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Homeaway sues AirBnB for trademark infringement

News of HomeAway’s trademark-infringement lawsuit against AirBnB has left many customers of both companies wondering what to think about the whole thing.

“Good Artists Borrow, Great Artists Steal.” This famous saying, most often attributed to Pablo Picasso, pretty much summarizes how the creative process works in any media. And Silicon Valley is no different.

If you’re good enough at making high-quality copies, people will admire you for your skillset. You will earn some respect and even a decent amount of money. Still in all, it doesn’t matter how good the replica is. It will be overshadowed by the original creation.

A creative genius, Picasso was never interested in copying things. His creative process began with ideas from others, which once absorbed, took on a new life in his own image, and on a different scale.

Oftentimes, these ideas came to him via the great masters, and sometimes from his fellow artists. Throughout his career, he mastered his “art of stealing” like no one else.

While a teenager, Picasso became fascinated by the work of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. This resulted in a series of works that made the originals look pretty outdated. One of Picasso’s greatest contributions to the art world, Cubism, was also influenced by Ingres.

Turkish Bath Picasso vs IngresTurkish Bath by Ingres (1862) – left and by Pablo Picasso (1907) – right

This is how things get done in the realm of genius. Ideas inspire great artists to create a new art form that didn’t exist before, and is often regarded as revolutionary.

Whether you borrow or steal in the world of business, the consequences are vastly different.

On December 16, 2013, AirBnB launched a new advertisement campaign, “Home to You.” The Home to You ad campaign centers around a video showing artisans recreating 50 Airbnb vacation rental listings in the form of miniature birdhouses.

Yes, birdhouses. This is what all the fuss is about.

Here’s how AirBnB describes the idea behind the movie on their YouTube channel:

No creatures on earth travel quite like birds do. They soar the skies, then land in new places. They see the world from a different perspective, one to which all real travelers aspire. This film is a celebration of our passion for travel and the kind of hospitality that makes people feel at home anywhere.

How could a story like that not touch the soul of an aspiring traveler?

But, apparently, it can also touch a copyrighted image: the “Birdhouse Mark” which happened to be a protected trademark of AirBnB’s biggest competitor, HomeAway, Inc. HomeAway’s logo prominently features a birdhouse, and the company uses birdhouses as its sort of “mascot.”

According to HomeAway’s argument, Brian Chesky, CEO and co-founder of AirBnB, paid multiple visits to HomeAway’s headquarters in Austin, Texas. This said, it’s probably safe to assume that the giant birdhouse replica in the middle of their headquarters didn’t pass unnoticed.

Birdhouse by HomeAway in their headquarter

We will leave it up to history to determine whether AirBnB’s national campaign is a complete steal or just borrowing. It certainly visualizes an especially poetic perspective on travel.

One thing, though, is crystal clear to Brian Sharples, CEO and Chairman of HomeAway.

“We do believe it is a fairly deliberate attempt to confuse the marketplace,” Sharples has said. Chesky “has been to our downtown offices several times. He has stepped into our giant birdhouse. I don’t think that anyone could argue that this was a mistake on their part.”

So, what now?

Should we consider it as a formal announcement of the war between two competitors? Was HomeAway fed up with AirBnB breaking more and more into the market for traditional vacation rental homes?

Although they are clashing over the same market niche, HomeAway and AirBnB are very different animals when it come to their respective cultures, founders, and backers, and the demographics of their hosts, guests, founders, and even haters.

It’s even safe to say that AirBnB and HomeAway are completely opposites any way you look at them. This is what makes this clash so fascinating.

Let’s look back at the history of two companies and try to understand what may arise from this.

HomeAway, Inc, nowadays a publicly traded company under the AWAY ticker, was founded in 2005 by Brian Sharples and Carl Shepherd. Within six years,  they managed to bring the company to its IPO, generating a sixfold return on investment (based on the post-IPO figures).

Their runaway success was mainly attributable to a clever way of cherrypicking and acquiring market leaders in the vacation rental industry around the globe, and monetizing their existing customer bases.

