Category: Planning and Tips

    Organize a trip online: the ABC of low cost

    No Comments

    Lately I’ve been amazed on more than one occasion how young people, even my age, find themselves very awkward to organize a trip online.

    I go to the agency that if not I wonder what I’m doing!

    You can’t imagine how many people arrive on my blog looking on Google for the shortest way from New York to Boston or as I arrive from Big Ben to Notting Hill on foot.

    Do you understand? There’s no basis for it, not even Google Maps.

    Online there are a lot of blogs that collect low cost offers or that talk about how to live a destination with minimal expense, but already it’s an “advanced” level for those who just start from scratch.

    So I thought of writing a schematic post to help the willing who want to venture into the online organization of a low-cost trip but do not know where to start. Let’s start from ABC, I write you a minimum guide, only the basic resources that I use when I start to plan a trip.

    It takes some time, but do you want to put satisfaction and savings?

    How to book your flight

    1. First of all, which airports are closest to you? 

    Consider all those that are within a 2 hour drive of your home. These are the capable ones, especially the somewhat smaller airports that are generally those from which low-cost flights depart.

    2. Now look for the route you are interested in on a flight aggregator.

    You have to understand which airlines are serving your destination: I usually look on Skyscanner because it does not force you to choose a departure city, you can also put Italy.

    Try different dates and combinations, especially if you don’t have a fixed destination but just want to do a few days around Europe.

    On Skyscanner as a destination you can also put anywhere. Me if I want to leave but I don’t know where I put “from Italy to Everywhere”.

    3. So go to the sites of the chosen airlines.

    Once you have identified the 3-4 most convenient airlines go to the sites of the individual companies and do the same search.

    Compare prices and choose the cheapest: sometimes booking on aggregators costs more because they retain a percentage, sometimes it is really cheaper because you find specific offers from the aggregator. You compare from time to time.

    How to find and choose a hotel

    1. Hotel search.

    I use practically only Booking because it gives the possibility in almost all hotels to cancel the booking up to 24 before completely free of charge. I

    In this way you can book hotels even if you are not 100% sure to leave.

    Or you can book multiple rooms at the same time to keep them locked and have time to calmly choose the best, just cancel the others, for free.

    Search on Booking for your destination, look at where your hotel is on the map and choose the best 3-4 hotels after reading the ratings of those who have been before you. It is essential that near your choices there are metro or bus stops.

    Hostels are the cheapest solution and are also a nice opportunity to meet other travelers.

    2. Check reviews and prices.

    Once you have found a short list of hotels cross-check TripAdvisor (for reviews) and the individual hotel sites (for prices): the same as above, sometimes you save on Booking, other times by booking directly on the hotel sites. While with planes it is more likely to find the best prices on the sites of individual companies, for hotels I find it almost always cheaper to book with Booking.

    3. Alternatively you can try the last minute

    If you love the risk you can book in the day with Blink Booking (at this link you will find a post where I talked about it that explains well how it works): from 11 in the morning you will find offers for the day really discounted. It is very convenient, but not in all trips you can afford to book the last second. And then you need a smartphone because there is only the app.

    4. Or cheaper hospitality solutions.

    If you are more adventurous there are services such as Couchsurfing or Airbnb.

    Couchsurfing is just a travel style: you choose to be hosted by locals who decide to provide a free bed or sofa for passing guests. It is generally chosen by those traveling alone or by those who want to know from within a culture or a city.

    Airbnb instead is a real marketplace of houses / apartments / rooms for rent: you can choose the house in which to be hosted and book it, of course for a fee.

    I recommend a very useful post on that explains the differences between these two services.

    What to do and see

    1. Buy a Lonely Planet from the place you’re going.

    But what, are you a blogger and do not advise us to search the net? You have to go with order.

    My advice is first of all to buy a Lonely (forget about the other guides, I tried them all, the Lonely is the best, and did not give me even one euro to say, in fact I left him a lot ‘).

