5 Great Things to Do in Bali

Bali is an amazing destination which is world renowned for its incredible paradise beaches and crystal clear waters. But when I visited Bali I found there was much more to it than just being a beach bum on a paradise island.

If you fancy a little bit different you should be sure to check out the things below:

Visit the Monkey Temple in Uluwatu
The temple in Uluwatu is home to a huge inhabiatation of wild monkeys who love to cause mischief amongst the tourists. Definitely one to check out!

Tanah Lot Temple
One of the most visited temples in Bali, Tanah Lot is the main temple of worship in Bali and is set in an amazing and dramatic location on the coastline.

Stay in a Paradise Villa
Villas in Bali can be some of the most luxurious in the world, but you can stay at them for a fraction of the usual price in amazing locations like Ubud. Sample some real luxury, enjoy a spa and unwind with the sea lapping at your door.

Eat at a Food Stall
One for most Asia destinations holds true in Bali. The street food is amazing and super cheap. Have a good chinwag with the locals while your at it.

This might fall into the beach bum category slightly but what the hell! Bali is a great place to catch some surf and even if you're a beginner you should give it a go in places like Uluwatu or Bingin.

Travel Insurance Advice from the Experts

Good travel insurance is not a luxury for a few choice travellers; it is an absolute necessity for everyone. It is useful whether you need travel insurance for a worldwide trip, are a luxury tourist heading to Dubai or a family on a tour of the Caribbean. However, the specifics of insurance vary from one traveller to another depending on age, distance, area of visitation, and a host of other factors.

Travel insurance, and indeed insurance in general, is complicated. Here, the devil is in the details. Insurance companies seem to have perfected the art of impression, creating the impression that everything is simple and straightforward, only to be hit with surprises when you go to issue a claim. So make sure you always read the fine print, and ask as many questions as possible. It’s your hard earned money, so it’s your right to know.

Typically, you will get insurance divided into five major categories: medical, flight insurance, trip cancellation and interruption, baggage, and evacuation. Having several insurance covers may be an advantage or disadvantage. If, for example, you have a health cover that will take care of your health insurance even while on holiday, then you can reduce your travel insurance travel premium. However, the process of claiming and collection may be complicated. In such a case, you can opt to get a comprehensive travel insurance that will cover all the five categories. Better still, you can get this from a company that will cover and pay your claims without bothering about your other insurance covers.

Medical insurance varies largely with age. The older you are, the more expensive the insurance cover. For senior citizens, it may be better to get a comprehensive cover altogether since medical cover can be quite pricey. Also, if you have health insurance, find out if they cover you for international travel. Even if they do, you may still opt for a travel health insurance. With normal health insurance, you will most likely have to pay for your bills and claim later on, a problem if you are having a costly procedure abroad.

Flight insurance is sounds like a good idea. However, when you consider that only 1% of flights worldwide crash, the statistical probability is very low. My advice: don’t bother. Baggage insurance is best bought as part of the comprehensive insurance cover. Though, check whether your household cover also insures your items while on holiday. Also ensure that your baggage is covered while on rail. If you have extra valuable luggage, ensure that whatever insurance you are on comprehensively covers it. Evacuation is mostly covered only by travel insurance. Ensure that you read the fine print though, and find out whether it will cover your off-piste ski activity in the Alps.

Trip cancellation and interruption insurance is particularly useful if you have to pay large sums upfront for the trip beforehand. In such cases, you will end up with considerable financial loss if your trip is interrupted while on holiday or you have to cancel before you start. However, if you are backpacking without having to make any financial commitments beforehand, then this shouldn't bother you. Again, read the fine print to find out what consists of a valid reason for breaking the trip. 

Amazing Sights to See On a Tour of the UK

United Kingdom is blessed with an extra ordinary wealth of sights and its surprising landscapes keep thrilling. With vibrant cities, lush countryside, stoic castles, and beautiful beaches, it is indeed an amazing blend of the past and the present.

The Mysterious Ruined Castles of Wiltshire
The history of castles in the UK is amazing, they are not only historical but a presentation of a mysterious past that existed: a place where people lived and worshipped, banding together under the protection of powerful Lords and Kings.

Old Sarum is a monumental Iron Age hill fort that is spectacularly intriguing and believed to have been occupied by the Romans and the Saxons. Sarum rose to fame in a different era, when aristocrats controlled the number of parliamentarians. The amazing views around this place include the Salisbury Cathedral.

Another place of interest around this area is the iconic Stonehenge situated only a few meters from here. It is said to have been around for more than 5000 years. This mysterious monument has been named a UNESCO world heritage site. People visit the Stonehenge to view the sunrise and experience the times when the sun aligns systematically with it.