Some of HomeAway’s most notable acquisitions included VRBO.com and VacationRentals in the US, Arbitel.fr in France, and about twenty additional websites in different time zones, languages and hemispheres, the most recent being the Australia-based Stayz, for $198M. HomeAway often called themselves a startup, but it’s pretty unusual for a startup to begin operations with $49M on hand, with another $500M deposited by VCs within the first couple of years of operation.

AirBnB was founded in 2008, by two designers,Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, and an engineer, Nathan Blecharczyk. For a few months they tested out the idea of renting an airbed in their San Francisco loft to conferencegoers. Packaged with a small meal, the accommodation was dubbed  Airbed and Breakfast (later shortened to AirBnB). They made a few attempts to replicate this model in other cities, but that didn’t help with their flat revenue graph.

Forced to think outside of the box as their fledgling company struggled to become profitable, the founders began to offset their losses by selling repackaged cereal as “Obama O’s” and “Captain McCain’s.” The cereal story, a hit during the 2008 election, later became a trigger point for Paul Graham to take these guys seriously. In the winter 2009, the founders were invited to participate in YCombinator, one of Silicon Valley’s first and most respected startup accelerators. From this very moment, AirBnB’s growth was phenomenal. The amount of funding they attracted over the course of couple of years reflects their rapid market expansion. Starting from the $20K coming from the YCombinator fund, they quickly accumulated $326M in funding from their first tier investors and celebrities. Being pioneers of the shared economy, they inspired a lot of controversy, viral press, and tidal waves of support from all around the globe. It’s fair to mention that over time the website became for some a reliable source of income—and for others, some sort of a travel religion. People started referring to AirBnB’s brand as a foundation of a new phenomena: the shared economy. Inspired by their success, dozens of other startups adopted their business model to different markets: AirBnB for CarsAirBnB for Dogs, you name it! Finally, the AirBnB founders came up with their own new version of AirBNB … for birds.

BirdBnB.com became their first national ad campaign calling for bird houses. Notably, the campaign cost AirBnB no less than $2M.

“We promise you’ll never look at birdhouses the same way — and if you stay in one of these remarkable homes around the world, you may never look at travel the same way again too,” the website states. (At the time of this article, BirdBnB.com is redirecting to the main website AirBnB.com)

This is where their march has been stalled by a lawsuit from HomeAway.

Homeaway Birdhouse logo

“Defendant and HomeAway target and provide services to an overlapping class of Travelers for their respective services, through overlapping channels of trade,” the HomeAway suit states. “On information and belief, Defendant, has long targeted the tenants in landlord owned apartments in major cities (such as New York, Paris, San Francisco, Berlin, etc.) as its major supplier of listings.”

“However, Defendant [Airbnb] has recently increased its efforts to attract business in traditional vacation rental markets (such as the Gulf Coast, Rocky Mountains, Provence and Tuscany), in which HomeAway has long been well-established.”

Embedded in the culture of HomeAway, Sharples said, is the birdhouse logo, designed by downtown Austin advertising firm McGarrah Jessee and chosen “because it symbolizes what we do.”

AirBnB’s creative genius has served them pretty well on many occasions. It will be interesting to see how things will unfold this time.

Shall we expect an open-field battle between competitors, a massive settlement or M&A talk?

What are your thoughts on this?

Vacation is fun! Is there a place for horror story?Vacations are all fun and games! At least, they should be. But we’ve all heard the horror stories—train bandits, lost passports and general travel fails. While you really never know what’s around the corner, there are a few precautions you can take to keep that mystery fun and adventurous rather than devastating and dangerous. Learn from the best and the worst of us: here are six vacation security mistakes and a few ways to prevent them from happening.

1. The Wandering iPod, and Other Tales

The world is full of very good, very professional thieves. Writer and traveler Ali Osworth recalls her experience with a pickpocket when she was living in Paris – she hung her jacket over the back of her chair while having coffee with a friend, and she left all her stuff in her pockets. Luckily she turned around just as the man sitting at the table behind her was lifting her iPod, and, with lightning-quick reflexes, stole it back from him! And though that makes for a great story, hindsight says the entire situation could have been avoided if she’d kept her stuff on her person the entire time, instead of letting it all hang out. Other things can happen when your vitals aren’t with you as well – artist Matt Cosby drove to Montreal for a music festival and locked his keys in his car — along with his wallet, cell phone, luggage, computer, everything but the multi-colored, crazy-person festival clothes on his back. Luckily the lovely folks of Montreal procured him a place to sleep while he waited for his early morning locksmith appointment, and — thanks to a nice note he left — his car didn’t get towed. But all of that could have been avoided by keeping his wallet, phone, and, yes, those wayward keys in an under-the-clothes money belt. For good measure, toss in your passport, a list of important phone numbers and addresses (don’t forget your country’s embassy!), some disaster/locksmith cash and a few coins (in case you need to locate one of those ole-timey pay phones).

