Does your pre-holiday headache start the minute you get the suitcases down from the top of the wardrobe?
From the frustration when the zip won’t close on your bulging suitcase to losing the directions to your airport car park, it can all feel a bit of an endurance test. But I always seem to arrive on the plane with seconds to spare, after a sprint through departures with a toddler under each arm, others seem completely serene. They’ve got plenty of time to relax and enjoy all the airport has to offer. So what’s their secret? I’ve been doing some research and here’s what I found:
Pack like a pro
Wouldn’t it be lovely to arrive at your destination with all your clothes well organised and wrinkle-free? It doesn’t have to be some crazy pipe dream. Here’s how to do it: roll knitted items and put these on the bottom, leaving a space at the wheel end for shoes. Then lay all your non-knitted clothes flat on top of the rolled layer, putting what you want to wear on the first
Known around the globe for its fun and top-rated restaurants, Las Vegas is a culinary paradise. The greatest names in the kitchen, including Bobby Flay and Michael Mina operate establishments here and spots like Twist at Mandarin Oriental and Yolös at Planet Hollywood offer exciting options for any palate. Here is just a taste of what you can expect in Las Vegas.
From chef Julian Serrano, Picasso at Bellagio has been offering premiere French and Spanish cuisine since its opening. The impressive wine cellar boasts more than 1,500 selections and diners are treated to stunning views of both the famed Bellagio fountains and the legendary Picasso artwork throughout the restaurant.
Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare is a gem inside Wynn Las Vegas. This grand restaurant specializes in delicious seafood flown in daily from the Mediterranean Sea. A lake dotted with charming decor sets the mood on the outdoor patio which is filled with semi-private cabanas. Chef Paul Bartolotta is a James Beard Award winner for his dishes including an unforgettable pasta e fagioli soup as well as homemade ravioli.
The Sugar Factory Brasserie at Paris Las Vegas is open 24
Why take a weekend break to Europe by train?
Gone are the days when budget flights were the only way to travel to Europe for a short break away. Taking the train is now an extremely viable option – it’s quicker, and cheaper, than you probably think. Travelling by train to Europe will open up a host of new destinations and you’ll arrive straight into the city centre.
When to go
Spring is a great time to take a weekend break in Europe. Get away from it all and experience carnivals, sporting events, festivals, romance and culture in Europe’s vibrant cities.
Eurostar’s high-speed services will get you to Paris in just over two hours and Brussels in just under two hours. If you were to travel by plane, would you have even left the airport after two hours?
With Eurostar and high-speed European trains you could be in the heart of Europe in just under six hours. Just six hours and you could be climbing the steps of the Dom in Cologne, enjoying Michelin-starred food in Lyon, or even going
Europe has become much more expensive to visit in recent years, but it’s still possible to eat well and save money. Try local foods and beverages for the best bargains and your taste buds as well as your wallet may get a pleasant surprise.
TIP. Shop at farmers’ markets and small grocery stores to sample local produce. The ancient UK city of Bath is a big draw for American tourists. Get up early and explore the dazzling array of local produce at the Saturday farmers’ market at Green Park Station in the city centre. In London, head for bustling Borough market (London Bridge or Borough tube stations). France has a great tradition of farmers’ markets with some of the very best in Provence, including Carpentras market which has been going since the 12th century. Snap up local breads, cheeses, meats and fruits and picnic in the park. You’ll be hard pressed not to leave with an armful of colorful flowers too in summer. You’ll need cash here so withdraw some at an ATM using your Visa Debit card.
TIP. Eat on the
Dublin is a city for all tastes and all seasons, but this January, nights of glowing pub doorways and amber-lit cobbles will be the perfect host for the city’s biggest traditional Irish music festival. From céilís to galleries, literature to theatre, the capital has it covered.
Dublin’s cultural quarter, creative hub, if-there’s-something-going-on-you-can-be-sure-it’s-here hotspot, is undisputedly Temple Bar. The cobbled streets of galleries, theatres and lively pubs are, on any given day, filled with visitors and long-lunching locals.
So the area has the perfect credentials to kick-start Ireland’s legendary festival calendar on January 25th with Temple Bar Tradfest. Combining cosy pub sessions with outdoor concerts, street performers with pipe bands, and film screenings with storytelling – Tradfest promises nothing less than an Irish music and culture extravaganza. Now seven years old, the five-day schedule is growing in ambition and accessibility – over 200 events are free. (http://templebartrad.com/)
Legendary folk group The Dubliners anchor the festival, and are set to perform in the hauntingly beautiful Christchurch Cathedral. The iconic City Hall is another atmospheric venue hosting exhibitions and recitals.
