Author Archives: Jeremy

Top 5 budget destinations for families

With lower prices than Western Europe, Budapest is one of many excellent budget destinations for families

The UK economy is on the up, so the papers say, and this could be good news for holidays. Why? Well, recent research has shown that sterling has strengthened against a lot of currencies, which is good news when it comes to spending overseas since we’ll get more bang for our buck, while prices have actually dropped in some of Europe’s most attractive destinations. All in all, 2014 looks set to be a great year to go away.

Below are our top five budget destinations for families – hopefully they’ll give you a few ideas for your own holiday, while you can get yet more ideas on this website.

1) Budapest

The capital of Hungary, Budapest is a really interesting place for an affordable family break. Perhaps best for those with older children, Budapest is famous for its rich history and architecture, not to mention its many thermal and mineral springs, which are said to have therapeutic properties – perfect for tired mums and dads!

And if that tickles your fancy, you’ll be hard pressed to beat the Gellert Baths, which offer indulgent bathing for both men and women (in separate sections, mind). This Art Nouveau building is so stunning that you’ll feel like you’re bathing in some kind of cathedral – a truly amazing experience.

2) Marmaris

For several years now, Turkey has been a favourite destination among cost-cutting holidaymakers who don’t want to compromise on sun and fun. Located on the Turkish Riviera, Marmaris is a particular gem, home to a beautiful harbour, grand castle and, of course, stunning beaches.

Among the highlights of a trip here is going on a cruise from Marmaris Bay around the local coastline – something that lots of companies offer. Not only will you be able to see the destination from another perspective, but you’ll also have the chance to stop at various sunspots and relax. Just make sure you sort your visa before. You can apply for a Turkish visa online before hand.

3) The Costa del Sol

Our next suggestion is Spain’s sun-drenched Costa del Sol, which has just about everything a family could wish for – well-priced accommodation, abundant beaches, gorgeous scenery, great weather and food so delicious that even fussy eaters won’t be able to resist.

Plus, there are plenty of destinations within the Costa del Sol that cater for different kinds of holiday. If you fancy soaking up a little culture, for instance, you can head to Malaga, while if you would prefer a more traditional fun-filled family getaway, Torremolinos or Benalmadena might be more your scene.

4) The Algarve

Is there anyone who would object to a holiday in the Algarve? This is Portugal’s best-loved destination – and with good reason. Famous for its soaring summer temperatures, massive array of brilliant beaches and huge selection of activities, it has something for everyone.

The icing on the cake is that the research we mentioned earlier (the Post Office travel report) found that prices have dropped substantially in the Algarve, which means if you go there this year, you’ll pay less for things like food and drink than you might expect.

5) Cape Town

Rounding off our list is Cape Town – the perfect choice for families who are keen to do something a little bit different. Adults and children alike are bound to be thrilled by a trip to the top of the city’s famous Table Mountain (which takes just five minutes on the Cableway), but there’s plenty else to see and do as well.

Boulders Beach should definitely be high on your to-do list if you’re travelling with the family, though. Not only is this a great place to relax, but you can see African penguins here too.

05 Apr 2014

Top Tourist Attractions in Vatican City

The top tourist attractions in Vatican City are beyond belief...

The top tourist attractions in Vatican City are an interesting set of landmarks that lie in the holiest place of the Catholic faith. Vatican City is located within the city of Rome. It has a relatively small land area but ironically, its size does not immediately correlate with its global influence. In fact, the Vatican City is even one of the most powerful nations in the world nearly equal to the United States of America, China, Russia and Saudi Arabia in terms of its economic importance.

The Vatican City remains as one of the most special places on earth because it is a perfectly functional theocracy. It has certain religious authority over the international members comprising the biggest spiritual organization in the planet. While other theocracies fail, the Vatican City remains intact for 2000 years.

1. Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel remains the most iconic of the top tourist attractions in Vatican City. It is located within the complex of the Apostolic Palace, which is the official residence of the pope. What makes the Sistine Chapel so noteworthy is that its interior walls, especially the vaulted ceiling, are decorated with masterpiece paintings of Renaissance history’s greatest artists. Raphael’s frescoes depict the lives of St. Peter and St. Paul in the service of God.