2. Night Moves

When you’re sleeping on a train, you’re a sitting duck for someone to sneak up on you and take your possessions. The closer you keep your stuff (like in that under-the-clothes money belt), the harder that thief is going to have to work to get your things while you’re asleep. But train robbers, organized and very experienced train robbers, do exist. An anonymous study abroad student fell asleep in her seat on an overnight train, thinking it would be fine as she’s a light sleeper. But experienced something that many consider to be an urban legend – the next day, she woke up feeling like her head was full of cotton. All of her stuff was gone – camera, money, passport. Luckily for her, the thieves did leave the rest of her train tickets, so she was able to get back home. When she reported this to the authorities, she realized she wasn’t the only victim – a compartment of six people next to her experienced the same thing, and she was told by police that robbers sometimes use chemical assistance to make sure their targets remain in their out-cold state. Strength in numbers obviously wasn’t a deterrent, but police told her that compartments that lock and are made for sleeping are victimized less. The lesson learned from this study abroad student? Spring for a couchette (often six beds per locking compartment) if you’re in a group, or a private sleeping compartment if you’re alone. It’s more comfortable to sleep laying down, and MUCH more comfortable to wake up not in a chemical fog.

3. Scammers Gonna Scam

Ever been admiring the Eiffel Tower when suddenly you are tapped on the shoulder and asked if this is your gold ring? Does it take you a second to remember you don’t own a gold ring? It feels like for every traveler that exists there is a unique scam story – from “you broke my thing” to “wait, you thought this was free?” to “no, that’s the correct change,” it feels like there’s a million of them out there. Blogger Lehua Gray is an experienced traveler, but she had just landed in Turkey when something tested her adventuring acumen. “I handed the taxi driver a 50. He took it, then immediately handed me back a 5 and claimed that I had really given him a 5.” Unable to prove her story—or argue in Turkish—she had to swallow the loss. Scammers can scam, but that doesn’t mean you have to let them! “I should have declared “Here’s a 50!” while handing it over, and made sure I held onto it for a moment while it was exchanging hands,” explains Gray. If someone accuses you of breaking something, ask for proof. And if someone tries to hustle you out of money, you can always make a scene and melt into the crowd.

4. Lost In Translation

You don’t want to strike up a conversation with one of those scammers either, and it’s easy to accidentally do that when you look lost and ask some random people for directions. While it’s true that the vast majority of people you meet when you’re traveling are wonderful, there are also those who are looking for an easy target. Writer Eddie Nicalou was “totally lost in Madrid, with a 13:44 train to Toledo I was already running late for. I whipped out my map in the middle of a public square, stared at it slack-jawed, and started asking random passers-by where I was. A friendly local was happy to have a nice long conversation about where I was going — and his buddies were happy to rummage through my backpack while I was distracted.”

Plan ahead and carry along maps that make sense to you (yes, paper maps, something that doesn’t rely on charged batteries). If you have to ask for directions, ask a professional — someone working at the train station or airport, or someone working in a shop or restaurant. You’ve also got a better chance of finding someone who knows the area if you grab someone who is clearly comfortable there, like a bus depot worker.

5. Who Ya Gonna Call?

Probably not the Ghostbusters — unless you’re staying in a haunted castle in Scotland. If you’ve got an emergency when you’re abroad, you’ll probably need to contact that country’s police force or EMTs. But every country has a different way to respond to emergencies — did you know that in France when you’re injured, you call the fire fighters (les pompiers) even when your injury isn’t fire-related? So if you fall down the stairs at a restaurant and put your hand through a ceramic vase on the next landing, you’ll get stitches faster if your first call is to the pompiers. Pop quiz, how do you make that call? Don’t know? Supposing you do have a vacation security breach, getting in contact with the right emergency response as quickly as possible can improve the outcome and help bring your vacation enemy to justice! Do your research before you leave, or download an app like Help Call ($2.99).

