Sunday, 22 October 2017

A weekend on the Scottish Island of Islay - Whisky, Gin & Perfect Beaches

Islay, a small Island off the west coast of Scotland is well known for its many many whisky and gin distillates and incredible scenery. So near the end of the summer Jess and I packed our camping gear in the car and set off in search of a gin distillery and some incredible camping spots. What we found was so much more, from cliffs, caves and wildlife to stunning beaches and perfect gin we left in love with this tiny Island and can't recommend it enough for all to visit!

Sunset on the island of ISlay, Scotland

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Monday, 16 October 2017

Cheap Business Class Flights to Thailand - From £979 return

Qatar airways are at it again with some awesome Business Class deals from Europe to Thailand. Grab yourself a cheap connecting flight and make the most of this incredible offer. You will be flying in the new A380 and Dreamliner which has that famous on board bar where you can drown yourself in champagne while mingling with the fancy folk.


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Friday, 13 October 2017

Botanist Gin Distillery Tour Review at Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay



Gin is on fire at the moment, and here in Scotland its seems like a new boutique distillery opens every week! In fact, if you count them there are 62 Scottish Gin Distilleries churning out some awesome booze with more set to open by the end of 2017. 

With so many gins to try we thought it be best to do our best to visit some of them, you know for research and all that. 

Botanist Gin from Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay by Cal McTravels, www.CalMcTravels.com
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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Glasgows cocktail and food hidden gem

Never normally straying from the hipster central area of Finnieston, Jess and I thought it was about time we headed back into the Merchant City for dinner and drinks at The Spiritualist.


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Saturday, 30 September 2017

Walking tour of Berlin - with google maps

Berlin, a city of epic history and ultra trendy watering holes! Being the last stop on our mini Euro-Rail trip and running low on spending money I opted to create a cool wee walking tour that took in some of the city most famous sights with a finishing point in a bar where each table has its own beer tap!

If your heading to Berlin why not download my Google Map way points and you too can check out these awesome sights, or if you're feeling brave try the Epic Tour which really takes in pretty much ever sight Berlin has to offer. Remember you can download Google maps for offline use so you can avoid this rip off data charges!



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Sunday, 24 September 2017

Cheap business class flights - Europe to Shanghai £880 rtn

Qatar Airways are quite partial to a super cheap business class flight and without disappointing they are at it again! Check out this awesome fare which is not only cheap but a great Avios (Air-Mile) earner.


Prague to Shanghai via Doha £880 rtn  


You will need a cheap flight to Prague but just make this part of the holiday, arrive the night before or a couple of days before your Qatar flight and enjoy some time in this Awesome city.


Check out my guides for Prague of what to do there 



The Flights 




Ok so you wont be flying on Qatar Airways newest Q-Suites or the A380 with bar (unless your super luck) but both routes are served by an incredible business class cabin and you can expect the same high quality service throughout both.

Better still if you quote your British Airways Executive number when checking in or booking you can credit the flight to your BA Account. This means you will earn 20,000 Avios and 540 tier points which is almost enough to reach BA silver status (just make 2 short haul BA flights and reach the 600TP threshold).

So even if Shanghai isn't in your next travel list it may be worth considering and with availability all the way through to April 2018 there is plenty of options available. Click premium only when searching, min 7 nights stay and look for fares less than 14,000CZK. 





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Monday, 18 September 2017

Best Airbnb's in Santorini, Greece - 5 best AirBnB's for your next trip to Greece

We've all seen those incredible photos of the white houses of Santorini, but how do you get one of those awesome places with a private pool looking out to sea? Well forget hotels, unless you want to spend £1000's on a luxury room! instead check out these stunning AirBnB's which range from £55 - £475 per night.

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Thursday, 14 September 2017

Deals of the Week - BA sale, Qatar & Hotels.com Discount codes, buy cheap Avios + MORE

Well it might not be the normal Sunday spot but with all the great travel deals currently going round the inter web a MID WEEK deals of the week was definitely needed! Check out these awesome luxury travel deals from First Class flights to incredible holidays.

