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How to search cheap tickets to Sofia

October 24th, 2011

Now is the off-season for international flights and finding good deals on tickets to Sofia doesn’t look so hard. There are still many saving tips you should know before you book your trip. The cheapest days to fly are Monday trough Thursday. Most airlines have a weekend surcharge for flying on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The weekend surcharge is $30 per direction. British Airways has for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You can save money on your ticket to Sofia by considering seasonality. The Low Season is from November 1st through 12 December, and from 26 December through 31 March. Travel from 12 Dec through 25 Dec is considered Holiday travel and is more expensive. Prices on the tickets to Sofia are based not only on seasonality but also on availability. The lesser seats on the plane, the more expensive the tickets are. On our booking engine you can search for flights plus and minus one day from the selected dates. The matrix will show which combination of dates you can fly cheap to Sofia. All of the airlines offering tickets to Sofia, offer tickets with fixed dates and penalties to change the dates. The only airline that offers free of penalties to change is Bulgaria air. Make sure you check with one of our agents which tickets offer free change of dates.

Flying with your pet

May 23rd, 2011

It`s not a rare case when people take their pets on overseas flights. Although this brings some comfort to the owner, the long flight comes as a great shock for the animal. That`s why more and more airlines are making their services for pets better. In fact, with most carriers, you are allowed to take your pet inside the cabin in a special container if it doesn`t exceed the given weight. As expected, different airlines have different policies for that matter. That`s why we will try to shed some light on this problem, digging in the animal transport regulations of some of the largest airlines operating from the United States to Europe and vice versa.

Lufthansa

The German carrier has a very liberal policy about transporting pets on their planes. It`s allowed to take your fury friend inside the plane`s passenger saloon if the whole weight of the animal, locked in the special container (which you will be given when you check in on most airports) does not exceed 8 kg (17.6 lbs). Larger animals travel in the cargo bay, locked inside a large enough container for them to stand up, and have sufficient space to move. Water must also be prepared if the flight is intercontinental. If you have a guide dog or a service dog, it will travel with you in the cabin of the plane with no charge. Every other trip with your pet from the US to Europe will be charged per kg like regular excess baggage. You should remember to inform Lufthansa of your intensions for flying with your pet, at least 24 hours before departure.


United / Continental

Although a member of the Star Alliance like Lufthansa, United has a very different policy on traveling with animals. The company takes responsibility for its actions and often doesn`t allow specific breeds of animals or pets that aren`t healthy or look aggressive, on board. Nevertheless, cats, dogs, and any other kind of nonvenomous and nonaggressive small animals are allowed in the economy cabin. The containers which the animal is stored should be big enough to provide some space for your pet, but it shouldn`t exceed the space beneath the seat in front of you, where you should keep it. Larger animals are transported in the cargo hold. When temperatures are extremely cold, or extremely hot, the airline will not risk your pet`s life and simply not allow it on board. Prices for traveling with pets vary from 90 EUR inside the cabin, to 180 EUR for a spot in the cargo bay.

British Airways

Things get a little complicated if you want to take your pet on your trip to Europe with British Airlines. Although the company is proud with its experience with handling pets on board, there`s a strict limitation for bringing animals inside the passenger cabin. The only type of animal that can be brought on board in the saloon, is a guide dog. Every other kind of pet travels in the cargo hold, with a specific container and enough water and food for the trip. You should contact your vet before taking your pet on a BA flight. The veterinarian should take a blood sample of the animal and if everything is ok, he will issue a pass for your pet. You must contact BA at least 14 days before departure of your flight to book your animals place in the cargo hold. The fees for traveling with a pet differ very much so you should ask your local BA agent.

US Airways

US Airways does not allow pets flying inside the passenger cabin on intercontinental flights. The only way to take your pet with you on your trip to and from the US is to store it in a specialized container and leave the animal in the cargo hold of the plane. Naturally, US Airways might not allow certain types of animals onboard if they do not look healthy, or if they can`t bear with the extreme temperature variations that might take place inside the cargo bay of the plane. Passengers should make a reservation for their pets at least 4 weeks before departure. For fees and information, contact your local US Airways agent.

Delta

Although Delta doesn`t allow to carry a pet inside the cabin, the company takes care to pressurize and control the temperature of the cargo bay where all animals on that flight will be stored. However, the carrier has an abundant list of things to do, before taking your animal to the airport. There must be a permit from your vet, stating the animal is fit enough to travel. You should also carry verification for all vaccinations your pet has undergone and you must contact your local Animal Reception Center. This is mandatory if you travel to the UK. The Animal Reception Center will contact British customs and get a clear entrance for your pet in Britain.

