Adding value to your holiday home

Posted on May 30, 2014 in Hoiliday Guides, Travel News

Adding value to your holiday home

For many the holiday home that they own is not just a lovely place where they can relax with family and friends on holidays, but it is also an investment. Most holiday home owners rent out their properties to help repay the investment and upkeep, but as most home owner are all too aware, there is a price war, so how do you get the best price for your holiday home?

We have all rented a holiday apartment or cottage at some time and therefore we are conscious that the better and more facilities that can be achieved, the more rental income and repeat visits can be achieved.

Naturally space does dictate the rental price but increasing the size is not always possible and of course you have to consider costs as well as time that you can devote to the project. One important thing to remember and that is to do your homework on the cost/benefit, don’t overspend more than you can possibly get back through rental income or a resale.

The two single things that will make your holiday home stand out from the rest is the kitchen and bathroom. Go for an open plan kitchen of you possibly can, if you already have one in your holiday home, what about a facelift, they do get a lot of use and can become very tired looking quickly. The one thing that most holiday makers do not want to do when away is washing up by hand, install a dishwasher if you do not have one, they are not expensive today. If you have the room, add a utility room for the washing machine and dryer, essential for those wet day when the hikers come back.

The bathroom can be transformed and if you have the 1980’s avocado bathroom change it for white and just see the difference, adding a power shower will get your guests talking, they are so good today and again not an expensive item. The floor should be ceramic tiled and never carpeted; they are today’s big turn off. Hot tubs do not take much installing and they will attract guests to your home, open fires or wood burning stoves, not forgetting a supply of wood can just swing your home from the competition. Don’t forget something for the children, games and media are simple but effective ways of keeping them happy and subsequently mum and dad as well.

One final thing in the modern world of today, if you have not got it then adding WiFi is now thought of as an essential part of modern living, we all want to get away from it, but still like those emails to come through. Quality finishes are sure to encourage guest to make repeat bookings, that is what we are looking for, that is added value plus!

holiday cottage

Picture: Paul Groves

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Take a trip to Hogwarts

Posted on May 27, 2014 in City Guides, Hoiliday Guides, Travel Destinations

Take a trip to Hogwarts

Whilst in London, take a trip to enter the world of the most successful movie series of all time – Harry Potter. See how the literary imaginings of JK Rowling’s mind were brought to visual life with a tour around the Warner Bros. Studio in North London. Visit the studio where the films began and look behind the scenes to find out how they were made.

Guests walk around the huge studios, stepping inside the Great Hall of the wizarding school Hogwarts, the location of many scenes in the films. On display are Headmaster Albus Dumbledore’s office, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley’s dormitory bedroom, the Gryffindor Common Room, the Weasleys’ front room at Little Hollow, and Severus Snape’s Potions classroom.

Walk along the crooked street of Diagon Alley with the shop fronts of Ollivanders, where Harry bought his first wand; Flourish and Blotts, where he picked up his writing supplies; Eeylops Owl Emporium, where Rubeus Hagrid bought the pet owl, Hedwig, for Harry as a birthday present; and Gringotts Wizarding Bank, where the Philosopher’s Stone was held.

Climb onto a broomstick or sit in the flying Ford Anglia to have a filmed green screen experience, and pick up a photograph or DVD to mark the occasion. Enjoy a butterbeer in the open air Backlot, and have a picture taken standing on the step of the Knight Bus, or sitting in Hagrid’s motorbike and sidecar.

The tour continues through to the Art Department and the Creature effects, where animatronic versions of Hagrid’s head and Dobby can be seen working. Wow at some of the concept art for the movies that are on display, and walk around the scale model of Hogwarts and explore it through interactive screens.

After the tour, enjoy the Studio Shop, where a wide range of Harry Potter related memorabilia can be bought, including high quality wands belonging to Harry, Hermione and Ron, as well as Dumbledore, Lord Voldemort, and Sirius Black.

