StonehengeI recently decided to visit one of this country’s most mystical landmarks, Stonehenge. And as I live in London, I decided to see what else was on offer in that area, because I rarely get to explore this country’s heritage outside of the city.

On this road trip I discovered the marvellous array of attractions and historic sites around Stonehenge itself. I also found a recently renovated English tradition along the way.

Coming from London the journey involves taking the M3 south before heading West on the A303. It is here, near Basingstoke, that I discovered the reborn English tradition that is the recently renovated Little Chef in Popham, this featured on Michelin Starred chef Heston Blumenthal’s documentary “Big Chef takes on Little Chef”. This is well worth a visit if you’re travelling on the A303, although be prepared for a more crowded atmosphere than your standard Little Chef.

From here continue West until reaching the Legendary Stonehenge and take some time to marvel at its shear size and shrouded history. There are plans for the A303 to be placed in a 2km tunnel in the future, removing the road from sight and sound of the stones and meaning a coach journey, with a 1km walk to get there. So go and visit it sooner rather than later.

Why not drive further west enjoying the beautiful thatched housing and country roads that Wiltshire and Somerset have to offer, heading towards Glastonbury. Here you can venture into King Arthurs Avalon, also riddled with legend or enjoy a leisurely walk up Glastonbury Tor and enjoy the breathtaking views.

There are tons of heritage sites to visit in this area so I would recommend having a look around as there is far too much to cover off in this Blog. This drive around the Wiltshire and Somerset area will whisk you back in time and leave you wishing you had hired that car for just one day longer.

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With 2010 already upon us we are pleased to unveil the upgraded Avis We Try Harder blog, including a fresh look to go with the new decade.

We have been working behind the scenes updating systems so the site runs faster and along with the design improvements, helping to make it quicker and easier for you to find what you are looking for and generally making it a better blogging experience for you! We have also added links to our Twitter page, where you can keep up to date with all our latest Tweets.

Don’t worry about losing track of your favourite posts, as all of our old blog posts and comments have been kept on the site, so you can still see your old comments and find out what other customers and our staff here at Avis have been saying about travel, car rental and much more.

We hope you like what we have done but would love to hear your feedback on our new blog. We also want to know if there is any information on car rental or Avis that you would like us to write a blog post about.

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Avis Desk at London City airportAs part of the team at Avis London City I am proud to announce that we are now the premier car rental company for London City Airport, and will be for the next 7 years.

This means that Avis now are the only car rental company with access to the main front car park and our customers do not have to take the lengthy walk to the long stay car park to collect their rental car.

We are also excited as we have had a brand new office, which is situated just next to the terminal building and has a Traffic Master and Flight Information Screen to help get your journey off to the best possible start.

Also to help improve the service at Avis London City we’ve extended the opening times at the weekends, by recommendation from our local customers.

If you are picking up your Avis rental car from our London City location, myself and the team look forward to meeting you and to find out what you think about our new office.

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Egypt1I recently returned home from a holiday around Egypt and, seeing as I haven’t written on the blog for a while, I thought I’d take the opportunity to write about it. I covered a lot of ground in my 16 days there and I found it to be an incredibly diverse and rewarding country to visit. Below is a summary of my top 5 destinations:

Cairo
Makes the list for the Pyramids of Giza alone. But, while visiting the pyramids will place a tick on anyone’s “places to visit in my lifetime” list, there is so much more to Cairo than the world’s only remaining Ancient Wonder of the World. The Islamic area is my undoubted highlight. Go back in time and get lost wondering the streets of this medieval city before heading in to the hustle and bustle of the Khan al-Khalili market. Need a rest? Hang out like the locals do – head to Fishawi’s Coffeehouse (but later at night when all the tourists are gone) and watch the world go by. Looking for a bit more tranquility? Take a rest in the Al-Azhar Mosque.

The White and Black Desert
From Cairo, head to the Bahariya Oasis where you pick up a 4WD tour into the White Desert. The White Desert is incredible: huge chalk formations that have been sculptured by the wind and sand into all kinds of crazy shapes, many of which resemble mushrooms. Lonely Planet describes it as a “dreamscape landscape” and that’s exactly what it is. With your tour you’ll camp under the most beautiful star-lit night sky before heading back through the Black Desert, where you’ll find mountains covered with sprinkles of black volcanic dust and rock.

Luxor
Luxor surely has been blessed with more Ancient Egypt sites than anywhere else in the country. The East Bank’s two main attractions are Luxor Temple and the vast Karnak Temple. The West bank is home to the area’s biggest attraction: The Valley Of The Kings, and heading into these ancient tombs is something special. But for me, the star attraction is the Temple of Hatshepsut, which is built directly into the limestone cliffs to stunning effect. When you need a break, hire a felucca and float along the Nile or, if you want a little more Nile time, head down to Aswan and take a cruise back up to Luxor.

