New Destinations in Travel - Angkor

Holiday and travel trends for the UK 2015

With the release of ABTA’s 2015 Travel Trends Report, we’ve taken a look at typical patterns for British travelers this year.

Technological travel is trending, according to numerous national newspapers, largely in the form of wearable devices such as Google Glass and smartwatches. While teleportation devices are probably still a long way off, hotels, airlines and travel companies are already recognizing an influx of techy travellers. Apps have been designed which permit smartwatches to replace room keys and can even be used to book flights, download boarding passes, check in to flights and find the best holiday deals.

Intelligent Travel

From 9 million devices in 2013 to 180 million predicted by 2016, it seems as though 2015 will be the turning point for technological travel. Who knows where this will lead us in the years to come, this particular writer predicts zero gravity tourism to become a more mainstream and most importantly affordable avenue.

It’s no secret that Britons have had to play it safe for the past few years with their holiday choices. As we rise out of a difficult economic period, however, we expect not-so-standard destinations for UK travellers on their jet-setting fix. According to ABTA’s report, 35% are likely to take a holiday to a country they have never visited: Austria, Botswana, Cuba, Japan and Norway all made the top 10 list. You’d be surprised at some of the places you can conveniently pick up an easyCar rental. Check out our site for further information.

The Age of Intelligent Travel

With many British nationals set to visit unfamiliar grounds, we can certainly think of 2015 as the year of ‘intelligent travel’. New territory means more research, and it’s for this reason that we will become more prepared and informed about where to go and what each place has to offer.

Mongolia has waived visas for UK visitors until the end of 2015; this is one perfect example of how a little research can open up new doors to the world which may previously have been difficult to prise open. Here, you can take a trip along the famous Trans-Mongolian Express, from Moscow to Ulan Baatar, where the Naadam Festival of wrestling, archery and horse racing will be taking place this July.

Women at the Naadam Festival

You could even hop on board the Eurostar, where new year-round direct services from London’s St. Pancras to Marseille and Lyon from May, whisk you off to the heart of the continent. Being a ‘smart traveller’ may also include combining events such as weddings with longer holidays, saving money on the transport costs. This growing trend allows you to save a little money by not organising another separate holiday later on or earlier in the year, but also allows you to explore the Bahamas a little better after a family wedding.

During this year’s International Expo (1st May – 31st October), for example, Milan will flex its cultural muscles while highlighting the region’s culinary excellence. If you plan on going this year you can hire a car from Milan Airport with easyCar.

The Growth of the City Break

Intertwined with this new-destination trend is an increase in city breaks, overtaking beach holidays as the most popular type of holiday in 2014 (35% and 34%, respectively). National Geographic’s ‘Cool List’ has dubbed the Cambodian city of Siem Reap, the gateway for the temples of Angkor, as a likely spot for British travellers, as well as cities across Mykonos, Nicaragua, Brazil and other South American cities.

New Destinations in Travel - Angkor
Angkor Temples

Finally, from the artificial trend of technology in travel, we come to the increasing desire to experience a truly authentic and immersed taste of the country we decide to visit. Certain to delight foodies, the peer-to-peer dining experience for local cuisine is allowing travellers to be paired up with home cooks at their holiday destination.

Visitors are invited into the cook’s home for meals or cooking lessons, multiple websites (such as Airbnb) catering to holidaymakers who are looking to find both value and authenticity as well as sampling local cuisine and meeting new people. After the meal, visitors can review their hosts in terms of food quality, level of cleanliness and the venue within which they socialized. While not quite a mainstream trend just yet, it’s certain to hit the main stage any time now.

Filled with the desire to visit rarely-explored places in the world, meet the locals and immerse oneself into authentic culture, whilst planning the next day on a smartwatch, all we can guarantee is that 2015 is set to be an incredibly exciting year for UK travelers.

American Road Trip: San Francisco

In our new series we’ll be taking you on a road trip through some of the most important and well-loved cities across the pond. We’ll be touring the USA so kick back, relax and enjoy the ride.

Our first stop takes us to the Pacific coast and one of the nation’s most stunning cities, San Francisco. Having landed in San Francisco International, you can pick up your pre-booked US rental car through easyCar. The half hour drive will take you along stunning coastal roads and bring you right to the heart of this bustling city. Comprising just over 800k citizens of an absolute mixture of heritages, the city oozes that stereotypical laid-back vibe that has become synonymous with California. Don’t get too comfortable, there’s a lot to do. But first a bit of background…

San_Francsisco_Skyline

Background

The city is built on prospector gold. The Californian gold rush of the late 19th century saw the city’s population grow by 2,400% in just one year, from a measly 1,000 inhabitants to 25,000. And they say London’s booming! Fortune seekers brought with them lawlessness and the town gained notoriety for its many vices. At the beginning of the 20th century (1906 to be precise) a massive earthquake ripped through California destroying vast swathes of the city; fires then ripped through the city’s cheaply produced wooden buildings. When the last fire was extinguished three quarters of the city was in ruins and 400k people were left without a home. This means a lot of the city you see today is a rebuild or complete reworking of what was once there. More recently, the city became renowned for its bustling creative scene; beat poet Allen Ginsburg found his spiritual home in the city and Jack Kerouac’s road trip novel On The Road takes the city as part of its canvas.