2. St. Peter’s Square

St. Peter’s Square is the most popular among the top tourist attractions in Vatican City – popular meaning it is always flocked with visitors from Italy or beyond. Interestingly, St. Peter’s Square is shaped like a key from aerial view, which depicts the inheritance of the apostle Peter as the chief builder of Christ’s church. The St. Peter’s Square is very crowded during special vigils and papal inaugurations, with the latest event about the cardinal from Argentina being elected as Pope Francis I in March 14, 2013.

3. Casina Pio IV

The Casina Pio IV is a famous learning center for the College of Cardinals that runs the Vatican City. Curiously, this patrician villa is divided into three schools according to their special field. The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is a school focusing on pure sciences such as biology, chemistry and astronomy (with the latter integral for the creation of the Vatican Observatory). The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences is close to the heart of the Catholic doctrine focusing on the global issues that Christian societies face. Lastly, the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas caters to a wide array of academic fields.

4. Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums store the chronicles of the Vatican institution. The story of Christianity is written in the documents and codices housed in its libraries. Some of these written texts are highly guarded secrets pertaining to prophecies in the past made by saints.

The Vatican Museums also keep and display an extensive collection of relics, especially the types of old weaponry found in the vaults of the Swiss Guard armory. This is the place to investigate Vatican history, whether good or bad.

19 Mar 2014

Fun in the Sun during your Corfu Holiday

A Corfu holiday should include a day on isolated beaches like these ones!

Corfu is a beautiful Greek island cast out into the Ionian Sea, close to the coast of Turkey. It’s known as the Emerald Isle, and for good reason too – one glimpse at those lush hillsides, dense forests and sparkling blue seas and it’s clear to see how it got its name.

Like its neighbouring islands, Corfu has a fascinating story to tell and is peppered with ancient ruins. Its history is smattered with battles and conquests which span the last several centuries, and its legacy survives in the form of crumbling walls and fallen temples, towering fortifications and echoing castles. Wander among the remains and learn about the Ancient Greece lifestyle, the advances of the Ottoman Empire, Turkish sieges, and even the Napoleonic Wars.

It’s fair to say that if you’ve got a Corfu holiday on the agenda, you’ll never be short of fascinating things to see, do and experience. But of course, a trip to this beautiful island offers so much more than a history lesson – something that the kids will be happy to know!

Today, a Corfu holiday take many different forms. Check out a tour operator like Thomas Cook holidays to get an idea of the different types of package holidays available. You can enjoy family fun in the sun on one of its beautiful beaches, a day’s shopping trip in its incredible capital city, or pick up the tempo in its buzzing party resort of Kavos.

If you’ve got a laid-back beach break on the cards, this lovely island is happy to oblige. Head to beautiful Acharavi or Aghios Georgios in the north, and enjoy a laid-back lifestyle with wide sandy beaches and quiet, traditional tavernas – perfect for trying the local cuisine or enjoying a Grecian nightcap at the end of another gorgeous day.

In Corfu resorts like Sidari and Govia, you’ll find a livelier vibe which tempts in tourists looking for somewhere upbeat, with plenty of home comforts and nearby activities. These resorts lay on plenty of entertainment both day and night, so you’ll never be short of things to do.

For fun in the sun, the beautiful Emerald Isle of Corfu ticks all the right boxes…

12 Mar 2014

Planning an all inclusive holiday – what do you need to know?

Planning an all-inclusive holiday isn't as hard as you think - follow our guide and you'll be chilling in this pool before you know it!

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and book that relaxing all inclusive holiday you’ve been dreaming about all winter – good for you. The only question is, what do you need to know before you do? Our guide will help you get to grips with what to look into before handing over your cash.

All inclusive deals aren’t all the same

The first and arguably most important thing you need to bear in mind is that one all inclusive package can vary an awful lot from the next. So, don’t make your booking without thoroughly checking exactly what you’ll be getting. You can pretty much bank on food and drinks being included, for instance, but often you’ll find some of the fancier drinks are excluded.