6. Home Sweet Home

You want to stay in that haunted castle in Scotland, not return to a horror show. Protect your own personal castle while you’re away by keeping your whereabouts off of social media — yes, we know it’s hard, but you should be out enjoying your experiences anyway, not tethered to your phone! Letting the wide world know you’re away from home is a surefire way to invite a burglar in. Ask a neighbor to look in on your house, bring in your mail, and water your plants — that’ll make your house look occupied, even when it’s not (pro tip: bring sweets, wine and other delicious treats back as a thank you!). And don’t forget to install a home security system that can alert your local police to a security breach while you’re as far away from local as you can possibly be.

Have any travel horror stories? Share in the comments!

This guest post was written by Kevin Raposo,  a blogger for SimpliSafe Home Security Systems. He likes to feed the ducks in the local pond of his family’s home in the Azores, Portugal.

European map satellite view

For many Americans, a chance to visit Europe is the vacation of a lifetime. Whether you want to check out London with its historic buildings and unique culture, relax in the sunshine in Greece, explore Italy or maybe even see where your ancestors came from, there are loads of reasons to make the trip across the Atlantic, and it has never been cheaper, either! Of course, once you get to your country of choice, you are probably going to already have a lot of things in mind to see and do, and while compared with the US, places like England and Sweden may look tiny on a map, when you’re there things suddenly seem a lot further away than you may have imagined! For this reason, most people prefer to hire a car, and while this is generally an option for most American license holders in accordance with the laws in the country you are visiting (you may have to be over 25 or have a certain number of years’ driving experience), this doesn’t automatically mean you’ll find it easy on the roads.

Here are some reasons to prepare before you attempt driving anywhere in Europe for the first time:

Road Signs Can Be Baffling

Yield sign in Europe

While Europe is united, it is by no means standardized when it comes to road signs. This means if you are familiar with how the colors and symbols work in Germany, things will all change should you cross a border. It doesn’t take long to read up on what the traffic safety controls in the country you are going to look like, and it really pays to do this so you can understand when you are reaching a junction and things like what color sign points to a major road and what will take you down a scary country track. You should also work out the conversion ratio between miles and kilometers, because with the exception of Britain, everywhere in Europe displays distances and speed limits in the metric system. Of course, while in Britain the signs may all be in English and tell you things in familiar mile measurements, here you’ll be driving on the opposite side of the road, which isn’t really something you can prepare for in advance but is worth thinking about!

Touring

motorcycle-tours-174956_150Many people who visit Europe plan to go through more than one country (another reason why understanding the different traffic control equipment used in different places you’ll visit is important), and while this can be easy to do, you may find that there are places where you can cross borders without even being aware you have done it right away! If you are planning to tour, really research your route so you know at what point you might leave Germany and enter the Netherlands, for example, and stick to your plan so you don’t end up straying between countries where you didn’t intend to.

Driving in Europe can vary between being remarkably easy and pleasant to downright terrifying depending on where you are and how far off the beaten track you venture, so read up and plan ahead as much as you can!

Travis Finn, the author of this article, works with, Bo Phillips, leading providers of work-zone safety equipment. He is fascinated by Astronomy and often visits the planetarium to observe the movement of the stars.

Panoramic view from Bella Vista Lodge in Costa Rica

Before I ever traveled, one of the things I heard most about the experience is how it will change your whole life. This always intrigued me and was one of the primary reasons I was so interested in doing it. Now that I have become the world traveler I always dreamed of being, I see firsthand the truth of that statement. My adventures around the globe have impacted me in a way I never thought possible and have shaped so much of who I am today. If you are one of those people with the burning desire to travel in your heart, but have yet to take the leap, or are one of those people who feel unsure about traveling, but think you should do it because you feel it will reap some sort of benefit, I hope this post will provide the nudge you need to book that ticket and get out in the world.

