Disney holidays in 2012 – and a road trip or two

Florida, lying at the south eastern tip of the US has been a popular destination for British tourists in recent years. A number of factors contribute to the State’s appeal – the climate, which is sub-tropical and considerably warmer than the UK, is probably the first. Florida holidays are also surprisingly cheap despite, or perhaps because of the recession, offering families an affordable destination with a range of attractions. The State has been catering to tourists for many years and has a world-class hospitality industry – not to mention more theme parks than the kids could ever dream of! Florida is also a good choice for those looking for twin centre holidays. Combining time in the theme parks around Orlando, with a visit to Miami in the south to round off the holiday with a touch of the high life is an ideal way to experience some of the best that Florida has to offer.

Orlando – the city of dreams

If you are planning a multi-centre holiday to Florida, the city of Orlando and the surrounding region should be a great starting point; especially if you plan to tire the kids out at the start of the holiday. Theme parks have sprung up in the tropical climate almost as fast as the local lush, green landscapes. Walt Disney World® Resort is great for kids of younger age ranges, the Universal Orlando Resort ® provides thrills for older kids (and adults), and now includes the ‘Wizarding World of Harry Potter ®’, which is great for kids of most ages. SeaWorld® Orlando should offer something for everyone, with its unbelievable collection of exotic – occasionally scary – sea creatures and experiences; SeaWorld® Orlando is ideal for those with kids of any age but particularly good for young children and toddlers.

The road trip

For the second part of multi centre holidays, a road trip south should be considered. Cruising along the highways that run alongside palm-fringed coasts, is a relaxing way to get to your destination – so relaxing you’ll not care when cries of ‘are we there yet’ start issuing from the back seats. Miami is about as far south as you can get in the continental US. Popular with the rich and famous, the city sparkles on the Straits of Florida and is home to many a star for at least some of the year. The city is full of excellent restaurants, bars, nightclubs and some extremely high-class shopping opportunities present themselves for shopping enthusiasts. Miami is a great place for sampling the high life for a little while and accommodation in the city is generally of an excellent standard – though there are options to suit most budgets.

Beyond the sea

Miami should be it, when it comes to the US, but one last and very relaxing way to end your holiday is just down the road. The Florida Keys are a string of tiny coral reef islands that stretch out towards the Caribbean; Highway One – telling known as the Overseas Highway – continues south from Miami, apparently ignorant of the fact that the sea is in the way. The lifestyle on the Keys is probably where the phrase ‘laid back’ originates, making them the perfect place to round off a busy, exciting multi centre holiday in the USA.

Why Skiing Makes a Great Holiday

If you’re feeling a bit jaded with city breaks and ‘del sol’, drenched resorts, there’s one thing that will truly invigorate you: snow. And I don’t just mean watching it fall from the warmth of your arm chair, or the slushy brown stuff you see on your way home from work. I mean booking a ski chalet and taking to the slopes.

If your only experience of skiing is watching the Winter Olympics, you might be thinking that it’s an activity reserved for elite athletes. Granted, it’s fantastic exercise, but you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to enjoy it. Europe has a deep skiing tradition coupled with warm hospitality that’s just begging to be enjoyed.
All resorts offer expert instruction on gentle beginner slopes. There you’ll learn sound technique before graduating to the mountain.

If you have a fear of the cold, ski clothing is designed to keep you warm and dry, and with all the falling down and getting up to try again, you might even break a sweat. If you’re considering your first ski holiday, it’s better to rent equipment while you’re getting a taste for the sport. All resorts offer equipment hire and expert advice from people who ski themselves.

Children are especially welcomed and with kids classes at every resort, they often master the basics quicker than adults.
Accommodation varies, but you’ll generally find that chalets offer comfortable bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom – in some cases en suite in every room – a log fire and TV with DVD player. Ideal for families. Basic accommodation in Europe is required to be of a good standard and while you do get what you pay for, cheap prices don’t mean dirty sheets and cockroaches. As with most holidays, you have the choice of a catered chalet or a self catering chalet within a resort town, just a short walk from the local gastronomy.

What do ski chalet breaks offer?
  • A comfortable and well equipped chalet – a home away from home.
  • Equipment hire
  • Lessons with qualified instructors in Alpine (downhill) and Nordic (cross country) techniques.
  • A variety of slopes to challenge your skiing abilities.
  • Friendly locals and welcoming atmosphere.
What should you pack for your first ski holiday?

