If you’re anything like me and any mention of the words “Credit Card” sets off (imaginary) alarm bells in your ears, I’m here to tell you why you need a credit card for your travels.

I know, I know, another piece of plastic to wedge between the various loyalty and store cards for places you rarely shop, but a credit card provides you with protection and opportunities not usually available with a traditional debit card.

This post is more focused for UK readers and I talk about UK banks, but in general, no matter where you live, if you love travelling this could be useful to look into.

I feel like here in the UK we’re much more wary of credit than our friends in the US. We’ve all heard stories of perfectly nice people being destroyed by crippling credit card debt; it’s a scary reality we cautiously steer away from. Both Mr H and I live by the “can’t afford it, don’t buy it” rule, meaning we’ve never really felt the need for a credit card…that was until we started running into problems using our debit cards on our travels.

travel credit cards

That time a hotel tried to cancel our booking…

A few weeks prior to our South East Asia trip in ’16, our hotel in Malaysia reached out to let me know there was an “issue” with my payment. I had paid through the (well known) chain’s website, with my Debit Card. After going back and forth numerous times trying to figure out what the problem was; they informed me they could not process debit cards and that they required a credit card to secure the booking or my booking would be cancelled or charged at a higher rate.

After £70+ spent on calls to useless staff at the hotel trying to remedy the problem (them even telling me to borrow someone else’s credit card to make the payment!) we decided to make a (very costly) bank transfer to secure our accommodation. The hotel confirmed receiving the funds less than 48 hours before we got on our 13.5 hour flight – all in all, a very stressful experience made worse by us not having a credit card!

This is a common problem….

This problem isn’t exclusive to South East Asia alone, we’ve noticed this in other regions too; some hotels demanding a full cash payment at check-in in place of a credit card, while others demand credit cards to secure bookings.

This doesn’t just affect accommodation; last year when we were planning our road trip through Croatia, we weren’t able to find a single car hire company that would allow us to hire a car with a debit card. Coming from the UK, where hiring a car with a debit card is commonplace – this was certainly unexpected.

So, a few days before we set off for our road trip, with little time to spare and no other options for car hire, we signed up for our first credit card (we’re officially adults now!) and we haven’t looked back since!

Aside from having the peace of mind of being able to pay for your accommodation or car hire, there are many other benefits to having a credit card for people who love travelling.

credit card, travel credit card

Here are some benefits of the ways a credit card can help you:

Free travel and upgrades to the most luxurious airline cabins!

Aside from more peace of mind in travel bookings, this was one of the most rewarding things about signing up for a credit card and the reason I wish I moved all my spending onto credit cards 10 years ago (still mourning all the miles I could have earned!)

If you’ve ever seen videos of bloggers or avid travellers flying around the world in the most luxurious airline cabins and wondered how on earth they are able to afford such luxury; the answer is usually down to credit cards and effective air mile “hacking”.

Credit card companies offer a whole host of perks to attract customers, many of them offering airmile bonuses for signing up. Travel-specific credit cards allow you to collect air-miles for money spent on the card – which is one of the fastest ways to boost your airmile balance and secure yourself free flights or seats in luxury cabins.

Extra cover and protection

All credit cards are different and offer different types of cover but one thing all credit cards in the UK offer is additional protection in the case of lost, damaged or faulty items.

Thanks to Section 75 of the Credit Act, credit card companies bear the same responsibility as the retailer on all purchases made on the card costing between £100-£30000. This means that if you were to purchase an item which turned out to be faulty – which cannot be fixed, or if the company you purchase from goes bust before you receive your item, or your item never turns up – your credit card company is liable to refund you the amount paid.

If you’re paying an annual fee for your credit card, you may also have access to extended cover by the name of “Purchase Protection” – this cover protects you in the case of theft or loss of items purchased with the card. The credit card company will refund you for the value of the lost or stolen items within a set period of time.

Here’s a useful guide to help you understand CC protection.

Widely accepted all over the world and back up funds

Credit cards are widely accepted all over the world, meaning you’ll always have a back up if you run out of physical money, if you end up spending more than you have budgeted or you have unexpected costs.

A few years ago my return flight from Germany was cancelled and British Airways told me to find (and pay for) my own hotel and fill in a reimbursement form upon my return to the UK – had I not had the funds to pay for a hotel on the spot, a credit card would have meant the difference between me sleeping in an airport for the next 24 hours or a comfy hotel room until I was rebooked onto another flight!

