An Affordable Way to Send Your Souvenirs Back Home

Shopping for souvenirs and other local goods when traveling is a common thing that travellers usually do and enjoy doing! Exotic mementos to remember their trips by; taking a piece of the country they visited back home with them. Some travellers can go a bit overboard though and end up with more items than they can fit in their luggage; finding it difficult to transport their souvenirs back home.

Many a seasoned traveller will agree that using specialised baggage freight companies are a more affordable and convenient to send your excess luggage back home. All major airlines charge a hefty fee per kg once you exceed your free baggage allowance, which can cause unwanted stress on your travels.

A recent survey confirmed this with their findings showing that one of the most common problems travellers face when using airlines to send their excess luggage is delays. It causes a lot of frustration and in some scenarios, luggage can even go missing. This is usually not covered by the airlines unless you pay an additional charge for insurance.

On the other hand, getting the service of a specialised baggage company to get your souvenirs and other personal effects, often works out cheaper and more convenient as many of these companies offer door to door shipping. These companies also offer personalized services that will definitely cater to all your needs and wants. These specialised baggage companies are also experienced when it comes to dealing with luggage in all shapes and sizes. These are perfect for those who are planning to get their souvenirs, especially those bulky ones, shipped back to their homes safely and securely without damage. It’s also easy to track your baggage and get it insured if you feel the need.

Having excess luggage is sometimes inevitable, especially if you are one of those impulsive holiday shoppers. But shipping your items back home is no longer a hassle, with specialised baggage companies you can choose the freight service you want depending on your budget and needs.

Excess Baggage — Send Your Excess for Less with World Baggage!

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The Best Countries to Take a Bicycle Tour

There are various ways to explore a country, but as seasoned travellers will tell you, there is no better way to get to know a place other than immersing yourself in the surroundings, culture and people. One way of achieving this is on a bicycle. Easily wander through places inaccessible to cars and trains; hop on, hop off – take your time exploring a new and magical place. Enjoy scenery which you would miss speeding past in a taxi or a rental car. And the fact that you’ll be getting a little fitter on your holiday, doesn’t hurt either!

Bike tours are growing in popularity. Aside from the reasons mentioned above, people also prefer going on bicycle tours because it is a cheaper but more fun way to roam around, and the activity can be done in groups or individually. Almost every country in the world offers bicycle tours of some kind, but listed below are the five best countries where you can partake in a bicycle tour:

1. New Zealand

Considered as one of the most beautiful countries in the world, New Zealand has breath-taking natural scenery that will leave you in awe. This country is a popular bike tour spot because of its excellent mountain biking trails such as the Otago Central Rail Trail, Hawke’s Bay Trails, Clutha Gold Trail, Roxburgh Gorge Trail and the Great Lake Trail, to name a few. Due to the perfect views, friendly people, clean air and well-maintained roads, the country was able to establish itself in the global cyclist fan base. In fact, more than 100,000 bikers visit New Zealand’s bike trails every year.

2. Australia

The Australian outback and coastal scenery are only two of the hundreds of reasons why this country is one of the best places to go on a bike tour with friends or loved ones. Biking along the outback and the coastal area and enjoying the wonderful views of the skyline, trees, sand and sea are unique experiences that will truly leave you mystified. Great for families – Australia is renowned for their child-friendly bike tours; many have a wide selection of kids bikes to choose from in all shapes and sizes so your little ones won’t be left out. Some of the must-try bike trails are Capital City Trail, Bayside Cycling Trail, Main Yarra Trail and Ballarat-Skipton Rail Trail. Visit this website for more info on Australian Cycling Holidays.

3. The Netherlands

Some bike tour enthusiasts agree that the Netherlands is a bicycle haven—flat land, mild weather, scenic views and not to mention, a long-established bicycle culture—everything a cyclist could ask for. The government also prioritizes the bicycle riders in their traffic laws by having special bike lanes and traffic lights for bikes. Lights and bells are mandatory in this country; however, wearing helmets is optional. Cyclists recommend bike tours in Amsterdam, Delft and Haarlem.

4. China

The best way to immerse yourself in Chinese culture and surroundings is to ride a bike around the cities and towns. Taking a bike tour around Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai is definitely one of the most exciting things you can do when you visit China. Bike tours here are also interactive, as it gives the travellers a chance to get to see how the Chinese live first-hand.

5. Denmark

Hailed as one of the most bike-friendly countries in the world and home to one of the world’s largest urban cycling hubs, Denmark is definitely one of the must-visit places if you are a bicycle enthusiast. The country’s capital, Copenhagen, is considered as the cycling Mecca to plenty of cyclists because of its amazing and dedicated bike paths. All the tourist areas in this city can be conveniently travelled to by bike, that is why a lot of people who are looking for an ultimate bike tour experience, visit here.


