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

22 January 2014

Canada is cold. In fact, right now it's too cold even for Canada. Even the penguins at Toronto Zoo are requesting hats and scarves. But there's more to Canada than the temperature. Walk with us now as we guide you through Canada's hotspots (figuratively speaking) as well as highlighting what to avoid.

If you're travelling to British Columbia, we would recommend the Butchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay on Vancouver Island. Established by Robert and Jennie Butchart in the early 20th century, the Butchart Gardens provide a glorious collection of flora, birds and outstanding bronze sculptures. Old Québec, a historic neighbourhood in Quebec made up of an 'Upper Town' and a 'Lower Town' is a UNESCO World Heritage site offering a fascinating insight into Quebec's history as well as being home to a plethora of charming side-streets, cafés and shops.

If adventure is more your bag, we suggest heading for the Rocky Mountains. However don't just grab some rope, put on your best spiky boots and hope for the best. The majority of the Rocky Mountains is protected by public parks so you'll need a permit. Plus mountain schools operate in the Rockies, leading regular trips around this vast mountain range, so be safe and do it properly, ya hear? It's a very family-friendly location too, offering a wide range of activities including hiking, biking, fishing, skiing, snowboarding and even gondola rides.

And then of course, there's Niagara Falls. Comprising of three separate waterfalls, Niagara Falls is a truly magnificent and unforgettable destination, straddling the border between the United States and Canada. Watch from the observation decks or take a boat ride to get a little closer to its immense power which plays a large part in the production of renewable energy.

We may have to do a 'Part 2' for this post as there are literally hundreds of wonderful places to visit in Canada. But for now, let's turn our attentions to places not to visit. Let us not forget that a vast portion of Canada is wilderness so if you're looking to go off the beaten-track for some extreme hiking action, you might be wise to look out for the following inhabitants:

The Massasauga Rattler - This is Canada's only poisonous snake. It's distinctive rattle should give you enough warning to walk in the opposite direction, though it will only bite humans if it feels threatened.

The Black Bear - This beautiful but dangerous beast is responsible for ten Canadian deaths in the last ten years. They are similar to grizzly bears in that they do not view humans as prey and will only attack if surprised or defending their offspring. In fact, if you see a black bear, it may try a few 'mock charges' to make you leave. We wouldn't argue with that.

The Moose - An animal that is likely to charge at you (and mean it) is the country's own mascot. Apart from being the cause of many a driving accident, the moose is also a dangerous animal that - when threatened or cornered - will attack a human with its front and back legs. They attack humans more than bears and wolves combined and although the results are rarely fatal, take it from us you're going to be sore in the morning.

If you're holidaying in Canada, moving to Canada for studies or taking up residence with your family, don't forget to talk to us - we can move your personal belongings and excess baggage for you, door-to-door, at a very reasonable price. We're experts in shipping to Canada, after all. As well as places to go in Canada. And...places not to.

Posted in: Travel, Holidays

Taking the Edge Off at the Airport

14 November 2013

Everyone loves to travel. Well, except hermits. But I'm sure even hermits secretly yearn for a stylish ski excursion to Graubunden or a three star jolly to Cancun. However, there's one thing that unites us travellers; airport fatigue. Whenever we plan a break, we always take into account the necessary queuing, stressing and general confusion associated with passing through an airport to board a plane.

Luckily, there are companies out there who try to reduce the stress as much as possible. For instance, the nightmare of taking your own vehicle to the airport has been eroded significantly in recent years thanks to airport parking companies. How I wish I'd had that idea - parking just outside the chaos and then transported to the airport in a bus. Why, it seems so simple - kind of like wheels on a suitcase; we had wheels and suitcases for centuries before someone hit upon the obvious notion that the two could be brought together in a glorious union. Anyway, I digress.

APH or Airport Parking and Hotels is leading the way when it comes to stress-free transition from your car to the airport. They own sizeable airport parking locations at Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham airports and provide airport parking at other airport destinations in the UK as well as Southampton and Dover ports. They also cater for passengers staying in airport hotels. This is probably why they've won the British Travel Award for Best Airport Parking, five years in a row.

They've got it sewn up, basically. But this is because they're so reliable. Knowing APH is looking after your car as you explore another culture/sit by the pool reading the new Stephen King, is a comforting thought and the team at APH come highly recommended from this blogger.

