Category - Travel News

Hear breaking travel news stories from the travel and tourism industry at the moment they happen. Read our funny slant on travel news stories –

The world’s weirdest Christmas traditions
Dubai to build world’s largest shopping mall
Travel News: Mount Everest Art Exhibition
Japan Airlines serve KFC
Alessandra Ambrosio photoshoot
The hobbit plane arrives
Mile High Speed Dating – TOWIE’s Lucy and Mario help singles to find love.
Is it safe to travel to Tunisia?
Too Fat to Fit on a Plane Seat?
Freestyle or Fu Manchu… Moustaches on a plane.

The world’s weirdest Christmas traditions

Purple Tips: World’s Weirdest Christmas Traditions

Number 8 Spending Christmas in Greenland? None of that brussel sprout stuff for you, locals feast on a fine delicacy called Mattak otherwise known as raw whale skin.

Mattak under creative commons by @risager

Number 7 Use your boot to get a man. Single women in the Czech Republic throw a shoe over their shoulder while standing with their back to the front door. Not to knock someone out and nurse them back to help (haven’t we all thought of that?) but if the shoe lands pointing to the door, it is said the lucky lady will be married within a year.

Christmas boot under creative commons by @Ryan Vaarsi

Number 6 Add a spider to your tree. In the Ukraine it’s tradition to hide a spider and its web somewhere in amongst the decorations on the tree. Whoever finds it is said to be blessed with good luck for the year to come.

Christmas Spider under creative commons by @ jdhancock 

Number 5 Hide your broom. In Norway it’s thought the barrier between evil spirits and ghosts is at its thinnest on Christmas Eve, so naturally enough the ladies of the house go mad hiding their brooms, while the husbands go out with their shotgun to try to warn off any overly-motivated spirits.

Broomsticks under creative commons by @ rcsj

Number 4 Christmas is for eating. That’s a given. We’re used to Turkey, stuffing and sprouts, but in Japan, KFC on Christmas Day is so popular it can be ordered up to two months in advance.

KFC under creative commons by @ saechang

Number 3 get your skates on in Caracas, you’ll need them. In Venezuela’s capital city it’s tradition to rollerskate your way to early morning church services. The streets are even blocked off to allow worshippers get to their destination safely.

Rollerskates under creative commons by @ Jovanlaar

Number 2 Santa’s evil twin in Austria At Christmas all across Austria, where a demon creature comes to life to punish children. This guy is Santa’s bad half and we promise he’d scare anyone! The Krampus is let loose on the streets to frighten and beat children into better behaviour.

Krampus under creative commons by @ Colorfulfoxes

The number 1 has to be Catalonia’s poo log. Caga Tio, the smiley Yule log is seen throughout the region – if you’re in Barcelona you can’t miss it. A hollow log is set by the fire from Dec 8th and fed every night and covered with a little blanket to keep him warm. On Christmas Eve the log is beaten with a stick and a cheerful song orders him to poop.

Caga Tio under creative commons by @ Joancg

The song goes a bit like this:

Caga tió, Poo log,

caga torró, poo nougats (turrón),

avellanes i mató, hazelnuts and cottage cheese,

si no cagues bé, if you don’t poo well,

et daré un cop de bastó. I’ll hit you with a stick,

caga tió! poo log!

Dubai to build world’s largest shopping mall

Not content with being home to the world’s tallest man made building, the world’s largest man made island, The Palm Jumeirah and the longest metro system Dubai has launched its plan for the world’s biggest shopping mall.

The vice president, prime minister and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum announced the plans with this tweet:

Dubai has plenty of practice with malls – The current Dubai Mall is the biggest in the world., with 1200 shops.

Plans for the new build are due to start immediately, and will be called Mall of the World. The new development will be loosely divided into four themes, family, retail, art galleries and an area for entrepreneurship. An open space will also feature that will be 30 percent bigger than London’s Hyde Park. As part of the project 100 new hotels as well as theme park in association with Universal Studios will cover a staggering 455 acres.

We can’t wait to see it!

Image used under Creative Commons via @ F. C. Photography

Travel News: Mount Everest Art Exhibition

Mount Everest is defined by its thrills, heights and sublime experiences, but what about its rubbish? Matt Dickinson, author of the Mortal Chaos series and Mount Everest summit reacher, remarked in an interview with The Telgraph, “When you get up to the very top of Mount Everest there is a remarkable amount of rubbish that has been left behind – old rope, discarded oxygen cylinders, broken tents, beer cans and bottles.”