The programme caters to for all
With scores of flights per day from a number of airlines, Thailand is the most accessible and affordable holiday destination in Asia. Its tropical climate, fabulous beaches, fascinating cities and culture also make it one of the most desirable.
If beaches are your thing, Thailand has some of the best in the world, with silver-white sands and crystal-clear water fringed by swaying palms – and romantic resorts to go with them. Favourite holiday islands are Koh Samui and Phuket but the mainland beaches around the Gulf of Thailand are just as good and accessible by road transfer from Bangkok. The resorts are all different, so read up before you book and be sure to talk to a travel adviser such as Freedom Asia whose staff have experienced Thailand first-hand.
Twin centre Thailand
You’ll find more to Thailand than just great beaches and, for twice the fun, try a professionally arranged twin centre holiday. You can combine the bright lights of Bangkok with the royal beach resort of Hua Hin, the hill tribes of Northern Thailand with the holiday playground on Phuket and scores of other combinations. Freedom Asia will
If you are planning a holiday on sunnier shores, it pays to spend time ensuring your cash will stretch as far as possible. If you save consistently, in just a few months you could save enough to book your ticket –and take advantage of a multitude of other methods to cut the cost of a trip abroad.
If possible, avoid charging the cost of heading to warmer climes to a credit card – and start saving instead. You might be surprised how much you can squirrel away in a short space of time in preparation for a trip.
There is an array of savings accounts to choose from that you can use for any spare cash. If you want to know you can access your cash at any time, make sure you opt for an instant access savings account. If you’re able to keep up the savings habit over several months, you could consider a regular savings account to encourage you to set aside, say, £100 a month, or whatever you can sensibly afford.
Use comparison sites
Once you’ve got
When you’re stuck in the office, and dreaming of jetting off somewhere exotic on holiday, it is easy to forget that there are hundreds of fascinating and enchanting sights to see in the UK. While some of these sights are well known, there are plenty of hidden gems that you will not be familiar with. In this article, we travel from north to south and highlight the must see attractions of three of the UK’s most vibrant and cultural towns and cities.
Sitting on the UK’s west coast, the city of Liverpool is a perfect mix of rich history and bustling modern day city life. Once the most important port city in Europe, Liverpool is also synonymous with many of the country’s most famous icons, from footballers, to the Beatles. However, if you look beyond the obvious attractions there is a wealth of things to see. Follow our footsteps in this three step guide to the city.
1.Church of St Luke: Designed by John Foster and consecrated in 1831, the Church of St Luke stands as a reminder of the
Some of the world’s most fascinating cities are also the most expensive. Tokyo, Oslo, Paris, Sydney, Singapore, London and Moscow all feature high on that list. But don’t let that put you off visiting them – there’s always a way to make it more affordable. Just follow our top tips!
Tip 1. Network before you go:
Talk to friends who have been to your destination and pick their brains (and borrow their guidebooks!) Use your social networking sites to ask friends and friends of friends for recommendations for places to stay, eat, and tips on how to get around. Get as much ‘insider’ knowledge as you can. You’ll be surprised how effective networking can be on this subject.
Tip 2. Agree a budget:
It’s all too easy to get carried away when you’re travelling so decide on a budget and try to stick to it. Decide what you’re prepared to save on and what you might allow yourself to splurge on. Agree before you go to save vacation arguments and tears over that credit card bill when it arrives
European cities are a cultural feast. There’s so much to see, it’s tempting to want to do it all and hang the expense. But you don’t need to blow your budget in order to have a great time – just follow a few useful tips.
TIP: Theatre and concert tickets in Europe can cost an arm and a leg but there are plenty of free and cheap entertainment options. Summertime is great for arts and music festivals and parades. Amsterdam has lots of free concerts and London’s Royal Opera House in Covent Garden sometimes has free outdoor screenings in the cobbled courtyard of what’s happening onstage – a great atmosphere! In Paris (where you can nab an opera ticket for as little as 5 euros), pick up a copy of Pariscope at newsstands for weekly listings including free events, and in London, check out Time Out magazine.
TIP: Apart from entrance fees to many major attractions, you’ll likely fall victim to the souvenir shop and it can rapidly get out of hand and maybe even tip you over into excess baggage charges if you buy too
Club Med offers premium all-inclusive holidays to more than 80 exclusive resorts around the world. Expect stunning locations, superb accommodation, flights and transfers, gourmet food, endless bar drinks, fantastic children’s clubs and activities all included.
