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    1.  

      5 budget winter sun destinations

      Let’s face it, the UK never gets winter right.
      And there’s only so many months we can take of sludge, grey skies and electric blankets. Instead of patiently waiting for April to arrive, many of us just take off somewhere else for a week (or two) to perk up our spirits. Problem is, the later months of the year can get expensive and we’ve already splashed out on our ‘main’ holiday for the year. So we recommend these 5 cheap winter breaks to see you over until spring.
      1. Canary Islands

      No matter what time of year it is, you can always rely on the Canary Islands for a sun-drenched getaway. Even better, they don’t have to cost you the world. With a range of accommodation offers you can stay in a five-star villa or a two-star self-catering apartment. The choice is yours. Keep an eye open for Canary Island deals, as there are always plenty of them floating around.
      2. Gambia

      Gambia might not be a place you’d immediately think of when you picture a relaxing sunshine holiday, but it’s one of the world’s hidden gems. It’s much cheaper than other more established resorts, and you can stay in high-end hotels on a mid-range budget. January is its coldest month, but even then it is a toasty 24°C. You also won’t need a visa if you’re only there for travel.
      Related: A beginner’s guide to the Gambia
      3. Cape Verde

      Savvy travellers have been heading to Cape Verde for a few years now. The beaches are pristine, the landscape not dissimilar to the Canary Islands, and the sunshine beautiful - so it’s not hard to see why. The islands are also home to a unique Creole Portuguese-African culture, which is especially noticeable in the local foodie scene.
      4. Doha

      With new skyscrapers popping up along its glittering coastline, Doha is sometimes hailed as the new Dubai. There’s no pretending that Dubai is a cheap winter sun break, but Doha has many of the same things that attract people to Dubai – at a much cheaper price.
      5. Marrakech

      December is an excellent time to visit Marrakech. The scorching summer heat has now cooled, plus the famous souks and bazars are less busy. Our tip, however, is to dine at the local restaurants rather than the hotels (the opposite to most travel advice, we know) as it’s the hotels who like to hike up the price of a three course meal.

    2.  

      Where is good to holiday in September?

      If you’re looking to get away in September, you’re in luck. There are very few holiday destinations that don’t impress during the first month of autumn. It’s shoulder season all over the world, with hot temperatures softened by a relaxing breeze and rainy seasons fading out. Plus, it’s the end of the school holidays and most destinations will boast smaller crowds.
      The places we wouldn’t recommend are few and far between, and it might be quicker for us to list of said destinations. But below we’ve rounded up seven destinations that are not only nice in September – but are probably at their absolute peak.
      North Asia

      South Asia is just emerging from its rainy period, but we wouldn’t recommend it quite yet. Japan and the north of China are wonderful in the autumn however. Temperatures in Japan average a high of 26°C in September and a low of 20°C. While Beijing boasts an average high of 26 °C and a low of 14 °C with the rainy season now behind it.
      New England

      We’ve all seen those vibrant photos of New England in the fall. While the famous NYC is awesome all year round, it’s in September that we recommend all of its visitors take an extra week to explore the wider state and New England area. Whether it’s exploring Boston’s rich educational institutions, sampling Main’s freshest lobster or driving the scenic Route 112 through northern New Hampshire.
      Most major cities of Canada and USA

      Whether it’s Vancouver, Seattle, or Chicago – September is the final stretch of sunny weather for these northern cities. While Canada and the northern USA turn into a winter wonderland with Christmas bells and winter sports – summer lovers need to get in there before September ends.
      Central and Western Africa

      September still just manages to include itself in safari season – with Zimbabwe stealing the crown. With warm weather and long days, the watering holes are really popular with animals – especially elephants.
      Marrakesh

      Northern Africa is also a traveller’s delight in September, including the cultural city of Marrakesh. It’s still far enough south that summer is definitely still in full swing but the winter breeze is beginning to welcome itself to Morocco’s shores allowing for romantic Arabian nights.
      Italy

      If you’re looking for a quick break to the Mediterranean or a cultural city break, Italy is your best bet. Its southern location makes it a warmer choice than most other European cities, but the onset of autumn makes a day exploring the cities of Rome and Milan more comfortable than in the summer heat.
      Peru

      Like a few other entries on this list, September is Peru’s shoulder season where the crowds are dying down but the weather is still nice. The slightly cooler weather will lend a hand to active holidaymakers looking to hike the Inca Trail, or climb the rocky stairs of Machu Picchu. The capital city of Lima boasts temperatures somewhere between 17 °C and 21°C and the atmosphere is general dry with little rainfall.
      Where’s your favourite place to visit in September? Let us know in the comments.

    3.  

      Where should I visit in August?

      It sounds cliché to say, but 2016 is going so fast. Here we are in August with summer beginning to wrap up and autumn not that far away – and everyone looking to squeeze in a final summer break before routine starts to fall on us again. However, August can be a funny one for holidays as summer is just about to close but the cold UK winter hasn’t quite set in either, leaving a debate in people’s minds on where to travel to during this seasonal change. If you have some time off work in August, however, here are our top 5 recommendations.
      Channel Islands

      If you’re looking for a quick family break before the kids go back to school, the Channel Islands are a great low-key choice. With the turquoise waters, champagne-coloured sand and a francophone atmosphere – you’ll feel as though you’re holidaying in southern Europe (even though you’re only an hour from London).
      European Lakes

      Europe as a whole is still bright and sunny in August, and most Mediterranean destinations are still at their peak. However, if you’re looking for something quieter and more relaxed we recommend any of the beautiful scenic lakes in central Europe. The French, German, Swiss, Slovenian and Italian lakes are all lovely in August and – even better - the main tourist crowd has settled down.
      Cairns and Queensland

      Australia has a reputation for being humid and wet during our summer, but Queensland is an exception. It’s an area of Australia that is hot all year round, and August falls within its dry season (daily temperatures are 26.5°C and many Australia who live in the south travel to Cairns for their own winter break).
      Vancouver

      We mentioned in our July destination round-up that Canada as a whole is a great holiday option for summer – but Vancouver itself is lovely in August. Its coastal location means that its summer days are more crisp than humid and the scenic views are framed beautifully by the late summer sunset.
      Berlin

      Berlin is a great city break option at any time of year, but August offers a full cultural calendar. The city’s beloved International Beer Festival takes place this month as well as the acclaimed Dance in August, one of Europe’s most important contemporary dance festivals.

    4.  

      Where’s good to visit in July?

      School’s out and that means it’s holiday season. July is by far one of the most popular months for a sun-drenched getaway - especially for families - and many tourist hotspots open their doors. Obviously the Mediterranean is at its peak during the summer months but what if you’re not looking for that typical summer break and are looking for something alternative? We’ve rounded up the destinations that offer their best weather in July, including places you wouldn’t immediately consider.
      1. Iceland

      Iceland’s ethereal landscape is a must-witness and there’s no better time to explore it than in July as the sun only sets for roughly 4 hours! The darkened hours aren’t even that dark and even resemble twilight hours, a phenomenon known as ‘midnight sun’.
      2. Kenya

      If you’re going to book that once-in-a-lifetime safari to Kenya, organise it for July. This is when the wildebeest start their great migration from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara. The stunning coast that overlooks the azure Indian Ocean is also as its best at this time of year.
      3. South Pacific

      Fiji and the other islands in the South Pacific offer some of the best diving experiences in the world. July falls within Fiji’s dry season when the water is at its clearest and on a perfect day you’ll be amazed at the reefs and 1,000 species of fish you’ll find in one quick snorkel session.
      4. Alaska

      Summer isn’t just a beautiful time to visit Alaska’s rugged coastline, it’s logistically easier as cruises only tend to run in the warmer months. And for good reason: local shops are more likely to be open, there’s a wider choice of activities and excursions, plus the wildlife is in abundance (especially bears, who are more likely to be seen hanging out by the rivers thanks to the summer salmon migration).
      5. New Zealand

      Ski enthusiasts don’t have to wait until the Northern Hemisphere is speckled with snowflakes every year. Instead they can head to New Zealand, where the ‘Southern Alps’ are coated with enough snow to make it a sought-after ski and snowboard destination. Mount Dobson, Ohau, Mount Hutt and Coronet Peak are all popular with local and international skiers.
      6. Brazil

      The best time to soak up the energy of Rio de Janeiro and admire the beauty of the Iguazu Falls is actually Brazil’s winter. In the Southern Hemisphere’s summer months, temperatures can reach an uncomfortable 40ºC – but July roughly sits at a pleasant 24ºC. It’s also a great month for surfers as the waves rise up on the famous Ipanema beach.
      7. Aruba

      Summer is not the high season in the Caribbean, as there is a higher chance of rain. However, Aruba’s southerly location means that it misses out on the most of rainy forecast and has great weather year round. Strictly speaking Aruba isn’t better in July, it’s merely one of the few Caribbean islands that isn’t in its off-season at this time of year.
      8. Canada

      This beautiful country shares a similar climate to that of Northern Europe and mirrors much of the weather we see during the summer months. Everything is clearer and days are lighter for longer – plus the Rocky Mountaineer routes are in full swing and it’s cruise season along both the east and west coasts.
      9. Scandinavia

      Just like the northern countries of Iceland and Canada, Scandinavia is at its best when the sun shines over the Northern Hemisphere. Whether it’s a city break to Stockholm or Copenhagen , or a cruise through the Baltics or up the Norwegian coast to the North Cape – there are plenty of opportunities for an enjoyable break to Scandinavia with good weather.
      10. UK

      If you’re a sun-lover, maybe leave the sunshine holiday until the winter and make the most the UK’s best month by staying put. July is by far one of the best months to explore what the UK has to offer – whether it’s a trip into London, a beach break to Cornwall, a countryside escape to Wales or a weekend away exploring Scotland’s historical sites.
       

    5.  

