The Best Places to Watch the World Cup

Jul 4 2014
England fans in Brazil

England fans in Brazil
Image by Surrey County Council News

Watching the World Cup 2014 in Brazil is every football fan’s dream, but – as always – tickets to the games are hard to come by and not everyone is lucky enough to be able to afford the flight over. However, this doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the excitement, anticipation and adrenaline you feel from watching your favourite teams compete. With an Alamo hire car you can journey right across the UK and most of Europe, meaning you can look forward to watching the matches at a variety of locations, other than just your local pub. So, hop in your car, get your team’s kit ready and head off to one of these four brilliant places to watch the World Cup.

ITV Fever Pitch Fan Park, Manchester, UK

England may be out of the World Cup, but that doesn’t mean we have to miss out on watching the biggest event on the footballing calendar! To bring a little bit of Brazilian sunshine to the north of England, Granada Studios have put together a specially designed Brazilian-style beach football stadium, made up of 450 tonnes of sand and a giant 450-square-metre TV screen to watch the matches on. Not only that, but you’ll be able to enjoy a range of delicious, Brazilian specialities from the food stalls as well as some great drinks from the pop-up bars.  So, sit back on a deck chair, watch some samba dancing, and prepare to cheer the teams on!

FIFA FanFest Cuiabá

FIFA FanFest Cuiabá
Image by: Paulisson Miura

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

Berlin is not only a super-trendy, cultural city to visit, but it’s also a great place to watch the World Cup games. The main place to watch the football, especially the German matches, is at the public screenings outside the historical Brandenburg Gate, which is situated in the heart of the city. The abundance of waving German flags, excitement and cheering fans will really make you feel that you’re right there, in Brazil.

If you’re looking for something a little lower key, there are a number of great sport bars to choose from too; Bar II in Kreuzberg is a popular haunt amongst locals, whereas the Oscar Wilde Irish Pub in Mitte is perfect for those of you looking to feel more at home when sat amongst the hordes of German flags!

‘t Zand, Bruges, Belgium

Throughout the entire World Cup games locals will be provided with a giant screen in ‘t Zand Square, to watch the games on. Masses of people will join together to cheer on one of the few European teams still in with a chance of winning the World Cup, so it’s bound to be an exhilarating and atmospheric place to be for football fans.

As the football isn’t on until late afternoon, make sure you enjoy a stroll around the picturesque streets of Bruges, taking in its breathtaking architecture, and enjoying Belgium’s world renowned beer and chocolate, as well as posing for photos beside Rozenhoerdkaai, the most photographed spot in Bruges!

Beira-Rio

France v Honduras
Image by Filipe Castilhos

Stade Sébastien Charléty, Paris, France

After last Wednesdays game against Ecuador, France is another team that’s still in with a chance of winning the World Cup, so the atmosphere of the crowds in Paris is bound to be amazing. The StadeSébastienCharléty will be opening their doors to people looking to watch the game not just on the big screen, but in a stadium – meaning you’ll almost feel as if you’re watching the game live! The stadium can hold up to 20,000 people, so the masses of fans cheering and chanting is bound to get in you in the football mood!

If a giant stadium isn’t your thing and you’re looking for something a little more intimate, then make your way to Place de l’Hôtel-de-ville, the city hall square, where groups of locals and tourists will gather around the city hall’s giant screen to watch the latest games.  After all the excitement has died down, be sure to explore the wonderful sights of Paris, such as the EiffelTower and Arc-de-Triomphe, as well as enjoying a long stroll along the Champs-Elysées.

Ready to cheer on your favourite teams?

If you think one of these destinations is the perfect place for you and your mates to watch the football, then take a look at the range of cars Alamo has to offer and kick-start your World Cup journey today!

40 Coolest Car Gadgets

Jul 1 2014

Planning a road trip and want some ideas of awesome gadgets to take? Well look no further. To celebrate our 40th birthday, we at Alamo have compiled a list of the 40 coolest car gadgets in the market. Our list of gadgets will make your driving experience easier, more comfortable and improve the all-round enjoyment of the ride, so read on to find something you like!

Family in convertible car smiling

1. M-Zone – In Car Sticky Pad Gadget – £

These handy pads can be installed on a number of surfaces and are excellent value for money, providing a useful way to store your phone or keys for easy access.

2.Toys-R-Us – Batman Booster Seat – £££

Give your super baby an equally super booster seat in the Batmobile.

3. Billup Road Games App – Free

Play the classic license plate driving game and find as many states’ plates as you can – how many can you find?

