Tag - Travel

8 picture-postcard European villages taken out of a fairy tale
The Most Amazing Travel Photos You Will See Today
Infographic: What kind of holiday do you go for?
Purple Hearts: Playa del Carmen Mexico
Purple Passport: Faking it to skip the queue and big plans for Dubai
Purple Hearts: Cuba Travel Guide
How to pack your holiday bag like a pro
Top tips for staying comfortable on your flight
PurpleTravelTalks: Don’t leave the seat next to you to chance.
Turkey Top 5

8 picture-postcard European villages taken out of a fairy tale

We think you need something rare to find, well-preserved, charming, traditional but also with a modern twist while it maintains it’s old-European charm…. Something inviting, both for nature/mountain lovers and romantic souls too!

Purple Travel wanderers have been hopping up from town to town to bring you the most charming European villages taken out of a fairy tale, postcard-like gems; your imagination travels miles away, it’s like they’ve been taken out of a magnificent canvas or a historic-mystery story to put a spell on us, captivating our mind and soul long time after our journey! We present you some of the most worldly, post-card destinations hidden away somewhere in Europe, encircled with beguiling lush gardens and majestic waterfalls or standing as if they were ”royal kings” upon sylvan hillsides…. All worth adding them to your travel bucket list!

1. Cinque Terre, Italy
The 5 Lands of Nothern Italy

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre

The picturesque fishing towns of Cinque Terre, frankly, will capture our soul! It’s a dramatic coastal scenery, amidst sheer cliffsides, where winding paths are surrounded by colorful Venetian buildings, the rugged shoreline is washed by crystal-clear blue while these imposing mountains are looming over magical vineyards… Some cobblestone foothpaths are the only way to get from one hamlet to the other. Rest assured, that these jaw-dropping views of the sunset where pieces of the shoreline are tumbling into the deep blue, will surely leave you spellbound!

2. Santorini, Greece
The romantic gem of Aegean

Santorini by night

Santorini by night

The treasured volcanic-gem of the Aegean is calling you and you should definitely answer immediately!
This island is a a geological gallery set amid the deep blue of the Aegean… You can’t resist to its’ mythical charm, high craggy cliffs and white-washed sugarcube houses spilling down to the azure blue of Aegean Sea… The most famous thing about Santorini, though, it’s these magical jaw-dropping, wine-colored sunsets! The island is one of the most popular wedding destinations, there is a reason the title ‘’Greek Romance’’ features every year on travel magazines around the world! Experience the ultimate romantic journey as you explore one of Santorini’s ‘’painting-lands’’: Imerovigli, Fira, Oia & Firostefani are usually called the ‘’Caldera’s eyebrow’’, it’s easy to figure out why, as all these marvellous hamlets offer the most dramatic, stunning views of the volcano!

However, it would be a crime not to share with you the 3rd main reason that you have to visit Santorini. The ultimate gastronomic oasis is here! A real haven of culinary delights along with its’ aromatic fine wines such as the popular sweet Vinsanto or dry Athyri and Assyrtiko; it’s the perfect romantic dinner for two, while you’re plunging into these eye-watering sea views!

Purple Secret Tip:
1. Head to Oia for the most out-of-this-world sunset of your lifetime!
2. Don’t forget to explore one of the smaller traditional villages and soak up their lovely atmosphere; whether you seek pure tranquility or cosmopolitan aura, Santorini can offer you both!

3. Sintra
The mysterious Portuguese beauty

Tower Palace Quinta Da Regaleira

Tower Palace Quinta Da Regaleira

Here, there is an array of wild forests soaked by small lakes and exotic grassy mountains embrace gleaming Medieval castles,  palaces and royal retreats… We present you Sintra, a well-preserved and Unesco’s World Heritage town of Portugal!

The whole place is dotted with enchanting mansions set on hillsides spilling down to the deep blue of the Atlantic ocean, it’s like a fairytale taken out of a romantic-historic story…. A jagged 18th-century-Portuguese castle built by Celts (or Moors) waiting for you to explore it’s majestic historical charm!
Filled with a romantic aura sheltering every corner, it’s the place to be with your sweetheart! Don’t leave Sintra without visiting the magnificent, beautifully mysterious‘’ Castelo dos Mouros’’, which was finished by King Ferninard II in 1830, it’s out-of-this-world!

