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  1. Stars from ITV’s Love Island have teamed up with Celebrity Cruises in their latest campaign. As part of the campaign, some travel agencies across may even get surprise visits from the show’s stars, including Jamie Jewitt, Marcel Somerville and Gabby Allen. Claire Stirrup, sales director, Celebrity Cruises UK and Ireland, said: “If you watched Love Island, you’ll fall in love with this campaign, and if you didn’t you’ll take one look at the stars involved and fall in love anyway. We make no secret of loving our agent partners, and we have ramped up that affection this turn-of-year.” Customers will be offered a free Classic Drinks package for bookings made before March 14, 2018, on all European and The Arabian Gulf sailings. You never know, some familiar Love Island faces may pop by to a Barrhead Travel store near you next year, so keep your eyes peeled!
  2. A beginner’s guide to Jamaica

    Jamaica is one of the most popular islands in the Caribbean. Not only does it boast pristine beaches and crystal waters, but it also comes with a side serving of laid-back reggae beats. Even more, away from the beaches, visitors will find a sublime mix of hidden waterfalls, banana plantations and soaring mountains. It’s the perfect mix of beach and party, with activities for both families and couples. Here’s everything you need to know about this paradise island. Things to do Jamaica has two sides. One day you will be relaxing on a quiet beach, and the next you‘ll be soaking up the spirited atmosphere. Jamaica is not short of options, no matter your holiday style. Here’s just a selection of what you can get up to. Feel the reggae beat Jamaica is the birthplace of reggae. In the capital of Kingston you’ll find the Bob Marley Museum, dedicated to the legendary singer. Eat delicious food We’ve blogged before about the mouth-watering local dishes available in Jamaica. But we are mentioning it again, as you need to make sure you stop by a beach shack for some jerk chicken. Relax on a beach on Negril If it’s a relaxing beach that you’re after, we recommend the secluded area of Negril along Jamaica’s west coast. It boasts over four-miles of unspoilt white-sand beach, with protected marine-life minutes from the shore offering perfect diving opportunities. Duns River Falls This stunning waterfall is terraced by a natural staircase, and is a popular climbing spot. It takes about 1-1.5 hours to climb the natural staircase, though there is a man-made stairway nearby for people unable to climb the uneven surface. Get married Jamaica is a beautiful island and the perfect backdrop for a romantic wedding. There are many resorts on the island that offer wedding packages, including seven Sandals Resorts. Whether it’s a hotel wedding or a ceremony by a cliffside, the wedding organisers in Jamaica will be able to arrange it for you. How to get there (and find your way around) There are three airports on Jamaica: Norman Manley International Airport, Sangster International Airport and Ian Fleming International Airport. Direct flights are available from the UK and will take roughly 10 hours. There are also smaller aerodromes in Kingston, Portland, Ocho Rios, the South Coast and Negril if you’re looking to see more than one part of the island. Luxury air-conditioned coaches also run regularly on popular routes. Where to stay Jamaica has an impressive range of accommodation options. Whether it’s a hotel, guesthouse or luxury villa you’re after, you’ll find it in Jamaica. Plus, some of the biggest hotel names in the world have locations in Jamaica, including Sandals, Hilton, Beaches, Couples and Moon Palace. Final tips · The currency on the island is the Jamaican Dollar (we can exchange this before you go!) · The weather is at its best between November and March · British nationals don’t need a visa to enter Jamaica (if they’re staying for under 90 days)
  3. If you travel the world to admire its natural beauty and discover rare wildlife, then the Galapagos Islands need to be on your bucket list. The islands even gave Charles Darwin his inspiration for his Theory of Evolution. While exploring the islands he noticed that many animals were similar, but not exactly the same. His research gave birth to the concept of evolution and natural section that we know today. Many of these animals still flourish, thanks to the islands’ isolated location and the lack of natural predators. Some of the animals feel so comfortable here that they don’t shy away when humans arrive on shore and you can easily get close enough for a picture. Here are 10 animals that you can expect to meet in Galapagos Island. Galápagos Sea Lions When you arrive on these islands, it’s likely these playful creatures will greet you on the beach. Galapagos Sea Lions are very social creatures and often spotted sun-bathing on the sandy shores. They can be found on all the island within the Galapagos archipelago. Galápagos Giant Tortoise The giant tortoise family might outlive every other vertebrate on earth, but they are not easy to find: they only exist on the Galapagos Islands and the Indian Ocean Islands. The Galápagos tortoise is native to all seven Galapagos Islands, but there are variations. On islands with humid highlands, they are larger, with domed shells and short necks. On islands with dry lowlands, the tortoises are smaller, with saddleback shells and long necks. These differences contributed highly to Darwin’s theory of evolution when he visited the islands in 1835. Marine Iguanas Iguanas are associated with the Galapagos Islands, and they’re constantly popping up in promotional photos. While you can find Iguanas around the world, the Marine Iguana only exists in the Galapagos Islands. These lizards have the unique ability (among modern lizards) to forage in the sea. They mainly live in colonies on rocky shores. Galapagos Penguins The Galapagos Penguin is the only penguin you can find in the northern hemisphere. It is also the second smallest specie of penguin, after the small penguin. You’ll spot them on the