What’s hot: June 2015

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

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


France for foodies

a whole basket full of truffles

Seven nights in rural France enjoying Michelin standard dinners might seem an indulgence to many, but award winning cycling holiday operator Cycling for Softies can help justify such a treat. The company has launched three new gourmet tours in Alsace, Burgundy and Provence which offer holidaymakers the chance to enjoy at least four Michelin starred dinners, while the days are spent working up an appetite exploring the regions’ fabulous countryside on two wheels. The new holidays have been designed for serious foodies and prices start from £1485 for five nights in Provence.

Taking a break in Britain
The UK is set to enjoy a tourism boost this year, according to research by vouchercodes.co.uk,  as 83 per cent opt for a holiday at home – a rise of 17 per cent on 2014. The lure of British shores, country pubs and cosmopolitan cities means the UK is now the no. 1 holiday destination for Brits, beating the nearest contender, Europe, by 16 per cent. Perennial favourite Cornwall is cream of the crop for UK getaways for the fifth year running, with one in five Brits opting for cream teas, surfing and rolling Cornish countryside as their getaway of choice in 2015. Those surveyed also showed their love of a city break, with the South West hotspot closely followed by London in the list of most popular staycation destinations. British beauty spots including the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales took third and fourth place respectively, while the south coast seaside town of Bournemouth completed the top five.

Star spotting in Tenerife

Stephen Hawking, Brian May, Garik Israelian and Carlos Alonso

Stephen Hawking, Brian May, Garik Israelian and Carlos Alonso

Tenerife will host the Starmus Festival for the third time, later this month. Taking place on the island from 27 June to 2 July, the event will bring together the world’s leading space travellers, stargazers and astrophysicists for an interactive extravaganza, inviting the general public to discover the wonders of the Cosmos through science, art and music. Under the theme ‘Beyond the Horizon – Tribute to Stephen Hawking’ the 2016 event will take inspiration from the legendary man himself and the notion that nothing is impossible. A comprehensive programme of events will include lectures from key note speakers, round table discussions, exclusive music performances, creative arts exhibitions and visits to local observatories.


Going Greek
Reaching the Greek island of Zakynthos, has just got easier thanks to easyJet. Everyone’s favourite orange airline has launched an  inaugural flight to Zakynthos from Liverpool John Lennon Airport which will operate once a week throughout summer 2015. The new route is the budget airline’s 30th destination from Liverpool. Flights from Liverpool to Zakynthos, start at £33.99 per person, one-way. Got your passport?


Topping up travel insurance policies
travel insurance
If you already have a policy but need more cover, you don’t have to replace it – simply ‘Top it up!’ The range of Top Up My Cover policies offered by P J Hayman Travel Insurance Specialists include cancellation (allowing individuals with existing travel insurance policies to top them up if their existing cancellation limit is lower than the cost of the holiday they have purchased), activities (providing additional ‘top-up’ cover for higher-risk holiday activities for which a replacement specialist policy would otherwise be required) among others. Details of all policies are available at www.TopUpMyCover.com


Partying in Palm Springs

jeep and flowers in Palm springs

The Californian desert city of Palm Springs is  celebrating an important anniversary in 2015: the 100th birthday of Frank Sinatra, one of the city’s most famous former residents. Visitors can expect special events and parties to mark the occasion plus celebrity tours taking in some of his most popular old haunts.  Born on 12 December 1915, Sinatra made his first million in 1946 and celebrated by commissioning a modernist house in the Palm Springs Movie Colony neighbourhood, where Bob Hope, Cary Grant and a host of other big names once owned houses. This example of celebrity history still features the piano-shaped swimming pool he had built outside, as well as a chip in the sink from where he was rumoured to have smashed a champagne bottle during an argument with his then-girlfriend, Hollywood actress Ava Gardner.

Studying Spanish by Skype
Te gustaría aprender Español?… Do you want to learn Spanish? If the answer is ‘Si’ yet you struggle to commit to regular ‘class based’ lessons, why not learn the world’s most spoken language online with a native Spanish speaker? One on one lessons are available with Paula – a personable Argentine twenty something lady – at times that suit you via a Skype video conference. Whether you want lessons in Spanish grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, linguistics or informal Spanish conversation practice, Paula can satisfy all your Spanish language-learning needs in the comfort of your own home. Sounds good? Email SpanishenSkype@gmail.com

Travelling to the Big Apple, business class
Boutique all-business-class French airline,  La Compagnie,  is now offering upto six business class flights per week from London Luton to New York Newark. La Compagnie uses exclusively redesigned Boeing 757-200 aircraft customised with a stylish interior and 74 lie-flat seats in a 2×2 configuration throughout a spacious, single aisle cabin. Passengers get to enjoy the use of a personal Samsung Galaxy Pro 12” tablet, which can actually be removed from the seat backs and used wirelessly while on-board our planes. All tablets come fully uploaded with an assortment of e-books, magazines, music and of course the latest movies. Elsewhere in-flight amenity kits including cosmetic products from natural French skincare brand Caudalie, as well as delicious in-flight meals with seasonal menus created by acclaimed French chef Christophe Langrée, former chef of Hotel de Matignon. La Compagnie is the brainchild of two recognised leaders in the field of air transportation – Frantz Yvelin and Peter Luethi – who both believe that business-class travel and personalised service can be offered at much more respectable fares than currently available.


Postcards set for a second lease of life


Far from being old-hat, recent research from nearly 2,500 Holiday Extras customers has revealed that the humble postcard could be set for comeback, and it’s the young that are leading the resurgence. According to the recent poll from the UK’s number one add-ons company, 18-30 year olds are the most likely to buy postcards, with 35% claiming that they purchase them while on holiday, rising to 40% for women in the same age group. In contrast, under a fifth (19%) of 31-49 year olds admitted to buying postcards while away.
The research also revealed that 7% of the postcards bought by 18-30 year olds are never even sent! On the contrary, they’re bought as a souvenir for themselves, compared to 2% of over 66 year olds who buy a card to keep. Family members are most likely to receive a postcard, with 14% of all those polled saying that they buy postcards to send to a relative.



Drunken passengers

Sitting next toto drunk passengers has overtaken unruly children in the nation’s list of ‘plane annoying’ behaviour, according to new research from Gocompare.com Travel Insurance. 1,800 UK adults who had flown abroad were polled and picked drunk passengers (64%) ahead of crying children (62%) as their top aeroplane annoyances. Other in-flight irritations include rude cabin crew, poor quality in-flight meals and chatty fellow passengers.


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