4. Albarracín, Spain
The uncommon side of Spain



The scenic village of Albarracin lies in the Aragon region. It’s  encopassed by flagged hillsides and a rugged scenery along with half wood-covered houses with a dusky-red color. Stroll around rocky pathways, winding routes and let yourself to capture the essence of its ancient maze-like charm through magnificent castles and lovely chapels. Towering above this rugged spooky landscape lies a Mudejar-style cathedral based on Islamic art…

5. Portofino, Italy
Cosmopolitan and glamour tunes in Italian Riviera



Are you fancy seeing celebrities passing by your side while you’re taking a walk on the promenade? Then look no further to our favorite Italian marvel, Portofino! Stroll around the Liliputian gleaming harbor or head to the popular Punta del Capo, visit the castle and unwind while sipping your delicious espresso, all sound absolutely inviting right? Portofino make us imagine a famous writer weaving a novel of romance and mystery and there’s a reason you’ll capture this kind of mood… Picture-perfect lush gardens at the edge of steep cliffs and white-grey shades of luxury yachts mirrored at the cerulean waters of Ligurian Sea! What not to love in Portofino?

Purple Secret Tip: Escape the hustle and bustle of the city centre and dive into Lavagna, Paraggi or Camogli
* Portofino may be a bit pricey but you should definitely visit it once in your lifetime!

6. Lugano, southern Switzerland
‘’Atemberaubende Ausblicke’’ ( stunning vistas)



“Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the Earth are never alone or weary of life.”
– Rachel Carson –

Natural-worshippers get ready! We present you the Swiss paradise where Italians meet-up on their weekend breaks… Except for its’ natural treasures, Lugano is the 3rd most important banking centre in the country!  A blessed place filled with blooming parks, mansions, boutiques and lovely bistros cuddling the maze of these cobblestone alleys that unscramble at the end of Ticino’s mountain-based lake…

7. Ronda, Spain
A two-faced tale in Spain



It’s one of the oldest town of Spain which has been declared as Property of Cultural Interest! Set in a dramatic location on El Tago canyon, surrounded by imposing towering sierras, Ronda will hypnotize you …The town is Malaga’s province and frankly, one of most charming! Welcome to Ronda! Its’ old town dates back to Islamic Era and the whole town is halved into two areas, the Arab-aged with its medieval beauty and the other area, with a modern twist, which poped up after the 16th century… Rocky bridges unite the two pieces of the town which is a great part of the famous ‘’Whitewashed Villages’’.

Purple Secret Tip: Ronda was once Ernest Heminway’s secret place to unwind; it was one of his favorite source of inspiration…

8. Hallstatt, Austria
The most pictured European village with 7000y of history



Nature-worshippers and landlubbers will surely fell in love with Hallstatt… We are sure that you’ve already seen thousands of travel posters featuring this fairy-tale austrian town! The whole town is a storybook spilling down to the Hallstätter See, between a crystal-clear lake and imposing mountains providing the ultimate dazzling backdrop – Now you know why thousands of wanderers are extremely passionate to take countless of photos here! – The collection of beautiful pastel-coloured houses dotted with blooming gardens, creating amazing shimmering reflections into the stained-glass waters of the lake, this fabled beauty would be enough to guarantee its’ fame around the world…

Purple Secret Tip: A stroll away from the centre, Mühlbach waterfall vie for your attention, you’ll be under its’s spell for a long long time!




The Most Amazing Travel Photos You Will See Today

National Geographic’s 2013 Traveler Photo Contest is on and we’ve been sneaking a peek at some of the amazing pictures sent in from all over the world. Showcasing the natural beauty of the world, stunning portraits of people, spontaneous moments and gorgeous landscapes, it’s a feast for the eyes and a balm for the soul.

The competition is open to professional or amateur photographers who can submit their own entries until June 30th. See all the pictures from this years competition here, in the meantime we’ve picked out a couple of our favourites below.