Cheap luxury holidays by Cal McTravels, Cheap First class flights, Cheap business class flights at www.calmctravels.com
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Saturday, 9 September 2017

Best way to get an upgrade and pick the best seats when flying

When it comes to booking your seat on a flight it's key to remember that not all are born the same! By that I mean each seat may look the similar on your airlines choice map but in reality, some have extra leg room or even restricted leg room. So how do you avoid those crap seats on your next flight and bag yourself some extra comfort in the tin can?


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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Best campsites in Scotland - your one stop guide!

As you can probably guess I love a holiday, but all that travel can sometimes leave your bank balance feeling pretty empty. So, after having far too many trips away in the first half of the year I thought I best find some budget friendly travelling adventures a little closer to home.

View from a tent looking onto a golden sandy beach on the Island of Islay, www.CalMCTravels.com, The best campsites in Scotland
Beach side camping on Islay 

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Sunday, 3 September 2017

Deals of the week 3rd Sep - BA Luxury Sale + USA for $89 + 10% off Hotels.com + More

Some great deals flying business class to the Caribbean this week with the best deals flying from London or Inverness.

Hotels.com 10% off 

Hotels.com are running a discount code where you can save 10% on the price of a hotel. Booked by 17th Sep, Use code "SALE10" at checkout.

British Airways Sale (Ends 26th Sep)


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Thursday, 31 August 2017

Best things to do in Prague - Five different things to do

During a recent trip to Prague and thinking that an easy Google search of "what to do in Prague" would bring up some cool ideas I was quite disappointed to find every website just list museum after museum. So what do you do in Prague if your here for just 3 days and want something a little different? Well check out my list of the top 5 non-museum things to do!

Cal McTravels, www.calmctravels.com, CalMcTravels.com, Prague guide, best things to do in Prague, Prague city guide, top things to do in Prague, Prague city guide, cool things to do in Prague, different things to do in Prague
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Sunday, 27 August 2017

Deals of the Week 27th Aug - 50% off trains, Miami for £244rtn + more

Another round up of the best deals floating around the internet this week. With the best looking like some great flights to Miami or New York from Inverness for as little as £244 return with baggage.


50% off First Class at Virgin Trains

Book before the 28th of Aug to recieve 50% off first class rail fares with Virgin Trains (travel between 11th Sep until 20th Dec)


Virgin Atlantic Summer Sale

Cal McTravels Deals of the week, cheap travel and discounted business class flight, www.CalMcTravels.com


With flights from £359 there are some great deals flying from the UK flying to Dubai, Caribbean and North America. Receive an additional £16 saving if you book via Top Cash Back, sign up here if your not a member to receive a bonus £2.50 on your first cash back..

  • Economy fares from £359 return 
  • Premium economy fares from £600-£800 return 
  • Upper Class fares from £1400 - £1800 return 


3nt Iceland break with tour - £319pp

Cal McTravels Deals of the week, cheap travel and discounted business class flight, www.CalMcTravels.com

Iceland Air are running a special winter promotion where you can get a 3 night trip to Iceland including tours for just £319pp. The best deals are flying from Glasgow but you can also fly from Manchester, Birmingham and London.

7nt in Trinadad & Tobago - £899pp

Cal McTravels Deals of the week, cheap travel and discounted business class flight, www.CalMcTravels.com

How about a 7 night All Inclusive 4* Spa holiday to the Caribbean staying at Le Grand Courlan for just £899pp. Check out this awesome deal from Caribbean Warehouse. Prices are flying from London but other departure points are available. 

Qatar Airways 10% Discount 

 Qatar Airways are currently running a 10% discount code for all premium fares, by using "UKPREMIUM" when booking a flight you can save yourself 10% on the total cost of the flight. Although not the greatest discount its still worth considering as it would bring most business class routes down to £1500pp. Still not a huge saving but worth it if you were planning on a business class flight soon anyways. Book before the 30th of Aug. 

And if there are are NZ or Australian Readers out there you too can recieve a 10% discount on not just premium but standard fares also, NZ use "FLYNEWNZ" and Australia use "FLYTEN".

