It’s been the case in the travel industry for many years that airlines and travel companies advertise lower prices and then make up the difference with high card charges. Hopefully this will now change and there will be more of a level playing field.
Just for the record, here at Global Holidays, we only charge 2% for payments by credit card and 0% for debit cards.
Now that’s a good reason to book with Global Holidays !
A guest travel article from the newly married Sylvia Kenny
We enjoy a skiing holiday every year with family and friends. When we were planning our informal wedding ceremony we decided a celebration on the slopes would be ideal. We could ski all day and then enjoy a celebration on the slopes with our family. Our first task was to find a celebrant to conduct the ceremony. Kay Evans is English and lives in Morzine in France. She is a celebrant and can organise other aspects of the wedding for you including the ceremony itself, the venue, food, flowers, transport etc. We contacted her via her website www.alwaysnumberone.co.uk
We asked her to help us find a venue. We wanted a location we could ski to but also somewhere accessible by road as we had our two little grandchildren in the party – Maisie aged 3 years and Tilly aged one. We envisaged a location with stunning views where we could hold our celebration on the slopes, with a nice restaurant nearby for our wedding breakfast. We chatted with Kay via Skype and discussed some options. We finally settled on Le Chasse Montagne on the slopes near Les Gets.
We arrived in Morzine on Saturday, 5 January 2013 and the wedding was planned for Tuesday. We met with Kay at the venue on Sunday and were thrilled with the location and the stunning views. We chose a place on the slopes to hold our ceremony but Kay had also arranged an alternative location inside if the weather was poor. We were enjoying blue skies and sunshine and hoping they would last.
On Tuesday we awoke to beautiful weather. As planned, our party skied all day and met at the venue towards the end of the day whilst the sun was still shining. We held our simple ceremony on the slopes which included poems read by some of our family. The bottles of champagne, which had been pushed into the snow to chill during the ceremony, were opened and served and we celebrated and enjoyed the stunning views. Eventually we went inside, took off our ski boots and enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of Le Chasse Montagne, an auberge typical of the Savoie region. The staff were very welcoming and wanted to make sure we enjoyed ourselves. After enjoying a delicious celebratory meal we relaxed in front of a log fire before returning to our chalet to cut the skiing wedding cake. An amazing day!
We thanked the staff at Le Chasse Montagne for being so friendly and welcoming and making sure we had a wonderful time. We thanked Kay for everything she did to make our dream come true – for selecting a superb location, for helping us plan our ceremony and for calming our nerves on the day. Her knowledge and experience were invaluable.
Guest travel article by Becky Hayes – TV and Radio Presenter and travel writer.
There is nothing quite like swimming in turquoise sea amongst beautiful bright coral with rainbow fish swirling around you. This is exactly the experience I had in Sharm el Sheikh.
I’ve heard people say that Egypt is fab for snorkelling and diving before but I never really took much notice! I always thought it could never really compare to the likes of Thailand or The Maldives but I was wrong. Infact, the snorkelling we did in Sharm exceeded both of the latter….by a mile!
My husband and I stayed at The Reef Oasis Senses Resort in Sharm el Sheikh for a week. It’s a chic, relaxing hotel in a quiet location. They have a private beach at the end of the resort with a pontoon jutting out into the sea just where the coral ends….the perfect spot for snorkelling.
You can buy or hire snorkelling and dive equipment in the hotel itself or pretty much anywhere in Egypt. We bought 2 snorkel masks from the hotel shop for £14 each (a bit overpriced but they have to make their money somehow!). It’s always worth a haggle even if they say it’s a fixed price – nothing is ever a fixed price in Egypt!
Both myself and my husband have snorkelled lots before but for some reason it always takes me a while to get used to it! I don’t know if it’s the breathing through your mouth, my face being underwater or just being out in the open sea but I always need a few minutes to adjust! My husband on the other hand is completely at home in the water and is one of those show off’s who always dives down under the water to get a better look at the fish…whilst doing forward rolls.
One morning we took some bread down from breakfast to feed the fish. I was already in the water, mask on, mouthpiece in trying to find my sea legs so to speak when my husband tried to give me the bread whilst he got in himself. I was still a bit apprehensive at this point and completely lost the plot! I started shouting at him……..through my mouthpiece of course!. It was something along the lines of “I caaaan’t howld the bwead, I won’t be abwle to keep myself aflowt. I’ll sink and dwown…..” Slight exaggeration maybe.
Anyway, I finally got into my stride and set off along the coral. The best time to snorkel is early in the morning before the crowds and families all pile down to the beach. We got to the pontoon for around 8am and were often the only ones there which was pretty special. The sun was just coming up, the sea was calm and clear and the fish were aplenty! We saw the most amazing array of tropical fish, all shapes and sizes and so many bright colours. One particular morning, a cute little rainbow fish followed us along the coral and appeared to be trying to play with us! It was absolutely amazing!
