What’s hot: December 2014

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Just About Travel tells you what’s hot and what’s not in the travel world

 

HOT
Making for the Mediterranean
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Fancy spending summer 2015 in the Med? Happily the Mediterranean will be more accessible come summer 2015, thanks to a host of new, affordable flights from British Airways. Flights to Olbia in Sardinia will start at £45 while flights to Split in Croatia and Kos and Corfu in Greece will start from £55. One word: result!

Spending time on Tripr
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Unless you’ve had your head under a rock for the past year, you’ll have heard of Tinder – the casual online dating app that finds users potential matches near them. Now say hello to Tripr – aka Tinder for travellers. The new app aims to help you make friends in your next destination, before you’ve even left home. Once you’ve set up your profile (using your Facebook account), you’ll be able to search for fellow Triprs, locals or both. Want to meet up with someone who has caught your eye? Swipe yes and cross your fingers that they do the same! Otherwise it’s back to making mates the old school way.

BA Business class service to New York
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The twice daily British Airways business class flights to New York are flying high, five years after they were launched. The business class only airline service between London City and JFK in the Big Apple has flown 200,000 passengers – some paying as much as £6,000 return – since the inaugural departure on 30 September 2009. The success is all the more welcome considering the launch came a year after the fall of the Lehman Brothers, when three business only airlines (Maxjet, Eos and Silverjet) all collapsed.


Going to Geneva

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Jaunts to Geneva by train are about to get easier: from 16 December 2014 you can travel by train from London St Pancras to Geneva in just over six hours. Eurostar trains will change in Lille instead of Paris – where passengers need to switch stations – thus reducing the journey time by up to an hour. What’s more, if you’re a skier, your ski equipment can be carried on for free. See you on the slopes!

Becoming au fait with Iran
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Iran has – against the odds – come under the travel spotlight in 2014. The number of foreigners visiting the country has jumped dramatically by an impressive 35 per cent on the previous year – despite the fact that the Foreign Office advises against travel to Iran which borders seven countries including Afghanistan, Iraq and Turkey. The Iranian Embassy in London reopened in February 2014 after it was shut down over diplomatic tensions two years ago.

Christmas Unwrapped

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It’s time – if you haven’t already done so – to start the big Christmas shop for while it’s the thought that counts, a great gift always helps! But chances are there’s always one person who you drive yourself crazy trying to find the perfect present for, correct? Experience gifts are a great way to avoid Yuletide tantrums and one of our favourites is Talk of the Town’s ‘Christmas Unwrapped’ walking tour: expect ­mulled wine, a spot of carol singing, and of course, lots of lovely Christmas stories. Gift vouchers for all of Talk of the Town’s  tours can be purchased online – ideal for those who want to avoid the Christmas crowds and do their Christmas shopping from the comfort of their home.

America

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Perhaps it’s because we’ve only just finished celebrating Thanksgiving (an American tradition that much like Halloween, we Brits are adopting in our droves) but here at JAT HQ, America seems especially appealing at this time of year. But forget Florida and try a new US destination – Atlanta anyone? Or how about looking to Louisiana and it’s favourite city, New Orleans? Just don’t forget to send us a postcard.

 

Skating at Wembley Stadium

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For some people, it’s the putting up of the Christmas tree which signals that the countdown to Crimbo has officially begun. For others it is the sound of carols being sung or the smell of mince pies but for JAT it’s the opening of the capital’s outdoor ice rinks that says: Christmas is just around the corner. This year veteran rinks – Somerset House, the Natural History Museum et al – face competition in the form of the new rink at Wembley Park which offers skaters the chance to slide around under Wembley Stadium’s iconic arch.

Best book

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If you read just one book this month, make it Tsunami Kids: Our Journey From Survival To Success by Rob and Paul Forkan. After the devastating loss of their parents in the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, the brothers went on to launch Gandys – a range of ethical flip flops – so as to fund charity, Orphans for Orphans. Part biography, part travel guide, this book manages to be both funny and touching by turns.

 

NOT
Salt Lake City

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Utah’s Salt Lake City caused consternation last month by rebranding itself as Ski City USA  in a winter marketing campaign, which cost approximately USD$1.8 million (£1.15 million). Salt Lake City’s new name didn’t go down well with Steamboat Springs, Colorado, which has long been known as Ski Town USA, and subsequently led to a lawsuit being filed. Visit Salt Lake agreed to drop the ‘USA’ and call itself Ski City – a decision which resulted in the lawsuit, brought about by Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp, being similarly dropped.

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