Posted by Kayley Ambler | Under Travel Gadgets
Posted by Lisa | Under Vacation plans
There are a lot of stressors involved with traveling abroad; ranging from packing problems to airport issues and everything in between. Add in the hassle of getting lost while driving your rental car to that equation and you’re off to an exceedingly bad start. The last thing on anyone’s agenda while on vacation is to be driving around haphazardly in a foreign country, instead of seeing the sights and actually enjoying your surroundings.
Completely eliminate the problem of getting lost by using a GPS while driving on international roadways. Travel technology is getting more comprehensive by the day and the GPS has not only transformed the way travelers get around in unfamiliar cities but also the way travel plans are made and sabbaticals are enjoyed. Navigate your way through your daily scheduled program of events with ease and each evening, bring the unit inside your hotel room to charge and load tomorrow’s route. Type in a specific destination and the GPS will provide you with popular restaurants, shopping districts and other interesting sites that are near your starting point.
Take It from Me
I recently took a trip to Bangor, Wales to visit my friend from college. We decided to take my rental car to Pembrey County Park in South Wales. It was a five hour car ride, but it was such a memorable experience. We used the GPS that I reserved with my rental and it took us through the mountains and all of these gorgeous little villages. Had I not reserved a GPS our route would have been incredibly boring, as we would have had to stay on the main route and rely exclusively on paper maps to ensure that we wouldn’t get lost. We were allotted enough time to stop and sight see and still made it to the park in the same time frame as if we would have stuck with our original route. For those travelers who think that “getting there” is half the fun, you’re absolutely right! Having a GPS while traveling abroad will provide you with added insight on new destinations to explore and will definitely improve your overall experience!
Free GPS Promo
Kemwel is currently running a free GPS rental promotion for travelers who book a compact class car or larger in Western Europe for more than three days. These individuals will receive a free portable GPS rental for the duration of their car rental. The units will be mailed to you prior to your trip and are the latest Garmin Nuvi 270′s. Take a look at our specials page for more information.
Posted by Lisa | Under Castles
Whether you desire to soak up the art and history radiating from within Florence’s old city walls or prefer to leisurely tour the rolling hillsides of the Chianti wine country, there simply isn’t a better way to experience the warm Tuscan way of life than via a rental car in Italy! In fact, there is so much to see and do in this much coveted region during the summer season that you may have a difficult time deciding where to go first. Have no fear! Kemwel makes picking up and dropping off a rental car in Tuscany easy with numerous locations to choose from.
Begin your Italian getaway by exploring the region’s capital city, Florence. You will find no shortage of Renaissance art and architecture to visit here. Before you set off to browse the high end boutiques along Via de’ Tornabuoni, do read all about the Limited Traffic Zones (ZTL) in Florence first. This way, you can avoid being caught off guard with a traffic infraction. Once you are familiar with the easy to spot ZTL signage around the historic city center, you will feel confident about hitting the road and navigating the charming back roads of the Tuscan countryside.
Set your GPS and meander you way through the postcard perfect scenery along the Strada Chiantigiana (SR 222) to Siena, which is abounding with vineyards and olive groves. This two-hundred year old route will take you through some of Italy’s most picturesque terrain and into the heart of the Chianti wine region. Take your time and stop by some of the wineries and sleepy medieval villages dotting the way. Once in Siena, wander along the historic center’s quaint, cobblestone streets and into the sprawling Piazza del Campo. Be sure to sample a scoop or two of refreshing gelato while you’re here. It’s the perfect summer evening treat!
Next consider heading southwest towards the coast and the town of Massa Marittima. Enjoy a glass of wine and an exquisite sunset panorama while dining al fresco at one of the village’s trattorias. Once you reach the Tyrrhenian seafront, follow the SS 1 north. Get your fill of sun by the sea and spend a couple days relaxing on the white sand beaches in Rosignano Solvay, a province of Livorno. Your travels in Tuscany absolutely would not be complete without a trip to Pisa. Capture the obligatory snapshot of yourself awkwardly holding your hands in the air and pretending to push the Leaning Tower of Pisa upright.
Don’t miss out on la dolce vita. Call Kemwel toll free at 1-877-820-0668 and book a rental car in Florence today. It is mandatory that all car rentals in Italy include collision damage waiver (CDW) and theft protection coverage. Ask your reservation agent about our special Zero Excess and Excess Refund rates. The additional insurance deductible protection gives you added peace of mind. It allows you to focus on more the more important things while abroad, such as picking the best place to lay out your beach towel in the sand or selecting a glass of wine to pair with your linguine ai frutti di mare.