Beauty of Sunset

Photo and caption by Fevzi DINTAS. This photograph was taken at Lipe Island in Thailand. Long exposure used and selective colours adjusted. Location: Lipe-Hat Yai, THAILAND

Flying Carpet

Photo and caption by vafa adib. Carpet for sale by beach vendor. Location: Mexico, Puerto Vallarta.

Lavender Fields Forever
Photo and caption by Jennifer Holmes Beamer. While traveling through Tasmania, we took a detour to find this spectacular lavender field. After a soothing meander among endless fields of fragrant lavender we were ready for a nap in the red soil. Location: Tasmania Australia.

Peeping Tom
Photo and caption by Jasminder Singh Oberai. A boy in Nandgaon was playing Holi with his friends. I alongwith some friends was shooting the village side during holi and spotted him. He ran inside his house trying to avoid us. We stayed right outside his house waiting for him to emerge. Patience paid off very soon and he peeped from behind the door, smiled and vanished again. This moment was enough for us to capture this portrait. Location: Nandagaon, Uttar Pradesh, India

Sea Turtle in Kauai

Photo and caption by Paul Oeschger. At the end of my last day of snorkeling in Kauai, I came upon this green sea turtle. It was the most amazing turtle I saw all week. Not only did it seem unfazed by my presence in the water, it actually kept swimming up to me, almost as if it was asking to have its portrait taken. I love underwater photography, something I didn’t discover until 25 years after I first picked up a camera. It’s a joy to experience the beauty of the sea and the life in it through snorkeling and photography. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors. Location: Tunnels Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

Photo and caption by Pei-Chen Sung. She’s lying easily on the grass, within her mind’s absence, I captured this beautiful portrait. Location: Domaine de Boisbuchet, France

Yellow Dress
Photo and caption by Herschel Pollard. Amelia Island, Florida Camera: Zero Image 69 Pinhole, f/235 Film: Expired Kodak Portra 100T Exposure: About 5 seconds. Location: Amelia Island, Florida.

Purple Hearts: Playa del Carmen Mexico

Daydreaming about holidays is one of our favourite things and there might not be a better place than Playa del Carmen Mexico.

Found on the stunning coast of Riviera Maya, just a stone’s throw from the (in)famous resort of Cancun, Playa (as it’s known locally) is a haven for honeymooners, families looking to relax, couples who need a break and cruise ships that dock nearby. Temperatures are generally above 20 all year round, reaching a height of the mid 30s in the Summer. Playa del Carmen Mexico is number two on TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice for Mexico, and features in the prestigious Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards this year . While the beaches are simply to die for, regularly topping the top 25 in the world lists. Playa comes at number 12, while nearby Tulim is third on TripAdvisor’s yearly ‘Top 25 Beach Destinations in the World for 2012.’

There’s a big focus locally on keeping the area’s charm of a small fishing village and colony for artists. Basically it’s a smaller, less touristy version of Cancun. There is a Fifth Avenue where you can stock up on Louis Vuitton or Chanel, but there are also unspoiled beaches, hammocks swaying in the breeze under coconut trees, stunning sea views, great Mexican food and history by the bucket load. Don’t knock Playa ‘til you’ve tried it.

Things to do in Playa del Carmen

Snorkelling/Scuba The offshore Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, (the second biggest reef in the world) is right there on your doorstep in Playa del Carmen. You’ll find lots of dive shops throughout the resort, while there’s open water scuba a little further down the coast in Cozumel.

Get married or go on honeymoon Mexico might actually be the most romantic place ever. They make weddings and honeymoons an art form. Take all the hard work out of it and simply enjoy the ultimate beach wedding or the most luxurious romantic honeymoon you can image in Playa del Carmen. We’ve even put together this Mexico Honeymoon guide to help you get started!

Meet some monkeys The Jungle Place is a spider monkey sanctuary where you can go and meet these adorable little animals. Although a little out of the way, according to TripAdvisor, it’s well worth the trip.

Splash some cash on Quinta Evenida Playa’s fifth avenue has become a firm tourist favourite, with 20 blocks of cobblestone streets to explore. It’s got tonnes of shops if spending is your thing. Even if it’s not, it’s a great place to have some delicious local grub and is a safe place to spend an evening out.