Top 5 things to do

    1. Drive over the Golden Gate Bridge – A symbol of American industrialism and culture the iconic suspension bridge is a sight to behold in real life. Driving over you are shielded from the giddy heights and blustering winds that are sure to churn the stomach of even the most robust of pedestrians choosing to go by foot. Nonetheless, driving over is an experience you’d be mad to miss out on. The bridge leads you to the smaller and slightly more intimate city of Oakland sat on the other side of the San Francisco Bay. While you’re driving over look out to the right and you’ll notice a craggy rock stubbornly jutting out of the bay. Welcome to Alcatraz.
    2. Tour Alcatraz Prison – Ferries out to the decommissioned penitentiary are easy to come by. One of the best tour groups is Alcatraz Cruises, which launches daily from Pier 33 in Fisherman’s Wharf. Depending on your availability there are a number of tours to be taken, from simply sailing around the outcrop to an in-depth tour of the supposedly inescapable prison. You’ll step into cells of some of America’s most notorious criminals and learn some of their dastardly, but mostly failed, attempts at escape.

Alcatraz_Island

  1. Ride the cable car – While this may look like a relic of a by-gone era; the cable car is still used by many a San Franciscan. The electric powered pods make mincemeat of the many steep inclines to be found across the city. Iconic in their own right, taking a ride hanging off the edge is a must-do experience for any visitors to the city.
  2. Take a stroll around Haight-Ashbury – An area in town that made its name for housing the many beatniks and hippies that drifted across North America to find a new, better life for themselves. This area was the epicentre of the ‘60s youth movement that to rebel against and reject the status quo believing they had discovered a better way of doing things. As such it attracted musical gods of the era in the likes of Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead.
  3. Drive down Lombard Street – While the name itself may seem pretty meaningless, fans of classic film will certainly know the look of the road. The distinctive curves of the road led Alfred Hitchcock to make 900 Lombard Street the house of James Stewart’s character in Vertigo. So famous is it that it has become a cultural landmark and a challenge to all drivers in the city.

Driving_Down_Lombard_Street

Where to eat and where to go out

As anywhere in the States you can expect your plate to be piled high. Umami Burger should be in your mind as a first port of call for anyone craving a burger. The restaurant is found throughout California and is now also making waves in New York, take it back to its roots and enjoy one grilled San Francisco style. For something a little more moderately priced, head to theRoxie Food Center; this place is so chilled out they don’t even have their own website! Expect hearty deli sandwiches and other finger foods. Or, of course, you could sample bánh mi baguettes done properly at Saigon Sandwich. Roast pork is the first thing on the menu and easily the tastiest option at this unpretentious Vietnamese restaurant.

Visitors in the summer should without doubt stop off at Zeitgeist to quench their thirst. This open-air beer garden is not restricted by its name and serves a wide variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. The atmosphere is chilled out and the garden is sprawling. Come expecting good times. For something altogether kookier head for Smuggler’s CoveSmuggler’s Cove. This pirate-themed bar may err on the side of cheesy but you’ll be sure to have a great time hiding out in the crow’s nest up top. If you’re looking for something a bit more old-fashioned then head for The Rickhouse, which has an entire wall dedicated to more sprits and liqueurs than you could possibly sample in a lifetime.

The nature of any American city lends itself perfectly to the car. If you plan on joining us on the next leg of our great American road trip, be sure to rent your car from the airport with easyCar to ensure the best value, most convenient journey possible.

The easyCar Guide to European Ski Resorts: Part II

While many of us dread the winter months and keep our eyes peeled for the first signs of spring, the season does bring with it joy for those who have been waiting for the chance to grab their skis, boards and boots and hit the slopes. A great combination of thrilling sport, continental foods and fun après-ski activities tempt many of us to Europe for our skiing holidays, and there are plenty of resorts to choose from. Back in November, we recommended three top skiing resorts for both the tried-and-tested powder fanatics and the novices alike; here are three more of our favourites:

Val Thorens, France

European_Ski_Resorts_Guide_1

  • 140km of piste
  • Highest lift: 3230m
  • Quality of snow: Good
  • Lift pass prices

As Europe’s highest resort, with three of its mountain peaks measuring above 3000m, you are always guaranteed good-quality snow in Val Thorens, even late in the season. The mountain views are breathtaking, the slopes are plentiful, and the food especially is some of the best you’ll find in any French resort. We particularly recommend taking a visit to the Michelin-starred Oxalys if you can.