      7 extra luxuries you'll find in Delta One

      Flights between Glasgow and New York clock in around 7 hours, meaning that you’ll want your flight to be as comfortable as possible. Delta Air Lines fly to the USA from the UK up to 15 times a day, including their new Glasgow route, operated in partnership with Virgin Atlantic (and connecting flights to 200 destinations across North America, Latin America and the Caribbean). And they know that 7 hours in the sky isn’t everyone’s idea of relaxation, so they’ve created Delta One® with amenities that make the jump across the pond an enjoyable experience.
      Here are some examples of the little extras that make all the difference.
      Extra luggage allowance
      Booking a seat in a premium class cabin isn’t just about making your journey more comfortable; it’s also about improving your holiday with more luggage space for multiple outfits and souvenirs. In Delta One® passengers can check in two bags that are 32kg each.
      Attentive extras
      Delta One® goes the extra mile to anticipate your needs. Onboard comforts include in-seat power with USB outlets, larger entertainment screens, noise-cancelling headphones, and TUMI amenity kit featuring Kiehl’s deluxe skin care products.
      Flat-bed seats
      Book yourself a seat in Delta One®, and have plenty of time to catch up on beauty sleep with a 180˚ flat-bed seat and comfortable Westin-Heavenly® In-Flight Bedding.
      Wi-Fi
      Delta Air Lines operate the largest Wi-Fi enabled fleet in the USA, allowing you to surf all the way to the USA and stay connected to work, news, family and friends from take-off to touch down.
      Entertainment
      Sit back, relax and enjoy entertainment tailored for you, with personal seat-back screens and the free Delta Studio® in-flight streaming service, where hundreds of the very latest movies and TV shows can be delivered direct to your mobile device or tablet to enjoy as you cross the Atlantic.
      Personal service
      Feel well-taken care of, with attentive and personalised service from a dedicated Delta One® cabin flight attendant. Whatever you need, Delta flight attendants will be ready to assist. 
      Refined dining
      Enjoy exceptional service and a refined dining experience with a selection of regionally tailored chef-curated meals, paired with wines selected by Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson.
      For a taste of America passengers flying Delta One business class will enjoy a delicious vanilla ice cream sundae with a choice of toppings including whipped cream, strawberry or chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of nuts.

    6.  

      10 great value destinations with amazing exchange rates

      There are many factors that go into making up the overall cost of a holiday, with local prices and exchange rates being one them. And if you’re looking to jet off somewhere for as low a cost as possible, choosing a destination where you’ll get as much local currency for your pound as possible is a great budgeting strategy.
      At Barrhead Travel, our dedicated Foreign Exchange team keep a close eye on fluctuating exchange rates and the Bureaus found in our branches have a range of currencies available to exchange straight away, with even more available to order in. The team have kindly put together this list of destinations that have super cheap local activities and a great exchange rate.
      Argentina

      The Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires is a lively city with ongoing parties every night, and you won’t need to break your purse-strings in order to keep up. The pounds goes 50% further in Argentina than it did two years ago, meaning you can sip many glasses of that famed wine.
      Brazil

      South America clearly knows how to treat its budget travellers. While you still need to be careful with hiked up prices on typical tourist activities, you’ll receive roughly three Brazilian Real for one British Pound and there’s a world of inexpensive wonders to be found if you detour away from the main streets of Rio.
      Bulgaria

      Bulgaria has risen to be the go-to budget beach escape of Europe in recent years. Hotels, food and drink are all cheap anyway, but the favourable exchange rate doesn’t hurt either.
      Dominican Republic

      Moving into the warm waters of the Caribbean islands now. If you’re looking to visit this paradise-esque part of the world without breaking the bank, we recommend the Dominican Republic. This resort and tourist friendly island is home to several mid-range hotels and a fantastic exchange rate – roughly 58 Dominican Peso for one British Pound.
      Mexico

      Mexico is an all-round holiday destination with great sunshine, sparkling beaches, fascinating ruins and a great exchange rate. Currently you’ll get about 23 Mexican Peso for your pound and it is home to one of the world’s cheapest subway systems.
      Vietnam

      While most of South East Asia has extremely favourable exchange rates for British travellers, Vietnam still comes out on top. The cost of hotels and flights aren’t as high as its popular neighbour Thailand, plus you can get roughly at whopping 28,319 Vietnamese ***** for one British Pound.   
      Norway

      While Norway – like its Scandinavian neighbours – is known for its high cost of living, the exchange rate helps make it easier on the purse strings. Currently you’ll get roughly 10 Norwegian Krone for your pound – which is the best in Northern Europe.
      Poland

      Krakow has become a popular European holiday destination in recent years with travellers looking for a budget city break. Home to unique architecture, castles, churches and market squares, you’ll have roughly 5 Polish Zloty to your pound to spend.
      South Africa

      South Africa is one of the best-value destinations in the world thanks to its low cost of living and a great exchange rate. You’ll receive roughly 17 South African Rand for your Pound right now, so you won’t need to miss out on discovering everything this gem of a country has to offer – from Game Reserves to wine tours.
      Kenya

      While the word safari doesn’t automatically appear to be synonymous with a budget holiday, Kenya is another African nation with a great exchange rate and low cost of living. Just like South Africa, you’ll need expert advice on getting a cheap flight but once you’re there you’ll have plenty of money to spend on holiday activities as well as a nice hotel.
       

    7.  

      Best destinations, resorts and cruises for families with teenagers

      Teenagers are the hardest family member to please. This is especially true when it comes to organising a holiday – pick the right one and you’ll have a great time; pick the wrong one and, well, you’ll probably get told straight up it the was the wrong choice…
      Thankfully there are lot of destinations, resorts and cruises that cater to the teenage demographic. Whether you have a 13-18 year old who craves adventure and theme parks, or one that wants to be left alone to chill, there is a holiday out there for them. Have a look at the following options for some inspiration.
      Beaches Resorts

      While the Caribbean as a whole conjures up mental images of honeymoons and couples retreats, Beaches Resorts brings family-friendly holidays to this sunny climate. There’s three resorts (two on Jamaica and one on Turks and Caicos) and on-site activities and features include a waterpark, scuba diving, championship golf, Scratch DJ Academy, Xbox Play Lounge, the teen-only Club Liquid, and a plethora of land based sports including volleyball, pool tables, and tennis. Perfect if you have two teenagers with conflicting interests!
      Orlando

      Did we need to tell you that Orlando is great for children of all ages? The choices are virtually limitless, with iconic theme parks, first-class shopping, great beaches less than an hour’s drive away, and night-time entertainment – there’s plenty to keep teenagers from boredom.
      Royal Caribbean Cruise

      Long gone are the days when cruises were for your grandparents. Royal Caribbean are leading the way in proving that cruising can be for all the family with on-board activities including surf-simulators, climbing walls, basketball, mini-golf, Scratch DJ Academy, and a dedicated teen venue with a nightly teen disco.
      MSC Cruise

      If your teenager prefers to keep it low-key and wouldn’t get on a surf machine even if it would save their life, try MSC Cruises as a calmer but teen-friendly alternative. The on-board spa has its own dedicated teen menu and parents can top up a spare band with spending money – so their teenager can do their own thing, but still within a budget set by their parents.
      Hard Rock Hotels

      Hard Rock Hotels boast excellent facilities for children and teenagers, and with locations all over the globe your destination won’t be limited to your teenager’s temperament. Amenities differ from resort to resort but examples of what you can expect are mini-golf, several pools, climbing wall and private beaches.
      New York City

      If your teen isn’t warming to the idea of a beach holiday or cruise – maybe they would like a city break? And there’s no better city break experience than New York City. Rent a cool Brooklyn apartment, then spend your days shopping at trendy outlets, seeing some of the world’s most famous landmarks and taking the best holiday selfies for the family album.
      Safari

      A safari is a great choice for adventurous families. There’s definitely no chance of boredom and for image conscious teenagers, there’s no doubting they’ll have the best holiday stories out of their friends.
      PortAventura and FerrariLand

      For teenagers who love a theme park thrill, treat them to a holiday at Europe’s newest park: FerrariLand. Built within the PortAventura World Resort, rides include the Thrill Towers, where one free falls and the other bounces back! Younger siblings will also love the main PortAventura Park and its Sesame Street characters, while all the family will love the Caribe Aquatic Park. It’s also within easy distance of Barcelona!
      French Alps

      The French Alps is not the only ski destination in Europe, but the alpine resorts found here offer amazing facilities for all the family. And during the summer months they turn into a different kind of adventure playground including mountain biking, bungee jumping and canoeing.
      Dubai Parks and Resorts

      With four theme parks and one waterpark, Dubai Parks and Resorts offers something for all the family. Teenagers especially will love MOTIONGATE™ Dubai and the rides based on films such as Zombieland, The Hunger Games and Ghostbusters.

    8.  

      Top 10 Winter Sun Destinations

      In the depths of British winter, your summer holiday can seem like a distant memory. As the nights start to draw in, you find yourself dreaming of the day when you can dust off your suitcase and take off for some long-awaited sunshine. Fortunately, there’s no need to wait until the summer to get your much needed boost of Vitamin D!
      There are an abundance of destinations worldwide that boast year round summers, with plentiful sunshine and an ample selection of flights from the UK.
      1. Costa Rica

      January through to February is the perfect time to visit Costa Rica, with highs of 27 degrees. This tropical climate sees very little rainfall at the beginning of the year, but always be prepared for the occasional shower within Rainforest territory!
      This is also a prime time for wildlife watching! The chance of spotting baby turtles is high right at the end of nesting season, with Californian Humpback whales and their calves frequently spotted off the coast!
      With direct flights now available from the UK, there’s never been a better time to embark on a Costa Rican adventure!
      2. Seychelles

      There’s never a bad time to visit Seychelles! This spellbindingly tropical island typically offers uninterrupted sunshine and average temperatures of between 24 & 32 degrees.
      February - March time is ideal for visiting this picture-perfect paradise. Straight after the rainy season, the island is bursting with luscious foliage and breath-taking scenery.
      Snorkelling, diving and sailing are on offer all year round , making this the perfect winter escape for the adventurous traveller.
      3. Cuba

      Cuba enjoys a fantastic climate all year round.  December – February is the best time to visit for maximum sunshine, with highs of 25 degrees and very little rainfall. Perfect for an action packed getaway to beat the winter blues!
      Havana is a historic hot bed, its streets bursting with history and retro motor vehicles. Or, to add a more Caribbean twist to your Cuban getaway, Cayo Largo de Sur boasts stretches of white sand and wide spread coral reefs, perfect for sun seeking and deep sea diving.
      4. Tenerife

      Tenerife boasts highs of 22 degrees from October through to December, with direct flights from various UK airports!
      Unsurprisingly, it is extremely popular with British tourists during the winter months, with many families choosing to spend Christmas and New Year unwinding in the Canaries.
      Moreover, there’s still plenty to do at this time of year. The islands legendary Siam Park remains open from 10-5 daily, and December plays host to a number of Christmas-themed markets and processions across the Island.
      5. Melbourne

      Many jet-setters and sun seekers head to Australia in the New Year, with temperatures in January and February averaging a sweltering 30 degrees.
      One for the sporting fanatics, the city is bustling with activity at the beginning of the year! The Australian open starts on the 16th of January, along with a multitude of cycling events and cricket matches to kick start the year!
      6. Orlando

      Amidst Orlando’s many attractions is its fantastic weather, with highs of 22 degrees in December. The destination has steadily increased in popularity amongst UK tourists, and is now a regular choice for families spending Christmas abroad.
      We can see why! in December, Orlando’s many theme parks transform into winter wonderlands, hosting enchanting festive events and activities which perfectly complements the mild climate – Christmas with a twist!
      Furthermore, visiting at this time will allow you to avoid January and February peak times which make the destination busier and more expensive to visit.
      7. Cancun

      With highs of 25 degrees, November through to January is the perfect time to escape to Mexico. Avoiding the rainy season, visitors are free to embrace the hours upon hours of daily sunshine.
      A cultural mecca meets party capital, there’s plenty to do during a winter getaway. Whether it be frequenting the island’s nightlife scene with a visit to the infamous Coco Bongo or taking a historic tour to the Cichén Itzá, it’s a destination which satisfies all tastes.
      8. Dubai

      The end of December through to February is the perfect time for a post-Christmas trip to the UAE, with temperatures hovering between 25 and 30 degrees.
      Aside from its dazzling sunshine and alluring beaches, this destination is bursting with enough activities and events to create an action-packed winter sun escape. New Year’s Eve sees a fireworks display unlike any other, the Al Ain Zoo is a day–trip not to be missed, and the Dubai Mall is a true shopping paradise!
      9. Koh Samui

      With this Thai Island boasting an average of 27 degrees from November through to February,  Koh Samui is becoming ever more popular as a winter sun spot.
      A destination where luxury meets culture and tradition, this dazzling expanse of white sands and crystal waters is scattered with a combination of luxury retreats, natural wonders and cultural must-sees.
      The islands infamous Big Buddah Temple demands a visit, whilst the cascading waterfalls and ‘ Grandmother and Grandfather’ rocks are awe-inspiring works of nature.
      10. Cape Verde

      This desert meets tropical haven offers a plethora of activities for the winter sun seeker. With highs of 24 degrees in January and February, Cape Verde boasts 10 volcanic islets, lunar-like landscapes and out of this world white sand beaches.
      In addition to the perfect wind-surfing weather this archipelago also boasts magnificent mountain ranges and natural parks, making it perfect for wizened trekkers and beach seekers alike.