The Warner Bros. Studio is accessible by both car and train, with a special shuttle bus connection available from Watford Station to the studio.

Warner Bros Studio London

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Porto – City Guide

Posted on May 19, 2014 in City Guides, Hoiliday Guides

Porto – City Guide

Porto is located along the Douro River estuary, which forms a breath-taking valley considered a real natural wonder. This superb city has emerged from an urban centre renowned for good quality wines to a vibrant capital of culture, boasting impressive bohemian art, exhibitions and street-side concerts that create a festive ambience all year round.

Climate

Porto experiences a Mediterranean climate with mild, rainy winters and warm, dry summers. The best time for a holiday in Porto is from June through September especially because these months bring along more than ten hours of sunshine per day, low humidity and cool, pleasant nights.

Things to do and see

The second-largest city in Portugal, Porto offers a wide range of attractions and activities. Tourists can opt for different things to do and see, ranging from lying in the sun and swimming in the crystal waters of the Atlantic Ocean, to going on city tours. These tours include visits to world-renowned cultural edifices such as the Museum of Modern Art, Centro Português de Fotografia, Casa da Música and Torre dos Clerigos – a beautiful building with a large rooftop terrace boasting picturesque city views. Holidaymakers can also go for a cruise on the Douro River or attend workshops run by local artists.

Dining in Porto is a delightful experience. High-class restaurants, such as O Paparico and Casinha Sao Joao serve a variety of foods, from local cuisine to refined French dishes. Porto also has a large range of bakeries and pastry shops accompanied by café bars serving all sorts of coffees.

Lodging

On arrival in Porto, travellers can choose from small apartments, pensions, hostels and exquisite hotels. For instance, HF Tuela Porto delivers one of the most affordable options in the centre of the city, while HF Ipanema Park, Yeatman Hotel, and InterContinental Porto-Palacio das Cardosas offer luxury accommodation with superb views over the city, Douro River or Atlantic Ocean.

Transportation

A regular flight between London and Porto takes about one and a half hours. Since Porto’s roads are very crowded and vary in condition, the best transportation option in and around the city remains public transport. Tourists planning to visit neighbouring cities can also opt for ferries or helicopters.

PortoPicture: Mario Tome

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Weird things people take away with them on holiday

Posted on May 12, 2014 in Hoiliday Guides, Travel News

Weird things people take away with them on holiday

We all have our favourite things that we like to take away with us when we go on holiday, but would you consider taking the cremated remains of your departed partner when you go on your annual holiday? Well this is something that a lady always does when she goes on holiday, as she like him to be near her at all times!

This strange item of holiday packing was highlighted in a survey that was carried out by specialist luggage carrier SendMyBag who had carried out a survey amongst 2011 adults, to ascertain what constituted the average holiday suitcase. Well it certainly revealed some interesting and unusual items that some people take with them.

Even though it was nearly half a metre across the face one pensioner lady always took a clock as she liked to fall asleep to the sound of it ticking. Stranger than that, has to be a carrier bag full of wool from a sheared sheep, the lady said that she finds the texture comforting. However, how about a supply of Worcester sauce crisps, the man declared he ate at least two packs a day and had to have enough room in his case for the holiday supply!

But, this one we thought was the strangest of them all, particularly when you consider weight restrictions for airline baggage and the item was a fire extinguisher, the man had a total phobia about fire, this was out of habit as well as for his peace of mind.

If you have a favourite or even bizarre item you always take away with you, we would like you to tell us on our comments section below.

suitcase

Picture: Mamboman1

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Wild at heart – what to expect on a safari holiday

Posted on May 6, 2014 in Hoiliday Guides, Travel Guides

Wild at heart – what to expect on a safari holiday

Safari holidays are becoming increasingly popular with people who are looking for adventure but still want the safety that comes with being accompanied by a competent and knowledgeable guide. Originally a term used to describe big game shoots organised for wealthy individuals hunting wild animals such as lions , tigers and elephants, safari now encompasses a range of trips to various parts of Africa including hiking, sightseeing and observing the most awe inspiring of beasts – the ‘Big Five’.