Cheap Flights

From Glasgow to Madrid - 10th - 14th Jan 2018 = £19rtn
From Glasgow to Barcelona - 5th - 9th Dec 2017 = £20rtn
From Glasgow to Barcelona - 12th - 19th Dec 2017 = £19rtn
From Glasgow to Warsaw - Nov & Dec = From £17rtn

From Glasgow to Las Vagas - 11th Sep - 21st Sep = £340rtn

From Inverness to Miami - 10th - 18th Oct 2017 = £255rtn
From Inverness to New York - 10th - 17th April 2018 = £288


Buy Cheap AVIOS (0.8p per mile)

Buy super cheap Avios (0.8p per Avios) via the Irish Independent until 30th Nov, sign up to a digital copy of the Irish Independent here and receive 18,000 Avios for your €160 subscription. You don't need to live in Ireland to receive this and at no point will you be asked for your home address. This is a great way to buy Avios at 0.8p per mile which you can't loose money on, ohh and you get a years digital subscription to the Irish Independent.

Want the latest travel deals and stories to your inbox? Join my mailing list here and be the first to know when great business class flights of cheap luxury holidays pop up. 

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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Best places to visit in Italy - Itinerary of where to visit, stay, travel and do (for just £999pp)

Fancy a rail tour of Italy but don't know where to start? Why not try my 21 day tour which spans from Tuscany to Lake Garda visiting some incredible places on the way. This post is best viewed on a tablet or computer since it is packed with information. 


Cal McTravels itinerary of a 21 day trip to Italy, spanning from Rome to the mountains of Lake Garda

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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Best Airbnb's in Paris - 5 best AirBnB's for your next trip to Paris

Everyone needs to visit Paris once in their life, its an incredible City full of culture, architecture, great works of art and of course incredible food and wine. Known as the City of light from being a vast education centre during the age of enlightenment, it's name still lives strong through the lights of the Eiffel Tower to the Moulin Rouge.


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Sunday, 13 August 2017

Deals of the week - Best travel deals this week, 13th Aug 2017

Well its Sunday again so that means another round up of the best travel deals floating round the inter web this week. The stand out deals are flying business class on Alitalia half way round the world for just £1200. I would hold off booking too far in advance with these guys considering their current financial problems tho.

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Thursday, 10 August 2017

Cheap Business Class Flight to Chile - £1230 Return

Have you ever fancied visiting Chile but been put off by the thought of cramming yourself into an economy seat for 15 hours? Well your in luck! Alitalia are running a very good deal to Santiago (capital of Chile) flying on a 777 and in the comfort of business class, check out the details of Alitalia Business Class here.

To put this into context it would normally cost you £3500 return to fly Business Class to Chile from Europe and £1100 return to fly economy from Glasgow so this really is a bargain!

Air Italia - Business Class Seats on their Boeing 777

I have put together a sample trip to Chile but the cheapest flights at £1265 are travelling from now until the end of October, from then on the price is still good at £1600 but getting a little to expensive (you can also change the duration from 1 to even 6 weeks if you want).



Connection

The flights will leave from Amsterdam so you will need to book yourself a flight over there. I would recommend arriving the night before at the latest on the way to Chile and allow for around around 6 hours connection time on the way home. You can see my example below of how I planned for a 2 night stay in Amsterdam to make this a twin centre stay.


Where to Book

You can use a simple Google flight search or just click on the link below and select the box with the date in it to select other travel dates and durations.

Amsterdam - Chili = Air Italia Business Class (lie flat seats) = £1265

Glasgow - Amsterdam = KLM economy = £90 



Example Schedule

Departing Glasgow 2nd October 9:00
Arriving Amsterdam 2nd October 11:50

2 days in Amsterdam

Departing Amsterdam 4th October 17:50
Arriving Santiago 5th October 8:00

11 days in Chile

Depart Santiago 16th October 11:50
Arrive Amsterdam 17th October 10:45

Depart Amsterdam 17th October 21:00
Arrive Glasgow 17th October 21:45




Hotels & What to do?

With Chile having so many incredible places it would be wrong to just stay in the one place so I would recommend heading over to Chile's travel site here which has a great planner allowing you to build your own itinerary. You can fly internal to visit some of the most stunning national parks in the world or even head to Easter Island for a look at the stone heads.




