Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Beautiful Greece

I used to read a lot of Mills and Boons storybooks when I was younger. They always featured heroes and heroines marooned on some isolated Greek island. Through those stories, my interest in Greece has always been piqued and someday I really hope to visit that beautiful country with its rich culture. My fiancé has also been to Greece a number of times already and he always tells me he thinks that is a place I would love as the food is fantastic, the people wonderful, the hotels inexpensive and comfortable and the country simply beautiful. He had the opportunity to visit Chania, Crete several years back and he came back full of praises for the lovely place and its wonderful weather. I was truly envious when he told me about the blue of the Aegean Sea and the wonderful food. Now I hope to visit Greece someday too!

Thursday, 24 January 2008

European Trip

The bf is going off on yet another trip again after Chinese New Year. This time he is off to Europe and from what he told me, he will be covering quite a number of countries including Denmark, Copenhagen and even Iceland! I was in his office yesterday while he was making his hotel bookings and I was surprised to see how affordable his Denmark Hotels, Copenhagen Hotels and Iceland Hotels were when he booked through Cheaper Than Hotels. It was a really great site that provided excellent discounts for both the business traveler and tourist for good hotels which, in some cases, were smack in the middle of the city! He was considering checking out Reykjavik, often dubbed as “the nightlife capital of the north” in Iceland. However, although the prices for Reykjavik Hotels were reasonable, he was not sure if he would be able to fit it into his business schedule. If only I could tag along!

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Land of the LOTR

My relatives live in New Zealand and have been asking us to go visit them for quite a while already. In fact, my parents were actually planning a trip there some time next year and have asked us to start helping them look for good prices on flights and hotels. They are planning to cover as much of New Zealand as they can so I was pleased as punch when I came across this great site called Cheaperthanhotels that offered fantastic prices on Hotels in New Zealand. They covered hotels in both the North and South Island and had really good deals on Hotels in Wellington as well as Hotels in Christchurch. I know my parents would love Christchurch as the scenery there is said to be akin to that of England. Although my relatives live in Auckland they have also decided to stay in Hotels in Auckland as they do not really want to impose on my relatives plus have their own freedom to move around. I would love to go with them on this trip however it looks like it will be a very expensive one especially with the strength of the NZ Dollar!

Spanish Adventure

Unlike my siblings, I have hardly ever been to Europe and used to listen enviously to their stories about Spain and beautiful Barcelona. The bf also makes several trips there throughout his course of work and would always tell me about the wonderful food, great weather, friendly people and beautiful scenery. He usually gets to stay in nice Barcelona Hotels while he’s traveling there as it is on his company account. That’s really good for him as hotels can cost quite a bit in Spain especially when calculated in Euros. The other place that he sometimes goes to is Ramblas and he has also stayed in some good Ramblas Hotels there thanks to Cheaperthanhotels.com which gave his company a fantastic rate on hotels. I should start saving up for my own trip there especially since I would definitely like to stay in nice luxurious and comfortable Barcelona Hotels! Spanish readers may access great rates for Barcelona Hoteles right here too!

Monday, 21 January 2008

Interesting Hobbies

Do you know people with strange habits? I actually know someone who loves collecting imprinted promotional products from the various hotels she stays in. She will never fail to pick up things such as their coasters, matchboxes and slippers. As such, it is always cheap and easy to buy her souvenirs as something as simple as a hotel slipper will make her very happy already. Luckily for her, she is quite a frequent traveller as well so her collection has amassed to quite a large size. I wonder what she's going to do with all of them though!

Travel Restrictions

The recent restrictions on luggage and liquids on board have been a real pain to travellers. Whenever I travel, I always try to make sure I do not have any of those on board as most of the time, it will be confiscated and disposed of by the customs officer. I remember once when I forgot to take my Swiss Army knife out of my hand luggage and it got confiscated. I was really sad as it was a very useful knife that had accompanied be on many trips and always came in handy whenever I needed something to open bottles or cut string. Travelling has recently become a pain with all these new restrictions and it is always advisable to check in very early to avoid lots of delays and stress.

A Fun Day Out

I have many friends in Australia who love the place so much that they have decided to settle down there. They love the good food, good weather and their fantastic wines. In fact, many of them have joined wine of the month clubs where they get access to special wines from small private vineyards which are not normally sold in the stores. That way, they always get to organise trips out to the vineyards for a picnic, some wine tasting and a great day out. It sounds like the life indeed and definitely something I'd love to do when I visit them!

Friday, 18 January 2008

Nothing from Bali?!