The closest airports to Val Thorens are Chambery and Geneva, which are 2 and 3 hour drives away respectively. If you’re flying in, it’s well worth renting in advance from easyCar for a hassle-free drive to the resort from the airport, with some great scenery on offer for you on the drive.

  • Krkonose, Czech Republic

 

  • 24km of piste
  • Highest lift: 1275m
  • Quality of snow: Average – Good

Nearest airport: Prague

The Czech Republic isn’t the first place that comes to mind when most think of skiing, but the Krkonose Mountains, in the north of the country on the border with Poland, are a picturesque and popular location for a winter holiday – as well as being great for those on a budget. The Krkonose offers a great selection of downhill runs and cross-country routes, ideal for a gentle ski session to take in the scenery. Špindleruv Mlýn is the most popular resort, and is great for boarders as well as skiiers because of its modern parks and U-ramp. We recommend taking some time out from skiing to visit the beautiful waterfalls nearby, and definitely don’t miss the Harrachov beer spa.

 

  • Livingo, Italy

European_Ski_Resorts_Guide_Lift

Nearest airport: Zurich/Milan

Livingo is a small Alpine resort located on the Swiss border and a few hours from Milan airport (or Zurich on the other side). This resort is an excellent choice for families, with plenty of wide beginner slopes and ski schools on offer. There’s a generally traditional feel to the village itself too, for those who are trying to avoid too much of the après-ski student clubbing scene.

Like Val Thorens, its high altitude guarantees good snow from the end of November right up until the end of April. While it’s less accessible than other resorts, it’s worth the car ride for the money you’ll save at the resort itself, which is a duty-free zone.

Wondering how you’ll get your kit from the airport to the slopes? When you get a rental car with us, you’ll have the convenient option of adding a ski rack to your rental car.

Have a read through our previous guide to European skiing resorts for further information. Have we missed off your favourite? Let us know via social media.

In the driving seat or riding shotgun, where would you rather be?

Hiring a car while on holiday has often been seen as a practical necessity, an expectation that we at easyCar are trying to surpass. The ease with which you can hire through our website means when you arrive at the airport or rental point it’s often as easy as picking up, jumping in and driving away. No longer a practical necessity but something a whole lot more enjoyable. But what car would you like to be pulling away in?

A recent poll carried out by SkyScanner quizzed participants on their expectations about car hire and exactly what it was they look for when booking. The car that came out on top in this very British survey was perhaps no surprise; the reliable Range Rover proved the most popular hypothetical rental option in the survey, with 25% saying that they would choose this as their ideal car.

range_rover_dream_car

The majority of women (40%) said that they would prefer a sports utility vehicle, while 1 in 5 men thought an Aston Martin would be the ideal choice as a rental. 13% of men weren’t concerned what make of car they got so long as it was a convertible. Only 3% of women consider this as an important feature.

The survey also reveals an interesting point about who would like to take the hot seat of the rental; 80% of men would prefer to take to the wheel, while 68% of women would much prefer to ride shotgun.

Having been the backseat driver and driver whilst abroad on multiple occasions I know the fury and frustration that can come when you lose your way in a foreign country, especially surrounded by signs you don’t fully understand. This is why it comes as a shock that Sat Nav was deemed only the third most important feature.

The statistics also reveal our penchant for holidays in sun: the most popular feature was air conditioning. 39% of respondents said this was an absolute essential in any rental car. While we may be on holiday, that doesn’t mean we don’t still have an eye on the purse strings; fuel efficiency was the second most important feature, with just under 1 in 4 people saying this was essential.

To the casual observer, it would seem the respondents have been watching a few too many Bond films. Some of the ‘dream’ features people would like to see sound like they’ve come straight out of Q’s lab. 13% said they would appreciate an amphibious car, reminiscent of the fantastically retro Bond car in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’.

Perhaps something more likely to have been suggested by Bond than MI6 is the desire for a fridge to store drinks and snacks. Just over 1 in 10 people said this would be a desirable feature. Not forgetting the 27% who just want to chill out, demanding their car has a hands-free autopilot feature.

Feet planted firmly back in the real world, easyCar may not be able to offer some of these more fantastical features but we sure can offer competitive rates and some very nice premium and luxury cars ourselves. Check out our website atwww.easycar.com today to find your own ideal rental car for your next excursion!

The easyCar Guide to European Skiing Resorts

Each winter, thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies await a window of around 4 months to set off up into the mountains and enjoy life on the piste. I am of course talking about the ski season. In its infancy throughout November, it really kicks into life for December and will carry on through into the spring month of March – or April for the real fanatics. A week or two of thrilling exercise combined with the guilt-free excuse to eat delicious, comforting food as well as the sociability of the whole ‘après ski experience’ is a heady mix that brings people back year after year.

