Top tips to get your air holiday off to a flying start
Destinations, Tips

Top tips to get your air holiday off to a flying start

To celebrate our new booking system, allowing you to now book your fly and tour holidays online, we’ve pulled together some of our top tips to get your next air holiday off to a flying start.
It’s the quickest way to get to your destination and the views from thousands of feet up aren’t too bad either.
Every three seconds, an aeroplane somewhere in the world is taking off and, it’s safe to say, we’ve come a long way since the Wright Brothers first took flight.

Roll your clothes when packing
Cramming all of your clothes into a suitcase is one of the biggest headaches when getting ready to head off on holiday.
At some point, we will have all come across that time when sitting on top of your suitcase has been the best solution to getting it to close.
A great tip is to roll your clothes, rather than fold them, to save room. Rolling compresses your clothes allowing you to find a lot more space to tuck your items into. You’ll also avoid the majority of crease marks you get from folding.

Arrive in Plenty of Time
It definitely pays to be prepared. Before you journey, check the traffic reports and make sure you have plenty of time to get to the airport.
Arriving early definitely has its benefits. If your seats aren’t pre-booked, you’re more likely to sit together. If upgrades are on offer, the early bird really does catch the worm. And to top it off, you can spend more time making the most of the duty free.
A great tip is to check in online. When given the option, always take it. It saves you time, and with some airlines, money.

Speed up your Security Check
The ever complicated security systems at airports can be one of the most frustrating experiences of your journey.
Be prepared, pack all non-essential liquids in your hold luggage, try and keep your pockets empty and avoid wearing a belt. Keeping electricals at the top of your bag will make it far easier to get them onto the tray ready to be scanned, too.
A good tip is to follow the business flyers. It may be a longer line, but avoiding queues with larger parties and children could save you a lot of time, frequent flyers will more than likely be prepared to pass through as quickly as possible.

Dress smartly…
And not in the way you’d think. The best way to fly is by wearing comfortable layers. From hoodies to scarves, these casual numbers offer a lot more than you may think.
Whilst you’re benefiting from the comfort of casual clothes there’s even more benefits to enjoy by leaving the shirts or dresses at home.
Pull up your hood to block out the cabin noise whilst sleeping, roll up your scarf to use as a pillow and by layering up you’re more than prepared for the changing temperatures from your home to your destination.

Stay Hydrated
Dry mouth, rough skin and your lips feeling a bit tight, the recycled air flowing around the cabin has a lot to answer for.
Fear not, these can all be eradicated by just keeping hydrated. It’s recommended that you drink around 0.2 litres of water every hour or two whilst you’re in the air.
Keep this in mind and don’t forget to drink a little more if you’re going to have a coffee or alcohol and you’re well on your way to a more comfortable flight.

Earplugs and Eye Masks
Simple, yet effective. If you’re looking to sleep through your journey, these little objects will work a treat, by regulating your circadian rhythms.
Your circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioural changes that are responsive to light and dark, block it out and your body will be tricked into thinking it’s time to go to sleep.
With sunlight bouncing off the clouds below and the cabin noise around you, these simple accessories will be worth their weight in gold.

Bring your own entertainment
Watch the time fly (excuse the pun), when you’re enjoying yourself.
You can bring that book that you’re really enjoying or stock up on magazines. Or, of course, you could just bring your tablet or smart phone on board with you.
You can load these up with TV programmes, films and music that will play even whilst using the aeroplane safe mode and you have a great variety of content that will keep you entertained until you land.

Keep Moving
It may sounds like the simplest of advice, but to move about whilst on an aeroplane can also be the best advice.
From stretching to taking regular walks about the plane, these simple activities will keep your blood flowing, prevent stiffness and reduce the risk of travel related conditions leaving you a very happy traveller when disembarking your plane.

With a great selection of escorted tours by air now available to book online, do you have any of your own flying tips to share?

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Susie’s Amazing Grand Explorer Adventure
Destinations, Tips

Susie’s Amazing Grand Explorer Adventure

Susie’s Amazing Grand Explorer Adventure
Sue Clark one of our customers has not long returned from her holiday with Leger Holidays. Read on to see what she thought of her trip with us on our Arctic Circle and the Land of the Midnight Sun Tour.