Posted by Noella | Under Events & Festivals
courtesy of “Gallery of the City of Kemi”
You have likely read about and seen pictures of Finland’s ICEHOTEL online, which is a spectacular use of ice as a building and artistic medium. However, you probably haven’t heard of the world’s biggest snow fort. Not surprisingly, the Finns also lay claim to this title. Actually, it’s called the SnowCastle, and just as its name suggests, the establishment is created almost entirely from snow and ice. The very idea of visiting this extraordinary fortification beckons to the inner child in all of us (jumping up and down, of course) to declare reign over its snow kingdom for a night.
Early December of each year, since 1996, the twelve foot high castle walls are rebuilt. It takes about five weeks to construct the SnowHotel, SnowRestuarant and SnowChapel within the SnowCastle’s powder white courtyard. Snow making equipment is used along with the aid of molds to form the structures, and castle doors opened to the public in January.
courtesy of Jennifer Pickens at flickr creative commons
If the thought of spending a night at the SnowCastle makes you shiver, day passes can be purchased to tour the winter wonderland between the hours of 10 am through 7 pm. Those of you seeking a little adventure have the option of booking a night in one of the group rooms, a private room for singles or doubles, or the honeymoon suite. The SnowHotel interior remains at a constant 23 degrees Fahrenheit (or -5 degrees Celsius), and guests stay toasty warm in deluxe sleeping bags that are provided by the SnowCastle.
Many couples have been wed at the SnowChapel over the past ten years of its wintertime existence. After the fairytale-like ceremony, a reception can be held at the SnowRestaurant.
You don’t need to be celebrating a special event to dine at the restaurant or visit the chapel. Enjoy a unique meal at the SnowRestaurant, where you are served dinner or lunch at one of the ice tables. Reservations are required for the dining, but there is open seating at the IceBar. Sip an alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverage from a novelty ice-glass.
Discover the SnowCastle and so much more when you reserve a car rental in Finland. Happy travels!
courtesy of Visit Finland at flickr creative commons
Posted by Noella | Under Holidays, Movie Destinations
The new City of Culture program in the UK is proud to announce its first highlighted city, Derry, Northern Ireland! A prestigious program of cultural events is slated for 2013 to show off Derry’s local panache.
The Turner Prize (the UK’s best known art award) will be presented in Derry, a first for Northern Ireland (or anywhere outside of England for that matter). Also, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Ballet will have ongoing programs hosted in the city. Seamus Heaney, the Nobel Prize winning poet will even be making an appearance in town!
The Walls 400! program will span the entire year, celebrating the history of Derry’s city walls with a series of fascinating educational activities, but one of the biggest draws of the year is the anticipated Music City! Festival.
On June 21, all genres of music will be represented in the streets of Derry. From rock to electronic, opera to jazz, the city will hum with the sound of music and merriment. Besides the usual music venues like pubs, lounges and concert halls, churches, offices and squares will all host part of the act.
Further into the summer, the City of Culture Sprint Triathalon will take place. A first for Derry, this grueling fitness challenge will test athletes in the River Foyle, on bicycles across the Craigavon and Foyle Bridges, and finally running into the city center across the Peace Bridge.
The grand finale of the summer fun will take place from August 11-18 during Fleadh Cheoil na Heireann, the largest Irish festival on earth. This is the first time it will be celebrated in Northern Ireland since 1951, when it began! Music, dance, food and tons of fun for the kids will draw over 300,000 visitors from all over the UK and Europe.
Explore Northern Ireland with a car rental in Derry this summer and enjoy the festivities!
Posted by Noella | Under Holidays, Top Ten, Travel Gadgets
Visit Cleveland, Ohio this holiday season for the chance to re-live the holiday classic A Christmas Story. At the Christmas Story House and Museum, you can tour the actual house where the film took place, admire authentic props from the film, and pick out your own Major Award Leg Lamp for the front room window.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Erik Daniel Drost
From Randy’s puffy snow suit to the toys from the Higbee’s window, the whole family will be delighted by the set pieces and memorabilia from A Christmas Story. Behind-the-scenes photos of the cast and crew give you a taste of just how much fun it was to make this movie.
You can buy pink bunny PJs for the whole family in the gift shop, or, dare I say it? A genuine Official Daisy Red Ryder Range Model Air Rifle BB Gun! There are leg lamps available in all size, from desk top minis to full size replicas that will emit “the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window.”
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Yvonne in Willowick Ohio
Brian Jones, the founder of The Red Rider Leg Lamp Company, bought the over 100 year old house when it came up for auction on eBay in 2004. He completely gutted the interior and restored it to the precise specifications of Ralphie Parker’s family home, complete with period furnishings and details from the movie. The family car is even in the driveway!