If you’re relatively new to the yearly ski run and are unsure where to go – or a seasoned pro looking for somewhere new – below are three suggestions that may suit you. They are:

  • Chamonix, France

The Stable Horsechamonix_slopes

      • 157km of piste
      • Highest lift: 3840m
      • Quality of snow: High
      • Lift pass prices
      • Nearest airport: Geneva, Switzerland

As one of the oldest ski resorts in the world you can’t really go wrong with Chamonix. The village hosted the first ever Winter Olympics in 1924, so to say that it has the necessary infrastructure is an understatement. Ever so slightly rough around the edges, this is a real mountain sports town. Early risers chomping down an on-the-go breakfast to get the first snows are fairly commonplace.

Summer and winter thrill-seekers flood to the town to delight in all the mountain has to offer: mountain biking, climbing and of course skiing. As such, the town has a lot of places to stay, eat and be merry. Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest peak, towers over the north side of the slopes. While there isn’t a lot for beginners, there is plenty for the more advanced skier to enjoy.

Hiring a car from easyCar at Geneva Airport will be the quickest, most efficient way of getting there. Take advantage of the Swiss motorways and cruise to your destination in 1 hour 10 minutes. With a car, from Chamonix you can also access various other ski resorts such as Les Praz or Le Tour.

  • Klosters, Switzerland

The Vogue Optionfashionable_klosters

      • 160km of piste
      • Highest lift: 2844m
      • Quality of Snow: Good
      • Lift pass prices
      • Nearest airport: Zurich, Switzerland

To suggest that skiing is all about the powder snow and the thrill of carving a path in previously untouched snow would not be entirely true. For many, the experience is more about being seen in the season’s latest fashion trends and in all the right champagne bars. If that sounds like your idea of a ski holiday, then Klosters might well be just the spot for you.

You’ll be rubbing shoulders with the glitterati. Royalty and billionaires alike are known to enjoy these golden slopes. The après ski and long lunch are central to Klosters’ appeal. But that is to do a disservice to its slopes, which are well-maintained and perfect for beginners through to intermediates.

Renting your car from easyCar before you travel will give you more time doing what you enjoy and less doing what you hate – waiting around in airports. The drive, which is just shy of two hours, will take you along Swiss motorways and through some awe-inspiring mountain passes. Once there you can drive to the nearby Davos for a bit more variety in your slopes.

  • Jasna, Slovakia

The Good Bargainapres_ski_at_jasna

      • 46km of piste
      • Highest lift: 2024m
      • Quality of Snow: Average
      • Lift pass price
      • Nearest airport: Krakow, Poland

Chocolate box views are by no means the be all and end all of this resort. The stunning powder routes, great for both skiers and boarders, will dispel any misgivings about venturing into eastern Europe. Gone are the days of crumbling lifts and bad organisation, in this resort at least. Being a fairly new resort, the pistes aren’t as extensive as some of the Alpine resorts and the snow can be a bit more temperamental. But you’ll find uncluttered slopes and a perfectly unpretentious clientele. Plus you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re at the cutting edge of winter sports exploration; an eastern European explosion is on the cards with the next decade or so.

The price attracts a younger clientele than the likes of Klosters. As such you can expect a vibrant après ski atmosphere with the bars and clubs swinging deep into the night.

Flying into Krakow, you would be well advised to book your rental car in advance from easyCar. Doing so can save you valuable time you can re-invest on the slopes. It’s about a 3-hour drive from Krakow airport to the resort.

It is extremely difficult to accurately judge the volume and quality of snowfall for the upcoming season; however, we hope this guide will help you make your decision. One final tip: use sites such as Snow Forecast to get a fairly accurate picture of snowfall across Europe.

How to Make Your Airport Experience Stress Free and Super Efficient

Many people find airport travel extremely stressful. Anything from half-hearted organisation to unplanned delays can contribute to the unrelenting despair of travelling by plane. However, to help ease this pain, we have compiled some simple tips to help make your time at the airport as stress-free and efficient as possible as you gleefully escape abroad one last time before winter closes in.

Plan Ahead

The first step to take is to plan everything well in advance, leave as little as is humanly possible to the last minute. Scrambling around in wardrobes and cabinets on the morning of your flight is no one’s idea of fun and will leave you with a messy room on your return. Instead, write yourself a checklist several weeks in advance to make sure that you have made all the appropriate arrangements and have packed everything that you need.

AirportStress

 

Have Everything to Hand

Most things you take on your trip won’t be needed until you arrive at your destination; however, there are a few essentials that will come in handy at the airport. These things all need to be packed ‘close to the surface’ in your hand luggage and include important documents such as your passport and your boarding pass as well as any bits you’ll need on the plane, such as your book, iPod and headphones. Don’t face the shame of having to empty the ‘vacation underwear’ out of your case in front of the entire airport to find your passport stubbornly hiding in a buried sock.

Do Your Research & Check Airport Regulations

Regulations regarding what you can carry in your hand luggage and what you can bring back from your travels are constantly changing. Check out current regulations online to avoid embarrassing and stress-inducing situations arising at customs control. The website of the airline in question will go into more detail on luggage limitations for your specific journey.