KLM / Air France

As of 1 April 2011, KLM doesn`t allow pets to travel inside the passenger cabin on intercontinental flights anymore. The options for you and your animal friend are limited to two variants. The first is to have your pet checked in as baggage, unless the total weight of the animal and the container it`s stored in does not exceed 75 kg (165 lbs). KLM aircraft have special pressurized and ventilated sections in which your pet will be situated. You should contact your KLM agent at least 48 hours before departure to verify that there is any room for pets on your flight, because space in the ventilated sections is limited. The other way to transport your pet is with freight carriers. In that case, you should contact your local cargo agent who will make the booking for your animal. For a container and pet that a exceed the total weight of 32 kg (70.5 lbs) you will have to pay around 200 EUR. If you have a transfer at Amsterdam Airport that will take more than 2 hours of stay, you will have to pay an additional 150 EUR for animal care.

American Airlines

AA doesn`t allow pets to travel inside the passenger cabin onboard transatlantic flights. As with KLM / Air France, customers can check in their beloved animals like baggage and be assured that their containers will be carefully situated in a ventilated and pressurized space. It`s important to know that American Airlines does not allow pets to travel to the United Kingdom. For any other European Union Member Country, the animal must carry a microchip or a tattoo, that matches the information on the animal`s vaccination card. For fares and charges on your pet, you are advised to contact AA for more information.
It`s important to know that most airlines have a policy for some breeds of cats and dogs and don`t allow their transportation with aircraft due to their fragile nature. Those are usulally the so called snub-nosed dogs and cats. Here`s a list of the breeds that are restricted from flying:

Dogs
Affenpinscher Bulldog (All breeds) Japanese Chin Presa Canario
American Staffordshire Terrier Cane Corso Lhasa Apso Pug (All breeds)
Boston Terrier Dogo Argentino Mastiff (All breeds) Shar Pei
Boxer (All breeds) Dogue De Bordeaux Pekingese Shih Tzu
Brussels English Toy Spaniel Pit Bull Tibetan Spaniel

Cats

Burmese Persian
Himalayan Exotic Shorthair

Any Mix between those breeds isn`t allowed onboard as well.

Frequent-flyer program

May 7th, 2011

A frequent flyer program (FFP) is a loyalty program offered by many airlines. Typically, airline customers enrolled in the program accumulate frequent flyer miles (kilometers, points, segments) corresponding to the distance flown on that airline or its partners. There are other ways to accumulate miles. In recent years, more miles were awarded for using co-branded credit and debit cards than for air travel. Acquired miles can be redeemed for free air travel; for other goods or services; or for increased benefits, such as travel class upgrades, airport lounge access or priority bookings.

History

The first modern frequent flyer program was created at Texas International Airlines in 1979.But lacking the computer resources of its larger competitors, TI was overtaken by American’s introduction of AAdvantage in May 1981. During the early days, several other carriers experimented with reward programs, including Braniff International and Continental (OnePass).[citation needed] American’s program was a modification of a never-realized concept from 1979 that would have given special fares to frequent customers. It was quickly followed later that year by programs from United (Mileage Plus) and Delta (SkyMiles), and in 1982 from British Airways (Executive Club).

Since then, frequent-flyer programs have grown enormously. As of January 2005, a total of 14 trillion frequent-flyer miles had been accumulated by people worldwide, which corresponds to a total value of 700 billion US dollars.

Miles accrual: Flying

The primary method of obtaining points in a frequent flyer program until recent years was to fly with the associated airline. Most systems reward travelers with a specific number of points based on the distance traveled (such as 1 point per mile flown), although systems vary. Many discount airlines, rather than awarding points per mile, award points for flight segments in lieu of distance. In Europe, for example, a number of airlines offer a fixed number of points for domestic or intra-European flights regardless of the distance (but varying according to class of travel). With the introduction of airline alliances and code-share flights, frequent flyer programs are often extended to allow benefits to be used across partner airlines.

The calculation method can become complicated, with additional points awarded as a ‘cabin bonus’ (usually as a percentage multiplier over the standard economy-class milage) for flying first or business class, and often fewer or zero points given when flying on many economy tickets sold through travel agents, online vendors, or the airlines’ own web sites. Additional bonus points are sometimes granted after members reach specific levels of flying activity.

Programs differ on the expiration of points. Some expire after a fixed time, and others expire if the account is inactive for an extended period (for example, three years).

Miles accrual: Partnerships & promotions

Many programs also allow points to be obtained not only by flying but by favoring airline ‘partners’ on the ground. This includes staying at participating hotels, or renting a vehicle from a participating company, or shopping at a particular department store. Other methods include credit and debit cards that offer points for charges made to the card, and systems which allow earn miles by eating at participating restaurants and charging the meals to registered cards.

Using credit and debit cards to earn points, as well as taking advantage of special promotional offers, can allow some people to earn an exceptionally high frequent flyer points with relatively minimal outlay.