Fernandina Island and the west coast of Isabela Island, though smaller populations can be found across the archipelago. Waved Albatross The Waved Albatross is one of two animals on this list to occasionally leave the islands. They split their time between South America and the Galapagos Islands: the first to hunt, and the second to breed. They fly this long journey thanks to their slender bodies and large wings, which creates a phenomenon known as dynamic soaring. You’ll see them launching off from high coastal cliffs, and effortless fly for miles. Galapagos Hawk The Galapagos Hawk is one of the world’s rarest raptors, with an estimated population of just 150 breeding pairs. They are mostly seen on the main islands Isabela and Fernandina, but they are extinct on the islands Baltra, Daphne, Floreana, San Cristobal and Seymour. Galápagos Mockingbirds The Galápagos Mockingbird is one of four mockingbird species endemic to the Galápagos Islands, and all four are thought to share a common ancestor. The Galapagos Mockingbird is the most widespread of all the mockingbirds, and can be found on most of the islands. Galápagos Green Turtle The Galapagos Green Turtle is only subpopulation of sea turtles to nest in these islands. They do however migrate on occasion and can be found exploring the Pacific Ocean. It’s actually only the females that ever come in to shore though, in order to hatch their eggs. The males stay submerged in the warm waters for most of their lives. Blue-Footed Booby The blue-footy booby is a marine bird that takes its name from the colour of its feet, and its clumsiness (booby is derived from the Spanish word bobo). They live across the subtropical Pacific Islands, but more than half of all breeding pairs nest on the Galápagos Islands. Young blue-footed boobies do not move very far from where they were born, leading to large congregations in dense colonies. Darwin's Finches We can’t talk about the Galapagos Islands without mentioning the animal that gave Charles Darwin his eureka moment. Darwin’s Finches actually refers to 15 different species of small birds, each displaying a similar body type and colouring but with markedly different beaks. It is believed that the beaks evolved over many years as each bird adapted to their own food source – aka Darwin’s theory of Evolution.
  4. 10 places that look like Christmas cards

    Ever looked at a Christmas card of a snowy town and wondered if anywhere could really be that beautiful? Here are 10 places that look just like the places you have seen on the front of Christmas cards. 1. Zermatt Valley and Matterhorn Peak at Dawn Switz 2. Wetterhorn of Grindelwald in Winter 3. St. Stephen's Basilica Square, Budapest 4. Prague 5.Lake Bled 6. Niagara Falls 7. Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City 8. Boston 9. Jungfrau ski resort under Eiger 10. Reykjavik
  5. 11 things included in the price of an NCL Cruise

    Cruises offer amazing value for money. Not only do you get to visit several destinations in one holiday, but most of your costs are included in the upfront price. Your accommodation and transport are obviously included, but many cruise lines include flights, drinks packages, entertainment, excursions and food at the cost you pay when you book. NCL Cruises have always prided themselves on their selection of all-inclusive cruises. Recently, however, they have launched a new Premium All-Inclusive package that brings their value for money to a new level. Here’s what is included in the price. Included, always 1. Dining Whether you’re looking for an all you can eat buffet, pan-Asian dining or a casual spot for lunch, you definitely won’t go hungry. Each ship has up to three main dining rooms with daily changing menus and à la carte service (there’s also 24-hour room service). 2. Award-winning entertainment Enjoy Broadway shows, live music, comedy, dancing and much more when cruising with NCL. Norwegian Breakaway there is Rock of Ages, on Norwegian Escape it is After Midnight and on Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Epic you can treat yourself to Cirque Dreams – a one-of-a-kind theatrical dining experience with world-class acrobats, aerialists, musicians, and a dash of audience participation. 3. Aqua Parks, sports and leisure facilities If you want to keep up your fitness regime while on holiday, you’ll enjoy the free access to sports and gym facilities. And if you want to relax by the pool or your children want a shot on the flumes? That’s included too. 4. Professional junior and youth programmes Holidays are about family-time, but parents need time to relax. Drop your children off at one of NCL’s complimentary youth programmes: Splash Academy and Entourage. Included in a Premium All-Inclusive Cruise 5. Premium Beverages Whether it’s a refreshing orange juice with lunch, or a glass of wine over dinner; all drinks are included in the price when you book a Premium All-Inclusive Package. 6. Selected speciality coffees during mealtimes At the end of all your meals, unwind with a mug of NCL’s Lavazza speciality coffees. 7. Soft drinks and bottled water If you’re heading out on an excursion, remember to grab a bottle of water. One bottle of water per person per day is provided in your stateroom. 8. All tips related to all-inclusive services NCL staff do an amazing job at looking after the passengers, but there’s no need to tip. NCL have already taken care of that. Included extras for guests staying in The Haven by Norwegian® and Suites 9. Gourmet dining in global speciality restaurants... Treat yourself to some delectable cuisine in one of NCL’s speciality restaurants. Cagney’s Steakhouse, Teppanyaki, Le Bistro, La Cucina, Margaritaville and Moderno Churrascaria are just a few of your options. 10. 250 minutes free WiFi per Suite Upload your holiday snaps to Instagram or message your family back home with a complimentary 250 free minutes of WiFi. 11. US $100 on-board spending money per Suite Spa? Casino? Shore excursion? Indulge yourself with $100 to spend as you want. What NCL All-Inclusive feature is your favourite?
