Escape Royal Wedding Fever with a Mini-Break

Mini-Break
Mini-Break

If, like many people, you’re already sick to the back teeth of hearing about the Royal Wedding -speculation over who’ll be designing the dress and which celebs are invited – have you thought about leaving the country? This may sound like a drastic solution to a little patriotic hysteria, but it could be the perfect solution! From April21st until May 3rd 2011, there are a total of 4 Bank Holidays, which actually means that you can have a total of 11 days off for taking just 3 days off work.

Lots of people have already spotted this fortunate timing and are taking full advantage of it by booking a holiday away. Not only could you do the same, but you could avoid the Royal Wedding fever while you’re at it!

Top Mini-Break Destinations

France

Just a short hop away on the Eurostar France is always a popular destination for British holidaymakers. This year, Easter falls relatively late (end of April – start of May), which means it’s likely to be lovely and mild. If you’ve got kids you could try a holiday camp complete with activities for all the family. If you’re without kids, how about a stay in a country location, set to a backdrop of vineyards and rolling green hills?

The Canary Islands

For warmer climes and a short-ish flight (around 4 hours) try the Canary Islands. There are several destinations to choose from: Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura being the most popular1. Packed with volcanic beaches, year-round mild temperatures and a lively tourist scene; a trip to the Canaries can be the perfect Easter getaway.

New York & Dubai

If you really want to push the boat out this Easter consider some longer-haul destinations that feel a world away: New York or Dubai. New York offers sensational shopping, more attractions that you could ever see in a week (but that’s the excuse for going back, right?) and an endless choice of restaurants, bars and clubs to keep you entertained. Dubai on the other hand offers hot sunshine, opulence and plenty of opportunity to shop!

5 Tips for Planning a South America Vacation

South America is a land of soaring mountains peaks, dipping canyon depths, and miles and miles of white sand beaches. The 13 countries that make up this continent are extremely diverse, yet all united by vibrancy slightly different from anywhere else. This spark makes South America a great vacation destination. If you’re thinking about taking a South America vacation, here are some tips to help you start planning.

1. Choose your destinations.

South America is big. It is diverse. You won’t be able to see all of it at once, so you’ll need to first narrow down your options. Do you want to take a Machu Picchu tour to the top of the Inca citadel in Peru? Do you want a South America luxury vacation where you‘ll sit back on the beach and sip cocktails (Brazil might be good for this!), or do you want to see stunning wildlife during a Galapagos cruise? Figure out what you want to do and where you want to go before you do anything else.

2. Remember the season.

If you’re coming from Europe or North America, it is important to remember that the seasons on the other side of the equator are opposite. That means in January it is warm, and in July it is cold (relatively). There are also massive weather differences according to region. For example, the Amazon has a distinctive wet and dry season, and each one has its pros and con. Research your destinations before you book anything.

3. Know your budget.

It used to be that South America was a budget destination. This is still true in some places, but in other you’ll find prices comparable to New York City or London. Brazil is one of the most expensive South American countries, and budget travelers will have to work hard to find a deal. Countries like Bolivia with relatively few visitors are cheap, if you’re will to explore on your own. A Peru tour package is one of the best value South America travel packages, because you can easily travel on a budget, or alternatively glam up your trip and make it Machu Picchu luxury tour. This is doable because Machu Picchu is so well known that quality tourist facilities have been established and well maintained.

4. Find a tour company.

Unless you’re backpacking on a shoestring, it is easier to travel with a South American tour company. There are pros and con to all types of travel companies, however, and you should know what kind of vacation you’re looking for and what you’re willing to spend before you book with anyone. Large international companies often charge a higher markup, but you’re usually guaranteed quality in terms of Western standards. Local tour companies will be cheaper, but their quality and language levels can be questionable. The best thing to do is find a neutral ground. International tour companies with offices abroad and in-country can be a great compromise in terms of lower prices but with in-house expertise.

5. Be prepared.

Finally, remember when you travel to South America, you’re traveling to a different part of the world. Things will be different. You’ll have to put toilet paper in the trash can rather than in the toilet. You won’t be able to drink water from the faucet. People will have a different idea of personal space. These are all the challenges and excitements of traveling abroad. Make sure you talk with your travel company representative or consult your guidebook before heading off. It is always better to be prepared!

Lima as a Gateway to the Highlights of Peru

There are many options for excursions out of Lima, by far the most famous of which is the Inca citadel, Machu Picchu. YouMachu Picchu can also visit colonial cities and explore the massive Colca Canyon, which is twice the size of America’s Grand Canyon. For the adventure seekers, the Cordillera Blanca Mountain Range has some of the best trekking on the continent and contains the largest peaks in Peru. Below is a guide on how to get to some of the most important sites from Lima as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Lima to Cusco and nearby Machu Picchu

Depending on how much time you have, you could either travel directly to Cusco, or you could take the scenic route and travel south along the coast to the Nazca lines, the Colca Canyon, and Lake Titicaca before heading inland to Cuzco and the Sacred Valley. Once in Cuzco you have the option of taking the classic four-day trek along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, or take an alternative, shorter route. Continue reading Lima as a Gateway to the Highlights of Peru