The Castles of Scotland And Wales
The Glamis Castles, which are well depicted by Shakespeare in his once censored book; “The Tragedy of Macbeth” show the true picture history and kings that ruled while in this castle.

Though it has a bloody history, it is the birth place of royalties such as Elizabeth Bowes the late queen mother.  A tour around the castle reveals the family chapel that witnessed the rebellious political act of 1715. The mystery of the Evil card location and the Duncan’s Hall are places that will rouse you curiosity. Enjoy the scenic nature trails, a stark contrast to the dark history of the Glamis castles.

Balmoral Castle in Scotland on the other hand is a fantasy medieval castle built for Queen Victoria and has since been passed down from royal generations to generations. It was the queen’s vacation destination and a complete opposite of the Glamis Castles. It is also indeed a beauty to behold, and is worth stopping over to enjoy a royal view.

The enduring image of well built cathedrals is a memory that lives with any tourist. Take for example the Norwich cathedral, second only in size to the Salisbury cathedral. It is huge and has stood since the 14th century, but still continues to awe present day crowds. It is largely un-spoilt built with flint rubble, mortal and limestone.

The Chester Cathedral is yet another richly historic cathedral in UK; it offers a spectacular view to anyone visiting. Relive history and experience the mysterious stories of the monks, kings and craftsmen. It has grand Norman arches, majestic gothic columns, fascinating woodcarvings from the 14th century and serene monk’s refectories’ where monks had their afternoon teas. The scrupulously neat newly replanted Cloister gardens create a relaxing atmosphere, perfect for unwinding after a busy day in the bustling city. Truly Chester is a hidden gem in the heart of the city. Enjoy its displays of modern art and its pleasant atmosphere.

 Organise your dream, tailor made UK tour with Great British Trips

3 of My Favourite Golf Holiday Resorts

Vilamoura in the Algarve
Nestled in Algarve, Portugual is one of Europe’s most popular holidaying circuits, the Vilamoura. Covering over 2,000 hectares, the scenic complex consists of beautiful pine forests, lovely swamp areas, long beach all set in a very environmentally conscious planned development. One of the features of this area is its lovely golfing scene.

Within this area are five beautiful courses, each with its own unique character and flavor. The Laguna course, designed by Joseph Lee in 1990, features a typical flat course, with lots of water hazards. Just when you think that you have got it right, another trick is poised in place. With 18 holes, you have a lot of challenges to overcome. The more recent addition, the Millennium Course was aptly built at the turn of the millennium, year 2000. It is here that you can take on a long 27 hole course, flanked by beautiful coastal pine trees. Alternatively, you can head over to the Old Course, built in 1969. This course provides timeless challenge. The first few holes are invitingly easy, before becoming more complicated as the course progresses to the 18th hole. Both Vila Sol and Pinhal present curious challenges, but it is the lengthy Victoria that aims to impress. The longest 18 hole course in Portugal, it promises to provide one of the most interesting experiences in Europe.

Gloria in Belek
Turkey’s golfing circuit comes to life at Belek. Within this short area you will find 15 golf courses, all waiting to be explored. In the Gloria Golf Resort alone, there are two world class championship 18 hole courses, as well as a smaller 9 hole course.

The courses at Gloria were designed by world renowned Michel Gayon. He devilishly set up 67 bunkers and 4 big lakes, just to add flavor to the course. Make sure your aim is straight and true, because the beautiful tree line will punish you for your errant swing. Once you have finished with your round of golf, relax at the resort’s luxurious pool. Alternatively, head over for a massage before enjoying a sumptuous round of Turkish delight. For the avid golfer, you can head down the road and sample the other 10 golf courses around the area.

Aphrodite hills in Paphos
The sunny tourist country of Cyprus is a land of myth and magic. Fall in love with the land of the goddess of love in her serene hill resort of Aphrodite Hills. Located overlooking the Mediterranean, this beautiful golf resort has attracted some of the biggest golfing names each year.

Indeed, her championship course set on a stunning 230 hectares is a beauty to behold. Experience tricky bunkers, confusing ravine areas, as well as fast greens at the resort area. Each hole opens a new chapter of challenge, as well as exciting views to reward you for you fortitude.

If you are not playing golf, head over to the resort’s world acclaimed spa, being crowned the world’s best spa in 2008. Wander about the Greco-Roman designed spa, lazying around the spacious Mediterranean resort. Alternatively, you can continue your golfing pursuits at the nearby Tsada golf course, or head over to the beautiful Secret Valley hidden between rugged red cliffs. 