Nightlife Not as wild as Cancun, but still with plenty on offer, most clubs in Playa stay open all night, and some of the best ones are actually on the beach, so you can enjoy a cocktail and sunset as well as sunrise views.

See the cenotes these are huge naturally occurring spring water sinkholes. Historically they were very important to the Mayan people as they were a channel to communicate with the gods. Found all over the Yucatan peninsula, the clear water, which is around 200 feet deep in some, is perfect for swimming or diving, in fact you might not have a better swimming experience in your life. Read more about cenotes in our Purple Picks: Mythical Hotspots.

BPM: Or beats per minute. The BPM Festival is a trance lover’s dream and is taking place in January, 2013 in Playa. It’s got everyone from Carl Cox, Sasha, and John Digweed on the lineup. Click here for more details.

Get close to nature at the Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve just an hour or so outside of Playa you’ll find a great day out for the ecologically minded. Locally run, it offers tours of the Mayan ruins at Muyil or a float down the river through mangrove trees. There’s also a local nature guide pointing out the local flowers and animals. They’ve just introduced a chewing gum tour too.

Go to this amazing beauty salon (in Mexico City) It might be a little out of the way for a Brazilian, but we just had to include this beautiful beauty salon. The amazing colours are soothing and beautiful and certainly enough to distract while you’re getting seen to.

Visit Tulum The nearby resort is a history buffs paradise. The pre Christopher Columbus walled city is right on the water and is easily the number one attraction in the area. The big temple on the site, and the many smaller buildings and huts give a good glimpse into life hundreds of years ago.

Go in the dark: How amazing does this sound? Xplor is an adventure park, where you can go ziplining or go in all terrain trips under the moonlight. It’s an exclusive after dark experience especially for meetings and groups form 8 to 11.30 at night.

Where to stay in Playa del Carmen

Stess buster Bluebay Esmerelda an onsite spa, spacious rooms, snorkelling and windsurfing just down at the beach, and 15 minutes from Fifth Avenue. All inclusive at the Bluebay Esmerelda is the ultimate in stress free holidays.

Couples getaway Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Hotel & Spa If we could use one word to describe the Sirenis it would be gorgeous. The modern hotel is right on a picture perfect sandy beach, the crystal clear water is home to a coral reef, and the palm trees are the perfect shade from the hot sunshine.

Family favourite Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa Just a look at the brige rooms, great gardens and exotic surrounds and you can tell the 5* Sandos Caracol is a fantastic choice for all the family. The watersports centre offers something for everyone, while a kids club and teens club means everyone is catered for, as mum and dad chill out in the hot tub.

Best Budget Hotel Bananathis is right on the famous fifth avenue, so it’s a great choice for sampling the local nightlife and culture. With an outdoor pool and the beach just a stone’s throw away, as well as tonnes of eating options nearby, it’s a great choice for you and your pocket.

Best for the beach Ocean Maya Royale this one is so close to the beach, its pools are built into the sand. The recently refurbished hotel offers a little bit of luxury, with its Despacio Spa Centre and sea view rooms. Perfect for going from beach to bed in no time.

You Should Read… Our top 6 hotels in Jamaica right now.

What to eat in Playa del Carmen

There are around 75 restaurants throughout Playa, so make sure you get on that plane with an empty belly! From the pizza in the street places that are open until 6am, to the super fancy, delicacy serving delights of Quinta Avenida, here are some of the top places to eat and the top dishes to try.

Stuffed tacos You can pick these up on practically every street corner, whether it’s seafood, chicken or chorizo, these traditional lunchtime meals are usually around two or three dollars, so stock up.

Chocolate Mexico is famous for it. What did you mean you didn’t know that ? Try the most amazing brownies at the Ah Cacao Chocolate Cafe on Fifth Avenue.

Breakfast The family owned Kaxapa Factory between 10th and 15th Avenues does a tasty breakfast or brunch and its Venezuelan inspired dishes are to die for.

Birds We don’t mean to eat! The parrots on the balcony create a wonderful atmosphere at the Xulam, Mayan Fisher on 10th Avenue. A great choice for traditional Mayan fare.

