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 – PurpleTravel.co.uk

1
Purple Passport: All female cabin crew and hungry travellers
2
Buried Treasure of the World
3
Purple Passport: Barbie Cruises and love lockdowns
4
PurplePassport: Ryanair CEO calls passengers ‘idiots’
5
Purple Passport: Secret confessions of hotel staff
6
Travelling to Greece in 2012
7
National Geographic Photo Contest Winners Revealed
8
Christmas in June
9
Gatwick Airport’s story corner
10
Jubilee getaways

Purple Passport: All female cabin crew and hungry travellers

What money can’t buy? It’s not an all girl cabin crew.

You’ve got bags of money, you play for one of the most famous football teams in the world, and you’ve got it all, don’t you? Well it turns out there are still some crazy demands to be made out there.
The Barcelona football team has requested an all-female crew for its flights, but claim it’s not for the reasons you might thing. The club says the players prefer to be served by ladies, because male cabin crew are just too interested in their skills.
Barcelona’s sponsors, Turkish Airlines say male staff on flights are just too interested in the boys’ ball skills and so they’ve been given a red card because of their ‘extreme interest.’ The airline will hand pick the all-female crew from now on.

A cup of garlic and a cannoli dammit

We’ve two stories this week of travellers in foreign lands doing dubious things with food. First up eater.com reports a French man, who had a few too many and broke into a Florida Italian restaurant. Did he go for the cash register? Nope, he stopped short at the cupboard and at a cup of raw chopped onions. As you do.
Then there’s the story of an Irishman, who was so excited about Boston’s Italian pastries that he headed straight for a bakery on his first morning in the US. At 3.30 am, brandishing a knife, the man entered the premises and demanded a traditional pastry called a cannoli. Police were called and he was arrested before being granted bail at $2,000. Wouldn’t it have just been easier to buy one?

Lost: one camera underwater

The Mirror is trying to reunite a family with their lost camera after it was found at the bottom of the sea! A diver, Mark Milburn recovered the camera 30ft underwater off the Cornwall coast and was stunned to discover it was still working.
He found over 800 family snaps, some of which were dated just two days before. They also feature pictures of Star Wars theme park show, a steam train and some dolphins. We hope it can be reunited with its owner soon.

Give it a miss

Fancy a trip to Oslo? You might want to rethink that idea after reading this. A new study by Swiss Bank UBS has come up with the worlds most expensive and the Norwegian capital is right at the top.
The research compared the prices for 122 products in 58 countries like iPhones and Big Macs. It revealed Oslo was at the top, even though its residents aren’t the richest. The Swiss cities of Zurich and Geneva both featured in the list, while New York City and London make the top ten.
Here’s the list in full:

  1. Oslo, Norway
  2. Zurich, Switzerland
  3. Tokyo, Japan
  4. Geneva, Switzerland
  5. Copenhagen, Denmark
  6. New York City, United States
  7. Luxembourg
  8. Stockholm, Sweden
  9. Caracas, Venezuela
  10. London, England

Buried Treasure of the World

Ahoy there! It’s Talk like a Pirate Day and at PurpleTravel we’re all wearing our eye patches, wooden legs and cussing parrots. So listen maties, we got you a list of the places aroun’ them there seven seas that treasure has been hidden.

Yo ho ho…

OAK ISLAND TREASURE
Treasure: Unknown/Pirate Hoard
(Canada)

Oak Island, just off the southeast coast of Nova Scotia, is probably the most excavated site in the world for buried treasure, and yet, it has still failed to deliver up the goods.  The story begins in 1795, when Daniel McGinnis and a friend noticed a circular depression in the ground, as if a pit had been dug and then filled in again.  They dug to a depth of 9.1 metres, believing that something of value must have been buried there.  Initially, they discovered a layer of flagstones followed by traces of pickaxes on the rocks and some stories suggest that they found platforms of logs at 3 metres intervals.  Their story spread and was quickly linked to the missing treasure of Captain Kidd and even the notorious Blackbeard – Edward Thatch (Teach). Over the following centuries the pit has been excavated many times, even by Franklin D. Roosevelt.  However, the pit is claimed to be ‘booby trapped” and has regularly flooded. The most alluring clue found so far was a code inscription on a flat stone which, when translated, apparently stated: “Forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried.”  The deepest excavations reached 72 metres and over the years some six people have died trying to find whatever is buried on Oak Island.