Visiting Moscow: A City Full of Vitality

This is the heartbeat of Russia, a city full of creative energy where the past collides with future in a most peculiar way. Old buildings are being restored to great masterpieces, in a way that the old and deserted becomes the present and the future. It is a place known to have many billionaires, where cups of coffee are overwhelmingly expensive, and the nights are bursting with activities from the underground bars to the dynamic scenes of exclusive clubs and theaters.

The Kremlin
It is a fortified city within a city and dates back to 1147, the beginnings of Moscow itself. It is characterized by the dazzling sites of glistening onion domes, prestigious ancient churches and numerous palaces that depict the amazing history of the past eras and its rulers. Discover the hidden remnants of the Soviet era and the magnificent architecture of that regime.

The most recent building in Kremlin is the State Kremlin Palace, a magnificent glass and concrete structure with a prominent auditorium that is now used for ballet dances. The Terem Palace on the other hand is the oldest of the three Palaces at Kremlin. As earlier noted, the energetic creativity of Moscow is inevitably represented by the extraordinary interior decorations rather bellied by the remarkable exteriors.

The Red Square
The Red Square is a must see to all visitors to Russia, where are lot of Russia’s glorious history was once written. It is a historical site and has a panoramic view of the Basil Cathedral. It was used as a parading ground of the Soviet soldiers and their stone faced leaders. Though these gloomy sights no longer depict the Red Square, their places are gloriously taken by the vibrant world famous GUM departmental stores, what remains is the dominant Lenin Mausoleum .

The Basil Cathedral is a breathtaking profusion of vibrant colors and shapes. Its distinctive patterns of domes, arches, towers and cupolas each in its own hue all blend together into a dynamic work of art; it is fascinating to the eye. As you stroll round the perimeters of the Red Square, behold the beauty of this Cathedral.

The Pushkin Fine Arts Museum
Other great places to visit in Moscow are the museums; the Pushkin in Europe is only second to the Hermitage and bears collectors’ masterpieces of the Impressionist arts and Post Impressionists that won the audience of the Russians. Pushkin’s collections are also featured in other museums: The Museum of Private Collections and the Gallery of European and American Art of the 19th and 20th centuries respectively. Famous works are displayed with Rembrandts stealing the show, but Botticelli, Tiepolo and Veronese are also well represented.

Finally after enjoying the fascinating sites in Moscow enjoy the dynamic nightlife of the Muscovites, what the communists may have termed as “indecent or decadent”. The now happy moneyed Russians enjoy worldly pleasures like no other place in the world, from the less conspicuous places to the vibrant clubs. It has been termed as “a city without limits”: from dusk to dawn, anything is possible.
Book your holiday to Moscow with Exeter International

Culture and History on a Stay in a Berber Lodger: Marrakech, Morocco

Magical Morocco offers so much for everyone. One of the unique elements of Morocco can be found in its population of Berbers. Though not wholly native to Morocco, they have developed their own unique identity and culture. Having survived over several hundreds of years of invasions, wars, and harsh weather, the Berber culture is rich and ancient. It is no wonder such a joy and thrill to experience its realities when visiting Morocco.

In order to fully immerse yourself in Berber culture, consider staying at a Berber lodge in the Marrakech region. These amazing places are the perfect accommodation near Marrakech to get a true taste of Moroccan life. The facilities allow you to enjoy the beauty of the local culture, indulging in a culture that is hundreds of years old: ancient and fascinating.

The best of these lodging facilities has to be the Berber Cultural Center. This is the real, authentic definition of immersion. Here, you will meet with Mohamed’s warm and entertaining family. From the minute you step through the doors, you will experience authentic Berber hospitality from a real Berber family. Lose yourself as you learn to make authentic mint tea, and participate in normal family life, just like a real Berber. For those with families, this is a great opportunity to show your children how different cultures live. There is no Wi-Fi here, so the trappings of internet devices or world news won’t bind you. Instead, take long treks, go fetch water on a donkey, participate in making tajines for dinner and bread for breakfast, and unwind from a long day with an exciting game of cards. Make lifelong friends and experience the joys of friendly markets and neighbors.

For those keen on a little more luxury, the Maroc lodge has what you need. A short drive out of Marrakech, the lodge offers a premier Berber experience. Located on a beautiful 2 hectares, it features executive luxury pavilions, each with its own unique design. The overall design of the lodge merges Berber culture with “international objet d’art”. Unlike the Cultural Center, here you have the latest trappings of modernity: big screen TVs, heaters, large fireplaces, executive dining facilities, and high speed internet. Here, the chef conjures Berber culinary delights from freshly harvested vegetables from nearby villages and from the lodge’s own fruit and herb gardens. However, they can also whip up other world culinary selections, depending on your taste. The lodge is also strategically located to allow you explore the Berber Atlas countryside, venture into Marrakech, or even head for a ski adventure in the Oukaimden resort. More exciting is the weekly souk, a short trip from the lodge. Here you can shop for interesting and unusual souvenirs, enjoying the warmth of the local culture.

