Jan 7, 2016

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The New Year’s travel resolutions you MUST stick to...

The New Year’s travel resolutions you MUST stick to

Every year, we make a list of generic New Year’s resolutions and never stick to them. “I’ll get fit”, “I’ll save more”, “I’ll finally kick my nasty Candy Crush habit.” You know you’re guilty! But, just like the shreds of wrapping paper and empty beer bottles left over from Christmas, they are soon discarded, forgotten about and condemned to the rubbish heap. “This year, I’m going to travel more,” is definitely one of the main culprits. The problem is, we all want to make the most of our travel time, but actually making our dreams a reality can be tough. So this year, forget the generic resolutions you know you’ll struggle to stick to and instead be inspired by these resolutions that will help you make the most of your travel in 2016 – and are achievable. 1. Get organised and plan smarter Your bank balance might still be weeping from your festive spending, but now is the time to start thinking about your 2016 travel plans. And the reason? If you act now, you could save yourself a packet – especially if you have restricted travel dates. Yes, you might find a good bargain by waiting until the last minute, but, generally, advanced booking gives you more choice of destinations and hotels for the dates you want to get away. Booking now also gives you the option to take advantage of low deposit schemes put in place to encourage early bookers, which allow you to pay a smaller fee in advance (generally between £25 and £100) with the full balance to be paid at a later date (usually between four and 12 weeks before your departure – but check your travel company’s terms and conditions). So, start thinking about the year ahead now and smugly have a holiday to look forward to. 2. Take the time off you’re entitled to Some of us actually really struggle to take all of our allotted leave; last year, on average, we were set to waste five days each on unused holiday, according to research from TravelSupermarket – five days! That’s a full week out of the office. That’s a proper little holiday. That’s … criminal. To put it into perspective, UK businesses potentially earned a colossal £580 million extra in ‘free’ work hours from the days we didn’t take off last year – think of all...

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Jan 4, 2016

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Do German travellers hold the key to happier holidays?...

Do German travellers hold the key to happier holidays?

Beyond sand, sea and stereotypes, brand-new research by TravelSupermarket has revealed the truth about how German and British people travel – and it may surprise you, writes Anita Isalska. For example, don’t mention the sun-lounger war. German holidaymakers are more interested in having a healthy holiday (29% feel this is important) than reserving their sunbathing spot with a beach towel (just 8% of German holidaymakers admit to doing this). They are also returning home from their trips happier and more refreshed than British travellers, who trail behind when it comes to holiday planning and overall satisfaction. German holidaymakers return happier The most significant gap between British and German travellers is their level of happiness. A mighty 82% of Germans report that they always enjoy their trips abroad – compared to just 61% of British travellers. German holidaymakers also enjoy a post-holiday glow: more than three-quarters return home feeling refreshed, while a paltry 45% of Brits feel the same way. So why are Germans better than Brits at unwinding on their holidays? The answer could lie in our different travel styles. Nearly twice as many Germans as Brits regularly choose active breaks (21% of Germans compared to 12% of Brits). Contrary to the stereotypes, Germans are setting their alarms to wake up for sunrise hikes, not to nab a sun-lounger. In fact, more British than German travellers are guilty of using a beach towel to secure their perfect spot in the sun (11% of Brits compared to 8% of Germans). “I think it’s part of German culture to travel and to enjoy nature during a trip,” says Anja Beckmann, a German travel blogger who writes for the Travel on Toast site. “But as our weather is quite often cold and rainy, we also tend to love beach destinations.” While we’re being distracted by our poolside position, the Germans are beating us on cultural enrichment too. Two-thirds of German travellers are motivated to immerse themselves in a new culture, while only half of British travellers feel the same way. Us Brits love a bargain The key to fulfilling holidays might be all in the planning. While our research shows that Brits have a keener eye for a bargain than our German friends (44% of Brits look for a cheap deal compared to 28% of Germans), we...

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Dec 23, 2015

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Where you HAVE to go in 2016

Where you HAVE to go in 2016

I’m counting down the hours to 2016! My enthusiasm around welcoming in a new year is not due to the desire to end a bad 2015, though. Instead, I’m excited about my annual leave entitlement returning to its full quota so I can get planning my next adventure. If you’re itching to get your next break booked too, here we reveal the destinations you should be heading to in 2016 to ensure you have a great getaway (and...