    9.  

      Where are the best Christmas city breaks?

      You can usually choose your Christmas city breaks from the beginning of November right through until December the 24th. The streets are always filled with the hustle and bustle of Christmas shoppers, all seeking the perfect gifts for their friends and loved ones. The anticipation in the air is infectious: charged by Christmas Spirit, people are laughing, joking and making merry: it really is the most wonderful time of the year.
      To add additional sparkle to this Christmas buzz, more and more people are escaping to real life Winter Wonderland’s around the globe, each promising unique and festive Christmas shopping experiences. Whether you’re seeking decorated and discounted designer outlets or picture perfect Christmas markets, there’s something for everyone.
      1. York – Perfect for a traditional Christmas experience

      During the run up to Christmas, this idyllic city is bustling with Christmas shoppers, determined to soak up the atmosphere and take advantage of the locally sourced goodies on offer.
      For those in search of an authentic festive experience, St Nicholas Fair boasts quaint little chalets selling roasted chestnuts and mulled wine, whilst York’s designer outlet provides label seekers with famous names for a slightly lesser budget.
      If that wasn’t enough, the streets are lined with authentic thatched houses glittering with a combination of fairy lights and frost, Christmas trees twinkling at their windows: quite literally picture perfect!
      2. London – Perfect for shopaholics seeking some festive fun
       

      London is a Mecca for Christmas shoppers! With Oxford Street boasting all of your high street favourites and Harrods and Selfridges on your doorstep, you are quite literally spoilt for choice!
      If you’re looking for a gift that is slightly unique, the city is scattered with German Christmas markets, selling authentic native produce and buzzing with crowds of shoppers charged with energy and excitement.
      What’s more, once you’ve ticked everything off your shopping list, you’re free to enjoy the breath-taking Christmas lights or visit one of the many ice rinks dotted around the centre; perfect for a whirlwind weekend full of festive fun!
      3. Edinburgh – Perfect for a Christmas day out with all the family

      Christmas in Scotland isn’t complete without the traditional annual visit to the Edinburgh Christmas market!
      Perfect for families and groups of friends, it truly feels like the season to be jolly browsing Princes Street for last minute gifts with the frost covered turrets of Edinburgh Castle silhouetted in the background.
      The city’s German market boasts quaint little stalls bursting with unique gift ideas, from hand-made tree ornaments to freshly baked confectionery, all of which can be enjoyed to a background of fairy lights and fairground rides.
       4. Bruge in Brussels – Perfect for Christmas foodies and chocolate lovers
       
      This myriad of cobbled streets and canals just oozes Christmas Spirit, and wouldn’t look out of place on the front of a Christmas card!
      As the chocolate capital of the world, it is unsurprising that the streets and market squares are peppered with chocolatiers, bursting with Christmas themed surprises for your sweet-toothed friends and family!
      The Grote Market is an absolute must, selling traditional confectionery and quirky Christmas ornaments in between the many hot chocolate stalls – the perfect way to warm up on a crisp winter morning!
      To top it all off, Bruges Square is dazzled by a breath taking Christmas tree, whose twinkling lights seem to radiate Christmas cheer throughout this quaint little city!
      5. Berlin – Perfect for a cultural Christmas getaway
       
      With up to 100 Christmas markets throughout the city and a lake that freezes over in the winter, Berlin resembles a winter fantasyland!
      Whilst Christmas markets may have taken off worldwide, Berlin boasts some of the first, and the very best. Enjoy a cup of hot apple strudel to combat the city’s freezing temperatures in front of the lavish Charlottenburg palace, home to one of Berlin’s largest Christmas markets. With around 250 stalls peddling an array of hand-made gifts, it’s the perfect place to shop for quirky stocking fillers.
      And, for the thrill-seekers who are still going when the Christmas shopping’s complete, there’s always the option to attend a “Schneeballschlacht”. That’s right – an organised snowball fight in one of Berlin’s many parks – a truly authentic Christmas experience!
      6. New York City – Perfect for a glam Christmas getaway

      “Oh what fun it is to ride on a one horse open sleigh” – or, to get yourself on a plane to NYC and immerse yourself in the electric atmosphere which precedes a visit from Mr Claus.
      New York satisfies a whole host of festive fancies: 5th Avenue is a shopper’s paradise, where the bustling sidewalks are thronged with chattering groups stopping every few feet to gape at the lavish Christmas window displays.
      Aside from shopping, absolutely nothing beats Rockefeller centre at Christmas, where a towering Christmas tree dazzles passers-by, and lights up the infamous ice rink where Christmas revelers pass the evenings skating.
      There’s also something magical about a walk through Central Park in the winter, especially when it snows, boasting a close resemblance to Narnia with its white tipped pines and frosted lamp posts.
      7. Sweden – Perfect for a genuine winter wonderland

      When it comes to Christmas, what doesn’t Sweden have to offer? Aside from the Christmas markets offering a plentiful supply of gingerbread men and pear cider, this frosty-fairyland is bursting with seasonal activities!
      If you go North, snow is almost a guarantee, and be warned, the temperatures there are not for the faint hearted. Having said that, the weather is another excuse to sample some Glög from one of many idyllic market stalls (that’s mulled wine, in case you were wondering).
      If you’re very brave, there’s even the option of venturing into the countryside for some dog-sledding!
      The Swedish people take Christmas very seriously, with the result that the celebrations are not only widespread, but extremely authentic and joyful – don’t be surprised if your Christmas shopping is serenaded by a chorus of carol signers. After all, “the best way to spread Christmas Cheer is to sing out loud for all to hear”.

    10.  

      A thrill-seekers guide to Halloween Spooky destinations !

      For many of us, Halloween is synonymous with trick or treating, fancy dress and dunking for apples. However, for those fright seekers out there who want more than the traditional scary movie, a ghostly getaway might be just the thing to get your heart pounding this year! Whether it be a weekend stay in one the UK’s haunted capitals or a city break to some of Europe’s spectral sights, embrace your inner dark tourist this October with a visit to one of these Halloween spooky destinations !
      1. City of Edinburgh, Scotland

      With its dark and dramatic history, it is hardly surprising that numerous claims of paranormal activity have been recorded amidst Edinburgh’s cobblestones and underground labyrinths.
      Having been crowned Scotland’s ‘paranormal capital’, there’s plenty to do for thrill-seeking tourists determined to ‘dabble in the dark’. Edinburgh Castle is considered one of the most haunted locations in Europe, with numerous ghostly sightings and scientifically proven paranormal activity.
      Edinburgh’s Blair Street vaults run beneath the city and claim to host to a number of restless spirits. Used by tradesmen and for housing purposes in the 18th & 19th century, the vaults were hotbeds of criminal activity, darkness and decay. In fact, the infamous Burke & Hare are rumoured to have prowled the vaults in search of victims.
      If this isn’t enough, Edinburgh is also the site of Grey Friars Kirk yard, where the ghost of a dog, Grey Friars Bobby, is said to haunt his master’s grave.
      Brave enough? Explore Edinburgh yourself this Halloween, or sign up to one of the cities many ghost walks!
      2. Paris, France

      With its reputation as Europe’s ultimate romantic destination, many tend to forget the dark tourist attractions which lurk amidst Paris’s sidewalks and cafés.
      The Catacombs, an underground network of passageways beneath the city, were used to house the bodies of over 6 million citizens when graveyard overcrowding became an issue. Over the years however, they are rumoured to have become the site of necromancy and unexplained spectral incidents amongst other eerie activity, to say nothing of the skeletal human remains which line the passageways!
      If delving into the catacombs is a step too far, however, the Place de La Concorde and its dramatic history remains a popular attraction, where 1300 poor souls including Marie Antoinette and Louis XV1 are said to have lost their heads.
      3. London, United Kingdom

      London boasts a particularly dramatic history, with many famous names losing their minds and heads inside the walls of the infamous Tower of London. With Traitors Gate still standing ominously beneath the fortresses walls, and the ghosts of Anne Boleyn, Guy Fawkes and the Two Princes rumoured to haunt the structure, a night-time tour of the Tower is not for the faint hearted.
      Similarly, there is something truly eerie about London's Jack the Ripper Ghost Walk. On a chilly October evening, every breath of wind and shiver up your spine seems to serve as a reminder of the serial killer who claimed the lives of many women in 19th Century London.
      However, if this is all simply too dark for you, there’s always the London Dungeons: the cities chilling past diluted with a touch of comedy and dramatic effect!
      4. Prague, Czech Republic

      Best known as the City of 1000 Spires for its breathtakingly intricate skyline, Prague has long been renowned as one of Europe’s most ghostly capital cities.
      The St Charles Bridge plays host to some spectral residents, related no doubt to the bridges gory history. It was said to showcase the heads of executed local Lords for almost 20 years, who are rumoured to haunt the landmark from time to time.
      For the dark tourism fanatics or extreme thrill-seekers, a visit to Houska Castle is also in order. Enclosed by thick forest, it is unsurprising that this castle has been nicknamed one of the gateways to *****, with multiple reports of hauntings and demonic presence over the years.
      The perfect getaway for a truly horror filled Halloween?
      5. Mexico – Día de Los Muertos

      For those of you seeking culture, ceremony and a trip further afield this Halloween, Mexico is calling! An opportunity to immerse yourself in a unique and historic hot bed of tradition, Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations last from Halloween until the 2nd of November.
      A festival to commemorate and pay homage to your departed loved ones, locals decorate graves and alters with Mexican Marigolds, offer sugar skulls and ‘Pan de muerto’ (bread of the dead). The celebrations also involve dressing up and celebrating the lives of those departed, rather than mourning their deaths.
      A truly fascinating insight into a unique and vibrant tradition across seas, for avid travellers and culture seekers, this is a must!

