|The wonderful thing about travel is that you experience so many things from food, culture, adventure and art. But what can’t be shared is often lost within your endless abyss of memories. A travel diary is the answer to capturing a treasure trove of tales that can be relived whenever you open that spiral-bound notebook.|
|The infamous Disneyland is located in Anaheim, California is the most visited theme park on earth. Described by many as the happiest place on earth, Disneyland has been operating since its grand opening on July 17, 1955.|
||Rumpy pumpy on the road. Long-haul love affairs. Getting the holiday horn. Ships passing in the night, getting low down and dirty. Joining the mile-high club. Strangers at sunset, exchanging underwear and email addresses. Can we say ‘sex tourism’? Or just file it under ‘holiday romance’?
Call it what you like, but right now there are thousands, probably millions of amorous young things (ok, and old) far from home, getting it on with one another. And why not? It’s what our bits and pieces are for, isn’t it? Making each other happy? Exactly!
You might be single and looking for some uncomplicated fun, or new couples on your first adventure together – either way there’s likely to be a bit of nakedness, right? At least you hope so…
So you like the white stuff? For some, a ski trip is as much about the social scene as it is a day on the slopes. Make the most of your holiday overseas with our guide to winter sports holidays . We’ll help you enjoy the best snow the world has to offer.
Surprisingly, this is a fairly recent addition to the skiers and snowboarders’ list of places to visit. If you’re looking for uncrowded, family-friendly resorts with slopes and snowboarding runs for all abilities, plus expert tuition, Slovenia is ideal. Kranska Gora, near the Swiss and Italian borders is a fantastic resort with a cosmopolitan feel, offering great value for money.
As well as many great ski and snowboarding resorts, Sweden’s landscapes host a range of other winter sports activities, including snowmobile safaris, husky sledding, ice climbing and ice fishing. Vemdalen, for example, is recommended for intermediate skiers and snowboarders. And being a little off the beaten track, it has a remote, relaxed atmosphere without being sleepy.
British Columbia, Canada
Anyone who’s been there will tell you Canada has some of the best terrain in the world for skiers and snowboarders. And it offers the adventurous and experienced winter sportsperson enough thrills to last a lifetime. Whistler, in southern British Columbia, simply ticks all the boxes, whether you’re a beginner or a veteran of the slopes – and the scenery is second to none.
If you like to party after a day on the slopes, Andorra’s Pas de la Casa resort has the nightlife to keep you going. It’s a popular destination for this reason alone, yet it’s surrounded by slopes to suit all abilities, and there are plenty of off-piste opportunities for the more adventurous. A great all-round destination for any skill level, and there’s lots going on if you fancy a day’s rest from the hat and goggles!
Beaver Creek, Colorado, USA
Perfect for families, beginners, even non-skiers, Beaver Creek in Colorado, is ideally located for easy access to slopes for all abilities, and has awesome panoramic scenery. Resort facilities are extensive, modern and luxurious. It’s not all about the slopes, though – spend all day honing your snowboarding freestyle skills or relax in a resort spa and pamper yourself.
In most cases, you’ll need to take out special winter sports travel insurance for your ski or snowboarding holiday. If you have annual, multi-trip cover, make sure there’s winter sports cover included. Many standard policies won’t cover you for off-piste skiing or other more dangerous activities, so you might need a specialist policy. Always check before you set off.
Make the most of your holiday overseas by combining it with your favourite hobby. With our guide to special interest holidays, we’ll help you experience the best the world has to offer.
Whether you want to perfect your landscapes or learn how to take great wildlife shots, there’s no better way than doing it in a fabulous location with expert tuition. Several companies offer inspiring trips – from South East Asia to Scotland. Try http://www.responsibletravel.com for ‘hand-picked’ photography holidays from the world’s specialist operators.
2. Painting and drawing
Set up your easel and watercolours, or simply whip out your sketchbook. Whatever your approach to art, if it’s your hobby, it’s a great theme for a holiday. Or you could even go as a complete novice – there are trips designed for all levels of ability. Your local art class should have some good recommendations.