You Get More Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Traveling produces plenty of situations where you will feel uncomfortable. You will not understand what is going on. You will not be sure what to do next. You will find yourself in awkward situations rife with miscommunications. You will feel apprehensive about trying something new or going somewhere all by yourself. But, as time goes on, you will get more comfortable with the discomfort and you will power through anyway. This comfort with discomfort will spill over into other areas of your life, and you will find yourself saying ‘’yes’’ to life more. You will find the courage to pursue the things you really want in life. You may still feel scared or apprehensive. You know it will be challenging, but you will feel more confident in going after these things anyway, because you know you can handle the obstacles. Your fear reduces.

Patience Grasshopper

Sheep on the slop

 

I have always been a very impatient person and traveling definitely mellowed me out. Sure, I still have my moments, but for the most part, I have become infinitely more patient as a result of my traveling experiences. Things will constantly happen that will test your patience, from waiting 45 minutes for French fries when you are the only customer in the restaurant to hanging around a bus station for two hours because the online schedule was just completely wrong. Traveling will give you limitless opportunities to practice being more patient, and it is this practice after all that really helps us develop certain character traits. Now, when things are not happening on my timetable, whether I am traveling or in the supermarket in my hometown, I noticed a marked difference in my patience levels. And, with greater patience, come greater peace of mind, and isn’t that what we crave most in life?

Greater Appreciation and Gratitude

Fisherman in Chiloe on their routine

Most of us living in the developed, modern world are pretty ungrateful brats. Not because we are horrible people, but because we grew up in very comfortable circumstances and have never known anything different. We just take all these comforts, conveniences and opportunities for granted. But, if you travel to parts of the world where these things are not givens, you will see your life in a whole different light. All the things we think are problems suddenly shrink dramatically. You see true suffering and hardship. You see people living in ways you cannot imagine. There are people all over the world who wake up every day and simply focus on trying to survive. There is no thought of what they ‘’want.’’ The only thing on their mind is getting what they need to stay alive every day. People breaking their backs in rice fields or walking miles just to get clean water. Once I experienced this firsthand, my view of my own life changed dramatically. Many of my problems do not bother me as much anymore because I have a whole new perspective on them.

Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging about her travel experiences; she recommends visiting Kanetix to learn more about travel insurance in Canada.

Christmas cookies

The winters have arrived and so the celebrations of Christmas. Yes, the “jingle bells” have started ringing and you are about to experience the fun and romp of Christmas. It is one of the joyful festivities where people forget their differences, indulge in fun filled activities, put on their best clothes and visit various churches and make 25th of December worth remembering. Don’t you want to make your day a special one? Don’t you want to visit the best places where you can celebrate your Christmas carnival along with your friends and family? Don’t you want to click those beautiful pictures of your near and dear ones on this wonderful day? Of course you would want to relish all the enjoyments.

Know the best places to make your trip a memorable one

Step out of your home to make your Christmas memorable. Be it friends, family or kids, go out and explore the jaw-dropping places.

Lapland, Finland

Snow Lapland, Finland

Lapland is located near the Arctic Circle in the north. This place has myriads of holiday revelers who actually know how to celebrate Christmas. Apart from this kids would love to Lapland again and again they would be taught calligraphy and to compose their own wish-lists with the help of the traditional quills! Attractions like Rauna zoo is a great place where you would be deluged by a number of animals.

Quebec, Canada

Quebec during christmas timeDo you like things that are made up of recycled materials? Then Quebec is for the environment lovers. You would see the eye catching trees that are made out of recycled metals of sheets and lights that are powered by the cyclists! The sausage lovers, you will be flooded by sausages in the German Christmas market.

Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg christmas market

It is a wonderland where you would get a plenty tralatitious Christmas biscuits, apricots and foie-gras. This place is packed with innumerable concerts like gypsy jazz and other cultural events. You will be welcomed by the Christmas theme party and ample of Alsatian wine.

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

It is a colorful city where Christmas is a celebratory event. You would see grand churches and welcomed with awesome fruit drinks. The locals over there make pilgrimages for shelter when they start their journey to Bethlehem.

Lalibela, Ethiopia

Travel 200 miles from Addis Ababa and you land in this famous place where churches have been unearthed from the ground. Lalibela has been declared as the “New Jerusalem”. The decorations done are so attractive that you will not feel like coming to your home.

Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

Christmas-Dyker-Heights-Brooklyn

The lovely gander where you would see how amazingly the New Yorkers celebrate Christmas. The passer-by definitely ogles at the decorations and the beautifully made over-sized toys and the two-story Santa. The lightings are so beautiful that will make you click thousands of pictures.

Barcelona, Spain

If you can manage to come to this family-friendly place, then nothing better than Barcelona. You can catch up with Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar. The fireworks, firing of canons, the parade is worth watching.

Queenstown, New Zealand

For the sun-lovers, this is the place where you are supposed to be. The jet boat ride, river surfing and paragliding just sounds so thrilling and adventurous. For the ones who do not want to sit under the quilts, this is the right place for them. Be a water mermaid and swim through the happiness.

Manila, Philippines

From September till January who will have a wonderful experience of Christmas. The longest ever celebrated festival has been in the Philippines. Christmas bazaars and lantern parades are the major attractions. Take out sometime of your busy schedule to enjoy the breath taking scenarios here.

New York City, USA

Rockefeller Center Christmas tree (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Ogle through the world tallest Christmas tree and dive into the lights and the dusty snow in USA. Click pictures, eat as much as you want and dance till you get tired. These are the fun moments you would get in New York.

Traveling to these places won’t pinch your pocket much. With Flight details , you can utilize the facility provided by the company to know the budget airlines that fly en route the location you wish to travel. Get the tickets and fly to your favorite destination this Christmas!

Save On And Before The Holiday

The global financial crisis and the following recession has hit the nation hard since it first crashed in 2008. But, if you’re one of the lucky ones who can afford a break in 2013, chances are you’ll be looking for ways to save and make your pound go further.

Savvy holiday makers start looking deals well before they even leave their living room. The Guardian listed the Gatwick Express as one of the biggest rip-offs when it comes to setting off into the sunset. Apparently “the Southern service between the same stations takes five minutes longer and has a standard price of $17.50 each way, but you can buy two $8 singles if you book sufficiently far in advance.” In fact their top four tips all involve ways to save simply getting to the airport.

Once you’re actually away from home and on your holiday, that extra ice cream, bargain bikini or celebratory bottle of Champagne seems like an excellent idea but even the smallest daily indulgences can mount up over a fortnight. Instead of ruining your holiday with a miserably tight daily budget, why not start saving before you’ve even left the house? Following these savvy suggestions when you’re planning your trip means there’ll be more in the kitty for a little extra extravagance when you’re away.

Roaming charges

Check up with your provider on extra charges incurred overseas and any restrictions you may encounter. You don’t want to be welcomed home with an enormous mobile bill. Be aware that restrictions might affect you even if you’re simply the recipient of calls and texts and roaming internet charges can be astronomical. If in doubt, switch off! If you need to be available, it might make sense to take a cheap handset and just buy a cheap pay-as-you-go SIM on a local network when you’re away.

Shop round for the best money rates

Use independent online comparisons sites to ensure you get the most bang for your buck. Deals can change hourly if not daily, so if you have time, monitor fluctuations over a few days and then make your judgement. These days a combination one or two prepaid cards, preloaded with a fixed amount on a fixed rate and some cash is ideal for traveling abroad. Prepaid cards often offer the best deals when it comes to forex and have the added bonus that they won’t incur fees with every swipe like a credit card. Sometimes you can get a discount for picking up your currency in person, for exchanging a certain amount. Never, ever leave it ‘til the airport at the last minute, where you’re guaranteed to pay above the odds for a paltry return.

Take one, buy one

Research prices on the things you might have planned to buy when you arrive. If toiletries are cheap, travel light and stock up when you get there – but if the reverse is true, ensure you carry adequate supplies. Similarly, check up on medicines and sun protection prices and plan your purchases accordingly. If you’re heading somewhere where clothing, technology and activity equipment is cheap, you might even find that traveling light could actually save you cash.

If you can’t do without your morning cuppa pack your own rather than buying expensive imported goods when you’re there. Taking your own snacks and some more satisfying food to eat whilst you travel also means you avoid expensive packaged fast-food and the lure of airport restaurants.