Customer status

Many frequent flyer programs identify travelers who fly more than a few times per year by awarding them different status levels, which in turn give a number of benefits. Status levels vary from scheme to scheme, but benefits can include:

* Access to business and first class lounges with an economy ticket
* Access to other airlines’ lounges
* Increased mileage accumulation (such as doubling or tripling)
* Reserving an unoccupied adjacent seat
* The ability to reserve specific seats, such as exit row seats with more leg room
* Free or discounted upgrades to a higher travel class
* Priority in waitlisting or flying standby
* Preference in not being bumped if a flight is oversold
* Priority of luggage (to be prioritized on transfer and to be displayed on the belt first)
* Waived or reduced fees (e.g. baggage fees, service charges)
* Ability to grant status to another person
* Eliminating of program’s miles expiration rules

Some programs even permit elite members to reserve space on sold-out flights, giving members the ability of bumping regular passengers. In the US, member status is based on elite qualifying miles (EQM) or number of flight segments, not redeemable miles. Typically one elite qualifying mile is earned for each mile flown on a paid ticket, although there may be a percentage bonus for flying full-fare economy, business, or first class. In addition, the airline may offer opportunities to earn elite qualifying miles in non-flying ways, often in connection with their branded credit card. There are usually many more ways to earn redeemable miles (which can be used for free tickets and other benefits) without flying than ways to earn elite qualifying miles. Some airlines will recognise a customer’s status with a competing airline, and grant them the same benefits.

Some airlines offer accelerated admission to their elite programs through special promotions, such as flying 10,000 miles (16,000 km) of non-discounted coach fares or 20,000 miles (32,000 km) of discounted fares within three months gains a higher tier membership normally reserved for passengers flying 50,000 miles per year.

Value of a mile

Travellers frequently debate how much accumulated miles are worth, something which is highly variable based on how they are redeemed. A typical ballpark figure is approximately 2 cents per mile based on discount (rather than full fare) economy class travel costs. However, most airlines have stringent capacity constraints on the number of “award” seats available, so some people argue that this ballpark figure is an overstatement. In this case, the value of a mile drops below a cent per mile. The airlines themselves value miles in their financial statements at less than one one-thousandth of a cent per mile.

In contrast, calculating the value of a mile based on full-fare business class travel costs can yield a figure several times higher, but only if the customer would personally be willing to pay the multiple thousands of dollars such tickets would cost otherwise. However, a person paying a full business fare will be able to change flights on short notice without extra cost; a person flying business class on a free award ticket may find that last minute changes result in no award seat availability with the result that a ticket must be bought.

Increasing limitations on the availability of seats for point redemption, increases in services fees that airlines charge for redemption, and limitations on the transferability of redeemed tickets together have caused the value of miles to customers to decrease with time[citation needed].

Air New Zealand found a unique solution to this problem, by pegging their Airpoints scheme so one point (an “Airpoints Dollar”) has the same value as one New Zealand dollar when purchasing. This approach has also been adopted by Canada’s WestJet Airlines.

Bankruptcy

In the wake of the September 11 attacks, some airlines have faced financial difficulties, raising concerns among frequent flyers that their points could be lost or devalued.[citation needed] All airlines include provisos in their program agreements reserving the right to modify or eliminate them on relatively short notice. But since miles are a strong customer incentive, troubled airlines avoid their elimination in bankruptcy proceedings, and indeed may expand them or make them more generous to elite members and high fare passengers in order to win sales.

Furthermore, since most airline miles are never claimed, the programs represent a relatively small liability, and indeed can represent a profit center[citation needed]. Since the 1990s, U.S. airlines have sold billions of miles to partners such as credit cards, hotel chains, and car rental agencies, who offer this “currency” as an incentive to purchase their own services. Any effort to curtail the awarding of miles would thus endanger partner relations and another revenue stream. Notably, the banks backing several airline-branded credit cards have been a key source of airline financing[citation needed], including United Airlines (Chase), US Airways (Barclays), Delta Air Lines (American Express), Northwest Airlines (US Bank), American Airlines (Citibank), Continental Airlines (Chase) and Copa Airlines (Visa).

Historically, the record is mixed. U.S. airlines have usually honored miles held in the accounts of acquired airlines. For instance American Airlines converted members of TWA’s “Aviators” program to its own, as did Air Canada for Canadian Airlines’ “Canadian Plus” program members. Sometimes, miles were honored by a close partner; Continental Airlines assumed Eastern Air Lines’ program when it failed, as did Delta of Pan Am’s. Bankrupt Swissair miles were transferred to Swiss International Air Lines TravelClub who were transferred to Lufthansa’s Miles & More after the acquisition of the Swiss carrier.

Members are at greatest risk of losing their miles when an airline liquidates. All miles and privileges were lost, without recognition from any other carrier, as in the cases of Midway, Braniff, and Ansett Australia.

Accounting issues

Business travelers typically accrue the valuable points in their own names, rather than the names of the companies that paid for the travel. This has raised concerns that the company is providing a tax-free benefit (point-based awards) to employees, or that employees have misappropriated value that belongs to the company, or even that the program acts as a kind of bribe. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has not as yet made any move to tax mileage programs, though for instance the Canadian and German taxation authorities consider mileage redeemed for free travel to be a taxable benefit.[citation needed] Most companies consider the miles earned by their employees to be a valuable personal perk that in part compensates for the daily grind of frequent business travel, though some governmental organizations have attempted to prevent their employees from accumulating miles on official travel. For example, Australian Public Servants are not permitted to redeem points accrued from official travel.

