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If you still can’t fasten your trousers from piling in the turkey yesterday, now is the time to stew on the couch and switch on the Tele (and dig into some Quality Street). But if you don’t feel like watching the Christmas episode of the Flintstones for the fifteenth time, maybe you’ll enjoy some of these ‘holiday’ TV shows with a difference. Here is our pick of the top ten travel TV shows (including one epic fail). Happy boxing day!
An Idiot Abroad
Karl Pilkington’s travel plans lie in the hands of his ex-radio show host colleagues, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. Pilkington’s indifference to seeing the world is mocked by Gervais and Merchant who make him do just that, only with an enormous list of crazy things to do (while they sit back and watch from the comfort of their London office). Expect activities that vary from being dropped into the Amazon jungle and told he has to survive to climbing Mount Fuji.
Around The World In 80 Days
In 2001, the BBC produced this seven episode series, which follows Monty Python star Michael Palin, on an attempt to become a Jules Verne’s hero. Palin aims to match the route of his fictional predecessor by circling the globe in 80 days without the use of modern air transportation. Palin is responsive, intelligent, candid and most importantly, hilarious, as he creates a journey filled with fascinating encounters – TV gold.
Stephen Fry in America
Stephen Fry, a man of many talents (he is an actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, and comedian), journeys through America in a traditional London cab. Beginning in Maine, he drives through the lower 48 states, before flying to Alaska and Hawaii. However, far from your typical travel TV show, Fry’s interpretation is as honest and endearing as the man himself, and full of his usual tongue in cheek humour of course.
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Anthony’s Bourdain’s No Reservations has moderately redeemed the Travel Channel for years of inane broadcasting. Bourdain, whose wickedly funny commentary is the greatest thing about the whole show, visits a series of disparate destinations including Iceland, Vietnam and New Jersey. His unfiltered take on local foods and atypical typical tourist activities makes for a personality-driven show, but then what else could you expect from the world’s leading punk chef novelist?
Globe Trekker has filmed over 130 episodes and is hosted by a total of 26 people, offering a unique feel depending on which host appears in each episode. The show acts as a tour guide through a series of destinations, with a huge amount of time and effort put into each well thought out, well edited episode.
The Amazing Race
A reality TV show with a difference, the contestants on The Amazing Race are racing the globe in both famous and offbeat locales.
Adventurer Bruce Parry, a former Royal Marine, is followed as he goes in search of knowledge from supposedly ‘primitive’ peoples around the world. He lives with a tribe for at least a month, learning everything about their lives – even their language. At the end of each episode, there’s genuine regret and often tears as he parts with the tribe, making for bona fide armchair travel.
Departures began when three friends were talking about travel shows and decided that they could make something better. Scott Wilson and Justin Lukach leave all familiarities behind and set out into the beyond. Expect incredible cinematography and an authentic, personal approach to travel. The show has won three Gemini Awards and with just one look at the landscapes presented, you’ll understand why.
Another one from Michael Palin, this time he makes an epic journey around the Pacific Rim from the Arctic, coastal Asia, Australia, Antarctica, South America, North America and back. As is the norm from Palin, it is he that makes the series so memorable, admirable and relatable.
Boozed up Brits Abroad (epic fail)
On the other hand, shows such as Boozed Up Brits Abroad are a cold, cruel reality check for those living in the UK. If you enjoy feeling embarrassed by your nation, this is the show for you. Expect to see profane language, nudity and of course, lots of vomiting.
On 31st August, we had a fab day at school with Book Week. We had author Kim Michelle Toft in and everyone dressed up as book characters. I went as a wicked witch and the rest of the staff had great costumes too – the kids loved it.
School finished for two weeks at the end of September, and we headed up to Cairns for the first week. We got on a plane at the Gold Coast Airport like we would catch a bus at home. We landed in Cairns at 10:30am on the Saturday and made our way to the Beach House. It was a hostel and was really nice and clean and unbelievably cheap. Another exchange teacher, Rachel, arrived at 1pm and we had a chilled out day walking down to the Marina and Saturday Esplanade Street Market. Plus a few beers, of course.
On Sunday morning, we went and had a look around Rusty’s Markets in Cairns with lots of fruit, veggies, jewellery, clothes and much more. We had a wander through Cairns and the bars and shops.There was also a night market on, which was really good and we decided to book on a trip to go to The Daintree Rainforest and Mossman Gorge. We booked that for Monday and decided to have Sunday at the lagoon. Then we had a walk around the Marina to see where we would be catching the Rum Runner boat from on Tuesday for a 2-day sail out onto the Reef and Coral Sea.