There are other beautiful Berber lodges inside the city. Like the Maroc, they feature up-scale accommodation, complete with luxury facilities, perfect for the luxury tourist. The beauty of Berber lodges is that they exhibit unique character; each room is never the same. As you are spellbound by the earthy tone structures, woody finish, and colorful mats characteristic of Berber homes, you will be in touch with an enduring culture. 

Coastal Delights on a Trip to Oban

Welcome to Oban, a popular seaside town in Scotland. With its unique geography, picturesque hill setting, and unusual history, Oban is truly a tourist’s delight. It is no wonder that every year thousands flock to the town for food, fun, and shopping.

Oban’s popularity as a seaside resort is first because of its sea food reputation. The “Seafood Capital of Scotland” offers you a gastronomic journey unrivalled in the UK. Drop by one of its many sea food restaurants and establishments for an epic experience. Book in advance where seafood is worshipped, the Seafood Temple. Here, enjoy the “Taste of Argyll”, a sample platter filled with a little bit of everything. For a stylish evening out, you can also drop by the Waterfront Fishouse Restaurant. The fresh seafood served at the establishment only rivals its open views. Alternatively, head to the Shellfish Bar for affordable seafood before dropping in at the O’Donnells Irish Pub for a feisty evening.

However, Oban is so much more than the food. A trip around the town reveals some interesting features and unusual histories. Check out McCaig’s Tower, also locally called McCaig’s folly. The structure is actually incomplete, but serves as a beautiful vantage point for romantic couples and photograph enthusiasts. Nearby lies the famous Oban BayBrewery, famous for its classic malt and scotch. I’m sure if you pop into Oban Inn you can get more than enough! Enjoy a trip to the nearby Inveraray Jail house, a unique “living” jailhouse, a must visit for family groups. Also nearby is the Dunollie Castle, a short brisk walk away from the main town. Get your blood pumping as you head on over to these famous ruins. You will be rewarded with unique views of the town, harbor, and even some of the neighboring isles.

Exploring Oban can be done in a variety of ways. You can decide to take a guided tour, or trek through the area armed with a map. Cycling is also a popular way of enjoying Oban’s sights and sounds. Ensure that you go sea diving, as well as explore the nearby Isles if you have a prolonged stay.

Oban has a lot of activity going on throughout the year. Its festivals are vibrant and memorable. The annual Argyllshire Gathering pits some of the world’s best pipers against each other, battling out for top honors. This is the highlight of the highland games, which includes the Cowal Highland Gathering, Mull Highland Games, Inveraray Highland Games, among others. Catch all this action between August and July. Also, catch the popular Oban Winter Festival, the Festival of the Sea, as well as the curious annual Highland Cattle Sale, all in Oban.

With all this activity and attractions, Oban’s hospitality industry has evolved to become very accommodative. It is much easier now to get quality accommodation in Oban. Pick between quaint B&Bs, large renovated Manors, beautiful hotels, and a host of outdoor camping options. For those that fancy, you can rent out a boat and live like a sailor throughout your stay. 

Discovering Jordan’s Hidden Beauty

Jordan is full of treasures and magical legends that will totally blow your mind. The history of Jordan includes the famous biblical sites, the brook where Jesus was baptized, and the fortress where Herod beheaded John the Baptist and the mountain top where Moses first cast his eyes to the Promised Land. It also incorporates ancient Arabic tales, as well as Roman and Crusader sights.

The beauty of Petra is stunning, from her long history to the fact that this ancient city was curved out of hard rock. It is in this place that Moses is said to have struck a rock and water gushed out. This miraculous site is known as Wadi Musa or the Valley of Moses. Over time, Wadi Musa has attracted the attention of many tourists each with a curiosity to discover or learn something from this small town.

You can describe Petra as a city in the wilderness, as it is surrounded by a massive rocky desert and many structures are curved out of the rock. These cave like structures were used by the Nabateans who were nomads and sheltered here from winds during their numerous travels.

The Dead Sea
The lifeless Dead Sea, the world’s lowest point, is another of Jordan’s most lively attraction. You need not be a swimmer to swim in the Dead Sea, the salinity of the sea is so high that no matter how much you weigh, you will remain solemnly on the surface. People flock here to rejuvenate their skin in the water’s famed mineral richness.