Fish Kool Fish Restaurant on Fifth Avenue is a seafood lovers dream. It’s great value and offers wonderful fresh seafood with that traditional Mexican twist.

Although it’s in Mexico, there are also plenty of well known chain stores including a Cheesecake Factory. Now, we’re not saying it’s worth a trip to Mexico just for some cheesecake, but ‘when in Rome…’

You Should Read…  Mexican foodie dictionary

Images courtesy of Riviera Maya DMO.

Purple Passport: Faking it to skip the queue and big plans for Dubai

Dubai draws

The UAE country is a top choice for seeing the sights, and it’s about to get even better. Over 100 crocodiles will be getting a new home in the state’s new zoo in Al Warqa to no doubt, impress visitors of all ages. Not only that, but bosses there are also planning a huge replica of the famous Taj Mahal, one of India’s most iconic buildings. The crocs and replica building will be in addition to the tallest man made building in the world, the Burj Khalifa Tower.

Faking it to skip the queue

New reports have revealed more and more travellers are faking disabilities to get through airport procedures faster. Free assistance is available to passengers with reduced mobility, allowing them to go through check-in and security a bit faster. However passengers are not required to present proof of a disability, and some able-bodied travellers have started to exploit it.

Airline staff have even coined a new phrase “miracle flight” to describe some travellers who arrive in a wheelchair but manage to walk off the plane at the other side.

Take a trip on the Titanic II

A mining boss in from Down Under has announced plans to build a complete replica of the infamous doomed ship and sail it along its original route, between Southampton and New York. The new vessel will be built to the original specifications and you’ll be able to buy first, second or third class tickets. We’re not sure how many people will be lining up to make that trip.

Disney Land style coming to Kent

Well sort of. Developers have been granted a licence from Paramount Pictures to use its name on a huge resort near Dartford. The project will see Europe’s biggest water park, theatres and live music venues. It’s hoped it will create up to 27,000 jobs. Just over 15 minutes from London, the local council says it’s a “tremendous economic growth opportunity” for the area.

Purple Hearts: Cuba Travel Guide

Upon arriving at Cuba, Christopher Columbus remarked that it was “the most beautiful country human eyes have ever seen.” Yet for tourists, the country is a land of continuous confusion; its economy is struggling at best, yet its cultural history is rich and diverse; its landscape is filled with relic and dust, but its architecture is indisputably magnificent; it is considered dangerous and even saddening, yet at the same time, utterly compelling, like the moment when you pass by a car crash and cannot help but slow down to take a closer look. You may even say that these mysteries and parallels are what make Cuba an attractive destination choice. They map out its troubled history like wrinkles on an aged face – a product of years of genocide, slavery, invasion, counter-invasion and revolution – adding both a character and a melancholic beauty.

The words ‘Cuba’ and ‘politics’ have gone hand in hand for more than half a century now, headed by Fidel Castro and his communist regime. However, unlike the grey, barren dystopia of archetypal communist countries, Cuba is an exuberant, romantic milieu, where art, music, literature and creativity are the dish of the day. The Cubans themselves are a nation of artists; from doers to dreamers, sceptics to sages, poets to philosophers. To put things into perspective, here is a review from one of our customers:

“We visited (Cuba) some 18 years ago, and the most attractive and memorable aspect was the pride our guides had in their country and the things they were showing us. A simple doctor’s surgery was described as cutting edge, a somewhat decrepit university as the equivalent of Oxford, and so on. That aspect was enchanting, as they obviously had so little yet treasured what they had.”

The Cubans have shaped their country into the captivating, impenetrable, paradoxical nation it is. However with tourism on the rise, and therefore a huge injection of capitalism pumping through Cuba’s socialist veins, now is the time to travel to this unique country, before its beauty fades into an increasingly globalized world. And if you need some inspiration? We’ve created this Cuba travel guide to ensure your holiday is the best it can be:

Cuba is inhabited mainly by people of African and Spanish origin, which is reflected in the cuisine. Food in Cuba is therefore unlike the rest of the Caribbean, relying heavily on onions and garlic for its flavourings, rather than spices. To find delicious food, head to the casas, rather than the restaurants, which can be somewhat hit and miss and where service is generally quite poor. The real adventure however, is eating at peso places (the national money), which serve the cheapest and most interesting food around. A meal for three people with beers will only cost around $4. Just look for a line of Cubans and jump in it – there’s sure to be something delicious at the end.

