Where to Go (and Where Not to Go) in Russia

25 March 2013

Visiting Russia

Your favourite international shipping company would like to have a word with you about Russia. As with most countries, the beating heart of Russia can be found in its capital city. Moscow guarantees an unforgettable experience whether you’re here to explore its rich history or succumb to its vibrant nightlife. Another good reason for choosing Moscow – as with other major cities – is the transport links. The metro system is a reliable and invaluable source of transport to Moscow’s many visitors and is home to an array of staggeringly ornate and beautiful stations.

The extravagant St Basil’s Cathedral must surely be on your itinerary (and if it’s not, your itinerary needs work), with its extraordinary colours, patterns and shapes, imposing itself on Red Square, though St Basil’s Cathedral is more a museum these days with only one service held at the cathedral every October on the Day of Intercession.

Vladimir – once the capital of Russia for 200 years before the mantle was handed to Moscow – is ideal for those looking to delve deeper into Russia’s fascinating history, dating back as far as the 12th century. The spectacular Assumption Cathedral, the Golden Gate and other important historical landmarks provide a gateway to Russia’s turbulent, medieval past.

Another essential city to visit is St Petersburg with its Tsar palaces, glorious cathedrals, captivating museums, sumptuous baroque architecture and adjective-heavy blog articles. The Hermitage Museum of art and culture is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world, home to over 3 million items including the largest collection of paintings in the world. If you wish to take in other museums on your visit, St Petersburg has over two hundred to choose from, including the Zoological Museum, the Peter the Great Museum and the Museum of Water (which presumably is a suitable distance away from the Museum of Fire).

So where, what and whom should you avoid in Russia? Well, Russia is a big country. Huge. And as with other big countries, there are places that guarantee a safe and memorable holiday, and other places that do not. Currently, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all travel to Dagestan, Chechnya and Ingushetia, as well the districts of Kursky in Stavropol Krai, Budyonnovsky, Levokumsky, Stepnovsky and Neftekumsky.

It’s also worth noting the rise in organised demonstrations in major cities as a result of Vladimir Putin’s controversial return to the Presidency and Russian government policy in general. These demonstrations can turn ugly.

In St Petersburg, there are reports of tourists being targeted specifically by organised street gangs, so always be aware – some have even been known to dress as police officers. Though wherever you are, it’s sensible not to thumb through your bank notes as you stand in line for a coffee or something, so don’t give them the opportunity in the first place.

So there you go. Enjoy yourself. And don’t use too many adjectives.

For further information on overseas shipping and using an excess baggage service to get things from your house to your hotel (or another house, or wherever) in Russia (or not in Russia) don't forget to check out the rest of the site. It's super. Really.

Posted in: Holidays, Travel

Make Me An Offer - Australian Property

04 March 2013

Australian Property

The property market in Australia got through the economic crisis relatively unscathed with house prices in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Canberra steadily rising in recent years. So as well as the weather, the health care and education systems and the quality of life, Australia also has a strong dollar. Lucky blighters.

However, be prepared for the possibility that moving overseas and the pursuit of a dream home in Oz could be a bumpy ride. Here's a few pointers from your favourite global shipping company about moving to Australia. Also a couple of shameless plugs about our excess baggage shipping, which is great for moving your stuff, or the even more fantastic MoveCube, which lets you put your whole house in a box to move it. Pretty darn brilliant for shipping to Australia, or anywhere else for that matter. How amazing is that?

Anyway.

As with the UK, if you can buy a property that, as they say, ‘needs a bit of work’ and knock the seller down on the asking price, you could find yourself with a desirable investment – particularly if you’re lucky enough to find the property in an up-and-coming area or one going through extensive regeneration. You’ll know which areas are undergoing regeneration – there will be a lot of bright colours, straight edges and hipsters in red jeans wearing non-prescription glasses. Actually maybe that’s just the UK. I digress.

Of course there’s a chance you might not be so lucky. New houses are being built all the time. (Obviously. You don’t build old houses. I digress again. Sorry.) However, not enough new houses are being built to cope with the influx of new arrivals which is pushing the prices up. A house which may have been within your reach a few years ago, may now be as far off as the Disneyland Castle.

A tip that’s no doubt obvious but worth mentioning is that you should stay close to (but not necessarily on) the coast when viewing property. Should you wish to move at a later date, you will never find a shortage of prospective buyers whatever the price.

The best way to ensure a smooth transition is to talk to your chosen bank in Oz. There are four big ones – Commonwealth, National Australia, Westpac and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group. It should be one of these from whom you obtain a mortgage, so speak to their advisers about house prices and house-buying in general in Australia.

I mean, if you can’t trust a bank, who can you trust?

Wait. Scrap that. You know what I mean.

Posted in: Moving Abroad, Moving Home

We're Going on a Trip - Emigrating With A Young Family

01 March 2013

Emigrating With Family

Emigration with a young family. It’s impossible to imagine that sentence to be any more stress-inducing. ‘Emigration with a young family – and a troop of wild monkeys’ perhaps?

Nevertheless, if you’ve decided that living abroad is the best option for you and your children, it’s time to make the necessary arrangements. Here's a quick guide from your favourte excess baggage company.

