What’s hot: September 2015

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

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

HOT

India made easier
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Huzzah! India has finally extended its e-Tourist online visa facility to the UK meaning that British nationals can apply and pay for a visa online unto four days before departure. The price has come down from £92 per person to a more wallet friendly £40 per person. Previously applying for a visa  to India was a patience testing process that could last several weeks and involve various trips to the application centre in Farringdon. The new e-visas are valid for arrival at 11 airports including Mumbai and New Delhi.

Popping to Panama

the Centennial Bridge across the Panama Canal

The Centennial Bridge across the Panama Canal


From 1 February 2016, Emirates will operate the world’s longest non-stop flight. The Dubai based airline will fly from the desert kingdom to Panama City – a distance of 8,600 miles – in 17 hours and 35 minutes, saving around six hours on the current one stop via Amsterdam. At present the longest flight is between Sydney (Australia) and Dallas (USA) on Qantas, which weighs in at just under 17 hours.
Closer to home, British Airways’ longest long-haul trip is the Heathrow to Buenos Aires service (14 hours) while Virgin Atlantic’s longest nonstop flight is Hong Kong to London (12hr 45min).

The Hoxton heads to Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Following the successful launches of their Holborn and Shoreditch outposts, The Hoxton has opened its doors in Amsterdam on the famous Herengracht canal. Made up of five canal houses, this grand dame building was once home to the Mayor, way back in the 17th century. Now it houses 111 rooms spread across five floors with plenty of quirks including some monumental ceilings and lots of canal views – the property boasts not one but two canals, one on each side of the building. Downstairs there’s the restaurant Lotti’s run in partnership with Soho House & Co (so expect stylish interiors) while up top, you’ll find the mezzanine coffee and cocktail den, lobby bar and The Apartment, a drop dead gorgeous meeting and event space.

Europe’s first tequila hotel

Sandown beach

El Patron, a popular Mexican cocktail and tapas bar in Putney, is spreading its wings and opening a hotel in the centre of the Isle of Wight. Renowned for their quirky interior, late-night fiestas and authentic menus, El Patron Isle of Wight will open in the historic Charter House – a striking red brick, grade II building in the idyllic St Thomass Square – and will be Europe’s first tequila hotel. The exterior will feature classical architectural structures, contrasted by the eclectic interior inside, which will be transformed into a Mexican playground with exposed brick walls, Latino inspired artwork, colourful Mediterranean style shutters, a corrugated iron bar, and reclaimed material from former warships. There will also be a restaurant serving Mexican street food and six bedrooms,each themed around a different drink from El Patrons extensive tequila menu. 

Travel dating
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Hot on the heels of Tinder and Tourbar, comes Misstravel.com – a new app that aims to connect ‘potentially lonely’ travellers who looking for dates in oversea destinations with blokes who will foot their flight and hotel bills in “some instances.” The app is the brainchild of Brandon Wade – the man behind several controversial sugar dating sites – and offers a GPS browsing element. Translation? You can find ‘travellers’ who are not only in the same city as you but at the same airport or even on the same flight.

Noshing in Nashville

Nashville skyline

Nashville is all about guitars, bars and country music stars (not for nothing is it known as‘Music City’) but in recent years NashVegas has also become a top food town leading Conde Nast Traveler to declare: “There’s enough going on food-wise to warrant a trip solely for eating”. Get to grips with Nashville’s burgeoning food scene by signing up for a three hour Walk Eat Nashville food tour. The new tour includes the six tasting stops ate restaurants and artisan food shops such as Lakeland Table – a dry goods store that has been transformed into a restaurant specialising in Southern-accented American chow & wood-fired pizzas. Sign us up…

Ice ice baby: new designs for this winter’s ICEHOTEL hotel revealed

Sculpted snow above St Anton

With just over three months to go until the 26th ICEHOTEL – the world’s first hotel built entirely of ice and snow – in Swedish Lapland opens its doors (on 11 December 2015), its structural plans and unique designs have been revealed.
From a life-sized ice elephant and a Russian imperial- inspired theatre set, to a room full of flying sheep and a 1970’s love capsule, there will be 19 uniquely crafted suites built. The amount of snow taken to create its 55 rooms, church and bar is enough to make a staggering 700 million snowballs, with its frozen chandeliers using 1000 hand cut ice crystals. Designers from around the world will be involved in the hotel’s distinctive designs including a team from the UK. Located in the picturesque village of Jukkasjärvi in Swedish Lapland, just 200km north of the Arctic Circle, the ICEHOTEL is surrounded by snow- covered fells and pristine pine forests. Each year, artists use frozen water from the nearby Torne River to create the structure, forming an exclusive ‘pop up’ hotel, before it’s left to melt back into the river the following spring.


NOT
Driving on the Continent

colourful autumn in Door County

Low confidence, lack of knowledge and poor language skills make driving on the continent a trial for British drivers on holiday – and probably their European hosts too.  New research from Holiday Extras reveals that 26% of us struggle with driving on the right hand side and 36% say that navigating and understanding road signs is a challenge.   A mere 11% said they positively enjoyed the experience of driving when abroad. We are so anxious about getting lost that 67% think it would be a good idea for road signs to be in English in tourist hotspots such as airports, ports and tourist destinations.  Of these 37% said that all road signs on the continent should be in English.

Drunk and disorderly behaviour
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As excessive drinking in airports continues to dominate the headlines, new research from Holiday Extras has revealed that the scale of the issue may be even greater than first feared. What’s more, the identity of the biggest pre-board boozers may come as a surprise! The research, which involved more than 1,000 members of the public nationwide, shows that almost half of Brits have witnessed alcohol related problems at the airport. A further one in 10 people consider excessive drinking before a flight to be far too common. Perhaps the most surprising results to come from the poll are the profiles of passengers most likely to push the limits of a pre-trip tipple. Young professional males aged 25 – 34 were the biggest drinkers according to the poll, followed by women aged over 65 who admitted to consuming the most compared to any other age group for their gender. These older ladies are four times more likely to drink in excess of eight units than the average Brit (man or woman)!

Holiday stress
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A recent survey by travel experts momondo of 1,000 Brits showed that while 54% generally admitted to feeling more relaxed on holiday, there are certain elements of a trip they found stress-inducing. And these stressful moments appear to affect women, more so than men.
For example, 33% of women asked found the holiday planning stage stressful, compared to  just 23% of men.The journey time – i.e. transfers and flights to a destination – can cause stress for 33% of women, compared to 23% of men.While on the break, 26% of women questioned admitted they often feel stress of some sort, compared to 19% of men. And when it comes to returning from holiday and going back to everyday life, 28% of women felt some stress, compared to 17% of men. Conversely, 41% of men admitted they never feel any stress whatsoever, in connection to their overall holiday period (planning, while there and returning home), compared to just 25% of women asked.

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