Mexico is a vibrant country with a rich culture, full of iconic sights and welcome surprises. A fusion of Spanish and native Central American influences permeate the everyday life here, while fantastic beaches and a sub-tropical climate make holidays to Mexico truly invigorating.
A short distance from the town, at the tip of the bay on the country’s easternmost peninsula, the Resort lies between the turquoise waters of the Caribbean and the lagoon. In a lush natural setting conveniently located close to Mayan archaeological sites and fabulous beaches, the resort is ideal for families seeking an exhilarating yet relaxing holiday.
Experience the latest sports activities at Cancun Yucatan Resort with the flying trapeze academy and circus activities, as well as many other water and land sports. Treat yourself to a sublime, sensual experience with Club Med Spa by Comfort Zone and discover Jade, the Luxury 5Ψ Space within Cancun Yucatan’s 4Ψ Resort with its
In the excitement of visiting glamorous European cities, it’s easy to get carried away and end up with a financial headache at the end of your trip. Avoid expensive mistakes by making some savvy travel choices.
Follow these tips for a stress free trip:
TIP: Forget expensive taxis to get around. Many big city sights are concentrated in a walkable area. Barcelona, Stockholm, London, Venice and Paris are all great for walking. Explore on your own or take a walking tour such as those offered by Blue Badge guides in London. Nip around on local buses, subways or trams. In Venice, use the traghetto gondolas instead of the fancier and far more expensive tourist gondolas to criss-cross the canals. This no frills service costs just 50 cents (70 cents US) a ride. In Amsterdam, hire a bicycle. Sometimes cash is preferred, so use your Visa Debit at ATMs to access local currency at ATMs all over Europe.
TIP: Think like a local when it comes to food and drink. Europe’s cities have some wonderful green spaces for a picnic lunch. Shop at local markets for cheeses, sausage, breads,
Luxury break ideas from Red Carnation Hotels.
Brighten up the dull days of winter with an exciting city break or a luxury weekend away from it all! Whether you fancy hitting the shops and the bright lights of London or escaping for a feast of fine dining and relaxation at a country retreat, check into one of our award-winning luxury hotels for a weekend to really remember.
Bright Lights, Big City
There’s nowhere quite like London and it’s not surprising that this great capital city is home to some of the best hotels in the world. If you’re looking for a weekend of shopping and dining to banish your winter blues, it’s got the lot. How about adding some glamour to your winter wardrobe? Head for Knightsbridge and hit the department stores. Harvey Nichols hosts regular fashion nights, perfect for getting an insider view on the latest designer styles. And Harrods has just launched a new men’s designer department and an extended wine shop, where you’ll find handy wine tips and classy vintages. If you’re shopping for kids, the place
In both the top resorts and smaller ones there’s a host of new runs, accommodation and lift pass offers for the 2011 season. Here’s a rundown from P&O Ferries’ skiing holidays expert Nicky Holford.
If you’re thinking about family ski holidays, France is pretty hard to beat. Most ski resorts in France can be reached in a day if you cross the channel early or overnight. Check out what’s new for 2011.
Value for Money
Don’t dismiss smaller French resorts, particularly those that link into large ski areas, as they are better value both on and off the mountain. This year Flaine, one of the best family ski holiday resorts has undergone a complete renovation of its main gondola. There’s a new slope that reduces traffic on the nursery slopes, and two new apartment complexes, Terasses de Veret and Refuge du Golf, are
Founded over 80 years ago, Leading Hotels of the World represents more than 430 of the world’s finest hotels, resorts and spas in 80 countries across the globe, from stately palaces to luxury tents.
Leaders Club – Join the club that the world’s most luxurious hotels are proud to be members of.
Leading Hotels has just announced some exciting new benefits for members of its Leaders Club – a guest loyalty programme designed to make the travel experience more personalised and enriching.
The prestigious club is designed to make trips more fulfilling, and personalises luxury travel experiences at over 430 utterly unique independent hotels and resorts worldwide. In addition to their existing benefits – ability to earn free nights; early check-in, late check-out; room upgrades; welcome gifts and exclusive rates – Leaders Club members will now be able to enjoy daily complimentary continental breakfast for two and complimentary Internet access at all Leading Hotels.
Leaders Club members also have the opportunity to earn a complimentary night for every five qualifying stays made before 31 December 2011.*
Leaders Club members enjoy these generous benefits at an annual cost of USD100 for
With so many cheap hotels in Paris, it’s the perfect excuse for a getaway.
