Archive for January, 2012

3 Carry-on Items to Purchase at the Airport

By 1800FlyEurope in Travel Tips | on January 26th, 2012

So you were a good Do-Bee and showed up to board your flight the recommended two hours prior to scheduled departure (or three hours if it is an international flight), you flew through airport security and now you find yourself at the boarding gate staring at the minute hand on your watch. What to do? Myself, I have a little preflight ritual that helps pass the time that I quite enjoy. I hit the shops! No, I am not advising you to go on a shopping spree. These days where the only real estate in the country being snatched up is the space in the overhead compartment above your seat, this kind of move could be detrimental to your in-flight well being. Once fellow passengers catch you stuffing bags into their storage territory, um, you’re on your own. (Many shops will assist you in arranging for bulky items to be delivered to a destination or to be collected from a designated kiosk upon returning from your trip, but to err on the side of simplicity, I’m going to list smaller and more essential airport buys.)

Gum

When the aircraft reaches a cruising altitude of about 35,000 feet, your ears will thank you for this purchase. You will also feel confident striking up a conversation with those seated next to you because your breath smells minty fresh. (If you typically experience ear pain due to air pressure changes when flying, consult your doctor for other alternatives that aid in alleviating this type of discomfort before you travel.)

Books & Magazines

A trip to the airport bookstore is an absolute must for me. I look forward to this shopping experience, and I do not worry about which books are supposedly on a best sellers list beforehand. The shops already stock their shelves with top reads, and I like to take a bit of time perusing the book jacket blurbs in search of a novel that piques my interest. For good measure, I normally pick up a magazine as well. Oh, and when everyone else is being instructed to turn off their electronic devices, this good old paper standby won’t let you down.

Healthy Meal To Go

Yes, you could pack a little something from home to eat in flight, but beware of liquid regulations and be prepared to potentially slow down the line at the security check point. Short flights may not offer their passengers anything more than ¬Ω an ounce of peanuts or sell an expensive box of junk food. I like to grab a sandwich to munch on during the flight. (If flying internationally, do know that you may not be permitted to bring certain foods into another country. You may have to part with produce, meat, and other possible edibles at the customs counter). I would not suggest buying a large beverage prior to boarding either. Most airlines will serve a complementary small drink, and do you really want to squeeze past the person seated by your side to use the phone booth sized restroom mid-flight?

I actually look forward spending some time meandering through the terminal in search of these things before boarding an aircraft. For me, this makes having to arrive at the airport early worth the slight inconvenience. These items are relatively inexpensive and will not take up much space in your carry-on. While waiting to board your next flights to Paris or Amsterdam, add a little shopping to your pre-departure routine.

 

Irish Stew | World Cuisine Wednesday

By 1800FlyEurope in World Cuisine Wednesdays | on January 18th, 2012

Warm your belly with a hearty stew this winter. I would like to suggest a rendition of the traditional Irish Stew. The recipe is said to have existed for centuries, and originally it consisted of 4 primary ingredients: neck mutton chops, potatoes, onions, and water. Today, many variations of this dish exist. Should you try to discuss the topic of what goes into making a true Irish Stew with a native of Ireland, it can be a sticky subject. If you decide to substitute beef in place of the mutton or splash some Guinness into the pot for additional flavor, be aware that many Irish will inform you that while you have indeed prepared a stew, it would not be considered Irish Stew.

So, the rebel that I am, I am going to deviate from the original recipe. To put a North American spin on preparing this meal, I have modified the directions so that a crock pot can be used instead of simmering the stew in a large pot on the stove top.

Yield: 6 servings
Use: a 6 quart crock pot

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs boneless lamb meat (cubed)
  • 4 large carrots (peeled and sliced)
  • 8 white round potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • 2 medium onions (chopped)
  • 2 26-ounce containers of beef stock
  • ¬Ω tsp of ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Once the oil is hot, place the lamb in the pan and brown both sides of each piece. While the meat is cooking, this is a good time to put the carrots and potatoes in the crock pot. Then, once the lamb is ready, add it to the crock pot.
  2. Keep the heat level on medium and carefully pour the remaining tbsp of oil into the skillet. Add the onions and ground pepper to the pan and sauté the onions until they are a golden brown in color.
  3. Pour the beef stock into the crock pot and then mix in the onions.
  4. Set the crock pot on low and let it cook for 6 hours.

I would suggest serving this dish with a side of Irish soda bread and for a beverage, a glass of Guinness only seems appropriate. This is a great recipe to make on a frigid, winter day. Warm your hands around your big ceramic bowl of stew before sitting down for the meal, and imagine traveling to Ireland where you will be able to taste a variety of Irish Stews. Below is an old Irish ballad (circa 1800) to read and set the mood when the time arises to book your flights to Ireland.

Some like herrings red from the ocean,
And some like a bit of pig’s fry;
Some like oxtail soup, I’ve a notion,
While others like a pudding and pie.
For all sorts of stomachs there are dainties,
But the best feed between I and you,
Is some mutton with onions and potatoes,
Made into a real Irish Stew,
Then hurrah for an Irish Stew,
That will stick to your belly like glue;
The sons of St. Patrick for ever,
And three cheers for a real Irish stew.

Canary Islands | Land of Eternal Spring

By 1800FlyEurope in Destination Highlights | on January 11th, 2012

Do you feel a touch of the Winter Blues coming on? When the wind back-hands you in the face with a frigid sting so severe that it burns, sending both you and your dog fleeing for the cover of your well heated home… perhaps it’s time to begin planning a retreat to warmer ground? Look no further than the warm, golden sands and the soothing, turquoise waters of the Canary Islands to bring the radiance back to your life.

