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This is what long-haul travel to Europe looks like right now. Spoiler: It sucks

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Alan Granville is a travel reporter for Stuff.

OPINION: I have to admit I’m not a big traveller.

Yes, Alanis Morissette could add another line about how ironic it is for the travel reporter who doesn’t really enjoy travel, but here we are.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the ultimate destination and joy of exploring a city, region or country, learning about new places and cultures, trying local food and drink, but the nuts and bolts of getting there are overwhelming and rather stresses me out.

I’m one of those “we have to be at the airport four hours before our flight” type of traveler, constantly checking to make sure my passport is in my pocket while constantly worrying about flight connections and if I should be must have a pen ready to fill out an arrival card. You’ll never see me on The Amazing Race, that’s for sure.

CONTINUE READING:
* Travel writers reveal the best places they’ve visited
* What you should pack in your hand luggage in the travel chaos
* Flying from Wellington to Dublin: A 41-hour journey of attrition

So you embarked on a delayed, Covid affected trip back to Ireland last month Filled me with both genuine excitement at seeing my family again after four long years and uneasiness at having to contend with traveling in a world of endless airport queues, AWOL luggage and general flight chaos.

It turned out that my fears would come true completely.

Try and fail to sleep at Singapore airport.

Alan Granville/Stuff

Try and fail to sleep at Singapore airport.

Long-distance travel still sucks

First the bad news. All of the usual aspects of long-haul travel that were (literally) a nuisance in the past are still there, just with a glossy coating of pandemic. Lots of waiting, outrageous food prices, boredom and stunning seats now coupled with face coverings, empty airport shops and extremely hassled staff.

Unless you’re sitting at the pointy end of an airplane, long-haul economy class travel is still an acid test that relies heavily on a) having a good airline and b) having well-behaved fellow passengers.

Luckily the airlines my husband and I used to fly to Ireland and back were mostly decent. Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Aer Lingus and Qantas were all seen somewhere along the way and I cannot fault the crew or the service. Where available, there were no bad meals, and drink and drink breaks were frequent. So that’s a big tick in the positive box.

But no matter how good the airline, I don’t think an economy seat is particularly comfortable on a flight longer than an hour, even on the state-of-the-art Singapore Airlines A350 we had on one of our legs . It was a case of constant fidgeting and desperation. I envy and sometimes despise those who can sleep on airplanes.

The flights were all full, so there was little or no movement to take over an empty row. After four years of non-long haul, I had also forgotten how difficult it can be to grab a meal in a confined space. I just resorted to throwing bits of rice towards my mouth. It mostly went in. Usually.

Which brings me to my fellow travelers. For the most part they were pretty good, but it It only takes one horrible experience to ruin a trip. Ours were very, very, VERY active little kids who spent 13 hours screaming and kicking the longest leg of the journey from Singapore to Amsterdam while their gentle parents looked on humbly. It was on an airplane.

Masks suck (but are necessary)

Look, I’m not getting into the often heated debate about masks, but wearing them for hours on end on flights is irritating. I don’t think anyone really likes wearing them, but these are the times we are in that it’s a part of life. For the record, I’m pro-mask because I’m immunocompromised.

There was a very adamant passenger on a Singapore Airlines flight who made it very clear that he dislikes wearing masks and that the crew could not force him to wear them. It wasn’t for health reasons, he just didn’t like her. He protested before he got on the plane, he protested on the plane, and no doubt he protested afterwards.

Here’s the thing, you bought a ticket from an airline that makes mask use mandatory. You have even been to an airport (Singapore) where it is mandatory. You cannot ignore these two facts. If you’re too valuable to follow the rules, book tickets with a mask-free airline. Making the already difficult job of ground crew and flight attendants even more difficult doesn’t make you a bigger person. As I said, nobody likes to wear them, but it’s something we need to do on certain services. Suck it on Buttercup.

Masked at Singapore Airport.

Alan Granville

Masked at Singapore Airport.

Queues suck

I’m not sure what has happened since Covid emerged, but I think researchers need to look at the effect of Rona on people’s ability to queue.

This has been exacerbated by staff shortages across the industry as the rapid return of travel combined with the desperate need to rehire those who have been axed during the particularly dire times of the pandemic has caused general confusion.

Three separate check-in experiences resulted in queues that merged, split, and then merged again as travelers grew frustrated with a lack of direction from staff, as well as a lack of open check-in counters.

It took more than an hour to walk a few steps at the Lufthansa counter at Dublin Airport when the ‘bags check only’ queue formed, only to be closed by a puzzled-looking staff member through a queuing barrier flap fold them back into the “Check-in only” line. As more than 100 people tried to get the attention of the limited check-in staff, voices were raised, nerves racked and trolleys pushed against each other.