If you’re planning an action-packed trip, it’s also worth finding out whether any onsite activities are part of the deal (or water sports at the local beach, for instance), since this could help you decide whether or not this really is the best option for you. Similarly, if you think there’s a lot included that you just won’t use, it could be worth looking around some more, because you may well find there’s an offer better suited to your needs elsewhere.

Food and local restaurants

Enjoying some good food is part and parcel of a decent holiday, and when you’re going all inclusive you’ll largely be tied to the restaurants at your chosen resort – after all, you’ll have paid to eat there, so it’s unlikely you’ll want to pay extra to eat somewhere else every night! So, check out what kind of food is on offer at each venue. As well as thinking about whether you like the sound of it, consider how much variety there is – if there isn’t much, you may well get bored of what you’re eating after a few days.

While you’re likely to want to eat at the resort most of the time, occasionally you might like to treat yourself to lunch and dinner out. So, you should also take a peek at what kinds of restaurants are nearby – and what sort of reviews they get.

Location

The next thing you need to think about is the location of your hotel. When doing so, keep in mind the facilities and activities included in your deal – they may well mean you’re happy enough to stay somewhere a little further out from the centre of the action, purely because they offer you plenty to do.

If, however, you’re really set on visiting certain attractions or spending lots of time out and about, you should make sure there’s plenty of scope for you to get around easily. It’s worth considering the cost of transport, too, because this can have an impact on your overall budget.

Budget

Speaking of budgets, while all inclusive deals can be great for making sure you don’t overspend and seeing your overall holiday cost at a glance, you need to do your sums before booking. First of all, check whether there could be any hidden charges – if you’re unsure, don’t be afraid to ask.

Again, you should also make sure you fully understand what is – and what isn’t – included in the price you’re paying. Remember to add on any attractions that you expect to go and see, as well as any known travel costs. Doing all this will help you build up an accurate picture of the overall price of the holiday, as well as work out how much spending money you’ll have per day. Another way to make your trip more feasible is to leverage credit card points, click here to learn more.

Flights and hotel transfers

You’ll often see all inclusive deals encompassing hotels, flights and transfer costs. Because they’re so simple, these often seem particularly appealing, but it pays to stop for a moment and look carefully at the individual costs. Often, it’s actually cheaper to organise your flights, transfers and hotel separately.

Why? Chiefly because it allows you to select the very best deal for each, not to mention giving you the freedom to pick flight times and suchlike that best suit you – Holiday Nights is a good place to look.

17 Feb 2014

Discover Desert Landscapes and the Red City in Jordan

Wadi Rum is one of the amazing natural assets that are just begging to be discovered in Jordan...!

Jordan is becoming an increasingly popular place to visit for a walking holiday and with very good reason, as its desert landscapes are truly spectacular and provide a wilderness experience like no other.

Another attraction of hiking in Jordan is that you can visit some amazing historical sites as you walk, including the breathtaking city of Petra. Also known as the Red City, this was once an important stop on the trade routes from east to west, although much of its charm for travellers lies in the fact it remained undiscovered by the western world for centuries.

We’re going to take a look at some of the highlights of a trekking tour in Jordan – if this interests you, Explore Worldwide can help you organise your ideal holiday.

Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum is a desert valley where you’ll find some incredible rock formations and beautiful scenery. The cliffs and rocks here have been carved into bizarre shapes by the power of the wind and they really are a sight to behold.

This part of Jordan was made famous by TE Lawrence, who was based here during the first world war and who went on to write about his experiences. He described the landscape as “vast, echoing and god-like”.

However, Wadi Rum was being used centuries before as a trade route and it’s one the local Bedouin people know well. They still live a semi-nomadic life in the desert and visiting one of their camps will give you an insight into how they survive in what seems to be such an inhospitable environment.

Among the most famous – and impressive – rock formations in Wadi Rum are the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, a towering red-stone cliff, and the Burdah Rock Bridge. Dotted throughout the valley are thousands of petroglyphs and inscriptions that indicate that the area has been inhabited by humans for centuries.