Places to go
Cuba’s sultry capital is one of the finest examples of a Spanish Colonial city in the Americas. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982, Havana was once one of world’s most beautiful areas, but as the city deteriorates and tourism influxes, the city is in a state of change; now, behind the crumbling colonial façades, are hidden boutique hotels, cocktail bars and fine dining eateries.  Head for Old Havana to explore the original churches and reconstructed mansions, or to Malecon road for a lively meeting place. or try one of these fantastic new restaurants for a slice of modern Havanan culture:

Atelier: ForCaribbean and European dishes; Good
for groups and well-priced.
Café Laurent: Spanish cuisine with other European influences; the speciality is seafood.
Doña Eutimia: Traditional Cuban food; one of the specialities is the classic ropa vieja (pulled beef in a tomato sauce). About £15 for two.
San Cristóbal: Cuban and international cuisine; pork in mustard sauce is a speciality.

Thepeaceful region of Guardalavaca is home to some of Cuba’s most idyllic, powdery beaches. Crystal clear waters, filled with an abundance of marine life, make it a popular destination for snorkelers and divers, while swimming with dolphins is a not-to-be-missed opportunity. Traditionally famous for its sugar production, if you venture away from the beach, you can drive through roads lined with fields of sugar cane plantations. Although its main industry is now tourism, Guardelavaca has retained an authentic Cuban feel and you never feel too overcrowded.

Varadero is Cuba’s largest beach resort, set on a 12-mile long peninsula of stunning white sandy beaches and clear Caribbean water. Despite being a beach resort, the area is still not as commercialised as many other Caribbean locations. After it was first visited in 1870, Varadero rapidly grew into an exclusive resort for the Havana elite, visited by many celebrities, including Al Capone.
This tourism boom, which has never wavered since, has meant that Varadero is a long way from being the ‘real Cuba’, but for a great beach holiday, this is surely one of the best in the entire Caribbean.

Cayo Coyo
Cayo Coco Cuba is occupied by one of the world’s largest coral reefs – second only to the Great Barrier. Like Varadero, Cayo Coyo is a magnificent beach resort, boasting fifteen miles of virgin beaches and azure seas, perfect for indulging in a spot of Cuban deep sea fishing. If you prefer to stay on dry land, the dramatic mountainous backdrop offers some fantastic hiking or horse riding opportunities, rewarded by spectacular views. If you travel by car through the linking causeway, you can make a stop off at Parador la Silla, about half way across, which is home to hundreds of bright pink flamingos. Hotel-wise, we recommend Playa Coco, a modern, spacious hotel set right on the beach or Tryp Cayo Coco, designed like a traditional Caribbean village. For something even more luxurious, Melia Cayo Coco hotel has everything you could ever want – perfect for honeymoons or romantic couples break.

Founded in 1514, Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is home to an extensive colonial history. Expect to see locals riding on horseback down cobbled streets, past rows of houses painted in pastel pinks, yellows and blues. The renovated elegant mansions of the past are now enchanting museums, whilst original church windows are like works of art.

Santa Clara
Santa Clara is the home of the monument, museum and mausoleum of revolutionary, Ché Guevara, whose body was only returned from Bolivia in 1997, some 30 years after his capture and execution.

Things to do

Jardin Botanico Nacianol, Havana
A well-kept collection of tropical plants that includes poinsettias the size of Christmas trees, hibiscus, bromeliads, coleus and bougainvillea. Open daily.

Museo De La Revolucion, Havana

Refugio 1, between Avenida de las Misiones and Zulueta, Habana Vieja, Havana. To learn a bit about the country’s history, visit the housed in a huge, ornate, dome-topped building which was once the presidential palace. The spirit of the greatest revolutionary of them all, Che Guevara, lives on in posters, statues and murals such as the one on Plaza de la Revolucion.