Where are the Canary Islands?

The Canary Islands are part of the European Union and are a nationality of Spain. The official language is Spanish and the currency is the Euro. Geographically, the Canary Islands are located about 100 km off the western coast of Africa. There are 7 primary islands: Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro (listed from largest to smallest). A subtropical climate provides the archipelago with mild spring-like temperatures year-round, and what is equally striking about the islands is their volcanic terrain.

Island Hopping

Get to know each island. Tenerife boasts Spain’s highest summit above sea level, and Mount Teide is classified as the world’s 3rd tallest volcano. You will be able to star gaze under one of the best skies in the world on La Palma Island, and if astrophysicists have deemed this as a hub for one of their top observatories on the planet, then I would trust them as being in the know as far as where the prime spot to view the sparkling luminaries from up above. Gran Canaria Island has, quite possibly, the best climate on Earth, and you will have access to all the modern amenities in the buzzing, resort city of Las Palmas. Take a flight or a ferry from island to island and decide for yourself which water enveloped paradise is your favorite.

Hit the Beach

With over 250 km of amazing beaches to choose from, the Canary Islands are, indeed, a sun-bather’s dreamland. Each strip of sandy shoreline is unique and absolutely wondrous. There are secluded coves, long stretches of soft golden sand, swimming areas surrounded by cliffs, natural pools that have formed within volcanic craters, and the list incredible beach alternatives goes on. Just as there are no shortages of pristine shorelines to select from here, the same goes for the abundance of outdoor activities you will encounter in the Canary Islands.

To Splash or not to Splash

There is surely something for everyone to enjoy here, whether it is taking leisure by land or sea. Simply soak up the sun’s rays while listening to the lull of the surf in the background, or take the family on a camel-back day trip through Timanfaya National Park on Lanzarote Island. Those looking for more extreme water sports will be delighted to take part in surfing, scuba diving and jet-skiing opportunities available. Discover the vibrant culture of the friendly locals that make up the cities and towns that are dispersed throughout the 7 main islands, and take some time to learn and try new things.

So, what are you waiting for? Things have already frozen over for the season. Book your airfare today and get the lowest rates on flights to Tenerife and cheap flights to London with Fly Europe.

 

International Pet Travel | Flying with your Furry Pal

By 1800FlyEurope in Travel Tips | on January 4th, 2012

Traveling internationally with our furry friends in tow is becoming more common practice these days, but it is vital that you do all your research well in advance before planning a trip with an animal. You need to be sure that you have all the required documents in order, your pet has all of the country specific vaccinations, you know the regulations of the individual country (or countries) that you are visiting, and that your copilot is prepared physically and psychologically for such an adventure.

Call your Pet’s Veterinarian

The first person you need to talk to, before even considering taking Fluffy out of the country, is her veterinarian. There are many important travel scenarios that need to be discussed with a professional, and there are uncertainties that can make or break your plans. Certain factors, such as the time of year you wish to fly, can play a big part on Fluffy’s comfort and health. For example, if it is summer time, is the cargo area of the plane air conditioned? Or, if it is winter, is the area heated? You need to ask lots of questions to find out if the transit may be too much for your pet to handle.

Research Individual Airline Regulations

Each air carrier has their own policies on pet travel, and prior to booking your flight, you should do some investigation on what various airlines do and don’t permit. For example, a smaller pet may be allowed to fly with you in the cabin, but it is up to each carrier to determine this. Do be sure to read up on pet carrier specifications for the air service you plan on utilizing as well.

Contact the Country (or Countries) Consulate/Embassy

Before you purchase an airline ticket, be sure to that you have talked to someone from the consulate/embassy of the country (or countries)you plan on visiting to find out what their rules on animal import/export entail. Some countries require pets to be quarantined for a designated period of time before they are free to roam internationally, and it is possible that upon returning from abroad, your four-legged bud may require to be isolated before being permitted to run free in their homeland again. If you only plan on being away for a couple weeks, depending on country specific laws on international pet travel, it may be best to leave Fido with a care provider.

Health Certificate from APHIS Accredited Veterinarian

The official health documents needed to enter another country have to be filled out by an accredited veterinarian from APHIS (the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service). Contact your state appointed Veterinary Service Office to discuss your travel plans and necessary paperwork. The USDA has put together a very helpful list of commonly asked questions to explain this process in more detail. Many European nations require your pet to have a microchip implanted or to be tattooed for identification purposes; this is all information that your state Veterinary Service Office will be able to provide.

This post is only intended to be used as a starting point in planning your trip abroad with your fuzzy pal. Many pet travel regulations differ greatly depending on individual country and airline policies. These can change, so it is important that you check back for revisions that may have been made on animal transport procedures before every trip you take. I would like to suggest that you make a list of questions to ask your pet’s vet, APHIS, and the consulate/embassy of the country (or countries) to which you are traveling. Do not be afraid to voice your concerns when speaking to any of these agencies, as they may assume that you already know pertinent details. Bottom line, do what is best for your pet. I have a 13 year old Labrador Retriever whom I would love to have by my side on my flights to Germany or to Italy, but I know that a trip like this would be too stressful on my old pup.

 

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Fare Type Round Trip     One Way
Passengers  Adults
  Children under 11