 

 

PAUL KRUGER TREASURE
Treasure: The Kruger Millions
Lost: 1900 – Current
Est. Value: 250,000,000.00

Gold coins, ingots, gold dust, silver ingots & coins. (South Africa)

During the Second Anglo-Boer War, the descendants of the Boers realised that their capital, Pretoria, would soon be captured by British troops. They commandeered as much gold as they could from government reserves, banks and the mines and minted many thousands of new gold coins. Much of this gold is believed to have travelled with the Boer President, Paul Kruger, as he journeyed eastwards towards Mozambique to escape the advancing British.  He departed, by ship, for France on the 19th of October 1900.  The gold remained behind, hidden somewhere in the bushveld of the North Eastern Transvaal.  It has never been found.

TREASURE OF THE SAN MIGUEL
Treasure: Spanish Treasure
Lost: 30 July 1715
Current Est. Value: 2 billion
(Florida – USA)

In 1712 AD, Spain began to assemble one of the world’s richest treasure fleets.  By 1715, it consisted of five ships of the Nueva España (Mexico) fleet and six ships of the Tierra Firme (Main Land) fleet. Significant amounts of silver, gold, pearls, emeralds and other precious items were loaded at Vera Cruz, Cartagena, Nombre de Dios and Portobello. A further ship, a French merchantman, the Griffon, also joined the convoy. As a further defence against pirates and privateers, the fleet waited until just before the hurricane season before setting off from Havana. A storm destroyed the entire fleet just seven days after leaving Cuba, with thousands of sailors falling to a watery grave. Over the next four years, the Spanish salvaged about half of the treasure, but even today, items of treasure still occasionally wash up on nearby shores. Seven of the ships have been located, but only a small percentage of the treasure has been recovered. The San Miguel, a Nao class vessel, has yet to be found and is believed to have separated from the fleet the day before the storm struck.  Carracks are lighter than Galleons, and were often used to carry treasure as they stood a greater chance of outrunning storms and privateers – the purpose, after all, was to get the treasure home.  The San Miguel is likely to be one of the richest treasure ships yet to be found.

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR TREASURE
Treasure: The Treasuries of the Knights Templar
Lost: 1307 – Current
Est. Value: Billions

Gold and silver ingots, coinage, jewels, jewellery, gold & silver plate, land deeds, religious relics, weapons, documents and records, Middle Eastern trophies and artefacts, valuable curiosities and royal regalia held as securities. (Location Unknown)

The Knights Templar were once the wealthiest and most powerful military order in Europe, formed to protect those on Christian pilgrimage. They invented an early form of banking, which made them even richer, but they became unpopular with people who had borrowed money from them. By 1291 AD, the Knights Templar were forced out of the Middle East, their popularity further depleted by those who owed them money such as Phillip VI the King of France. On Friday the 13th of October 1307, with the permission of the Pope, Phillip VI, the key leaders of the Order based in France were arrested and tortured into confessions of devil worship.  Phillip VI seized their lands and raided their treasury, but found it much emptier than he had expected. Across the rest of Europe, the remaining Knights hid their portable treasure, under threat from the Pope who had called for their arrest.  The vast treasure of the Knights Templar largely disappeared and has never been found. An equally intriguing mystery is what happened to the majority of Knights who were never arrested; several thousand men and their flotilla of ships simply vanished.  In particular, 18 ships that had been berthed at La Rochelle, France, on the night of the 12th of October 1307 set sail under the cover of darkness just before the initial persecutions and passed out of history.