Modern safari is diverse; there are romantic honeymoon getaways, hut stays where you sleep in the heart of the action and safari/beach combination holidays for those who want adventure followed by pure relaxation. Traditionally, safaris have been mostly based in Kenya and South Africa, but Tanzania is becoming an increasingly popular destination.

Many destinations are home to rescue and conservation centres where you can meet the endangered species of the animal kingdom and learn about their plight. Wildebeest and Zebra migrations are also a spectacle that should not be missed if they occur during your stay. Wild birds are a treasure of the safari world that is often overlooked; from flamingos to pelicans, thousands of birds gather on many of the safari plains and are as majestic a sight as the elephant or rhinos.

In terms of accommodation, expect it to be comfortable and relaxed. The sounds of the animals will likely echo around you throughout the night and you will be greeted, on awaking, by arguably the most beautiful sunrise imaginable.

safariPicture: @Doug88888

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Discover the beauty of Morocco

Posted on Apr 14, 2014 in Hoiliday Guides, Travel Destinations

Discover the beauty of Morocco

Morocco is a country rich in culture, a land of adventure, wilderness and history. Few nations are as diverse as this North Africa jewel and it really does seem to offer something for everyone.

Moroccan cuisine is infused with herbs and spices and the tagine has become a popular Western method of cooking. Typical dishes include fish or chicken stew with couscous. The Imperial cities of Morocco are a big attraction for tourists, with Fez, Meknes, Rabat and Marrakesh all being the nation’s capital at some point in time. These cities have numerous palaces, mosques and museums, which give the visitor a glimpse into the country’s ancient history.

With beaches facing both the Atlantic and Mediterranean, Morocco’s coastline is famed for beautiful views. The Mediterranean beaches tend to be somewhat stony, while those of Casablanca and Agadir are more family friendly. No trip to Morocco would be complete without a camel ride or quad bike tour across the desert. Camping is also a popular choice with tourists sleeping under the starry sky and awaking to the stunning desert sunrise.

The Rif and Atlas Mountains attract hikers the world over as they offer the chance to trek through caves and forests and really feel part of nature. The two mountain ranges are quite different and hikers can push themselves as little or as hard as they wish. Morocco also offers a vast and varied shopping experience, majestic riads with stunning gardens, a plethora of year-round festivals and infamous steam baths; perfect for winding down after a hard day of sightseeing.

MoroccoPicture: Sam Greenhalgh

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The Ryanair £10 trip to the USA

Posted on Mar 21, 2014 in Air Travel, Hoiliday Guides, Travel Destinations

The Ryanair £10 trip to the USA

Well we are not sure whether this is another Michael O’Leary spoof or another gimmick to get some cheap publicity, but he is claiming that he could fly you from the UK to the USA for under a tenner! We are all aware of the Ryanair charges are we not, yes for sure you will get a ticket for the advertised price, but then there is tax and that could add up to £180 on some long haul destinations, the possible booking charge, plus of course baggage.

Now no one surely can go to America for two or three weeks holiday with hand luggage 55cm x 40cm x 20cm with a 10kg weight limit? Then of course if we are looking at America and we are presuming Florida, sitting on a Ryanair seat which does not recline would be pretty daunting, although as he could not fly his Boeing 737’s then new aircraft would be needed and possibly he would relent on the seats.

Now entertainment and food might be a nice little earner for Mr O’Leary and that would add up to another £15 to £20 for the food alone. And where in Florida would they choose to land, the main airports at Orlando would charge him a few pounds so it could be an airstrip 75 or 100 miles away from your chosen destination.

Adding all this up, British Airways and Virgin with all the extras thrown in for the price of the ticket may not be too bad after all.

RyanairPicture: Jens Erik Widen

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