AITO Specialist Travel Agent of the Year 2012 - Luxury Travel Agency of the Year 2011 & 2010 - High Street Travel Agency of the Year 2010 - Central England Travel Agency of the Year 2011 & 2011
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This month Nathan answers some more of your
travel queries. E-mail us yours at firstname.lastname@example.org@rbcollection.com with ‘Journal Travel Question’ as the subject.
have always wanted to Safari but I don’t want to end up surrounded by too many
other vehicles and tourists chasing the same wildlife – where can I go for
something more exclusive for our Wedding Anniversary?
Mr Jones, Kings Bromley
This is a fantastic question, as it is something that you have to be very careful about when planning a safari holiday. There are many factors that will determine my answer here, i.e. time of year? Have you been on safari before? How much are you looking to invest in your holiday? For those on a more restricted budget I can suggest some fantastic remote parts of Kenya. Combining these areas with the more exclusive conservancies bordering the world famous Masai Mara will make a fabulous trip. But be warned, as there are two very different sides to Kenya and some can be distracted by attractive low prices which will inevitably mean ending up with hoards of fellow tourists, the opposite of what you want for your special trip.
For those of you with slightly deeper pockets, then there can be no better wilderness experience than Botswana, and especially the Okavango Delta. Here you will be one of a select few out on game drives exploring some of Africa's most magical game viewing areas. You will really get a sense of wilderness as you fly in by light aircraft and you will be able to experience a number of different ways to safari, whether that be on foot, game vehicle, motorboat or the famous mokoro (dug out canoe)!
Mokoro in the Okavango Delta
I am visiting family in Australia and hate flying and so do my teenage sons,
what do you suggest?
Mrs Smetherson, Lichfield
Locally you can fly with
Emirates from Birmingham via Dubai to Australia which is really handy as you
don’t have to worry about flying out of Heathrow. Dubai is great for a stop-over, especially for
families as there is so much to do. From
swimming with dolphins in Atlantis to skiing at the world’s largest indoor ski
slope to skydiving over the Palm (like my fellow Director Oliver did for
charity recently!)We know a great
selection of hotels away from the building work that can offer a relaxing
break.If Dubai is not your thing then
just 1 hour away is Abu Dhabi which is a more laid back Emirate state with a
wonderful Mosque, the Ferrari World indoor theme park, the Middle East's biggest
water park and a wonderful building-site-free beach. Abu Dhabi is also home to a wonderful Desert
Island property as part of a nature reserve adding an interesting experience
for all the family, especially teenagers. Approach your flight as if it is part of the trip creating some
adventure along the way.If your budget
allows, upgrade to Business for more comfort and space.
am looking for a City Break destination with a short flight, history,
culture and plenty to see and do.I
don’t like small cities but at the same time don’t like crowds, is this too
much to ask?
Miss Townsend, Sutton Coldfield
Crowds in cities are
heavily dependent on the time of year so pick an off-season time to travel;
depending on the city we can suggest when is a quieter time to go.A city that ticks all of these boxes, believe
it or not, is Prague – there is a great area we know away from the hustle and bustle of the tour
groups and stag and hen parties (of which there are much less nowadays anyway).The flight is just under 2 hours and you can
fly from East Midlands so it is a convenient destination to visit.The castle is superb and a combined ticket allows
you to visit other sights in the city too.It is great city for walkers and living costs are low and so your
spending money will go a lot further than some of the other European cities.
looking to plan ahead for some winter sun for but don’t want to fly more than 5
hours, where should I visit? Mr Coates, Lichfield
The Canary Islands are a
firm favourite with British holidaymakers, each island offers something
different and all are around 4 hours away.Tenerife is the most popular island and has a good selection of
properties including self-catering apartments up to 5* luxury resorts.The Costa Adeje area is popular with our
clients as it features a lovely boardwalk style front, with shops and
restaurants with an air of quality about them.You may be surprised to hear that Gran Canaria is the second most
popular island in the Canaries with British holidaymakers and the Maspalomas
area features a wonderful small hotel that we have visited offering excellent
service and food.It is a real hidden
gem on an island usually dismissed by many, but the white sandy beaches are
vast and I am sure you would be pleasantly surprised.For a different Canary Island experience La
Gomera is less about beaches and more about scenery, walks, flora and
fauna.Fuerteventura has a range of good
quality large resorts with white sandy beaches.Each island is very different and so do get in touch to discuss which
one would be best for you.
have heard from friends that some countries can be difficult when travelling
with medication, what is your advice?
countries do ask you to declare any medication you may be carrying. Ideally, if
you are travelling with prescription drugs, take the original prescription
with you and if possible a rubber stamped letter from your doctor explaining
why you need them. Also only take enough supplies for your holiday, and lastly
do declare them on any customs forms that you need to complete. If you are unsure whether this affects your
holiday, just ask when you book and we can check for you.