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Yvonne in Willowick Ohio
Across the street, the gift shop and museum complete the fan experience in the otherwise quiet Tremont neighborhood. Young and old fans alike will love this kitschy and fun ode to one of the most popular Christmas films of all time. With a car rental in Cleveland, you can enjoy the whole city this holiday season.
Posted by Noella | Under Movie Destinations
This year, you want to get them something fun, something useful, something they’ll love! Oh, and something affordable. These ten travel musts are as practical as they are stylish, and they all ring in at under $40!
Scratch Off Map—$25
This is like a giant scratch ticket for your wall! Every time you visit a new country, you scratch off the gold coating to mark it. Globe trekkers will love showing off their country count! It comes in World, Europe and USA versions to suit your personal travel goals.
Boomz Audio Portable Mini Speakers—$30
This ultra packable, wee speaker is perfect if you are short on carry-on space. It is compatible with any smart phone, laptop or tablet, but wait—there’s more! It also comes with a 2GB SD card, so you can play your favorite songs straight from the speaker!
Discovery Trekking Ultra Fast Drying Towel—$30
These lightweight, ultra wicking travel towels are perfect for adventure travelers who can’t be bothered with bulky, soggy towels when camping or hostelling. They are UV protective, antimicrobial and come in four sizes. discoverytrekking.com
Eyn iPhone Case—$30
Perfect for keeping your ID and credit cards close at hand, these colorful cases click securely shut on the back of your iPhone. A money clip, handy mirror and even slim, exclusive lip balms that slide neatly into the case further sweeten the already ingenious design.
Poketo Travel Journal—$24
A sturdy journal for recording memories and saving ticket stubs is what every intrepid explorer needs. This one does not disappoint with its secure pocket, handy organization tabs and sections dedicated to itineraries, to-do lists and even packing checklists. It stays shut with stout elastic and even accommodates your pen!
Invented in the 17th century as the be-all, end-all of utensils, the hobo knife boasts a fold out spoon, knife and fork. This is the perfect outdoorsy gift for your campfire loving friends. They’ll love the quality craftsmanship and the streamlined design.
Printstagram Desk Calendar—$40
Delight your favorite iPhonographer by curating 365 of their best Instagram photos into a tear off desk calendar. Sturdy pages are perfect as decoration, note cards, love letters or albums! Imagine, a photo album with real pages to turn! In the 21st century, that’s hard to find!
Pilot and Captain Airport Code Tees—$32
These soft, retro styled tees are a great way to help your jet setting friends show off their hometown pride when they are abroad. They come in distressed colors and boast airport codes from major cities around the world. With shout outs like JFK, LAX, LON, TYO and ZRH on their chest, they’ll be the envy of all.
Every man needs to shave, but traveling with razors and shaving cream can be a hassle. This electric groomer is no bigger than an iPhone, charges by USB and leaves an impeccably shorn face to boot! Your stubbly friends will love this new toy.
IOU Madras Scarf—$40
The I Owe You Project is a unique program that sells handmade textiles, but takes things a step further by telling you exactly who crafted your piece and where they are from. You then upload an image of yourself wearing the piece and the circle is complete! These scarves are lusciously soft and will be a great conversation piece for the lucky recipient.
Whether your travels take you to warmer climes or the frost of Europe in winter, Kemwel has the best rates on car rentals in the UKcar rentals in the UK, Italy, Australia and beyond!
Posted by Noella | Under Top Five, Travel Gadgets
Tomorrow is the New Zealand premier of the long awaited prequel to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The actors arrived in Wellington today, in no ordinary fashion!
Just this past weekend, Air New Zealand unveiled the most epic decal to ever grace a jumbo jet. A 77 meter long mural of The Hobbit inspired scenery and characters took six days and 400 man hours to affix to one of the airline’s Boeing 777-300s. The nicknamed “Hobbit Plane” will regularly fly a route between Los Angeles and London, but today it landed in Wellington freighted with the excited cast and crew from the movie.
Four dwarves and one wizard, along with plenty of media, were aboard. The cabin crew wore hobbit inspired accessories, (leather armbands for the gents and silver crowns for the ladies) and—Surprise! The in-flight entertainment was the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The enthusiasm that New Zealanders have for this film is evident wherever you go. Tourists and locals alike were vying to catch a glimpse of the Hobbit Plane as it taxied past the huge “Middle of Middle Earth” sign that is proudly displayed across the terminal. Air New Zealand has been one of the biggest proponents of the film, going so far as to commission WETA Workshop (the masterminds behind the LOTR trilogy CGI) to create a delightful, hobbit-themed pre-flight safety video titled, “An Unexpected Briefing” which, if you haven’t already, you need to watch immediately! The video has already reached 10 million views on YouTube!