Always be careful with cash withdrawals from Credit Cards – this often comes with a hefty fee.

Some Credit Cards come with 0% foreign transaction fees which can save you a LOT of money in the long run if you’re booking hotels in other currencies and paying for services on your card.

Building your credit history

Whilst there are plenty of other ways to build up your credit history, having a credit card and making regular payments on time is a great way to boost your credit history. Showing businesses that you’re able to stay on top of payments and borrow responsibly opens the doors to not just higher borrowing limits, but financing options too.

If your laptop suddenly goes bust or you need to replace a camera quickly and you aren’t in a financial position to do so, a solid credit history can make you eligible for financing plans and help you get back on your feet quickly.

travel credit card

All the free perks!

Credit Card companies are extremely competitive and will offer a wide range of perks to encourage you to sign up. Take your time to choose the Credit Card that’s right for you and your needs.

If you’re an avid traveller, getting a travel-focused credit card is a no-brainer. If you’re a BA fan, the British Airways American Express will reward you with 5000 bonus Avios for signing up, 1 Avios per £1 spent on the card, and a 2-1 companion voucher for flights after you’ve hit a £20,000 spend on the card.

The Lloyds Avios Rewards card is another popular travel-focused credit card; you’ll get two cards, an American Express and a Mastercard (very useful where one is accepted and the other isn’t), Lloyds will reward you up to 1.25 Avios per £1 spent on the cards (with a double Avios boost on purchases for the first 6 months on the Amex card), you’ll get a flight upgrade voucher after spending £7000 in a year (hello first class!) and best of all, no foreign transaction fees!

This is such a rarity for a UK credit card, and well worth having for your travels! There is a host of other perks to this card which you can read about here.

If you get a travel-specific credit card you’ll also be able to take advantage of regular cashback offers on airlines, hotels and car hire, as well as bonus miles promotions – saving you £££!

If you’re not in to travel, a supermarket credit card which rewards you with Club Card or Nectar points can save you a lot of money on spending in the long run. Money Saving Expert has a great guide highlighting perks and benefits of various UK credit cards.

Convinced? Great! Final thoughts…

The perks sound great and having purchase protection is so useful – but the reality is, if you’re not careful, spending on a credit card can become a slippery slope that is difficult to recover from.

Be responsible. Pay your credit card off, in full, each month. Set up a direct debit from your main account to clear the balance every month just in case you miss the payment date. Download banking apps to keep track of your balance while you’re on the go and give you peace of mind.

If you pay your balance off in full every month, you will not pay any interest.

Don’t borrow more than you can afford to pay back. Follow this simple rule, stay on top of your payments, and you’ll start reaping the rewards of credit card spending.

Stay tuned for part two where I talk about Charge Cards ( a great alternative to credit cards for those of you still wary of credit cards!)

 

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If you’re shopping this Black Friday, take advantage of this simple trick to turn your black Friday spending into free flights and upgrades.

If you’re a seasoned flight hacker or Avios churner you’ll probably already know this trick, but there are so, so, many people who are missing out on this easy and straightforward way of earning Avios (leading to free flights!) which is why I thought I’d highlight it here.

Ladies and gents, I present to you, the Avios eStore.


How it works

The Avios e-store is an online shopping portal that allows you to earn points every time you click through the site, to a listed retailer and make a purchase. It’s a free, super-simple way to earn Avios points, which can, in turn, be redeemed for a host of goodies.

All you need to do to take advantage is sign up for a free Avios account here, select your retailer of choice, shop as normal through the retailer’s website (through the window Avios redirects you to) – and that’s all! It’s as simple as that.

Within 24 hrs of completing your order, you should receive an email informing you of the pending Avios in your account. Once your order is processed, Avios will credit the Avios into your Avios account.

British Airways also has it’s own version of the Avios eStore which is connected to your BA executive club account. It is not necessary to use one over the other if you’re an Executive Club member.

Spending your Avios.

Where are the free flights in using the portal you may ask?

Avios points are a very useful “currency” to have in your stash. You can spend them on a whole host of things ranging from car hire to hotels, days out and most important of all; free flights.