To be precise, wheels have only been on suitcases for the past 26 years. Before then, human beings were humping their enormous cases around the airport and thinking "Well, I'll guess there will never be an obvious solution staring me in the face to end this torment." Silly human beings. However, since then, we've made up for lost time with all manner of dynamic wheeled suitcase designs for the seasoned traveller.

One of the most successful in this business is Direct Luggage, who supply the highest quality and most affordable travel luggage around. However, they don't stop as just suitcases, you know. In fact, if you need luggage for business (laptop bags, briefcases), flight accessories (travel adaptors, wash bags), backpacks, wallets and purses, Direct Luggage are the folks to do business with.

If you're slightly embarrassed by the clunky and battered piece of luggage that bumbles it's way round the airport carousel before reaching your outstretched arm, take a peek at the Direct Luggage website for recognisable brands and designer names, from Samsonite and Carlton to Lulu Guinness and Visconti. There are some excellent deals to be had here, so have a peruse today. Oh, and if you end up with too much stuff to carry then don't forget we can ship it for you with our outstanding excess baggage service. Just saying.

Yes, the trip through the airport will always be an arduous one but if you've had a smooth journey to the airport and are buoyed by the brand spanking new suitcase you're holding, you will find the edge taken off somewhat. In the past, something that only duty free Toblerone could do.

Catch a Flight to Düsseldorf

16 September 2013

Last week, British Airways announced that it will be launching a three-times-daily service to Düsseldorf from London City Airport. The addition of flights to Dusseldorf is good news for business professionals moving to and from two of the busiest financial cities in the world.

But if you're one of the potential customers taking advantage of these new flights to Düsseldorf, you should also be aware of BA's extra baggage allowances. If you find yourself with too many pieces of extra luggage, British Airways will hit you with a baggage fee which fluctuates depending on your situation (i.e. it will cost less if you pay in advance online). Well, we say they'll 'hit' you with a fee. We don't really mean 'hit', for they do prepare you for these fees on their website. But that doesn't make it any less annoying.

So how can you avoid these unnecessary costs? We're glad you asked. The team at Seven Seas Worldwide are experts in shipping excess baggage and personal belongings all over the world. Imagine leaving your luggage with us to send ahead of you while you breeze through the airport on your flight to Düsseldorf with just your laptop bag. Yes, we know. It sounds sweet.

It works like this: We'll deliver as many empty boxes as you need. Once you're done packing the boxes with your items, we'll turn up to collect them again for forwarding to your chosen destination, door-to-door. We'll do the return leg too. It's as simple as that. Find out more about our international shipping and excess baggage services now, or just grab a quick online shipping quote. Easy.

Posted in: Holidays, Travel

21 Interesting Facts About Australia

14 July 2013

Are you Australian? Relocating overseas and moving to Australia? Shipping to Australia? Holidaying in Australia? Are we asking too many questions about Australia? Sorry. Here are some interesting facts about Oz that we've left open for you to add to. If you think you have some fascinating but little known nuggets yourself, leave a comment or talk to us via Twitter or Facebook.

Okay here we go. Prepare to be dazzled:

  1. ‘Spreading out’ is not the done thing in Oz. Vegetation covers 91 % of Australia.
  2. The roof of the Sydney Opera House weighs more than 160,000 tons. You have to hand it to that roofer.
  3. Between 2010-2011, beer-drinking dropped to a 65-year low. Only 4.23 litres were consumed per person. There must have been a synchronised realisation that beer is horrible and other drinks are nicer.
  4. The Snowy Mountains receive more snow than Switzerland. The Snowy Mountains are in New South Wales and are more commonly known as…wait for it…The Snowies.
  5. Australia was the second country in the world to give women the right to vote in 1902. New Zealand was the first. Maybe that was why.
  6. Masterchef Australia is really great. Sorry, that’s not so much a fact, as a personal opinion but still, it’s my list.
  7. Melbourne has been voted most liveable city for the last two years. And if you follow Shane Warne’s Twitter feed, his annoyingly beautiful pictures of Melbourne will testify to this.
  8. Australia has the highest rate of gambling in the world with $3 billion being collected by the poker machine alone between 2007-2008. Why did people keep using it?
  9. Kangaroo meat is a healthier alternative to beef or lamb. They’re just harder to catch.
  10. Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world.
  11. Australia has the world's largest cattle ranch measuring around the same size as Belgium. Although, interestingly, only six cows. Only part of this is made up.
  12. Canberra became capital of Australia as a neutral option to end intense debate (and bickering) between Melbourne and Sydney.
  13. There are 150 million sheep in Australia and only 20 million people, so there’s a lot of catching up to do.
  14. Sharks are immune to all known diseases. Now this is an amazing fact. We should ask them what their secret is. And when I say ‘we’, I mean ‘anyone but me’.
  15. The average Australian swallows three spiders a year. Presumably more, if they actually like the taste of spiders.
  16. The kangaroo and the emu feature on the Australian Coat of Arms because both are incapable of walking backwards. They were chosen to symbolise a nation moving forward. (Although these animals can turn around and walk in the other direction but let’s not be petty.)
  17. Designer of the Sydney Opera House Jørn Utzon said his design was inspired by the simple act of peeling an orange. He wanted the 14 shells of the building to be able to make a perfect sphere. It didn't quite work out like that but we still love it.
  18. On the 17th December 1967, Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt vanished after going for a swim at Cheviot Beach Victoria and was presumed dead two days later.
  19. Australia's Naughtiest Home Videos is a Nine Network show that has gained notoriety for being taken off the air part-way through the broadcast of its first and only episode.
  20. Australia is home to six of the top ten most deadly snakes in the world. Six. That number again. Six.
  21. The first settlers from Europe consumed more alcohol per person than any other community in the history of mankind. Allegedly.

So, do you want to add this list? What have I left out that people must know about life Down Under?

Posted in: Moving Abroad, Travel, Holidays

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

25 April 2013

It seems many people tend to gloss over going to Malaysia as a holiday destination. Thailand is usually the preferred country in Southeast Asia, particularly among student backpackers and those keen to do a bit of ‘living’ before surrendering to the inevitable securities of middle age. But Malaysia has just as much to offer, so as a way of tipping the balance a little, here are some places to go and things to do if you're thinking of a Malaysia holiday. Or are packing something up for shipping to Malaysia and want to find out more about where your parcel is going. You know, so you can be sure it'll be happy when it gets there.

Firstly, we recommend Penang which is both a state in West Malaysia and a separate island on the northwest coast. Penang is home to a tropical rainforest climate all year round, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the form of George Town, cultural festivals and street food that's worth moving to Malaysia for alone (check out Gurney Drive).

Of course there’s the capital city of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia with its magnificent Petronas Twin Towers - two giant, imposing symbols of Malaysia’s economic development, standing at the heart of the city like robot legs missing a body. The presence of Malay, Indian and Chinese communities ensures a healthy cultural scene and some exceptional cuisine too. However, the concentrated hub of affluence in Kuala Lumpur, surrounded by impoverished communities may leave a sour taste in the mouth for some.

Malacca in the Malay Peninsula is also a World Heritage site and boasts a rich variety of cultural and colonial landmarks such as the Malacca Sultanate Palace Museum and St Paul’s Church. The old town in Malacca is a beautiful and undisturbed place to visit and counter-balance the extremes of the capital.

Perhaps an area of Kuala Lumpur to avoid is Petaling Street, a Chinatown notorious for its pirated merchandise and bootleg DVDs of films that haven’t stopped shooting yet. As you bargain with a market trader over a fake designer watch or an imitation handbag, remember that you will never get the upper hand. Every piece of junk is made in sweatshops for a pittance and whatever price the trader agrees, you will always be walking away with something you’ve paid far too much for. Plus, think about the extra baggage a spending spree will create (though, naturally, we'll be happy to help you with any excess luggage you may accumulate). If you do pass through Petaling Street, stop only for the hawker food.

As with many tourist destinations, you will find people driving around claiming to be taxi drivers. Hop into one of these without checking their validity and you could find yourself being charged ten times the original fare. It’s best to hail a cab rather than approach a man leaning against his vehicle, waiting for you to emerge from a bar or restaurant. The genuine cabs never park up unless they’re at a legitimate taxi rank.

So there you go. Have fun, stay safe and remember, if you find yourself with excess baggage travelling to or from Malaysia, have a chat with us.

Oh, despite what you may see in Petaling Street, Fast and Furious 12 hasn’t come out yet.

Posted in: Holidays, Travel