Tolkien’s fantastic world comes to life with one of the most ruggedly beautiful countries in the world as its backdrop. If you are lucky enough to be traveling in New Zealand already, don’t miss out on the premier! Hop in your rental car in Wellington and get in on the action, or else you’ll have to wait until December 14th with the rest of the world!
Photo via stuff.co.nz
Posted by Noella | Under International Cuisine
‘Tis the season to start brainstorming and browsing for gifts! If you have an adventurous globe-trekker amongst your lucky recipients this year, look no further than these five must-have travel gadgets.
CamelBak UV Water Purifier
For your adventuresome friends who think of travel in terms of gaiters and mosquito nets rather than breakfast buffets and opera tickets, the All Clear water purifier is the perfect gift. It says “I want to show I care by helping you not get dysentery on your next trip to rural India, you crazy vagabond explorer.” The bottle is in full microbiological contaminant-busting regalia with its powerful and foolproof UV bulb, and it even has a screen that tells you when the water is safe for drinking.
Sound Oasis Alarm Clock
Even if you are actually enthusiastic about being roused at 4:15am so you have prime seating for the sunrise over Haleakala Crater, or so you can summit Kilimanjaro, you probably still need a reliable alarm clock. The Sound Oasis is far superior to your standard fare beep-beep-beep smoke detector-style wake up call; it boasts 18 soothing natural sounds including an exclusive jet lag reduction sequence! Compact, yet fully tricked out with every amenity you could want in an alarm clock (AC adaptor, voice memo, gradual off volume reduction and headphone jack), it is a must for those who don’t know the meaning of “sleeping in.”
Eco Pod Rugged Phone Case
Let’s be honest, even our crunchiest of traveler friends still tote their iPhone around in their hand woven, hemp carry-on. While they are camping on the beach in the South Pacific in hammocks crafted from banana leaves and braided coconut husk, their smartphone will be safe from the elements in this watertight, virtually indestructible case. Also convenient for your white water rafting/kayaking/wait—any outdoor sport friends, this case floats, has a waterproof headphone jack, and a handy carabiner for clipping. Its polycarbonate shell is shock resistance to boot, for those of us who are indoor kids, but just clumsy.
Leatherman Juice Cs4
You’ll find 15 daily uses for this 15-in-1 tool, whether you are camping in New England, or trekking in the Himalayas or hot air ballooning in Capodocia. Boasting everything from a serrated saw to cork screw to pliers to four different screwdriver heads (including Philips head), this multi-tool is not joking around. Whether you suddenly need to cut through sturdy rope, pull out a splinter, poke a hole (careful with that awl if you’re ballooning) or clip out a coupon, you’ll only need to reach for this one lightweight, compact lifesaver. Leave this one in your checked luggage or the TSA will have their own gift that keeps on giving.
Zeiss Victory 8×20 Binocular
These high powered peepers will not only come in handy if you are marooned on a desert isle, but they will also be a saving grace if humpback whales are breaching during sunrise off the coast of Kauai, or a rare spot-billed pelican is sighted from your treehouse in Thailand. The vivid imagery and innovative ergonomics of this set of binoculars are key, but the real kicker that makes them worth the hefty price tag is their light compactness and durability (the lenses are protected with state of the art waterproofing, nitrogen and dielectric mirror coatings).
Check out Kemwel for your cheap car rentals in Europe, Canada, Australia or wherever your adventures take you.
Posted by Noella | Under Holidays, Travel Gadgets
Today we’d like to highlight some of the famous, (and sometimes infamous), treats that hail from the fair land of Oz. Some dishes are mouthwatering, some are definitely an acquired taste, but all are quintessentially Australian. Hop in your car rental in Australia and tour the countryside in search of these authentic snacks.
Mince Meat Pie
Photo by Mary_Thompson, courtesy of Creative Commons
Considered Australia’s national dish by many, this hand held pastry is as popular as a quick snack can be. Usually topped with a squirt of tomato sauce, (kind of like ketchup for you Americans), the hot ground beef and gravy variety are the most popular, followed closely by steak and onion or chicken and vegetables. Grab one or two of these at a rugby and you’ll fit right in like a local.