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Destination of the Week: Santa Catarina

Source WTTC:  The importance of Travel & Tourism to Santa Catarina’s economy is indisputable, yet much of the destination’s potential remains largely untapped.  The state’s unparalleled diversity in terms of landscapes, cultures and people is little known outside Latin America – and Perhaps even Brazil.

Primarily known for its beach resorts – a number of which rank among the best in the world – Santa Catarina is blessed with a wealth of other attractions that could prove just as appealing, if not more so, to potential visitors. Most importantly, further development and promotion of new markets and segments could help extend the season and spread the benefits of tourism across the state

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Destination of the Week: Montenegro

The world’s youngest sovereign state is ripe for investment

In 2007, for the fourth consecutive year, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) ranked the Republic of Montenegro as one of the top three destinations in the world in terms of forecast travel and tourism growth over the ensuing decade. And preliminary estimates put Montenegro in second position in the growth ranking for 2008, behind Macau – the Special Administrative Region of China.

To be ranked alongside Asian powerhouses such as China and India is no mean feat for a country whose tourism industry ground to a complete halt during the 1990s as a result of the Balkan conflict.

Since WTTC produced its first Tourism Satellite Account and Country Report for Montenegro in April 2004, Montenegro – the world’s youngest independent nation – has demonstrated that it is well on the way to fulfilling its tourism promise. Although the destination really only re-emerged onto the world’s tourism stage at the end of the 1990s, when its tourism plant was still suffering from years of neglect due to international sanctions during the Balkan conflict – Montenegro was never directly involved in the war itself – international tourist arrivals and tourism receipts have recorded strong double-digit annual increases.

A solid recovery in tourism demand

After recording a growth in international arrivals of 45% in 2005 and 39% in 2006, 2007 saw a further 22% rise – nearly six times the average for Europe overall. And total tourism revenues rose by an even more impressive 39%, according to the Central Bank of Montenegro.

Growth has in part been stimulated by an extension of the tourism season since the beginning of the decade – to nearly nine months of the year from less than five – and hotel performance, as a result, has far exceeded expectations, despite the rapid growth in hotel room capacity. Room revenues in renovated four-star hotels, for example, topped €23,000 (US$34,155) per room in 2007, and gross operating profit (GOP) increased from 20.3% of total revenues in 2006 to 32.2% last year. In addition, more and more airlines are operating direct airline services into the country from key markets, facilitating access and thereby stimulating demand.

The trends are a clear reflection of Montenegro’s strong tourism recovery and its enormous potential for the future. Leading Western markets have returned to the country’s coastal resorts and new emerging markets are starting to show interest in what has become widely known as the ‘jewel in the Balkan crown’. True, the unique ‘wild beauty’ of Montenegro is still a long way from being tapped. But the country has an wide range of natural attractions – mostly in unspoilt terrain – including mountainous regions covered by forests, lakes, rivers and national parks, which boast some of Europe’s most spectacular scenery. Together with its rich diversity of flora and fauna, Montenegro offers unparalleled opportunities for ‘authentic’ tourism – one of the fastest growing segments in tourism today. And investment in mountain accommodation, such as ecolodges, is now gaining speed.

Growing investment in infrastructure and tourism facilities

More than 95% of Montenegro’s existing hotels have already been privatized and, during the past five years, private investors have poured close to €400 million into extensive renovations and modernization, including the addition of state-of-the art wellness and conference facilities, in a dozen or so large privatized hotel and resort complexes. At the same time, the Montenegrin Government has invested more than €250 million in the modernization and upgrading of airports, roads, border crossings and utility infrastructure projects. And this is only the beginning.

Agreements signed with international organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as with national aid agencies and donor organizations, will ensure the upgrading and expansion of water supply systems, waste water treatment, landfills and similar critical infrastructure.

Europe’s new Monaco

Since independence, in 2006, the value of real estate has soared, making Montenegro one of the most attractive destinations in the world, not just in Europe, in terms of return on foreign direct investment (FDI). In fact, Montenegro is among the top three countries in Europe in terms of FDI per capita. Many now see this small Adriatic state as the new Monaco. In 2007, FDI exceeded €785 million (US$1.17 billion).

Moreover, while the country still only has a handful of five-star hotels, interest from developers in building high-quality resorts is growing rapidly, and competition for good sites is rife. In addition to existing properties available for renovation, some 12 Greenfield sites of a total 4,000 hectares, are being offered by the government for hotels and mixed-use developments. Negotiations are underway with a number of international hotel groups, and several big projects have been signed, which will see the arrival of new international hotel brands in Montenegro, such as Kempinski.

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