    11.  

      The Ultimate Guide to Game of Thrones Filming Locations

      If you're anything like us, for the past ten weeks you've been glued to your screens every Monday night anticipating if we're any closer to knowing who will sit on the Iron Throne (or if R+L=J is true). If you're definitely anything like us, you'll also be watching for the stunning locations chosen to bring the Game of Thrones story to life.
      As the plot takes the characters across two fictional continents, the real-life locations span the breadth of Europe from the untamed snowy peaks of Iceland through to the deserts of Northern Africa. It would take a super-fan months to tick off all the places used for filming, but we can all try can't we?
      Westeros
      Audiences have been taken on a journey right round the fictional continent of Westeros through the six seasons and there are not many places from the books that haven't been brought to life on camera. Its landmass is meant to stretch the same length as South America and roughly represent the geography of the Celtic countries, with cooler temperatures of Scotland in the north and warmer climates of Spain and France in the south. As such, filming took place across Europe to accurately bring the regions to the small screen.
      King's Landing and The Crownlands
      The real-life location of the capital of Westeros is Dubrovnik, Croatia's very own capital (though some scenes in Season 1 were filmed in Malta). Looking onto the Adriatic Sea, the towering walls that shelter the city made it the perfect location for King's Landing. The second you sail into the Dubrovnik Harbour you'll begin to spot the the landmarks used in the Game of Thrones series.
      The market scenes from King's Landing were shot on St. Dominika Street in the heart of the Old City. The gardens where the Purple Wedding takes place between Margaery and Joffrey are the publicly accessible Gradac Park that offers amazing views of the Old Town. The Stradun, the main street of Dubrovnik between Dubrovnik Cathedral and the Sponza Palace, was used for the Walk of Penance in the final episode of Season 5. Ned Stark's Execution at The Great Sept of Baelor was however filmed at Fort Manoel in Gżira in Malta.

      Just outside of Dubrovnik lies Trsteno Arboretum, the location of the Red Keep's tranquil gardens. This is where Sansa meets Olenna Tyrell for the first time and where most of the scenes involving the Tyrell's take place. However, the gardens of the Red Keep where Ned Stark confronts Cersei Lannister about her children's true parentage was in the St. Dominic Monastery in Rabat, Malta. The Maltese town of Vittoriosa takes centre stage as the Fort St. Angelo in the Grand Harbour is used for the dungeons of The Red Keep where Arya is seen chasing cats.

      Right after Ned Stark's execution, we witness his daughter Arya flees the capital of Westeros disguised as a boy. The road we see her escaping down with the arching trees is far away from Croatia – she's actually sneaking off on a road known as The Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland. This road dates back to the 18th century and was planted by the non-fictional Stuart family to impress visitors as they approached their Georgian Mansion.

      Away from King's Landing sits Dragonstone in Blackwater Bay – the ancestral seat of House Targyereyn. Much of the Dragonstone scenes were filmed in Northern Ireland, and fans can visit the sites used for major story-arcs. Downhill Strand Beach in County Derry-Londonderry was where Stannis Baratheon and Milsandre burn wooden sculptures of the Seven Gods; the beach is overlooked by the Mussenden Temple which will be startlingly familiar to fans who followed the one-true-king's journey.
      The North and Winterfell
      Moving up to the north of Westeros, fans need to brace themselves for cooler climates. Filming for scenes in Winterfell – which was loosely based on Northern England – primarily takes place in Northern Ireland. Castle Ward found near the village of Strangford, in County Down was used as the courtyard of Winterfell where we witness the Stark children playing for much of Season 1 and where Sansa is seen reminiscing in Season 6. The surrounding fields were also used as a filming location for both the Stark Army Camp and the Lannister Army Camp. Really keen fans will also know that the producers originally chose Doune Castle in Central Scotland as the House of Stark. This castle was used in the pilot episode but was never seen on screen during the aired TV series.

      The surrounding areas of Winterfell can also be found in Northern Ireland. Tollymore Forest Park stands in for the Forests of the North and is where the Starks discover the dire wolf pups that they take home with them (and is also where Samwell Tarly later kills a White Walker). The Mourne Mountains in County Down also step in to bring Northern Westeros to life - the Leitrim Lodge at the foothills of the Mournes is where Bran first meets Jojen and Meera in the woods.
      It's not just the Starks who occupy the north – the Bolton's are also seen bracing the harsher winters. The seat of House Bolton, the Dreadfort that was first seen at the start of Season 4, is actually Myra Castle in Strangford. This medieval castle is located just west of Castle Ward where real-life Winterfell is located.
      Wildlings also cross the border to the south side of The Wall to explore The North. The scenes in Season 3 after Jon Snow, Ygritte and Tormund cross over into Westeros and are seen walking through a wooded area, took place near the town of Toome in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
      The Riverlands
      Riverrun is an unforgiving place, where much-loved members of the Stark family met their brutal end. Any fans wanting to tentatively venture into this territory can do so in Northern Ireland. For Season 6 producers headed to Corbet Village (3 miles east of Banbridge) and built a fully realised exterior set for Riverrun Castle, which had been limited to indoor scenes in previous seasons.

      Back to Season 3 when Riverrun was first introduced, Gosford Castle could be seen in a few exterior shots, such as when Robb Stark executes Rickard Karstark in "Kissed by Fire". For Hoster Tully's funeral, film-makers headed down to the River Quoile in County Down to create the backdrop for The Riverrun Dock. Tollymore Forest Park which producers used for the Forests of the North also stands in for scenes where characters are “in the woods near Riverrun”.
      Dorne
      The southernmost region of Westeros, Dorne was based on medieval Spain and it was only fitting the producers chose Seville in Spain as the backdrop. The beautiful Water Gardens of House Martell in the capital Sunspear were filmed in the equally-tranquil royal palace, Alcázar of Seville. Moving out of the capital of Dorne and into the Red Mountains, the Tower of Joy is actually the Castllo de Zafra in Guadalajara, rural Spain.

      Some of the Dorne scenes were filmed outside of Mediterranean climates. The scene where Jaime and Bronn, disguised as Martell soldiers, approach the gates of Water Gardens where they fight some Dornish men were filmed on the scenic Portstewart Strand in western Northern Ireland.
      Vale of Arryn
      Many of the areas surrounding the well-sheltered Eeryie in mid-Westeros were filmed in the Icelandic summer. Thingvellir National Park in the south of Iceland was the backdrop for much of the journey Arya and the Hound took when he was trying to reach the young Stark's aunt in the Vale of Arryn.

      The picturesque Glenariff and its surrounding waterfalls can be seen in the background of the practice ground at Runestone where Littlefinger and Sansa Stark witness Robin Arryn’s attempt at duelling.
      The Iron Islands

      Not far from the famous Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland lies the capital of the Iron Islands. The seaside village of Ballintoy in County Antrim is where the scenes of the village of Pyke were filmed. Ballintoy Harbour was also used as the backdrop for Lordsport.
      The Stormlands
      In the fictional world, The Stormlands on the south-east coast and the Iron Islands off the western coast would struggle to be further from each other. The real-life locations are, however, a 20 minute drive apart. Stepping in for the backdrop is a former quarry in Larrybane on the coast of Northern Ireland. The coastal cliffs were first seen in the scene where Brienne of Tarth convinces Renly Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell to recruit her to their Kings Guard. The Carrick-a-Rede cliffs not far away was also the backdrop for Renly Baratheon's army camp in Season 2.
       

      For viewers who don't spook easily, the caves where Melisandre gives birth to The Shadow Baby can be found driving east along the coast. Named the Cushendun Caves, when you step into the rustic hollows you'll see why the producers chose this location for the dramatic scene.
      The Night's Watch and Beyond the Wall
      Head to the northern plains of Westeros and discover Castle Black, the headquarter's of the Night's Watch aka the Magheramorne Quarry in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Crossing over to Beyond the Wall to Wildlings territory, you'll step into a world of Icelandic snowcaps. While the producers created an artificial snowy landscape with fake snow in Season 1, they decided to relocate filming to Iceland to bring the frosty landscape Beyond the Wall to the small screen

      Up in the north of Iceland, producers chose the scenery of Lake Myvatn as the backdrop for Season 3 when Mance Raydar sets up camp with his Wildling army. The nearby cave of Grjotagja will also be familiar to fans of the romance between Ygritte and John Snow, where the quote “You Know Nothing Jon Snow” is muttered. The film crew also made sure to include shots of Vatnajokull, Europe's largest glacier.
      In the south of Iceland, fans can pretend they're Jon Snow in the treacherous mountains north-west of the wall. The Frostfang Mountains scenes were filmed in the Höfðabrekka area of Iceland, a two and a half hour drive from Reykjavik.
      Essos
      We've seen a lot of the continent across the Narrow Sea during the last six seasons. Daenerys has finished her journey across Essos and now has her sights set towards Westeros to claim the Iron Throne for herself. Her journey has taken viewers on a tour around the Mediterranean as Malta, Croatia, Spain, and Morocco have all stood in as locations needed for the warmer climates of Essos.
      The Free Cities
      At the start of Season 1 we meet Daenerys Targaryen and her brother, Viserys , in the Free City of Pentos on the western coast of Essos. If the Port of Pentos looks familiar it might be because you've seen it in Gladiator or because you've been on holiday to Morocco and stopped by Ouarzazate. The stunning fortified city of Aït Benhaddou can also be seen in the early shots in Season 1 of Pentos. The island of Malta was also used as a backdrop for Pentos. The stunning Azure Window, a rock formation off the coast of Gozo in Malta, is seen in the background of the wedding feast of Daenerys and Drogo.

      It, however, isn't just Daenerys who has been travelling through the Free Cities: we also see the continent of Essos through the eyes of Arya Stark. The town of Kastel Gomilica in Croatia is the real-life location where the young Stark was seen selling oysters from a hand cart. At the start of Season 6, the bridge where we witness Arya fight The Waif took place outside the Sant Pere de Galligants in Girona, Spain.

      We also visit the Free City of Volantis after Tyrion and Varys flee Westeros and wander around the markets on the Long Bridge of Volantis – a real life Roman bridge in Cordoba in Andalusia. The nearby Summer Sea was however filmed in Northern Ireland – specifically Lough Neagh. This is where Jorah Mormont steals a boat, takes Tyrion captive and sets sail to his beloved Daenerys in Meereen.
      Dragon's Bay
      For some time we watched Daenerys resting in the city of Meereen in Slaver's Bay, as it was once known. This was where one of Game of Thrones most heart-pounding - and most expensive - scenes takes place. The scene where Daenerys is attacked by the Sons of the Harpy in the Daznak's Pit was filmed in the Plaza de Toros de Osuna in Seville – a historic bullring located in the city's centre. Other areas of Slaver's Bay seen in Season 6 were on the Mediterranean coast of Spain near Peñiscola.