Which tour did you go on?
I went on the Arctic Circle and the Land of the Midnight Sun 16-day Grand Explorer trip departing June 29th 2013

How did you get there and how long did it take?
Initially by feeder coach in Lincoln, which also was our tour coach, and I undertook the whole tour by coach. During the adventure I also travelled on 10 ferries, which included an overnight one from Stockholm, Sweden to Turku in Finland
As mentioned previously, it was for 16 days, but as someone who travels as she lives, preferring the journey to the destination-it was paced just right.

Where did you stay?
Too numerous to mention and in a variety of accommodation, including a ski chalet.

What was the weather like? Did it affect your visit?
This tour was not about the weather but the experience, but the added bonus was that for the majority of the time it was glorious weather. I witnessed the Midnight Sun in Rovaniemi in full sunshine. The visit to North Cape was cloudy and windy, but very atmospheric. It rained in Tromso but that only added to the beauty of the countryside. Without the rain I would not have experienced the wonderful waterfalls and lush scenery we travelled through.

Which optional excursions did you do?
I booked the guided sightseeing evening tour in Oslo, and what an enlightening tour this was! I was completely unprepared for the visit to the Vigeland Sculpture Park, and as a sculpture spotter I was in raptures. For me, this optional excursion was worth every pound I spent on it!

In the words of one of our drivers, this was an adventure rather than a holiday, and it was an adventure I would not have missed! Throughout the adventure I grew in cultural, spiritual and geographical experience. It was also a very positive experience because I travelled with a lovely group of people and also a couple of great drivers.
This experience has convinced me not only to undertake more Leger Grand Explorer tours, but also to visit Scandinavia, particularly all the capital cities, for longer as I was only able to have ‘tasters’ on this occasion.
Thank you Leger, without whom I would not have been able to have such an amazing Grand Explorer adventure

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Discover Australia: Our Top Spots in the Land Down Under
Destinations, Tips

Discover Australia: Our Top Spots in the Land Down Under

As you may have seen, we have recently launched our brand new, 20-day, Discover Australia tour and, crikey! We’re excited.
The magical land down under offers a whole array of new and exciting places to visit, from the bright red sands of the outback to the spectacular waters of the Coral Sea, there’s plenty of good days to be had.
But, if you’re setting foot in the land of Aus for the first time, you’re probably wanting to know, what are the best things to see and do? Well, here are our top places and attractions to visit whilst in amazing Australia.
9. Great Ocean Road

By far one of the most scenic drives in the world… Stretching across an impressive 180 miles of the south-eastern coast, it sure is remarkable.
Travelling past world class surfing breaks, through pockets of rain forest, heathlands and on the edge of sheer drop cliffs, it offers a whole new meaning to the thrill of the ride.
Top Sight: The Twelve Apostles – although there are now only eight, these lonely rock stacks are certainly a sight to behold.
8. Philip Island

Only 90 minutes from Melbourne, this place takes you back to the wild side. Well known for its motorsport circuit and wildlife including kangaroos and koalas, you really will have an enjoyable Aussie experience on Phillip Island.
You’ll be in for a treat with the Parade of Penguins, too. Each night at sunset, you can see one of the largest colonies of penguins in Australia waddling home after a long day’s fishing.
Don’t worry if there is a chill in the air, these little penguins will certainly warm your heart.
7. Four Mile Beach

The clue is in the name when it comes to our next top port of call. Yes, you really can expect four miles of gorgeous sandy beach!
Once just a sleepy coastal town, the Four Mile Beach and Port Douglas have now become one of the most popular places to be in northern Australia, and it’s easy to see why.
With soft sands and tropical sunshine, you can take a stroll along this premier beach. Buildings and homes are neatly hidden behind swaying palm trees and the crystal clear waters of the Coral Sea will welcome you to paradise.
6. Blue Mountains National Park

