Outdoor gear: is the great outdoors the new designer catwalk?

Take yourself out on the hills these days, particularly in the more popular areas, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that many of your fellow walkers had escaped from a fashion catwalk, rather than were out to climb a hill.  And, strike up a conversation and you are as likely to end up discussing the relative merits of your techno layers, as the view from the summit.

Now, while it’s obviously good that there are far fewer ill-equipped people in jeans and trainers on the hillsides, have we now actually gone a bit too far in our love-affair with designer labels and, more importantly, how many of them fulfil their stated function and are worth anything like their high outlay? Continue reading “Outdoor gear: is the great outdoors the new designer catwalk?”

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How can you travel affordably by train: and take your bike?

The essence of a boot and bike holiday is to travel by foot or bicycle, leave the car behind and make getting to and returning from your destination a highlight of your trip.  So, unless that destination is within a fairly short distance of home, then the outward and return journeys will be made by public transport; usually train, if a bicycle is to be transported.

But Britain’s rail system is notorious for expensive fares and lack of connectivity between competing private companies, so just how can you secure affordable fares and joined-up journeys? Continue reading “How can you travel affordably by train: and take your bike?”

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What’s the best way to travel on your own?

About a third of adults in the UK now live on their own and, although they don’t necessarily always go on holiday without a partner, or friends, the number of solo travellers is on the increase too.

Gap years, career breaks (at all age stages) and growth in activity and less conventional holidays have all contributed to this increase.  But, despite this, travelling on your own is not always easy and many people, particularly women, continue to be daunted by the prospect.

It’s expensive (see Directory: Finding Accommodation), it can be lonely and you can feel very conspicuous and, overall, it is usually better to go for a drink, or meal, in company rather than sitting on your own, perhaps hidden away in a corner.

Given the choice, most people would probably prefer to travel with others, but  in reality, the option is often: go on your own or not at all.  So, what is the best way to enjoy a solo holiday? Continue reading “What’s the best way to travel on your own?”

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Where should I stay if travelling solo?

The single person supplement, still unfairly levied by most hotels, guesthouses and tour companies, is the bane of solo travellers and can increase the cost of a holiday by up to 40-50 per cent – if in doubt, glance at the small print in adverts for cruises, train journeys and the like.

Many hotels don’t even offer single rooms and, if you book as a solo guest, you will usually be charged the rate for the room, not per person. When single rooms are available they are often substandard – tucked away like a cupboard without en suite and other facilities and often facing the back of the hotel, just above the delivery area.

So, for those of us not keen on sharing rooms with complete strangers, what, if any, are the best ways to find decent, affordable accommodation?
Continue reading “Where should I stay if travelling solo?”

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