Some programs allow donating frequent flyer miles to certain charities. While the Canadian government will honor these donations as a charitable gift, the difficulty here is getting a tax receipt for those points from the company itself. This policy also appears to conflict with the position that reward points are taxable in the first place.

On the airline side, the points represent potential non-revenue travelers on its books. These must be carried forward on balance sheets as an outstanding contractual debt for an indeterminate time, although the actual value (or loss) may be difficult to determine for any particular period.

Airline Programs and Expiration Policies

Africa

* Air Algérie Plus — Miles expire after 24 months of inactivity[citation needed]
* Air Seychelles — All points acquired will have a 2 year validity period
* Ethiopian Airlines Sheba Miles
* Royal Air Maroc Safar Flyer — Miles expire 3 years after earning
* South African Airways Voyager — Miles expire after 36 months of inactivity

Asia

* Air China Phoenix – Miles expire 2 complete calendar years after they are earned.
* All Nippon Airways ANA Mileage Club – Miles expire 36 months after they are earned,except for ANA Mileage Club Diamond elite members.
* Asiana Club – Expiry dates vary upon level of membership. Silver and Magic level members’ miles expire after five years, Gold and higher level members’ miles expire after seven. Corporate members have only one year to claim mileage. Miles earned before 30 September 2008 will never expire.
* Bangkok Airways Flyer Bonus – Miles expire 36 months after they are earned.
* Cathay Pacific / DragonAir Asia Miles expire 36 months after they are earned.
* EVA Air Evergreen Club – Miles expire 36 months after being earned.
* Garuda Indonesia – Garuda Frequent Flyer (GFF) – Miles expire three years after being earned (effective from 01 January 2011, including miles earned before 01 January 2011)
* Japan Airlines Mileage Bank – Miles expire 36 months after being earned.
* Jet Airways – Miles expire after 13 quarters.
* Korean Airlines SKYPASS – Miles expire 10 years after being earned. Miles earned before 30 June 2008 will never expire.
* Malaysia Airlines Enrich – Miles expire one year after being earned, but members can extend the validity of their miles for an extra year after paying a fee to do so or by becoming Enrich Platinum elite members
* Royal Brunei Royal Skies – Miles will never expire as long as there is eligible activity within three years.
* Philippine Airlines Mabuhay – Miles expire 36 months after being earned.
* Shanghai Airlines – Miles expire 2 complete calendar years after they are earned.
* Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer – Miles expire 36 months after being earned (can be extended up to 12 months for a fee).
* Thai Airways International Royal Orchid Plus – Miles earned in one calendar year will expire at the end of the third calendar year after accrual.
* Vietnam Airlines Golden Lotus Program – Miles earned will expire two years after two years on the member’s sign up anniversary month.

Europe

* Aeroflot Bonus – Miles expire after 24 months since last flight activity
* Aerosvit Meridian – Miles expire after last day of 36th month
* Air France / KLM / Air Europa Flying Blue – Miles expire after 20 months of flight inactivity (for non-elite members)
* Alitalia MilleMiglia – Miles expire after 24 months since last flight activity
* AirBaltic BalticMiles – Reward miles expire after 3 years after the day they are first earned
* BMI Diamond Club – Miles expire after 24 months of inactivity
* British Airways Executive Club – Miles expire after 36 months of inactivity
* Iberia Plus – Miles expire after 24 months of inactivity
* Malev Hungarian Airlines Duna Club – In principle, Bonus Points collected by travelling are valid for 3 years from the date of the trip (rounded up to the nearest quarter).
* Miles & More (Lufthansa, Air Dolomiti, Augsburg Airways, Contact Air, Eurowings, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines as well as regional airlines: Adria Airways, Croatia Airlines and Luxair) – Miles expire 36 months after date of earning for non-elite members with no Lufthansa-branded credit card, or 36 months after loss of elite status for currently elite members.
* Czech Airlines OK Plus – Miles expire 2 years after last activity (redemption do not count as activity).
* SAS EuroBonus (SAS, Blue1, Widerøe and Estonian Air) – Points expires 60 months after earning and/or purchasing the points.
* Spanair Plus – Miles expire 3 years after last activity.
* Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles – Collected miles (flight, hotel stay, car rental) expire at the end of the third full calendar year following their collection.[28]
* TAP Victoria – Miles expire 3 years after last activity. Paying a fee will extend miles for another 3 years.
* Ukraine International Airlines Panorama- Miles not expire.
* Virgin Atlantic Flying Club – Miles expire 3 years after last activity.
* Vueling Airlines’ punto. – Points expire 3 years after accrual, or after 18 months of inactivity on the account.

