What’s hot: October 2014

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Just About Travel tells you what’s hot and what’s not in the travel world. This month BA and Bratislava get the thumbs up but it’s bad news for the taxi booking app, Uber, which has been banned in Berlin

 

HOT
Paws and relax with BA
BA Airbus318
Good old BA has launched an in-flight channel devoted to our favourite furry friends: cats and dogs. The channel, called Paws and Relax, is available on all long haul BA flights and shows reruns of America’s Cutest Dog, ‘catcams’ and animations. Why? Well it’s because of new research that claims that watching footage of felines and canines can help lower our heart rate. Regardless we think it’s a barking brilliant idea!

 

Making for Mexico City
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Mexico City maybe famed for its crime and pollution but Mexico’s capital is hoping that, in the future, we’ll all be talking about its airport. For the mega metropolis has announced plans to build a new 555,000 sqm airport designed by British star-chitect Lord Foster together with local architect Fernando Romero. The unconventional ‘X’ shaped airport will boast curved walls and a cacti garden and serve six runways. Construction is set to commence in 2015 with the first three runways scheduled to open by 2020.

 

Eating clean like Kylie
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Watched the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony in Glasgow and can’t get headliner act Kylie Minogue’s banging body “out of your head”? Then you need to seek out SHA Wellness Clinic in Alicante. The spa and health resort – a favourite of the pop princess and supermodel Naomi Campbell – has launched a new academy, based in Macrobiotic principles. The academy will teach guests how to make Gwyneth friendly dishes such as Miso soup and Tuna tataki in a bid to encourage continued healthy eating once they have returned home. For the full low-down on the SHA Discovery programme, visit shawellnessclinic.com

 

American airports
Can-America-Survive-If-Americans-No-Longer-Agree-On-A-Core-Set-Of-Shared-Values-Photo-by-DrRandomFactor

We kid you not. The legendarily long security queues at American airports may – fingers crossed – soon be a thing of the past thanks to the kind, clever folk at mobilepassport.us This new app, currently being trialled at Atlanta airport, allows passengers to upload passport and customs forms ahead of arrival. We approve.

 

British blokes choose Bratislava
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Calling all British bachelors: Bratislava is the place to head to if you want to celebrate your last days of singledom and not incur the wrath of the future wife – or so says No.1 Currency. The travel money specialist compared the cost of a basket of ‘stag do essentials’ – a return flight, one night’s stay in a youth hostel, a pint of beer, a Big Mac, entry to a nightclub, fry up, a ticket to a football match and a taxi ride across some of the top European stag party cities. The figures reveal that the Slovakian capital of Bratislava offers exceptional value at just £96 for stag do essentials, compared to the same basket of essentials costing £302 if you stage your stag do on the infamous Spanish party island of Ibiza.

 

Finding zen in Hotel Jen
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A fan of sumptuous Shangri La Hotels but not their price tags? Us too. Which is why we’re loving the news that the luxury hotel chain has launched a younger, cooler and crucially, cheaper, brand: take a bow Hotel Jen. Shangri La’s younger sister is targeting travellers with a “millennium mindset.” The Asian company says that it’s ideal guest will be someone with a “love for travel, adventure and the simple pleasures in life.” To date Hotel Jen has so far only opened in Singapore but by March 2015 there will be 10 Hotel Jens in destinations  including Brisbane, Manila and many Chinese cities.

 

Indulging in retail therapy at Heathrow
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All hail Heathrow! The west London airport has opened a personal shopping lounge in Terminal 2 in what is a world first. Sounds good? Simply book an appointment a minimum of 48 hours before you fly and say what it is you’re interested in purchasing. Heathrow’s personal shoppers will then present you – at the lounge gateside – with an edit of items that they have carefully curated especially for you from the airport’s five terminals. Get ready to  whip out the plastic. Free; heathrow.com/personalshopper

 

Hobbit fans now have another reason to head to New Zealand
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Calling all The Lord of the Rings fans. Want to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Tolkien’s classic and the upcoming release of The Hobbit: Battle of the Armies in style? Look to luxury travel company, Zicasso, who are running an 11 day tour to the Middle Earth. The tour will take in Rotorua, the Oscar winning Weta Workshop and the Anduin River (where Aragorn washed up after the attack of the Wargs) among others.


NOT

Taking an Uber taxi in Berlin
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Uber – the popular taxi booking app – has been banned in Berlin. The California based company failed to meet safety requirements by using “unverified drivers in unlicensed vehicles.” Tut, tut. Any Berlin driver who accepts and Uber booking and gets caught faces a fine of E20,000 while Uber itself will be slapped with a E25,000 for each illegal booking.

 

Excessive airport security

Sao Paulo, Congonhas airport interior

It seems that British holidaymakers are cynical and dissatisfied with stringent airport security rules, with a mere 25% saying they believe it completely necessary and effective.  Independent research commissioned by Holiday Extras, found that passing through airport security is rated one of the most stressful and unpleasant things by holidaymakers.  In fact, a fifth of Brits say it’s the worst thing about going on holiday!

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