Home to the famous Three Sisters rock formation, the Blue Mountain National Park is World Heritage listed, full of amazing natural wonders and is ten times older than the Grand Canyon!
With its rich aboriginal heritage, it’s also home to hundreds of species of birds and rare and ancient plants, with a number of species of reptiles in there too, a trip to the Blue Mountains is an experience that is not easily forgotten.
5. Bondi Beach

It has to be the most famous beach in Australia! One of Sydney’s most visited beaches, Bondi is a mixed bag that has something for everyone. Surf, sand, bars, cafés, you name it…
Home to the Bondi Life Saving Club, if you’re feeling adventurous, the protected waters are a great place to learn to surf.
If you’re wanting a more relaxing time at the beach, head down Campbell parade and enjoy a range of stylish surf and fashion shops and a host of stylish bars and cafes.
You can even join the locals with picnics or fish and chips by the sea. Who’d have thought you could enjoy a quintessentially British past time, even though you’re the other side of the world?
4. Alice Springs

Situated a vast 1,500 km from the nearest city, Alice Springs in the Northern Territory is a popular gateway for adventurers exploring the ‘Red Centre’.
A vibrant art scene, a rich cultural life and its mix of Aboriginal and European colonial history makes this seemingly secluded town an interesting cosmopolitan city with plenty to see and do.
One of the most iconic things most visitors to Alice Springs set off to enjoy is…
3. Ayers Rock (Uluru)

One of the most iconic landmarks in Australia, Ayers Rock, or Uluru by its Aboriginal name, is a sight to behold whilst in the outback.
It is a sacred site for the Aboriginal tribes and is pretty spectacular for a number of other reasons, such as its sheer size, history and rather interestingly, as each day passes, the rock actually changes colour!
There’s no Pantone for Uluru… Light and atmospheric conditions change the appearance of the rock each and every day meaning it’s never the same shade as the day before.
2. Great Barrier Reef

One of the world’s great natural wonders, it’s the largest living structure in the world with almost 3000 individual reefs that are home to thousands of types of fish, plants and birds. Dolphins, sharks, whales, and turtles, the Great Barrier Reef attracts them all.
It’s is so long (2300km to be precise) it stretches over 14 degrees of latitude and can even be seen from space!
With its crystal clear waters it’s a haven for snorkelers and divers alike making the reef one of the most popular attractions in Australia.
1. Sydney Harbour

One of the most iconic sights down under, of course the top spot just has to go to the world famous Sydney Harbour.
Streamed across the world as it becomes one of the first cities in the world to welcome in the New Year, the area is iconic for impressive celebrations in a striking setting.
With the stunning sights of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, it is regarded one of the most beautiful natural harbours in the world and that’s something we certainly won’t disagree with!

If you’re looking for a trip down under and you want to see all of these sights and more, why not join Leger Holidays as we set off on our new adventure Discover Australia? For more information on our tour, just click here.

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Halloween traditions from around the World
Destinations, Tips