A global shortage of baggage handlers has led to an increase in the number of delayed or lost bags.

Getty Images

A global shortage of baggage handlers has led to an increase in the number of delayed or lost bags.

Losing your pockets sucks

I cannot describe how happy I was when I saw our bags fall onto the carousel at Dublin Airport. Horror stories pollute ours Travel issues section but we had escaped unscathed on the outward flight. That changed on the way back.

I knew we would be in trouble because of a short connection time. Our tickets allowed an hour to change trains in Frankfurt. However, our arriving Lufthansa flight was delayed by 45 minutes. Luckily Lady Luck smiled at us as we pulled up to our gate, right next to our next Singapore Airlines plane. We were in Germany a total of five minutes when we raced up the gangway, turned left and raced down the next gangway. We made it…but our luggage didn’t.

If there’s one crucial tip I can give budding world travelers right now — buy a baggage tracking device like an AirTag or Tile. We had put one in each of our two bags and as we made our way to Australia to catch up with my husband’s family we were able to see the bags come to life. The lovely lady at the baggage handling desk at Brisbane airport assured us that our luggage would be forwarded to us at our next stop in Hervey Bay.

The bags did arrive in Brisbane but then firmly refused to move. For days we could see the luggage was there and our tiles were pinging the locations. However, it proved impossible to contact Singapore Airlines or the baggage handler Swissport. An automated daily email said they were working hard to locate the bags. But we knew where they were – Brisbane. More than 30 calls to a voicemail or answering machine added to the frustration. The (non-)conversation went back and forth.

Eventually a begging message on social media helped clear the blockade and a very apologetic Singapore Airlines got us back together with our bags the day we flew back to Wellington from Brisbane.

Covid sucks

Oh yes my husband and I also contracted Covid in Dublin where I gifted it to my mum and we then missed a belated celebration of our wedding with my family and saw the cancellation of my aunt’s 90th birthday party. But that’s a story for later.

I know traveling has always been a privilege, especially over the past few years, and it’s something I will no longer take for granted. It’s great to see the world opening up again, families and friends being reunited, new and old destinations being explored and rediscovered. I just hope when it’s your turn to ride long distances the experience won’t be that crappy.



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How to make the most of your travel advertising post-Covid: Best Media Info

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How to make the most of your travel advertising post-Covid


You can’t stop looking at those conference announcements, but if you’re anything like your travel agency’s marketing team, you don’t know what to think. You want to know what it all means, but that can be difficult when all the industry jargon and buzzwords are flying around. Fortunately, we’re here to break it down for you in our guide to making the most of your post-Covid travel promotion.

Reassure customers with your message

messaging is important to assure customers that you will do everything you can to satisfy them. For example, a sample message might look like this: We want you, our valued customer, to have confidence in our business and in what we do. We take every possible measure to ensure you travel safely when you travel with us. Our customers are our priority and we will continue to take care of them by providing informative updates on the matter. Please do not hesitate to contact us if there is anything we can do for you.

Get creative with your channels

Tours and safaris are a big deal, with destinations like Africa, Asia and South America being a mainstay. But recently, self-drive tours have caught on in Europe and North America. Self drive tours in Iceland offer people the opportunity to explore countries like Iceland on their own terms. With a few designated highways or scenic routes, you can decide which area best suits your needs.

Leverage user-generated content

If you andSer Generated Contentconsider these four tips:

  • Define your niche – who is your typical traveller?
  • Establish a consistent content creation schedule – when do you publish new blog posts?
  • Leverage partnerships with influencers and experts in your industry – what do they have that you don’t have?
  • Interact with customers on social media – how can you address them with your brand’s voice?

Take advantage of offers and discounts

Post Covid, many travel agents are looking for ways to get back on their feet. One way you can use this time as an advantage is by using it Offers and discounts offered in the travel industry. For example, you can take advantage of Groupon’s vacation deals or Airbnb’s weekly deals. This makes your company more attractive and up-to-date in a competitive market. It can also attract new customers because they know they won’t have to pay full price. You can also offer your own discount or deal via social media like Facebook or Twitter promotions for 10% off purchases within the next two weeks.

Invest in SEO

Investing in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can help you get more exposure to your website so more people can find you when they search for a travel company. First, make sure your site is mobile-responsive and can be easily crawled by Google. Next, create compelling content that includes a variety of keywords and links to other pages on your site. That way, Google knows what your site is about and can rank you higher in search results.

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Finest Luxury Resorts With Outstanding Hospitality In Dubai

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One of the largest cities in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is home to some of the largest buildings ever created. New structures are added to the city almost daily, changing its appearance. It is very amazing to see how an abandoned area has developed with an abundance of huge bricks. The city has gained a reputation as a center for conducting business as well as a popular holiday destination for both domestic and foreign tourists. How else do you want to describe this metropolis if you have several names to name it? It’s a retail mecca, a honeymoon destination, a day trip destination and an entertainment hotspot, and it has an unforgettable nightlife. Known for the Burj Khalifa, the Palm Islands, its history and tranquil sand dunes, the city of Dubai attracts visitors from all over the world looking to experience its unique culture and way of life.