  6. How to spend a weekend in Berlin

    Berlin is one of Europe’s top city break destinations, and it’s not hard to understand why. There’s cosmopolitan bars, interesting history, beautiful architecture and tasty food. There’s no denying that there’s a lot to do in Berlin and it can be very difficult to fit it all in. If you’re only going for a weekend, here are our recommendations for making the most of it. Day 1 – Fernsehturm and exploring the city centre No trip to Berlin is complete without a trip to the top of the Fernsehturm. The queue for this gathers quickly so we recommend arriving early. If a line has already formed, your ticket will tell you what time to come back. Thankfully, the tower is beside many other well-known Berlin monuments that you can visit while you wait, or after you’ve been to the top. Nearby is the Neptunbrunnen, a 19th Century water foundation depicting the God of Water, Neptune, and four women representing Prussia's main rivers. Look closely at the fountain, as you’ll spot some animals carved into the ornate display as well. Just over the river, you’ll find The Berlin Cathedral and Museum Island. The Berlin Cathedral is one of the most prominent buildings in the city and there’s a large grassy area outside if you feel like relaxing. If it’s culture you’re looking for, we recommend heading over to the north side of the island where many of the city’s most significant museums are located. The Altes Museum, Neues Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie, Bode Museum, Pergamon Museum, and the Humboldt Forum will keep your mind captivated for a few hours. After you’ve been to the top of the Fernsehturm, make sure you head along Unter den Linden towards the Brandenburg Gate. Take some snaps (and a selfie). Then move towards the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which is around the corner, and feel the quiet eeriness as you wander between the blocks. By now, you’ll probably want your bed. But if you’ve still got a bit of energy, stroll around the Großer Tiergarten (Berlin’s oldest and biggest park) which is across the road. Day 2 - Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin Wall and Jewish Museum When you leave your hotel, head south from the centre towards Checkpoint Charlie and the other WW2 attractions in this area. After you’ve stopped for a picture with the soldier guards, head inside the adjacent Wall Museum. Founded by human rights activists you’ll learn more about the wall, the events that led up to its construction and life after its fall. Also in this area, you will find remnants of the wall itself. The most prominent is west of Checkpoint Charlie where a timeline gallery has been set up. Remember to stop for some currywurst at Curry by the Wall. Head further south now to the Jewish Museum. Aside from acting as a Holocaust Memorial, it also explores German-Jewish history in general. The history is massive and there’s plenty to see, so give yourself a few hours to explore. The Topography of Terror is also nearby and is well worth a visit to really understand the atrocities of WW2 and the Third Reich. Day 3 – East Side Gallery and evening drinks If your weekend in Berlin involves a third day, we recommend taking it easy. While it’s great to have a checklist of attractions, sometimes the best way to explore a city is to let your feet wander. The only main attraction left to see is the East Side Gallery. Here you’ll find another remaining section of the Wall, now covered in street art. Alongside it is a gift shop where you can get your passport stamped to prove you crossed the historical border between East and West Berlin. To finish your weekend, we recommend checking out some of Berlin’s excellent bars. Berghain is by far the most famous, but it is notoriously difficult to get in to. If you get knocked back (or if Techno isn’t your scene) we recommend a wander around Hackescher Markt Square. It’s nicely lit up at night and is lined with several bars. It’s a great place to head to if you’re not sure what you fancy, but want pretty scenery for your final night in this German mega-city. If you’ve been to Berlin how would you split up one weekend?
  7. Staff Travel Diaries: Colorado

    Hi Kellie, tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Barrhead Travel. I have worked for Barrhead Travel for a little over 6 years now. I am a Travel Consultant who specialises in Worldwide Holidays. I am also the specialist for Sandals and Beaches resorts and promote weddings and honeymoons in their resorts. I was even the first member of staff to be married at a Sandals Resort! What did you see when you were in Colorado? What would you recommend to people visiting? Where to start? Colorado caters to everyone. If you are into art and culture Denver ticks all the boxes. Fort Collins was my favourite though. Small town, friendly people and great atmosphere. We visited Ginger & Baker and had a walk through with owner Ginger whose vision for her restaurant/pie shop was amazing and I would love to go back and see the finished building. Breckenridge is fantastic for skiing and the town itself is lovely with great little places to eat. For the adrenaline chasers, Royal Gorge is the place to visit (but not for the faint of heart or those afraid of heights). Tell us a bit about the hotels you stayed in. AC Hotel in Denver is brand new and super central, plus the staff and food were amazing. The Armstrong Hotel in Fort Collins: really central, and a little bit more traditional in design and decoration. DoubleTree Breckenride Hotel: close to the slopes for skiing and close to resort centre. Royal Gorge Cabins: Without a doubt my favourite. Fairly new, modern and a fab home away from home with views that would take your breath away. Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs: central hotel with nice cocktail bar just off the lobby. What clothes would you recommend someone packs? The weather is so changeable. Depending on the time of year pack sunscreen as well as hats and gloves. One day could be glorious sunshine and the next could be a snow storm. How did you get to Colorado? I flew from Glasgow via Reykjavik with IcelandAir. First time flying with them and really enjoyed it. Connecting via Iceland is so easy and would 100% use them again. Any other tips for someone travelling to Colorado? Pack lip balm and hand cream as well as drinking loads of water. The high altitude really does affect your skin making it dry. Plenty of water to keep hydrated as it high and dry. Especially the higher you go. Pack painkillers as the altitude can give you a bit of a headache.