The one thing that I was desperate to see was a turtle. Every morning I was carefully looking at rocks and coral to see if there were any hiding but it was not to be. I saw a huge one years ago whilst snorkelling in the Seychelles and it was an unforgettable experience so I was desperate to see one again. However I have not given up and will be returning to Egypt for more snorkelling and turtle spotting.
To stay at The Reef Oasis Senses Resort on Thursday 24th January for 7 nights, all inclusive, it’s £675 per person.
We had a brilliant time in Cambodia and Thailand. We flew into Phnom Penh on the same afternoon as Barack Obama, who was attending the ASEAN conference. Air Force One was on the tarmac when we arrived.
We went on a cycling tour from Phnom Penh which included island hopping the islands of the Mekong. We also made some very sobering visits to S21 (the genocide museum) and the Killing Fields. Difficult to believe it was all happening in the 70′s.
We travelled overland to Siem Reap and went on a cycling tour of Angkor Wat and the main temples. Our guide enjoyed off road cycling so it was quite an adventure and we avoided the main tourist trails. We enjoyed ourselves so much we went back the following day to visit some of the more remote temples.
We travelled overland from Siem Reap back over the border into Southern Thailand. We read lots of blogs about crossing the border at Poipet. All of them said it would be a nightmare and it was!! Hours of queueing and chaos in 35 degree heat. Once in Thailand we took a ferry to the island of Koh Chang. We stayed in a very quiet part of the island, on the beach, and spent our time swimming, kayaking, reading and relaxing. A perfect antidote to the noise and frenetic pace of life in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
When we returned to Bangkok our friends took us to some of the wonderful golf courses. My first experience of playing golf overseas. By law you have to have a caddy (designed to create employment). I felt like Lee Westwood, striding down the fairways with the caddy carrying my golf clubs, telling me how far I was from the green for each shot, discussing club selection, giving me advice on the greens etc.
Toronto is not a city where the tourist has an exhaustive itinerary.
It is more of a city that grows on you slowly – the traveller is seduced by its summer festivals, markets, boardwalks and food, rather than engaged in a breathless stomp around endless cultural attractions.
Toronto makes a great holiday destination from the UK.
Situated reassuringly near to Niagra Falls, it is untrue to say that Toronto has no ‘wow’ factor, although the city has a reputation as a clean, safe metropolis.
Toronto is also one of the great ethnic melting pots of the world: its many immigrants have meant that the city is in constant cultural flux.
Toronto sits in the Great Lakes region of Canada, on the shores of Lake Ontario. The downtown area has a distinctively heteroclite aspect: at once bohemian, ethnic and historic.
The Harbourfront area, the CN Tower and the SkyDome, Toronto’s vast sports arena are the features on Toronto’s wannabe New York skyline.
There is a proper Chinatown (not just a row of vaguely Oriental eateries a la London) starting along Dundas Street.
Just north of Chinatown is a bustling university area and to the west, Little Italy and The Annex.
To the east of downtown lies Cabbagetown, a gentrified neighbourhood that retains some Irish immigrant character.
This ethnic diversity compensates for the paucity of world-class museums and restaurants.
With a wide range of flights to Toronto from UK airports it’s easy to reach Toronto, even just for a sjort break.
During the Christmas “quiet season” Mozart’s city of Salzburg reveals its many different, yet always enchanting, facets.
It is the season for a romantic walk across the city’s hilltops, affording a breathtaking view of the city’s snow-covered roofs, domes and towers.
But Salzburg is also an ideal place to pick up some festive gifts, playing host as it does to a fabulous Christmas market.
Salzburg’s Mirabell Square is the market’s setting from mid-November till later December each year.
From the late 17th century, the main Salzburg Christmas market took place on Cathedral Square, but it was closed during the dark days of Nazism, and reopened north of the river on Mirabell Square after the war.
Happily, there are now Christmas markets in both squares, offering gifts and foodstuffs to warm hearts, hands and feet.
As for the city’s traditional all-year-round attractions, there is plenty to keep you busy. As the home of Mozart and the celebrated Salzburg Festival, as well as the setting for “The Sound of Music” in 1964, Salzburg is known worldwide as a musical city.
Nestled in between the Kapuzinerberg and Monchsberg mountains on the Salzach River, Salzburg is visually stunning – recognised as much for its concentration of high baroque architecture as it is for the surrounding Alpine scenery.
A favourite activity is The Sound of Music Tour, which takes tourists to such landmarks as the Nonnberg Convent, the Residenzplatz and the Mirabell Palace Gardens.
Other popular sites include Mozartplatz, a central square featuring a statue of the composer; and Mozart’s Gerburthaus, his famous birthplace.
Our guest blogger is Connie Motz, a freelance travel writer, living in British Columbia, Canada.
Many visitors to British Columbia (BC) make it only as far as Vancouver or Victoria with only a few venturing into the beautiful area known as the West Kootenay. In fact, if you ask a Vancouverite where the West Kootenay is, chances are they won’t have a clue.