A friend of mine has recently been quite lucky. Her husband's company has been organising quite a lot of travel incentive programmes or meetings abroad and because he is of quite a high rank in the company, she usually gets to go along for free. She recently went to Bali for a few days and I was surprised to know that she didn't quite enjoy it. I guess she didn't really like the beach. I'm not much of a beach bum myself but I found Bali really enjoyable because of their culture and interesting carvings and furniture which I was very tempted to cart back by the container-loads! When she got back, I was surprised to know that she hardly bought anything! I guess travelling is quite personal!

Cash Strapped

My finances have been in a terrible state this month. I don’t know why but I have not been able to meet all my financial obligations without drawing from my savings account. In addition to that, I have been saddled with a huge credit card bill due to several expenses I had put on it as part of an installment payment, without realizing that small amounts add up very quickly into large amounts! In fact, I am behind on my maintenance payments and to top it all off, I have not even been doing any traveling for the past few months! I am just hoping now that my next pay can help me even things out. As tight as I am, I would not resort to payday loans or payday cash advance like what some of my colleagues used to do. While I agree that it provides a short term measure and allows some breathing space in the interim, I personally think that people may find it hard to make the repayments in the following months as monthly financial commitments will roll around again to hit you in the following month. Some even use it for travel which I do not agree to either as it is akin to traveling on borrowed money. However, this is just my personal view of money.

Italian Honeymoon

I haven’t quite thought about where I should go for a honeymoon. Personally, I would love to go to Italy after hearing so many nice things about it from my siblings who have been there before. One of my friends went there for her honeymoon and she told me it was a terribly romantic place, especially Venice which seemed to be built for lovers. She stayed at several good hotels such as Roma Hotel in Rome and Firenze Hotel in Florence and she had only praises for the hotels, from the price that she paid to the services she received. If I could make my way there, I’d love to visit Milan and Venice as well. Milan would be a top choice simply because I’ve heard how cheap branded handbags such as Gucci and Prada are there! And Venice because of the uniqueness of this Italian water city. I was surfing to see what the hotel rates are like and was surprised to see that the Milano Hotel and Venezia Hotel I had in mind weren’t as expensive as I expected. Hmm…maybe I should start saving for my trip!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Falling Sick is Expensive

We're lucky in the sense that our medical and health care is quite reasonable. This, however, isn't the case overseas where doctors will not even treat you without a proper individual health insurance plan in place. I experienced this when I went to Australia for my studies. Prior to our departure, we were all reminded to apply for health insurance once we arrived otherwise things could get very expensive if we were to seek medical care there. I wonder if we will one day be like that too.

London or Not?

I wonder if we're going to end up going to London this March after all. At the uncertain rate of things, we might actually have to forgo our trip or postpone it. Honestly, it doesn't seem that bad a decision at this time, especially since I don't have much savings at the moment. Plus, I just checked my leave with my new company and their earn as you work system for the leave doesn't seem to favour me at all! I probably wouldn't even have enough leave to use for the March trip! Oh well...we'll just have to see how things pan out!

Online Medication

I always make sure I carry medication with me whenever I travel. It is always useful to pack a small first aid kit or box with essential and emergency medication such as aspirins, antacids or anti-nausea pills so that your holiday would not be spoilt by a small ailment that could have easily been cured. These medication are usually available in pharmacies as well but sometimes being in an unfamiliar foreign land with language barriers would make looking for medication difficult. I recall when my colleague was taken ill in Kazakhstan. We tried going to the pharmacy but was shocked when all the medication and prices were written in Russian! Luckily, we managed to find an online pharmacy which sold their medication in English so it was easily identifiable. Plus, they could dispatch out their medication within a day while we were still in the hotel. Thank goodness for the online pharmacy otherwise I don’t know how we would have been able to communicate with the Russian doctors or pharmacists!

Construction Skills Building

I didn’t realise how unsafe our construction industry here was until I went abroad for holidays and studies. There, a tremendous amount of emphasis is placed on health and safety rules and no one is allowed to be on the site or operate any form of machinery without proper certification and training. Construction work there isn’t viewed as a form of blue collar job but rather, one that requires adequate training and skills. There are lots of places which offers training and imparting of construction skills however one of the best online sites available is the CITB Construction Skills Shop. It is an online shop which caters to both employers and employees in the construction business and provides an exhaustive resource of information and education for those in the construction line. It even includes information on how to obtain certification for tighter construction rules by 2010 plus lots of help on health and safety information. It is a site that shouldn’t be missed by all in the construction line. I would definitely recommend it to our colleagues here.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Renting a Car on Holiday

Renting a car overseas can be quite a hassle. I remember when I was trying to rent a car in Melbourne when my parents came down for a holiday. I had to go to several car rental companies as different ones provided different kinds of auto insurance quote depending on their policies and car availabilities. However, for security and safety reasons, it is always best to pay that sum for auto insurance so that you're at least protected in a foreign country. Otherwise you might get into unwanted trouble over a small accident.

