Ideas, suggestions and recommendations that can help you choose from a more limited palette of options that we know — both from professional and personal experience.

Nippon — Land of the Rising Sun

‘Nippon’ is the word that the Japanese use to describe their own country and the Kanji characters that represent the written form literally translate as ‘sun origin’. Even their national flag continues with this theme, representing, as it does, a red circle against a white background — or as one wit once described it: a Venn diagram indicating what percentage of Japan is actually Japanese, as the country has always famously been homogeneous and indeed

Ask an Expert

In this always on, 24/7 world of ours where everyone is connected and has access to the seemingly limitless resource of all information online, it is easy to fall into the trap of believing that we are all experts because of that information. The reality though is that there is a big difference between information and knowledge. There is an old analogy that explains the difference between information and knowledge and explains that difference thus:

How cynicism created a new travel publication

In Oscar Wilde’s famous play, ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’, the character Lord Darlington utters the immortal words ‘A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing’. No truer words were ever said as sometimes it feels as if everyone is a cynic with an unhealthy fixation on price without ever considering the more important issue of value. Indeed, it is one of the great disadvantages of the Internet in

Premium economy anyone?

On a recent flight to the States, my flight was delayed by almost six hours because of bad weather. There were strong cross winds at Dublin airport which were blowing above the safety threshold of the aircraft in question and we couldn’t use another runway because the aircraft size and load needed a longer runway to take off. Flight delays are an unfortunate inconvenience of air travel and are usually beyond the control of all

Philadelphia here I come!

Truth be told, I was there last week but who could resist such a headline! It was my first time in ‘Philly’, which is even more surprising, given that I have been to the States at least 40 times over the years and the city is the 6th largest in the US. I was attending the annual conference of the ITAA (Irish Travel Agents Association) — their first to be held outside Europe in their

The best fun you can have standing up!

2018 will go down as one of the best Irish summers ever — certainly the best one that I can recall in almost 60 years. Eight weeks of almost unbroken sunshine, warm temperatures and blue skies created feelings of ambivalence in travel people such as myself because the selfish hedonist in me wanted it to last for ever whereas my pragmatic side new that it wasn’t good for business — after all, our job is

Want a glimpse into the future? Visit Dubai!

For many years, whenever travel agents received inquiries from clients as to where they should go   at this time of year to be guaranteed some sun, they invariably were limited to the following choices: Head west to the Caribbean Fly south to the Canaries, Madeira or South Africa Travel east and south to Southeast Asia and or Australia (more…)

I haven’t been everywhere — but it’s on my list!

It’s one of my all-time favourite quotes and it was uttered by Susan Sontag, a writer and political activist who died back in 2004 at the relatively early age of 71. Susan was well known for travelling to and writing about areas of conflict around the world and in particular, Vietnam and Sarajevo and what brought her into my mind recently was the new biopic that has just been released about another fearless writer and

Go West, Young Man!

I love the United States! There, I’ve said it. I may not like its foreign policy and I probably couldn't see myself ever living there but as a travel destination, it’s very hard to beat. My first experience of the US was way back in 1976 when the country was celebrating its bicentennial year and I traveled all the way to Portland, Oregon to visit my American cousins. It was a month-long trip which also

Pietra Dura — the opposite of Naff!

Look in any dictionary for the meaning of the word ‘Naff’ and you’re likely to come up with some or all of the following terms: ‘tacky’, ‘tasteless’, ‘cheap’, ‘duff’, ‘inferior’ or just downright ‘bad’. The antonyms to be found include words like, first-rate, high-quality, exceptional, first-class, superior, fine and excellent. I can tell you all this because I had gone online to find out if there was a definitive word that was the etymological opposite

Perceptions, assumptions and misunderstandings

Nothing is set in stone. Things change. Reality is fluid and few things in life adhere to a precise and inviolate template. What on earth am I waffling on about this time? One of the biggest mistakes that people make (and I include myself in this) is that we treat everything as gospel. We read an article somewhere that advises against travel to such and such a place because there was ‘an incident’ and forever

In India, they drive on the left …

… and the right, in the middle, on the hard shoulder and in the opposite direction — even on dual carriageways and motorways but for some perverse reason, it all seems to work. India is not a country where you simply hire a car to get around. You hire a car and a driver because only Indians have the steel nerves, 360-degree panoramic vision, built-in radar and the reaction times of the domestic house fly

The art of getting a quote that is both competitive in price and relevant to your needs starts with gathering all the right information about what you want to do (or think you want to do!).