Learn or practise yoga in a wonderful setting, and combine it with other holiday pursuits, such as walking or sightseeing. http://www.yogatraveller.com will give you a flavour of what’s out there – from yoga, skiing and massage in the Swiss Alps to a yoga-safari through one of Africa’s national parks.
4. Wine tasting
From Argentina to Alsace, Tasmania to Tuscany, the world offers literally thousands of places to enjoy wine tasting. The best way is often to join an organised tour, where visits to wineries are booked in advance. Try looking for a local wine club or merchant that arranges tours, or treat yourself to a holiday with a specialist tour operator such as Arblaster & Clarke – find out more at http://www.winetours.co.uk
Learn Salsa in Havana, Flamenco in Granada, Tango in Buenos Aires – or even belly dancing in the Sahara Desert. Professional tuition is available to holidaymakers all over the world, for dancers of all abilities. http://www.danceholidays.com is a good place to start looking for a holiday, but there are many other specialist operators to check out. Just remember to pack your dancing shoes!
If you’re booking any kind of specialist holiday, make sure you have the right travel insurance for the activity. Then you can just relax and enjoy yourself – and discover a new talent you never knew you had!
Choosing the right time of year to visit your destination can really make the world of difference… Get the most out of your holiday overseas with our guide to travelling by season . We’ll help you experience the best the world has to offer.
Spring – Japan
Perhaps no country takes such visible joy in springtime as Japan, where people track the ‘cherry-blossom’ front as it moves northwards, and gradually engulfs the country in distinctive and beautiful blossoms, or ‘sakura’.
Summer – Great Britain
It’s a shame the British weather sometimes deters overseas visitors. In fact, because the Brits don’t get a whole lot of sun, they really enjoy it when it comes out – you’ll feel like you’re in a happier country! It’s also a great time to set your sights beyond London, and explore the Great British countryside…
Autumn – New England
Head to one of North America’s most beautiful corners, and marvel at the incredible golds, oranges and crimsons on display. Summers vary throughout New England, and winters tend to be bitterly cold – so the famous autumn foliage really is the year’s highlight.
Winter – Goa
India’s smallest state is bombarded with heavy monsoon rains between June and September, while summers (from March until May) can get incredibly humid. Not only does winter offer perfect temperatures for lounging on the beach, but there’s also a wonderful festival in February – and colourful Christmas celebrations every year, too.
But whatever time of year you go, don’t forget to make sure you have travel insurance. So you can relax and have fun, whatever the weather…
Tired of the same old Christmas at home? Whether it’s snow, sand or shopping you’re after, read on for our guide to the Ultimate Christmas Travel Experience.
New York City
New York City embraces the holiday spirit with gusto, transforming itself into a winter wonderland for the whole month of December. From the enormous tree and ice rink at the Rockefeller Center to the window displays at Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, luring in to buy up big, there are delights for visitors of all ages. Make sure you check out the ‘Origami Holiday Tree’ at the American Museum of Natural History, which is covered in over 500 hand-folded origami animals.
An English Cathedral Carol Service
The best place on earth to hear traditional Christmas carols is in England’s great cathedrals. There’s nothing quite like the sound of angelic voices rising up into their magnificent vaulted ceilings. Head for Lincoln, Ely, Christ Church Oxford, Winchester, or Chichester. If you’re in London, arrive early to the Christmas Eve carol services at St Paul’s and at Westminster Abbey to make sure you get a pew!
Phuket , Thailand.
If you prefer white sand to snow, head to Phuket. Instead of picking up discarded wrapping paper and arguing with relatives, relax on the beach and soak up the sun. If you suddenly feel a twinge for tradition, the turkey and trimmings can be found at the Green Man Pub in Chalong, complete with a Christmas pantomime and Santa!