    Read it from top to bottom well before you leave, study your destination.

    Plan your route based on the most interesting things to see and do.

    For hotels/locations/restaurants/shopping, forget about driving. For hotels see above, for restaurants ask passers-by or check on Tripadvisor (I always do that).

    2. And now look in the blogs!

    Look for information on what you have selected from Lonely by integrating your program.

    If you have time, also browse forums like Cisonostat: I know that they are a bit ‘vintage forums, but there is a lot of up to date information and many travelers who can advise you if you are undecided about something.

    I tell you to read Lonely first because the web is too dispersive, on the internet you can find everything and nothing.

    For the initial skimming I rely on Lonely.

    3. Buy as many tickets as possible online for the things you want to see.

    Museums, shows or attractions: you save money and queue.

    For example, at the Alhambra in Granada you often run the risk of not finding a seat without tickets booked online in advance.

    I use for London musicals on which I found really convenient offers for the most famous musicals (like Mamma Mia! last year). It’s called last minute but you can also book in advance, I usually book a month earlier.

    4. Plan your itinerary well if you intend to move.

    If you want to move and you need an itinerary the tools are 3:

    Google Maps (which gives you the distance and shows you which cities are well connected and which are not),

    blogs (there are many posts dedicated to the itineraries),

    the old and dear Lonely (both because it has the recommended itineraries and because it indicates the most beautiful cities to connect in your itinerary).

    Where to eat

    1. Ask passers-by or Tripadvisor.

    If I do not know the place or ask the passers-by or I rely on the Tripadvisor app that is very convenient because it tells you the restaurants closest to you and also gives you the price ranges (passers-by do not, however, as quality usually take us).

    2. Use apps for offers.

    Find out if there are any portals that aggregate the offers of restaurants in the country of destination of your trip.

    For example, in France there is LaFourchette that has great offers, I tried it and it works very well.

    In Italy there are several, I know EasyDinner that works well.

    Finished! Here is the minimum guide for the online organization of a low cost trip.

    I hope it will serve the less practical.

    If you need more detailed information please write me (comment, email, Twitter, pigeon traveler …).

    If you’re satisfied with this post, have a good trip!

    Categories: Planning and Tips

    Travel Italy: Luca and Danilo’s adventure among extreme sports, explorations and inclusion

    No Comments

    Today we want to tell you a story. A story of friendship, difficulty, courage and hope. Of determination, pursued dreams and a lot of love for life. It all began 20 years ago. Our protagonists are called Danilo and Luca and they know each other in a place where none of us would ever want to be: in the spinal unit of Turin. An accident made them immobile from the waist down.

    But even in this situation, the two boys do not lose heart and, to put it in their own words, they decide to see it as “a new beginning”. Yes, because to be happy in life you must first decide to be happy!

    From the friendship between Luca and Danilo was born Viaggio Italia

    The friendship between Danilo and Luca, one designer and the other architect and musician, is cemented by great passions in common: that for sport, especially if extreme, and that for travel. Now: if you are reading these lines, in a travel blog, it means that you too, like us who are writing them, know well how strong the desire to discover, explore, know. In a word, to travel.

    And when you really want something, there are no limits, as for Danilo and Luca, who four years ago created a project based on the combination of ‘sport and travel’. They called it ‘Viaggio Italia’ but the name is now perhaps a bit ‘misleading, in the sense that from the Bel Paese our friends have expanded ‘Around the world’, breaking every border and every barrier, mental and physical.

    Travel Italy between the Bel Paese and the World

    They started with 30 stages in Italy, from North to South. An opportunity to talk about accessibility and inclusion but not only: also about innovation and technology, because all their experiences are shared on blogs and social networks. In fact, the watchword is ‘sharing’, ‘meeting’, and the aim is to offer useful ideas to those who find themselves in the same situation but also to those who do not. In our opinion, in fact, they are useful reflections for everyone!