British Airways is one of the official airline partners of the Avios scheme meaning all flights you take on British Airways (or airlines on the BA partner scheme OneWorld) will earn you Avios (if you’re registered with the BA executive club). In turn, you can also spend your Avios points to book flights on BA and OneWorld partner airlines (which include Qatar Airways!)

You can use the Avios you earn through the Avios eStore (or the BA equivalent portal) to exchange your Avios points for free flights. Unfortunately, the flights are still subject to taxes & fees, which BA has set at £35 for return flights from London to Europe.

If you don’t wish to use all of your Avios points at once, you may also opt to part-pay with Avios (getting you cheaper flights).

You can book return flights in Europe for as little as 8000 avios (& £35 tax, surcharges and fees)

British Airways Avios redemption flights are divided into “bands” based on the distance flown. Naturally, destinations closest to London are the cheapest; you can fly to Amsterdam, Paris, Dublin or Milan from London Heathrow, off-peak return, for as little as 8000 Avios + £35, this is the lowest Avios redemption band. At peak times this will cost you more Avios.

Looking to go further? Off peak return flights to New York start from 26000 Avios (+ tax & fees). London-Singapore flights start at around 45,000 Avios (+tax & fees) for return flights in Economy

Find out how much a flight costs in Avios & fees here.

Ever fancied flying business or first class?

The Avios rewards scheme isn’t just for bagging free or reduced-price flights, it’s also an excellent way to upgrade your flight class without having to splurge.

You can upgrade some flights to Premium Economy, Business or First Class by simply paying with your Avios points. Upgrades are only available to the next cabin class (so you won’t be able to upgrade from Economy to First with Avios alone, it would be economy to premium economy and so on). If you don’t have the Avios balance required to upgrade you can opt to “part pay” in cash to make up the remaining balance.

One thing to note is that you cannot upgrade the flight class on rewards flights (flights booked with Avios).

Building your avios balance this Black Friday

Now that we’ve covered the basics of the Avios programme and the e-store, it’s time to talk about how this translates into real life, and more specifically how Black Friday spending can be utilized to get you on your way to more travels.

Here are some examples of what your Black Friday shopping could get you for free in the Avios eStore.


Apple is currently offering 8 Avios per £1 spent through the Avios eStore.
If you were to purchase the base model 13-inch Macbook pro at £1249 – you would earn upwards of 8600 Avios, which is enough for you to book a return flight to Amsterdam (or any of the European destinations in the first redemption band)


Canon is offering 6 Avios per £1 spent through the Avios eStore
If you were to purchase the EF 24-70mm lens at £1737, you would earn an estimated 10,427 Avios
If you were to purchase the Canon Powershot G7X at £547.99 you would earn upwards of 3200 Avios

Buying clothes, make-up, gifts or homeware this Black Friday?

This Black Friday it’s not just about gadgets and tech, plenty of other retailers are offering Black Friday discounts too. Channel your spending through the Avios eStore to get the best rewards on your spending.

House Of Fraser is offering 4 Avios per £1 spent (spend £100, earn up to 400 Avios)
ASOS : 8 Avios per £1 spent (spend £100, earn up to 800 Avios)
Net-A-Porter : 12 Avios per £1 spent (spend £100, earn up to 1200 Avios)
Lookfantastic : 14 Avios per £1 spent (spend £50, earn up to 700 Avios)
Not On The High Street : 8 Avios per £1 spent (spend £50, earn up to 400 Avios)

As you can see, spending through the portal can build your Avios balance quickly, and best of all, it’s at no extra cost to you!

You Don’t Need To Be A Member Of The BA Executive Club Or Have An Avios Credit Card

One thing I’ve heard a lot of friends say when we discuss the eStore is that they don’t have an Avios Credit Card or they aren’t members of the British Airways executive club, this seems to be a common misconception about the Avios scheme. You don’t actually need either of them.

You can sign up to the Avios scheme directly through the Avios website and it does not need to be linked to a credit card or British Airways executive account.

You can take out a credit card that rewards you with Avios per £1 spent on the card to further boost your balance, but this is not essential to benefit from the Avios scheme. The same goes with joining the BA executive club, it’s not essential to join the BA.

There are plenty of ways to build your Avios balance

There are plenty of ways to build your Avios balance through everyday spending in the UK. There are numerous retailers and schemes, as well as credit cards, that will reward you with Avios points for shopping with them. All you need to do, is connect the retailer accounts to your Avios account to pool all the rewards together.