Photo by joyosity, courtesy of Creative Commons
One of the touted tastiest biscuits on the planet, Tim Tams are a staple in every Aussie’s household cabinet. Delicate, yet packed with malted chocolatey goodness, these dipped sandwich cookies come in flavors to please all palates. Channel your inner kid and bite off both ends of a Tim Tam, then use it as a straw to suck up your milk! Trivia time: Tim Tams were named in 1964 after the Kentucky Derby winner.
Photo by martinhoward, courtesy of Creative Commons
The palatability of this iconic spread is a topic of much contention, mostly among visitors. Aussies are raised on the stuff and tend to adore the tangy yeast spread on toast, crackers, sandwiches, heck pretty much anything! Its sharp saltiness is a shock to rookies; some even compare it to the taste of beef bouillon. Think of it as Australia’s universal spread—like peanut butter for Americans!
Photo by markheseltine, courtesy of Creative Commons
This is more of an event, rather than just a meal. Grilling on the “barbie” is an integral part of Australian culture, and sausages are the star of the show. Far superior to a run of the mill hot dog, these juicy links are served on a soft slice of white bread with tomato sauce and fried onions. It’s anyone’s guess why buns never caught on. It is compulsory that they be washed down with a cold beer!
Photo by Michael Gwyther-Jones, courtesy of Creative Commons
Australians and Kiwis have been at odds over who invented Pavlova since the 1920s when Anna Pavlova, a famous ballerina, came Down Under on tour. It’s a unique concoction made from meringue that is baked until crispy on the outside. Topped with mounds of cream and fruit, this light dessert is a summer holiday staple in most Australian households.
Is it ever too early to start holiday shopping? Sub-question, is it possible to draft a Christmas list too soon? We answer a definitive “no” to both queries. The leaves are crunching and the smell of spiced baked goods is in the air—clear indications that it’s full steam ahead on the present front. We love to browse for gifts almost as much as we love receiving them, so we are happy to share a few must-haves to jump start the inevitable retail maelstrom that is The Holidays.
iPhone Lens Dial
Photo courtesy of photojojo.com
Serious “iPhonographers” will flip for this triple threat camera lens. It doubles as a sleek, metallic case as well, but good luck slipping this contraption in your back pocket! The attached dial of optical quality lenses is cumbersome, but totally worth it for the opportunity to snap fish eye, wide angle and telephoto pics. Your artsy friends will surely pale at the sight of your newfound photographic prowess. Pair it with a Gorillapod (it has two tripod mounts) and Facebook will quiver in anticipation of the unique shots of your travels you’ll soon be sharing.
Photo courtesy of bedphones.com
We are willing to forgive the dorky name since these micro “sleeping headphones” actually seem pretty legit. They are super thin and cushy so you can drift off without worrying about waking from your reverie with an earbud shaped dent in your forehead. The accompanying app is so clever it will incrementally turn down your tunes according to your movements, and then shut them off once you are asleep. Bonus: they come with an eye mask, making them ideal for travelers who struggle with quality sleep.
Window Solar Charger
Photo courtesy of samsonite.com
We’ve seen plenty of handy chargers that will save you in a pinch, but none as ingenious as this one that’s designed to stick to your car window. While you’re tooling around the countryside in your rental car in Europe, your charger will be hoarding juice that may later save you when your smartphone is coasting on fumes and your GPS has led you to a field of Highland cows instead of the B&B. Cloudy day? You can re-up the unit via USB and still enjoy the convenience of immortal battery life.
Cube Laser Virtual Keyboard
Photo courtesy of thinkgeek.com
You’re going to feel like James Bond when you whip this micro magic machine from your carry on. It pairs in seconds with your iPhone, iPad, Android or laptop by Bluetooth and then—Voila! A full-sized QWERTY keyboard is projected to the desk/table/floor. It will allow you to type quickly and accurately, without the worry of auto-correct hilariously ruining your thought process. It even makes satisfying keystroke “clicks,” so everyone within earshot will appreciate your hard-earned 50 WPM.
FreeHands Smartphone Gloves
Photo courtesy of freehands.com
As if we could survive the walk from the parking spot to the hotel without Instagramming a photo of the cracked sidewalk, a patch of graffiti or an ornately carved handrail. #NotOnYourLife. #ArtIsEverywhere. With these cozy yet touchscreen-friendly gloves, you won’t miss a precious moment of your smartphone’s veritable infinity of capabilities, even if it’s freezing. Wear these gloves for an early morning jog so you can skip lame Pandora songs without having to peel off one glove with your teeth. These would also be invaluable when navigating with Google Maps through the tangle of streets in your quaint but frosty travel destination.
Wherever your travels take you this holiday season, remember to check out Kemwel for the lowest rates on car rentals in the UK , France, Germany, Italy, Spain and beyond.