Crown Casino Melbourne

Sometimes it’s amazing to see how far the world has come. Everything is now so easily accessible with just a click of a button or a mouse. For example, whoever would have thought that gambling online would be an option by simply logging on into an online casino? Or who would have thought that there would actually be sites such as Dex Casinos whose main goal is simply to provide the ratings on all the best casino sites, poker rooms and gaming sites for hardcore online fans? Despite the online hype there is, it’s still nice to see that some people still prefer going to physical casinos. I remember how Crown Casino in Melbourne was always crowded with both tourists and hardcore gamers who were still looking for the thrill of playing on the tables or with other people they could actually see. I personally think that’s an element that’s missing from online gaming – that human interaction and communication. Plus, casinos such as Crown is a fantastic entertainment centre as well which offers so much more than just gaming!

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Irish Charm

I never got a chance to study in the UK and I used to listen with lots of envy when my siblings talk about the many places they had been in the UK. Since they both studied in Nottingham and London respectively, they took the opportunity to travel around England and Scotland whenever they had holidays. However, I was surprised to know that they had never been to Ireland.

Recently, on my trip to London, I chanced upon an advertisement in the papers left on the tube. It was a fantastic deal on Ireland Hotels from Dublin Hotels to Cork Hotels and Belfast Hotels. The advertisement sold Dublin tremendously as a wonderful destination to visit filled with all kinds of wonderful attractions. The other places of interest were Cork and Belfast which featured quaint little bars and pubs and has a wonderful unspoilt atmosphere as it is not a popular tourist destination. I hope to visit Ireland someday. Maybe when I have enough funds to do so.

Extended Honeymoon

One of my friend’s is getting married and I heard that she’s going to Germany for an extended honeymoon as her new husband is being sent there for a few months for some training. The husband’s company was pretty good as they offered to put them up in some Germany Hotels for a few weeks while they were getting adjusted and looking for a place to stay in. She told me that they were also planning to do a bit of traveling around Germany and Austria whilst there and had already started looking around for good rates for Berlin Hotels and Wien Hotels. I told her that she definitely should not miss this opportunity to travel around Germany and Europe and to experience the best of the country. This is especially since she has so much time on her hands and will be able to explore the place to heart’s content. I hope she truly enjoys her extended honeymoon and her nice Berlin Hotels!

Poker Fun

One thing I do miss about my previous company is how they never scrimped on hotels whenever we traveled. Regardless of where we went, we were always put up in the best 5-star hotels where I couldn’t even begin to imagine the luxury. With them, I’ve stayed in rooms that cost more than half my salary! The best part about these hotels as well is that they used to come with free super speed internet access which made surfing so much fun. I heard from one of my ex-colleagues that he actually used to play online poker in his room to relax after a long day of meetings and negotiations. Apparently, one of his favourite sites was Bet365poker.com that provided a comprehensive range of online betting facilities through their casinos, games and poker sections. He told me that he really looked forward to unwinding with them at the end of each day. Personally though, I’d rather spend that money on shopping instead!

Advances for Holidays

I never thought that planning a wedding would involve such high expenses. It seems like everything runs into the thousands, not hundreds, and in the blink of an eye the budget can just be blown out of proportion. I was recently asked where I would like to go for my honeymoon and honestly, that thought hadn’t even occurred to me as I wanted to get a better idea of our budget before committing to something as expensive as a travel package for our honeymoon. I didn’t want to start off married life in debt unlike one of my friends who actually took out a Cash Advance for her wedding and honeymoon expenses. With that money, she managed to have a wedding of her dreams from personalized wedding favours to an amazing entrance in a horse carriage. However, when we heard about the monthly repayments she had to make for several years after that, we decided to just go for something simple. At the end of the day, no one would really remember that special day except for yourselves.

Play Poker

I remember my last trip to London. It was just a couple of months ago and I went before I came onboard this new company. It was almost like a farewell trip for me and so I felt less pressure and had a bit more time to run around the place. One thing I noticed was that the little casinos that used to be all over London were now gone. There used to be little shops with slot machines and poker machines and were usually filled with old retirees who were bored and wanted a idyllic afternoon gambling and playing poker. My friend told me that with the rise of the internet, online poker was becoming a lot more popular now. It provided the convenience for people to play from the comfort and security of their own home. Plus, great sites such as Compokers provided excellent poker information online. It includes complete details of the game rules, history, pro players profiles and all kinds of information any beginner or expert poker player might want to know more of. However, I felt that it has taken away, somewhat, the charm of little London town.