      The producers did, however, film some of these scenes away from the Mediterranean climate. Murlough Bay in County Antrim was used extensively throughout the six season, including the scene where Jorah and Tyrion arrive in Slaver's Bay only to be taken hostage.
      The rest of Essos


      In Qarth, Daenerys has to venture into the House of the Undying to retrieve her dragons. For any fans who wish to wander the tower and re-create the scene, they can do so at the Minceta Tower in Dubrovnik. Lokrum Island is where the garden party in Season 2 takes place where Daenerys mingles with the elite trying to blag herself some ships.
      To bring the vast Dothraki Sea to life producers required desert climates but also lush greenery. In Season 6, the deserts seen in the Dorathki scenes when Daenerys is captured are the Tabernas Desert in Almería, Spain. By contrast, the Mourne Mountains in County Down, Northern Ireland were the dramatic slopes seen at the entrance to Vaes Dothrak. The Glens of Antrim and Ballymoney are also both seen in the background while filming the Dothraki Sea scenes.

    12.  

      5 veggie friendly cities to visit for National Vegetarian Week

      Today marks the start of National Vegetarian Week in the UK. We know that one of the struggles of being vegetarian is not knowing how well catered for you'll be while travelling. To help, we've rounded-up some of our favourite cities for vegetarian cuisine that are only a quick stop away.
      Berlin
      You can't make a list of vegetarian-friendly cities without mentioning Berlin. While German cuisine on the whole doesn't have many vegetarian credentials, the capital is regularly cited as a major hub for meat-free diets. The vegan supermarket chain, Veganz, chose Berlin to open their first ever store in 2011 and some of the top resturants in the city are vegetarian and vegan friendly.
      Milan
      The haute couture capital of the world, vegans with a passion for fashion are catered to in this stylish city. Boutiques catering to eco-fashion can be found dotted along the streets of Milan, while vegetarians won't find difficulty finding something tasty to eat. Northern Italy is the region vegetarians will feel most at home: vegetables play a large part in the cuisine and most dishes are cooked in olive oil instead of butter keeping dairy-free diets happy as well.
      Prague
      Not only is Prague vegetarian friendly, it's also a cheap city allowing foodies to dine out every night. Exclusively vegetarian restaurants are available including Maitrea that offers vegetarian variations of traditional Czech foods and Dhaba Beas, a North Indian inspired vegetarian buffet restaurant.
      Stockholm
      Swedish cuisine is another culinary style that could naturally be overlooked by vegetarians. Truthfully, Sweden is fond of using seafood in a lot of its dishes. However, Stockholm is also home to one of Europe's most well-known vegetarian restaurants called Hermans: a buffet-style restaurant with garden seating overlooking Stockholm's ambient skyline.
      Somewhere in the UK
      Vegetarians looking to take a UK city break won't be in short supply of options. The UK has one of the highest percentages of vegetarians in Europe with some cities being renowned veggie hubs. London (especially Soho), Brighton, Glasgow and Manchester all have a thriving vegetarian and vegan scene.

    13.  

      Explore, Experience & Expand: 10 Travel Resolutions for the New Year

      New Year, new… travel resolutions? For keen travellers, the onset of New Year brings with it the excitement of choosing where to go for their annual holiday. With an entire globe of cities, countries and continents it’s never easy to narrow down the choices, and many holidaymakers end up sticking to what they know.
      But the world is meant to be seen and nothing fun ever happened inside someone’s comfort zone. We believe this should be the year holidaymakers break the habit of booking a holiday that has too many similarities to their past five.
      Easier said than done, right? Below we’ve rounded up ten travel resolutions to get you thinking about booking a holiday somewhere a bit different.

      1. Don't be afraid of solo travel
      Is there somewhere on your travel bucket list that you can never convince your friends to accompany you to? Whatever the destination we all have somewhere we would like to visit but our friends or partner won’t even consider it. Maybe it’s too long a journey, a bit too far off the beaten track, or just too cold a climate. Whether it’s a weekend in Eastern Europe or a trip to Asia, don’t be afraid of solo travel.

      2. Become a tourist in your own country
      When planning a holiday, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that a further afield destination is more exciting than somewhere a few miles away. However, good ol’ Blighty still has a lot to offer. Ever walked down the cobbled streets of Soho in London, or explored the terrain of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland? No? Time to book a quick UK city break.

      3. Take to the seas on your first cruise
      There are some misconceptions around who chooses to cruise. But in reality there are cruise packages available that cater to all travel budgets and age ranges. Our collection of family cruises include the Disney Cruise Line and trips to the Canary Islands. Or if your ideal holiday includes a lively night life then you might like the Carnival Cruise Line with on-board nightclubs.
      However, if you’re still hesitant as to whether or not you would enjoy a cruise we have a selection of mini-cruises which allow you to sample the cruise experience for a shorter time period.

      4. Eat your favourite cuisine in its country of origin
      If you’re always stopping by your local bakery for French Macaroons or find yourself constantly heading to an Italian every time you eat out then it might be time to book a trip to experience the real thing. Whether it’s sushi in Japan or burritos in Mexico, it’s time to give your taste buds the gift of travel.

      5. Climb the highest mountain (or take the cable car)
      It’s always easy to stand at the foot of a mountain and awe at its beauty. Then head off for dinner. If you’re planning to visit somewhere in 2016 which is framed by a picturesque mountain, organise a trip to the top and take in the sites from above.

      6. Get sporty in the slopes
      Some people believe skiing is an exclusive hobby reserved for rich celebrities. While skiing can be expensive, it is usually only if you go during the high season to certain resorts. Countries such as Austria, Slovenia, Andorra and Bulgaria all have ski slopes perfect for beginners (and experienced skiers) for under £300 a person.

      7. Drive the open road with a rented car
      While relaxing by a pool is, well, relaxing - in order to really get a feel for a place you need to head out onto the road. For the adventurous this could mean hiring a car and seeing where it takes you. However, if you want security for your first road trip you can book a pre-planned itinerary which includes flights, a route map, and excursions.

      8. Let the music lead you to where you want to go
      If you’re passionate about a certain genre of music – or an individual artist – make 2016 the year you head out to the city where it began. Hip-hop fans can explore the boroughs of New York including its birthplace: The Bronx. Whilst blues, country and jazz fans can take a road trip the musical heartlands of the USA: Memphis, Nashville and New Orleans.

      9. Pretend you’re an actor in your favourite film
      If you would consider yourself a movie buff, book yourself a trip to see the filming locations of your favourite films and TV shows. Head down under to New Zealand and walk in the footsteps of Frodo, stand on Carrie Bradshaw’s front steps in Manhattan or wonder through the ancient buildings of Croatia pretending you're Daenerys Targaryen.

      10. Above all, try something different
      The purpose of resolutions are to expand your horizons and grow as a person. Maybe you’ve already skied across Europe and visited the birthplace of your favourite musician. But there’s always a new place to discover, or a different way to do it. Your travel resolution might be as simple as heading north to the Polar Regions because you usually head south to the sun. Whatever travel resolutions you decide on in 2016, make sure they push you to do something different and see the world from a new angle (or at least see the sunset from a different direction).

    14.  

      Barrhead Travel Photo Competition

      Travel Photo Competition
      Do you love taking pictures on holiday? Have you got a collection of photos that you are desperate to share with the world? Well now you can!
      Each month here at Barrhead Travel, we are running a competition where you can showcase your best holiday snaps with us and our followers. All you have to do is follow these simple steps below...
       

       
      1) Send us your best travel photo via our Facebook competition page
      2) Share with friends to gather as many votes as possible
      3) The travel photo with the most votes at the end of the month wins our amazing prize!
       
      Once you have uploaded your image, that's when the votes start piling in, with the highest number of votes at the end of each month winning our star prize!
      Remember though, the better the image the more chance you have of winning, so only submit your best as you only have one chance each month to enter.
      It could be a travel photo of anywhere you like! A romantic city break to Prague, a lively holiday to Majorca with a group of your friends or a chilled out relaxing vacation to the Caribbean. The choice is yours!
      So dig out your camera and get snapping the next time you are on holiday or why not look through your old holiday photos - there are bound to be some good ones in there that you can share with us!
      Just visit us on our Facebook page for all terms and conditions and full details of how to enter!
      Good luck everyone!
       
      Full Terms and Conditions
      This competition is open to UK residents aged 18 years or over. Proof of age, identity and eligibility may be requested.
      No persons (including their immediate families) connected with the administration of this competition are eligible to enter.
      To enter this competition you must upload a photo before the specified deadline, entries and votes received after the closing time and date will not be eligible for entry into the prize draw.
      One prize will be available each calendar month, with the entrant who submitted the most popular photo selected as the Prize Winner.
      Entrants can submit their entry for the December competition from 09:00 on Tuesday 01 December until 23:59 on Saturday 19 December (“Closing Date”).
      All valid and correct entries will be entered into the competition. The winner will be contacted via email within 72 hours of the Closing Date.  The winner who accepts their prize (“Prize Winner”) will need to provide their full name and postal address and confirm they agree to these terms and conditions. The winner will be given 72 hours to respond. If they do not respond within the timeframe, a new winner will be selected.
      The Prize Winner agrees and hereby grants the Promoter permission to use, copy, distribute, and publicly display their entries on any of the Promoter’s channels or their media partner promotional channels for all purposes related to this competition without any compensation or attribution to you. You also agree that the Promoter may use the Prize Winner’s name and likeness to administer and promote this competition, including for media interviews and promotional events connected with this competition.
      Barrhead Travel reserves the right to contact all entrants in regard to any communications relating to the competition.
      All Entrants and Prize Winners agree to comply with and be bound by these terms and conditions.
      The decision of each winner is final and no correspondence will be entered into. This competition is governed by UK law. Entries that do not comply in full with these terms and conditions will be invalid.
      This competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. Facebook is not responsible to entrants in respect of any aspect of this promotion. By entering this competition, you are providing information to the Promoter and its 3rd party associates contracted for the purpose of administering this competition and not to Facebook.

    15.  

      The 8 Most Desirable Winter Escapes this Year

      Are you planning on a few winter escapes this year? Undoubtedly at this time of the year, the whole world makes a massive effort to secure their place firmly at the top of the Christmas 'place to be' list. Here at Barrhead Travel, we would go everywhere if we could! What destinations would you add to our list?
      Banff National Park, Canada
      Canada is full of amazing landscapes and scenery that it is simply hard to pick one place to visit at any time of year. Moraine Lake, however, located in the iconic Banff National Park has to be one of the most popular and most visited tourist spots in the whole of Canada. Look out onto the lake as you see the reflection of the stunning peaks of the snowcapped valley behind it. A stunning location in the summer but an even better one in the winter.