Stay by the Gate

Two of the biggest causes of stress for people when they are at the airport are delays and cancellations. Waiting for departure boards to update can add to the pressure as you will need to factor in the time it will take to run to your gate. By staying next to the gate you can get current updates from staff members and be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.

Book a Hire Car Online

Hoping to arrive at your destination and immediately find the perfect hire car to suit your needs is unwise. It is sensible to plan ahead and make sure that you have a rental car arranged before leaving for the airport. The best way to do this is to book online in advance.

Be Frugal – Avoid Overnight Stay Costs

Travel is expensive enough without any additional costs. If a flight leaves in the early hours of the morning, or there are significant delays, many travellers will book a night in local accommodation. However, if you check the sleeping airports website you can find out about the night-time options of most international airports, as well as the best areas in which to get a decent night’s sleep. This will allow you to catch 40 winks without any unnecessary expense.

Choose Quieter Days to Travel

A little known fact is that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are, on average, the quietest days at airports. This is because many travellers depart at weekends to fit in with working hours and school holiday patterns. By choosing these days to travel, you are less likely to experience delays and the subsequent stress. If you can be flexible, use this to your advantage when booking flights and plan your trip to avoid busy times.

By following these tips, and with a little luck on your side, being in an airport need not be a stressful experience. With good planning, everything from parking the car to boarding the plane can run smoothly and efficiently. Do let us know if you have any other useful titbits to share, and we wish you a stress-free trip!

The Beginner’s Phrasebook for Travelling Abroad

Many of us come home from holiday vowing to ourselves that by this time next year, we’ll have learnt enough of a language to be able to pass off as a native on our next holiday. Unfortunately, life will often find a way to keep you too busy to take those French classes or to write with your German pen friend, leaving you getting off the plane once again in a foreign location with little knowledge of the local language.

Many locals are really helpful, and some knowledge of English is expected in most European businesses these days. However, it’s important to be able to converse with locals in their native tongue, not just as a sign of cultural respect, but also because it will infinitely increase your enjoyment of the location.

Here are our top most useful phrases for holidaymakers abroad, along with phonetic pronunciation and translation. Bookmark it!

French (Français)

french_flag

Basics

Hello

Salut/Bonjour

sa-LOO/bohn-ZHOOR

 

Goodbye

Au Revoir

oh ruh-VWAR

 

Please

S’il vous plait

siv-oo-PLAY

 

Thank you

Merci

mehr-SEE

 

Sorry

Désolé

deh-SO-lay

 

Phrases

I don’t speak French very well, can you speak English?

Je ne parle pas bien français, parlez vous anglais?

zhuh nuh PAHRL pah by-ANG frahn-SEH, par-lay VOO ahng-LEH?

 

Excuse me, where is the…?

Excusez-moi, où est le/la/les…?

ehk-SKEW-zay MWAH, oo-eh luh/la/ley…?

 

Can I have…. please?

Est-ce que je peux avoir….. s’il vous plait?

esker zhuh PUH av-warr… siv-oo-PLAY ?

 

Could you write it down?

Est-ce que vous pouvez l’ecrire?

esker voo POO-vay lay-kreer?

 

How much does…cost?

Combien coûte…?

com-bee-OHN cot …

 

I’m sorry but I don’t understand.

Je suis désolé mais je ne comprends pas.

zhuh swee day-zo-lay, may zher ner kong-prong pah.

 

Can you help me?

Est-ce que vous pouvez m’aider?

esker voo poovay may-DAY?

Spanish (Español)

spanish_flag

Basics

Hello

Hola

ohla

 

Goodbye

Adios

ah-di-OSS

 

Please

Por favor

pour fav-OR

 

Thank you

Gracias

gra-see-ASS

 

Sorry

Lo siento

low see-en-TOW

 

Phrases

Hello, I don’t speak Spanish very well. Can you speak English?

No hablo muy bien español, ¿usted habla inglés?

no ah-blo mwee bee-en ess-panyol. Oo-sted ab-lah in-glez?

 

Excuse me, where is the…?

Disculpe, ¿Dónde está …?

dis-KUHLL-pe, don-deh ess-TAH…?

 

May I have the…. please?

¿Me puede dar … por favor?

meh PWEH-deh darr…. pour fav-ORR?

Could you write it down?

¿Puede escribirlo?

PWEH-deh ess-creeb-EER-lo?

 

Excuse me, I don’t understand

Disculpe, pero no le entiendo.

dis-KULL-peh. Peh-roh noh leh enn-teeyen-doh

 

Can you help me?

¿Puede ayudarme?

pwed-deh ah-YOO-darr-meh?

 

How much does…cost?