Buy Online

I was recently in the doctor’s office for a checkup before I joined my new company. There was a terribly long wait there but luckily he had lots of magazines around. One particular magazine on men’s health piqued my interest especially a provocative advertisement right in the first few pages of the magazine which promoted a safe and secure solution for men with sensitive health issues. 21menshealth.com is a site that provides excellent service and advice offered by genuine doctors which are designed to provide second opinions or further advice on any sensitive health issues such as erectile dysfunction. It is not an easy problem to deal with and many men who suffer from this shy away from doctors simply due to embarrassment or discomfort in talking about their issues. This is where this great internet site provides an excellent opportunity for these men to find out more about their problems and even buy viagra online as part of their solution. It’s a great way for people to obtain medical advice confidentially.

Casino Galore

On my last trip to the Middle East, our flight ran into problems and we were forced to make an overnight stopover in Hatyai, Thailand. Throughout the entire delay and drama of having to move to a hotel and the uncertainty of not knowing when our next flight was, the passengers starting chatting and getting to know each other. One of the persons I met online was actually working for a casino affiliate program at C-Planet. They have a partnership with the highest converting brands available on the Net and they provide excellent conversions for their partners which translate into higher earnings for their affiliates. One of his jobs was to actually monitor and track the statistics of their affiliates site so that they can continue to provide honest, accurate and very detailed information on traffic statistics which only translates into higher earnings. It was a really interesting job and I could see that he did enjoy his job very much. In fact, he was actually more worried that he couldn’t make it home on time to start his new work week! I guess to some people work really is fun!

Monday, 7 January 2008

London Hotels

I used to travel very often in my previous job. In fact, just before I resigned, I actually managed to take a trip to London. It was quite a tiring trip as I arrived early in the morning and was supposed to meet my colleague in the hotel in town. Our meetings were in London City otherwise we could have considered staying at some London Heathrow Hotels nearer to the airport such as Sheraton Heathrow which we stayed in the last time. Another colleague who used to travel a lot within Europe often stayed in London Gatwick Hotels, Luton Airport Hotels or London Stanstead Hotels. Personally, I find that staying in these hotels closer to the airport offers both pros and cons. If you’re there for a quick business trip, it’s easy as it provides easy and quick access to the airport. However, it makes it almost impossible to head off for a spot of shopping in town unless you pay for the Heathrow Express or take the Piccadilly Line which will take you more time. Hence, it’s always wise to know what your itinerary is like before booking your hotel.

Casino Fun

It’s a technology world that we live in today and all around us, the world is filled with online solutions for everything. Did you know that if you’re a hardcore gambler, you don’t even need to go to a proper casino as you can simply log on to play your favourite game on an online casino recommended by great sites such as Bret Casinos. It delivers the most objective reviews of all the top online casinos which are making new waves in the gambling community.

It provides unbiased ratings of these casinos according to the quality, bonus, assortment of games and performances as well as their customer service and support. By going to Bret, you can easily make your choice of the best casino which are highly reputable as well as guaranteed to provide you with hours of constant fun. So if you prefer to play your casino games in the comfort of your own home, do ensure you always choose the best ones to play with from Bret.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

No More High Speeds

I miss the internet in my old office. It was a leased line connected to the rest of our computers with fiber optic cables and we used to enjoy really high speed internet. Viewing anything from photos to videos was hardly a problem as things would get downloaded in the wink of an eye. Now I'm stuck in another office where I can't even access sites like Facebook. Sigh...I really do miss my internet!

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Honeymoon Destinations

We haven't even planned the wedding yet and people are already asking us where we're planning to go for our honeymoon. To be honest, I haven't given it much thought although J seems to be really inclined towards beaches. I recall a friend who got married not too long ago decided to have her honeymoon in the beautiful Whitsundays Islands of Australia. She showed me some photos and I was amazed to see how beautifully blue the pristine sea was against the white sands. She managed to get a pretty good deal with some really good Noumea Hotels which gave her a really romantic and memorable honeymoon.

Being in Australia, she had a lot more options as Fiji and Vanuatu were close and not too expensive choices. There were also lots of Fiji Hotels and Vanuatu Hotels that catered to honeymooners to the little idyllic island. There, they could choose from romantic beach villas to luxurious 5-star hotels to spend their honeymoon in. As for me, I'm leaving that planning alone for the time being.