But Nelson likes it that way. Located in the southern interior just 1.5 hours north of the US international border, the quaint town of Nelson is one of the highlights of the area. While some may call it quirky, Nelson buzzes along happily to the beat of it’s own drum.
Sandwiched between the Selkirk and Purcell Mountains on the edge of Kootenay Lake, Nelson is a trendy little town of just under 10,000 residents. It’s a popular summer destination for boating, year round fishing for species like Kokanee trout, hiking, skiing and snowboarding at Whitewater, and is a frequent stop for the Vancouver live music circuit.
What makes Nelson truly unique is it’s striking display of Victorian era heritage homes spread amongst the hillside and it’s fun loving population of hippies. There’s a free & easy vibe to Nelson that comes complete with dreadlocks, 70’s clothing, organic locally sourced food and distinctive restaurants like the garlic-themed Outer Clove or Max & Irma’s set in a former funeral home. Be sure to try local micro-brews like Nelson After Dark and Faceplant.
Besides people watching on Baker Street, Nelson offers a nice selection of shops (vibrant arts & crafts including handmade jewelry, vintage clothing, galleries); family friendly areas like Rotary Lakeside Park; a restored streetcar from the 1920’s, and fun productions at the Capitol Theatre. Commercial wise, Nelson has vetoed McDonalds and Tim Horton’s (one of the largest doughnut/coffee shop chains in Canada) but they did reluctantly give way to Walmart though many still boycott them today.
And speaking of people, Nelson offers some of the most friendly, sincere people around. With names like Namaste and Moon, it’s easy to realize there’s something to the trend of not being so materialistic in our day-to-day lives. Reuse and recycle is a common theme in Nelson households.
Nature lovers praise Nelson for it’s abundance of outdoor activities – golfing, mountain biking, rock climbing and ATVing (All Terrain Vehicles) are just a few examples of the fun to be had. Nearby 32,035-hectare Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park gives way to glacial fed lakes, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, camping and picnicking. Be sure not to miss the photo ops while taking the world’s longest free ferry ride across Kootenay Lake.
If you want to experience what life is really like in BC, head into the West Kootenay for a down-to-earth experience you’ll be recommending to your friends!
A trip to Buenos Aires must be deemed incomplete without taking in a tango show, if not participating yourself in one of the city’s ubiquitous public dance halls.
And each March, the rhythms of tango take over the streets of the Argentinian capital for a six-day tango festival, making the city ideal for an extended Winter getaway – especially as Argentina’s southern hemisphere location means March-time provides guaranteed sun.
Running from February 28th to March 5th, onlookers are treated to a veritable tango-feast, with everyone who’s anyone in the world of tango performing for an adoring public
The event, organised by the Argentinean ministry of culture, sees free dancing displays featuring world-renowned artists held at venues across the city.
The Argentinean ministry of culture organises this extravagant party, in the birth city of this musical phenomena.
For those who want to join in, there are tango classes for beginners and masterclasses for the more experienced dancers, all for free.
The city, which has a true European feel, has emerged as a hugely popular tourist destination in recent years, with visitors taking advantage of Argentina’s economic problems which have driven prices to bargain-basement level.
If you’re there for the carnival, you will have to visit the quaint ‘barrio’ of San Telmo – claimed by most portenos (inhabitans of Buenos Aires) to be the true birthplace of tango.
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Cusco is situated in a jaw-dropping valley, surrounded by six mountains more than 6,000 metres high.
It is comfortably the oldest city in the western hemisphere and the cradle of the Inca civilization.
One of the greatest archaeological finds of the twentieth century, the Inca citadel Machu Picchu, lies 80 kilometres south of the city.
Cusco gets its name from the Quechua word ‘Qosqo’ which means navel, meaning ‘Centre or navel of the world’ – given by the famous Cusquenian writer Inka Garcilaso de la Vega.
The urban aspect of Cusco changed a lot after their arrival, they built churches, casonas, and palaces over the main Inca temples, and only the Spanish were allowed to occupy them. An earthquake in 1650 finished with the transformation of this once-great empire.
Cusco was built in the shape of a puma, one of the symbolic echelons of Inca existence, lending the city a peculiar sprawling aspect.
Cusco harbours many great artistic treasures, its churches dripping with the plunder of the conquistadores. Cathedral walls are draped in gold and bear the paintings of great artists such as Marcos Zapata, Rafael de Urbina and Melchor Huaman.
The architecture draws upon a great variety of styles: Baroque, Rococo, Churrigeresco, all lending the city a hybrid personality.
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TUI Travel has announced that it is to start direct flights to Phuket in Thailand from November 2013. The tour operator will be using its new 787 Dreamliner. Customers will be able to make bookings from 15 November 2012.
Flights will be direct from Gatwick but it’s not clear whether the flights will be non-stop. Previous Thomson charter flights, that stopped in around 2006, had a re-fuelling stop in Abu Dhabi.
Until this announcement there are no other direct flights from the UK to Phuket. Other airlines operate via Bangkok.
If you want to make a booking for the new service call FREE on 0800 433 2300.