Cape Tribulation is the best area to see the rainforest meeting the reef. Rachel, Jack and I set off on Monday morning and the coach headed up on a coastal drive to the Daintree River. There were stunning views of the Coral Sea and unspoilt palm fringed beaches. After morning tea, we set off on a wildlife river cruise searching for the residential crocs that live along the river and found two!
Our next port of call was Mossman Gorge – “Wurrumbu” – it was a beautiful gorge with cold, crystal clear waters in a swimming hole. We swam and explored the unique wilderness. Afterwards we drove back through the scenic beachside village of Port Douglas and stopped at the Rex Lookout for some final beautiful views.
We got to Marlin Marina at 7:15am Tuesday morning ready to start our 2 days/1 night aboard Rum Runner on the Great Barrier Reef. She is a 60 foot cruising yacht set up to cater for all divers. We went out to coral reefs at Thetford Reef and visited around 4 different sites.
We met the crew – Jase the skipper, Michael- Dive Master, Masa – Diving Instructor, Bart and Julia who were Dive Master Trainees and all were lovely. You got an introductory dive for free in with the package and so Jack and I had a taster half-hour. It was really good. Jack was going to have another 3 dives but realised he was flying the day after we left the boat so he could only have 1 extra one on the Tuesday. He absolutely loved it and wants to go back and do more now. The water whether for diving or snorkelling was so clear, it was just a beautiful experience!
Then we came home and spent the weekend with lovely people at not just one, but two baby showers! The first was with Leanne on Saturday and then Sunday with Jodi – who is actually due in 2 days time… I still think the UK needs to catch on to these, good excuse for lots of fun.
We finished off September and welcomed in 1st October with a walk on a more stormy morning on the beach up at Lennox Head. Saw a magnificent sea eagle sitting watching us as we walked along the beach – then he just soared above us and swooped back down. Totally awesome.
Read more from Liz Bethell on her personal Blog.
Hen nights abroad are increasingly popular these days; there are so many great places to choose from, you can top up your tan before the big day and lets face it – you can get royally smashed without having to worry about bumping into an ex-boyfriend or your boss.
We spoke with one bride, Janine who spent her hen night in the most popular destination to do so – Amsterdam. From the crazy outfits to losing members on the group, she tells us why a hen night Amsterdam weekend will be an epic one for you.
Purple Travel: Why did you decide to spend your hen night in Amsterdam?
Janine: The second we got engaged, or at least within the minute I called Amsterdam for the hen party before Arky, my fiance, could call it for the stag do. He had been before, several times and loved it whereas I had never and, well, fair’s fair – it was my turn.
A girly weekend away with lots of booze and little or no sleep would be just what the doctor ordered to break up the long months of staying in, saving to pay for the big day.
It wasn’t so much the sampling of the smokey cafes and their exquisite muffins as much as the relaxed feel I always thought Amsterdam would have. The exact opposite of what the UK’s hen/stag hotspots have to offer (apart from the weather of course).
So, smug from “winning” Amsterdam, even though I kind of spoiled the romance of the proposal with my “Yes! I call the Dam” reply, I started to worry a little if all of the girls would be up for it, that it might be too expensive, or that some may feel it was more of a laddish venue.
Purple Travel: Did you find it was more difficult to round up your hens to travel abroad than to have a night out back home?
Janine: I actually found that the girls were VERY up for the weekend away, a couple raised an eyebrow at Amsterdam as first thoughts always turn to the Red Light District and the pot smoking reputation, but if it’s your do it’s your choice and eighteen of us travelled in all.
Purple Travel: Did your plans change when you arrived there? For example, was the Anne Frank museum at the top of your list before you arrived, but then you found you never left the cafes when you actually got there?
Janine: On the night of our arrival, Friday, we were made to feel so welcome by the locals, despite our noisy arrival. The Police at the railway station even staged my “arrest” and handcuffed me once they clocked the classy veil I was given to wear in the airport bar pre-flight. Indeed I was very well looked after in the bars that night also – if I stepped near to a bar the bartender would pour 2 shots, one for me and one for them.