Halloween traditions from around the World

As the nights draw in, there’s a certain something lingering in the air. Something, eerie… Something, spooktacular! Of course, we’ve hit Halloween.
Love it or hate it, Halloween has crept upon us once again and shops and homes are packed full of spooky costumes, sweets and carved pumpkins that really are cutting edge.
But, as we get ready to celebrate the seasonal scare-fest, have you ever wondered how others around the world celebrate?
Well, this isn’t a trick, so treat yourself to something interesting. As the sky turns dark this Halloween night, here’s how our continental friends, and beyond, will be having a ghoul old time this weekend …
The birthplace of Halloween!
Starting at the beginning, Ireland is said to be the birthplace of Halloween, dating all the way back to its Celtic roots. Marking the end of the Pagan pastoral cycle, the 31st October was considered the last day of the year.
Celts associated winter with death, so, on the last day of the ‘bright’ half of the year, it was thought the boundary separating the living from the dead became blurred.
This not only allowed the souls of the departed to return to their former homes, but also potentially wicked spirits were released from the ‘Otherworld’ and became visible to humans. Spooky!
A Magical Haunting
The Austrians take a much lighter meaning from All Hallows Eve, leaving bread, water and a lightened lamp on a table before heading off to bed.
It was once believed that this act of kindness would welcome the dead souls back to earth and rather than it being a haunting event, it was actually considered quite magical.
By the same token, in China, during the Halloween festival known as Teng Chieh, families place food and water in front photographs of family members that have passed away, whilst bonfires are lit to light the paths of spirits as they join us back on earth for the night.
However, in Germany, residents take a slightly more cautious approach when it comes to the return of the lost, putting away their knives to avoid risk of harm to or from their ‘Otherworld’ visitors. After all, those ghosts have real spirit.
Day of the Dead
You may have heard of the Dia de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, associated with Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries, in fact, it’s even the opening sequence to the new James Bond film, Spectre. However, Spain celebrates a little differently.
There is the Dia de Difuntos (Day of the Dead) and Dia de Todos los Santos (All Saint’s Day) and, whilst they are separate events, the two are usually celebrated together and are actually a religious holiday, with mass held three times throughout the festivities.
Much like Christmas, the holiday is considered a family day, however, visits to the graves of loved ones is high on their priorities, honouring their lost loved ones and leaving them covered in fresh flowers.
And, to top it off, there’s also performances of the most famous and romantic mythical story seducing women and fighting men, Don Juan Tenorio, to keep everyone entertained – not quite the scary story you would expect to hear around Halloween.
We’re Just Here for the Party
Our French neighbours don’t really believe in any spooky superstitions at this time of year, in fact, Halloween is typically regarded as an American holiday.
However, never being a nation to turn down a party, the French have somewhat adopted la fête d’Halloween as an excuse to dress up and celebrate, and who can blame them?
And, of course, one of the most spectacular Halloween Spooktacular’s is at the magical Disneyland Paris Resort, lurking amongst the pumpkins on Main Street U.S.A you’ll find spooky adventures for all the family.
Whilst trick-or-treating is not as popular over the Channel, the few you do find going door-to-door, will be knocking on the fronts of shops rather than gracing their neighbours’ doorsteps.
With a little push from big, multi-national companies, the knowledge of Halloween is now wide spread, with some people even objecting to the idea of an overly-commercialised American holiday, whilst others simply relish in some freaky fancy dress.

So, it’s over to you, how will you be celebrating this year? Do you have your own traditions of creating some freakish fun or are you having a fright night within the safety of your own sofa?

Ready for some more ghost stories? Find out where the spookiest places in Europe are hidden in our previous blog, here.

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The 5 Best Travel Apps for your iOS Device
Destinations, Tips

The 5 Best Travel Apps for your iOS Device

Just a few short years ago holidaymaker’s suitcases were packed with everything from CD players, to cameras and books to help pass the time. But nowadays all you need is a phone or tablet and these five travel apps. From camera optimisation to travel organisers, these apps will ensure your holiday runs smoothly from start to finish.
1. FlightAware – Free
FlightAware is a live flight tracking system designed to keep you up to date with the latest news and information regarding your flight. Just type in your airline and flight number and you’re away. From there you will be sent updates on flight delays, gate changes and cancellations. Plus, if you accept the push notifications you can receive all this information without even having to open up the app. If you’re flying, it’s a must have travel app in our opinion
2. Instagram – Free
Despite being recently bought by Facebook, Instagram is still the iPhones best camera app. This simple photo app allows you to share your travel snaps with all your friends back home and will transform your pictures from the mundane to effortless cool at the touch of a button! It’s like Photoshop in your pocket.
3. Wattpad – Free
The Amazon Kindle and iBooks app’s are the most well known reading apps on the iPhone but in Wattpad there could be a huge selection of free books that you have been missing out on. The app has been around for several years now and offers over 5 million stories for you to read – all for free! Just download the app, choose you favourite genre of book and you’re away. From romance to horror to comedy, Wattpad’s excellent library has something for everyone.
4. Google Translate – Free
If you’re travelling to a country where you don’t know the language, it’s always handy to have a little helping hand from time to time. And rather than carrying a bulky phrase book around with you, why not simply download the Google Translate app? It will quickly and easily translate words and phrases between 64 languages and can be a real life saver when you’re struggling to get your point across. It’s like having your own personal translator!
5. XE Currency – Free
There’s nothing better than haggling with local market traders and coming back from your holiday with some absolute bargains. But when you don’t know the currency it can be difficult to know if you’re getting a good deal or not. Step forward the handy XE Currency app. The app quickly and easily converts different currencies so you can see exactly how much you’re spending. It’s a bargain hunter’s best friend.
Is there any apps that you think we may have missed? If so let us know in the comments below.
Image courtesy of flickr user Tony George
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Are Postcards becoming a thing of the past?
Destinations, Tips, Travel