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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Hiking Lochnagar Munro in the Scottish Grampians

It's been quite the year of outdoor activities for me and Jess, we've hiked up Creag Meagaidh and wild camped at the banks of Loch Laggan, camped at Oban Live, Arisaig and spent 3 nights camping on the Island of Islay (blog post coming soon). So when our friends asked us to hike a Munro with them we were mega keen on adding another Scottish Mountain to our bag .

group hiking the Scottish mountains, Lochnagar Munro - Cal McTravel - www.calmctravels.com

Munro: Lochnagar
Area: Cairngorm National Park
Height = 3789feet or 1155meters
Facilities = Car park, Toilet, Wee Shop
Walk Highlands Link 

Being a 3-hour drive from Glasgow we planned an early 6am start, this, of course, did not happen and managed to get out of the door at 8, whoohoo go us. With the forecast not looking great we were starting to think we should plant the seed with our pals for an all-day session in the pub instead! Luckily for us the Scottish weather forecast is about as reliable as an old Alfa (car joke, I know I'm super funny) and turned out to be a pretty decent day.

Arriving to a full car park we luckily managed to find some space in the coach park up the top and parked almost half in a ditch but it was a space none the less. From here we booted up and headed off on the 7-hour hike into the clouds! Handy note, there's a toilet in the car park which is open from 6am -10pm.

If you follow the same route as we took, the hike to the peak is well marked and besides one little bit of scrambling up rocks was a decent path all the way. From the top Loch, you can see the peak and will take you around 1.5 hours from here to reach it. The idea of lunch at the top kept us going at this point so we soldiered on for food.

Loch at the top of Lochnagar Munro - Cal McTravel - www.calmctravels.com
Loch at the top of Lochnagar Munro - Cal McTravel - www.calmctravels.com
Loch at the top of Lochnagar Munro - Cal McTravel - www.calmctravels.com

Nearing the peak things got pretty wild and felt like we were back in winter, luckily the rock formation at the top offers some much-needed shelter from the hurricane Arctic winds. The view from here was incredible and a top spot for lunch.

incredible view for lunch at the top of Loch at the top of Lochnagar Munro - Cal McTravel - www.calmctravels.com
staying at the peak of Loch at the top of Lochnagar Munro - Cal McTravel - www.calmctravels.com
monument at the top of Loch at the top of Lochnagar Munro - Cal McTravel - www.calmctravels.com

It's at this point when you've seen the view, had your lunch and accomplished the peak that you realise your 4000 feet up and 4 dam hours from your car. With no slide or zip-line to the bottom we dragged ourselves down the hill step by step, encouraged by the idea of celebration drinks in Aberdeen.

the long road home at Loch at the top of Lochnagar Munro - Cal McTravel - www.calmctravels.com

I was promised a cool waterfall on this hike and after asking the whole way, where's is it? Is it down there or over there? We finally stumbled upon it and it was pretty dam cool!

waterfall from the Loch at the top of Lochnagar Munro - Cal McTravel - www.calmctravels.com
cracking waterfall Loch at the top of Lochnagar Munro - Cal McTravel - www.calmctravels.com
 Lochnagar Munro - Cal McTravel - www.calmctravels.com

Just when you think you have reached the home straight at Loch Muick reality comes crashing down when your still walking along the edge of the loch after an hour! Ahh when will this walk end, I need beer!

Well you will be happy to know that after the end of the Loch we found the car park and all made it to Aberdeen, where we proceeded to drink far too much, stay out till 3AM and all woke up with horrific hangovers, sign of a good night?

Lochnagar Munro - Cal McTravel - www.calmctravels.com

Big thanks to Matthew and Nikita for the invite to Aberdeen for this little trip, it was awesome!

Lochnagar is a pretty easy hike, it takes quite a while but with an excellent path and facilities at the bottom it's a great starter Munro (just remember to take a wind breaker jacket).


Liked this? why not read our other Munro Hike up to  Creag Meagaidh at the start of the Summer


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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Deals of the Week - Best travel deals currently available

Back again with the best deals going round the Inter Web this week! I'm going to start this as a regular post on a Sunday so keep checking back for some great deals (or sign up to my mailing list to receive instant news when flash sales or offers occur).

the best travel deals this week

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Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Best place to camp In Scotland?