Petra

Petra is Jordan’s most famous tourist attraction and with very good reason. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is quite incredible, with the original city having been hewn out of the cliffs and other buildings developed around it in its sheltered location among the mountains.

It was the Nabateans who developed it into a thriving hub for traders crossing the desert from the Orient to Arabia and it was a bustling city until the Roman era, when trade routes were diverted and Petra gradually lost influence.

Despite being known to the local Bedouins, it was forgotten by the rest of the world until the early 19th century when Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt stumbled across it. Although many of the buildings were in ruins, the tombs and chambers that had been carved out of the cliffs themselves are still in remarkable condition.

One of the highlights is the Treasury, which greets travellers as they enter via the Siq Gorge. Obelisks, temples, tombs and a Roman-style theatre are some of the other things you can discover as you wander around the city.

If you’ve got the energy for a bit of a climb, make your way to the Al Deir Monastery, which stands at the top of a flight of 800 steps that have been cut out of the rock. In addition to the archaeological treasures themselves, there are two museums onsite that have been designed to give visitors a better understanding of Petra’s history, as well as to showcase artefacts that have been recovered here.

15 Feb 2014

Best Destinations to Travel for a Gap Year Job

Being a summer camp counselor in the USA is an example of a sought after gap year job!

Your ticket to seeing the world on a gap year obviously comes much cheaper if you are able to spend some time working! A job in an exotic location is a fantastic opportunity to meet interesting people, really get to know the area, learn new skills, acquire CV-enhancing work experience, and perhaps even fund a trip-extension. Here are three great gap-year destinations you should consider:

Australia

Australia is a beautiful country and a wildly popular backpacking destination. With a culture very similar to the UK’s, living and working far away can still feel reassuringly familiar. This is a land of sunshine and spectacular natural wonders where most people live on the coast within reach of multicultural cities and enjoy the beach and active outdoor lifestyles.

Work opportunities and jobs in Australia include harvest work, bar work and catering, and office temping. Ranch work can offer more adventure – working on an outback cattle station, for example – but may require some farming experience.

As recruitment consultant Daniel Lucas confirms, UK job-seekers will be warmly welcomed: ‘Any Brits with a sales background, farming background, au-pair or nanny experience, horse-riding skills or nursing, care experience need to buy a ticket and get over here ASAP.’

USA

Working in the USA could be your once-in-a-lifetime chance to put aside your media-driven expectations and explore the reality of this dynamic country which exerts a truly global influence. Diverse landscapes and cultural experiences abound though you will find many echoes of home too.

Working at an American summer camp is a well-established paid-work option which entails inspiring and educating young people during their summer vacation. You will meet many friends and get plenty of free time to explore the country.

Au pair work with host families is another established employment route which offers the chance to experience the American way of life, yet also allows you plenty of time off to socialise. Those with special skills can often take advantage of niche opportunities, working, for example, as ski or snowboard instructors in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain resorts. As with similar ‘dream’ jobs, the pay may not be top drawer, but you will get to spend as much time as you choose on the slopes.

New Zealand

New Zealand, ‘the adventure capital of the world’, is another all-action destination for sports and outdoor enthusiasts that is also crammed full of truly stunning natural landscapes and amazing wildlife. Kiwi society and lifestyles will seem very familiar to UK travellers, as will New Zealand’s climate.

There are a variety of jobs open to ‘gappers’ in hospitality, promotions, IT, finance and similar industries. Outdoor options range from fruit-picking and construction to more specialised work for those with expertise, or willing to undergo training. For example, a white-water rafting company in Rotorua is willing to hire instructors who successfully complete a five-week training course.

Earn as you travel

For pay-as-you-go travel opportunities, a gap year working abroad is hard to beat. You are bound to meet new friends and gain ‘inside track’ knowledge about your chosen destination, both of which could prove invaluable if you are considering a career move overseas. Whatever your plans, the trip will enrich your life and future job prospects in equal measure.

11 Feb 2014

Best Time To Visit Jordan

Jerash has many Roman ruins, best seen in fall, the best time to visit Jordan!