THE LOST FABERGE EGGS
Treasure: The Imperial Fabergé Eggs

Peter Carl Fabergé and his brother Agathon were Russian jewellers of French ancestry, based in St. Petersburg. Famed for the extraordinary quality, in 1885 Tsar Alexander III (commissioned them to produce the gold and enamel ‘Hen Egg’ for his wife, the Empress Maria.  Fabergé was made ‘Goldsmith by Special Appointment to the Imperial Crown’ and over the next 33 years, 52 eggs were made for the Russian Royal Family, along with a further 15 for other private buyers. The 1917 Russian Revolution toppled Tsar Nicholas II, who was executed along with much of the royal family in July 1918.  Fearing for his safety, Peter Carl Faberge abandoned Russia travelling first to Latvia then Germany and finally Switzerland where he died in Lausene in 1920. The Fabergé eggs and many other treasures of the Royal family were confiscated and stored in the vaults of the Kremlin Armoury.  Some were sold to raise funds for the new regime.  Over time eight of the original 52 Imperial eggs have vanished and their whereabouts remain a mystery to this day. In 2007, just one egg, ‘The Rothschild’ was sold at Christies Auction House for $8,9 million.

Click here to read:  The Pirate Route, Jamaica

Purple Passport: Barbie Cruises and love lockdowns

50 Shades of I don’t care

It might be this year’s biggest literary hit, but 50 Shades of Grey is also the most put downable book. According to budget hotel chain Travelodge, around 7,000 copies of the EL James penned bestseller have been found discarded in rooms. The first release in the saucy collection, is the first non chick lit or celebrity biography to top the list in a while, in 2009, it was Katie Price’s autobiography Pushed to the Limit.

Other books on the ‘Left Behind List’ include The Millennium Trilogy – lead by The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo makes up the rest of the top ten, along with the Hunger Games trilogy and The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

Barbie’s hitting the high seas!

If you’re a mum or dad to a ten year old, then be prepared to get into the Barbie Cruise Experience. Royal Caribbean International has teamed up with toymaker Mattel to offer the ‘Barbie Premium Experience’ right across its network of ships.

That means pink tea parties, fashion shows and rooms. Youngsters will be able to take part in themed activities like the mermaid dance class or fashion design workshop. The pink themed holiday even includes as many Barbie related keepsakes as you can possible imagine. Think Barbie blankets and pillows, toiletry bag and toothbrush. It’ll launch in January 2013.

Love lockdown

Authorities in Rome are going against its image as a romantic city, by ordering the removal of dozens of love padlocks on an ancient bridge.

Couples from across the world have been declaring their enduring love, by placing padlocks on the Ponte Milvio Bridge in the city. Once locked in place, the key is dropped into the water, symbolizing young love and never ending romance.

However now bosses in the city say the rusting locks are causing irreparable damage to the ancient bridge and have started using the decidedly unromantic bolt cutters to take them down. Somehow we can’t see it putting off young love just yet!

Mini crime spree

Staff at New York’s JFK Airport were arrested this week, after allegedly stealing over 100,000 mini-bottles of alcohol meant for on board passengers.

The micro crime spree was uncovered after a nine month investigation known as ‘Operation Last Call’. It’s reported the staff had specific access to secure areas and they bribed security with pilfered bottles that they then sold on the black market.

PurplePassport: Ryanair CEO calls passengers ‘idiots’

Ants in your pants? No, but in your luggage!

An air passenger tried (and failed) to get a wriggly one passed security in Switzerland when he was caught with 33 pounds of caterpillars in his luggage, which he then tried to eat!

The man was stopped at EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Frieberg when staff became suspicious. They found a hidden compartment in the man’s suitcase filled with creepy crawlies, which he then start to eat in an effort to show harmless they were.

According to the Telegraph, a border guard said the passenger was full of excuses: “He tried to tell us that it was a special type of root, but some of them were still moving. Then he claimed that, as they were for personal use, he should still be allowed to bring them into the country because they were a snack, and he was addicted to them.”

A different spokesperson added: “The smell from the caterpillars that were mostly dead was pretty unbearable but it didn’t seem to bother the man – and when he was told they would be kept and destroyed he grabbed as many as he could and started munching them. He said they were a delicacy and should not be wasted.”

Ryanair boss calls passengers ‘stupid’

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary might find himself in hot water after branding passengers ‘idiots’ and ‘stupid’ for not printing boarding cards before arriving at the airport.