Middle East

* Egyptair Plus – Miles expire 3 years after earning. (Except for Egyptair Plus Platinum members)
* El Al Matmid – Points expire 3 years after earning
* Middle East Airlines Cedar Miles – Miles expire 5 years after earning.
* Skywards – Miles expire at the end of the month of the traveller’s birth, 3 years after earning (however, you can use them to book a reward ticket that is valid for up to 12 months).
North America

* Air Canada Aeroplan – Miles expire after 12 months of account inactivity or 7 years after they are earned, whichever occurs first.
* AirTran A+ Rewards – Credits expire 1 year after they are earned (2 years after earning with elite status or co-branded credit card).
* Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air Mileage Plan – Miles expire after 24 months of account inactivity.
* American AAdvantage – Miles expire after 18 months of account inactivity.[29]
* Continental OnePass – Miles don’t expire, however, accounts may be closed or miles forfeited after 18 months of account inactivity. Combined with United’s Mileage Plus program.
* Delta SkyMiles – Miles never expire.
* Frontier EarlyReturns – Miles expire after 2 complete calendar years of account inactivity.
* Hawaiian HawaiianMiles – Miles expire after 18 months of account inactivity.
* JetBlue TrueBlue – Credits expire 12 months after last flight or co-branded credit card activity.
* Midwest Miles expire after 3 years of account inactivity (beginning in January 2011, miles will expire after 24 months of inactivity).
* Southwest Rapid Rewards – Credits expire 2 complete calendar years after they are earned.
* Spirit Airlines FREE SPIRIT – 2,000 miles must be earned in a six-month rolling period to prevent expiration.
* United Mileage Plus – Miles expire after 18 months of account inactivity. Will absorb Continental’s OnePass program on approval of merger with Continental Airlines
* US Airways Dividend Miles – Miles expire after 18 months of account inactivity. Paying a fee will extend miles for another 18 months.
* Virgin America eleVAte – Miles earned after February 2010 expire after 18 months of account inactivity.

Oceania

* Air New Zealand Airpoints – Gold and Gold Elite members’ points do not expire as long as they retain at least Gold status. Silver and Jade members’ points expire on the member’s anniversary date following the date the point turns 4 years old.
* Qantas Frequent Flyer – Miles earned from 1 July 2010 will expire after 18 months of inactivity. Miles earned prior to that expire 3 years after last activity.[citation needed]
* Virgin Blue Velocity Rewards- Points do not expire however after 3 years of inactivity, a members account may be terminated.

Central America

* TACA – Miles expire after 24 months of inactivity.

South America

* LAN Airlines – LANPASS Kilometers do not expire unless the passenger has not earned kilometers by flying with LAN after 36 months.
* TAM Airlines TAM Fidelidade – Miles expire 24 months after they are earned.
* Peruvian Airlines – Peruvian Pass accumulated miles do not expire.

Mileage run

A mileage run is an airline trip designed and taken solely to gain maximum frequent flyer miles, points or status. If a traveler has already achieved some sort of elite status they will be earning bonus miles on top of their actual flight miles, and consequently they will reach their goal sooner. A mileage run may allow a traveller to (re-)qualify for a beneficial elite level which requires a minimum amount of miles for qualification.

Those who deliberately book mileage runs are known as mileage runners.

Spa & wellness in Bulgaria

January 26th, 2011

Bulgaria’s spas and hot mineral springs have been noted for their recreation effects ever since the ancient Tracian, Greek and Roman times. Over 800 hydro mineral springs clustered in over 240 water formations, rich in hot and cold mineral water with temperatures varying from 37°C up to 101°C, spout out from a depth of over 2000 metres. Bulgarian hydrothermal, bioclimatic, mud treatment, sea cure and other health resources are ranked among the best in Europe.
VisitBulgaria.NET presents most of the most important and visited spa resorts in Bulgaria. We organize complete travel arrangements from any point in the world, transport, information and accommodation, to/from any of the Bulgarian spa resorts.

Beach and ski resorts, rural and eco complexes! Monasteries, nature and ancient ruins! Festivals, unique cuisine and aromatic wines! Bulgaria – the real dream area! But before all these, Bulgaria is one of the richest lands of spas and wellness spots in Europe. With its more than 800 mineral springs with different curative characteristics, the country disposes with some of the best spa resorts, hotel complexes and spa centres in Europe.

The mineral waters in Bulgaria are known for their varied chemical composition, for their rich in minerals structure and microcomponents. The mud sources, along the Black Sea coast and the curative clays possess great potential in the treatment of many different diseases. Bulgaria also takes one of the first places in the world with the great variety of meditative herbs and apiarian products. Not at last Bulgaria is a real country of sunshine, where the sunny days are 20 % more than in Central and North-West Europe. All these facts make the spa resorts in Bulgaria a real temptation for all Spa lovers.

The balneological treatment traditions in Bulgaria date back to ancient times. In Thracian times many flourishing settlements were found in the vicinities of the hot mineral springs on the Bulgarian lands. In Roman times spa centers were established, including Augusta (present-day Hissarya), Dezudava (Sandanski), Pautalia (Kyustendil) and Serdica (Sofia), where many Roman emperors like Maximilianus and Justinianus used the curative mineral waters for treating their disorders.

