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If you’re seeking distinctive lodging with personalized service, a bed and breakfast inn may be your best solution. There are some important considerations you need to be aware of, however. BEFORE you make your reservation, think about the following:

Do you have allergies?

Ask the innkeepers if they can provide specialized meals.

If you are allergic to smoke, make sure that the inn is smoke-free. Pet allergies? Be certain that the bed and breakfast doesn’t allow pets.

Do you intend to travel with children?

Many inns do not allow children. Fine antiques, plush wallpaper, thick carpets, and original artwork may not be compatible with little fingers. Be aware of the inn’s policy regarding children.

Are you taking a pet with you?

The majority of bed and breakfasts are hesitant to allow pets. Even a teacup Yorkie or kitten can quickly do hundreds of dollars worth of damage to furniture, window treatments, wall coverings, and bedding. If the innkeepers will not allow pets, they may be able to recommend a nearby kennel or boarding facility.

Will you be arriving late?

Most small bed and breakfasts are home businesses managed by the innkeepers themselves. If the innkeepers are in bed by ten p.m. they might not be enthusiastic about guests arriving at midnight. If you plan on arriving at a specific time and are delayed, be courteous and call ahead. This means some forethought on your part. Ensure that the inn’s contact information is in a pocket, purse, wallet, or easily-reached piece of luggage.

Will you have a private bathroom?

Don’t wait until you arrive to discover that you will be sharing a bathroom with other guests. Private baths are becoming more common nowadays, including accommodations with ensuite baths; however, there are still many inns with rooms operating in ‘shared-bath’ mode.

What kind of breakfast do they serve?

Breakfast menus can range from muffins, juice, and coffee to multi-entree gourmet breakfasts. Some inns (usually the larger ones) also offer additional meals – typically not included in the nightly rate.

What is the cancellation policy?

Last-minute cancellations can really hurt your wallet! Unlike hotels, bed and breakfasts have a limited number of rooms and almost always charge for cancellations. Normally, the sooner you cancel the better. If you wait until the week before your vacation to cancel, you might be required to pay for the entire stay. Travel insurance will often cover the fees. (Read the fine print of your policy to be sure.)

Ask the right questions, be prepared, and have a wonderful, relaxing stay!

Scotland may be the home of golf, but it’s also a great place for skiing enthusiasts. With numerous world class resorts, and such a depth of history and culture, Scotland is a great place to visit on your vacation, regardless of your interests and hobbies. When you think of Scotland, you might think of kilts, and rural mountaintops and sheep, but if you actually get to know the place, you’ll find it is both beautiful, with its bustling, classy cities, ensuring you’re going to have an enjoyable vacation wherever you go in the country.

One of the most famous Scottish ski resorts is Aviemore. A classy, traditional ski resort, Aviemore is located within the Scottish Highlands, and is the ski resort of choice for many across the world. Loved for its friendly atmosphere and great skiing, Aviemore is more than well equipped to give you a great time. It’s bars and restaurants are simply first class, offering wholesome food and drink to keep you well refreshed. Additionally, it’s holiday village feeling enhances its friendly, relaxed ambience, and makes you feel a million miles from home whilst still comfortable.

Alternatively, there are some more ski resorts in the Scottish Highlands which are particularly good value for money. It is important to watch out, though, given that some resorts cater for the top end of the market, and you could end up paying a lot more than you bargained for. As long as you do your homework before you leave, you should fin the resort that is perfect to cater for your needs, and your wallet.

One thing to watch out for before you arrive in Scotland is to change your currency into Sterling Pounds. Your best option is to go to your local travel agents, or your local currency conversion centre before setting off. That way, you will be sure of exactly what you are getting for your money. It is a good idea to be wary of the commission, and the exchange rate you are being offered, and it can sometimes be quite tricky to get your head around the numbers. Make sure you work everything out before hand, and shop around so that you don’t get wripped off.

For excellent deals on Scotland, why not go online? Additionally, there you will find a great deal of information on what to do in Scotland, and information on the depth and variety of Ski Resorts. If you choose not to go to a ski resort, but rather a city, and you want to cram in some top quality, affordable skiing during your trip, you are also in luck. There are loads of dry ski slopes in and around the cities, like at Polmont for example, which is located midway between Glasgow and Edinburgh, which is ideal for some quick and cheap skiing. Additionally, there are several indoor artificial snow ski slopes which you can visit. These innovative inventions are used to help train national level skiers, and are also open to the public at certain times, so why not pop along during your visit?

Why not consider Scotland? With so many excellent deals on skiing package tours at the moment, you’ll definitely be glad you did, and you are guaranteed to have an enjoyable, fun holiday in this picturesque, ski-enthusiast’s heaven.

China is a large country at a size of 9,596,960 sq km. China was only partially open to the world from 1980 onwards & has been a communist country for many decades. Although there is much progress in the travel industry & infrastructure of China, there remain areas that want to be improved before it can match the level that most tourist would need.

However, much of the fun remain that it is different from the rest of the world. China will be the host nation for the Olympics in Year 2008. Travel facilities & infrastructure will be improving quickly as we approach Year 2008.