Cuánto cuesta…?

kwan-TO kwess-TAH …

 

German (Deutsch)

german_flag

Basics

Hello

Guten Tag

goo-TUN taahg

 

Goodbye

Tschüss

chuse

 

Please

Bitte

bitter

 

Thank you

Danke

dan-KEH

 

Sorry

Es tut mir leid

ess toot meer lied

 

Phrases

I don’t speak German very well, can you speak English?

Leider spreche ich nicht so gut Deutsch, sprechen Sie englisch?

lie-der shpreck-e ich nicht soh goot doytsh, shpreck-en zee english?

 

Excuse me, where is the…?

Entschuldigen Sie mich, wo ist…?

ent-shool-digen zee mich, voh ist..?

 

Can I have…. please?

Könnte ich bitte….haben?

kuhnnt-eh ich bitte…haben?

 

Could you write it down?

Könnten Sie das bitte aufschreiben?

kunnt-en zee das bitt-eh auf-shribe-en?

 

I’m sorry but I don’t understand.

Es tut mir leid aber ich verstehe nicht.

es toot meer lied, aber ich ver-shtee-ye nicht.

 

Can you help me?

Können Sie mir helfen?

koon-en zee meer helf-en?

 

How much does…cost?

Wie viel kostet…?

vee-VEAL koss-TET…?

 

Italian (Italiano)

italian_flag

Basics

Hello

Buongiorno

bwon zhor-no

 

Goodbye

Addio

AD-dio

 

Please

Per favore

pehr fah-VOH-reh

 

Thank you

Grazie

GRA-tsee-eh

 

Sorry

Scusa

SCOO-sah

 

Phrases

I don’t speak Italian very well, can you speak English?

Non parlo italiano molto bene, parli Inglese?

non par-lo ee-tahl-ee-ah-no mohl-toh beh-neh, par-lee een-gleh-zeh?

Excuse me, where is the…?

Scusi, dov’è il/la/ …?

skoo-zee, doh-veh il/la

Can I have…. please?

Posso avere …per favore?

Po-so AVER-re… pehr fah-VOH-reh

Could you write it down?

Potresti scriverlo?

Pwoh –tes-sti scree-VER-lo

I’m sorry but I don’t understand.

Mi dispiace, ma non capisco.

mee dee-SPYAH-cheh, ma non kah-PEES-koh

Can you help me?

Potresti aiutarmi?

Pwoh-TES-ti ah-yoo-TAR-me?

Whilst these phrases may not prove too useful with regard to impressing a date or discussing politics with the locals, they may help you out of a sticky situation or two.

For vocabulary and more advanced phrases, there are a number of smartphone apps that will help you out. For iPhone, your best bet is iTranslate voice, which lets you speak your phrase into it and returns the translation in automated speech.Android users should make sure that Google Translate is installed on their phone, especially since it offers offline language packs, saving you from desperately searching for a Wi-Fi hotspot in order to continue a conversation about the intricacies of European politics with a local. For Windows Phone users, Bing’s translation service is surprisingly efficient and also offers an offline mode.

If you have a few months before you leave, devote some time to Duolingo, a free app which offers extensive lessons to help you become conversational in French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch or Italian!

If, even with this newfound elementary knowledge of European languages, you still don’t feel confident about haggling car rental prices whilst on holiday, why not book your car in advance with easyCar? We sort out all of the logistics, leaving you only to pick up the keys, offer a quick word of thanks (merci, gracias, grazie, or danke) and jump in the car.

From there you can decide exactly how much (or how little) conversation you want on your break.

The Top 5 Ways to Beat Jet Lag

Jet lag: it’s a feeling we’re all familiar with. After months of anticipation, weeks of preparation and one night of frantic last-minute packing, you finally arrive at your holiday destination, only to find jet lag hitting you like a ton of bricks. Jet lag, or to give it its proper name, ‘desynchronosis’, is what happens to us when long-distance travel affects our bodies’ natural rhythms. It can leave us with an aching head, feeling fatigued, unable to sleep, confused and often, sadly, not at all in the mood to enjoy a holiday.

With the growing popularity of fly/drive holidays, where you jump straight into a car after a long flight, the need to minimize the damage of jet lag is even more urgent. Thankfully, there are a few tricks out there that will help you to recover and to re-adjust quickly. Here are our five top tips for beating jet lag.

 
adjust_your_schedule

1. Tweak Your Schedule

One small thing you can do to help prepare your body is to try to gently adjust your eating and sleeping patterns so that it fits the time zone you’ll be switching to. Some people do this over a matter of weeks, moving their usual schedule an hour later or earlier with each week that passes, but you can do an hour a day. Make sure you know which way round to shift things though: move the timings earlier if you’re travelling east, and later if you’re travelling west.

2. Eat and Drink Well

While you’re travelling, make sure to keep your fluids up – and by this, we mean water. It’s also best not to indulge in too many caffeinated or alcoholic drinks. Eating is especially important as jet lag can hit your digestive system too. It helps to keep to the meal schedule of the time zone you’ll be arriving in. But airplane food generally fits the schedule of wherever you’re flying from, so you’ll probably need to plan this in advance and bring some light snacks to keep between-meal hunger at bay.