The origin of the word SPA is supposed to come from the name of a Belgium town, whose mineral waters were used for drinking and thus cured many diseases. It is also often suggested that the word is an acronym of various Latin phrases such as “sanitas per aquas” meaning “health through water”, or “Solus Per Aqua” meaning “water in itself”. Today SPA in Bulgaria means strength and beauty through the magic of the Bulgarian thermal water springs.

SPA means not only treatment through mineral water or thermal water rehabilitation, but also includes many other therapies, like thalassotherapies, aromotherapies, thermal mud therapies and many others.
The mineral water rehabilitations include mineral water baths, underwater therapies, underwater gymnastics, hydro massages and mineral water drinking. The thalasotherapies are based on the curative power of the sea water, the sea minerals and algae. The aromatherapy on the other side is connected with full relaxing and medication through natural oil essences of rose, rosemary, jojoba, ilang-ilang and honey, chocolate, grapes and wine applications or massages.

Of course the spa holiday cannot be complete without an appropriate relaxing massage. The massages can vary from “Vichy” water massages, through chocolate and honey massages to Hawaiian massages with volcanic stones and aromatic flowers. Anti-Stress treatments based on Ayurveda and Weight Loss Programmes including slimming or tightening therapies and sports regimes and special face cosmetic procedures with herbs and Bulgarian mud are also offered at most of the spa centres in Bulgaria.

The Bulgarian spa resorts have the advantage of being located in very favourable climatic regions, affording the exceptional possibility of combining balneotherapy with climatic treatment. The best known spa resorts in Bulgaria are Sandanski, Velingrad, Hissar, Kyustendil, Sapareva banya, Pavel Banya, Varshets, Pomorie, St. Konstantine and Elena, Albena, Balchik and many more. The natural beauty of the spa regions, combined with modern hotels and spa facilities provide excellent opportunitieies for effective treatment of many diseases and also provide unique atmosphere for a nice and relaxing spa holiday. The modern, spa and beauty centres offer luxurious and indulging spa treatments for body and soul, which make everybody feel at home. Relaxed, healthy and full of energy…close to nature, close to your real self…feel the spa magic now an visit the richest spa land in Europe – natural and virgin Bulgaria!

Is it time to book your flight to Bulgaria?

November 23rd, 2010

Making plans for a Transatlantic flight isn`t the most pleasant job to do. There`s always some sort of uncertainty about ticket prices. Are the offers seen today the best ones? Will companies lower their prices, and is it necessary to book a flight months before my trip? All this questions accompany a planed trip to Bulgaria. The downturn is that no one actually knows the answers. So what`s the best way to plan your trip and when is the right time to buy tickets?

One thing is for sure – airfares are going up. This not the result of an increase in passengers and a booming tourist sector. Actually, to survive the economic crisis, many companies decided to merge with each other. This process paved the way for giant air carriers to emerge, and made life for smaller companies as hard as it gets. That is the reason for ever increasing prices. Than there`s the question how much will it cost to travel to Bulgaria in the near future. There is one answer to this – not less. According to specialist in the branch, the best scenario for the upcoming months is that prices will stay stable.

So if you are planning a trip to Bulgaria in the next few months, you just might get lucky as large carriers are offering some good prices. If you are intending to travel in time for spring break, there are some nice sales from a lot of companies going on. Sale windows open and close all the time, so you must hurry up. For example Air France is giving away tickets for departures after 31 March at a price of $581, but the window closes on November 30. It`s the same with American Airways and British Airlines, although prices vary a little bit.

If your trip to Bulgaria happens to be in the summer of 2011, then you are lucky. It seems that airlines aren`t interested in increasing prices for summer fares just yet. For now, bookings for travel in July 2011 are the same as last summer prices. What is uncertain here is that companies may start a sale on tickets at some point in the near future. What statistic show is that in past years the peak of promotion tickets is between January and May, so we can expect some movement in a few months.

But the future beyond 2011 doesn`t seem so bright. Prices in 2012 are expected to rise and they will rise big time. The reason is the 2012 Olympic Games that will be held in London. That`s why it is not recommended to travel via England if you don`t want to attend the events that are planned for this year. There is an alternative though. In past events similar to these, prices might collapse in the last moment due to small interest from visitors from abroad. The strategy here is to wait and see.

So when is the best time to buy tickets to Bulgaria? There isn`t such precise stretch of time. Indeed experts may talk as much as they like, but their predictions aren`t 100% proved. So the only alternative is to keep up with what`s going on with the airlines and watch for the best offer on daily, because you might just miss a great opportunity.

The Danube Express

October 6th, 2010

Nowadays, more and more people want to diversify their life and more specifically their holidays. Thus, many of them want something different than the usual trip to the mountain or the sea side. This is a great possibility for the development of alternative tourism and new emotions and experiences.