Paris is a world-renowned and revered destination and it isn’t hard to see why. This romantic city is a cultural hub with a dizzying array of attractions and sights, as well as offering plenty of things to do for the young and energetic who want to while the nights away in a club. Best of all, visitors from the UK can get there by simply hopping on the Eurostar from London and travelling right into the heart of the great city. Alternatively, the Channel Tunnel will take you to Calais and Paris is just a drive away. Given the cheap and fast transport, there’s no reason not to book any of the number of cheap hotels Paris offers to enjoy either a weekend break or an extended holiday.
The idea of a cheap hotel instils fear into many people who hold the antiquated belief that ‘cheap’ is a byword for tatty rooms, unchanged bedding and surly staff. In actual fact, the reality is vastly different. Cheap
Economic downturn fails to dent Brits’ wanderlust.
Despite the economic downturn, it seems our passion for travel remains undiminished. Brits took 39 million foreign holidays last year, a significant drop on the year before but still a staggering number.
And while all many tourists want is a warm beach to lie on, others are a bit more adventurous. The ease of long-haul flying and the availability of exotic options around the world mean that more and more people want a bit of excitement to go with their dream holiday.
And many people have decided it’s worth splashing out on that once-in-a-lifetime experience. But whether you’re funding your dream trip with loans or credit cards, or you’ve saved up for years, there are plenty of ways you can build memories that last forever. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
White water rafting in the Himalayas:
India has plenty to offer visitors of all types, but if you want to get the adrenalin flowing, why not try an exhilarating journey through some of the country’s most exciting waterways. The
Forget screaming kids and grumpy teenagers, if you’re looking for the ultimate romantic break for two with no interruptions, why not try one of our luxury villas in Greece?
Shop around now and you could pick up some great late villa deals too, so you’ll have more to spend on fine dining and champagne…
Just us two
If you’re looking for a holiday hideaway well away from the madding family holiday crowds, many of the Greek islands offer a tempting choice of chilled out havens and quiet coves tucked away from the more boisterous resorts. And to really enjoy some couple time, choosing a villa rather than a hotel provides you with your own little home in the sun, with breakfast just for two by the side of your own private pool. You’ll be spoilt for choice with villas in Greece, but if you’re in the mood to make your next holiday extra special, take a look at our luxury properties situated in upmarket resorts on the dreamy islands of Kefalonia and Lefkas.
Two of the best
The pretty Ionian island
Club Med offers premium all-inclusive holidays to over 80 exclusive resorts all around the world.
With Club Med all-inclusive you can expect stunning locations, superb accommodation, gourmet food, endless snacks and drinks from the bar, fantastic children’s clubs from babies to teens and a multitude of sports and activities. It is all included, so why not learn how to water-ski in Greece, sail in the Maldives, or just sip cocktails on a Caribbean beach…
With a Club Med holiday, expect a premium all-inclusive that is truly all-inclusive…
· Choice of accommodation
· Flights and transfers
· Full-board gourmet cuisine
· Open bar and snacks throughout the day
· A wide range of sports and activities
· Group classes and tuition
· Evening entertainment
· Children’s clubs from babies to teens
· ATOL and ABTA protected for peace of mind
There’s never been a better time to choose Club Med.
Club Med Olympic Games Guarantee
Everyone’s in the sporting spirit this summer. At Club Med you can still enjoy the Olympics from a sun soaked destination. All our resorts will be showing the games and with special Olympic themed events and activities, the whole family can get involved.
If you are a bona fide shopaholic, then there are plenty of opportunities across the world to indulge your habit, particularly if your first love is fashion. From Tokyo and Hong Kong to the traditional European couture capitals of London, Paris and Milan, there’s a wide world of styles out there.
But for many, New York is at the top of the list for retail enthusiasts. As the backdrop to innumerable films and TV shows, New York is instantly recognisable – even to those who have never set foot on the main island of Manhattan.
Barneys, Bergdorf and Bloomingdales The ‘3 Bs’ form the bedrock of swanky New York shopping. Anyone who has enjoyed the fashionista excesses of Carrie Bradshaw and the Sex and the City girls will feel right at home in Barneys, Bergdorf and Bloomingdales – though remember that they also cater for men and children.
Barneys is revered as the headquarters of the über-luxurious shopping experience, and is a temple for fashion-obsessed New Yorkers – it’s very much a shop for the girl who knows her Christian Louboutins