Dec 22, 2015

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Nine of the world’s wildest New Year parties (and how to see 2016 in twice)...

Nine of the world’s wildest New Year parties (and how to see 2016 in twice)

As the last few days of 2015 make way, it’s almost time to cast a wary eye forward to the New Year – but not before one last big blow out. Whether you greet the New Year with “Hau’oli Makahiki Hou” in warm Waikiki, “Gleðilegt nýtt ár” in freezing Reykjavik or “Feliz Ano Novo” on a Rio beach, there’s a party to suit you somewhere around the world. Or possibly two: you could theoretically fly from one of...

Dec 15, 2015

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9 weird and wonderful Christmas dinners from around the world...

9 weird and wonderful Christmas dinners from around the world

For most of us, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a turkey and a mountain of golden roast potatoes. But elsewhere, it’s a slightly different story, writes Tamara Hinson. We’ve got the low-down on some of the more unusual Christmas Day dinners served up around the world. Fried worms anyone? What? KFC Where? Japan Head to Japan for Christmas and it’s highly likely your festive dinner will be prepared by the Colonel. It all started with KFC’s Kurisumasu ni...

Dec 15, 2015

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Got a spare £33,000? Christmas hotel stays with the wow-factor...

Got a spare £33,000? Christmas hotel stays with the wow-factor

For many people, Christmas consists of a family get together, plenty of turkey and an uncle who always has a bit too much Buck’s Fizz. And, if you think it’s indulgent to squeeze in one extra mince pie on Christmas Day, think again! From elephants and private butlers to waking up with an enviable view of the Eiffel Tower, here’s where some the wealthiest travellers will be celebrating Santa’s arrival this year. Ty Warner Penthouse, Four Seasons Hotel New York, New...

Dec 15, 2015

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Britain’s best New Year’s Eve celebrations...

Britain’s best New Year’s Eve celebrations

Got no plans for New Year’s Eve yet? Don’t worry! There’s plenty going on across the UK – and you don’t have to pay a fortune to enjoy it. We’ve picked out some of this year’s best best New Year’s events, so look out for celebrations near you and get ready to link arms and start the countdown… London – see the fireworks for free For the last two years, London’s famous New Year’s Eve firework display has been ticketed due...

Dec 14, 2015

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9 last-minute gifts for the traveller in your life...

9 last-minute gifts for the traveller in your life

Sorry to break it to you, but Christmas is nearly here again. That means less than two weeks left to get all those last presents bought, wrapped and sent off to Santa. Don’t panic though, you’ve still (just!) got time and we’re here to help. Here’s some inspiration on the best travel gifts available this year to get you going, whether you’re buying for a seasoned globetrotter or a casual holidaymaker. 1. Best for gadget addicts: Morphie powerstation mini In days of old,...

Dec 8, 2015

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Bah humbug! 8 places to escape Christmas this year...

Bah humbug! 8 places to escape Christmas this year

While some people love nothing more than traditional turkey dinners, Christmas morning Buck’s Fizz and the Queen’s Speech, others simply want to avoid it. If Yuletide mayhem is not your thing, we’ve got the perfect tonic for you: eight places to where you can escape the chaos of Christmas this year. 1. Christmas shopping with a difference: Marrakech A bustling city of souks, markets and unique craft boutiques, Marrakech offers a welcome respite to the tacky fairy lights and irritating Christmas songs you’ll find on...

Dec 8, 2015

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Desperate to escape? Surprisingly cheap last-minute getaways...

Desperate to escape? Surprisingly cheap last-minute getaways

With less than three weeks until Christmas, it’s not too late to book a last-minute getaway ahead of December 25 for some winter sunshine – and a cheeky festive tan. Alternatively, if you fancy escaping the festive frenzy and spending Christmas day itself abroad, there’s still availability. Or, if you love all things Santa-related but know you’ll need a boost in January, there are bargains around in early 2016 too. So, to add some sparkle to your festive...