Choose a luxurious resort near the beach and take a dip, remember the temperatures are high and you need to carry fresh water to rehydrate your system. You can later head to the fresh water Herodus Spring to wash up the salty layer on your skin, it is absolutely free.
Bethany is a fascinating archeological site to visit while still in the Dead Sea area. Tour the River Jordan, famed for its life giving waters and also the site where Jesus was baptized.

Discover still in this area the amazing beauty of the collection of pavilions, lodges, caravanserais, forts and ruins now known as the desert castles. Some like the Al Azraq and Al Hallabat were richly decorated with marbles, frescoes and paintings and provided a comfortable haven for the Arabs in the harsh desert. The evenings in these palaces were filled with wild entertainment, festivities and wine drinking.

This is a modern Arab city and probably the greatest cultural centre in the Middle East. It is stripped between the poor down town in Eastern Amman to the exotic lifestyle of the Western Amman. With the arrival of a large number of Palestinian and Iraqi refugees, the local conservative culture has radically changed to embrace other cultures.

See the Citadel, the majestic fortress that dominates the highest hill in Amman, Jebel Al-Qalaa. Discover the spectacular sites of the Umayyad Palace, its long winding history, its strong walls and other buildings that make the Citadel. Visit the National Archeological Museum that houses a wide array of artifacts, from Dead Sea scrolls to a 6000years skull.  Jordan indeed has a lot for you to discover.

Book your holiday to Jordan with Corinthian Travel

5 Amazing Gap Year Destinations

If you are considering a place to spend your gap year, then Australia should be up there on your list. The continental island offers so much activity to keep you busy throughout your year. The country is large, with wilderness tours, city adventures, farm activities, as well as beach experiences beckoning. What’s more, with so many backpackers and students travelling to the country, Australia has good infrastructure to support. There are plenty of hostels, cheap hotels, as well as cozy B&Bs en route to almost anywhere. You can also get a one-year work permit easily if you are aged 18-31, and live while working; a great way to cut costs of living.

The Dragon of the East opened up its borders a while back. While many consider it to be a daunting place to visit because of language barrier, it actually may play to your advantage. China’s long history, ancient culture, as well as vast terrain offer an exciting gap year experience. With booming cities, China offers you the adventure of a lifetime as you wander the streets of Beijing or Shanghai. What’s more, you can get a job teaching English at a local school, and supplement your income. Depending on how you live, it is very possible to live affordably.

For those keen on adventure and excitement, take a snow gap year in France’s famous ski resort areas. Enjoy all year white as you learn how to ski from the masters. France offers special gap year ski programs that allow you to work part time and learn full time “the ways of the slope”. If you fancy an exciting year with fellow gap mates enjoying off-piste adventures, rugged mountain views, delicious French cuisine, and a chance to tour the beautiful French countryside occasionally, then this is for you.

South Africa
Another exciting gap-year destination is the Rainbow Nation in the south of Africa. It is a country overcoming its painful past to clinch a blossoming future. Spend a gap year here witnessing the rapid development that has now characterized this beautiful country. From the gold city of Johannesburg, the beautiful Cape Verde, to the exciting wildlife reserves, the country is teeming with activity and adventure. When you have had your fill of its lovely beaches, head inland for sights that will live with you throughout your life. Get a taste of the vibrant South African musical culture, rhythms and harmonies that will play through your head for ages to come.

One of the world’s most famous backpacking adventures, India is an enigma waiting to be explored. Every year, thousands of gap year takers head over to the mystical state to enjoy the thrills of this exotic country. Here, there are literally thousands of places to visit, things to do, and cuisines to try out. What’s more, life here is very cheap, allowing you to enjoy life on a budget. If you want to earn a little money, you can look for an English teaching job, or get a job with a local NGO. Indeed, the country will offer you insights into a different culture and life; life changing experience. 

Book at gap year with Oyster Worldwide

5 Incredible Water Villas to Live the Luxury Life

It doesn't get much more glamorous than staying in a water villa in the Maldives, Caribbean or Bora Bora. These are the places that are usually reserved for the rich and famous, but every now and then there are deals out there that make it possible for us normal folks to soak up the luxury that comes with staying in a water villa or 'overwater bungalow' as they're also known.

Below are 5 of our favourite water villas from around the world where you can sit and listen to the sea lap beneath you and look out into nothing but the long stretch of blue waters out to the horizon:

Luxury is second to none in this amazing place in Bora Bora. Once you go, you won't want to leave...