In July's edition of the Journal, the Midlands No. 1 Luxury Magazine, our Director Nathan answers readers' travel
queries, here are those top travel tips...
have heard mixed reports about when is best to visit Marrakech?
conjures thoughts of souks, sunsets and, well, sunshine! But be careful,
it can get very cold in the winter
months. In November for example it can get chilly in the evening and a
jacket is essential when waking out for dinner. The daytime temperature
can rise to low 20s (Celsius) in the sun, but the air or breeze adds a chill. Visit
further into December & January and it can be very cold in the day. On the
other hand the summer months can be extremely hot and so our spring or autumn
are ideal. Morocco is a big country and so the weather does vary depending
on where you go. Further north towards Casablanca it stays pleasantly warm
all year round and there is a great 5* coastal resort offering excellent family
and golfing facilities that rivals many of the top hotels in other winter-sun
destinations such as Dubai, however, it is not only cheaper but also only a 3
hour flight – even closer than the Canary Islands!
are so many islands in the Caribbean, which one is best?
people get hooked on the Caribbean and spend many years returning, exploring
different islands. It is true that there is a wide range of islands and
they are all very different, even with their weather patterns. Barbados is
the most popular island with British tourists, offering a range of hotel
standards but certainly some of the best 5* luxury properties in the Caribbean
including the legendary Sandy Lane. The luxury hotels tend to be more geared
towards bed and breakfast board, acknowledging the islands appeal for dining
out locally. It is a great island if you like to eat out as it has a good
social scene. It is, however, very flat and not as picturesque as say, for
example, St Lucia with its UNESCO-protected Pitons.
Sandy Lane, Barbados
St Lucia offers
predominantly all-inclusive hotels with fewer options to eat out locally as
some of the hotels are a little more isolated. Transport around the island
is slow due to the mountainous terrain and so visitors tend to opt for
helicopter transfers or they can also take to the sea to move from one bay to
another. The island’s deep rooted history has seen it swap hands 14 times
and there are some great activities for teenagers such as zip lining and even a
drive in volcano! It is one of our favourite islands and is perfect for a
luxurious beach holiday but also for those who are a little more active.
St Lucia's twin Pitons
are a beach lover then Anguilla is perfect, or Antigua offers a wider selection
of properties. If you’re seeking the ultimate island escape experience in
true luxury then follow in the footsteps of royalty to exquisite island of
Mustique. Made famous in the 1970s by Princess Margaret, today the island
still attracts some big names, but you wouldn’t know it, as it is such a
private place. It is one of the very rare holiday destinations that has not
been spoilt by tourism and is certainly an island where time stands still.
‘I am planning a late summer beach holiday, where do I start’?
Mr Coffey, Little Aston
First thing is to work out how flexible you can
be on your dates, the more flexible the more chance of finding the perfect
trip. Secondly think about how far you want to travel, if it is just a week do
you want to stay within Europe or are you happy to fly mid-haul (6 hours) or
long haul (8 hours +). And thirdly have a serious think about how much you want
to invest in the holiday. Keep in mind spending money, as countries will differ
greatly with regards to how much things cost once you get there.
Whilst the children have gone back to school in
September, it can still be a peak travelling month as so many people wait for
the school holidays to end, you will find less children abroad, but at the same
time prices can still be high and resorts are busy. If you can hold off until
the end of September then prices tend to drop and it can be less busy. Let’s
look at some suggestions within Europe… Portugal is offering excellent value
for money at the moment and good quality accommodation. Croatia is very popular
and we now have two flights from Birmingham, one to Dubrovnik and a new service
further north to Split. A coastal cruise along the stunning Adriatic Coast is a
great way to see a lot of the country in a short amount of time. Unlike a
Gullet cruise in Turkey, you can eat your evening meals on land, allowing you
to sample local restaurants and cafés. Travelling by boat also allows you to
visit hard to reach beaches. The weather in Greece will still be good at that
time of year and the islands of Mykonos and Santorini are perfect in September
and are a class above the other Greek islands. If you like activities but also
want to relax on the beach then the Cape Verde Islands are a great choice. The
list really is endless as the weather stays warm into October in most of the
What is the best currency for Croatia and
is it easy to access money?
Miss Angelo, Yoxall
are many ATM machines from which cash may be withdrawn in local currency
(The Kuna) these generally provide a better rate of exchange than
cash or travellers cheques. The Kuna can also be ordered in advance if
Euro can also be used in Croatia for some items such as taxis,
accommodation and some restaurants but it is not an official currency and is
accepted only on an unofficial basis.
Croatian currency - the Kuna
If you have a travel question you would like to put to Nathan, e-mail us at email@example.com with ‘Journal Travel Question’ as the subject.