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Luxury check-out a ray of sunshine | Travel News | Travel

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Usually turfed out from your room at the unsociable check-out time of 10am, the only real option is to sit in the hotel all day, because venturing too far runs the risk of a mad dash to pick up luggage and get to the airport in time. Yes, you get some extra beach time but that only results in the indignation of hauling comfy travel pants over legs smeared with suncream in some cramped airport toilet, ahead of a sticky, uncomfortable flight that always ends the holiday on a sour note. Fortunately, Sir Richard Branson has come up with a solution.

Virgin Holidays has launched a new Departure Beach in Barbados, promising to salvage the “lost last day” of our holidays.

Transfers collect you from your hotel as you check out and drop you off at a gorgeous beach to lap up all the last rays before enjoying a stunning sunset view – if your flight is late enough, of course.

You can even check in for your flight while feeling the sand between your toes. You’ll get your boarding pass as your luggage is swiftly whisked off to the airport leaving you free to enjoy the surroundings.

Branson has installed a very nice beach bar (I enjoyed rum cocktails served in coconuts on the sand, thanks Sir Richard!) and there’s a glorious patch of warm sand and inviting blue sea to dip in.

Hand luggage can be kept safe in a locker provided for you while you swim.

Or, if you prefer the full lounge-style warm-up to the flight home, enjoy an air-conditioned bar area with lunch, teas and soft drinks included in the price, free wifi and a kids’ gaming area to keep the little ones occupied.

Either way, as boarding time approaches, rid yourself of the sand and seawater with a steaming hot shower, pop your wet swimsuit into the plastic bags provided and hop on the waiting airport transfer.

Branson said: “I’ve flown in for it because I love it when our team creates something special like this.

“As a holidaymaker myself, to have the luxury of something like this on your last day is really nice. I’m proud of what Virgin Holidays have done in the past 35 years.

“When we have a delayed flight at our Heathrow lounge, we sometimes get a standing ovation and a round of applause – everyone’s so happy there!

“Obviously, we would like that same sort of feel here.”

Celebrity guests at the launch event included The Voice Kids star Pixie Lott and former Strictly contestant Laura Whitmore.

And if this bold and brilliant beach concept takes off, you can expect Virgin to open more elsewhere.

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Travel & Escape

How to win the lottery — 7-time lottery winner shares 5 important tips

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Incredible as it may seem,the odds of matching all the winning Powerball numbers are 1 in 292.2 million, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association. It means you’re much more likely to date a supermodel, get bitten by a shark, become the president of the United States, get struck by lightning, amongst other incredible feats than win the lottery.

However, despite the high odds of winning the lottery once, Richard Lustig has won the seven lottery grand prizes. Due to the rarity of his feat, Lustig wrote a book titled: Learn How To Increase Your Chances of Winning The Lottery, where he discusses the do’s and don’ts of playing the lottery and how to better your odds of winning the lottery.

Here are some of the useful tips shared by Lustig to better your chances of winning the lottery.

1.  Avoid “quick-pick” numbers that are autogenerated from the stores

While it might appear like every number carries an equal amount of “luck” in the quick pick method, but according to Lustig, it is advisable to not be lured by this.

“Every time you buy a quick pick, you get a different set of numbers; therefore, your odds are always going to be at their worst in that particular game, whatever game you’re playing. In this case, the hype, of course, is all about the Powerball right now,” said Lustig in a Forbes interview.

2.  Exhaust all your options

For many people who play the lottery, they typically limit their choices to “special dates” like anniversaries, birth month and dates and the likes.

While these dates carry precious memories, choosing them means you’re limiting yourself to less than half the numbers available from 1 through 31. Therefore, ensure you exhaust all of your options in terms of picking numbers.

“If you pick your own numbers and only play birthdays and anniversaries, you’re splitting the pot with 20-40 people. If you spread the numbers out across the whole track, you’ll either be the only winner or will split it with only one or two people,” said Lustig.

3.  Ensure you stick with your guts

In his book, Lustig recommended a specific way to find the numbers that you’re most comfortable with, but ultimately, never go back on a group of numbers that you believe would win you the jackpot.

“Remember, a set of numbers wins the grand prize, not individual numbers,” notes Lustig.

Therefore, while it is alright to repeat one or two numbers, it is necessary when playing multiple cards to have enough variety when grouping selected numbers. Doing this helps maximize your odds.

4. Maintain consistency

If you want to increase your chances of winning a particular game, it is important to consistently follow past and future drawings to get an insightinto the winning patterns—if any.

“Never miss a drawing in the game you’re playing. Every Saturday, every Wednesday, every week,” said Lustig.

5.  Know your limits and don’t be carried away

Winning the jackpot can be a life-changing experience for not only you but your loved ones, however, it is important not to invest so much money into lottery tickets than you’re willing to lose.

While buying 100 tickets gives you a better chance that buying 10, but only do this if you’re able to afford a loss—as lottery tickets are not a regular investment.

“One of the things that I preach to people all the time is budget, budget, budget,” Lustig says. “Set a budget of what you’re going to spend. Do not get caught up in what’s called lottery fever”

“Don’t spend grocery money. Don’t spend rent money. Figure out what you can afford to spend. Don’t worry about how much Joe Blow down the street is spending. … Figure out what your budget is, what you can comfortably afford to spend, and stay within that budget,” he continued.

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Travel & Escape

48 hours in . . . Bruges, an insider guide to Belgium’s city on water

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Little Bruges, the perfect pocket-sized medieval city, was a Sleeping Beauty. Laced with canals, it was one of the great North European trading ports in late medieval times. The magnificently detailed paintings of its artists, such as Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling, record its wealth in clothing, jewellery and ornament. Then it fell rapidly into decline and slept until rediscovered and restored to glory in the 19th century.

Today its new riches are in tourism, carefully managed and constantly refreshed by year-round cultural events, so that it retains the dynamism of a living city. The best way to appreciate all this is to stay a few days, luxuriating in the dreamily romantic boutique hotels, and visiting the rewarding museums and churches at your leisure. Above all, this is a place to walk and wonder, and there are still plenty of quiet corners to discover, where historic Bruges sleeps on.

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Europe’s most incredible cosy cabins for watching the Northern Lights

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The Northern Lights are a phenomenon likely to appear on the wish, bucket or to-do list of any intrepid traveller. And what better way to experience them in Europe than by bunking down in cosy cabins, surrounded by miles of forest, still water or the peaks of mountains. They might be pared-back but still boast polished elements, whether it’s a heated hot tub in Sweden, an ‘igloo’ extension in Norway or a glass roof above your bed in Finland. Nothing distracts as the Aurora Borealis flames across the sky – curl up under a blanket and take a look inside. . .

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