  8. MSC announces their new ship MSC Grandiosa

    We have no details yet, but MSC has decided on a new name for their ship: MSC Grandiosa. MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago, commented: "The Meraviglia generation of ships is already setting a new standard for the cruise industry and is just one of the three brand new prototypes that we have designed to bring the cruise guest experience to the next level. MSC Grandiosa is named to signify magnificence and grandeur, a fitting name for this even richer, ultra-modern mega-ship.” Mr Vago continued: “Additionally, with MSC Grandiosa we also continue to innovate in product. Just as MSC Cruises “democratised” the luxury cruise experience when we were the first cruise brand to introduce a ship-in-ship luxury concept - the MSC Yacht Club, we are now doing the same for art and culture with the very first fine art museum at sea. Similarly,” he continued, “MSC Grandiosa will be the third of only four MSC Cruises ships to exclusively feature Cirque du Soleil at Sea, hosted in the uniquely complex, custom-built Carousel Lounge.” Mr Vago concluded: “Of course, over and above everything else, these ships will be once again at the forefront of environmental technology at sea. In fact, amongst other innovations, they will feature the latest hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems, SCR-Catalysts, state-of-the-art waste management and recycling capabilities, emission-reducing energy and heat recovery systems, and highly advanced wastewater treatment.”
  9. Best places to visit in November

    For us Brits, November is the month when the clocks go back, Christmas lights go up and temperatures fall into single figures. It’s no wonder we crave winter sun… It’s also the month when the northern and southern hemisphere switches hands. Many places that were not open to tourists due to the rainy season (or humidity) are now in full swing. If you’re looking to fit in a holiday before the festive season begins, here are ten places we recommend. 1. Caribbean First off, we have the Caribbean – all of it. November is when most Caribbean resorts open up for the tourist season but it’s not high season quite yet. Whether it’s dancing in Cuba, listening to reggae in Jamaica, or admiring the beautiful landscape of Saint Lucia, November is a great time to explore this beautiful part of the world. 2. Mexico Just across the Gulf, Mexico is also a great option in November. Not only is the weather amazing, but the first two days of the month are spent celebrating the Day of the Dead Festival (Dia de Muertos). It’s a public holiday and is dedicated to remembering loved ones who have passed on. Janitzio in Lake Pátzcuaro, and Xochimilco in Mexico City are the best places to join in the festivities. 3. Deep South of America The tourist season in most of the USA begins to slow down in winter, but the Deep South is still in full swing. So whether its rodeos in Texas, music in Memphis or parties in New Orleans you’re after, now is the time to do it. 4. Hong Kong Most of South East Asia is at its best during our winter, but Hong Kong needs a special mention. The city can sometimes get too much for tourists during the summer heat, but the winter boasts breezy days perfect for exploring this glittering metropolitan gem. 5. Phuket November is shoulder season of Phuket and a great time to visit before prices go up. The rainy season has just ended (though you might still experience light drizzles) and the beaches are sunny once again. 6. Mauritius November is the start of summer season in Mauritius, with daily temperatures of 24°C. The temperature also increases gradually over the next few months, normally reaching 28°C. November is also just before the tourists start appearing in large numbers, so it’s a great time for good weather and secluded beaches. 7. Dubai If you’re looking for dazzling sun, but don’t want to travel to the southern hemisphere or across the Atlantic, Dubai is a great option. The Middle East is typically too hot for British holidaymakers during the summer months but when winter begins to set in, a cool breeze appears and it becomes the prefect short haul getaway. 8. Turkey Roughly the same distance from the UK as Dubai, Turkey is also a great winter sun destination without a long-haul flight. Whether it’s the cultured capital of Istanbul or one of the many family-friendly resorts in Antalya – it’s a great all-round winter sun destination. 9. Canary Islands Finally, we have the always-popular Canary Islands. Set off the coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean, these islands are permanent inclusions in best winter sun destination lists. Whether it’s the volcanic landscape of Lanzarote, the hiking in Fuerteventura , the adventure in Gran Canaria or the all-round fun of Tenerife, the Canary Islands are always a good choice. 10. Christmas Markets Not everyone is looking for sunshine at this time of year. City breaks to some of the Europe’s best Christmas markets are extremely popular in the later months of the year. A few of the biggest also open shop in mid-November so you can get your Christmas shopping finished before everyone else.