      Chicago, USA
      At wintertime, the 'windy city' transforms into the 'snowy city'. January and February are the coldest months of the year here when temperatures drop so low that the waters of Lake Michigan freeze over making for a truly magical sight. Chicago truly comes alive as many flock to watch the festivities that help to bring everyone together at this time of the year.

      Plitvice National Park, Croatia
      One of the most visited places in Croatia for tourists during warmer months, Plitvice National Park completely transforms into something else during winter. Their 16 turquoise blue lakes are taken over by the cold climate which leaves the place somewhat deserted during this period. An ideal place to sit and relax and take in it's amazing winter atmosphere.

      Prague, Czech Republic
      Christmas markets in Europe are undoubtedly hard to beat but the most beautiful of them all lies in Prague in the Czech Republic. Roam around the fairy-lit huts that line up down the street where you can pick up authentic Christmas gifts for family and friends. Or why not join in with the music and festivities of the fair at Wenceslas Square as you wait for the chimes of the clock to ring.

      Richmond Park, UK
      London's biggest park is most beautiful in the winter! Standing at 3 times the size of New York's Central Park, this 2500 acre space inhibits winter and traditional English living all in one place. Walk around as you see children playing in the snow, deer wandering around in search of food and the sounds of people's footsteps in the snow. You don't need to travel far to experience winter at it's most magical.

      Jigokudani Monkey Park, Japan
      Japan as a whole is a majestic paradise in winter but Jigokudani Monkey Park is a must-see attraction on it's own! Watch the resident Japanese Macaques or Snow Monkeys as they are referred to, bathe in the steaming hot springs of the park. Their distinctive look and peculiar mannerisms make this an experience that you will never forget.

      Lapland, Finland
      The ultimate 'go-to' destination in winter, Lapland offers that traditional Christmas atmosphere that people crave in the winter months. If you are lucky enough to catch the spectacular Aurora Borealis display that dances through the sky – you will keep coming back each year just to see this natural phenomenon again and again.

      New York, USA
      New York epitomizes winter and Christmas time extremely well for visitors from all over the world. Whether you enjoy fighting your way through the crowds to pick up last minute gifts at Bloomingdale's or taking in the scenery on a romantic stroll down to Central Park where you can watch the ice skaters on the rink, there is an ambiance in this city that is second to none. A must visit at any time of the year!

      Come together this winter as you celebrate the most magical time of the year in one of these amazing destinations.

    16.  

      Fantastic family holidays fit for all

      For some of us, choosing a family holiday that suits everyone is a bit of a struggle. At Barrhead Travel we like to make things easy for you by selecting a few of our firm favourites that will suit every family member no matter what their age or interest. What one will you choose for your next family trip?
      Spain

      Spain ticks so many boxes for a great family vacation: good value resorts, great selection of waterparks and year round sunshine, no wonder families keep coming back year after year. If you missed out in the summer, locations like the Canary Islands and Tenerife are still vibrant in the winter months where you can experience a slightly more relaxed vibe with the same amount of atmosphere.
      USA

      can't beat Florida for an amazing family holiday destination in the US - particularly Orlando! Jam-packed full of super fun activities for the kids to enjoy including; Disney, Universal and Seaworld to name but a few, the adults can even join in the fun and reminisce about their childhood during a trip here!
      Turkey

      Value for money destinations is what Turkey is known for! But don't think that diminishes the value and offerings of this destination. Building itself up to become an upmarket holiday destination for families and holidaymakers alike, Turkey offers culture, activity and relaxation in one fantastic bundle.
      Greece

      Wherever you choose to visit in this location there is guaranteed holiday perfection no matter what you are looking for on a trip to this magnificent island. Resorts such as Crete, Corfu and Zante offer an abundance of activities for the active family where quieter parts of the island also cater for those families that enjoy a relaxing vacation and peaceful atmosphere.
      Portugal

      Huge beaches, family friendly resorts and sunny summer weather make this a hit for family vacations. Look no further than Albufeira for amazing bargain breaks including Michelin-starred dining for the adults and a whole selection of water based activities for the children to keep them entertained throughout the day.
      Mauritius

      For some this is an adult only holiday destination but Mauritius has some amazing facilities that cater for those holidaying with children too. Low prices corresponding brilliantly with school holidays makes this an affordable destination for families. The crystal clear waters and amazing entertainment facilities will make this a holiday to remember for both the adults and children.
      Cyprus

      Cyprus has become known as being a family and child friendly destination. A sunshine location, kids will love all of the all-inclusive kids clubs and waterparks that this location offers in abundance and not forgetting the amazing scenery and fantastic beaches for the adults.
      Dubai

      When choosing to holiday in Dubai there is no better option than choosing one of their amazing all-inclusive resorts. Hotels cater for every member of the family with some containing their own waterpark that will keep the younger members of the family entertained for hours! World class restaurants will assure the adults are well fed whilst the fantastic shopping outlets are an escapism for those who love a bargain!
      Mexico

      The long flight may not be to the tastes of those travelling with very young children, but for older children this is the place to be! There is plenty to see and do that will keep the whole family entertained from snorkelling in the clear waters of the ocean to trying some of the amazing Mexican cuisine. Mexico is known for their many parks that are scattered across the island perfect for exploring on a bike as a family.
      UK

      What is better than a holiday right on your very own doorstep! The weather may be a bit of a gamble sometimes but when it's sunny and bright there is simply no other place to be. Go to one of the many holiday parks such as; Haven or Butlins where there is plenty of fun to be had for the little and big kids amongst us with clubs, entertainment and parks to enjoy as a family!
      When planning a family holiday there is more choice than you may think! No matter whether you are travelling with small or large children, there is something for everyone in each of these locations!

    17.  

      Best Value Destinations to Suit Your Pocket!

      When we look for a holiday, there are normally some factors we follow before booking up. One of those factors – for most of us – tends to be budget and deciding if our choice is the best value for money. We have the solution to all your problems – with a selection of our top 8 best value destinations of the moment!
      Thailand

      No wonder Thailand has become one of the 'go to' destinations of recent years with it's stunning 'paradise-like' scenery, cheap as chips cuisine as well as luxurious accommodation for half the price it would be anywhere else. It is simply hard not to choose a reason to visit this fantastic island!
      Turkey

      Turkey is known for it's bargain beach deals but nowadays it has become a more sophisticated all-round holiday destination. A great value destination whether you are wanting a city break, culture trip or a luxurious stay – Turkey is a place that offers these in abundance all year round!
      Bulgaria

      If you are looking for a top holiday beach break that won't stretch your budget, then look no further than Bulgaria. An all year round destination for holidaymakers, Bulgaria offers Sunny Beach for the summer months where you just want to let your hair down as well as amazing winter ski packages: some of the cheapest in Europe!
      Egypt

      Still a destination hard to beat when it comes to value, Egypt offers extremely sunny summers AND winters, cultural tours as well as luxury accommodation at a fraction of the cost of other destinations. Another all rounder, whether you are visiting as a family, couple or friends, this one will ensure you will have the best time without breaking the bank.
      Sri Lanka

      Immerse yourself amongst the lush island of temples and rainforests or sit on the soft golden sands of the beautiful beaches, Sri Lanka has everything you could possibly want from a luxury holiday at a fraction of the price you would expect! Visit the resorts of Negombo and Hikkaduwa for the best value luxury villas on the island!
      Dominican Republic

      Once valuing itself as a high-end slightly more pricey destination, Dominican Republic has reinvented itself as a location fit for all in recent years dropping it's prices to cater for the family orientated and budget seeking holidaymaker.
      Spain

      The staple for any British tourist would be to visit Spain. However, being overtaken in value by other destinations, the shine has been taken away from this once budget and value central destination. Although it is hard to beat the all year round sunny weather and exciting night life that the Canary Islands holds making it still one of the most visited destinations by tourists far and wide.
      Croatia

      An up and coming holiday destination, Croatia offers good value as well as added charm and an alternative experience hard to come by these days. Not overwhelmed by large restaurant chains and hotels, Croatia offers everything at a smaller scale and lower key allowing visitors to search for authentic cuisines offering the best value.
       
      Here at Barrhead Travel, we  like to make things easier for you - so whether you are looking for that top value destination we are here to help you plan the holiday you desire with a fraction of the hassle and with a fraction of the cost.
       

    18.  

      Relaxation, relaxation, relaxation... Our must pick destinations!

      There is simply nothing better than unwinding on a holiday somewhere - anywhere - that is completely different to everyday life. However you like to relax, there are places all over the world that will put you at ease and help you to do just that! Take a look at some of our favourite relaxation destination that help us unwind...
      Ang Thong National Park, Thailand

      Filled with beautiful soft sand beaches and crystal clear water, Thailand is the ultimate relaxation destination. If you manage to escape from the amazing resorts of Ko Samui and Krabi for a day, the go to place would be Ang Thong National Park to spend some quality time in between the rainforests and vast selection of intimate islands.
      The Seychelles

      When we think about relaxation, we think of the Caribbean! Visit the land of paradise and we can guarantee that you will come back more relaxed than ever! Amazing soft sand beaches, shimmering blue waters and spectacular island views – sit back and chill out during a visit here.
      Vancouver, Canada

      Maybe not a destination associated with relaxation, but Vancouver is filled with stunning scenery and amazing hiking trails that once you get to the top, the views you will see over Canada are simply none like no other. Sit at the top of the highest peak and watch the sunset - bliss!
      Bay of Islands, New Zealand

      This subtropical region is best explored from the sea. Relax on a sail boat or casually drift across the water on a canoe or kayak taking in the amazing views or why not even try and spot some of New Zealand's many sea life from within the crystal clear waters. Your time is your own during your visit to one of the most scenery blessed countries in the world!
      Treasure Beach, Jamaica

      A place that screams out 'relaxation', Jamaica is one of those places that wherever you decide to visit, the chilled out vibe is contagious. Lie on the beach with a cocktail in hand and enjoy some of the amazing Caribbean music that will put you in the most relaxing place...
      Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

      Visit the largest national park in the UK right in the heart of the Scottish highlands, which boasts some of the best views that you will ever see over this fantastic area of Scotland. You do not have to venture very far to experience pure luxury and relaxation on a holiday here.
      Amsterdam, The Netherlands

      Known for being one of the most laid-back cities in the world, Amsterdam is a place that you can only really explore at a leisurely pace. Hop on a bike, cycle over some of the many bridges and cobbled side streets where you will experience the real city vibe for yourself.
      Budapest, Hungary

      Famous for their many restorative spas, Budapest combines luxury with relaxation effortlessly. Sit back in one of the many heated outdoor pools whilst you admire the amazing art work and mosaics that surround the baths in this great city. Enjoy endless pampering during this trip!
       
