep it in a safe place away from children or pets. So, always ensure that you pack a little first aid kit before you travel filled with essentials like aspirin and pain relief medication or creams. Take a lesson from the Boy Scouts, always be prepared!

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Quiet Downtime

I haven't been asked to travel yet in these past few weeks and I do welcome the mad change. I know there's another trip looming on the horizon but am hoping a little that I wouldn't be put on it. It's my birthday month and the worst thing that could happen will be for me to be away on my birthday with no one to celebrate it with ;(

So I'm keeping my fingers crossed and lying low. Hopefully my quiet downtime continues!

Monday, 10 September 2007

Singapore Stint

I was in Singapore for a day trip last week. I don't really like day trips as they often work out pretty tiring with most of the time wasted on flying. However, for nearby places such as Singapore it works out okay as opposed to staying overnight there.

I like taking Singapore Airlines for these shuttle flights because they're the only airline I know that serves pink guava juice! One of my favourites! The flight was quite cold and they were quite nice about handing out blankets and pillows to those who needed them despite it just being a short hour-long flight.

In marked contrast, the Malaysia Airlines flight I took for the return was terribly hot and chaotic. It was a very full flight and for some reason, no one checked in their luggage so the whole plane was full of people trying to stuff their luggages into already crowded overhead compartments and holding up the queue of people trying to board. When asked, I was told that the airconditioning couldn't be turned on unless the engines were turned on! What a ridiculous excuse!

What a marked difference in flights. It makes me ashamed at times.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Little Casino Town

I was in Kazakhstan last month for work. I used to read about how the city we were going to, Almaty, used to have casinos at almost every corner. However, when we were there, I found that there wasn’t any poker tables in sight at all! We were later told that the Government had decided to move all casinos to a little mountain town away from the main cities. That way they could contain the casinos within one area for better control, just like what we did here. I think it’s a good idea and may actually help curtail gambling habits.

Special UK Trip

My dad recently graduated from his course and we’re all terribly proud. We were really excited too to hear the graduation announcements announcements from his college. They will be organising a special graduation ceremony in the East Coast on a nice beach resort. And after that, we’ll have his other graduation ceremony in London to look forward to. How exciting! We’ve all been waiting for this day for 3 years already and are really looking forward to the trip to London next year. Time to start booking those tickets!

DIY Cabinets

When I was a student in Australia, I used to love the fact that there were so many great outlets such as Harvey Normans, Bunnings and Ikea that made buying furniture and fittings so easy. When my friends got their rented house, they found some really nice cabinet hardware fittings for their new place. After buying it, they had the option of doing it themselves or getting someone in to fix it up for them for a small fee.
Harvey Normans and Ikea can be found here now so soon we’ll be spoilt for choice too!

Careful Driving

When I was recently in the UK for work, I noticed how much more polite and well-mannered the British drivers were on the road as opposed to the Malaysian drivers. Whenever we took the car from our hotel to our office, I noticed that the drivers were very careful about keeping to their speed limits. Later, I found out that most cars there had radar detectors installed in their cars. That way, they could detect speed traps along the way which helped them keep to the speed limits which made for much safer driving on the roads.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Bet in Comfort

I remember when I first went to Australia to study, I was amazed to see the number of poker machines and little casinos operating there. There seemed to be a casino in almost every block filled with little old men and women spending away their pension money! Now, thanks to the internet and technology, those who don’t want to be seen gambling in little seedy casinos can now do it via online gambling through Bet365!

It’s an interactive gambling site that provides a huge range of facilities for the serious better. Play poker or casino with like minded people from across the world through their interactive sites or play your own individual bets via their Sportsbook facility. All your money goes into their unique one wallet system which avoids having to transfer funds from one account to another. So if you don’t have the money to go to the famous casinos of Monte Carlo or London, do it in the comfort of your own home with Bet365!

Monday, 3 September 2007

Use Public Transport

It always pays to be extra careful whenever you are in a foreign country and intend to drive on their roads. A friend was on holiday in the US recently and chose to rent a car although he wasn’t familiar with the left-hand drive system there. He met with a minor accident with a parked car when he misjudged the direction of traffic. Unfortunately for him, the car owner was standing nearby and when he saw the car, he got incensed and started beating my friend up over a very minor dent although my friend was willing to pay the damages. Some passerbys heard the commotion and managed to help him but he’s decided to pursue the case with a Raleigh personal injury lawyer as he felt that the other man didn’t have the right to beat him up that way especially after he had offered to pay for damages. I think he’ll have quite a strong case but I still think it’s always better to stick to public transport in unfamiliar countries.

Interesting Souvenirs

I love walking in markets and quaint little curio shops whenever I travel. It’s amazing what little trinkets you can find in the dusty corners of those shops. My mom loves that too and over her many trips have carted back lots of pictures, little plates, dusty little salt and pepper shaker sets that looked wonderful when she cleaned them up and a big table lamp with some intricate native carvings. Looking for these stuff needs an eye and some imagination as it may not look very attractive when sitting dusty and forlorn in a dark shop. But with a little bit of cleaning or touching up, it can be a very interesting centerpiece indeed. So do keep your eyes peeled whenever you travel. Someone’s junk could end up being your treasure!

Horrid Plane Toilets

I can be quite a terrible traveler at times. I usually try to refrain from drinking too much water before a long flight simply because I don’t like using plane toilets. But sometimes I can’t help drinking more liquids and end up having to walk up and down the aisles and wait in line to use the tiny cramped toilet. I have a paranoia of it being dirty and horrible, especially when I once walked into one where the previous occupant didn’t know how to flush it! Sis always tells me I should get incontinence supplies or diapers instead during my long flights! Heh…