  10. It’s that time of year again when the UK skies are lit up with mesmerising light shows for Guy Fawkes Night. Like a lot of the British population, you might wish firework displays were more common throughout the year. But we see that as an excuse for a holiday. Here are seven world-famous cities that are famous for their firework displays (including somewhere in the UK). Sydney Sydney is one of the first cities in the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve, and we witness their spectacular fireworks display every year on TV. Then on the 26th of January, Darling Harbour lights up again for Australia Day along with a boat parade. Between the spellbinding light shows and the terrific weather – January is a great time to visit this iconic city. Dubai https://www.barrheadtravel.co.uk/holidays/worldwide-holidays/dubaiDubai never does things by half measures, and that includes its fireworks displays. Every New Year, revellers gather around the Burj Khalifa to witness the world’s tallest building light up with fireworks. Other areas of the city that light up with fireworks include Jumeirah Beach and Atlantis the Palm. Montreal Montreal loves fireworks so much, there’s an official competition. Going strong since 1985, the Montreal International Fireworks Competition is held every summer and features synchronised music. Tickets are pricey (usually $52 to $70 plus taxes) but there are plenty of places to view them throughout the city for free. London Since its Guy Fawkes Night we can’t not mention London . While many UK cities put on their own amazing firework displays, London’s are a step above the rest. You’ll find firework displays at Crystal Palace Park, Battersea Park, Alexandra Palace and Wembley Park (to name a few). Paris You know what makes every fireworks display better? The silhouette of the Eiffel Tower. Every year on the 14th of July, fireworks are set off from the gardens of Trocadéro for about 30 minutes and the public are welcome to watch from the Champ de Mars. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Watching the New Year’s Eve fireworks in the UK might be a chilly affair, but in Rio de Janeiro it’s a warm and tropical experience. At the start of every New Year, thousands of people gather on the sands of Copacabana Beach for a 15-minute fireworks display. Washington, D.C. The USA dazzles every 4th of July – but nowhere does it better than Washington D.C. Fireworks are set off from National Mall, and they are viewable from a plethora of places around DC. Including the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, FDR Memorial and numerous rooftop bars. Where have you witnessed an amazing fireworks display? Let us know in the comments.
  11. A beginner’s guide to Western Australia

    The biggest of Australia’s six states, Western Australia is home to everything that makes Oz great. It boasts a cosmopolitan capital city, stunning coral reef, an adventurous outback and great surf. But being on the other side of the country from the iconic Sydney or bustling Melbourne, it has a smaller tourist crowd and everything is a lot cheaper. Some travellers argue that Western Australia is the ‘real’ Australia. Ready to explore this goldmine of adventure and exploration? Here’s some key information to get you started. Where to Go Western Australia boasts a massive and diverse landscape, and we can’t possibly list everything (that’s a blog for another day!). But below we have rounded up five key places of interest that you should definitely consider. Perth The capital city of Western Australia and your first port of call if you’re flying in from international shores. It has everything you would expect from a large capital city, but still has a low-key atmosphere about it. Start your day slowly with a stroll through King’s Park – one of the largest inner city parks in the world (even NYC’s Central Park doesn’t beat it). Then finish your day by hopping on the ferry to South Perth and watching the sunset over the spectacular skyline. Margaret River Australia is recognised internationally for its delicious wines and surfing waves. Margaret River is the perfect place for both. With 100 wineries it’s no surprise that it produces 15% of the country’s premium wines. Then along the coast you’ll find 40 surf sports, ranging from powerful reef breaks to fun beach waves. Monkey Mia Part of the Shark Bay World Heritage Site, this little bay is so lovely even dolphins like to swim into shore to check it out. Every day specially trained rangers are on hand to provide insight into the dolphins who have made this bay their home. The perfect chance to learn more about these playful creatures in their natural habitat. Ningaloo Reef The Great Barrier Reef might receive most of the attention, but the Ningaloo Reef is the world’s largest fringing coral reef. If you’re wondering what fringing coral means – it’s a coral reef that is only moments from the shore. Yep, you don’t need a boat trip to see this reef; a few strokes and you’ll be snorkelling over it. The North West The places we’ve mentioned already are tucked into the South West corner of Australia. But if you want adventure we recommend heading north to Broom and Kimberley. Here you’ll experience the Australian outback. Wander through the ancient gorges of Karijini National Park, witness Australia’s highest waterfall (King George Waterfalls) and admire some of the oldest aboriginal artworks on earth. How to Get There Perth is the transport hub for the region. Here you’ll be able to catch an international flight or a plane to another beautiful area of Australia. Like any other trip Down Under, it is the perfect opportunity to stop over somewhere exotic on the way. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are both popular options. Getting around Western Australia is vast and if you want to explore corner to corner, we’d recommend a hire car. Word of warning though: fill up your tank as these roads are remote! Also remember to hire a 4x4 as the roads can get very rocky. If however, you’re planning on staying in the populated Perth and South West region, you can get by on train and coach. There are plenty of hop on and hop off tickets available. Weather and Climate The weather is always diverse when we’re talking about somewhere the size of Western Australia. But as a general rule, the south is similar to the Mediterranean, the east is desert and north is tropical. If you’re planning to travel across the state, make sure you take a variety of clothing options (and take plenty of sunscreen). Final tips and recommendations: The currency here is Australian Dollars Perth is cheaper than Sydney and Melbourne The time zone is Western Standard Time (AWST) is GMT + 8:00. The legal drinking age is 18 The school holidays work differently in Western Australia and the children have their long summer break during December and January.