The next morning the city looked so calm and classy I wondered if we would be frowned upon dressed as pixies, nymphs and fairies, but we once again felt welcome wherever we went. I just had to see the Red Light District and was surprised I didn’t feel shock, as the sights to be seen are certainly a world away from what we know. The area holds a vibrant atmosphere where you truly will meet all sorts, but everywhere and everyone were as chilled as can be, and the friendly locals and regulars were happy to direct us to the best bars and clubs where we were able to drink and dance til dawn.
I have to honest, there were no museums or homes of historical interest on the must-see list, but we did split up on the last day into smaller groups for a mooch around this beautiful city. For me this was my cafe day, dressed down and taking in as much as I could in what little time we had left. I do regret a little not finding time to look beyond the party side of Amsterdam, but that just means I’ll have to go again.
He may be a chef, but Gordon Ramsay is also a one-man empire. The latest reality show he adds unto his ever-growing string of TV hits is Hotel Hell, publicised as Kitchen Nightmares, with a venue change.
Taking a side-step from his typical role as ‘culinary drill sergeant’, Ramsay’s new gig sees him rescue hotels on the brink of financial collapse. And, naturally, rather than humiliating contestants and staff, the Ramsay wrath is solely directed at hotel owners and managers.
He rips into dirty guest rooms, bad management style, shabby decor and of course – terrible restaurant food. Insulted and ashamed, the owners eventually succumb to Ramsay’s reign of terror, allowing his team to makeover the guest rooms and public spaces. The owners then begin to see the error of their ways, followed by a hotel re-launch party for the local community – Ramsay to the rescue!
Ok so the formula may offer nothing new to Ramsay’s current reality competition shows, but who cares? Watching people being told off for bad behaviour is somehow satisfying, but watching hotel owners get told off is positively enjoyable. The tough love formula is a hit with viewers, but will it have an impact on the hotel industry as a whole? I guess we’ll have to see; one thing’s fr certain though, it might be easy to dismiss Ramsay as TV’s “last angry man”, but at least he’s an angry man with an audience.
The first in our new bi-weekly series of the best holidays reads. This week, we’re obsessed with the French and their chic, innovative style of writing. Impress your fellow holidayers with some of the best Parisian exports around, all you need know is a black coffee, un macaron pistache and a high-held nose. Ooh la la…
Whether it’s a wheelie suitcase, an over the shoulder or a bunch of plastic bags sellotaped together (ed’s note, we don’t recommend this) it’s hard to get everything you need for a holiday to fit.We all know the feeling of hopping up on and down on the case to make sure it closes and the frustration when it doesn’t. So we’ve got some super tips for anyone jetting off for a bit of sunshine!
- Make a list. It’s a good place to start so you can tick off what you’ve packed and know you won’t have forgotten anything.
- Be ruthless! You might have been saving up a nice top, or jacket for a special occasion, it doesn’t get any more special than a holiday so if you’re absolutely sure you’ll wear it, bring it. If not, then chuck it. Most people take far too many clothes with them, and you might get the bargain of a lifetime on your holiday!
- Roll it up. This is a tip from cabin crew, who, let’s face it; know what they are talking about. Rolling your clothes saves space and stops creasing.
- Remember to check your airports rules on flying with liquids and maybe invest in some travel containers. The general rule is liquids of no more than 100ml are allowed in hand luggage and must be placed in a clear plastic bag. Usually you can pick these bags up at the airport. Keep these in an outer pocket of your bag, or with your hand luggage, so you can easily access it going through security. You can always pick up some shampoo and shower gel when you arrive.
- Wear a pair of trainers for extra comfiness (yes, we like to make up words around here!) on your flight and pack your flat sandals and wedges/shoes in your case. You can tuck small items like socks inside your shoes to save room and keep them in shape.
- If you’re really worried about the weight of your case, you should recheck what you’re bringing, do you really need everything? And weigh your bag to make sure you’re not over the standard 15kg check in limit of most airlines.
- Wear your heaviest clothes, e.g. a jumper or coat on the flight for a little extra warmth and to spare room in your bag.
- Think layers, a couple of t-shirts you can throw over your bikini, a light cardigan or pashmina for evenings.
Remember, you’re going on holidays! Bring clothes you’re comfy in and enjoy wearing. Now you know how to pack like a pro and you’ll be jetting off to the sun in no time!
We’ve been trawling through the best seller lists to give you some recommendations for holiday reads. Sometimes there is nothing nicer than grabbing a good book to get into on your flight, or by the pool. We’re hoping to do this fairly often and we’d love to hear your ideas. If you’ve got a could-not-put-down recommendation, please let us know!