Munich, in the heart of Bavaria, is home to a Christmas market as old as its famous local breweries, which date back to the 14th century. Baked apples, roasted almonds and chestnuts, potato pancakes, Glühwein and other mouth-watering German delicacies are standard fare. At 11am and 5pm you can catch the City Hall’s elaborate ‘Glockenspiel’ clock in full flight.
Lapland with Santa
If you want to give Santa your order in person, head for Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland, the real home of Santa, Mrs Claus, the elves and the reindeer. This pristine Arctic landscape is also the perfect place to see the northern lights, and to hit some of the best low-cost ski slopes in Europe.
But remember, it’s no use asking Santa for travel insurance so make sure you take it out before you go!
Bring literature to life when you travel overseas, with our guide to literary trips around the globe. We’ll help you experience the best the world has to offer.
1. Jane Austen
When it comes to soaking up the atmosphere of your favourite books, Jane Austen fans have more to choose from than most. You can enjoy free audio walking tours of Bath, where Austen lived and set Northanger Abbey and Persuasion , or visit her house at Chawton, where she wrote Emma . And there’s always the option of looking up the filming locations of your favourite adaptations – Groombridge Place, Basildon Place and Wilton House are all popular for this.
2. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
This best-selling novel by Louis de Bernieres, about an Italian captain and the daughter of a local physician, has already inspired countless readers to visit the beautiful island of Kefalonia (which you may see spelt in a number of different ways). The film adaptation, which was shot on the island itself, was a let-down for many, so it’s more a case of soaking up the general atmosphere than spotting specific locations.
Even if you’ve never actually made it all the way through this challenging but great novel, visiting Dublin – which Joyce himself famously hated – really helps bring it alive. Ideally you’d visit on ‘Bloomsday’ (16 th June, the anniversary of the day on which the novel takes place), but whenever you go, you’ll find a surprising number of the novel’s churches, banks and public buildings still intact.
4. Ernest Hemingway
Fans of Hemingway have a lot of locations, including France, Spain and Cuba, to choose from. The author’s home in Key West, Florida, is open to the public, and is a good place to start. It was a wedding present from his wife’s uncle, and where Hemingway wrote some of his best-loved work.
Although born in Moscow, the author of Crime and Punishment and The Idiot is inextricably linked with St Petersburg, where he was first sent to study aged 17. And it’s here you can see where the author was arrested, imprisoned, married and buried. The Dostoevsky museum is in the apartment where the author spent the last two years of his life, and wrote his greatest novel – The Brothers Karamazov.
Ever fancied sleeping inside a waterfall, beneath the waves – or inside a giant dog? Well, here’s your chance. Stay somewhere different and make the most of your holiday overseas with our guide to unusual places to stay . We’ll help you enjoy the most unusual the world has to offer.
Drift off – literally
The Hotel Palafitte comprises a series of apartments on stilts, floating peacefully near the edge of Lake Neuchâtel in Switzerland. The high-tech suites are fully equipped to five-star standard, and offer a truly unique hotel experience. Just don’t forget where you are when you wake up…
Relax to the sound of waterfalls
In the heart of the Huilo Huilo reserve in Chile, the Magic Mountain Hotel has a waterfall cascading down its sides. Built into, and onto, the side of the rock face, much of the hotel’s structure follows the contours of nature instead of straight lines. Inside, the hotel is homely, comfortable and relaxing – once you’ve crossed the rope bridge to get to it.
Also in South America is the Quinta Real Zacatecas bullring. What was once a large, noisy amphitheatre dedicated to blood sports is now a tranquil hotel, with rooms built into the original amphitheatre walls, and a beautifully paved piazza as a centrepiece. The tiered seating remains as a feature, and is a perfect sunny terrace for an afternoon siesta.
Sentence yourself to a holiday
The bars in The Old Jail, at Mount Gambler in Southern Australia are now for drinking and socialising, not containing criminals. And the cell doors have been altered: the locks are now on the inside. Though many of the features and décor haven’t changed since this was a real jail, the rules are more relaxed. But what happens if you don’t pay your bill? Do you stay longer?