Thermals: Even though you are doing a physical activity, a good base layer will help you retain the warmth you’ve generated and keep you body temperature constant.

Sun block: You don’t usually associate sunburn snow, but just as UV rays reflect off water, they also reflect of the glistening snow, leaving you will a sun burnt face. Lips are especially vulnerable and can be painful when exposed to icy winds. Sunglasses or goggles are also useful. Goggles can be rented along with other equipment.

Wherever you decide to choose to go for your ski chalet breaks, the cold mountain air will be invigorating, the welcome warm, the food hearty, the scenery beautiful and you’ll return home fresher and fitter than when you arrived.

TGV European Rail Map

Updated TGV European Rail Map avalilable to download!!

2011-2012 Ski Fashion

Davos Ski

Good news! Winter is almost here. Temperatures dropped and snow already fell in some skiing areas. The new ski season is ahead of us now and we can’t wait to hit the slopes of the world again. However, a new ski season means new ski gear and fashion. Have everything you need for your next skiing holidays.

Let’s start with ski goggles and helmets, because safety is the most important thing when skiing or snowboarding. A few brands have specialised in that area like Giro, a Californian brand that focuses on safety and style. Giro helmets are either hardshell or in-mold construction: hardshell being cheaper but made up of a durable plastic shell that will efficiently protect your skull, while in-mold construction combines a tough polycarbonate outer shell with the helmet’s impact-absorbing foam liner which make it lighter and better ventilated. On top of that you can find them both in different colours and styles that will go with your ski outfit.

The Swedish brand POC also provides great helmets in flashy colours. All the helmets have been tested by the top sport athletes which is a proof of quality.

Once you have the helmet, you need the right goggles. Smith Optics specialises in eye protection and offers trendy goggles to choose from. No doubt you will find the right ones for next winter.

Ski clothing is as essential as safety. Famous brands such as Quicksilver have kept their new collection secret for now, but we noticed new ski fashion trends in other retailers. The technology is improving, and jackets can now be equipped with a watch, a compass or even a weather indicator. You don’t believe us? Rossignol did it. But that’s not all, the brand Voelkl imagined and created a new clothing line made up of Sympatex material. It fits your body perfectly, whilst allowing it to breathe, and last but not least, it is biodegradable!

More ski fashion is on the way now but with that selection of brands you already have an idea of what to get for your next ski holidays, for sure!

Don’t forget that there are many ways to go skiing in Europe, with airports and railway stations right in the heart of the Alps. Check TGV Train service to get the cheapest fares.

Interested in UK Travel? Read more articles on the blog.

Tie the knot in Tuscany – or thereabouts…

Rome, Venice, Florence – just saying the names of these wonderful Italian cities makes us think of art, good food, couture and, ultimately, romance.
So it’s fitting that when it comes to planning your dream wedding abroad that Italy, with its lemon groves, stunning sunsets, dreamy vineyards and Tuscan hills features right up there as one of the main contenders for the top spot.
However, although getting married in a foreign country is wonderful and often adds to the romance of your special day, the preparation for the event is no picnic. There’s certainly laws you have to consider for instance in certain countries such as France and Portugal they’ll expect you to have been resident there for at least 30 days prior to your nuptials. Happily in Italy there is no such law however you WILL need an official Italian interpreter for the vows.
You can check what paperwork you’ll need by contacting the appropriate embassy (i.e. that of your own country) in Italy.

Getting there

If you’re the type who keeps an eye on the travel news then you’ll know that, thanks to the the onset of budget airlines, it’s never been easier – or cheaper - to touch down on Italian soil regardless of where in the country your planned destination is.
Car hire is also available for driving around those Tuscan hills or the Riviera while ItaliaRail – the national railway is reliable and won’t break the bank.


Remember, being a Mediterranean country it becomes extremely hot during the most intense summer months of July and August. November to March can also be problematic due to the rain. That leaves May, June and September as the most popular months for tying the knot so bear this in mind when it comes to booking your reception.


You can have a religious wedding ceremony in Italy, provided you’ve had a civil one first. Roman Catholics have no such restriction as the Italian authorities regard catholic ceremonies as legally binding. Those who opt for just a civil ceremony won’t be disappointed by the splendour and atmosphere of the Registry Offices in Italy which often double as historical attractions.