Here’s ours (so far!)
- Tenth Anniversary – James Patterson. Detective Lindsay Boxer’s called to investigate an awful attack on a teenage girl and finds her newborn baby is also missing. James Patterson is a reliable crime writer with a great back catalogue. This is the latest in the Women’s Murder Club novels and we think you won’t be able to put it down.
- The Woman in Black – Susan Hill. A true British ghost story featuring a mysterious young woman, an isolated house and tragic secrets. If you like to get totally mesmerised and transported through a book, then this is one for you. This chiller-thriller has just been made into a movie with Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, but we reckon the book is worth a look first.
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson. Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomvkist teams up with hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate the disappearance of a 16 year old girl four decades ago. Harriet was a part of the powerful Vanger clan and secrets have swept through the family since she disappeared. If you haven’t read this yet, where have you been!? It’s been in the charts for ages and has already been made into a movie – twice.
- The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins. Follow Katniss Everdeen as she represents her district in The Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Set in a parallel universe, this extreme novel is totally engrossing and we think will be the next big thing.
- Summer of Love – Katie Fforde. Sian Bishop’s happy with her lot. She’s got her business, her lovely home in the country and she’s content with her life with her young son. She’s got no interest in looking for love, until Gus Beresford arrives. A frothy, fun read that’s perfect to take with you to the beach or as you lie by the pool.
Ps. For younger readers, our reliable reviewer tells us Skulduggery Pleasant: The End of the World by Derek Landy is the one to get. Follow Skulduggery and Valkyrie as they pitch in to help runaway Ryan. After he gets set upon by a bunch of scary sorcerers with a doomsday device, it’s up to Skulduggery and Valkyrie to save the day.
Anyone who has flown before usually has some tricks for staying comfortable and distracted, so we decided to put them all together in one handy place, so you can print them out and have the best flight ever! Combine this with the tips in our post on how to keep the little ones entertained, and you’ll be able to stay cool and collected from departure gate to the arrivals hall. As always, if you have any more, we’d love to hear them.
So, here goes, as always, we’d love to hear if you have anymore, just add your comment below.
- Drink plenty of water; it’s the only way to keep hydrated in the pressurised atmosphere of a plane. Steer clear of coffee or tea and stick to water to stay feeling tip-top!
- Reading material: always bring a couple of magazines or books with you and try to bring more than you think you’ll need. Inevitably there’s a little extra waiting around and there’s nothing worse than staring at the other passengers for excitement (unless that’s what you’re into!)
- Bring something to entertain yourself. A great choice is a tablet computer, like an ipad, on which you can watch movies, listen to music, or play games (all with the aid of headphones, so you don’t upset your neighbours!)
- Take a little stroll around the cabin; this is quite important especially on longer flights. There are some exercises you can do from your seat, but it’s hard to beat a walk around the cabin and a couple of stretches to make you feel a little better.
- Bring a toothbrush! It’s always nice to give yourself a quick refresh and cleanup before landing; it’ll help you feel better and is quite nice for anyone you’re meeting at the other side too.
- Don’t check the time! You can’t do anything to get to your destination faster and it will only make you feel a bit frustrated.
Everyone’s been through it, that awkward moment; you’re stuck on a flight next to a chatterbox, when all you want to do is have a snooze. You do that not-so subtle thing of sticking in your headphones and hope for the best. Well now, a couple of airlines are introducing ‘social seating’ so you can use your Facebook to pick who you’ll sit beside.
We hear airlines like Air France, Malaysia Airline and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines are planning on the move. ‘Social seating’ will enable you to browse the Facebook or LinkedIn profiles of people on your flight and see what you’ve got in common. We think they want you to check out their pictures; see what their interests are and then you can decide if you want to sit next to them.
It will probably be geared a little more to the business audience, people who want to talk management or strategy, but it’s easy to see how it could catch on. So, we’ve been having a little chat about it here and we think it’s definitely got a lot of positives, but what happens if someone you know requests a seat next to you and you’re not exactly thrilled about it?
Maybe you’d be a little more interested in ‘antisocial seating’? An airline called AirAsia is giving customers the option to take up all the seats beside them. For a price you’ll be able to stretch out across three seats or simple ensure the one right beside you is free. You’ll be notified a few hours before – and if there are no spare seats you’ll get a refund.
We’d love to know what you think. Are you a social or antisocial sitter!? Tell us what you reckon in the comments section.