Below are some travel tips to make your travel in China less hard:

China is rich in culture & history. Visit the Great Wall of China in Beijing, sip Chinese tea in Xiamen, dance with ethnic tribes in Yunnan, check out 19th Century European buildings in Qingdao – there’s so much to do & see in China!

Entry Visa

China need entry visa from most countries. Apply at the Chinese consulate or through your travel agent before travelling to China.

Climate

very diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north. Be prepared with the right seasonal clothing.

Foreign Exchange

The unit of money is known as Renmembi(RMB) or Yuan. Get some Chinese Yuan in your local country before travelling. When in China, exchange foreign money for local money in the banks or at the hotel. Banks tend to give slightly better rates than hotels. Take note that some banks close for a noon siesta between 12-2pm.

Payment facilities

Most better class hotels & shopping centres take Credit Card or Travellers cheques. Smaller hotels & shops take money only. twice out of the bigger cities, credit card & ATM cards tend to be impossible to utilize. money is still king in Chinese business & trade.

Understanding of English

Counterfeit notes are common in China. Check carefully before accepting alter, especially if it consists mostly 100RMB notes. You can feel a texture difference where counterfeit notes is concerned.

Most signboards & notices will over both English & Chinese. However, be aware that some translations can be so notorious that one can understand what was it is original Chinese purpose.

Most civil servants, custom officials, police, hotel staff & men in the street do not speak English or at best a smattering of English.

Most young people can understand basic English if you speak slowly.

Do not expect hotels or shops to understand English. Only the big hotels will have staff that will understand English.

Social Security

China is generally a safe country. However, hang on tight to your wallet especially in crowded, popular tourist sites in tourist cities such as Beijing & Xian.

These tourist cities also has a lot of touts in the streets touting tourist from money exchange to jewelleries to female companionships. Avoid at all cost!

Domestic Travel

Bus, train, ferries & domestic flights are well developed. Avoid the crowd at the stations & book your tickets through the hotel tour desk or the nearest tour agent. Prices are likely to be competitive & tickets will be delivered to your hotel room. Again, avoid ticket touts who approach you in the streets.

Local buses are cheap (US$0.10 or YS$0.20) & you may want to try out. Taxis are convenient & are available at all hours. Starting fares differ from each city & may be as cheap as US$0.70 in Weihai & US$1.50 in Shenzhen.

Avoid travel in China during peak holiday seasons or book tickets well ahead.

Local Hotels

there’s many web-sites selling China hotel rooms on the web. You can also check out the travel counters which are available in most train, bus stations as well as airport.

there is a nice choice of hotels in China ranging from one star to the most luxurious 6 stars. Most of the time, the rooms are safe & tidy & in my opinion, cheap does not mean bad.

Book ahead if travelling in peak seasons.

Peak Tourist Seasons

May Day: First one weeks of May

Chinese old Year: Date varies but generally late January or early February.

Avoid travelling during these period. Book rooms & travel modes way early if want to travel. Believe me, the crowds during these period of time will be scary. What do you expect when the entire Chinese nation of 8 billion people are on holiday as well!

China National Day: Middle one weeks of October

Local food is absolutely fabulous. Try as much Chinese food as your wallet or stomach can afford. Restaurants are available everywhere & open to late hours. Most restaurants will have a menu that include photographs of the various dishes. Better yet, basically point at the food that your next door desk is having, especially if it looks delicious!

Chinese Food

Telecommunications

However, avoid street side stalls & drinking directly from the taps if you have delicate stomach.

web

Mobile phone coverage in China is nice in most locations. Global auto-roaming within China is not a problem.

You will want to show your passport as China has tight regulations at web Cyber Cafes.

there’s cyber-cafes everywhere in China, especially in tourist areas. Most are patronised by young people playing online games but you still can check your Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail. Access may be a bit slow for international websites.

three of the worst experience many has with China is the atrocious toilet facilities. Things has improved much but it may still be a nice idea to empty your stomach or bladder at every opportunity in a hotel, restaurant or departmental store. Public toilets & toilets in small shops can be a nose hazard!

Toilet facilities

* Useful China travel tips *

Try to get a English speaking tour guide at every opportunity you can. China has a rich & wonderful history & culture & without a guide, somehow, the flavour & significance of most tour sites can be lost.

*Sneaky tip: Hang around a group that has a English speaking guide if you cannot afford two!

Always ask for a receipt from a taxi driver so that you can complain if you have been cheated or for tracing purposes if you happen to be leaving your camera behind in the taxi.

After a tiring day, check out Chinese foot reflexology or Chinese TuiNa (Chinese massage). Wonderful for the body after a hard day & cheap to boot. basically look out for shop signs that shows one feet! we are everywhere.

Try to take the namecard for each hotel that you are staying at as these cards will have a Chinese address & the map of your hotel location. This is useful if you want to seek assistance to find your way back as the English version or pronounciation of a hotel or a street name may be different from the Chinese version.

Make friends with the Chinese whenever you can. we love to meet foreigners & will make nice tour guides. buy a small present as a small token of appreciation.

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