    Danilo and Luca, with Viaggio Italia, then expanded to the world, thanks to sponsors such as Lufthansa, and here we find them in magnificent destinations such as Brazil, India and Africa. Look at the wonder of videos, everything is there: joy, adventure, meetings, sports, travel, and the rough and endless landscape of Ladakh.

    Travel Italy between extreme sports and travel

    There is another password, also entrusted to the beautiful images of the video: ‘challenge’: Luca and Danilo, in fact, in their raids, try not only to travel in themselves but also in activities such as surfing, hang-gliding, paragliding, hand biking, canoeing… and so on!

    They might all seem out of the world, inaccessible, but anyone can live them in turn. Just take part in a beautifully organized trip, in the wake of those made by Danilo and Luca, which you can find on the website of Viaggio Italia in the section ‘Parts with us’. You can watch videos of trips to Brazil, Africa and India on the website of Viaggio Italia. The mantra of every trip is: share.

    Travel Italy as a Journey of Life

    Viaggio Italia is a beautiful communication project, which sees companies such as Lufthansa among its sponsors. A project that intends to speak and show the disability from a different point of view. Not denying the difficulties (that Luca and Danilo tell us: for example, how complicated it is to find a rental car that has the controls adapted), but underlining the possibilities.

    Categories: Planning and Tips

    Flight Cancellation: Are you entitled to a refund or compensation?

    No Comments

    Who has experienced the nasty surprise of a flight cancellation? We know, it is never a good gift: we feel unfortunate victims of the systems and decisions of the airlines, we feel that we can do nothing to recover our right to travel and the idea of replanning everything can discourage us.

    Often, if an airline cancels a flight, it does so for our own safety, facing serious economic losses itself.  For example, a company can cancel a flight if there is a health, geopolitical or terrorist risk at the destination airport or in anticipation of natural disasters.

    But every airline, because of a European regulation called “EC261” which protects air passengers, has an information and financial burden on passengers in the event of cancellation of flights, so we travelers are not alone in the face of an inscrutable system.

    Today you will find out when you are entitled to compensation and when you are entitled to reimbursement for flight cancellations. And we’ll also tell you which are the easiest ways to get them.

    Flight Cancellation Refund: when and how to get your ticket back

    If your flight is cancelled for any reason more than 14 days before your departure date and you are notified through the company’s official channels (e.g. via the email address we provided at the time of booking, by phone or text message if we chose the messaging options for important communications), you are entitled to a full refund of your flight.

    This refund can also be made by immediate bank transfer or check.

    But beware! If you cancel your flight within 14 days you may also be entitled to a refund in addition to a refund.  This, always according to the European regulations and as you can also read in the page dedicated to the differences between compensation and flight cancellation refund that AirHelp illustrates on its portal.

    Because of this burden of compensation, the company may offer you an alternative flight: if you accept it, however, you will no longer be entitled to compensation.

    Even if you only find out at the airport that your flight has been cancelled, so if the cancellation occurred suddenly, you are entitled to a refund at the same time directly from the company’s desk.

    But be careful, because in case of last minute flight cancellation, your rights are extended.

    What are you entitled to if you learn about flight cancellations at the airport?

    Finding out at the airport that your flight is no longer on its way means waiting in the terminal to ask for information about what happened, to understand what you want to do and how to act.

    For a start, we would like to suggest you download the App from AirHelp, the world’s leading company in the field of assistance to air passengers.

    With this free App you can find out in a few minutes, entering your flight data and a few other details, what are your rights and how to proceed to claim them without stress.

    A real panacea for the peace of mind of travelers!

    However, it is good to know that during your stay at the airport for reasons related to misunderstandings by the airlines, we have the right to assistance. That is, we can consume drinks and food and get a refund from the company.

    In addition, if we are at the airport and it is here that we have learned of the cancellation, we also have the possibility to have compensation, which starts from a minimum of 200 euros for the shortest routes and can reach up to 600 euros for intercontinental routes and longer flights.