The Avios eStore is open all year round and is not restricted to Black Friday. Individual retailer offers vary throughout the year, sometimes rewards are doubled per £1 spent, sometimes they’re halved. The main thing to bear in mind if you’re serious about collecting Avios, is to really commit to it. Bookmark the eStore in your browser, and channel all your spending through there – I guarantee you’ll be racking up Avios faster than you can keep track of them!

Want to Know more about the Avios scheme and how to build your balance? Comment below if you’re interested in a Part 2!

I’d also love to know your big wins with the Avios eStore, let me know what you’ve redeemed your points on, or what your Black Friday win was.

If you’re jetting off somewhere with your new found miles (or in first class), be sure to read my guide on how to get things for free when you travel.
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If you’re exploring the world solo or an unseasoned traveller and are not sure where to start exploring South East Asia from, this ones for you!

Visiting a new region or continent so far removed from everything you know can be both very exciting and very intimidating, but it shouldn’t stop you from visiting the places you long to go. Travelling through different cultures is such an enriching experience, and for me personally, it helped me understand so much about humanity and myself.

Singapore was one of the first countries I visited when I started travelling. I had always been intimidated by flying somewhere so far and so different, but when one of my siblings relocated to there, I took it as my cue to experience the wonders of South East Asia for the first time!

Growing up, it was always Malaysia and Thailand that made my bucket list – I didn’t know anything about Singapore, but soon after arriving, I realised what an absolute gem it was. I’ve returned two more times since then, and I hope I’ll be able to return many, many more times in the future.

 

Here’s why you should start exploring South East Asia from Singapore :

The official language is English!

Yup, the official language of Singapore is English – meaning it’s pretty difficult to get lost in Singapore. You’ll be able to communicate with people, find your way around easily, and never have to rely on a phrasebook or Google translate! Singaporeans even have their own version of English called “Singlish” – English spoken a way you’ll only hear in Singapore.

Singapore Marina Bay Cloud Forest
Singapore has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

I know for myself, and many of my friends, safety can be a deciding factor in the countries we choose to visit. Singapore has such a low crime rate that newspapers often sensationalise things that are considered “normal” in other cities – i.e graffiti!

I have never felt safer anywhere in the world than I do in Singapore. You’ll be free to roam without fear of someone stealing your precious camera or passport, you’ll never have to look over your shoulder for pickpockets, and you’ll never have a bout of panic when you entrust a random passerby with your camera so they can snap a photo of you.

One of the things that surprised me the most on my first visit to SG was seeing MacBooks and iPhones left unattended on tables in McDonalds as people went to make their orders!

It’s well connected to the rest of South East Asia

Just a 30 minute drive away from Malaysia, Singapore is also a short flight away from a number of interesting countries including Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

Budget airlines mean tickets between the countries can be super cheap. If you’re flying from Europe and you’ve already spent 13+ hours getting to Singapore – don’t pass up an opportunity to visit other countries in the region! Flying from Malaysia may work out cheaper than flying from Singapore, so factor that into your searches too.

Oh, and don’t forget to make time to explore Changi airport (voted World’s Best Airport for 5 years running)!

Singapore Supertree Grove Gardens By The Bay
There’s so much to see and do!

I remember researching things to do in Singapore before my first visit, and 90% of the stuff I found online was “Singapore is boring” “Alcohol is so expensive” “chewing gum is illegal” (priorties right 🙄). I embarked on my flight thinking I may have wasted a lot of hard-earned money, but I quickly realised what a valuable investment I had made! Every time I’ve returned to Singapore since then, I’ve marvelled at the latest openings and how quick this incredible country is developing.

There’s so much to see and do in Singapore, from the wonderous Supertree Grove and the incredible surrounding Gardens By The Bay (complete with an indoor Flower Dome and Cloud Forest!), to the botanical gardens, the worlds first Night Safari, Sentosa island resort (home to the super fun Universal Studios) and exploring the ethnic quarters of Little India, China Town and Geylang.

Singapore
It’s really easy (and cheap!) to get around

Singapore’s public transport network is amazing. Not only is it spotless, easy to use and efficient, it’s very, very affordable too. Singapore’s public underground service is called the MRT and it stretches across the country getting you where you need to go without hassle. It’s the best public transport I’ve used in my life – you’ll be wondering why people are so obsessed with the (filthy & temperamental) London Underground!