Such a possibility for a different holiday is the trip to a variety of countries with a luxurious and safe train by the company “Danube Express”. The train travels through many Central and Eastern European countries with rich history and traditions. In each country the train stops in main cities and places which offer incredible nature and also historical, cultural and archeological sights. The destinations that “Danube Express’ offers are: Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Turkey.

The trips start from Istanbul, Budapest or Warsaw. There are different types of offers for choosing the route of the trip.

One of the routes offered by “Danube Express” is the line Istanbul – Budapest with stops in Bulgaria and Romania. During this journey you can see one of the most eminent cities in Turkey – Istanbul. There you can enjoy the mixture between oriental and European culture, take a tour of the city or simply try something new in the taverns all around town.

After that the train steams through the Bulgarian city of Kazanlyk, which is based in a region famous for its rose growing tradition and producing the worldwide famous rose oil. After that, the journey continues to the Bulgarian medieval capital of Veliko Tarnovo where you can see the impressive remains of the glorious past of the city on Tzarevetz hill. These are traditional Bulgarian cities that reveal interesting parts of the culture and history of the country.

The third country through which the train goes is Romania. The first stop is the city of Brashov – small and clean town with many buildings built in Baroque style. It is famous for being very close to the region of Transilvania and the famous castle of the legendary vampire count Dracula. The castle is a very beautiful and impressive building. You will also visit the city of Sighisoara. The big clock tower in the city is said to be the home of Rapunzel from the famous fairy-tail by the Grimm brothers.

The last stop is the capital of Hungary Budapest. This is a city which has kept its authentic historical and archeological value. Impressive medieval buildings, beautiful facades in Austro-Hungarian architectural style, huge bridges and the flowing through the city Danube River. All of the aforementioned offer different possibilities for visiting, exploring or just wondering around. That is the reason for which Budapest is said to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

Traveling with “Danube Express” has already fascinated a lot of tourists. The trip with a train that offers a huge personal room, comfortable bed, a shower and a bathroom, perfect
service, delicious and diverse European food and also calm and safe crossing of different countries, gives a unique possibility for exploring new states, cities and respectively cultures, religions, traditions and languages. And all this just in four days time. This is something that is incredible by itself, but also combined with the perfect atmosphere in the train makes, the feeling something that you won`t forget. There is a possibility for staying in a hotel and spending more time in certain countries and cities. The prices vary between 2000 and 6000 pounds depending on the time that you wish to spend, the places to visit and the chosen destinations.

The Quiet Nest Palace

September 8th, 2010

During the Summer the city of Balchik is excellent choice for a vacation in Bulgaria. The Quiet Nest Palace of the Romanian Queen Marie is shocking and at the same time charming mix of architectural styles, religious symbols, and archaeological finds. In the complex you will find villas with verandas called ” chardak”; old Bulgarian watermills; fountains and wells; a Garden of Gethsemane and a Garden of Allah; a stone plaque depicting the Thracian horseman-god and another with the Virgin Mary; a Roman bath called the Temple of Water; stone crosses from Bessarabian monasteries and Muslim gravestones; a majolica of Our Lady and a St Martin’s Column; a romantic Bridge of Sighs and huge 2000 year old earth-ware pots from Morocco; a Hellenistic marble throne shipped from Florence; a minaret; a chapel and God knows what else.
All this demonstrates and reveals the Queen’s adherence to the Baha’i religion. The Romanian queen was the first member of and European royal family admitting that she believes in Baha’ism. The Bahá’í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá’u'lláh in nineteenth-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. In the Bahá’í Faith, religious history is seen to have unfolded through a series of divine messengers, each of whom established a religion that was suited to the needs of the time and the capacity of the people. These messengers have included Abraham, the Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad and others, and most recently the Báb and Bahá’u'lláh. In Bahá’í belief, each consecutive messenger prophesied of messengers to follow, and Bahá’u'lláh’s life and teachings fulfilled the end-time promises of previous scriptures. Humanity is understood to be in a process of collective evolution, and the need of the present time is for the gradual establishment of peace, justice and unity on a global scale.
Queen Marie found peace, love, rapport and serenity in Balchik; but not for long. She died in dramatic gun shot accident of her two sons Karol and Nikolai. The truth of what exactly happen will stay for eternity in the beauty of the palace and the surrounding nature.

Airline Service Improvement

June 11th, 2010

A new study carried out by J.D. Power and Associates showed that customer satisfaction with the airlines serving North America has finally come out of a three-year decline, and improved dramatically in the last year. The improvement is due to lower fares, improved in-flight services, a growing acceptance of fees, and fewer mishandled bags.

The marketing and consulting company says: “The improvement comes despite a general increase in unpopular add-on fees nearly all airlines have imposed for such services as checking bags, changing bookings and even food and pillows.”

Stuart Greif, a J.D. Power and Associates vice president claims that passengers don’t like the extra fees, but they are starting to recalibrate their expectations.

