Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Big Ben is Leaning

Surveyors have found that the British Parliament's Clock Tower, located in the Palace of Westminster and better known as Big Ben, is leaning.

The 96-meter tall clock tower, which houses the bell originally nicknamed Big Ben, leans about 46 cm to the left of its peak. The House of Commons Commission is meeting today to discuss the matter and will conduct an investigation on how repairs could be made. Renovation work on the Palace of Westminster is not scheduled to begin until 2020.

The commission said the Palace remained structurally sound. The clock tower was completed in 1859. In 1976 pendulum weights fell down a shaft and the clock mechanism exploded, putting it out of action for almost nine months. Although the tilt is nothing as pronounced as that of the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, it can still be spotted by the naked eye.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent to book your next Europe trip!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Planning a Trip to Europe? How About a European Cruise?

If you're planning to travel to Europe anytime soon, you should consider taking a cruise! There are so many European Cruise options available these days, whether you're interested in seeing the Norwegian fjords, or the Mediterranean coastline, there are cruises for every interest and price range!

Imagine seeing Holland’s windmill-studded tulip fields or Germany’s fairy-tale castles, from the engineering marvel of the Main-Danube Canal to the picturesque vineyards of Austria’s Wachau Valley, all via a cruise!

Or sail through the Greek Isles, where white-washed churches point tilted Greek crosses heavenward in skies of brilliant blue, while sun worshippers bask on the powdery beaches.

There are some great Spring & Summer rates on European Cruises this year, seven-night cruises through Italy, Tunisia, Spain and Morocco start at just $799 per person! Fifteen-day cruises along the Rhine, Danube and Main rivers start at just $3,400 per person!

Contact a Cruise Specialist today for more information!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Non-Stop Atlantic Flights Stopping for Fuel

According in an article in the Wall St. Journal, dozens of Continental Airlines flights from Europe to the United States East Coast are being forced to make unexpected stops in Canada, and elsewhere, to take re fuel after running into unusually strong headwinds over the Atlantic Ocean.

The winds from the west have been exceptionally strong in the past few months, causing delays and inconvenience for thousands of passengers in recent weeks. Another part of the problem is the decision by United Continental to use smaller jets on a growing number of long, trans-Atlantic routes. It works fine when the winds are calm.

The smaller jets, Boeing 757s, use less fuel and fewer crew members, though they have fewer seats as well, but they are pretty much at their limit of a 4,000 nautical-mile range. This leaves little room for error when the winds are strong and increase the fuel burn for the two engine planes.

In December, United reported the 757s had to stop 43 times out of nearly 1,100 flights headed to the US. The resulting delays can cause passengers to miss connections, have forced overnight stays in hotels and involves passenger compensation. Most of the stops have been in Iceland, Ireland, and Albany and Steward have also received some of the flights. The headwinds are the strongest in at least 10 years, and are caused by El Nina.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Tips For Traveling With Kids

Traveling with kids can be a very stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be. With these simple tips, your family trip can be a fun and enjoyable experience for the entire family, creating wonderful memories for life!

Allow plenty of time. With kids in tow, it will take longer to get through airports, get checked in, bathroom stops, etc, so make sure to plan for it.

Travel during off-peak days and times. If possible, try to travel during the slower times, when the airports are less crowded and planes are not completely full. These are typically Monday-Thursday mornings, and not over major holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas or spring break.

Use the bathroom. Make sure to have little ones use the bathroom before boarding the plane. Sometimes it can be a while before you are allowed to get out of your seat in a plane, or before the next rest area, so try to plan in advance.

Something to chew on. Bring something for kids to chew on or drink during take-off and landing, to help avoid their little ears from popping. Bring gum or hard candies for older kids, chewy candies or juice boxes for younger kids, and either breastfeed or give a bottle to babies during take-off and landing.

Keep kids on a schedule. Everyone knows that kids are happiest when kept on a regular schedule. This also goes for vacations, the better you do with keeping the regular meal times and bedtimes, chances are the happier your kids will be too!

Comfy clothes. Whether you will be travelling by car or plane, it is always wise to wear layers of comfy clothes. Layers are helpful in case of temperature changes in the plane. Also make sure to bring a change of clothes for children and at least a spare top for adults, because you just never know what might be spilled or spit up on you!

Burn off steam. It can be tough for anyone to remain seated for hours at a time in a confined space, especially for kids! Make sure to give your children opportunities to run around, whether it’s at airports, rest stops, or even walking up and down the aisle on the airplane.

Keep them busy. Since the attention span of most young children is about 20-30 minutes, make sure to bring a variety of things for kids to do on a plane, or in a car, such as: books, coloring books and crayons, music CD’s and player, portable DVD player. Sometimes packing a few new “travel toys” can be a fun idea too!

Bring healthy snacks. It is important not to load kids up on sugar during long trips, as it just makes it harder for them to remain seated. Some ideas for healthy snacks that travel well are: fresh fruit (bananas, apples or grapes), veggie sticks, cheese sticks, crackers, dried fruit or cheerios.

Don’t over pack. Sure you want to be comfortable and have all the necessities for your family while on vacation. However, try to distinguish what is actually a necessity and what is not. You don’t want to be stuck lugging ten suitcases through busy airports.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent today to start planning your next Family Vacation!