The bus network in Singapore is reliable and easy to use, public taxies are affordable and reliable. You can also use Uber and South East Asia’s competing app, Grab Car, for inexpensive taxi journeys.

Singapore
It’s a super-modern high-tech city

If you’re seeking a rural retreat in nature, Singapore may not be the place for you, but if technology excites you, or the prospect of having access to technology to help you on your travels motivates you to travel – go to Singapore. You won’t regret it.

Technology and innovation are a big deal in Singapore. The tiny city-state has embraced the world of tech with open arms, and it’s using it to create a forward-thinking, state of the art, efficient country (with amazing architecture may I add!)

Fast internet, access to apps you probably already use if you live in a major European city (Citymapper anyone?) and a whole host of technological advances (such as free mobile phones laden with apps provided with your hotel rooms!) will make your travels easier. You’ll always have signal on your mobile while you’re underground, and when you ask someone to take a photo for you – chances are they’ll be a semi-professional photographer (they take their tech and gadgets very seriously)!

Singapore Light Show
Creature comforts and logical everything!

I’m not going to lie, I do love my creature comforts when I travel. I love when people queue, when they wait their turn, I love quiet places, I love clean cities, I love things being organised and straightforward, I love clear signposting and things working on the first try – and Singapore is all of those things. It’s like Apple – things just make sense. People are aware of other people, being rowdy in public is frowned upon, theres a system for queining for taxis and busses, things are so organised it’s virtually impossible to get lost! Taxi drivers won’t try to cheat you and people won’t try to overcharge you because you’re a tourist.

Singapore has a unique story

I love Singapore, and one of the things I love most about it is its story. Just 52 years ago, this tiny little island was ejected from Malaysia and forced to declare itself an independent state, Lee Kwan Yew, the PM at the time declared it “a moment of anguish” as he cried on a televised broadcast announcing the separation. Singapore was steeped in poverty, with no natural resources of its own and a tiny population. The ejection from Malaysia forced it to fight for survival, and that’s exactly what it did.

Today, Singapore is the 4th richest country in the world, the number one maritime capital in the world, it has the highest rate of home-ownership in the world (with 90% of its residents owning their own homes), the Singaporean passport is ranked the first (most powerful) passport alongside the German passport in the Global passport index. I could go on and on about Singapore’s incredible achievements. But above them all, is the sense of unity this country has created between nationalities and religions.

Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures make up Singapore’s unique culture. The three ethnicities, with their numerous religions, have joined forces almost seamlessly to create a country based on mutual respect, unity and a love for Singapore. It’s such an incredibly humbling experience to witness this, particularly in this era of division and hate we are currently living through.


So, what are you waiting for? South East Asia awaits!

P.S: Muslim traveller? Singapore is super-Muslim friendly – the President even wears hijab! There are plenty of amazing mosques and halal eateries to keep you entertained, and no funny looks at hijabis here!

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Sarajevo has so much to offer, particularly if you’re interested in history and culture. We spent three days exploring the city during our Bosnia-Croatia trip in May, but we’re already making plans to return to see more of this incredible city.

If you’re visiting and not quite sure where to start; here’s a list of 10 things to do in Sarajevo!

Step back in time and walk the length of the main road connecting the airport to the old city

One of the best ways to understand the city of Sarajevo, and it’s history, is to walk it. Through a single road you can relive the various eras that has made this city into the melting pot it is.

From the traditional Ottoman architecture adorning the streets, to the grand Austro-Hungarian inspired buildings, and the very spot where Franz Ferdinand was assisinated; an act that led to the start of World War 1. Sarajevo’s history as part of Yugoslavia is perhaps the most visible, followed by an era of hope and rebuilding ; modern day Sarajevo.

sarajevo library
miljacka river sarajevo

 Explore the cobbled streets of the old town Baščaršija

The old town of Baščaršija possesses an air of magic. Despite it being a tourist spot, it feels much more authentic than ones you would find in Istanbul or even Mostar. The old town in Sarajevo is simple and still very much populated by locals. The Ottoman influence in Sarajevo is most evident here, through the mosques and little coffee shops dotted about, and it’s the place to go for souvenirs, trinkets and traditional Bosnian copper goods.