Dahab / the Red Sea
Most people head to Sharm El Sheikh when visiting the Red Sea, but if you like your holiday destinations free from McDonalds and Hard Rock Cafe then Dahab is the place to be. Often referred to as the Koh Samui of the Red Sea, it definitely has that Thai feel. It’s a great spot for snorkelling and diving trips, and the Ras Mohammed National Park is accessible via a live-aboard.

St. Katherine’s
Quite possibly the most stunning place I visited in Egypt, a small settlement nestled deep into the Sinai mountains. The area has huge religious significance with the town sitting under the gaze of Mt Sinai, where God is believed to have delivered the Ten Commandments to Moses. It is also home to St. Katherine’s Monastery, where you can find the descendant of the Burning Bush. Make the hike up Mt Sinai at 3am to ensure you reach the summit for sunrise. It’s breathtaking. And if you can, travel to St. Katherine’s independently so you can spend the night there. Listening to the Islamic prayer echo off the mountains at night will make the hairs stand on the back of your neck.

Driving around Egypt is straightforward as the roads are very direct and generally pretty empty. I would not recommend driving in Cairo and if you drive down from Cairo to Luxor then you’ll need to plan to join one of the timed police convoys (in place for security reasons). If you do hire a car, you will need an International Drivers Permit.

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WinterDriving
With wind, rain, ice and snow – winter can throw the very worst at us. So to help make sure you are prepared when travelling by car this season, here’s some helpful advice from the Highways Agency.



For a smoother journey check your vehicle is ready for winter.
Regularly servicing and checking your vehicle is in good running order before setting out, will reduce your chances of breaking down on the road. It’s worth making these checks regularly – especially before a long journey:

• Check and replace the anti-freeze in the radiator
• Make sure your lights are clean and check the bulbs
• Ensure your windscreen is clean
• Replace the battery if it’s not reliable
• Ensure your tyres are correctly inflated and replace them if the tread has reached the legal minimum. For further information please see www.tyresafe.org

For peace of mind always carry an emergency kit.
Gather a few items and keep them in your car – just in case. Below are items that should be in your Emergency Kit:

• Ice scraper and de-icer
• Torch and spare batteries
• Warm clothes and a blanket
• Boots
• First aid kit
• Jump leads
• Food and a warm drink in a thermos
• A shovel
• Reflective warning sign
• Sunglasses – the glare off snow can be dazzling

For a safer journey adapt your driving in bad weather.
Even after roads have been treated, driving conditions may remain challenging especially on stretches of road where there’s greater risk of side winds or of ice forming. These include places where: –

• There are changes in road elevation or exposure
• Where the road passes under a bridge
• Objects at the side of the road create shade
• There is infrequent traffic

It’s also advisable to slow down on corners where the risk of losing control is at its greatest.

Be a smarter driver – check traffic and weather updates.
Before you set off it’s worth taking a few minutes to make sure that there aren’t any problems on your intended route. You can check for live updates as you travel too – but remember not to use your phone while driving.

• Visit http://www.highways.gov.uk/traffic/traffic.aspx
• Check the weather at the metoffice
• Call the Highways Agency information line on 08457 50 40 30
• Tune into DAB Traffic Radio

Remember to take regular breaks from driving – tiredness and loss of concentration are major contributing factors to road accidents.

Think ahead move ahead.

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The details of all blog posts are correct at the time of publication. Information and offers are subject to change without prior notice. Please check www.avis.co.uk for the most up-to-date information.

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We ask that if your feedback is regarding a past rental, you include your reservation details (which will be removed from the live post). If your comment is a customer service issue, you can email customer.service@avis.co.uk .
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Why we love to blog

At Avis, we really do try harder. We pioneered blogging in the car rental world and we aim to make our blog much more than just an information source. You can use our blog to ask questions or tell us what’s important to you when you hire a car. We try harder because we care what you think, so we really do value your feedback.

New to car rentals? Our blog gives you tips and advice on getting the most out of your Avis car hire experience. You can find information about booking and hiring your car, safety tips, and eco driving. We also provide driving advice and the latest news about our fleet.

We understand that hiring a car is just one part of your trip, so our blog covers other aspects of holiday and business travel too. Whether you want to know more about business travel hire conditions, access to location and city guides or ideas for families travelling with children, it’s all here.

But that’s just a taster – find out more about the Avis blog.