With the forecast looking great and the camping gear itching to get out Jess and I took a little trip up the west coast of Scotland to the stunning white beaches of Arisaig and the Hogwarts Express.

Stunning beaches of Arisaig where clear blue waters are met by white sandy beaches , www.calmctravels.com

Its quite a long drive from Glasgow (3.5 hours) but the scenery along the way is incredible, driving through Glencoe with the sun shining made for some pretty dramatic shots. Surprisingly the road was quite straight and we arrived in Arisaig just before dinner.



Don't like reading or want the quick story? Check out a one minute Youtube Video to see what we got up to.


Our first mistake, we didn't book a campsite and forgot that the whole of Scotland takes the day off when the sun comes out so everything was booked up. Luckily for us we found a tiny campsite on a farm which was un-signposted and lay just feet from the stunning white beach of Arisaig. The only way I can show you this campsite is with the GPS coordinates since I couldn't find a name and its not mentioned in Google maps (56.925204, -5.869055), there is a couple of tiny camp sites along the coast so should be room at at least one of them.

Campsite in Arisaig where the cows are almost in your tent, ww.calmctravels.com
Drinking some Pimms at the campsite with fruit, www.calmctravels.com
Cooking a meal in a Trangia Stove at a campsite in Arisaig, CalMcTravels

The site is very basic and contains just a little toilet block in the middle of the site, but the view and surrounding area well makes up for the lack of facilities. Added to the fact you can have campfires on the beach and it wasn't crowded (probably due to the lack of signage) we found it perfect.

A bunch of cows on the beach of Arisaig going for a swim in the sea, cal mctravels

The local beaches in Arisaig are quite famous for their white sand and crystal clear waters and I can see why, if you watched our Youtube video you will see just how incredible this place is.

Stunning beaches of Arisaig where clear blue waters are met by white sandy beaches , www.calmctravels.com

After a quick swim in the sea we took to the hills to hunt out the Hogwarts Express, actually called the Jacobite steam train. You can hike up to the Glenfinnan Viaduct made famous by the Harry Potter films to watch the train steam past.

having lunch while we wait on the Hogwarts Express (Jacobite steam train) at the Glenfinnan viaduct
Hogwats Express at the Glenfinnan Viaduct, Cal Mctravels

If you park in the carpark you can take a short walk to watch from a distance or take the longer walk to the bridge which loops around and back to the carpark (1 hour walk). The train passes during the summer months and the best time to watch is 3pm when you will see both the steam trains pass in opposite directions. If you prefer the comfort of riding the train rather than walking you can book yourself a seat here for the 2 hour journey from Fort William to Mallaig (2nd class return = £35 or 1st class return = £59).

Glenfinnan Viaduct, Jacobite steam train passing along the bridge, CalMcTravels
Jacobite steam train and Hogwarts Express passing the bridge in Glenfinnan, CalMcTravels

Burnt to a crisp and baking in the heat we finished off the 1 hour hike and swiftly fell into the car blasting the AC on max to cool down. Best cure for a little afternoon sunburn? A swim in the sea! So we headed back to the campsite to cool down before dinner.

Cal Mc enjoying a dip in the sea in Arisaig

It's not just the beaches that Arisaig is famous for, the sunsets here are epic too and lucky for us the weather was perfect for watching the sunset from the beach. With some fire wood, marshmallows and some Old Pulteney Whisky we took to the beach to watch one of the most in incredible sunsets ever.

A bottle of old pulteney sitting by the camp fire just itching to be drunk
Stunning red flames of the campfire in Arisaig
Incredible sunset views of the sky glowing orange and red accross the west in Arisaig, www.CalMcTravels.com

Next morning, we packed up the tent and set of on our long trip back to Glasgow. I highly recommend a trip to Arisaig to camp or just check out the stunning beaches, it's quite easy to get to being just 40mins from Fort William and has plenty of walks within the surrounding area.

I hope you enjoyed this post, keep tuned for our next camping adventure, Islay! Where we hiked some wild landscapes and visited one too many distilleries.

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