If you are after the famous Petra and Jerash tourist spots, then the best time to visit Jordan is throughout the autumn and spring time seasons when the climate is favourable enough to delve into the exciting outdoor setting and the picturesque backdrops that are filled with lush flora. For some Muslim travellers, spending a vacation during the sacred months of Ramadan are deemed as the best time to visit Jordan to experience the long-established customs and to take pleasure on the Eid al-Fitr merry makings.

For some, April is deemed to be the best time to visit Jordan since this is the time of the year when wild flowers blossom fully and are truly breathtakingly beautiful. Among the other preferable dates to enjoy the sun and the scenic scenery are during the months of March to May and September to November. Watch out during the month of March since monsoons may be experienced especially in the north bound areas.

Being one of the well-loved and popular tourist destinations in Jordan, It is highly recommended to visit the prehistoric Bedouin metropolis of Petra early in the morning when the tourists are not yet all over the area. During this time, you’ll have more ample time to truly appreciate and savour the beauty that this famous landmark has to offer since more often than not, the place is teeming with lots of crowd. Moreover, it is also strongly suggested not to book excursions during peak seasons so as not to spoil the fun.

Bear in mind too if you are a budget-conscious traveler that the best time to visit Jordan with its most affordable airfares and accommodations is during the months of July to August, the warmest and most dried up season of the entire year. It is also quite affordable to visit during the months of November to March when cold breezes, light rains and snow are experienced in the country. On the other, prices for tours and accommodations are relatively high during the peak season in autumn and spring when the climate is believed to be perfectly awesome.

Don’t forget to remember that if you’re a Christian who loves to devour on luscious food every now and then, the month of Ramadan is not definitely recommended as one of the best time to visit Jordan, or much of the Middle East for that matter, since Muslims during this month of the year are required to fast and many business establishments aren’t open at this time thus, indulging on eating is strictly prohibited.

Lastly, the Jerash Festival throughout the months of July or August is celebrated as a cultural kind of festivity in regions surrounding Amman. The yearly Global Village Festival in July on the other hand is an additional approach to gain insights about the native legacies and legends of the country.

29 Jan 2014

London’s Unmissable Bars, Clubs & Pubs!

Wishing Well Pub, London, England

When it comes to the top bars and clubs in Europe, the city of London simply can’t be overlooked. There’s so much entertainment on the capital’s streets as it is, and sometimes there are some amazing bars and clubs that get overlooked by tourists – and even Londoners – when on a night out.

If you’re thinking of visiting London, England in 2014, then a tour of the city’s best places to drink is a must, with some of the oldest pubs in the country laying roots in the capital for hundreds of years! Here’s a short guide to London’s Unmissable bars, clubs & pubs to kick start your evening in one of the world’s most spectacular cities.

Lime 

Lime can be found nestled in the suburbs of Palmers Green in North London, and having just undergone a complete refurbishment from its previous name The Live Room, this bar is a real eye catcher. With black and silver walls, stylish mirrors surrounding the seating areas, table service and smart, friendly staff, there’s no doubt you’ll have a night to remember in Lime, especially as the DJ plays the freshest hip hop tunes until the early hours! Call or visit their website to reserve a table.

Moonlighting 

Moonlighting is another of London’s top bars/clubs, and it’s extremely popular with students on a Thursday night with drinks selling for £1.50! Situated in the heart of Soho, one of the capital’s trendiest boroughs, Moonlighting hosts a number of nights every week, with the busiest being Saturday.

If you’re looking for great cocktails, a dazzling interior and old tunes as well as new ones, then Moonlighting is the place for you, and just like Lime you can call ahead and reserve a table – or even host a party there!

Koko 

Koko is one of London’s oldest venues, and to this day it remains a popular place to party with the capital’s youth in the heart of Camden. From NME nights to gigs and special DJ appearances, this is a great place to spot celebrities in the city, especially if a great band is playing. Koko is pretty big inside, with 3 levels overlooking the main dance floor.

Furthermore, the club also puts on special student nights in the week (usually Wednesdays), meaning there’s a whole host of great drinks deals to take advantage of. Get discounts on tickets by booking online at the Koko website.