An important factor when choosing the right school in Australia is seeing through the promotional material – buzzwords and glossy brochures are one thing but what can this school really offer your child? You must do the research.

Competition for places in Australian schools is high, so it’s perhaps a good idea to find out about the schooling first before you start shipping overseas and picking your ideal home. There’s no point finding the three-bed of your dreams, only to find that a jet is the sole method of transport to the nearest school.

It may be worth your while to speak to a relocation management company in Australia that deals specifically with helping expats find their footing, as they may very well help set up meetings with the right people regarding your favoured schools - headmasters, administrators, those sorts of people. If you are relocating for an employer, remember to ask about financial packages as some companies do offer to contribute to educational fees.

Oh and let’s not forget a top class company that's an expert in international relocation, to move your stuff from A to B for you!

Posted in: Moving Abroad, Moving Home

St Patrick's Day Holiday Deals

28 February 2013

St Patrick's Day Holiday Deals

Did you know St Patrick’s Day is on March 18th this year? Thought not. It’s normally on the 17thbut as this day is on a Sunday this year, it’s been shifted along one day. So there you go. The novelty Guinness hat and green tinsel wig can stay in the wardrobe a little longer.

If you’ve turned to your partner recently and said ‘Darling, why don’t we book a flight to the place St Patrick Christianised the Irish from their native polytheism in the year 432?’ then this is the blog for you. At Seven Seas Worldwide we've found a number of cheap flight deals for those looking to celebrate St Patrick’s Day where it should be celebrated.

Ryanair are flying out from London Stansted to Dublin from around £70 per person and from Luton at around £90 per person. They’re also flying out from Manchester to Dublin at around £45. Thomas Cook are offering a range of St Patrick’s Day breaks to Dublin, Cork and Belfast with flight-and-hotel deals starting from around £100 per person.

For those in the US shipping abroad and needing a rundown of flight deals to Dublin, Belfast and Shannon, check out fly.com. Prices start at $460 for a roundtrip including taxes. Alternatively, you could stay closer to home for St Patrick’s Day with Lastminute.com’s flight deals to Chicago, New Orleans, Seattle, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

If you’re prepared to go the hostel route with like-minded revellers for the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Dublin, as well as a Guinness Storehouse Tour and Tasting, take a look at the offer from Topdeck.

Aer Lingus can get you from London Gatwick to Dublin in time for St Patrick’s Day at around £130 per person and British Airways are flying out from London Heathrow to Dublin at around £270 per person.

Alternatively, you could try your local O’Neill’s pub. It’s cheaper and they probably won’t frown on your shamrock-shaped novelty glasses. You also won't require our own expert excess baggage services. Not as much fun as packing big boxes of green stuff up for shipping to Ireland though.

That last part was a shameless plug by the way.

Posted in: Holidays, Travel

Easter Getaways Guide

28 February 2013

Easter Getaways Guide

A James Bond marathon and chocolate might be a popular option for many but it is certainly not the ideal way to make the most of the extended Easter weekend. Perhaps a more productive way to make the Easter break count is to go on a trip, rounding off a dark winter with a short break in a hot climate. Check out the holiday deals we've found. We may be an overseas shipping company but we know a thing or two about the importance of catching rays. 

Of course if you’re thinking about getting away, it’s best to take a look what out’s there now before waiting till the last minute so you can take your pick of the locations and flight times: No one wants to be dragging a fat suitcase on wheels through an airport at three in the morning, clutching a takeaway coffee with their eyelids glued together.

If you happen to have offspring in tow (rendering the phrase ‘quick break’ meaningless because nothing’s ever quick when you’re accompanied by a child, but anyway…), you’ll probably want to go for a city break as there will be plenty of options available and you’ll find some attractive offers at a decent price for cities such as Paris, Rome, Amsterdam and Barcelona.

If you’re searching for a slightly warmer destination at this time of year, the Canary Islands are a safe bet, particularly the beautiful island of La Palma, northwest of the archipelago and the fifth largest of the seven islands. In fact it’s so nice, don’t bring the kids – they’ll only spoil the tranquility.

Budget Air is offering an Easter package to various locations this year including flights to Paris at £126 per person. Co-Operative Travel has a range of deals for hotel resorts in Alicante in March and April with flights starting from £192 per person. 

Superbreak has hundreds of deals for the Easter weekend including 2 nights in Prague from £144 per person and Eurostar breaks to Brussels, Lille, Antwerp and Rotterdam from around £130 per person. Opodo is doing an Easter promotion with cheap flights to Berlin, Prague, Lisbon, Lyon, Riga and many other destinations.

Thomson Holidays is offering a range of flight deals from Newcastle, Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester and other UK airports, to destinations such as Tenerife, Fuerteventura and Cyprus with prices starting at £380 per person. And finally, Easyjet is also laying on flights to Majorca, Madrid, Budapest and other desirable European locations from around £150 per person.

Now if you don’t find something to whet your appetite amongst that lot, perhaps the back-catalogue of Roger Moore’s interpretation of a two-dimensional spy is a safer bet.

Oh and don't forget to check out the deals currently on offer from Seven Seas Worldwide, should you need a little assistance with your international shipping or excess baggage to save a bundle on those airline fees.

Posted in: Holidays, Travel