We have all enjoyed years of easy travelling to Europe and hopefully that will continue. But this could be the year to consider exploring further afield.
Long haul holidays can offer great value for money, especially if you choose all-inclusive resorts. Many countries have a much lower cost of living than Europe and this is reflected in the price.
Choose your dates carefully
An African safari is on most people’s bucket list and the tented camps and lodges often operate on an all-inclusive basis. Kenya has arguably the best game reserves and regular flights from the UK. Try to avoid the high season of August-November when the annual wildebeest migration takes place, and prices are highest, choose instead to travel in January -March. You will still enjoy exceptional game viewing but without the crowds or inflated prices.
Staying in a tented camp in a private conservancy can help you to have the best experience as well as helping to support the local community. The award winning Porini Camps are a great example of responsible tourism: https://www.porini.com/
Florida is always popular and if you can travel in early summer, before the school holidays, you can save money. This family friendly destination is geared to attracting children so opt for the quieter months and give the theme parks a miss. You will find gorgeous beaches on Florida’s Gulf Coast together with a laid-back Floridian way of life. One of my favourite areas is Fort Myers & Sanibel Island where you can kayak through inland waterways, watch dolphin and manatee, or search for shells on the soft sandy beaches.
The Far East, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia all have luxurious hotels with affordable price tags. Many of the resorts are hidden away in luscious grounds and offer a restful holiday of peace and tranquillity.
A great way to experience these countries is on an organised coach tour that will include most meals and accommodation, as well as excursions, and you will be accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. www.Kuoni.co.uk has some great options.
New Age Air Travel
Modern planes such as the Dreamliner are designed to minimise jet lag and give a smooth and comfortable flight. Low cost airline https://www.norwegian.com/uk/ has regular services to some great destinations with a choice of fare types.
Their fleet includes the new 787 Dreamliner which gives a greater level of comfort on a long-haul journey. Book early for the best prices on scheduled flights, or wait a while for bargain prices.
If upgrading is outside your budget, consider splashing out or little extras such as lounge access at the airport. This usually gives you ‘fast track’ through airport security and minimises stress. No.1 Lounges has offers https://no1lounges.com/
Don’t like long flights? Try Cruising
If a long-haul flight is not for you, then cruising could be the answer. Setting sail from any of the numerous ports around the UK is a stress-free way to start your holiday.
Around the World
A very special itinerary if you have the time, and money, is circumnavigating the globe. These cruises are becoming more and more popular and offered by many cruise lines, starting from the UK. A great way to experience far flung places and only having to unpack once!
If around the world is a step to far, you can discover incredible destinations in Brazil, Argentina, Peru and more, with countless highlights to uncover – from iconic landmarks and ancient sites to beautiful beaches and astonishing natural wonders. All from the comfort of Fred Olsen’s flagship ‘Balmoral’.
For further information on this cruise: https://www.fredolsencruises.com/cruise/south-american-exploration-l2001
New York, New York
For a special celebration or landmark birthday, a very memorable trip is the transatlantic crossing with Cunard from Southampton to New York. Queen Mary 2 has regular crossings throughout the year, taking about 6 days in each direction. Cunard’s website has special offer prices for both early or late booking: https://www.cunard.com/en-gb/cruise-destinations/transatlantic
This would be a magical and momentous experience, just imagine the excitement of sailing past the Statue of Liberty and into New York, with the added bonus of no luggage restrictions!
A Tip from the Top
Donna Owen is Marketing Manager of specialist long haul operator Tropical Sky and many of their clients are ‘first timers’. Donna’s suggestion is:
“Blow the budget and travel in business class – it makes for a whole new experience. Check-in, airport lounge access, spacious comfortable reclining seats, in-flight dining experience. It really means your holiday starts the minute you get to the airport.”
For those taking the plunge for the first time try choosing a smaller, more intimate hotel where there’s a real personal service rather than a large resort. Donna’s recommendation is the beautiful SoCo Hotel, Barbados
Last, but not least, make sure you check with your doctor well before you travel for all vaccination requirements. You may need booster jabs, or a full course of a particular vaccine. Adequate travel insurance is a must. Always carry a copy of your prescription and put all your personal medication in your hand luggage.