Partaga Cigar Factory, Havana
Industria 520, Habana Vieja, Havana. A national treasure that hides behind the Capitolio in Havana’s main square, Partagas – formerly the second largest cigar factory in Cuba – is worth a visit.

Muse Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana
Opened in its current location in 1954, the National Museum of Fine Arts 50,000 strong collection of artworks has been divided into two separate buildings: the Cuban art collection (Arte Cubano), and the international collection (Arte Universal). The international collection is a passable survey of world art but the main draw is the building itself.

Call Purple Travel on 0207 993 9228 to find out more about holidays in Cuba.

How to pack your holiday bag like a pro

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!

We hope you won't have to pack like this!

  1.  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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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!

Top tips for staying comfortable on your flight

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! 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. 

  1. 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!
  2. 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!)
  3. 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!)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
PS. We think it’s probably best to steer clear of outfits like the one pictured and don’t do like Joey in Friends when he wore every single item of Chandler’s clothes at once (remember that?)
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PurpleTravelTalks: Don’t leave the seat next to you to chance.

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.

Turkey Top 5

Turkey is easily one of the most popular summer holiday destinations for Purple Travelers.  Its combination of stunning beaches, quaint seaside resorts, ethnic cuisine, and rock-bottom prices, make Turkey the destination of choice for British holidaymakers. If you’re thinking of travelling to Turkey this summer, or have already planned to return, we’ve come up with some of the most spectacular things to do while you’re there.

Pamukkale thermal pools via purple travel

1.  Pamukkale Thermal Pools

If you do only one excursion during your stay in the Bodrum Peninsula, this is definitely it. This rare formation of thermal pools high in the mountainous region is said to heal asthma, rheumatism, and even skin and eye conditions. In case that’s not enough to convince you, the stunning views and the photos you’ll be able to bring back home should certainly do it. Pamukkale image via @ Esther Lee

Gulet cruise via purple travel

2.  Gulet Cruise

The best way to experience everything the Turkish coast has to offer is by taking a Gulet Cruise, also known as the Blue Cruise. Starting in the port of Bodrum and travelling as far as Antalya, these cruises will take you through stunning bays, busy ports, ancient cities, and secluded coves. A little research in advance is well worth it, as these cruises are different and may stop in different places of interest. Keep your eyes out for those stopping at Kaputas Cove and Patara Beach. Gulet Cruise Image via @ Turkey Vision.

Ephesus via purple travel

3.  Ruins of Ephesus

One of the most-visited archeological sites in Turkey, the ancient ruins are certainly a sight to see if you’re staying near Kusadasi. Ephesus was home to one of the original 7 Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis, and still is a significant point of culture, religion, and history. Image of Ephesus via @ Esther Lee.

Mamure Kalesi via Purple Travel

4.  Mamure Kalesi

This castle fortress located on the southernmost tip of Turkey, is a magnificent sight. Home to the Romans, Crusaders, and Ottomans throughout the centuries, it stands as though it was livable just last week. Although it’s about 5 hours from the nearest tourist resort of Alanya, it is the ideal getaway for a swim at sunset. Image of Mamure Kalesi via @ Dr. Colleen Morgan.

Ballooning in Cappadocia

5. Ballooning in Cappadocia

The area of Cappadocia is hugely popular with tourists, who visit it to examine its history, geological and historic landscape. But really, the way to see it is by hot air balloon and is available in Goreme. This will give you a true birds-eye view of the incredible landscape. Image via @ Moyan Brenn.

Of course, there are many other sights to see in Turkey that we didn’t go into more detail about and are sure to be a memorable experience on your trip. Definitely go to one of the many Turkish markets in your resort, or the Turkish Nargile (Water Pipe) Bars.  There are many archeological sites and castles scattered throughout the coastal region worth visiting. If you’re still deciding on where to go in Turkey, do some research on what you want to see before you book and stay in the area with the most places of interest to you. A good place to start is Trip Advisor’s Thing to Do in Turkey  page.  Have you been to see these, or any other sites, yourself? If so, please post your feedback and your suggestions for our readers!

For more on things to do in Turkey and the best value flights, hotels and transfers, get in touch with our expert team at Purple Travel here.

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