A beautiful eco lodge near Panama, this is the place to come for rest and relaxation. Large bungalows and powered purely by solar power, they are mighty impressive:

The prefect honeymoon water villas, this is absolute luxury in 5 star style in the Maldives. 24 hour room service so you don't have to leave the room...

Another Maldives special, this is a spectacular resort with 64 water villas, many of which feature their very own private hot tub.

Club Bali Hai is perfect for those wanting a bit of luxury on a budget. it still has stunning water villas, but at a cheaper price than those in the Maldives. Head to Moorea to enjoy them..

For more luxurious water villas head over to overwaterbungalows.net

3 Tips for Your Next Family Holiday

Plan early, plan carefully
When travelling alone or as adults only, it is easy to roll with the punches. This flexibility is eliminated as soon as you include children on your flight plan. When travelling with your children, ensure that you plan well ahead in time, and plan very carefully. Make this a project if you have to. Find out all the necessities of travelling, asking questions frequently if you have to. Find out whether there are any health concerns, immunization requirements, special visa requirements, and so on. If your child has their own passport, ensure that they also have the visa early.

Also pick out the accommodation wisely. Find family friendly accommodation options that will be suitable for your children’s needs. Some hotels and resorts offer kids clubs, free indoor activities, nannies, and a host of other child friendly amenities. Find out in advance if where you are planning to stay has any of these. They could come in handy when you want to have some much needed adult time.

Get travel insurance
The logic behind getting insurance is to minimize on risk. When travelling with children, the risks always seem to multiply. Make sure that you get comprehensive insurance that will ensure a smooth holiday experience. You can get good bargains online, but make sure that the insurance company is credible. Don’t take insurance with some no-name company simply because it is cheap. When taking the policy, read the fine print and ask as many questions as possible.

While most children are covered by their parent’s insurance policy, find out to what extent. If you have more than one child, find the limit to which your children are covered. It may make sense to pay for separate travel insurance if, for example, your health cover limits how much you can spend on health as a family. Find out this first before you travel.

Get something for everyone
Remember: you are going for a family holiday. This means that you will have many expectations to satisfy, including your own. While going for a cheese and wine festival is an exciting prospect for the grown ups, your children won’t be able to participate. Additionally, while swimming in a pool in the Caribbean will excite your children, passing up an opportunity to go snorkeling in the pristine waters might not sit well with you.
Finding family fun activities is not as easy as most think. Most of the times parents neglect their own happiness and play it simple for their children’s sake; this does not need to be the case for you. One of the easiest ways of getting this done is making sure that your children have adult supervision while you slip away to some exciting activity. If necessary, you can go on holiday with the grandparents and have them watch them while you dash. This way, you can head of snorkeling while your child is entertained elsewhere in a safe and conducive environment. Alternatively, you can look for an activity that has something for everyone, like going to watch tomato fights in Spain or a street festival in India. 

Book your family holidays with Baby Friendly Boltholes

3 Beautiful Types of Group Accommodation

Travelling in a group is a popular way to explore. Today, more than ever, it is easier to link up with like-minded people for an exciting group tour. Whether your fascination is mountaineering, photography, cheese and wine, or history, you will almost always find an interesting group somewhere heading out for an adventure. You can always just plan with close friends and family for a special getaway. Here are some fabulous accommodation arrangements suitable for large groups.

Luxury Cottages
These fabulous cottages come in different shapes, sizes, and feels to them. This depends on which part of the world you are in. Some are renovated farm houses, others specially built cottage houses, and others are restored manors. These houses are beautiful, filled with unique character, and have some exciting facilities. Depending on your budget, you can enjoy facilities such as saunas, swimming pools, satellite TV, and high speed internet.

Another interesting feature of luxury cottages is the self-catering option. The flexibility and cost savings this introduces is great. If you love to cook, it can be exciting to go shopping in local markets, sample fresh food, and whip up extraordinary dinners. Alternatively, you can hire a local chef to treat you to delicious local delights and save you the hassle of kitchen duties.

Renovated Castle
For a truly royal experience, why not try renting out a castle as a group. If you have ever fancied a classic retreat experience, then a renovated castle is the ultimate in group accommodation. This is especially so if you are in a very large group: about 30 and above guests. However, you can find castles willing to cater for as few as 16 guests. Of course the design and amenities will vary depending on the country. Additionally, these are usually concentrated in European countries with rich royal histories like France and England. While the prices may seem daunting, when you break it down to the individual costs, then the prices ultimately end up being much better.

Castle grounds offer beautiful locations for social events. So if you are having a company retreat, or looking for the perfect wedding venue, this would work out fine. Depending on your budget, you can expect to have stately lunches, big teas, lavish rooms, and butlers on beck and call. In the evening, you can have your dinners set out overlooking beautiful night landscapes, before retiring to rooms fit for royalty.