Swimming and diving to your hotel room is pretty unusual, but at Jules’ Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, Florida, it’s the only way to get there. Its sub-aqua suites are roomy and well equipped, and a great place to watch the neighbourhood sea life – who are probably wondering what you’re doing down there.
Why not book a week’s relaxing break inside a giant beagle? Dog Bark Park, in Idaho, USA, has just what you need – a giant wooden beagle that comfortably sleeps four and provides all the conveniences of a modern hotel. There are two floors, four legs and one tail. The park itself is a monument to all things canine, with wooden carvings and paintings at every turn. Pets welcome by appointment – although cats might not appreciate it.
Of course don’t forget to buy travel insurance before you go!
Australia was the first country in the world to grant a 40-hour working week – and combined with a ‘laid back’ attitude, led to the country becoming known as the ‘land of the long weekend’. But, Australians actually have fewer public holidays than most other industrialised countries, so make the most of the holidays you have with our Guide to the top long weekend destinations
1. Australia Day
Sydney Harbour, NSW
Nothing beats seeing the Australia day fireworks explode over one of the world’s most spectacular harbours. Stay in a CBD hotel, or charter a yacht, and watch the harbour come alive with countless boats and a fireworks display over Darling Harbour and the Harbour Bridge.
Gold Coast and Mount Tambourine, Queensland
The end of the school holidays is a great time to visit this famous stretch of beach in southern Queensland. There’s no wet season, so enjoy the sunshine and head up to the wineries and national parkland around Mount Tambourine.
2. Easter Long Weekend (March/April)
Broome, Western Australia
Between the red desert and the blue sea on Western Australia’s north coast, Broome was founded as a pearling port. Famed for the pristine white sand of Cable Beach and the warm, clear waters of the Indian Ocean, Broome has a wide range of accommodation, from five star resorts to backpacker options.
Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Sheer, beautiful Cradle Mountain sits at the start of the 65 km Overland Track and at the northern end of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. The area offers cosy lodge, hotel and camping accommodation. Spend the weekend walking the lakeshore and mountainside tracks and experience the magic of the region.
3. Anzac Day
Kangaroo Island, South Australia
The UK Sunday Telegraph called Kangaroo Island ‘one of earth’s last unspoilt refuges’. Just off the South Australian coast, Kangaroo Island is home to an amazing array of native wildlife, with accommodation options ranging from camping sites to high-end resorts. You can fly in from Adelaide or catch a Sealink ferry from the Fleurieu Peninsula.
Margaret River, Western Australia
If you’re looking to enjoy the long weekend over a glass of wine, head to the Margaret River, south of Perth. With its Mediterranean climate, the region offers not only bountiful vineyards but a glorious coastline and some of Western Australia’s best surf beaches.
4. Queens’ Birthday (June)
A ski weekend
Jindabyne and surrounds in NSW, and Mt Hotham and Mt Bulli in Victoria provide great downhill and cross country skiing opportunities for the winter long weekend. The slopes can be busy, but you can always warm yourself in front of a fire back at the lodge, drink in hand, until it quietens down. Be sure to take out travel insurance before you hit the snow.
5. Labour Day (March to October)
Uluru, Northern Territory
Uluru the perfect place for a long weekend because you can comfortably and properly take in most of the fascinating Indigenous and natural heritage in three days.
Uluru itself is spectacular, changing colour throughout the day, but Kata Tjuta and the walk through King’s Canyon are also a must.
Great Ocean Road
Hire a car (or drive your own) from Melbourne and head out along the Great Ocean Road. Pass through charming Lorne and Warrnambool and stay in historic Port Fairy. The mighty Twelve Apostles are a central feature the drive, rising majestically from the wild ocean.
No matter how you choose to get away on your much needed mini-break, make sure you’re fully covered for all possibilities [ buy cheap travel insurance here]. Then relax, and enjoy the great Australian way of life.