4. Plasticolor – Star Wars Sunshade – ££

Keep your car cool by using “the force” with this Star Wars sunshade.

5. Wondergel – Seated Cushion – ££

This cushion can add some therapeutic support and extra comfort on a long drive.

6. E-Prance – Seatbelt Cushion for Kids – £

E-Prance’s excellent value Seatbelt Cushion is soft and comfortable, helping your kids to sleep peacefully on a long journey!

7. Talus – Car Hooks – £

Hang your bags on these convenient hooks, leaving the footwell free for extra legroom and comfort.

8. Zone Tech – Food Tray – £

Bring restaurant dining into your vehicle with this stable and easy to use food tray.

9. Talus – Leak proof bin – £

Leaky bin bags and mess in the car will be no more with this handy leak-proof bin.

10. Solar Charger – ££

On a sunny drive, this device works off solar power to give your devices the much-needed charge for long road trips.

11. Logik – Twin Screens – £££

Load on the films, guys, it’s going to be a long drive. A great way to keep the kids entertained between destinations.

12. Bacon Air Freshener – £

Love the smell of bacon? Yes? Well, these bacon scented air fresheners are for you.

13. Belkin – Radio Frequency music player – ££

Rock your road trip playlist as you cruise with this device, connecting your iPhone or iPod to the car speakers through a radio frequency, whilst charging!

Belkin TuneBase® FM LIVE Hands-Free (30-Pin) - Image from belkin.com

14. Spotify – Free/£

The well-known music app allows you to build your very own playlist save it to your premium account, so you can create the perfect road trip soundtrack. If you have a premium account you can still play your playlist in offline mode and avoid data roaming costs, but do check before you travel.

15. Yeti Ice Scraper – £

If you’re going somewhere cold enough for your car to ice up, this yeti-themed ice scraper gloved will do the trick.

16. French Fry Holder – £

You’ve heard of cup holders, right? Now there’s a device that holds your French fries for you, as well. Nice!

17. Coffee Cup Power Up – ££

Give your electronic devices some much needed energy with this charging pack designed in the style of a Coffee Cup. It’s a little like electric caffeine, if you will, keeping your gadgets awake for the ride!

Coffee Cup Power Inverter V2.0 - Image by thinkgeek.com

18. Flashlight Phone App – Free

On a dark, night time drive when you’re looking for something in the car, get the Flashlight phone app to help shine the light – oh, there it is!

19. Sat Nav – £££

Undeniably one of the best car gadgets of them all; it’s the Sat Nav, getting you from A to B efficiently.

20. Travel Scrabble – ££

Triple word score! Let the classic game scrabble become part of your road trip.

21. Top Gear – Race the Stig App – Free

Top Gear fans out there, this fun and free racing game pits you against the Stig in a race through the carnivals of Brazil, celebrating the world cup!

22. Ostrich Light Pillow – ££

Drifting off on a long drive is only natural, even in the day. This cushion is comfortable for passengers blocking out sunlight so catch a couple of hours’ kip, before reaching your next spot.

23. Wallet Ninja – £

As the name suggests, the Wallet Ninja fits in your wallet and is incredibly useful for a road trip and life in general. It is equipped with 18 different features, such as a bottle opener, screwdriver and a letter opener.

Wallet Ninja - Image by thinkgeek.com

24. Nikkai Portable Vaccum – £

Keeping the car clean from sand, crumbs or debris can be challenging. Bringing this reasonably priced portable vacuum cleaner along will solve that problem.

25. Diono – Cooler and Organiser – ££

Make sure your food and drinks stay nice and cool on long trips, with this timeless road trip essential.

26. GasBuddy – App – Free

On the road, when you need to fill the car up with ‘gas’, this app will help you find the cheapest gas stations near you. Be wary, the app requires the internet, so check data roaming charges before use.

27. Maplin – 4 piece travel mug set – £

Whether you’re a tea or coffee drinker, you will appreciate this very reasonably priced mug set when you’re hankering for a hot beverage.

28. Google Maps – Free

You can save yourself countless hours wasted by getting lost, by working out your driving routes beforehand, then taking a screenshot or printing a copy of the route before you head off.

29. Halfords – Cat Sunshade – £

Shield your family from the searing hot sun on your drive with this funky cat-design sunshade.

30. Halfords – Cheeky Monkey on board sign – £

Tell the other road users there’s a ‘Cheeky Monkey’ on board with this low cost way of personalising your ride, and increasing your safety on the road.