3. Put Down The Pills!

It can be tempting to take sleeping pills on the flight, particularly if you struggle to sleep on planes. But consider it carefully first – they can actually worsen jetlag and make you feel especially groggy when you land. While you should try to sleep on a long-haul flight, we recommend some sleep-inducing tactics that are easier on the body – a blackout eye-mask, earplugs and a cup of chamomile tea. (And don’t forget to sleep in accordance with your new time zone!)

4. Keep Moving

A long flight can mean sitting still for hours on end, which isn’t good for the body at all. You’ll feel a lot better physically if you take a few walks around the plane, even if it’s just pacing the aisles every couple of hours. This will get your blood circulating and keep you feeling physically well.

5. Don’t Hide Away

Once you’re off the plane, it can be tempting to take advantage of any comfortable, horizontal location to sleep – even if it’s daytime. It’s recommended, however, that you only nap for between 20-40 minutes before getting outside, or you risk worsening your jet lag.

 
dont_hide_away

The best thing you can do to wake your body up and start settling into the new time zone is to do light exercise, so, if you can, try going for a walk. If it’s sunny then the light will decrease your melatonin levels (making you less sleepy), and the exercise will release endorphins, which will remedy any feelings of irritability or illness.

Don’t let jet lag spoil your trip. Indulging your body’s desire for sleep will play havoc with your time away and could end-up knocking valuable days off your holiday. Small tactics will make a difference. Try to organize as much as possible with regard to travel, accommodation and admin before you leave, saving time and energy after arriving at your destination. Car rental sites such as easyCar, money exchange companies and online hotel-comparison sites are just a few of the services you should investigate from the comfort of your own home, before you travel.

Enjoy your time away and let us know of any other tips for improving the quality of your break.

Are these the worst ten places to park in the world?

You’ve all seen them: those loose canons pulled up across two parking spaces. You undoubtedly cursed the fact that they decided to come shopping at that moment in time. How dare they?

 

No matter how terrible your neighbourhood happens to be, it could be worse. Bet you haven’t seen parking this bad before.

 

Here are the world’s top-ten worst places to leave a car, ordered from best to worst. Do you agree with our choices?

 

(1)
Car_Park_Tetris

‘‘Car-Park Tetris,’ that new phenomenon created by SEGA Entertainment, has really taken off in the Netherlands.

 

(2)
Selfish

Original Source: ‘Internet Picture Dictionary.’

Definition: ‘Selfish.’

 

(3)
Clarkson

A rare snap of Jeremy Clarkson’s moped!

 

(4)
Poor

And the prize for most poorly planned car park goes to….

 

(5)
Building

After only twenty minutes, the local council began to regret cutting costs on building materials.

 

(6)
Escalator

The owner’s insurance plan was shortly escalated up a step!

 

(7)
Bus

The coach driver was a zealous landlubber.

 

(8)
Police

To add insult to injury, the baffled policeman returned to a ticket as well as an indentation. Worst day ever!?

 

(9)
Surprise

Before this fateful evening, the restaurant regulars didn’t even know the meaning of the word ‘surprise.’

 

(10)
Harry_Potter

Harry and Ron knew they had gone too far this time.

 

Seen any worse parkers about town? Send us your photos and where you think they would fit into our list. We’ll add any that are truly terrible!

The ultimate road trip tales

With summer just round the corner, you can be forgiven for letting your mind wander to your summer plans and how you will escape the humdrum of day-to-day life. One such way would be to embark on a road trip around Europe. Set a starting point, home for example, a furthest point, Poland perhaps, and map-out a proposed round-trip route.

 

If you’ve never done anything like this before, you’d be excused for having a few nerves. But you will be entering into a long and romantic tradition of road tripping. There are many books you could read to get you into the spirit, or to take with you as holiday reading. Here are five great books:
Route_66

1. On The Road – Jack Kerouac

The ultimate road trip book has recently been made into a Hollywood hit. This book follows the passage of Sal Paradise from New York along the iconic Route 66 all the way to Los Angeles, California. This book really portrays the freedom that setting out on the road can offer.

 

The passage from North East to South West America is a well-trodden one in both real life and fiction. For many Americans it is a way of retracing their heritage. The Californian gold rush of the early 20th century saw many poor Americans pack all their belongings onto wagons and migrate across the vast continent to the riches promised in California. This is a powerful book that colourfully describes the joy to be found on the open road.

 

2. America Unchained – Dave Gorman

British comedian, Dave Gorman, wrote this book as an account of his month-long quest to travel from California to Georgia. This may not be the hardest journey, but it is the way he did it that makes his trip a challenge.