    Flight cancellation compensation: this is how much you can get and in which cases

    Regardless of the policies implemented by individual airlines, European Regulation EC 261 protects us from sudden cancellations for flights within the European Union including the outermost regions of Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Réunion, Martinique, Mayotte and Saint-Martin, the Azores and Madeira, and the Canary Islands.

    Know that you are entitled to compensation in the event of:

    • Cancellation without notice through official channels of the company that we have described in the previous paragraphs;
    • Cancellation due to staff strikes or staff shortages;
    • Operating circumstances, i.e. due to the management of aircraft and airport personnel;
    • Aircraft maintenance.

    In short, it is possible to have compensation in proportion to the number of kilometres we would have had to cover for all cancellations for which the company is responsible.

    On the other hand, we are not entitled to compensation (but only reimbursement) in the event of cancellation for exceptional circumstances, i.e. those that are independent of the company’s responsibility and linked to the safety of passengers, such as disasters and health or terrorist risks.

    Have you ever learned that your flight has been cancelled? How did you react?

    Categories: Planning and Tips

    “I jumped from 10 meters!” Or not?

    No Comments

    Our trip to Greece was full of surprises, discoveries, fatigue, laughter and adrenaline. We visited Athens by going to stick our noses everywhere, even in the Anafiotika district. We have turned in long and wide the island of Naxos, until to find of it its more lost and fascinating little church, that one of Agios Sozon. We traveled Milos from north to south (and vice versa) to visit every beach of this island of 1000 colors. And just in Milos we jumped from the cliff of Sarakiniko risking the bone of the neck and not only that.

    Here, one of the recurring memories of the trip to Greece is just that jump from the cliff of Sarakiniko. Every time we ask ourselves two questions:

    1- How long have we been going up?

    2- And above all: why did we do it?

    While for the second question, the only answer is “ok, it went well, we don’t think about it anymore”, for the first question we are stuck with doubts from time to time. At the time of the dive we had estimated a height of 4 meters, more or less. But soon the first doubts about the “nasometric” estimate were revealed. So what to do? Nothing better than asking Galileo Galilei for help.

    Brief history of uniformly accelerated straight motion

    Don’t make that face, I’ll make it very brief. In 1638 Galileo Galilei published Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematiche intorno a due nuove scienze attinenti alla meccanica e i movimenti locali in which he investigated with a method – not by chance – scientifically the problem of a body falling from a given height to the surface, drawing essentially three conclusions:

    A falling body moves with uniformly accelerated rectilinear motion

    In the absence of air all bodies fall with the same acceleration, called acceleration of gravity, indicated by the symbol g, and which on the Earth is worth on average 9.89 m/s².

    In the presence of air, due to friction, the bodies may fall with different hourly laws from those of the uniformly accelerated motion

    Galileo therefore demonstrates that a body in free fall and without friction moves with a rectilinear motion uniformly accelerated, regardless of its mass.

    There are two equations that describe this motion:

    Well, we have what we need (I mean the second equation). Now: let’s calculate the height of this blessed dive!

    Calculating the height of the dive

    Having said that, let’s move on to calculation. Since we have a video of the dive taken with the iPhone, the first thing that the good scientist-traveller does is to calculate the time between the moment of departure from the cliff until the impact with the water.

    Using video editing programs such as Virtualdub you can calculate (with good approximation) this time. The verdict was: 1.3 seconds. I assure you that, when you are in the air, they seem much more (for the squeeze). Something like that:

    Well, at this point:

    • knowing that t equals 1.3 seconds
    • assuming a rectilinear motion (yes, I know that it is not exactly so, but have mercy)
    • neglecting the friction with the air
    • and applying the hourly law of uniformly accelerated rectilinear motion, it is obtained:

    x(t) = 1/2 * g * t² = (9,89 * 1,3²)/2 = (9,89 * 1,69)/2 = 8,35 meters

    The mystery is solved! Now you know how to calculate the height of your next dive. Happy, huh? Um… Hey! But… have you fallen asleep?

    Categories: Planning and Tips