      If you are looking for the ultimate relaxation holiday catered just for you, then look no further than Barrhead Travel. Simply sit back and relax and let us plan your dream trip of a lifetime!

    19.  

      A Solo Traveller's Top Places to Visit!

      Sometimes in life you just want to get up and go! Travelling by yourself is invigorating, exciting and scary but it will be the best adventure you will ever go on. Deciding where to go is the first step in this incredible journey so let us here at Barrhead Travel help you with some top places to visit.
      Cuba
      The exciting, cultural capital of Havana conjures images of 1950's chevys, salsa dancing and broken down colonial architecture. These days it is the perfect stop over for the independent traveller with their friendly back street family run restaurants and businesses, low crime rates and generous hospitality – solo travellers have become regular visitors here.

      South Island, New Zealand
      For the ultimate adrenaline sports fans, this is a destination that you will enjoy regardless if you are going it alone or not. This is the best place to travel to in the world to enjoy the many solo activities on offer; including kayaking, hiking, zorbing, bungy jumping and sky diving to name but a few and why not take in some of the breathtaking scenery whilst doing it!

      Barcelona, Spain
      One of the busiest cities in the world, you can certainly blend in with the crowd on a solo journey here. The cafe lined streets are perfect for sitting with a cup of coffee and people watching or escape the hustle and bustle of the city centre and wander down to one of Barcelona's many beaches and enjoy the peace and quiet. Dining alone is a common occurrence here where at night you can find yourself a tapas bar and sit and nibble these delights in a casual surrounding.

      Ireland
      Ireland is particularly famous for the warm welcome it extends to strangers – particularly those that are travelling alone. It is very easy to make friends here. Just find yourself a bar, offer to buy a fellow singleton a drink and you have made a friend for life!

      New York City
      There are so many people wandering around alone here that it is not hard to blend in. Don't worry about eating alone as there are plenty of gourmet food markets to eat at where people won't bat an eyelid! New York is the ultimate place of 'aloneness' where you can explore the buzzing streets of Manhattan, people watch in Times Square or even go rollarblading in Central Park!

      Hokkaido, Japan
      We don't think country's get more friendly than Japan! Where outsiders – especially those travelling alone – are made extremely welcome as a matter of course. Known for their great outdoors activities, Japan is excellent for bird watching, hiking and skiing where you can climb up to the top of the highest hill and sit and admire the views down below for hours on end.

      Southern Thailand
      One of the most popular places that backpackers go on solo trips because of it's amazing beaches and islands that have become notorious backpacking routes. Whether you decide to travel down the Gulf or Andaman Coast, there will be plenty of people in the same position as you that you will become very good friends with here.

      Sri Lanka
      The residents here are notoriously friendly and welcoming to all! The interior of this island nation is home to tea plantations, forest reserves and sacred mountains whereas if you decide to venture onto the coast, you will be greeted with white sandy beaches, quiet resorts and vibrant blue lagoons. Make this an independent travel excursion to remember by lodging with locals for the duration of your stay.

      >h3>Copenhagen, Denmark
      Copenhagen is perfect for the short city break! This laidback capital is ideal for the first time solo traveller where you can hop on a bike – they are all the rage here – and cycle leisurely around the city stopping off at various cafes and places of interest without a care in the world!

      The Greek Islands
      Parts of Greece have become known as 'party hotspots' but there are many places on these Greek Isles that evoke escapism and relaxation perfect for someone looking to enjoy the beautiful surroundings around them. Find an unspoilt beach somewhere, place down your beach towel and take out your book – bliss!

      Newfoundland, Canada
      Take a visit down to the lively port of St Johns known for it's amazing nightlife, making it the perfect way to start any trip where making friends is easy! Get a proper Newfoundland welcome by getting 'Screeched In' on George Street, where all newcomers have to kiss a cod and drink some ***** in order to be accepted by the locals!

      Dubrovnik, Croatia
      This fascinating historically built city has plenty to offer the solo traveller. Relax down by the sea front whilst you watch the deep blue waves of the Adriatic hit off the sides of the surrounding walls. Why not end your day by sampling some of the delicious seafood this part of the world is known for.

      Southwest USA
      A touring holiday is a way of travelling that can be enjoyed alone and this is certainly the place to do it! Star in your own western in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park or be a cowboy or cowgirl for the day on a horseback ride along one of the valley's many signature trails. This is one of those places that is better to explore alone.

      East Coast, Australia
      Somewhat like a solo traveller's journey around Thailand, Australia is a great route for backpackers who are looking to explore this vast country. No matter what direction you are moving towards – whether it be Melbourne or Cairns – everyone is in holiday mood so meeting people who are doing the same thing as you is a given!

      Rajasthan, India
      India, Rajasthan in particular, offers a great insight into this wonderful part of the country for a solo travellers first trip! Travel freely without any hassle between the cities of Udaipur, Jaipur and Jaisalmer as you explore the vast culture and mesmerising buildings this wonderful country offers in abundance.

      Plan your perfect 'Solo Travel' adventure with Barrhead Travel – wherever you decide to go, we will find you the perfect spot just for you!

    20.  

      A Festival, a Month, for a Year!

      Festivals Around The World
      If you could go to a different every month for a year where would you choose to go? We've made our list of our Top 12 festivals around the world for every month of the year - so get your pen and paper ready to start making yours!
       
       
      January: Viking Festival, Shetlands, Scotland
      Start the year off with a ***** at the 'Up Helly Aa' fire festival in Lerwick. Held on the last Tuesday in January, the festival features ritual bonfires, processions of axes and lots and lots of dancing! Forget all about those January blues and join in the fun at this lively event! 
       
       
       

       
       
       
       
      February: Carnevale, Venice, Italy
      A festival held all over the world, the Carnevale celebrates the run up towards Lent. What a way to celebrate this occasion than in beautiful Italy! Venice is an amazing place to celebrate this wonderful event with the streets being packed with people wearing sequined masks and Casanova costumes.
       
       
       

       
       
       
       
      March: Holi, India
      March in India is as colourful as you will ever see any country - ever! When the full moon appears everyone's childish sides come out to play! Known as the festival of colour, the final day of Holi sees children and adults alike stock themselves up with brightly coloured powder and balloons filled with water ready to throw at unsuspecting passers by! Make sure to pack your old clothes if you want to go to this one!
       
       
       

       
       
       
       
      April: Byron Bay Bluesfest, Australia
      Indulge in a bit of Blues and Roots music as you chill out at one of the most beautiful spots in Australia. Normally held on the long Easter weekend, this festival is the stomping ground for showcasing new talent with over 200 performers taking part on 7 stages over 5 days.
       
       
       

       
       
       
       
      May: Rocket Festival, Thailand
      There is no better place to spend a sunny May evening than in Yasothon, northeastern Thailand. Rockets are lined up and displayed on decorated podiums before being fired into the air to entice the rain to fall. If you're really prepared, there are also competitions for the best rocket flight and highest explosion so get ready, set and fire!
       
       
       

       
       
       
       
      June: Meadows in the Mountains, Bulgaria
      This is like no other festival in the world! The name of this festival epitomizes the overall feel of this amazing landscaped based get-together. Nestled deep within the heart of the Rhodopian Mountains, it takes 7 hours to get to this remote location but the unique music and stunning art displays definitely makes the long journey worth it!
       
       
       

       
       
       
       
      July: Bastille Day, Paris, France
      There is no better place to celebrate this momentous occasion in French history than in the stunning capital of Paris. The streets are lined with thousands of spectators watching the military parades storming down the Champs Elysees, amazing concerts and elegant firemen's ball all rounded off with a breathtaking fireworks display lighting up the sky over the Eiffel Tower.
       
       
       

       
       
       
       
      August: Tomato Festival, Pennsylvania, USA
      Have you ever heard of a festival dedicated to the humble tomato? Well now you have! It's all the rage in Pennsylvania rivalling that of La Tomatina in Spain. In the USA, safety precautions are a little more strict with participants being encouraged to wear safety goggles to prevent from any tomato related injuries during the festivities! If you do not want to get involved in the action, there are also games, tomato tastings and a parade to get involved in.
       

       
       
      September: Festes de la Merce, Barcelona, Spain
      Grab your invite to Barcelona's biggest party! Celebrating the last days of summer, the city's week long extravaganza hosts exciting concerts, parades featuring giant hand made figures, human towers as well as foot races for the spectators. Once you have been, you will have to go back every year!
       
       
       

       
       
       
       
      October: Festival of Lights, Berlin
      Make sure you get your camera ready to capture a picture of this incredible light effect festival. Once a year, the city's most famous monuments and buildings are transformed into canvasses showcasing spectacular light and video projections. See your art work or video displayed on the iconic Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Cathedral or Radio Tower. A real feast for the eyes!
       
       
       

       
       
       
       
      November: Dia de los Muertos, Mexico
      The description of this festival may put you off but this is certainly not a morbid affair! People of Mexico take the time to remember their loved ones that have passed away by conducting all night vigils at their gravesides before gathering around to share the favourite foods of the deceased in a celebratory party atmosphere. 
       
       
       

       
       
       
       
      December: Christmas Fair, Budapest
      Round off the year in style at one of Europe's most popular Christmas markets. Sample this free fair in the heart of Pest's Vorosmarty Square where you can really get into the Hungarian Christmas festivities and spirit. Why not try a bit of folk dancing or listen to the idyllic sounds of jazz performances making their way all around the square while you peruse the stalls in search of traditional Hungarian cuisine and hand made objects for family gifts.
       
       
       

       
       
       
       
      So, we have complied our list of festivals for each month here at Barrhead Travel, have you chosen your 12 yet? Where ever you decide to go, there is always a festival for all happening every month of the year!

    21.  

      So Much Choice For Solo Travel

      Do it right, and solo travel the world is an experience that you’ll never forget – for all the right reasons.
      Looking to discover a new destination in good company? Decided to do something that’s just for you? Maybe you have always wanted to visit an area of the world that your friends or partner aren’t interested in? No matter what your reason for heading off to explore on your own, the perfect holiday awaits you.
      From cruises to cities and from Costa Rica to Cambodia and Croatia, there are a multitude of different options available. Holiday as part of a group to destinations across the globe, or travel entirely solo to discover culture, history and cuisine in some of the most exotic places imaginable. Take a ready-made package for a fly-and-flop getaway, or the experts at Barrhead Travel can tailor make a bespoke itinerary for you. So many options, so much choice – the most difficult part of your holiday will most definitely be deciding where to travel to first!
      Sometimes travelling solo may seem a bit daunting, but it needn’t be. Travelling as part of a group means that you have your own space – a room of your own, the opportunity to strike out on your own, yet spend time with familiar faces and have the added services of a tour manager host, who will ensure everything runs smoothly. Generally, there will be a welcome dinner or drink so that you get to know your fellow travellers, and some other meals may be included, so you needn’t eat alone unless you want to.
      This kind of holiday strikes the ideal balance between an escorted tour and independent travel. Every traveller is different, so there are a range of holiday types available.