 

He set himself the mission of avoiding all chain-style businesses, a hard task in America. Fuel, food and accommodation had to be found while avoiding the chains. The question is did he succeed? You will have to read the book to find out.

 

3. Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert M. Pirsig 

This is a book that looks at the sheer amount of time needed to embark on such a long road trip. The open road gives drivers the space and freedom to get lost in their own thoughts and think their problems through. Travelling by bike, Pirsig explores his own mind more so than the roads etched into the American landscape. Will your road trip offer such peace and quiet?
Irish_Roads

4. Round Ireland With a Fridge – Tony Hawks

This British comedian and author’s journey started as many hair-brain plans tend to, with a bar bet. The challenge was thrown down to hitchhike around Ireland … with a fridge.

 

What really makes this book worth reading is the weirdoes and oddballs you are bound to attract trying to hitchhike with a fridge in tow. A prince and bogus king are just a few of the friends he and his companion made along the way. What is even more surprising is how well received he was by the people of Ireland as he travelled around, becoming an iconic image during his month’s travel.

 

5. Travels with Charley – John Steinbeck 

This travelogue details the trip around the United States that Steinbeck took with Charley, his trusted companion who just so happens to be his French standard poodle. The journey is taken in a camper van so that he and his best friend can try and experience a personal attachment with the nation around them. This is certainly something that will be on offer to any road tripper. As you travel through regions and across boundaries the diverse makeup of a country and continent is unravelled. This experience is something you will never feel when you choose a plane as your means of travel.

 

Have these books made you think twice about taking a road trip? Perhaps you will need a car? Hire one from easyCar and hit the open road. Taking these books with you on any road trip, big or small, is sure to set your imagination running and make you appreciate the joy of independence and freedom you find on the open road.

5 ways you can make your airport experience as pain-free as possible

airport_stress

No one likes airports. The excitement of going away is put on hold as you drudge through check-in, passport control and then boarding. Only to be greeted by the same process at the end of your flight. With that in mind, here are a few stress-busting tips for the next time you’re in an airport.

1. Some forward-thinking airports have free Wi-Fi, but unfortunately most don’t. No problem if you’re in your home country and you have a mobile Internet allowance. However, things get a bit more annoying when you’re on a long stopover and Internet charges cost you an arm and a leg. Try positioning yourself near one of the frequent flyer lounges and you never know, you may just be able to jump onto their free Wi-Fi. Sneaky, I know.

2.Overnight stops can be a pain, and an expensive one at that. Early morning flights, long lay-overs or freak weather may all mean an overnight stay in an unknown city. Beat the hotel costs by using the sleeping airports website. The world’s airports are listed from A to Z and detail how good your airport is for sleeping in and where best you can get a good night’s sleep.

3. The best days to travel tend to be Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Why? Well vacationers tend to travel on weekends. Business travellers however, are looking to get to a location at the beginning or towards the end of the week. So take advantage of the quieter departure lounge and cheaper flights by travelling midweek.

4. Preparing your phone before arriving is really important. Whether that means charging the battery or downloading the app for your airline, its well worth being prepared. Many airlines have released free apps, where you can store boarding passes, check-in and be alerted to flight delays/cancellations. Not to mention the wealth of music, film and games available to you.

5. Delays and cancellations can really unhinge a holiday. Sometimes you are given a moments notice that a flight is no longer delayed, but actually leaving on time. Regardless of how long the delay is, it is worth proceeding towards the gate. Departure boards lag behind real time and take a few minutes to be updated. Staying by the gate means you don’t have to run the length of the airport. There is also generally a member of staff who will have up-to-the minute updates.

These are just five ideas to beat the stress and boredom that comes with the airport experience. Let us know yours below…

Should I hire at the airport or before?

car_rental

Travelling abroad in the next few months? It’s definitely worth considering the benefits of arranging a hire car well in advance. It will save you a lot of grief and lets you hit the hallowed holiday ground running.

Not only is picking up a car at airport arrivals a gamble and expensive, it can also be restrictive with regards to model, extras, length of availability, deposit, and more.

There are several major advantages to arranging a hire car before you travel.

1. You can compare thousands of prices and car packages online, making it much easier to find the best possible deal to suit your needs. The potential savings are significant.

2. Not only will your pockets feel the benefit from our early-booking discounts but also by being prepared and organised you will feel happier and calmer – definitely the best way to begin your trip. A disorganized start can taint the rest of your holiday – not ideal!

3. Booking in advance means that the hire is confirmed and your car will be reserved. This is a big plus, as last-minute car rental can often leave the hopeful renter disappointed. Whether the desired car is unavailable, or you have to wait for something to be returned, hiring last minute is not always smooth sailing.

4. Hiring in advance can also avoid a number of cultural obstacles such as the dreaded language barrier or the all-too-common exchange-rate difficulties.

5. Booking in advance cuts down on time. You can collect the keys after bag collection, before heading straight to the parking lot. Any time saved on getting your holiday started is a big plus!