Save on your stay

Rather than automatically opting for a hotel, explore the options. A vacation rental where you’re hosted by a family allows you to get closer to a culture and benefit from local knowledge. A working holiday on a farm or project could even mean you’re the one getting paid to stay. A home swap means free accommodation, provided you’re happy for a family to stay in yours whilst you’re away.

If you’re visiting somewhere where drinking, dining and entertainment are expensive, it could pay to go all-inclusive. If you’re happy to stay in and cook, self-catering facilities mean you can save on pricey restaurant meals. Check up on local food costs – will it be more budget-friendly to bring your own larder items, or hit the local markets?

Avoid excess

Make sure you know about restrictions and regulations on the items you can carry in your luggage, and clue yourself in on baggage allowances regarding both size and weight. Plan your packing accordingly in order to avoid hefty excess charges, and ensure you’ve been accurate with at-home weighing and measuring. Pack as light as possible and, if possible, avoid checking in any luggage at all – some carriers now have no minimum free allowance whatsoever.

Arriving at the airport

You might have booked a budget break, but it’d easy to overlook the initial and final outlays – getting to and from the airport. If you plan to take a minicab, get a number of quotes and choose the most favorable rate. Book in advance to ensure a car will be available. If possible, use public transport – it can be a headache with baggage, but also saves you cash.

If you need train tickets, use discount services and book as far in advance as possible. There are also a number of minibus services that will pick you up directly from your home or a designated stop. Driving to the airport and parking your car onsite is always pretty expensive, but you can lessen the outlay by advance booking – or seeing if a friend would travel with you and drive your car home after you depart.

Featured images:

Reporting from London on lifestyle topics ranging from fashion and parenting to travel and finance, Sarah Thompson enjoys sharing tips on how to afford life’s little luxuries on a tight budget. You can read more of Sarah’s articles in a wide variety of blogs and websites.

Descending on a ski slop

If you are planning a holiday, you have probably browsed through a lot of destinations and checked different activities online or on travel brochures. But have you ever thought of having a skiing holiday? Getting exercise and being fit in this busy world is often a challenge especially if you are in the corporate world where you are tied to a desk or has a career that takes a lot of demands on your time. The only real free time that you have for your own is when you take a vacation. This is then an ideal time for you to get fit as well. Of course skiing is not going to make you lose that 20 extra pounds in a week or two but it is certainly a way to hit two birds in one stone; enjoy yourself in a different surroundings and get the exercise you need.

Effective Exercise

Skiing can help you to shed up to 5 pounds in a span of 7 days; this is if you spend 6 hours of everyday going up and down that slope and burning 3000 calories. You get to tone your muscles, boost your immune system and have a cheerful sense well being in the process.

Here are some of the things you can look forward to if you decide to use ski for your exercise. 

Skiing needs balance

The effort of keeping yourself steady on the piste which is intent on making you slip is a demonstration of dexterity. Your stomach muscles are working overtime to keep your body upright and in turn are making you toned without having to go through thousands of sit ups.

First Rate Cardio

Cardio exercises are absolutely necessary for keeping healthy. Elevated heart rate is good for circulation of the blood which is responsible for distributing the oxygen and nutrients throughout the body as well as eliminating waste. Skiing allows the heart to pump more oxygen through the blood, expanding muscles and thus burning calories. Continuous skiing for 30 minutes is comparable to the same time spent doing cardio exercises. Add walking up the slope instead of taking the ski lift and you are on your way to a great workout.

Get Great Looking Legs

If you have ever despaired of having thighs that will not slim down, try skiing and you will be giving your thighs, hamstrings and buttocks a run while crouching your way through the slopes. It certainly beats having to do lunges for half an hour right? And it exercises both your upper and lower arms without doing a different set of exercise as you strive to control your speed and the direction you are going.

If you are not a beginner, look for the more challenging slopes because the steeper it is, the higher the number of calories you can burn. Plus the freezing temperature contributes a share in burning those calories.

So for your vacation this time around, forget about traipsing in the jungle or sunning on a beach. Take a skiing holiday and achieve a flawless technique on the piste while keeping your body fit.

Anthony Roberts, the writer, has been traveling around the world while working online. His articles on travel are must-reads. He loves to share his ideas about enjoying skiing holidays. His favorite adventure is visiting Japan. Find out more of his stories on skiing hanazononiseko.com/npc/.

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