From April 2009 to April 2010, the study surveyed more than 12 300 fliers on 11 major North American airlines and one Canadian carrier. On a 1 000-point scale, consumer gave airlines a satisfaction score of 673 points. Compared to last year, that’s 15 points higher, and even though this does not seem as a dramatic change, it is the best score since 2007. 10 of the 12 airlines improved their scores from a year before. In the survey consumers were asked questions regarding fare and fees, in-flight services, flight crew, aircraft, baggage, boarding, deplaning, and check-in and reservations.

Once again JetBlue is ranked No. 1 among low-cost airlines (for the fifth consecutive year) and it also had a higher overall satisfaction score than all other airlines.

Top traditional network carrier is Alaska Airlines (for the third consecutive year) and second place was given to Continental.

The carrier with the most significant improvement (satisfaction score raised by 17 points) is AirTran, however they still had the second-lowest score among low-cost airlines.

Not every company improved their score- Frontier scored lower than last year and among "traditional" carriers, Delta’s satisfaction score dropped with one point since last year.

However, Greif defines this as an accomplishment for Delta, since last year the airline merged its operations with Northwest, which traditionally scores low.

Grief points out that despite the satisfaction improvement, not everything is OK for passengers. This year’s total satisfaction score is 19 points below the score in 2006, before many extra fees were added.

Travelling is Now Easy with TripIt.

June 5th, 2010

Nowadays, despite all the websites available to travelers for online bookings, reservations and so on, there are still a lot of details to deal with- details that can often turn the most pleasant journey into a nightmare. Just think about it- when you are about to set off on a journey you have to carry all those pieces of paper from your booked airline tickets, hotels, restaurant reservations, rental cars, and you must not forget local maps and directions. If this journey happens to be a business trip, then forgetting a small detail might cost you your job.

TripIt is a website that serves as an organizer for your travels- it is an online tool for managing all your trip arrangements from one place easily and effectively. The whole procedure is quite simple- all you need to do is sign up for a free account on www.TripIt.com and forward your confirmation emails for all your reservations, booked flights and planned arrangements and TripIt will generate your itinerary for you. You will be able to add manually additional plans and reservations for theatre tickets or sporting events. You will be given a timetable where you trip will be explained in details step by step. You will also be provided with a local map with marked directions and you will also be informed about the weather on each day of your journey. Here is a sample itinerary which TripIt can prepare for you. As you can see, you can also let your friends, family, or colleagues know how your trip is going.

TripIt works with a wide range of websites for online booking and reservations including almost any major airline in the world. Once you have submitted all your details, you can be notified if a flight is cancelled or delayed and you will also be provided alternative flights to prevent you from being late for your important conference, for example. You can also book flights and make reservations from your TripIt account and download free applications on your smartphone for faster and easier access.

Tripit is very likely to become an integral part of every traveller’s trip preparation.

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How to save on airline tickets

January 13th, 2010

Now is the time of the year when people start booking their summer travel. For the last few weeks you have been checking fares and you come across a fare that is decent, but not great. You are not sure what to do.

Do you jump on it and book it now? Do you wait a few days or weeks and hope for a miracle? Are you even sure that the deal is best one available? What really to do!?

Don’t worry! With our easy tips, you will be on your way to spending less on airline tickets and becoming a wiser traveler. All it takes is research skills, flexibility and a little patience.

1. Best Days to Book Travel: The best days to book travel have consistently been Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday ( midnight EST ). So always book flights on these days if possible. Airlines update their fares through what is called a Global Distribution System (GDS) overnight on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Saturday at midnight, unused reservations are cleaned up automatically and lower price category becomes available. So if you are a night owl and want the best fare possible, book on our website http://www.paylessbg.com within this timeframe and you should save some cash.

2. Take Advantage of our Fare Alert: Sign up for our newsletter or fare alert in order to be notified about the latest and lowest international flight deals. When airlines have hot sales, we always send email alerts out. Remember call us or book that same day, as airlines recently run sales only for a day.

3. Flexibility: Always be flexible with your travel dates as it is extremely helpful in obtaining cheaper airfare. When booking your next trip, be sure to check out the days before and after your original search. Many times fares can be much lower and you will wind up saving some serious cash. A little investigative work can go a long way! The extra weekend charges of $ 25 per direction are for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. British Airways charges extra $ 30 for travel on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On our website you can also select “ flexible dates option” and will search plus minus a day.

4. Get Connected: If you are willing to take a flight with connections when traveling, chances are will land a flight for less. The hassle of a layover could turn out saving you big bucks in the end.

5. Airports close by: Don’t forget to check the fares from airports close to you. Many times will be a lot cheaper if you fly from a different airport.

6. Talk to one of our travel agents:
As much as you feel comfortable booking online, if you trip is not simply flying from A to B, it is best to call us. It will save you time and money. Agents will advice you in your options no matter how complicated is the combination that you need.

So now that you are a full-blown savvy traveler with the knowledge and skills to scope out the best deals, start planning that next dream vacation for less thanks to Payless Flights at www.paylessbg.com .

 

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