Ski Chalets
Group skiing has never been more convenient. Take a retreat into the beautiful Alps and put up at a ski chalet. Ski chalets today have more to offer than ever before, especially for family accommodation.
If you are travelling with children or infants, you now have the option of getting free child amenities that can help cut down on travelling luggage. From baby prams, bibs, bottles, and even potties, a family friendly chalet will have them all.

For luxury travel, dent your budget a little and experience unrivaled hospitality up on the mountains. From helicopter airport transfers, custom off-piste experience, concierge services, and world-class personal chef, the experience will leave you pampered and spoiled. 

Book your group accommodation at www.house-parties.co.uk

Dubai: Battling For Attention In The Land Of the VIP

Dubai has made its mark in the world, not only as a centre for lucrative businesses but for unrivalled world class luxury and extravagant living.  In Dubai expect royal treatment and pampering in the wide array of boutique hotels, 5 star luxury hotels and resorts that battle for your attention. The hidden truth beneath the VIP treatment is that you get to spend like a VIP, but all in all at the end of the day it will be well worth it. So get your credit card loaded up, and lets start touring.

The Burj Al Arab
This astonishing architectural ingenuity will automatically blow your mind. It was created to express the culture of sailing in dhows or a simply an eye catching icon, it is truly creativity of the highest nature. It resembles a massive billowing sail. If the outside is that impressive, the best is yet to come. Inside, it offers unparalleled sophistication, with some of the world’s most expensive interior designs. It is built on an artificial island offshore Jumeirah Beach hotel. Enjoy a great evening high above the waves in the Sky View Bar.

The Royal suite is literally decorated with marble and gold floors, and a great view to the booming city of Dubai. With reception on each floor, personal butler for each room, uniquely designed heli-pad, along with Rolce Royce chauffer services, it is little wonder that this is arguably the world’s best hotel.

Jumeira Beach Hotel
Consistent with Dubai’s VIP trend comes this extravagant beach hotel. Its striking wave like design makes it one of the most recognizable icons of Dubai.

The suits are beautifully designed, each with its own unique character. You will indeed be spoilt for choice as you pick out from these luxury facilities. There are numerous leisure activities available for all, from unlimited access to Wild Wadi Water Park, scuba diving centers to Sinbad Kids Club. That is without mentioning the delicious menu, attentive staff, and gratifying pampering available.

Madinat Jumeira
The extensive landscape, canal style water-ways, delightfully furnished rooms with private balconies is the definition of Madinat Jumeirah. There is a wide array of suites to choose from apart from the splendid view of the gulf waters and a 2 kilometer private beach to take in the Arabic sun in style.

Explore the neat gardens, the Al Qasr Hotel and the Mina Al Salaam, both boutique hotels captured within this breathtaking complex. Experience true Arabic culture in the Souks within the building; every new corner will expose a new and exciting view of Dubai.

Dubai Mall
Finally a trip to Dubai is not complete without an out of this world shopping experience at the mother of all malls: the Dubai Mall.

This is the place where all rules of shopping do not apply, the only place in the world that actually hosts a shopping festival. This is the home of luxurious shopping, exotic entertainment and numerous restaurants that offer the best of Arabic cuisine. Discover shopping in style in over 1200 retail outlets and view the panoramic aquarium which is home to over 3000 species. It is truly a maze, true shoppers paradise.

 Visit Dubai with Dubai Holidays

A Holiday with a Difference: The Delights of Group Travel

Travelling can be an exciting affair, or an exercise in futility, depending on where you are going and who you are with. Truth be told, the world is not just about sights, it is more about people. That is why group travel has so much appeal to it. Here are some of the reasons why group travel is such a delight.

When you are visiting a new place, it can be quite a task adjusting. Travelling with a group ensures that you always have like-minded people around you who can appreciate what you see. Group travel has evolved to the point of having themed groups, depending on your interests. If you are an adrenaline junkie, you can easily find a group that shares your interests. They certainly won’t be bothered by long treks, cave exploring, rock climbing, and other activity based tours. A wine themed tour ensures that you have people around you who understand wine vocabulary, and can appreciate the connoisseur elements of wine. The fact that you share a common interest makes it easy for you to bond and have fun. Long boring trips are filled in with long, scintillating conversations.

