What’s hot: September 2016

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

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

A night to remember
Take a car of 1,000 volunteers, stir in 8,000 spectators and £31million worth of staging and you have Kynren – a 90 minute, live action performance that spans 2,000 years of English history from Roman times to World War 11. The series of evening shows is being staged at Auckland Castle near Durham UK until 17 September. For more info and to book tickets, visit www.elevenarches.org

Visiting the new Van Gogh exhibition
Forget the ear. It was Van Gogh’s mental health that shaped his life’s work as  a new exhibition – On the Verge of Insanity – illustrates. The exhibition displays 25 of the artist’s paintings alongside dozens of doctors’ reports. Specialists are also on hand to discuss Van Gogh’s condition and the part it played in creating some of the greatest art the world has ever seen. Catch On the Verge of Insanity at Amsterdam’s Van Gogh museum until 25 September. www.vangoghmuseum.nl

Horsing around in Barcelona
Barcelona is showing it’s serious about horses this September as the Spanish city gears up to host the equestrian team jumping series final – the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup. The equestrian event sees past, present and future Olympic hopefuls gather together to show off their skills and, following on from Rio 2016, enjoy a second chance at getting gold. Team Belgium triumphed at last year’s final. Can they do it again? You’ll just have to make a beeline for Barcelona… 

Teach yourself Cockney
Want to learn Cockney? Well now you can. A new app called uTalk has launched with the aim of teaching Cockney rhyming slang phonetically. The app includes 4,000 words and phrases – think “fisherman’s daughter” for water and “tit-for-tat” for hat – in addition to teaching linguistic characteristics such as dropped ts. David Howeson, chairman of EuroTalk – the company behind uTalk – says: “I’d like  as many Londoners as possible to have a go, let us know they get on and add to the words we know about.”

Choose your check out

Hands up if you’d like to choose your own check-in and check-out time? That’s all of us then – so kudos to The Standard for acknowledging our need for a lie-in. The hotel chain, which has outposts in LA, Miami and New York, is offering a new service called Standard Time. Translation? Guests can now check in and out at a time of their choosing for a small additional fee (about five per cent more). “Check-in at 3pm and check-out at noon is an anachronism. It does not reflect how people live. It never has,” said Amar Lalvani, managing partner of parent company Standard International.

Making a beeline for Belize
Bordered by Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean, Belize maybe one of the smallest countries in central America but it certainly packs a punch. The problem is that, for decades, visitors travelling to Belize from Europe have had to endure a long and expensive overnight transit – typically in Miami, Newark, Cancun or Houston. However happily this will soon be a thing of the past thanks to new afternoon flights with American Airlines from London Heathrow to Belize via Miami. The new flight launches on 4 November 2016 – to coincide with Belize’s tourism season – and will operate four days a week on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Happy Birthday Homestay!
Homestay.com, the growing competitor to Airbnb that recently turned three, is celebrating the fact that over half a million nights have been booked to date with more than 50,000 hosts across the world.
London is the city with the largest number of registered hosts, followed in second place by Dublin and Rio de Janeiro in third place. The most popular destination for independent travellers using Homestay is Cuba. Last year, there was a 179% increase in the number of Cuban hosts registered which now lists a total of 250 Cuban hosts. Bustling Havana leads the top 10 most popular cities worldwide for UK travellers using Homestay.com with the artistic enclave of Trinidad also proving popular, coming in seventh.


Trips to Turkey
Thomas Cook – Britain’s largest tour operator – has slashed airline capacity to Turkey by 40 per cent following suicide attacks and an abortive coup against dictatorial President Recep Erdogan. By contrast the company has seen a spike in numbers turning to Bulgaria and Cuba. The aforementioned countries are both seen not only as interesting destinations, but as cheap destinations – with the pound going a long way. You’re unlikely to pay more than £1.50 for a beer in Cuba while a pint of Bulgarian beer can cost less than £1.

Flying to Florida
image of Disneyworld -Kissimmee
Fears of a zika virus outbreak in Florida have been raised after four new cases of the infection have been reported among people who have not had sexual contact with another sufferer or travelled abroad.
With more than one million Brits travelling to Florida each year, officials are warning tourists to chat to their GP about their travel plans – particularly women who are either already pregnant or trying for a baby. Public Health England said that if the cases are confirmed to have been spread by mosquitoes, it would advise pregnant women against ‘non essential’ travel to the sunshine state.

Boozing on board
Flyers face new restrictions on necking alcohol before they board a plane so as to prevent drunks from ruining family holidays.
The guidelines – a collaboration between the police, airports and airlines – include more prosecutions for drunkenness, with bar staff on the ground barred from selling alcohol to people who they deem to be drunk. Lord Ahmad, the new aviation minister, said: “If you’re a young family traveling on a plane you want to go from point A to B, you don’t want to be disrupted. I don’t think we want to kill merriment altogether but it’s important that passengers who board planes are also responsible and have a responsibility to other passengers, and that certainly should be the factor which we bear in mind.”


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