What’s hot: March 2018

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

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

 

HOT


The buzz around Belize

The coast of Belize has become a big attraction for divers

There’s been a buzz building around Belize ever since Francis Ford Coppola opened Turtle Inn in the low-key southern beach town of Placencia back in 2011. However it’s the arrival of Leonardo DiCaprio’s eco resort – Blackadore Caye – which is due to open its doors later this year, that is sure to cement Belize’s place as the destination of the year. The resort will offer every conceivable amenity that a twenty first century traveller could desire – read 36 villas and 36 estate houses, infinity pools and highly personalised services – in addition to serving as a protected wildlife reserve. All power will be from renewable sources and water will be provided through rainwater collection. Furthermore, the island will also include a climate-change research station and a nursery for growing marine grass to support manatee conservation.

Heathrow hailed as UK’s top airport

Heathrow

Heathrow Airport has been crowned the UK’s favourite airport – scoring more than twice as many votes as its nearest rival, Gatwick.
More than a third of Jack’s Flight Club members (38.1%) said Heathrow was the best UK airport – compared to 14.4% for Gatwick and 11.6% for Manchester.
The facilities and amenities at Heathrow, which handles over 75 million passengers a year, were the main drivers for its success, according to the survey. More than half of voters (55.4%) scored its food and shopping outlets as good, while more than a third (39.2%) described them as brilliant.
Security at the airport also got the thumbs up with almost two thirds of voters (59.3%) claiming it was good, while almost a third (30.4%) said it was brilliant. Check-in procedures were either good (59.3%) or brilliant (33.9%) – while baggage reclaim was good (63.5%), access to and from the airport was good (48.4%) or brilliant (38.5%).


Deep Focus

You whip your phone to take a holiday picture of an idyllic ocean then – splash! – no more phone! Sound familiar? Avoid the aggro in the future with Royal Caribbean’s new SeaSeeker goggles which allow intrepid snappers to take pictures underwater.
The cruise line tested its prototypes by sending wildlife photographer and conservationist Roberto Ochoa, marine biologist Gabriela Nava and free diver Ashleigh Baird to explore the waters of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.


Porto is our pick

The old town of Porto

Portugese aficionados start celebrating! TAP Air Portugal has launched a new route from London City airport to the pretty coastal city of Porto, where you can wander its hilly backstreets and quaff local Douro Valley wines in its colourful Ribeira Square. Launching later this month (25 March), the route will operate six flights a week. From £71 one way; flytap.com

 

Ishigaki is on the rise

Japan’s Ishigaki has been revealed as the top trending destination in the world for 2018 in TripAdvisor’s sixth annual Travellers’ Choice awards for Destinations on the Rise.
Ishigaki, an island in Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture,is home to a varied landscape including sandy beaches, rare coral, mountains and mangrove forests. Also great for food lovers, Ishigaki is known for its soba noodles – called Yaeyama soba – made of flour instead of the more traditional buckwheat.
Award-winners were determined by using an algorithm that primarily measured the year-over-year increase in positive TripAdvisor traveller ratings for accommodations, restaurants and attractions, and increase in booking interest, across destinations worldwide.


Saluting David Bowie

Earthly Messenger, a new statue of David Bowie, will be unveiled in Aylesbury Market Square on Sunday 25 March. The sculpture – the first statue of David Bowie in the world – recognises the musician’s strong connection to Aylesbury: Bowie performed the world debuts of the iconic Hunky Dory and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars albums at music club Friars Aylesbury on 25 September 1971 and 29 January 1972 respectively. He also formed The Spiders from Mars with Mick Ronson, Woody Woodmansey and Trevor Boulder in the tiny Friars dressing room at the Borough Assembly Hall in Aylesbury’s Market Square. (The first track on the Ziggy Stardust album Five Years even references Aylesbury Market Square: “Pushing through the Market Square – so many mothers sighing”.) The statue comes about thanks to a groundswell of local support for the project, with a 2,000-strong petition and 40-day Kickstarter campaign that raised more than £115,000. 


Campervans are cool
Yes really… Campervans are back, having managed to successfully tap into the twin crazes of slow travel and all things retro. Sales have soared both in Blighty and over the pond. Campervan hire is also affordable, illustrating why Audley Travel (audleytravel.com) has identified a 150 per cent increase in van-based bespoke bookings across Australia and New Zealand. Elsewhere Airbnb (airbnb.co.uk) has also observed a 133 per cent growth in campervan bookings across the globe.

 

easyJet’s pet programme

Budget airline, easyJet, is offering travel loving pet owners a helping paw.
Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s airlin  has teamed up with international house and pet sitting business, TrustedHousesitters, to form a partnership that will make it easier for pet owners and animal lovers to travel around Europe.
Customers will be able to choose a free house sitter for their pet, or find free accommodation as a house and pet sitter when booking flights. easyJet will allow pet owners to match with verified members of the TrustedHousesitters online community to look after their homes, while animal lovers will be able to explore Europe, looking after pets in unique accommodation.

 

Seeking out the Seychelles

The Maldives may be seen as the gem of the Indian Ocean, but that’s set to change with British Airways becoming the first airline to offer direct flights to the Seychelles on 24 March. This means that the tropical archipelago of 115 islands will soon be within 10 hours of flight time instead of 13 hours, via the Middle East.
Factor in the high end of opening of a Four Seasons resort on Desroches Island – also at the end of March – and we reckon you’ll be planning to pop over to paradise…
British Airways return flights from Heathrow start on 24 March from £699, ba.com

 

NOT
Early morning pints

The idea that we should close the loophole allowing airports to serve alcohol outside licensing hours fills JAT with horror. We’re known to be partial to a 6am pint prior to jumping on a flight. We understand the arguments about anti-social behaviour but surely one of the magical qualities of an international airport after clearing check in, is that the usual rules fly out of the window. You can buy (and eat) oversized Toblerones and enjoy a tipple at time when you’d never normally do so. It’s what makes flying Ryanair remotely bearable.

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