Category Archives: Travel

How to Create a Custom Map with Multiple Pins

Are you trying to create a custom map or trail with multiple points so that you can post it to other people to see?

If you are trying to create a custom map in Google maps that has multiple pins then you may have found some tutorials that don’t really help of you may have just gone to Google maps and not found any menu items that allow you to do this, in which case I can give you a pointer to the easiest way to create a custom map.

If you want a map that has multiple pins, but the previous pin disappears when you add a new one then basically you need to go to a different Google maps location.

If you go to Google- My Maps then that enables you to create your own custom maps and to save them so that you can either just view them yourself or enable them to be viewed by anyone.

The easiest way to add the pins is to create an excel spreadsheet with 2 headings – Name (this will be the name that appears on the pin) and location (this can be address, postcode, co-ordinates or whatever is recognised in Google Maps).

You can then easily import this spreadsheet and it will add all the pins for you.

Alternatively, perhaps if you only want a couple of pins, you can add the pins manually by using the tools at the top of the page. You can add a title and description to each pin (and it doesn’t need to be an address as you can just drop the pin where you choose to).

You can also change the icons and the color of the pins that are showing for each location by clicking on the edit button for each location. you can add driving or walking routes between 2 places as well by using the inbuilt tools.

In fact there are a lot of functions you can add and once you are done you need to decide whether you want the map to be private or whether you want to share it with the outside word. Click on the share button to see these options.

 

London Sightseeing – Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge in London has to be a must see place for tourists. This is the most beautiful bridge and the one that lifts up to let the boats through, a must see!

Tower Bridge is in the east side of London next to the Tower of London. Quite often people who have not visited London before think that this is actually London Bridge, but London Bridge is a very plain old bridge a bit further along the river. Actually I think the original London Bridge was sent over to somewhere in the US hundreds of years ago, brick by brick, but I digress!

The main point of interest of Tower Bridge (apart from the fact that it is a spectacular looking bridge) is that the two sides of the bridge open up to let large ships through. If you are around to see it do this then you are lucky. You can see a twitter feed of the when the bridge opens and closes here. It opens and closes approximately 1000 times a year so you may well catch it.

towerbridge

The bridge took 8 years to build and was finished at the end of the 19th century. The design was open to a public competition which elicited 50 submissions, with the winning design being submitted by Horace Jones (who was also one of the judges!).

Tower Bridge – How and When to Go There

The nearest tube station to Tower Bridge is Tower Hill which is on the district and circle lines and from there you can visit the bridge as well as the Tower of London which holds the Crown Jewels. Also while you are in the area, have a walk along the banks of the Thames – there are other attractions in this are that are worth a visit like HMS Belfast and the Royal Armouries.

The best time of year to visit London is in the Summer (May-Sept) but also the spring can have lovely days and you might also see some nice days in autumn. Whenever you go though, make sure that you take an umbrella as any time of the year there could be rain!

The best way to travel around London is to get an Oyster card which you can use on the buses and the underground system (the Tube). If you buy an oyster card rather than getting individual tickets you can save yourself a lot of money. Tubes and trains are frequent and cover the whole of London so you will have no trouble getting anywhere. There are also some nice boat tours that you can take along the river Thames.

Seeing the Workings of Tower Bridge

If you want to see how Tower Bridge works and the history of it’s construction then you can go to the Tower Bridge Exhibition. You can also access the Victorian engine rooms and have access to the high level walkways which give amazing views over the Thames. Entrance to the exhibition is £8 for adults or you can buy a London Pass which gives you free access to a whole host of places for one fixed price.

Other places you can visit nearby with the London Pass include HMS Belfast and the Tower of London – another must see for all London visitors!

 

How to Stop Motion Sickness

My Experiences of Travel/Motion Sickness

There are many theories about the cause of travel sickness, and as someone who has suffered pretty badly from it from the moment they were put in a car as a baby, I can testify that if you suffer from travel or motion sickness then it can really affect your life.

Some say it is psychological (say this to me and my hackles rise whilst I think of as many ways to inflict pain on you as I can!), others that it is an imbalance in the inner ear. I am not a medical person, all I know is that I have tried most things out there to help prevent motion sickness and some work better than others.

I personally suffer from travel sickness in pretty much any mode of transport that you can name, be it cars, buses, planes, boats, trains to the slightly more obscure lifts (elevators), rides in waterparks and in the IMAX screen at the cinema! I also had a problem when I once went in a Formula 1 simulator car and had to get out after about 30 seconds as I thought I would throw up!

I don’t know whether travel sickness is hereditary but I do know that my Dad also suffers very badly and cannot be driven anywhere so he is even worse off than me. People say that you grow out of it but I haven’t really found this to be the case – perhaps it has got a bit better or maybe more manageable with age as I am no longer as sick as I used to be as a child – I remember pretty much every holiday that we had I would have to stop on the way to be sick.

Anyway, the truth is there doesn’t seem to be any magic cure so us sufferers just have to do what we can to manage it.

Different Methods of Motion Sickness Prevention

So here are some of the methods I have found and tried to help prevent motion sickness:

Before You Travel
Try not to eat a really heavy meal before travelling, particularly greasy or friend foods. Have something light and have some water to take with you.

When Travelling
Make sure if it is at all possible, that you have plenty of fresh air when travelling. Wind down the window slightly in a car, go up on deck in a boat and make sure the air vent director is turned on and pointing towards you on a plane. Also if you are in a car or a bus then try and sit somewhere you can see where you are going and can see the horizon. Focusing in front of you and watching where you are going really helps to stop motion sickness.