  12. 10 reasons to visit Latin America

    Dramatic landscapes, diverse culture, fascinating history and salsa dancing until the early hours. Latin America is a bucket list destination for a reason. Anyone who has ever visited the continent will recount their tales of exploring ancient ruins, tucking into delicious food, mingling with the friendly locals and admiring the local craft talent in the street markets. If you’ve not yet made the journey to Latin America, here are 10 reasons why you should. 1. Two ancient world wonders If your journey includes the beautiful countries of Brazil and Peru, you’ll have the opportunity to tick two World Wonders off your list. Machu Picchu in Peru has been confusing and fascinating historians in equal measures for many years. Most believe it was constructed as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472), though other theories exist. Today it is known as the most familiar icon of Inca civilization and how life was before Latin America was discovered. Over in Rio de Janeiro, you’ll be greeted by the wide-arms of the Christ the Redeemer statue. Very hard to miss, it is located at the peak of the 2,300 foot Corcovado Mountain and is 20 metres high by 28 metres wide. 2. Ancient culture and history Machu Picchu isn’t the only captivating ancient ruin. Mexico City now stands in the same location where Tenochititlan once did. Originally the capital of the Aztec empire and the largest city in the Pre-Columbian Americas, the pyramid of Templo Mayor is one of the best examples of this fascinating time period. Another important ancient culture in Latin America is the Mayan culture. It is the only ancient culture to have developed its own writing system and is famous amongst historians for its calendars, art, architecture and astronomical system. Chichen Itza, found in the Yucatán State, is one of the best living examples of its existence. 3. The Amazon River and Rainforest Covering more than 7,000,000 square kilometres that transcends the borders of nine different countries, the Amazon Basin is one of nature’s greatest achievements. It is estimated that 40,000 species of plants and more than 4,500 animal species live within its boundaries along with 200 local tribes. It’s a great opportunity to get back to nature. If you want to stay in the Amazon Rainforest you can choose between rustic camps and luxury eco lodges. The Amazon isn’t the only impressive rainforest in Latin America, however. Costa Rica might be a small size, but it is covered in a tropical forest and is home to five percent of the world’s flora and fauna. 4. World-famous waterfalls The Amazon River isn’t the only mesmerising waterway in Latin America. Hugging the border of Argentina and Brazil lies the famous Iguazu Falls, which is considered one of the most impressive waterfall systems in the world. Over in Venezuela, you’ll find the Angel Falls – the tallest waterfall in the world standing at a height of 3,212 feet. The waterfall is remotely located and the best way to see it is to fly over on a plane tour. Kaieteur Falls in Guyana is another waterfall that attracts attention from travellers. It stands at only 700 feet but is considered to be one of the world’s most powerful waterfalls. You’ll see what we mean when you pay it a visit. 5. Beaches for all tastes Pacific, Caribbean and Atlantic: the coastline of Latin America covers a lot of ocean. Ipanema Beach in Rio is brilliant for beach sports such as football and volleyball. Máncora in Peru is popular with surfers, as is Tamarindo Beach in Costa Rica. Montañita in Ecuador is also popular with watersport fans. Shell Beach in Guyana is fantastic for wildlife spotting and outdoor enthusiasts. Manuel Antonio Beach in Costa Rica is great for adventure types who want a rainforest as a backdrop. Whether you’re looking for a romantic stroll with the perfect sunset or big waves for surfing, you’ll find it in Latin America. 6. The Andes Make sure you fit a visit to the world’s longest continental mountain range into your trip. Which isn’t hard because The Andes stretch through Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. Many of Latin America’s largest cities are constructed on top of the Andes many plateaus. Quito, Bogotá, Arequipa, Medellín, Sucre, Mérida and La Paz can all be found up in the Andes. Also, the Altiplano plateau is the world's second-highest after the Tibetan plateau. 7. Unbeatable Wildlife With such amazing landscapes, you can image the wildlife-spotting opportunities are second to none. The Galapagos Islands offer one of the most fascinating ecosystems on the planet. Located off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, their isolated location has lent a hand to the survival of many plant and animal species – including some that are found nowhere else. Another country to visit if you’re all about the wildlife and scenery is Costa Rica. Nestled into Central America, Costa Rica has become popular with eco-tourists and boats an extensive number of national parks and protected areas. If you want to see a Big Cat in the wild, Costa Rica is one of the best places to do so. Jaguars, ocelots, pumas, jaguarundi, margays, and little spotted cats all live here. There are also over 400 bird species. 8. Modern cities While Latin America is one of Mother Nature’s most prized possessions, city-lovers won’t be disappointed either. The famous Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires are filled with a lively atmosphere and every night you’ll find a salsa party going on until the early hours. But if your journey won’t take you anywhere near these two power-houses, don’t fret. The Peru capital of Lima is filled with luxury hotels, nightclubs and a lovely promenade. San José in Costa Rica is also a lively hub with international restaurants. Plus, Brazil’s largest city isn’t even Rio, it’ actually Sao Paulo. The Chilean capital of Santiago is also fast rising as a cosmopolitan hot-spot. 9. Rich gastronomy Wherever you end up in Latin America, your taste buds will thank you. Up in Mexico, you’ll love the vivid combinations of tomatoes, avocado, chilli peppers, yellow and blue corn. Mexican cuisine was even registered on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2010! Then further down you’ll find Peru, where the capital of Lima is considered one of Latin America’s foodie hubs. If you’re a seafood lover then you’ll adore the famous ceviche: fresh seafood, marinated in lime juice and chili pepper, served with boiled corn, sweet potatoes and cured onions. You’ll have the opportunity to try exotic meats like alpaca, wild boar and Guinea pig! Make sure you also grab a bottle of Inca Kola – a sweet and fruity fizzy drink that you’ll find everywhere. 10. The friendly people Latin Americans are warm and welcoming people. If you’re ever stuck for directions, the locals won’t hesitate to help you and the service in local restaurants is second to none. Whether you are relaxing on a beach in Costa Rica or hiking through the Andes of Bolivia, locals are more than happy to make sure you feel welcome in this beautiful continent.
