Friday Commentary: Favourite Easter Memories

April 11, 2014 at 5:54 AM

 Get ready for a weekend of chocolatey fun as Easter approaches!

Easter bunnies

Easter bunnies Photo: Lin Pernille Photography LLC

This time of year (and for months before!), most of us can’t escape the Easter bunny. The hot-cross-bun-clad celebration grows year on year, with just about everything spring-related infiltrating our shop shelves: cutesy animals, cutesier clothes and tons – and tons – of chocolate. At Easter, some go on egg hunts; some on daffodil-draped walks. Most of us stuff our faces with mini eggs, simnel cake and creme egg-flavoured shots (just me then?). What’s your favourite Easter memory? We’ve asked a HomeAway panel to share their own Easter egg-speriences (sorry – I can’t help myself!).

Bits and bobs abroad: Six holiday beauty essentials

March 19, 2014 at 4:49 AM
Image courtesy of Sofia Salom

Image courtesy of Sofia Salom

The captain has switched off the seat-belt sign. The plane is cruising at 30,000ft, high above the Portuguese coast. And the biggest predicament in your life? Whether to have the Pinot Grigio, the Cabernet Sauvignon, or both. That is, of course, until you have your very own Home Alone moment – but instead of shouting “KEVIN!” at the top of your lungs, a whole host of beauty goodies that you’ve forgotten come to mind – and you know it will cost you double the price to invest in these holiday godsends on the other side of the pond.

Given that we aren’t exactly equipped on a daily basis for a week by the beach in blissfully hot temperatures, I think we can be forgiven for our somewhat uneducated method of packing. One bottle of sun cream; one pair of flip flops that cut into our toes; one too-large-hat-that-we’ll-never wear again: these do not suffice for a job well done in the packing world.

But fear not, beautiful holidaymakers – I’ve devised your top six go-to items that should be mandatory in your suitcase. Asides from this, and your passport, everything else is just filler.’s Places to see before you die

November 2, 2013 at 6:22 AM

Do you want to step foot on all seven continents, or unearth remnants of ancient civilisations? Perhaps you dream of soft white sands, or have visions of hiking the earth’s most beautiful mountain ranges. Here at HomeAway, we know that travel is personal: what makes it a fascinating part of our lives is that we all want to discover different destinations, and we all want to share those experiences in our own, unique way.

That’s why we’d like to introduce HomeAway’s Places to See Before You Die: your guide to the world’s once in a lifetime destinations. Here, you’ll discover the best places on earth, and receive personalised travel recommendations; you’ll give us some details about yourself, including your date of birth and interests, and we’ll offer you tailored holiday spots based upon who you are. Whether you’re an eco-warrior or a romantic at heart, a sprightly student or a seasoned sightseer, we can calculate where you should visit, when and why, as well as giving you special insights into the destinations we think you’ll love.

Click-and-go: Renting the perfect holiday home has never been easier

September 5, 2013 at 12:17 AM

If there’s one thing the internet has demonstrated in recent years, it’s that everyone loves an app. Some mobile apps now govern our lives – how we book flights, secure tables at restaurants, play games, view photos – while others merely seek to induce a chuckle. Making life faster, slicker, less troublesome: that’s the modus operandi of most apps. And a new one – designed to refine the process of finding and booking holiday homes – is no different.

The free HomeAway UK iPhone app is an essential piece of kit for travellers of all descriptions. Looking for more tranquillity than is offered by a busy hotel? Want to stay in your own private villa, cottage, houseboat? Cool. This app puts you slap-bang in the middle of a trusted marketplace, bustling with property owners who lease their abodes to tourists from around the world. Even if you’re just passing through a town or city for a weekend – to catch a show, visit a friend, watch a football match – you can rent an apartment for a fraction of the cost of a hotel.

Summer salvation: the best things in life are free (or nearly!)

August 28, 2013 at 6:57 AM
Warhorse play

Kids Week sees many city theatres offering excellent deals. Photo:

Well, as the school holidays are heading to a speedy end, my attentions have turned to the rather expensive activities of kitting my kids out with new school uniforms, shoes, sports kits and stationery; all very exciting stuff, of course. After a somewhat pricey summer and costly back to school shopping expeditions, any activities or days out that I now look at have to be cost effective. Thankfully, great days out don’t have to cost a fortune to be fun; in fact sometimes, they can be absolutely free. I’ve been taking a look at what’s available across the UK over the next week, hoping to ease the tension on our purse strings yet keep the kids thoroughly entertained. After all, it’s important to provide a happy ending to what’s been one of the warmest summers we’ve seen in many years! So enjoy the next week or so with your little ones in tow, before the dreaded school runs commence once again.