Tag Archives: travel

Such a simple idea

So why hasn’t it been done?

Safe with charging point

OK, you’re at the hotel and your phone/tablet needs charging but you’ve to be elsewhere right now. A situation common enough. Do you a) take the phone with you and hope the battery lasts? or b) put it on charge in the room – and hope no-one steals it while you’re out?

Most hotels provide in-room safes so that valuables can be left securely, yet it’s hardly secure to leave an expensive phone/tablet charging on a table. Should it get stolen the first thing the hotel would say is “Why wasn’t it in the safe?”

The solution seems, to me at least, very obvious. It’s hardly a mammoth task to install an electrical socket (& vent) into the safe.

Any hotel that did provide such a facility would have a USP to encourage guests and would almost certainly quickly recoup any costs through increased visitor numbers. I know that, personally, given the choice between a hotel with the facility to securely charge my phone and one without, I’d pick the “with” every time.

So why isn’t it available?

May I suggest readers do as I’ve done and request each hotel that they visit installs such a facility. With enough requests commonsense might just prevail.


20mph zones


20ishGood drivers don’t need them, bad drivers will always ignore them. 20mph zones are appearing everywhere these days, and no-one would deny speed reduction is advantageous in many locations, but what should be done about drivers who won’t adhere to the limit? Prosecute, I hear many shout, and yes, that would have the desired effect.

Well, not in all areas. In over a year Lancashire police have not prosecuted a single driver for speeding in 20mph zones. So either all Lancashire drivers stick to speed limits or… ??

When questioned on this point the PCC gave this response… 20mph speed zones

Good enough, would you say?

Not for me!

Hotel Safety


Fire safety in hotelsThe question of hotel fire safety is one many people take for granted – until it’s too late!

We’ve all seen the notices about escape routes, assembly points and, of course, the “don’t use lifts (elevators) in case of fire”. Most often nothing goes wrong so we tend to forget about them, but we still need to have them so that if the worst does happen we can get out quickly, under our own steam.

But what if the guests are disabled or have reduced mobility? Clearly then the hotel is obliged to provide the required assistance, but in an emergency such as a fire hotel staff have many things to do. Are they able to help PRM guests?

Imagine a disable guest located on a high floor, who can’t use a lift. The problems are all too obvious.

Forward planning, both by the guests and the hotel, would be helpful. The guest would for example, when booking, advise the hotel of a disability. The hotel could then ensure that a ground floor room is allocated, thus alleviating the problem of stairs (one less issue). It would be easier and safer for both guests and hotel if this simple procedure was followed. So why isn’t it?

Most hotels, when accepting reservations, take “requests” for such things as views, room types etc, and for most people this is satisfactory. However, for disabled people a request (as above) for a ground floor room is more than simply a “would like” it’s a “must have”, yet hotels say they can’t guarantee such things.

Why not?

With the exception of walk-in guests, reservations are made in advance so hotels are fully aware of requirements at particular times, so of course they can allocate suitable rooms. The fact that they won’t shows that they don’t rate guest safety as a high priority!

As said, most times problems don’t arise, but travellers who are willing to take risks and accept less than satisfactory hotel policies are dicing with death – literally!

Isn’t it time legislation was introduced, & enforced, to make sure hotels safeguard guests in these situations? The same goes for travel agents, they too should do more!

In the meantime guests have the ultimate weapon, choice! Don’t accept unsafe practice, choose a hotel that cares about its guests!

Why do cars…


Cars reflect drivers personalityNot true in every case, though there’s a strong argument to support the theory. Butched-up pickups driven by guys who can’t be bothered with seatbelts, who’re on the phone as they drive, and who think speed limits are for everyone else. Expensive 4×4’s (the Chelsea tractor), designed for off-road terrain, yet driven by a female accompanied by 2 kids on the school run, the aim of which is to “be protected” from every other road user. Then there’s the boy racer, been driving 5 minutes yet knows it all, car trimmed with every conceivable gadget designed to make the motor sound faster than an F1. There’re many other examples, and I haven’t even touched on white van man!

It’s also true that many traits crossover between drivers.

When we get into our cars it’s as though we put on a cloak of invincibility. We become the best driver around, and all the problems are down to other “idiots”. Heaven forbid anyone less able than ourselves should be on OUR road when we are using it. Here comes road-rage!

Vanity – Image… Come on people, grow up!!

Some might say “why aren’t police tackling these problems?” Cuts, in funding from government, but that’s a different issue (too big to deal with here).

Why can’t we police ourselves? Whatever happened to courtesy? It’s simple enough; traffic laws are there for everyone’s benefit, and apply to everyone! Ignoring them isn’t clever, that just makes you one of those idiots you so vehemently despise.

If everyone drove as though they were carrying their most precious cargo, every journey, roads would not only be safer but a lot less stressful too.


Speed Cameras


Speed camerasSurely a subject to evoke discussion. Like them or loath them, speed cameras are commonplace on UK roads, and look set to stay – at least until a better solution to the problem of speeding is found.