The famously outspoken CEO was speaking after mother of two Suzy McLeod complained when she was charged £236 in fees because she had no boarding cards. She said she had spent two weeks in rural Spain with no internet access. The low cost airline’s policy says passengers must print off their boarding cards and can do so up to two weeks in advance.

O’Leary added that anyone who didn’t stick to the rule could “bu**er off” and “we think Mrs McLeod should pay 60 euros for being so stupid.”

This isn’t the first time Ryanair’s been in the news, last year Lily Allen took on the airline over their boarding cards policy, while it drew criticism for plans to charge passengers to use the bathroom during flights.

The cutest way to travel

Twin babies who were taking their first flight recently managed to make friends with all their fellow passengers with a little gift as they boarded.

Jasper and Arrow’s parents Christina and Michael were worried about disrupting their fellow passengers with their 14-week-old twins that they handed out goodie bags and earplugs as an apology.

A Redditor uploaded the picture which has since gone viral. We think it’s a really considerate idea for your fellow travellers.

The gate scrum is over

The race for the gates is all over… well at least for some travellers. easyJet has announced plans to introduce allocated seating right across its network. They say it will remove the stress of the current process and make for a better flying experience.

Since April, the low cost carrier’s been trialling allocated seating on 6,000 flights. The airline’s research shows 70% of passengers think allocated seating is better and improves the boarding experience while 60% say they are more likely to use the company in the future as a result.

The airline also revealed some interesting facts from the research:

  • 6A was the best seller on short flights, while it was 1A for longer flights.
  • 16B was the least popular on shorter flights, while it was 19B for the longer ones.
  • Passengers prefer sitting on the left side of the plane, A, B and C outsell D, E and F.

The new allocated seating system will kick in from November.

Purple Passport: Secret confessions of hotel staff

We bring you the latest travel news so you know what you’re doing when booking your next holiday!

Hotel confessions

Ever wondered what hotel staff are really thinking? Well you can wonder no more! Reddit, the user generated site has been asking its members ‘what are things that are disturbing/interesting/unsanitary about hotel rooms?’ The term eye opening barely covers it. At last check there were 5,580 comments, from hotel staff all over the world. Here is just a selection: (you can read the full thread here.)

  1. We give free toothbrushes, deodorant, slippers and rubber ducks to anyone who asks. If you go to the front desk late at night when the auditor is working and ask, “can I have some free stuff?” They will probably give you something.
  2. Stay at places with all white linens. There’s no hiding. *Source: I work at a hotel with white linens.
  3. As an ex housekeeper we used to wash the glasses in the bathroom sink and dry them with a clean pillow case. If they looked unused they wouldn’t get washed.
  4. Just to clear this up, duvets are NOT meant to be slept on. I know many people are grossed out that they aren’t always changed but again they are not meant to be used as a blanket. There is a large warm blanket underneath with the sheets that are supposed to be used. Every single person who travels knows the horror stories accompanied with bed covers, so the right thing to do is to fold it and place it on the floor or chair.
  5. We really try our best getting it as clean as possible (our supervisors check the rooms before the guests arrive). Plus there is some sort of competitions between us maids – nobody wants to be the ‘bad maid’. I am aware that this doesn’t count for every hotel though.
  6. Please do not try to sneak your horse into the building, the horse does not want to be in here either.

Brangelina head for… the Lake District


When you think of Hollywood megastars on holidays it tends to be places like St Tropez, Miama or the Greek Islands. It’s not so for uber couple Brad and Angelina, now we can add Lake Windermere to that list.The Sun is reporting the couple and their brood are heading to Cumbria for th
eir holidays this year. Angie is said to have fallen in love with the place while filming Maleficent nearby, while Brad has been busy in Glasgow with World War Z. Of course the Hollywood duo probably won’t be renting a caravan, but taking a few days in a boathouse and bringing the kids quad biking.

Ready, set, tomato!

If your idea of a good time is pelting your friends with ripe tomatoes (and who’s isn’t?) then read on. Every year the streets of Buñol, near Valencia in Spain are filled with thousands of people, who gather for the Tomatina festival. 120 tonnes of the red fruit (it is a fruit, right?) are brought in and the mass food fight begins. It happens the last Wednesday in August, and you can check out some awesome pictures from this years festival at the Guardian here. The only problem is, if you started out loving tomatoes, you might just end up hating them!

