There’s ‘free’ … and then there’s ‘FREE’!

The word 'free' is one of the most powerful trigger words in the English language. It grabs our attention and forces us to read on further. It is a marketing guru's tool that many of them use to good effect. We, as consumers, are suckers though and when a lot of the claims of free this and that fail to live up to the hyperbole, we're left feeling foolish for having been duped — yet

Perception is reality

The news — e.g. the commentary that you see on the TV or read in newspapers and magazines is a commodity and just like any other kind of commodity it is perishable and thus must be sold by its sell-by date. By 'sold' I mean distributed or broadcast. Describing the 'news' as a commodity that is bought and sold may sound counter-intuitive but it's true and because of its perishability, there is a constant pressure

Blogtastic — The rise and rise of the travel blog!

With each year that passes and as more and more people enjoy the delights of international travel, it is inevitable that more and more travel blogs get written. Some blogs — like this one for instance — are an incidental activity to something else that is being done — in my case, running a travel consortium and trying to maximise the level of commerce being generated on behalf of key supplier partners. In many other

The culinary landscape around the world is changing!

When we think of culinary excellence, we tend to think of places like New York, Barcelona, London, San Sebastian or Lyon. Countries like France, Spain and Italy have been — with much justification it must be said — lauded for centuries as representing the epitome of culinary art. In more recent years however, the centre of gravity has begun to move away from these traditional gastronomic capitals as tastes change; new processes have come into

Where should I go on my next holiday?

There are all sorts of reasons why people choose the destinations that they do. For some it’s simply price, for other’s weather is their primary concern. Some choose destinations based on their proximity whilst other travellers choose places based on their ‘safeness’. It is therefore interesting to note the results of the latest biannual report from the World Economic Forum which rates countries around the world based on a wide ranging set of metrics that

Why familiarity sometimes breeds contempt!

If you look up any dictionary meaning of cliché, it reads something along the lines of '... a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought ...' I think that that is a rather harsh interpretation myself. Clichés become clichés simply because they're true and represent the most succinct and accurate way of describing a particular concept. The above title is a particular case in point. I recently had a

Beijing — City of contrasts

I have recently returned from my second trip to Beijing in less than three months. So what is it like to visit the third most populous city in the world? Well, the first impression is that it looks remarkably modern and western in the sense that the entire city (at least from what I saw and I criss-crossed it many, many times) is composed of large, wide boulevards containing dual carriageways with smaller, local access

Finding the best fare between point A and point B — how complicated can it be?

          The wonderful thing about technology is that it insulates us from reality a lot of the time. It makes complicated things appear simple. It takes the drudgery out of completing certain repetitive tasks. Unfortunately, it also causes us to underestimate such complexity and not fully appreciate what we're up against. Take travel for example, or more specifically, finding a fare — the optimum fare — between two points. Did you

How travel decisions can sometimes be based on incomplete information

Trip Advisor is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. The global review site started out life above a Pizza shop called Kosta's in Needham, Massachusetts in February, 2000. It is a great site without question and I must admit that I have started contributing to it in recent times as I realised, belatedly, that I had a lot to contribute given the amount of travelling I do (and have done). What prompted me to write

Will South America be the next big thing in travel?

Whether we like to admit it or not, language plays a big role in how people decide where to travel in the world. English-speaking people tend, as a rule, to confine themselves to travelling to destinations where English is the principal language or is at least widely spoken and understood. It is perhaps for this reason alone, that more people don't travel to South America. It's certainly not any further to travel to than say

Orange is the new orange

It's that time of year again when intending travellers or betrothed couples start the time-consuming and frustrating process of deciding where to spend their next long haul holiday or hopefully — their one and only honeymoon! There are many contenders out there and all have their pluses! The USA, The Caribbean, Mexico, South Africa, The Seychelles and Mauritius usually appear high on most peoples wish lists but it is Thailand that often comes up trumps,

Get it in writing

I recently paid a return visit to Hong Kong, having last visited there way back in 1989. One of the things that I noticed straight away since my last visit was the degree to which English had diminished as a language that many locals had competency in. Now whether that is due to the fact that Hong Kong reverted back to Chinese ownership in 1997 after some 150 years of British rule I don't know

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!).