However, thanks to a team of fifteen artists, who worked for a month with some 1.5 tonnes of climber’s cast-offs collected,(nearly 4,000 people have climbed the 29,035-feet mountain), Everest’s waste has become 75 sculptures.

Although climbers need to deposit around £2,500 with the government before they climb (refunded only after they provide proof of having brought their rubbish down from the mountain), activists say effective monitoring is somewhat difficult. The rubbish used in the exhibition was collected by Sherpa climbers in 2011 and earlier this year, and then subsequently carried down by trains of long-haired yaks, commemorated in one of the pieces. View the sculptures in the slides below:

Japan Airlines serve KFC

Fast food fans will be delighted to discover that Japan Airlines is to begin serving Kentucky Fried Chicken to its passengers for three months, starting from next week.

For a country known best for its healthy doses of raw fish and seaweed salads, the Colonel does seem an odd choice, however fast food has a huge following in Japan, especially during the Christmas period. Apparently, this festive fried chicken craving stems from when US expats couldn’t find turkey (!).

Passengers on board flights to New York, San Diego, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, London, Frankfurt and Paris from japan Airlines will receive what will be known as an ‘Air Kentucky’ meal. This will include a KFC chicken breast, a chicken drumstick, bread, coleslaw and lettuce.

Let’s just hope it’s finger lickin’ good…

Alessandra Ambrosio photoshoot

Travel News: Alessandra Ambrosio photoshoot

While runways are, of course, Alessandra Ambrosia’s area of expertise, she may not have had this kind of runway in mind. The Victoria’s Secret star posed this week in an airfield photoshoot for German luggage firm RIMOWA. Enjoy this Alessandra Ambrosio Photoshoot with these images below.

Located on the Son Bonet Aerodrome in Palma de Majorca, the photoshoot also featured Olivia Palermo’s model boyfriend Johannes Huebl. He and the Brazilian beauty posed before a backdrop of classic-looking planes for photographer, Horst Diekgerdes.

Pictured firstly in a blue trench coat with a pair of skyscraper heels, neatly finished off with a waist-defining belt, the star looked prim and proper with her stylish suitcase and hand luggage set.

Alessandra recently strutted down the runway for this year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and is now back in California following her whirlwind trip. She and Johannes made for a stylish pair of travellers with their eye-catching threads and suitcases.

Book your cheap holiday to Palma de Majorca with Purple Travel now by calling 02079939228.

The hobbit plane arrives

First, we had Hobbit health and safety, then we had secret tours of the Shire, now we’ve got the Hobbit Jumbo Jet. As fans around the world gear up for the next JRR Tolkien masterpiece, Air New Zealand (now known as the official airline of Middle Earth) has gone one better with its dedicated Hobbit plane. The airline launched its special Boeing 777 has been dressed up with images from the film.

New Zealand is going all out to celebrate the launch of the new Peter Jackson film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Wellington has been renamed Middle of Middle Earth, and the city is gripped by Hobbit fever as are we!

And if that’s not exciting enough, here’s what the new Hobbit trailer looks like.

The Hobbit is released in the UK on Dec 13th.

Mile High Speed Dating – TOWIE’s Lucy and Mario help singles to find love.

We’ve all heard the stories of people joining, or attempting to join the mile high club, but it’s not something airlines are usually into. Until now. UK low cost airline, is introducing mid flight speed dating from tomorrow.

Departing from Leeds Bradford International Airport, 100 sexy singles, 50 men and 50 women will fly to the ultimate city of romance: Paris. Each one secured their place by sending in a picture of themselves looking their most sultry and they each wrote a love essay on why they deserved to be there!

Of course, the singles won’t be left all on their own to pair off, the morning flyers will get lots of encouragement from The Only Way is Essex’s Mario Falcone and Lucy Mecklenburgh. The TOWIE stars will be doing their best to help the singles discover if they’re flying with the love of their lives.

The group will test their dating skills on a love boat tour along the Seine and in an extra twist the most popular man and woman amongst the group will win a 5* star holiday with their chosen other half. It’s not clear yet if it has to be someone they meet in the air.

The ‘love flights’ are free and this one filled up fast. There is a second love flight planned from Manchester leaving on November 24, and if it’s successful, more flight plans for Valentine’s Day 2013.

You can check out some of the singles who’ll be boarding the love plane, on the Facebook page here. If you want to be in with a chance of finding a hot date on a future flight, email

Is it safe to travel to Tunisia?

Figuring out whether it is safe to travel to a country is not always easy, particularly if like Tunisia, that country has been deemed unsafe due to its recent political upheaval. When there is a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Sandy in New York, the situation is far more obvious to would-be travellers, but political revolution obscures the scene, making it difficult to determine just how dangerous your holiday may be. Questions ensue as to how widespread the political activity is, whether armed activity is resulting in attacks on people and what economical issues you may face on arrival.