Travelling to Greece in 2012

Will the Euro crisis affect my travel plans?

Amid rife media attention regarding Greece‘s poor economic situation, many of our customers are wondering whether now is a good time to visit Greece, and how the crisis will affect their journey. Aside from worries about riots, strikes and a return to Drachma, one of the major concerns is whether hotels and restaurants will be able to survive the downturn in tourism. These fears can be collectively categorised under ‘instability’; people are hesitant to book their holidays in a country whose future appears somewhat unpredictable.

However, we would like to prove you otherwise. There has actually never been a better time to book your holiday to Greece – prices are low, but quality remains high, the Greeks are more warm and welcoming than ever before and conversion rates benefit the UK traveller. And furthermore, not only will you be delighted to discover that your all your worries were unfounded, but visitors to Greece can pat themselves on the back, knowing that they have contributed to saving the future of one of the world’s most beautiful countries.

 

The figures | Numbers are certainly dropping on the tourism scale. More than 2.3 million Brits visited Greece in 2011, but it’s estimated that this year will see some 250,000 fewer British visits. According to reports, only half the normal number of Germans are visiting this year, with many fearing a negative reaction from locals. This decline particularly affects Crete, an island that depends on tourism from the old eastern bloc.  The saddest figures, however, are perhaps those detailing the Greeks themselves.  In general, the Greeks holiday within their own country during summertime – travelling from mainland Greece to one of the islands. Yet this year, the biggest effect for locals is the disappearance of Greek tourists, who just cannot afford to travel in the present economy.

What are the prices like? | Prices in hotels and restaurants, which were relatively low in the first place, have come down even further across the board. There has been a noticeable devaluation throughout Greece, despite that they are still in the euro. This is due to a simple equation: as wages are cut, the local population is forced to spend less, so prices come down, so business owners earn less, so they spend less etc etc…

What about the strikes? | While Greece is so dependent on tourism, there have been less and less strikes – especially now that elections are over. In fact, there have been no strikes in Athens in the past four months to date, so chances that you will be caught up in one of them, are slim to none.

Should I take cash? | Many retail outlets, restaurants and cafes are already asking for cash rather than accepting cards, particularly in the smaller islands. Another reason why cash is necessary is that some ATMs might cease to operate while there is uncertainty about the currency. Dana Facaros, author of the Cadogan Guide to the Greek Islands, warned: “It is not a problem (yet) on the big islands such as Corfu, but I can imagine you might get caught out on a small island, especially one with only one or two ATMs. Greece isn’t having a bank run, more of a slow motion bank walk.”

Which holiday should I book? | For starters, let us tell you that Greece needs you right now. One in five of the working Greek population is employed in the tourism industry, and the income this industry brings in accounts for 17% of GDP. We have some great deals on package holidays to Greece right now, ensuring that these people keep their livelihood. There is an argument that northern Greece will benefit most, and the smaller islands that are currently struggling. Why not take a ferry to beautiful and lesser known islands such as Hydra, Skiathos, Aegina or Paros? Islands with airports such as Corfu, Crete or Mykonos will always have tourists, but the north and the smaller islands will suffer most this summer.

How can I travel there more ethically? | The answer is simple: eat out every night (food is cheap and delicious so you’ll have no problems there), make sure any produce you buy is grown in Greece, not imported, enjoy a few drinks in the local bars, explore the nearby shops and purchase local crafts for souvenirs. As aforementioned – aim to travel around while you’re away, so you spread your money around a little.

