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.


Sunday, 13 August 2017

Deals of the week - Best travel deals this week, 13th Oct 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.


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).


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.


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


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


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 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.


Monday, 31 July 2017

Cheap Holidays to NYC from Scotland - (From £540pp)

Fancy a trip to NYC? Why not check out these trips I have put together where you can book everything yourself for a bargain. The flights are all with KLM or Delta so you get your bags and food/drink included at no extra cost.

To book just click on the link for the flights which will direct you to Google Flights where you can select to book directly on the operators website. For the hotels just click on the links with the hotel name to book.

There are no hotels.com promotions going at the moment but I would highly recommend singing up to their Hotel Rewards first to benefit from 1 free stay after 10 nights (to the average value of your 10 nights booked).

Jess looking through the binoculars at the Empire State building from Cal McTravels at www.calmctravels.com

From Inverness

4 Nights NYC (21st - 25th September)

Flights = £290 with KLM & Delta (short stop over in Amsterdam)
Hotel = 3* Chelsea Inn for £646 or 4* Hotel Henri for £798 

Total = £1226 or £613pp 

Hotel room in NYC from Cal McTravels at www.calmctravels.com
Chelsea Inn

1 Night Amsterdam 4 Nights NYC (4th - 9th October)

Flights = £290 with KLM & Delta (Arrive Amsterdam 1.30PM and depart the next morning leaving you to explore the city)

Amsterdam Hotel = Hotel de Jonker for £103 
New York Hotel = Chelsea Inn for £648 or 4* Club Quarters for £773

Total = £1331 or £665pp

Hotel room in Amsterdam from Cal McTravels at www.calmctravels.com
Hotel de Jonker Amsterdam

From Glasgow 

4 nights NYC (15th -19th November)

Flights = £304 with KLM & Delta (short stop over in Amsterdam)
New York Hotel = 3* Chelsea Inn for £473 or 4* Club Quarters for £728 

Total = £1080 or £540pp

Hotel room in NYC from Cal McTravels at www.calmctravels.com
Club Quarters 

4 nights NYC (1st - 5th December) 

Flights = £304 with KLM & Delta (short stop over in Amsterdam)
New York Hotel = 3* Chelsea Inn for £584 or 4* Club Quarters for £780

Total = £1192 or £596pp

4 nights NYC (9th - 13th  December)

Flights = £304 with KLM * Delta (short stop over in Amsterdam)
New York Hotel = 3* Chelsea Inn for £529 or 4* Club Quarters for £713

Total = £1137 or £568pp

Travelling To Manhattan from JFK and what to do?

You can get the bus which is bookable on the day in the arrivals hall, its pretty cheap and costs around £25 return, check out their website here for more info.

If your looking for some inspiration and travel ideas for what to do in NYC then why not check out my travel diary for when Jess and I had a little break there ourselves.

NYC Travel Diary - Part 1

NYC Travel Diary - Part 2 

Various dates are available for the same price in 2018, contact me on calmctravels@gmail.com for any specific requests or if you would like me to build you a personal itinerary for any other destinations.

Remember you can still enter Hotel.com's competition to win a trip to NYC! click the image bellow to enter on their website (closes on the 14th Aug)


Friday, 28 July 2017

Should you still fly British Airways? - quick read

British Airways has been in the news quite a bit lately and not for good reasons, so I thought I would put this quick read together on my thoughts.


Thursday, 27 July 2017

Deals of the week - 40% extra Hyatt points, Hotels.com discount & more

Here is a roundup of the best deals going round the inter web this week. If you need some travel booking assistance, then feel free to email me at calmctravels@gmail.com for some free helpful advice.

travel Deals from the internet


Sunday, 23 July 2017

The ultimate Bratislava travel guide - what to see, eat and do in Bratislava

Bratislava is often offered as a day trip from Vienna but it has so much more to offer. Being considerably cheaper than its neighbour and a much more manageable size you should be visiting here and day tripping to Vienna if you find the time.

Beer = £1.50 for 50cl 
Meal for 2 with drinks = £40
Bus tickets = £0.70
Train to Vienna = £11 (on the day)

in Bratislava from www.calmctravels.com or CalMcTravels.com


Thursday, 20 July 2017

The best tour for your first time in Prague

Do you want to see all the sights of Prague but don't know where to start? Well I like EBike has you covered. Their bike tour will take you past all the best sights Prague has to offer without even breaking a sweat.

Best Bike tour in Prague, Cal McTravels, www.CalMcTravels.com, ILIKEEBIKE, Bike Tour, Prague


Sunday, 16 July 2017

Cheap September Getaways!

If your stick of putting on your rain jacket this summer and just want to break out your shorts then how about booking a cheap September get away. Prices correct at time of writing 16.7.17.


Thursday, 6 July 2017

Bratislava travel diary (Euro-Rail Trip - Part 1)

This is part 1 of our little Euro Rail adventure across some of Europe's finest Cities! We had our first stop in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia and king of hipster cafes!


Saturday, 1 July 2017

5 things you have to do in Italy!

Italy might be famous for it's Colosseum, leaning tower and pasta but why not try something different on your next trip to the land of wine.


Monday, 26 June 2017

Deals of the week - 50% bonus, 10% off flights & more

British Airways and Qatar Airways are currently battling it out at the moment with a couple of promotions which may just be worth your while. Here's my round up of the best deals floating around the inter web this week. 


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Swiss Air long haul business class from as little as £578

Swiss air are currently running a promotion where two people travelling from London can fly long haul in Business Class for a little more than Economy!


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

10,000 extra BA reward seats, £50 Novotel rooms, Virgin Atlantic status match

Heres this weeks round up of the best air-mile and hotel deals going around the interweb.


Just a quick post to let you know that at 5.50pm today Novotel will be selling hotel rooms in there UK hotels for £50 per night to celebrate there 50th year anniversary (this includes London hotels).

Click here to access the deal, there is not much details on dates or availability but worth a look at 5.50PM UK time today to see whats on offer.


Additionally British Airways have just released 10,000 extra reward seats for the Christmas and New Year period which means that there is a hole heap of seats available to places that were normally fully booked. Click here for the link and remember you can cancel your reward booking if needed for £35 fee (click here for more info on booking a reward flight with Air-Miles).


Finally If you have status with British Airways then Virgin Atlantic are currently offering a free status match and £50 on your first booking, all you have to do is prove your status with BA and show that you will be flying on a flight with Virgin Atlantic to receive this offer. Check out this offer here.

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