All of the world’s most prominent luxury hotel chains have facilities in Dubai, some of which own multiple properties. Palm Jumeirah is home to many opulent beach resorts that offer luxurious accommodations, a variety of dining options, and a plethora of water and beach activities. If you want to add something extra special to your vacation, book a trip to one of these luxurious resorts in Dubai. These resorts offer the ideal retreat from the monotonous routine of our everyday life by offering you a truly royal experience that represents the city’s upscale ambience. Here you can partake in a variety of activities, including snapping photos that will drive your Instagram followers crazy, enjoying exquisite meals, and embarking on exotic adventures.

Dubai’s best resorts with outstanding hospitality

  • Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah: The Burj Al Arab, one of the most luxurious 5 star hotels Dubai hotels, is considered the most opulent hotel in the world and is also considered the only 7-star hotel in the world. Not only known for its stunning, sailing-inspired design, the opulent resort is also located near Jumeirah Beach on a small peninsula just offshore. The massive structure contains 201 duplex apartments and the tallest atrium in the world. Each of these lavishly appointed suites features a private butler, Hermes bath products, a Jacuzzi and a choice of 9 pillow types.

Image resource: unsplash.com

  • Atlantis, the palm tree: Possibly the largest beachfront resort in the world, the gargantuan Atlantis, The Palm sits at the top of the Palm Jumeirah project and overlooks the Arabian Gulf from its recognizable central open space. It resembles a huge brown palace that acts as a gateway to Dubai. With options like Signature Suites, which have glass-walled underwater suites that look through one of the resort’s aquariums, the accommodations here are absolutely amazing. The renowned Royal Bridge Suite, one of the finest and most opulent in Dubai, sits above the hotel’s vast open space.
  • Four Seasons Resort, Jumeirah Beach: On Jumeirah Beach on the Arabian Gulf, the sumptuous Four Seasons Resort Dubai offers a true five-star experience. Some of the hotel’s rooms and suites, located near Jumeirah Beach, have views of the ocean and some of the city skyline, while other rooms have views of the resort itself. Each has a furnished balcony and luxurious marble bathrooms that feel like they’re at the spa. Families can enjoy a variety of services and activities at the resort, and the free Children for All Seasons program offers all-day supervised activities. In addition, families staying at the resort receive four passes to Dubai’s amusement and theme parks.
  • Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah: The Waldorf Dubai is located in the middle right of the Palm Jumeirah. All suites and most guest rooms offer sea views and some suites overlook the Arabian Gulf while others offer views over the water of Jumeirah Beach Residence or the downtown Dubai skyline. The suites and rooms are huge, larger than most Palm hotels, and the marble bathrooms are just as large. The Waldorf’s extensive, 200-metre-long private beach offers a variety of opportunities for relaxation and water fun.
  • Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai: This opulent beach resort is located in Jumeira, a recently built beach resort just north of the Jumeirah Beach Due to its location on a peninsula, you have a view of the sea and the skyline of Dubai on the opposite side. Modern and opulent, rooms and suites have amenities like spa-like marble bathrooms and oak-paneled entrances. Some of them have furnished balconies from which you can enjoy views of the sea or the Burj Khalifa.
  • Bulgari Resort Dubai: The Bulgari Resort in Dubai is the ideal place to stay if you are looking for a seaside resort with a yacht club. The resort is located in the newly created Jumeira Bay area, close to Jumeirah Beach, on Jumeira Bay Island. The resort is the pinnacle of luxury and one of only a handful owned by Italian jeweler “Bulgari” in the world. There’s no need to queue in a lobby, as the experience begins with in-room check-in. There are rooms, suites, and villas, ranging from opulent hotel rooms to villas that resemble mansions. Villas have features like outdoor hot tubs and private pools.
  • Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai: This resort is exceptional if you are looking for first class accommodation. The rooms offer a clear and beautiful view of the Arabian Gulf as the hotel is close to the beach. The lush grassland and white sands of the beach are the ideal complement to this award-winning hotel. Your heart and mind will settle just by strolling through its expanse. With 13 on-site restaurants, they have a full range of amenities to meet your every need. They offer a wide range of cuisines including Mexican, Italian, Continental and Arabic. You will love the food and the courteous service. At its secluded beach, you can also take part in some water sports, including kayaking, water skiing, banana boat trips, etc.