National Geographic Photo Contest Winners Revealed

The highly-anticipated winners of the 2012 National Geographic Photo Contest have just been announced, featuring eleven incredible images  from the more than 12,000 entries, from 6,615 photographers in 152 countries around the globe.The prizes on offer ranged from a Galapagos photography expedition to $200 gift certificates at B&H photography. See the winning eleven images below:

Cedric Houin

This image was shot in the Kyrgyz lands of the Wakhan Corridor. The intimacy of this everyday life moment, shot inside of a family yurt, is in total contrast with the harsh environment these nomadic tribes live inCedric Houin won top place for his image entitled ‘Butterfly’. The photograph was taken in the Kyrgyz lands of the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan and features a woman and child sitting inside a yurt. The photograph depicts the intimacy of this everyday life moment, contrasted against the harsh environment these nomadic tribes live in. Another contrast is between tradition and modernity; on the right there is a television and a sound console. These tribes live weeks away from any village by foot, yet in spite of being located at an altitude of 4,300 metres,  in one of the most remote areas of Afghanistan, they are equipped with solar panels, satellite dishes and mobile phones – ancestral ways of living, with new-age influences.

Vo Anh Kiet

H'Mong minority children were playing with their balloons on the foggy day in Moc Chau - Ha Giang province Viet Nam in January 2012 Vo Anh Kiet‘s image of H’Mong minority children playing with balloons in the Moc Chau – Ha Giang province of Viet Nam, was taken in January 2012. Alexandra Avakian, one of the judges of the competition, remarked, “This picture is like a dream, and it’s timeless not only because it’s black and white and there’s no sense of modernity, but also because it depicts an activity that children everywhere on the planet do with balloons. The fog and soft background make it feel like a memory.”

Andrea Guarner

During the Easter holy celebration called iMisterii in Trapani, the devotees carry the scenes of Christ's passion on their shoulders all night long, only when the day comes do they take a breakAndrea Guarner‘s image was taken during the Easter holy celebration called iMisterii in Trapani. Religious devotees carry the scenes of Christ’s passion on their shoulders all night long, only taking a break when the morning arrives.  Avakian commented, “The light on the icon of Jesus is as critical to the success of this picture as the varied expressions on the men¿s faces after an exhausting night carrying statues depicting the Passion of Christ. Recognizing when and how to balance different kinds of light in the same photo is something that can make the difference between a muddy and uninteresting picture and one that¿s good, aesthetic, and full of content.”

Ken Thorne

Near the city of Morondava, on the West coast of Madagascar, lies an ancient forest of Baobab trees. Unique to Madagascar, the endemic species is sacred to the Malagasy peopleKen Thorne captured this image near the city of Morondava, on the west coast of Madagascar. It shows an ancient forest of Baobab trees that are unique to Madagascar; the endemic species being sacred to the Malagasy people. Some of the trees here are over a 1,000 years old.

SauKhiang Cha

The Last Supper Of Da Vinci? No, they are just some old men of Chefchaouen with djellaba, sitting and talking each otherSauKhiang Chau‘s photograph shows some old men in Chefchaouen with djellaba, sitting and talking each other.

Camila Massu

Photographer Camila Massu said: 'My sister in the south of Chile. We are sitting at home next to the fireplace in our southern lake house when it suddenly began to pour uncontrollably. Had to rush into the lake to take this snapshot!'Photographer Camila Massu commented on her image,”My sister in the south of Chile. We are sitting at home next to the fireplace in our southern lake house when it suddenly began to pour uncontrollably. Had to rush into the lake to take this snapshot!”

Ken Bower

Ken Bower: The village of G Sadalur and the island of Mykines in the background. Until a tunnel was built in 2004, the 16 residents living there had to take a strenuous hike over the steep 400 meter mountainPhotographer, Ken Bower, took this image in the village of G Sadalur. You can just make out the island of Mykines in the background. Until a tunnel was built in 2004, the 16 residents of the island had to  hike over the steep 400 metre mountain. Bower said, “It was a rare sunny day in the Faroe Islands and I had to wait until the clouds rolled in to provide some softer light. I decided to go with a long exposure (1 minute 10 seconds) to illustrate the force of the wind and a serene sea among the isolated islands.”

Fred An

Fred An: 'This is the great Japanese maple tree in the Portland Japanese Gardens. I tried to bring a different perspective of this frequently photographed tree'Fred An, said of this image, “This is the great Japanese maple tree in the Portland Japanese Gardens. I tried to bring a different perspective of this frequently photographed tree.”