You can imagine just how many gorgeous little restaurants and pavement cafes there are in Italy. However, for large-scale receptions it’s often better to look for one of the larger hotels such as the Holiday Inn who specialise in Matrimoni Sale (or wedding halls). Here they’ll also take care of the music, entertainment and catering for you, including the cake (and in Italy of course, the food is a main event in itself).
Booking your reception in a popular hotel means it’s also easy for your guests to simply troop upstairs to their rooms after celebrating with you.


One of the most romantic spots of all is Venice where there’s always the possibility of your brand new nearest and dearest serenading you on a Gondola. Then again, a Tuscan farmhouse is hard to beat for sheer idyllic contentment. For beauty and elegance there’s the Italian Riviera. Need we go on?

Winter Skiing Destinations in Slovenia

Instead of staying in and wrapping up warm this winter, why not embrace the chill and head to Slovenia for a holiday in the snow? It’s not the first location you may think of for a holiday and because of this it remains quiet and unspoilt. Providing a wide variety of winter sports and activities, there’s sure to be something for all the family to enjoy.

Kranjska Gora

Located in the Julian Alps, Slovenia’s leading ski resort has plenty to offer; with ski instructors for skiers of all abilities (even for skiers with no experience at all), equipment for hire and all the snow you could possibly need, there’s no excuse not to brush up on your skills! If you fancy something a little different then why not try snowboarding? It’s said to be easier than skiing and it’s always fun to try something new.

If you’re a more experienced skier then take a tour of the 40 kilometres of cross country track that this resort has to offer; taking you through Kranjska Gora, past the Sava River and back again, not only will you have fun on the way you’ll take in some incredible, magical landscapes.

Perfect for families; with high class childcare, and activities for older kids, they can either learn to ski with Mum and Dad, or enjoy the company of other children. There are ice skating lessons for the little ones; so if you’d rather lounge back in a log cabin and keep cosy, there’s plenty to ensure the kids aren’t bored. Take the big-kid route and go sledding? A timeless activity, it’s one of the simplest and best ways to enjoy the snow! If the idea of board sports and skiing is a bit too daunting for you, there’s nothing better just having a snowball fight, or making a snowman.


Located at the edge of Triglav National Park, Bohinj is one of the most stunning skiing areas in the country, with its unspoilt scenery its home to the largest natural lake in Slovenia, Lake Bohinj.

Bohinj’s facilities are mainly for beginners and intermediates, so it’s the ideal location if you’re just starting out and for families too. With several villages scattered around the resort, you’ll be close to any home comforts that you may need; head to Bohinijska Bistrica if you need an extra jumper (or two), or souvenirs for relatives.

Head off into the mountains on one of the gondolas, which provide easy access to the pistes. Kobel is the largest and is located above the main village so it’s no distance at all. You could take a different route and head up to Vogel; even at an altitude of 1,800m there are nursery slopes for the beginners. If you don’t fancy heading all the way back down, you can simply soak up the breath-taking scenery, but with 25% of the slopes specifically for beginners, you could always give it a go! Also brilliantly suited to cater for young families, there are a wide range of alternative activities to partake in, such as ice-skating and sledding.

Unwind after a hard day’s skiing and head off to the low-key après-ski venues that are scattered throughout the surrounding villages. Bars can be found in most of the hotels, such as the Ski Hotel Vogel, which is just a short trip away at the top of the ski area – enjoy a cold beer or hot chocolate and relax whilst you take in these beautiful views. Indulge in a warming evening meal and sample some of the local rustic cuisine.


Located just an hour away, arrange car hire Ljubljana Airport and take the scenic route here. Recline in comfort at this quiet resort, perfect if you want to avoid the busier locations. Krvavec is situated only 25 minutes from Kranj so why not spend a day in this picturesque city and take a stroll around the 13th century Kieselstein Castle.

Back at the resort you’ll find 35 kilometres of pisted ski runs, reachable in just 7 minutes with the gondola, or slow the pace and explore this winter wonderland further while you amble around the scenic hiking trails. Of course, if you’d prefer to admire the view from afar, why not stay indoors and hire out a room at the Apartma Kokl, located within beautiful, quiet gardens, overlooking the River Sava.