I’m not about to debate the issue of whether these cameras are right or wrong; what I do want to think about is firstly “are they being targeted correctly?”, and by that I mean not locations but vehicles, and secondly “which type is best?”.

In its simplest terms, if a vehicle passes a speed camera whilst travelling above the speed limit for that area then the camera is activated. So, in a 30pmh zone any vehicle, be it car, motorcycle, or lorry, exceeding the limit will be “flashed”. Likewise, in a 60mph zone the same thing would happen. However, it’s highly likely that, in the latter case, certain vehicles (HGV’s) could pass a camera at just below the signed limit without activating the camera yet still be exceeding the speed limit for that particular type of vehicle on that road. In this case speed cameras are ineffective.

Thankfully technology is available to obviate this problem. ANPR, or “automatic number plate recognition”, cameras are able to read the number plates of passing vehicles and, linked to a central database, can identify any individual vehicle. This means that when such a camera is linked with/incorporated into a speed camera it’s possible to identify, let’s say, an HGV exceeding the vehicles’ limit whist remaining below the limit for the area. The target vehicle could then penalised.

Unfortunately it appears that this, quite obvious, solution is not being used in far too many areas. One reason could be the issue of “unorthodox” number plates, but that’s a separate problem (which I may address later).

A second issue is the question of single point and/or average speed detection.

A single site speed camera by the side of the road can only detect “speeders” as they pass that particular point, so it’s usual to see vehicles slow down on approach then speed up again once passed the camera. Has that really achieved the desired result? On the other hand average speed cameras work over a set distance, meaning that vehicles need to remain below the prescribed maximum speed throughout the duration of travel through the zone. A far more effective way of reducing speed over a given area.

So, if authorities really want to reduce speed then why isn’t there greater use of the average speed cameras? Well, clearly the design of these cameras coupled with the fact that they need to be used in multiples means that cost is an important factor. Also, they need a certain amount of road available, so they’re many locations where they’re not suitable. Having said that, there are lots of locations where they could be used but aren’t. The question then is “which is most important, reducing speeds or saving money?”. Spend extra on camera systems that actually can reduce accidents, thereby lowering long-terms costs, or spend less in the short-term. One for authorities to think about.

Speeding is seen, by many, as almost acceptable but the slogan “speed kills” is all too true. Speed limits are a maximum not a target. Please, always drive at a speed which is within the law and safe for the conditions, then maybe more of us will arrive where we want to be!



We all know the message (even though many still ignore it!); “don’t use your mobile phone whilst driving”. This is the UK government line which, in theory, is supported by all agencies. Or is it?

Anyone on Twitter will probably have come across feeds from the Highways Agency and/or Police (or similar), whereby current status messages are broadcast, informing the travelling public of ongoing situations. These are clearly aimed at keeping motorists safe by giving them advance warning of problems on route, i.e. debris in road, lane blocked by RTC, etc.

But think for a moment about exactly what could be happening. Drivers travelling along checking their mobile at every “alert tone”, just in case it’s something ahead they should know about. Is that really safe?

OK, it could be that a passenger is doing the checking, just maybe…

I’m not suggesting that traffic info such as this shouldn’t be broadcast; of course in general it’s beneficial. I’m merely playing devil’s advocate for a moment to highlight situations of potential danger. Arguably the most essential component in any vehicle is common-sense, so the next time you’re in the car be sure you have a good supply with you!

“Drive 2 Arrive”

Airlines play dominoes

… with passengers!

Aircarft seats

We’ve all been there, and experienced it… the domino effect.

Aircraft seats are made to recline, and that’s a good thing, right?

Well, if you happen to be seated in the front row, then yes it’s great. But for those behind maybe not so good, and for the poor guys at the back it’s downright awful!

A lot depends on good old common sense, except it’s not that common it would appear. Courtesy dictates that, during meals, seats are put upright to allow those behind to use the table and eat in comfort. But how many times have you had that “I’m alright Jack” seated in front of you? The man (or woman) who’s only concern is for their own comfort. These inconsiderate so & so’s actually need to be told to move their seat! This can, in extreme cases, lead to arguments, or worse!

Even during normal flight not everyone wants to recline their seat, but if the guy in front decides to “go to bed” there’s little option but to also recline – unless you like viewing the TV screen from 4 inches!

Why is it necessary to have so much movement on seats? Reduce this to only a couple of inches or so; even at that there’d be enough movement to relax – as far as anyone can in standard seats.

Of course the “premium/business/first” class sections are different, they have lots more room between the rows anyway, and so reclining isn’t the issue it is in economy.

Come on airlines, have some “common sense” and actually consider all passengers, instead of just paying lip service!

Update 31/05/14Finally, an airline takes notice! Monarch Airlines have just announced that they are to fit non-reclining seats across their entire fleet. Great news! Now let’s see who has the courage to follow…