31. Handpresso – Espresso machine for the car – £££

Indulge yourself with this exceptional espresso machine, which will give you the finest espressos from the comfort of your own car.

32. Case Logic – CD Case – £

Want to bring all your favourite CDs along for the ride? A compact CD case is a great way to take them with you, in space-friendly way.

33. Cell-Cup – Phone and item storage – £

This nifty device converts your cup holders into extra storage for your phone and other items.

34. Halfords – Retro Scent Air Fresheners – £

Bring back memories of your favourite childhood sweets, with the scents of Refreshers, Drumsticks and Rainbow Drops for your journey.

35. Hasbro – Travel Battleship – £

You sunk my battleship! This iconic travel game will entertain kids and adult alike for hours.

36. TripAdvisor – App – Free

The biggest travel review site now has a free app. TripAdvisor will help you make decisions about where to visit, and what to see and do, helping you make the most of your drive. My advice would be to find Wi-Fi spots to check the app so you can avoid those costly data roaming charges.

37. Mothercare- Are we there yet? Travel game – £

This game is ideal for your little tots itching to know if you are “there yet.” This game takes that classic phrase you don’t want to hear and makes a simple fun game for the whole family.

38. GB Driver- Heavy duty car seat cover – ££

Got wet at beach? Maybe you got dirty on a long hike. To keep the car clean and comfortable buy these reasonably priced seats covers.

39. Maplin- Peak car to car charger – ££

If the unlikely event occurs that your car needs restarting, this handy tool will ensure that you are always prepared to keep the road trip going.

40. Halfords- Steering wheel knob – £

To make the drive as easy and carefree as possible, try this universal device aimed at making your steering a doddle.

Off the beaten track

Jun 30 2014

The best way to see the wonderfully diverse United States of America is by renting a car and taking a drive. Only then can you find the beautiful scenic highways, discover cultural gems and quirky little rest stops on your drive between mainstay attractions. Whilst many of you will know the historic Route 66 and the scenic Pacific Coast Highway, there are many more to discover. Let’s take a look at some of the lesser-known driving routes that can provide adventure and insight into the rich history of this iconic nation.

Skyline Drive, Virginia

For those of you who love a scenic drive, they don’t get much better than the Skyline Drive, coursing through the Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.  As you wind your way through the park, you will find yourself surrounded by the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains. Continuing your drive, you will witness even more stunning, panoramic views, so why not have a picnic at one of the many spots overlooking these beautiful sights! There are also walking trails to explore and cascading waterfalls to visit, providing many opportunities to park up and take a hike to see more spectacular sights on foot. The Skyline Drive is sure to take your breath away, leaving you with unforgettable memories of this remarkable landscape.

Skyline Drive at Shenandoah National Park

U.S. Route 61, ‘The Blues Highway’

U.S. Route 61 aka ‘The Blues Highway’ runs from Wyoming, Minnesota to New Orleans, Louisiana. Heading south will take you on a journey into music and cultural history, where you can gorge on sumptuous Southern BBQ and rock on down to the home of jazz and the delta blues. So for those looking to experience the true blues and southern culture, then taking a trip down the highway on which Bob Dylan based his world renowned album ‘Highway 61 Revisited’ is a great place to start. For you music fans, take the Blues Highway into Memphis and stop at the unmistakable Beale Street. The world famous street heralded as the home of blues is ‘jam’ packed with great bars and music clubs that will have you grooving into the night!

Night time in Beale Street, Memphis Tennessee

U.S. Route 550, ‘Million Dollar Highway’

A host to some truly sublime natural scenery, pleasant driving experiences and captivating history, the ‘Million Dollar Highway’ really lives up to its name. Yes, this picturesque trip through the twisting Colorado mountain passes provides great views and fascinating towns, such as Ouray. This quaint, charming town in the heart of the mountain highway is often referred to as the Switzerland of America, in homage to its picturesque mountain surroundings. This hidden treasure has a rich mining tradition still evident today, and the town also provided the setting for the 1968 film True Grit, starring perennial Western superstar, John Wayne. When arriving after a long drive, why not check in to the comfortable, friendly-yet-affordable Hot Springs Inn and enjoy your stunning surroundings.

Ouray, Colorado

With such a wide range of natural beauty spots, cultural landmarks, things to do and truly unique experiences, the USA has it all!

We have a huge range of vehicles in over 250 locations around the USA. So, be sure to plan your pick-up and drop-off points when hiring with Alamo for your road trip adventure.