If you love the winter and snow, go all out and hire an igloo for the night! Whether you’re on your honeymoon, fancy a romantic escape, or if you’re just looking to be a bit different, there are igloos for hire that come with beds covered in cosy furs you’ll be able to wrap up warm and enjoy the winter at the same time.

Whatever you decide to do on your winter holiday, ensure you make the most of it by visiting Slovenia; embrace the cold and enjoy the snow while it lasts!

Kranjska Gora


pirano Bob

Lake Bohinj

sam and jo



meteo Matej Pangerc

What to Look for in a Luxury Hotel in Yorkshire

All travellers get to a point where they have had enough of sleeping in 10-man dorms in grebby student hostels. Usually, most travellers will factor in a little bit of luxury to their journey – it may just be a couple of nights in a luxury hotel and a meal in a fine restaurant, but this is exactly what we need to rebuild our strength and push us on to the next leg of the journey.
The county of Yorkshire is a good place to have as your luxury stop. There are a plethora of luxury restaurants and hotels, all with stunning countryside surroundings, perfect for catching your breath and restoring your energy.
When you select a luxury hotel in Yorkshire, here are a few things you might want to keep an eye out for.

1. Surroundings

As we’ve already mentioned, there are some absolutely stunning landscapes to be taken in the Yorkshire area. When checking yourself in to a luxury hotel in Yorkshire, make sure you go for one set in the heart of the Yorkshire countryside.
It would seem a waste to splash all that cash on a luxury hotel if the surroundings do not match the inside decoration and facilities of the hotel. One of Yorkshire’s main assets is its countryside; why not really enjoy it by staying in a luxury hotel, in luxury surroundings.

2. Fine Dining

Great surroundings and a comfortable bed are one thing, but a high quality meal prepared by a world class chef truly is something else. You want the cuisine of your luxury hotel to also be up to a luxury standard.
Scope out the restaurant of the hotel you’ve got your eye on, on their website. Most luxury hotels are quick to boast about the food they serve up, so you’ll definitely be able to get a feel for the food they make before you make a decision to stay there.

3. Pampering

Last, and not least, you’ll need to make sure you’re going to get well and truly pampered at your luxury hotel Yorkshire. You might be in the mood for the full spa treatment, in which case you will need to ensure your luxury hotel can cater for your needs.
Others will want to squeeze in a bit of exercise during their stay at a luxury hotel in Yorkshire. If this is you, then a gym and swimming pool is an absolute must in your luxury hotel.

Unusual Days Out on UK Tours

It’s fair to say that today’s traveller is looking to do something outside of the normal tourist traps. UK tours that just encompass the usual hotspots are somewhat passé, travellers now want to get off the beaten track, experience something a bit out-of-the-ordinary.
If you are sick-to-death or plain don’t fancy Stonehenge, Edinburgh Castle or Buckingham Palace, then why not embark on one of these more unusual days out, when you’re out and about in theUnited Kingdom.
1.       Brownsea Island

Brownsea Island is about as ‘dawn sarf’ (down south) as you can get in the United Kingdom. The largest island off the county of Dorset is a hidden treasure in the UK, as well as being a destination that many tourists will overlook or miss.

The picturesque island is notable for being the first camp of the Boy Scout Movement in 1907, and was also used to confuse Nazi air bombers during World War 2.

2.       Go Ape 
If you’re looking for something a little more exhilarating then a day out to an island, then why not take your partner or your family to Go Ape. Go Ape is a self-defined ‘tree top adventure’.

You’ll use ladders, walkways, bridges, tunnels and rope to negotiate your way across the tops of various UK forests, all under the supervision of an expert instructor of course! It’s great fun, and the views aren’t too bad either.

There are 27 Go Ape courses all over the country, so no matter what route your UK tours are heading in, there is a high chance you’ll be able to factor in this pulse racing activity.

3.       The Dog Collar Museum
Strange as it sounds, this place actually exists! Currently exhibiting at the Leeds Castle in Kent, this collection of rare, historic and fascinating dog collars is a must for all dog lovers and indeed, history lovers. The collection spans five centuries and contains some of the most unusual dog collars you will have ever seen!

This truly is an unusual day out for any UK tours party – for more ideas on days out when travelling keep an eye on UK travel news.

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