When trying to prevent motion sickness, make sure that you do not read anything, or in extreme cases don’t even look down when you are travelling. As soon as you do this (for example to send or receive a text message) and your focus is taken off the horizon, you will probably start to feel worse and motion sickness will kick in. Trying to keep your head still and going with the motion of the vehicle helps so if you can, lean your head against a headrest. I have also found on a boat that when i felt bad, if I actually lad flat on the deck I felt better but this was a last resort!

One other thing that I have found to help prevent motion sickness is to chew gum whilst you are travelling. Whilst unfortunately this may be banned on some forms of public transport I have found that it really helps on things like short car journeys where I don’t want to take a travel sickness tablet.

Motion Sickness Tablets
I tend to take a motion sickness tablet only if I am going on a long journey or a particularly rough one – for example by sea. I have tried many types of motion sickness prevention tablets and most of them work pretty well but they do tend to have some side effects so it is worth trying different ones to see what suits you. I find a lot of travel sickness tablets give me a dry mouth and pretty much all of them make me drowsy, which is fine if I am getting on a long flight but not good if I only have a short trip and need to be alert at the end of it. Once I took a tablet and fell asleep at my boarding gate which was not a good idea!

Travel Sickness Wristbands

These can be bought from health shops and often from airports and chemists. The way that travel wristbands work is based on acupressure points on the inside of your wrists. Each band has a semi-spherical type bead that puts pressure on this point in your wrist and so is supposed to help prevent motion sickness. I use these wristbands quite often when I am travelling in a car and also combine these with tablets when on a boat or plane. I feel that they can help a little bit but if the motion gets extreme then only the tablets can help. They do have the obvious advantage though of not making you feel drowsy or to suffer from any other side effects.

Motion Sickness Patches
OK so this is one thing that I just discovered when researching this article. I have to admit I hadn’t heard of these motion sickness patches before.  However, at present I am not able to try then out as they appear to only be available in the US and I am in the UK. So if anyone has tried these out it would be interesting to hear from you. They say they are 100% natural so this may mean that they don’t make you drowsy like the tablets do, although they do appear to have some side effects. there are a few good reviews for them but when there are less than a dozen reviews I guess you have to take them with a pinch of salt.

Ginger Tablets
Ginger has for a long time been known to have properties that help with stomach upsets. For this reason I find that they are good to take if motion sickness has already set in – they can settle your stomach and prevent the nausea. I have used these on boats and planes and they have worked for me.

You can also take them before travelling which I recommend if you think it is going to come over you suddenly as sometimes I find I am too sick to take anything so it’s too late.

Hypnosis and Subliminal Suggestion

This is something that I have not tried and I would be interested to hear from others who have tried this – feel free to leave your comments below as to whether it has worked or not. I know that there are subliminal albums available that you should listen to for at least a few weeks, but again I have not experienced these yet, although think I might well try this soon, as I feel like I have tried everything else!

Using O2 Abroad

If you are a UK customer of O2 and you are travelling abroad you may want to take note of what might happen if you do not turn off your voicemail while you are gone.

I speak to you from experience of having incurred quite a few charges for calls that I did not even take (and who did not even leave me voicemails) whilst I was on a recent business trip. I had a local phone so I did not plan on using my O2 phone whilst away. However, each time somebody phoned me and I did not answer I incurred two charges – one of £1.25 listed as my own phone number as the destination and one for £1.50 going to this number: 7802091901.

So, each of these calls that I did not answer cost me £2.75. Ouch.

The thing that comes out of this is that if you go abroad you should turn your voicemail off if you are with O2 (I am not sure what other networks charge). I have been advised that if you do this then you will not incur charges for incoming unanswered calls.

The way to turn off voicemail for O2 is to dial 1760. When you want to turn voicemail back on dial 1750.

Hopefully this will stop other people incurring other unwanted costs on their mobile bill 🙂

Window Seat or Aisle Seat?

As someone who travels a lot I often think about my choice of airline seat and which one I should opt for! My staple choice is to choose an aisle seat on the left hand side of the plane that is about half way back.

But which one is the best one to choose? Well it does depend on a number of factors. If you want to see the view and get some nice pictures then you should obviously choose a window seat. What you do need to do though if you are really bothered is to check which will be the best side of the plane to be on as the window seat on one side may have way better views than the window seat on the other side of the plane.

Aisle Seat?One reason though that I choose an aisle seat is that when you are in an aisle seat you can choose to get up and walk around as much as you like without bothering anyone else. And it seems that research supports this theory as more people suffer from DVT who are situated in non-aisle seats. I would imagine that this is because when you need to ask for one or two people to move every time you want to get out of your seat, you are most likely to do this as little as possible. DVT has a higher incidence when you are not moving around so those in the aisle seats that get up more often are going to be less at risk.

Window Seat?

If you are on a short haul flight (say below 4 hours) then you are less likely to be affected by this so the choice between aisle seat and window seat may be less clear. Maybe then it will depend on how well you sleep on a plane and what time of day it is. Maybe if you are on a short flight that goes of an evening or night time, you may just want to sleep. So if you choose a window seat you are not going to be bothered by anyone else.

However, on longer haul flights with a higher risk of DVT then an aisle seat may be a better choice and may even give the chance to stretch your legs into the aisle every now and again. Even better, if you can get a bulkhead seat then you can get even more legroom. However, beware on the bulkhead seats that you may be sat next to a screaming child!