Visit the 16th Century Gazi Husarev Mosque

Located in the old town, the Gazi Husarev mosque is one of the most important Ottoman structures in the Balkans, and the most important Ottoman monument in Sarajevo. Built in the 16th century, the mosque has served as a place of worship and community hub for centuries. It was the first mosque in the world to get electricity – how cool is that?

Gazi Husarev Mosque Sarajevo

Learn about the Screbenica genocide at Galerija 11/07/95 

You cannot visit Sarajevo without noticing the very visible scars left behind by the Bosnian war of the early 90’s. Whilst Sarajevo was famous for it’s siege, the city of Srebenica was the scene of the worst genocide in Europe since WW2. Over 8000+ Muslim men and women were massacred and buried in mass graves. With thousands of people still missing and bodies yet to be found, recovery efforts are ongoing until today, 22 years later.

Galerija 11/07/95 documents the genocide and the efforts of families to find their loved ones two decades on through photos and short films. I highly recommend getting the audio tour ( I think it was something silly like 3 marks only!) to gain a better understanding. If you don’t manage to finish the Gallery in a single day, you can reuse your ticket for entry the next day – just hold on to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit the “tunnel of hope” that kept the city alive during the siege

Built during the siege on Sarajevo, the Tunel spasa, also known as “The Tunnel of Hope” is an underground tunnel connecting Sarajevo with the neighbouring towns of Butmir and Dobrinja. The tunnel was built under a civilian home by the Bosnian army and runs under the runway of Sarajevo airport!

It was a lifeline for the besieged city, and was used to transport soldiers, civilians, UN staff, weapons, supplies and food in and out of the city. In the museum you can even enter and walk part of the original tunnel.

tunel spasa tunnel of hope

Have coffee in a tree house!

The hills surrounding Sarajevo lend themselves to excellent vantage points over the city, you just need to be ready for the hike!

If you’re looking for somewhere to give you a great vantage point of the Miljacka river and some of the tourist spots, be sure to visit the Viewpoint cafe. Located close to the old town, this basic cafe allows you to sit in a glass-fronted room between trees overlooking the city.



Walk the Olympic Bobsleigh/Luge tracks

In 1984, Sarajevo hosted the Winter Olympics for the first time, and Mount Trebević was home to the new Bobsleigh/luge tracks. It was a period of hope for Sarajevo, nothing could ever prepare Sarajevans for what would happen less than 10 years later. During the siege on Sarajevo, the abandoned Olympic tracks became an artillery position for the Serbian army because of their vantage point overlooking the city.

Today, the bobsleigh tracks are a canvas for the local art scene, covered in bright graffiti. We walked part of the length of the tracks in awe, this was definitely one the highlights of our visit to Sarajevo!


Sarajevo olympics luge bobsleigh tracks

Sample some Cevapi

Arguably Bosnia’s most famous dish; Cevapi consists of small kofta fingers served alongside bread and finely chopped onion. You’ll find this dish everywhere in Sarajevo – in fact you may struggle to find restaurants that don’t serve it! Averaging at around 7 marks a generous portion, this dish is both filling and cheap to fuel you for long days of exploring. There’s a lot of talk about the best Cevapi place (plenty of online debates about this) but the best of the three places we tried was Cevabdzinica Zeljo located in the old town.

See the best views of the city from atop Mount Trebević

If you’re after good aerial views, Mount Trebević is the place to go. We stopped by an abandoned military hotel that had the most incredible views of the city, enabling us to get our bearings and see all the sights from above.

Sarajevo Mont Tribevic

Relax with some Bosnian Coffee!

When you’re obsessed with coffee, trying it in all the countries you visit is obligatory right?

Well, you’re in luck in Sarajevo, because they’re obsessed with their coffee and super proud of it! Traditional Bosnian coffee is quite similar to Turkish coffee, served in tiny brass cased cups with Turkish delight and sugar cubes. If you like sugar in your coffee in Bosnia you dip the sugar cube directly into your coffee, and suck on the cube rather than stirring it into your coffee!

Some info on Tours…

I highly recommend booking a tour to visit some of the places listed above to save yourself the hassle of figuring out routes, and to gain a better understanding of the city of Sarajevo and the historical context of some of the places listed.

We booked the “Sarajevo Total Siege tour” with with Sarajevo Funky Tours, that enabled us to see the Olympic bobsleigh/luge tracks, Mount Trebević and Tunel Spasa in half a day.