Peter DeMarco

Peter DeMarco: More than 2,000 Buddhist temples and pagados fill the plains of Bagan. Farmers now raise their livestock within the centuries old complex.The best way to see Bagan, apart from a ride on a hot air balloon, is by bicyclePeter DeMarco said of this image, “More than 2,000 Buddhist temples and pagados fill the plains of Bagan. Farmers now raise their livestock within the centuries old complex.The best way to see Bagan, apart from a ride on a hot air balloon, is by bicycle. It’s easy to get off the beaten path and live out your wildest Indiana Jones fantasy.”

Lucia Griggi

Lucia Griggi: Taken at Cloud Break at an outer reef in Fiji, a surfer duck dives his board to clear the rolling waves of the raw oceanLucia Griggi took this image at Cloud Break at an outer reef in Fiji. The photograph shows a surfer duck dive his board to clear the rolling waves. Griggi was a Merit Winner for this stunning image.

Michelle Schantz

Michelle Schantz: A lonely cabin is illuminated under the Northern Lights in Finmmark, NorwayMichelle Schantz‘s image of a lonely cabin is illuminated under the Northern Lights in Finmmark, Norway.

Christmas in June

It may seem a little early to start thinking about Christmas plans, but if, like us, you’d prefer to leave town for the holidays, then you’ll need to book now to get the best prices. If you’re staring at this post with a blank expression, you’re probably a first-timer, but for many of our customers, Christmas is just not complete without a passport, a suitcase and a warm, relaxing sunbed that’s as far away from home as Timbuktu.

A Christmas abroad brings with it a variety of factors – whether good, bad or just plain ugly. Local customs such as the 13 Santa Clauses of Iceland, a black St Nick in Holland and the masked musicians of the Caribbean can be a pleasant cultural awakening, while unexpected seasonal closings and minimal flight availability can be an irritating addition to the holiday – bear in mind, if that twenty-strong family of obese Americans are all competing for the last seats on a flight to sweet potato pie at Big Momma’s House, you’re probably going to lose out.

Yet the real challenge it seems, comes in deciding where exactly is the best place to celebrate this supposedly joyous, but often stressful time of year. Fares skyrocket, offending recession-strapped budgets and deciding between a white Christmas and a golden one can be a pretty tough call.

Rather than worrying your little, paper-hat clad head, why not just book a trip to one of these five destinations that we think are perfect for the Christmas season? Read More

Gatwick Airport’s story corner

Anyone who’s travelled with little ones knows it can be a little stressful. We were very impressed when we saw the latest initiative by our friends at Gatwick Airport.

In a worlds first, the team at Gatwick has partnered with Soundcloud to offer a selection of audio books to entertain, intrigue and delight children (of any age!) It means young travellers going through the airport can listen to their favourite stories like Three Little Pigs, The Ugly Duckling and (my personal favourite) Sleeping Beauty. The plan is to launch more before the summer’s out.

We love it because; it’s a really lovely way of taking a few minutes to relax with your mini-me before hopping on your flight. As well as that we think traditional stories never go out of fashion and we love the way forward thinking Gatwick and Soundcloud are mixing old and new to make your journey better.

But how does it work?

Read More

Jubilee getaways

An extra bank holidays in the year? Are there any sweeter words? We don’t think so. With that in mind, we’ve been figuring out how to make the most of our time off. We’ve done the maths and have figured out, that taking five days off, means we get ten days holidays. Please correct us if we’re wrong!

English: Praia da Rocha (Beach of the Rocks) i...

What better way to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee than toasting her health from some sunny climes! If you haven’t booked yet, don’t worry, there is still time, that’s why we’re here! Whisk the kids away for half term, or simply have a relaxing break with your other half in a few days of hot, hot sunshine.

First up, we think you should head for the sunshine of Cyprus. Spring has well and truly sprung and the crystal clear waters of the Aegean are just the thing for a little pick-me-up. The long, sandy beaches are a site for sore eyes, while the dose of vitamin D means you’ll come home totally relaxed and glowing.

If you fancy something a little more exotic, the gorgeous Turkish resort of Kusadasi will be right up your street. One of those legendary Turkish baths is a great place to start, while the nearby beaches, or pool bars are perfect for a cocktail at sunset.

Read More

Copyright © 2013. Created by Meks. Powered by WordPress.