      Combine exploration and relaxation, tick off some of the world’s most renowned historical sites and important landmarks, spend time in cosmopolitan cities, enjoy the festive season at home or abroad, or get active as you hike through spectacular scenery or rolling countryside, stopping at postcard-pretty villages along the way.
      Of course, you may wish to be completely independent, and head off on your own on an itinerary that you have been planning for years. The experts at Barrhead Travel will work with you to make sure that everything on your travel to-do list is covered, so if you have always wanted to swim with dolphins, see Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower, go on safari, cross Canada by rail or go wine-tasting in Bordeaux, then we can make it happen for you.
      Whatever you do on a solo holiday, one thing’s for certain - you’ll be making magical memories that will last a lifetime.

    22.  

      Top Summer Songs to get you in the Holiday Mood!

      No matter what time of the year you decide to go on holiday, there are certain songs that will show up time and time again that help you to get into the holiday mood! Getting away from the normalities and worries of every day life couldn't be easier than popping in your headphones and leaning back on your sunlounger and running through your 'Classic Summer Songs' playlist. Take a look at what's on ours...
      1) 'Surfin' USA' – The Beach Boys (1963)
      What other song is there to get you in the mood to hit the ocean than this classic hit by The Beach Boys? Even though it is over 50 years old – we can't quite believe that either – this world-wide hit has been ranked as the number 2 song of 1963 in a recent survey! Come on, grab your board and let's hit the waves!
      2) 'Schools Out For Summer' – Alice Cooper (1972)
      As a child, there was no better feeling in the world than finishing school for the summer and there was no better summer song to listen to than this! Ever since it's release in the summer of 1972, it has become THE anthem for symbolizing summer vacation all over the world. 
      3) 'Summer Nights' – Grease (1978)
      'Oh those summer niiiiiiiights...' The most iconic song from one of the most feel-good films of all time! We have all seen Grease at some point in our lives right? It was hard to choose between all of the feel-good hits in this film but 'Summer Nights' reminds us of young love in the summer much like Danny and Sandy. Aaww!
      4) 'Walkin' on Sunshine' – Katrina & The Waves (1983)
      A smile automatically appears on your face when you hear this cheery tune. Feel like you actually are 'walking on sunshine' as this song blasts from the speakers putting a spring in your step and a smile on your face wherever you are.
      5) 'Summer of 69' – Bryan Adams (1984)
       This is one of those songs that will definitely get you in the mood for a boogie on holiday! Blast it out as loud as you can from the speakers in your car, radio, ipod or laptop - this is a track that will live on through generation to generation of holidaymakers.
      6) 'Summertime' – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (1991)
      What more do you need to get you in that chilled out pre-holiday vibe than Hollywood superstar himself - Will Smith. Yes it's true! For those of you not familiar with his big break, his infamous rap career started on television show 'The Fresh Prince of Bel Air'. Believe us, once you've heard this one you'll be well on your way to a relaxing vacation.
      7) 'Saturday Night' – Whigfield (1993)
      No matter what age we are we all have to admit to knowing all dance moves to this catchy number! Right? This is just one of those hits that will never age – whether you are a young thing going on your first friends holiday to Ibiza or if you are spending some family time in Florida – we guarantee this song will be on repeat anywhere your journey takes you!
      8) 'Happy' – Pharrell Williams (2013)
      We honestly can't listen to this song without automatically becoming 'happy!' Even though this catchy number was not released in summer, the hit was so popular that it was continually played by every radio station and at every music festival world-wide - and still is! The catchiest song of 2013 without a doubt!
      9) 'Summer' – Calvin Harris (2014)
      If you are heading to a festival this summer, then you will undoubtedly hear this hit wherever you turn! Earning Calvin his 6th UK No1 single, we love the summer vibes associated with this summer song. Put your hands in the air and dance like you just don't care!
      10) 'Uptown Funk' – Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars (2014)
      Similarly with Pharrell's 'Happy', this track wasn't released in the summer months but also spent so much time at the top of our charts – 14 weeks to be precise – that it is hard not to include this on our summer playlist! Undoubtedly the tune of this summer and many more summers to come. 
      Holidays are all about having fun and getting away from everything that reminds us of everyday life. Songs help us to get that escapism we wait all year for. Here at Barrhead Travel, our holidays are like music. We have something that caters for everyone's tastes and preferences no matter how different they may be!

    23.  

      Stretch Your Holiday Budget, Thanks To The Strong Pound!

      Stretch Your Holiday Budget, Thanks To The Strong Pound!
      Heading off to resorts in Europe this year? Then you’ll be happy to learn that your holiday budget will go further than it has for years, as the pound is at its highest level since 2007. It’s risen 13% in a year, thanks to the issues the Eurozone has been experiencing in recent months, and experts predict that it will rise even further in the next 12 months, meaning next year may be even better than 2015 for Brits on holiday in European cities and resorts.
      If you haven’t yet booked your next getaway abroad, then Europe makes real financial sense. Eating out is cheaper, you’ll pay less for an ice cream or a bottle of sun lotion, and let’s face it, the weather is bound to be better than it is back home.
      Resorts in Portugal and the Costa del Sol are the best value for money, but even the most upmarket holiday destinations in the South of France and Italy have seen sizeable reductions in the cost of all those things that make a holiday memorable, like chinking glasses of Prosecco in Portofino or nibbling on calamari in Cannes.
      Prefer to get out and about and explore? The freedom of the open road is also more affordable, thanks to the lower cost of fuel abroad, so you can discover more of your destination for less.
      And it’s not just Europe where you’ll find the strength of sterling helping your wallet, because it’s also risen in recent months against currencies such as the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand dollars. If you’re planning a holiday to any of these places, there’s seldom been a better time to take the plunge and get it booked at Barrhead Travel.
      With a wide range of currencies on offer at very competitive rates through its branch network, it makes sense to buy your currency in advance from Barrhead Travel, too. You’ll get more Euros for your money than if you purchase them last-minute at the airport, so call into your local Barrhead Travel store today, and you ‘ll be quids in for your next escape.

    24.  

      The World's Most Incredible Water Slides

      The World's Most Incredible Water Slides
      Waterslides are the epitome of every family holiday. 'Mum come with me on that one' 'Dad don't be a chicken! It's not THAT high...' Gulp. Let me take you through  5 of the highest, spectacular and darn right unbelievable water slides that we believe are the world's most incredible water slides.
      1. Toboggan, Italy

      Waterslides don't need to be the highest or the fastest to be the most incredible. This attraction is made up of 11 slides plunging you into 4 separate pools, where one of these pools happens to be the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Running down a cliff on the north west coast of the island, Toboggan tops the list  of the world's most incredible water slides with it's picture perfect backdrop.
      2. Insano, Brazil

      Even though it has been knocked off it's post as the world's tallest water slide, Insano still stands proud as one of the most dramatic rides ever. Standing at a measly 134 feet tall, this one is certainly not one for the faint hearted. It's ok though, you only have to endure the terror for 5-6 seconds. You would have to be 'Insano' to give this one a miss!
      3. Orlando, Florida

      Situated in Orlando's most famous water park, Aquatica, this ride is one like no other. Race side by side with your partner travelling within an enclosed clear tube as you are transported into another world of underwater discovery. If that hasn't sold this waterslide to you already, wait until you spot a pod of Collerson Dolphins playing in the water beside you. Utterly spectacular!
      4.Kansas City

      I would advise not to eat anything before going on this slide! You and 2 friends will be strapped to a raft and catapulted down a death defying drop. Once you think it is over, the excitement continues as you are dropped yet another 50 feet. Once you are strapped in there is no escaping this 168 foot 7 inch monstrous structure. So belt up and hold on.
      5. The Leap of Faith – Dubai

      Delve into the unknown as you take on 'The Leap of Faith.' This unique water slide transports you through the famous Mayan Temple. There is a surprise waiting for you when you reach the bottom though in the shape of some deadly sharks and stingrays. It's not as scary as it sounds. Trust me... Oh, did I forget to mention the 60 foot vertical drop at the beginning? Go on. Take the leap and have faith.
      Which of  these phenomenal waterslides take the number one spot on your list of the world's most incredible water slides?

    25. Top 5 Activities For The Massive Adrenaline Junkie

      For the adventurous, adrenaline filled bunch among us, then make sure to read on as we have the 5 top activities that will leave you quaking in your boots! The adrenaline junkie in you will insist you read on...
      Skywalk, China
      This attraction has been shortlisted as one of the most terrifying tourist attractions of all time and no wonder! Built on a cliff edge in Longgang National Geological Park, Chongquing, China, this walkway stretches an impressive 26.64m into thin air. The glass bottom certainly showcases the stunning views over China but does nothing for weary stomachs or shaky legs. It's ok though as there is only a short 718m drop to the rocks below... No biggie. For comparison to other world renound tourist hot spots, this Skywalk is a full 5m longer than the iconic Grand Canyon skywalk in Arizona – and that's awfully big too!
      Cage of Death, Australia
      The name truly epitomizes the activity. Australia is home to the world famous Crocosaurus Cove. Thousands of tourists flock here each year to get a glimpse of some of the scariest sea creatures in Australian waters. If you dare, hop inside the so aptly named Cage of Death and get up close and personal with some of the Saltwater crocodiles in the tank below. Stand and stare as these 5m creatures hover around you, eyeing up your meaty flesh for an afternoon snack... Only joking! But if you're an accredited adrenaline ***** then this is a must see if you happen to be near the Golden Coast.
      Stratosphere Skyjump, USA
      If you're taking a little vacation over to Las Vegas this summer then this will surely get your heart racing. The Stratosphere Tower Sky Jump is the Guinness World Record holder for highest commercial decelerator descent with an official height of 829 feet. If you dare, begin your controlled freefall from the 108th floor of the tower where you will continue to fall and fall and fall until you finally hit the bottom. For all of you adrenaline enthusiasts out there – be sure to mark this one down on your bucket list!
      100mph Zip Line, Wales
      If you stay in the UK, there is no need to travel far to get your little bit of excitement. Dubbed 'The Nearest thing to Flying' this mile long zip line is the longest in the world! Located in Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda, Zip World Velocity will leave you floating on air as you struggle to come down from this massive adrenaline fuelled high. Reaching up to excess speeds of 100mph, you will get your little bit of excitement as well as enjoy the fantastic scenery Wales has to offer. A win win situation for any adrenaline enthusiast!
      Shark Diving, South Africa
      There are numerous shark diving expeditions all over the world but nothing compares to this! Cape Town, South Africa is the home of some of the most dangerous species of shark known to man. Your adrenaline will be pumping as you are dropped into shark infested waters clutching a bucket full of their favourite culinary delights. Don't worry you are protected by a safety proof cage but the danger is still significantly real.

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