  13. A foodie’s guide to Lanzarote

    If you love food, then you’ll love Lanzarote. This stunning Canary Island takes pride in its locally grown produce and borrows gastronomic influence from Spain, Africa and Latin America thanks to its historical position as a former trans-Atlantic port. Whether it’s freshly caught seafood, vegetables grown in volcanic sand or unique vineyards, Lanzarote boasts plenty of distinctive but delicious flavours for the discerning traveller. Freshly Caught Seafood Being an island, it probably doesn’t surprise anyone that Lanzarote restaurants offer several delicious seafood dishes. Two local delicacies that you’ll see popping up regularly on menus are the local fish Cherne, (wreckfish in English) mero (in English dusky grouper) and vieja (parrotfish). Make sure at one point you also try some Sancocho Canario, a stew made with salty fish, sweet potato, mojo and gofio bread. Fresh Tuna Steak, Calamari and Octopus are also common. If you want to taste the best seafood Lanzarote has to offer we recommend heading to the towns of El Golfo and Arrieta where much of the fish came out of the water earlier that day. Meat While locally caught fish tops the menu, meat is also very popular. Goat and rabbit are two meats that are very common and are primarily used in stews. Young goat especially is very popular – and is normally served fried or cooked in the oven. Papas Arrugadas If you read any food and drink guide concerning Lanzarote, this local potato dish will make an appearance. In order to get the skins ‘wrinkly’ texture, the potatoes are boiled in sea water and then to add flavour they are served with Mojo, a traditional Canarian sauce made with garlic and herbs or paprika. Cheese Cheese fiends are definitely not left out on a holiday to Lanzarote. The cheese found in Lanzarote is award-winning and can be made from goats, cows or sheep milk. You can find fresh, semi-fresh, smoked or cured cheese in many shops and restaurants, however cured cheeses are also sold with a mixture of olive oil and paprika or gofio creating a unique flavour. Bienmesabe You might not be immediately familiar with this dessert, but it has been called “the most famous dessert in the Canaries”. Traditionally it is made using honey, egg yolk and ground almonds – but additional ingredients can include sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and sweet wine or sherry. Volcanic wines The vineyards that grow out of the dark volcanic sands have been attracting wine connoisseurs to Lanzarote for years, and have also been awarded Protected Designation of Origin status. All the wines are grown in the fascinating La Geria region, with single vines protected from the trade winds by a semi-circular wall. Malvasia is the wine mostly associated with Lanzarote, and is defined by its characteristic light fruity flavour and are very crisp and dry making it a great accompaniment to the fish dishes that are popular on the island. Other wine varieties found across the island include Muscatel, white and black lists, Diego, and Burra White Negramoll. Dining in a volcano Lanzarote locals sure put their volcanoes to good use. In the hills of Timanfaya National Park, lies the El Diablo restaurant that cooks its food by placing a grill rack across a volcanic vent. Then there’s also Jameos del Agua in the north of the island, a restaurant found in the volcanic tunnels created by the eruption of the La Corona Volcano. Every Tuesday and Saturday you can enjoy the Jameos Night and be treated to a la carta dinner with live music.
  14. The 10 most haunted buildings in New York City

    More than 8 million people call New York City home and a further 60 million tourists visit the island every year – and apparently ghostly spirits can’t get enough of the place either! While we don’t have official numbers on how many ghosts populate NYC, we wouldn’t be surprised it goes into the thousands. Anyone looking for a spook certainly won’t be disappointed. There are numerous places you can look for paranormal activity, but today we’ve rounded up the most popular. If you’re looking for a ghost these are the best places to look. 1. Dakota Apartments While this apartment block is already infamous as the murder site of John Lennon, it’s disturbing past starts way before that. Over the years, there has been sightings of a little girl dressed in turn-of-the-century clothing, an adult with the face of a small boy, and even the ghost of Lennon himself. In 1968, the exterior of the building was also used in the horror classic Rosemary’s Baby. 2. The House of Death At 14 West 10th Street you’ll find a beautiful townhouse that has been called the most haunted building in New York City. Throughout the 20th Century the building has been the site of many gruesome crimes – and experts claim there are 22 ghosts that call the building home. Mark Twain lived here from 1900 to 1901 and his ghost has even been spotted wandering the stairway. 3. 12 Gay Street Located along one of Manhattan’s most picturesque streets lies this former speakeasy. It operated during the Prohibition era and was called the Pirate’s Den – before being bought by former NYC Mayor Jimmy Walker. Residents and neighbours have insisted that flapper girl ghosts have been seen on the property. If that wasn’t creepy enough, at one point the building was owned by Frank Paris, the creator of notorious hell-puppet Howdy Doody. 