27 February 2007

Travel podcast clips on Explore blog

I've just realised I haven't mentioned the excellent new blog for adventure/discovery tour operator Explore Worldwide.

I'm afraid my "excellent" description is entirely biased and un-trustworthy because they are using me to do their podcasting.

However, there are some interesting clips to listen to - eg. on tour leading, on travelling in Africa, Ukraine & Belarus, holiday planning, etc - even though I do say so myself!

Ray Winstone joins the 'walking dead'


A little item in Saga Holidays newsletter, PRESS On, (which I think is just a regularised 'puffer' release/round-up for journos) caught my eye...


The celebrated British actor Ray Winstone turns 50 this month. Among his most famous lead performances was as Gary Dove in the hit gangster film Sexy Beast, based in the Costa Del Sol. Seven years after the film was screened, Winstone could now return to the region with Saga Holidays for a stay at the four-star Hotel AGH Estepona. Prices start from £464 per person for seven nights at the secluded hotel, which has two outdoor swimming pools and, of course, plenty of sun loungers. The price includes half board, a free bar open four hours daily, return flights, insurance and cancellation cover.

Nobody likes reaching 50. I know I didn't. And I certainly know how I'd feel if Saga used my birthday as a promotional tool for holidays for oldies!

The next thing in air fare search engines

Needless to say, it comes from the USA.

In an article on SearchEngineWatch, Brian Smith highlights the latest developments in air fare search and two sites in particular...

Farecast.com tells travellers when to buy tickets to get the best deals. The site tracks airfares and using
"data-mining algorithms to search for patterns" it predicts whether the fare for a particular route is about to go up, or down. At the moment the 'beta' site covers routes from 75 airports in the USA, but no doubt it'll migrate over here one day, or somebody else will do it.

Farecompare.com does work in the UK. It simply lays out the lowest fare on a route (eg. London - Los Angeles) over the coming months so you can see which month is most economical to travel in.

Like all good ideas, both are simple and cause you to wonder why somebody didn't think of them before.

19 February 2007

Brief Respite

That was quick! Five days!

... between Valentine's Day and the first press release offering ideas/special deals for the next marketing cash cow... Mothering Sunday (aka Mother's Day, 26 March).

They'll be thick on the ground - or in my in-tray - before too long, competing with travel offers for Easter, which this year comes hot on its heels in early April.

Memo to self: Give up freelance travel journalism. If you want a solid year-round income, sell flowers or cards.

15 February 2007

Happy Island

You learn something new every day.

I've just read a press release on the Caribbean island of Dominica - not to be confused with the Dominican Republic - which says:

Dominica continues to be recognised for its attributes and sustainable tourism efforts, including being the first country in the world to receive Benchmarking designation from the prestigious eco-tourism organization Green Globe 21 and ranking as the only Caribbean destination in the top five happiest countries on earth in the Happy Planet Index (compiled by Britain’s New Economics Foundation).
I didn't know there was such a thing as the 'Happy Planet Index' but I like the sound of it. I shall go and investigate, find out who tops the list, and maybe report back!