In regards to Tunisia, most are continuing with their travel plans, while others are electing to postpone and apply their funds to a future date. It is only a small minority who are cancelling outright and insisting on refunds. Even during the revolution of January 2011, only about ten per cent of tourists left Tunisia. All others stayed as the riots did not affect the resorts. Today, Tunisia is actually one of the safest countries to visit; it’s poor, but crime is actually very low.

The U.S. embassy did issue a ‘warning,’ telling people not to visit Tunisia. The border with Libya is open, but the security situation remains tense. There  are regular clashes between groups of informal economy and black market traders and the authorities in towns close to the border, meaning border crossing points are occasionally closed without notice. The physical structure of the country was also badly damaged during the revolt and in order to rebuild, they have minimised staff that handles routine consular matters and day to day travellers’ issues, such as lost passports, medical inquiries etc. For those who are travelling independently and may need these services, this is not the time to go.

On the other hand, the violence, strikes and demonstrations in Tunisia have now died down. And even when they do take place, they are announced for a certain time and place to attract the maximum number of demonstrators. Avoiding these places is a sensible step of caution. Jerry Sorkin from TunisUSA told Conde Naste Traveller, “As for as Tunisia now, we would never encourage people to travel here if we did not feel we had means of providing security precautions. We have not cancelled any programs.”

At, we advise  our customers that if they are travelling to Tunisia, to make certain that they are fully covered by their travel insurance. While many insurance policies do not cover natural disasters or political events, a growing number DO have plans that provide an option to cancel. Although this option may be more costly, essentially you are paying for your peace of mind, making the initial cost a well-spent bargain. We also strongly recommend that you avoid all forms of demonstration – if you become aware of any nearby violence, you should leave the area immediately and keep yourself informed of developments by checking the news, observing the instructions given by the security authorities and/or your tour operator and regularly check this advice. You should always carry a copy of your passport, or other form of photo ID, as proof of your nationality and identity.

Bear in mind also that tourism is an important revenue source for Tunisia, representing seven per cent of GNP. Due to this, security for tourists has always been very high on the government’s agenda.


Book your safe holiday to Tunisia with here. Or call 02079939228.

Too Fat to Fit on a Plane Seat?

You may have heard about the ‘turbulence’ caused when film director Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Cop Out) was removed from a Southwest Airline flight for being too large to fit in a seat. The resulting Twitter rants and press slams has drawn attention to the fact that airlines have recently clarified their seating rules.

Smith, 39, had purchased two tickets to comply with Southwest Airlines policy that requires larger passengers to buy two seats. He then decided to go standby for an earlier flight and was seated on a plane on which there was only one seat left. From there, he was ejected from the plane.

You Should See… Our Other Infographics.

He wrote: “I know I’m fat, but was Captain Leysath really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated? “I broke no regulation, offered no ‘safety risk’ (what, was I gonna roll on a fellow passenger?).”

Smith insisted that he was able to put both arm rests down and buckle his seat belt – Southwest’s standard. The director refused to accept a $100 (£60) voucher from the airline. After getting on another Southwest flight he took a photograph of himself and posted it on Twitter with the caption: “Look how fat I am on your plane! Quick! Throw me off!” After his flight from Oakland landed in Los Angeles he said: “Don’t worry: wall of the plane was opened and I was airlifted out.”

Inspired by this story, we thought we’d do a little research into actually how fat you have to be to be told you cannot board the flat unless you buy two seats (click the image to enlarge it, turns out it was ‘too fat to fit on out Blog’):

Too Fat to Fit

Freestyle or Fu Manchu… Moustaches on a plane.

The Handlebar, the Freestyle, the Fu Manchu, who knew there were so many types of moustaches? Well if you’re taking part in the Movember, you probably did. And we’re betting British Airways did too, since they managed to fix up an Airbus A319 with a temporary ‘tache to celebrate November’s moustache dedication.

Unveiled by BA cabin crew Kyle Patchett, who was already sporting some fine facial fluff, the aircraft’s makeover is just in time to celebrate what is rapidly becoming a November tradition.

The airline is hoping to raise around £80,000 for Prostate Cancer Charity this month.

Liz Wilkinson, British Airways head of health services, said: “We’re always delighted to support Movember, it’s a charity that is very dear to our hearts here at British Airways, especially as our former CEO Lord Marshall suffered from the disease.

There’s still plenty of time to find some info about Movember on the official site here.

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