In addition to the above resorts, there are several resorts in the city where families can enjoy themselves. That concludes our list of top resorts in Dubai. In addition, Dubai has some desert resorts that represent an opulent version of a nomadic lifestyle. So choose your preferred option, make your reservation and catch the next flight to Dubai.



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The LLM Readers’ Travel Awards hits another successful year, the results are in

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bigstock-Luxury-Bora-Bora-resort-hotel--303797701


After a difficult few years for the travel and hospitality industry, 2022 has seen a resurgence in the search for luxury destinations abroad, and with renewed vigor for travel on home soil, it seems avid travelers are once again enjoying the best of both worlds.

As another year comes to an end with a bang, we at LLM are celebrating another successful awards season. 2022 marks our fifth year of highlighting the best in travel, from the best hotels around the world to premium airlines, cruise lines, destinations and tour operators.

With the sole aim of showcasing the best in their industry and providing positive publicity for those businesses and destinations, we can safely say we’ve achieved this again. Our readers love to dream and travel, and they voted by the thousands – (more than 31,000) – to give their opinion from the carefully curated shortlist of options.

View of the Burj Al Arab Hotel from Jumeirah Beach
2022 marks our fifth year of highlighting the best in travel, from the best hotels around the world to premium airlines, cruise lines, destinations and tour operators. Credit: Checco/Bigstock.com

So the results are in and this year we can safely say that the winners of each category deserved their place. You will find the full list of winners here, but we’ve rounded up some of the standout winners below. As our Editor-in-Chief Nick Gibbens commented, “We are thrilled to be able to re-launch our awards and recognize the best of the best in the industry. Hopefully, these results will encourage travelers to seek out these premium picks for their next luxury vacation.

“Our discerning and dedicated readers have spoken, and we are immensely grateful to everyone who took it upon themselves to lend their support behind each and every one of our shortlisted hotels, destinations, cruise lines, airlines, airports, tour operators and… Throw travel sites .

“The travel industry is big and employs so many people who work tirelessly to promote destinations and provide the very best service and experiences for those who love to travel, explore and relax in a variety of exquisite settings. Hopefully we can give back to those in the industry, albeit in a small way, and send our support out there as well.

“Thank you to those who took the time to apply, to those who voted, to our award contributors, and we wish everyone in the industry the very best, especially those who are just starting out or have recently made theirs doors have opened again.”

Luxury resort vacation destination idyllic overater bungalow villa woman relaxing by infinity pool
Our readers love to dream and travel, and they voted by the thousands – (more than 31,000) – to give their opinion from the carefully curated shortlist of options

So who were the standout winners?

In the UK, Linthwaite House in the Lake District has set a record in three categories in the Best UK Hotels category, winning Best Hotel for Food, Best Hotel for Wine and Best Hotel for Golf for the second year running “ Excellent, proving that this luxurious Windermere retreat really is a favorite for our readers.

The famous Hotel DUKES London beat 23 others for the Best Boutique Hotel in the UK, while the Francis Hotel in Bath took first place in both Best City Hotel and Best Hotel for Business categories. The Culloden Estate and Spa in Belfast was voted the best spa/wellness hotel in the UK and firm favorite Ellenborough Park in Cheltenham topped the list for best family hotel after winning the romance category last year.

Best Tour Operator and Best Specialist Tour Operator were won by The Luxury Travel Book and Emirates is back at the top of the list of best airlines, having won in 2018, 2019 and 2020 and being knocked out to second place by British Airways last year. Royal Caribbean tops ‘Best Ocean Cruise Line’ list for the third year running and ‘Best UK City’, Bath has ousted London at the top spot for the second year running.

Heading overseas and in the largest category – Best Hotel in Europe (outside the UK) – the Amada Colossos Resort in Rhodes, Greece was awarded, the As Janelas Verdes Hotel in Portugal’s capital Lisbon took second place and the Burgenstock Hotel and Resort, Lake Lucerne in Switzerland in third place.

Thailand certainly boasts some top hotels, with Akyra Manor Chiang Mai and Aleenta Hua Hin-Pranburi Resort and Spa taking first and second place respectively in the Best Hotel in Asia category. It was the Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort and Spa in Mahe that took the top spot in the Best Hotel in Africa category, narrowly beating South Africa’s Earth Lodge in the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve.

The NH Collection New York Madison Avenue was named Best Hotel in North America, while the Hitlon Barra in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was named Best Hotel in South America. Jade Mountain Resort in St. Lucia won the Caribbean category and Le Taha’a Island Resort and Spa in Tahiti won for Oceania.

The Amalfi Coast in Italy was the winner for Best Honeymoon Destination, while Verbier in Switzerland was named Best Ski Resort and Barcelona in Spain was voted Best City for the third consecutive year.

Hopefully you will agree that this has been another great year for the awards and we look forward to visiting and utilizing the services of the above distinguished winners.

Click here for the full list of winners.

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