The Wishing Well 

Palmers Green has a knack for cool places to drink, and situated right across the road from Lime is the Wishing Well. Home to some of London’s most seasoned Irish drinkers, the Wishing Well is as traditional as pubs come, playing live music most nights of the week and even supplying drinkers with sandwiches towards the end of the night!

Furthermore, there’s an overground train station opposite the pub, meaning you can be back in central London in less than 20 minutes. Run and owned by manager Chrissy, she keep’s this establishment in tip-top shape, so get down to the Wishing Well and experience a true Irish pub at it’s finest!

If you are looking for the finest London bars and clubs, you needn’t despair, as the establishments listed above will get you well on you way to one of the best nights out that you’ve ever had in your life!

10 Jan 2014

Best Time To Visit Gibraltar

Beach near the Rock of Gibraltar

There really is no considerable difficulty in planning the best time to visit Gibraltar. This country has a pleasant climate like its neighboring country of Spain. However, Gibraltar’s special location along the Mediterranean coast makes it quite more appealing than most cities in Spain up north.

This country becomes a favorite vacation destination for the British expats because of its less hostile weather. Apart from the friendly atmosphere, Gibraltarians have a friendlier treatment towards the Englishmen that has defended them for many centuries. Although the climate here is warmer, the people’s collective deference for Spain is another story.

Gibraltar’s sense of independence is so strong that oftentimes their animosity towards mainland Spaniards could have violent consequences. For safety purposes, it is not always advisable to enter Gibraltar’s northern borders via on foot or taxi ride during night time. (more…)

22 Dec 2013

Top 5 Sights in the Southern Hemisphere

Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Queensland, Australia

There are plenty of historical and cultural landmarks dotted south of the equator that travellers flock to.  This is not surprising given the fact that four of the world’s continents – Africa, South America, Australasia and Antarctica – are encompassed within its territory.

If you’re thinking of visiting one of the countries in the Southern Hemisphere, or indeed taking part in a round-the-world trip, then here are some of the top 5 sights for you to check out.

Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Symbolising the religious zeal of Catholic Brazil, the imposing Christ the Redeemer is a statue of Jesus Christ that has become synonymous with the country. Its substantial size of 98 feet and position on top of the 2,300 feet tall Corcovado Mountain makes it dominate the Rio skyline. Although there is a strenuous climb up to the foot of the statue, the views over the rest of the city are breathtaking. It is estimated that over 1 million people visit every year.

The Bay of Islands, North Island, New Zealand

One of the most popular tourist destinations in New Zealand, the Bay of Islands is a 16km-wide inlet which forms a natural harbour at the northern tip of the country. Although many visitors come each year, the natural beauty of the area remains preserved to a high level. 144 islands make up the area where people come to enjoy the picturesque bays and sandy beaches. Yachting and fishing are also popular pastimes in the Bay of Islands.

Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea, Australia

The incredible Great Barrier Reef is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms. Referred to as one of the Seven Wonders of the World on numerous occasions, it has also been selected as a World Heritage Site. Because of its reputation, millions of people flock to the Reef every year, especially tourists travelling down the popular east coast route. The Great Barrier Reef supports an extremely diverse plant and marine life which make snorkeling an attractive pursuit also.

If you’re planning on visiting Australia and seeing the Great Barrier Reef, visit this site:

Victoria Falls, Zambia & Zimbabwe

Lying on the border of both Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in the world. Named by the Scottish explorer David Livingstone after the British monarch of the time, the Falls are considered to be the largest in Africa and the world due to its combined height and width. Large national parks surround the waterfall with an eclectic bundle of wildlife to enjoy for visitors.

Sydney Harbour, Sydney, Australia

If visiting Sydney then the harbour district is the must-see area for all tourists. With its historical past and cultural landmarks, the image of the harbour is widely associated with Australia. This is notably because the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge lie within a small distance of each other, two of the most prominent sights in the Southern Hemisphere. The spectacular celebrations at New Year also take place around the harbour, perhaps the most famous fireworks display in the world.

 

19 Dec 2013