Are Postcards becoming a thing of the past?

Dotted around the Leger HQ are a number of Postcards all unique in their own way, from destinations all over the world, including Korcula, Rothenburg in Germany.Although all of the Postcards were sent from all over the world, they all have one thing in common, not one of them was received in the last four years!
It got us wondering if Postcards are becoming a thing of the past. Has a simple text message or email put an end to the famous seaside souvenir?
This made us dig deeper in to the history of Postcards which resulted in some interesting finds –

The first one ever sent was a hand painted design, which was posted to a writer named Theodore Hook from himself in 1840 bearing a penny black stamp.

However the first known printed picture Postcard was created inFrance in 1870 by Leon Besnardeau.

1871 was the year the first picture postcard which the image functioned as a souvenir was sent fromVienna.

The first American Postcard was developed in 1873

In 1984, Royal Mail gave permission to British publishers to manufacture and distribute picture Postcards.

Records show in the peak of the “saucy” themed seaside postcard, sales peaked at a whopping 16 million a year.

The study and collecting of Postcards is termed Deltiology.

Do you know anymore facts about Postcards? Have you received or sent one recently? Let us know in the comments section below.

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From Russia, With Love
Destinations, Reviews, Tips

From Russia, With Love

By Margot
I would be surprised if I was the only Leger lady to have more than a passing interest in the latest James Bond film Skyfall. I’d like to say it comes from my passion for one of Britain’s longest-standing cinematic legacies and NOT just Daniel Craig…but that might be a bit of a porkie.
I’ve grown up with Ian Fleming’s super spy and the last half dozen actors to have taken on the role will always hold a place close to my heart. I will always remember the first time I saw ‘Goldeneye’- I was less concerned about the super weapon falling into the wrong hands and more the safety of Pierce Brosnan! It certainly kept me gripped, anyway.
Putting one of Ireland’s best exports to one side, I also couldn’t help but be captivated by the locations in the film, especially Russia. It left such a lasting impression that I decided to make the trip myself a few years ago, taking my son for his 21st birthday.
We both agreed that it was one of the best holidays we’ve ever shared.
It was probably down to the fact that we managed to visit so many different places in the same trip, including Berlin– to see the Brandenburg Gate and The Wall – and Warsaw: the Belvedere Palace was beautiful and the city itself was great for a little shopping on a budget!
When we did reach Moscow, though, the Red Square really surpassed my expectations – I remember my son rolling his eyes as I commented on clean and well-kept it was (unlike his room as a teenager, I might add.) The guide on the tour was absolutely fantastic and really helped us appreciate some of the aspects that others might overlook. The tube stations, for example, were adorned with chandeliers, oil paintings and statues – they were quite breath-taking.
Also, it had been a life-long dream to take in the ballet in the place where it originated, at least where I think it did! I went to see a production of Swan Lake in St. Petersburg and I’m so happy to have enjoyed it in Russia, world famous for its dancers.
We both loved exploring the markets in Helsinkiand sightseeing tours through Stockholm and Copenhagen. However, no matter how hard I looked, Sean Connery wasn’t lurking in the shadows! With such a varied itinerary, including everything I’d hoped to see and some sights I hadn’t expected, I think it’s safe to say that I managed to put 007 out of my mind, if only for a little while.
If you have any further questions about Leger Holidays’ Grand Explorer tours, including the Grand Russian Spectacular and Highlights of Scandinavia, please do get in touch through our Facebook page or call us at 01709 787 463.
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