4. The Manhattan Well You’ll miss this one if you aren’t looking for it. First brought to public attention as the murder site in the Manhattan Well Murder trial of 1800 (the first American murder trial to have a recorded transcript), it’s now a site of spooky goings on. A young woman named Gulielma "Elma" Sands was found here, and a man named Levi Weeks (who had been courting her) was accused of her murder. The trial went on for weeks but – to much public outrage – Levi was acquitted. The well was filled in and built over in 1817, but was rediscovered in 1980 – and paranormal investigators claim that Gulielma Sands still haunts the area. 5. The Conference House Over on Staten Island you’ll find the only surviving pre-Revolutionary manor house in New York. It was at one point used by loyalist Colonel Christopher Billop as a station for British forces during the Revolutionary War. Plus, it was the location of the unsuccessful Staten Island Peace Conference on September 11, 1776. However, ghost hunters visit for a different reason. In 1779, Billop suspected a fifteen-year-old serving girl of spying for the rebels and threw her down a flight of stairs, killing her. Apparently her screams can still be heard today. To top it off, the house was built on a Lenape Indian burial ground. 6. Merchant’s House Museum This is one of New York City’s more under-the-nose museums. Once owned by the Tredwell family, it’s rumoured that the youngest member still lives there in spiritual form. Gertrude Tredwell lived there until her death in 1933 – and weird sights, sounds and smells have been reported. You can book yourself a ghost tour of the house. 7. Morris-Jumel Mansion Manhattan’s oldest remaining house has certainly seen its fair share of ghostly spirits. The previous owner Eliza Bowen Jumel is a common sight, but the ghosts of a solider and a young girl aren’t unheard of. 8. White Horse Tavern This sophisticated pub was quite the hangout for tortured writers back in the early 1950s. One of them, a poet named Dylan Thomas, drank too much whiskey and collapsed on the pavement outside. He later died in hospital but it’s rumoured that his ghost returned to the pub. 9. New Amsterdam Theatre If you’re seeing a show here, keep your eyes peeled for an extra performer. A onetime Ziegfeld Follies chorus girl named Olive Thomas died by suicide here in 1920, and there have been reported sightings since. Her pictures have been hung up at every entrance so that the cast and crew can greet her on their way in and out. Apparently she has remained a friendly ghost and keeps her peace with the living. 10. Hotel Chelsea If you’re looking for some celebrity ghost sightings, it’s rumoured that the ghost of Charles R. Jackson and Nancy Spungen wander the Hotel Chelsea at 222 West 23rd Street. Currently it is closed for renovations but will reopen in 2018. There’s plenty more haunted building in NYC aside from these ones. Have we missed any of that you think are especially spooky?
  15. 10 amazing Australia bucket list experiences

    When it comes to bucket list experiences, Australia does not disappoint. The country is a gold mine for adventure. Blessed with a variety of landscapes ranging from lively cosmopolitan hubs through to desert plains and the colourful ocean life minutes from its shores. Whether you’re a city lover, scuba diver, wildlife-seeker, sports enthusiast or adrenaline junkie, Australia has a once-in-a-lifetime experience for you. So grab your bucket list, we’re about to tick a few things off it. Diving in the Great Barrier Reef Definitely one of Mother Nature’s proudest achievements, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral ecosystem. There are several ways to admire the reef, whether it’s scuba diving or from above on a boat trip. Either way, this is a bucket list experience that everyone must do once in their life. Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb For the best views of this famous city, book yourself a Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. It’s not for the faint hearted but it offers unbeatable views (especially at night) and is a great way to get your adrenaline pumping. Meet dolphins in the wild Dolphins are friendly creatures, but usually you need to take a boat trip to see them. Their usual home is along the shores of Monkey Mia in Western Australia, however, they regularly swim into shallow waters to mingle with humans. Organised tours are operated by locals who know the best spots and have their own personal stories. Travel through the outback on board The Ghan Considered one of the world’s greatest rail journeys, The Ghan Railway reaches areas of Australia that are otherwise inaccessible. Crossing the states of Southern Australia and Northern Territories, the train will stop off at Alice Springs, Katherine, and Coober Pedy (the end points are Adelaide and Darwin). Drive the Ocean Road Over in the southern state of Victoria, lies Australia’s most scenic road trip. The Great Ocean Road is the world’s largest war memorial (it was built to commemorate WW1 veterans) and runs by several prominent landmarks. The most famous of these landmarks is the Twelve Apostles limestone stack formations. Soak up the atmosphere of Melbourne Melbourne definitely takes the top spot as Australia’s coolest city. It’s the perfect place to view colourful street art, shop in stylish second-hand stores, enjoy international fusion cuisine and drink cool cocktails into the early hours. Remember to also take a day to relax, embrace the city’s café culture and soak up the atmosphere – in a city as interesting as Melbourne, this is sometimes all you need to do. Cage Dive with Great White Sharks If you’re an experienced diver, head to South Australia and come face-to-face with one of the ocean’s greatest creatures. Most tours have to be booked in advance and many operators request that you already know how to work scuba equipment. There’s also the option of watching from the boat though. Witness the Aurora Australis The northern lights might get more attention, but the lesser known southern lights are just as spectacular. They are a lot more elusive (and your timing needs to be impeccable) but it is undeniably worth it. The best time to see them is September with secluded Tasmania topping the list of locations. Watch the sunset over Uluru Rock Complete your Australian adventure with this fiery sunset. While the drive to Uluru rock is far (and bumpy!) the red glow from the rock in the later hours is one nature’s best tricks. What’s your top Australia bucket list experience? How many have you ticked off?