The tour included a pick up from our hotel, transport and two excellent local guides who painted a very personal image of life under siege in Sarajevo. Our main tour guide was in her early 20’s when the siege broke out and she recounted vivid stories of the struggles through starvation and war. Our driver was just a teenager at the time, and was shot by a sniper in “sniper alley”, it was surreal watching him point out the exact location of the shooting as he drove through it some twenty years later. This is a tour not to be missed.

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If you’re booking a British Airways flight through a travel site (other than directly through BA’s website) you might want to read this first.

I was recently searching for a British Airways flight through Sky Scanner and noticed that the cheapest price listed was through Travel Up. In fact, the 5 cheapest prices quoted for this particular flight were all through travel agencies. They were selling exactly the same flights for considerably less than British Airways. The price quoted by Travel Up was coming in at almost £50 less than the flight price listed on the BA website.

Naturally a £100 saving (over two tickets) seemed like a no-brainer, that was until I did a little digging on Travel Up – and with many mixed reviews and horror stories of flight date changes, additional fees, price increases & unconfirmed bookings, I decided not to chance it. Instead, I started researching if BA would do a price-match on BA flights offered cheaper elsewhere, and sure enough, they do!

The British Airways Best Price Guaranteepage states: “We believe that if you book flights directly with us, you deserve the very best deal. Which is exactly what you’ll get with our Best Price Guarantee. If you book with us, but find a qualifying British Airways flight for less elsewhere and let us know on the same day as you book, we’ll refund the difference”

Almost sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it isn’t!

There are restrictions on what British Airways will consider a “qualifying flight” – essentially they need to be identical flights (fare class, dates, times etc) operated by British Airways. You will need to book your flights through British Airways first, then fill in the claim form with details of your booking and the cheaper prices you found, then submit further evidence if requested. You do run the risk of British Airways refusing to match your flight; but if you read the instructions carefully and follow them I don’t see any reason why they would refuse to pay up.

Not many people seem to know about the BPG offered by BA so it was hard to find out how it panned out for others, but the few threads I have read about this where overwhelmingly negative.

I decided to chance it and book my tickets through British Airways directly, even if I didn’t get the £100 saving back through the Best Price Guarantee – at least I wouldn’t be laden with the stress of worrying that the alternative booking sites would mess with my booking. I filled in the claim form the same day, and just two days later, British Airways got in touch to confirm they would be refunding me the £100 price difference. I didn’t even have to submit the screen-shots. Hallelujah!

If you’re wary of booking through third parties this is a great way to save on your travels. I’m surprised it’s not more commonly advertised, which is why I am so keen to share this with you all!

How It Works

Here’s how to make use of the British Airways Best Price Guarantee when you’ve found the flight cheaper elsewhere. Here’s a random BA flight to Amman found through Sky Scanner:


The cheapest flight price listed through Sky Scanner is priced at £474 via Omega Flight Store. The British Airways website offers the exact same flight for £524 – exactly £50 more than Omega Flight Store. It ranked as the 6th most expensive price for the flight.

To take advantage of the Best Price Guarantee you will need to:

– Book your flight through the British Airways website
– Read the instructions set out on the Best Price Guarantee page
– Take a screen-shot of the competing price that includes all the flight details & additional fees on the sellers website. Ensure that the flight number/details/class match up with your British Airways reservation and are all visible in your screen shot (or take multiples). You will also need to show the time and date the screen shot was taken (the time/date on your browser bar should help)
– Make sure you include details of any additional booking fees/credit/debit card fees on top of the ticket price
– Fill in the form on the same day you have booked your BA flight – any later and it won’t be valid

One of the common complaints I’ve read about the BPG is British Airways refusing to honour it when additional card charges/booking fees are not indicated or clearly shown. Some travel sites make it difficult to get a final price (including card processing fees) without actually booking/signing up – but this is essential to taking advantage of the BPG. With Travel Up, I had to create an account to allow me to calculate the cost of the credit card fees, but I did not have to fill in any credit card details.

All in all, it’s a pretty straightforward process that could save you a fair amount of money and stress in the long run. If you’ve taken advantage of the BPG let me know how it went for you. I’m also interested in hearing about your experiences in booking through third party sites such as Travel Up – are they worth it?

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