It is a fact: travelling in groups is cheaper. Whether you are negotiating for meals, accommodation, and travel, when you are a group, you always have greater bargaining power. Hotels and B&Bs will very likely give you significant discounts if you are travelling as a group, especially during low season. Booking in advance helps cut these costs even further. Arrange for your meals and accommodation in advance; that will help you secure the discounts better. You can get bonus meals, airport pick-ups, and even avoid custom queues when in groups.

3       Security
While we certainly don’t anticipate security problems on the road, they sometimes do happen. However, when you are in a group, these incidents tend to be isolated. What’s more, if there is an accident or incident, being in a group means that you will be catered for much faster. In case of theft or loss of money or documents, a group will be very helpful in getting you assistance.

4       Convenience
Today’s interconnected world allows us to communicate much more effectively. If you are searching for a group that is like-minded, a simple search on websites such as myTC can help you find the perfect match. As stated above, you will enjoy your travel experience much more if you are with like-minded travellers. Also, such company can be an invaluable source of tips, suggestions, and travel advice. If you are travelling for the first time to a certain area, you can ask the more experienced members for advice. They will be more than happy to answer your questions on cost, visa arrangements, as well as help you understand other requirements. Since you most likely share the same interests, they can help create an exciting itinerary. If you were travelling alone, you would have to source this information alone, quite a task. 

Organise your group trip with Going 4 Travel

Exploring Bhutan: The Land of The Thunder Dragon

The thunderous natures of the storms that originate from the Himalayas have earned Bhutan the name, the land of the dragons. The rich culture, radiant snow capped mountains, lush green valleys, magical rural landscapes and historical monasteries and monuments draw the curious attention of esteemed explorers to Bhutan. The best way to explore this extra ordinary land is by trekking its vast landscape.

Hiking The Bhumthang Valley
These cascading lush green valleys are popular and have a magnificent landscape. Fill your lungs with fresh mountain air as you admire the beauty of the stunning sceneries. The Paro valley is normally the starting point. Here, visit the National Museum stocked with prized artifacts and an incredible collection of silverware and Bhutanese art.

Also, see the legendary Taksang Monastery also known as home to the Tigers Nest. It is believed that a Mahayan Buddhist arrived to this monastery on a tigress over a millennium ago. Explore the mystical legends surrounding this historic monument.

A tour is incomplete without exploring the capital of Bhutan, this fascinating kingdom that keeps its values is amazing. Imagine a place where even street lamps do not exist for such a simple reason; conserving the natural environment.

The attractions in Thimphu range from the splendid Dzongs like the Trashi Cchoe Dzong that seamlessly fit with the views of the pristine banks of Wang Chhu River. It holds the city’s most colorful parties and royal festivities. See artisans at work at the Royal Goldsmith Workshop and the Handicraft emporium famed for weaving, wood carvings and paintings.

The Sunday markets are bustling with activities along both banks of the Wang Chhu River: a stunning collection of stalls selling local products, an authentic Bhutanese experience. Wander around these stalls and fill your nostrils with the aroma of natural spices, dried fish, red rice and homemade cheese.

Plunge into Bhutan’s art scene at Voluntary Arts Studio, you may chat with professional artists as well as witness instructors teaching art lessons to Bhutanese students. Artistic products are also sold here.

Punakha Dzong
This used to be an old Capital of Bhutan, and lies on the lowlands and surrounded by spectacular tropical forests. Punakha Dzong has stood the test of time, glacier floods and fire. It is a mighty fortress that stands majestically between two rivers and was built in 1637. If you happen to visit in February you get to witness a remarkable procession in commemoration of a hard won victory over the Tibetans.

In these spectacular lowlands, you will catch a glorious view of the highest Mountain in Bhutan: the Mount Gangar Punsum and have an eastern view of the Himalayas.

You can take a break in the Gangtey Gompa valley where there are numerous monks’ quarters and meditation centers. The seriousness of the Bhutanese in conserving the environment is astonishing, there are no electric or telephone lines. This is also a spectacular destination for bird watching activities and is home to the rare Black Necked Cranes that migrate from Tibetan plateaus to escape harsh winter climate.

Travel to Bhutan with Ampersand Travel

The Trail Begins...

Hi, I'm Ant.

I'm heading out on a trip around the world indefinitely. I don't know where I'm going yet, but I know it's going to be fun, exciting and hopefully last a long time!

Whilst I'm on the road I'm going to be writing about the places I visit, the travel tips I pick up and any other general findings which I think people might be interested in hearing about! Whether you're looking for destination tips, advice on how to find cheap accommodation or just stories about the people I meet and things I do, they should all be here on Ant's Trails...

That's all for now, as it's time for me to go and hop on a plane, but stay tuned and subscribe and hopefully i'll have some exciting tales for you to follow very soon...