What’s hot: April 2018

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Just About Travel lets you in what’s hot (and what’s not) in the travel industry this month




Nulbullulul in Queensland’s Daintree rainforest

Australia is awash with ‘bucket list’ worthy destinations but the Gold Coast has never been one of them having long been regarded as Oz’s answer to Blackpool. Fast forward to 2018 and it’s all change. A thriving film industry has sprung up thanks to Thor: Ragnarok starring local boy done good, Chris Hemsworth, and the latest Pirates of the Caribbean – both of which were filmed at the huge Gold Coast Village Roadshow Studios.
And this month, the region will be beamed onto our screens as the 21st Commonwealth Games is being helf on the Gold Coast and in Queensland’s state capital, Brisbane.

Flying with pets

Pet owners rejoice! Hainan Airlines has said it will allow some pets to travel with their human companions in the cabin, making it the first domestic commercial airline to do so.
However travellers hoping to take to the skies with their furry friends must meet certain rules and regulations. The combined weight of the pet and its box – which must fit under an airplane seat – should weigh no more than 5kg. Pets must stay in their boxes during the entire journey, so as not to disturb other passengers, and wear masks so as to prevent noise. Furthermore pet owners need to show certificates of animal vaccinations while applying for the service –  and pay a fee of 800 Yuan (US$165) for each flight.
The new policy is currently in a 12-month ‘pilot stage’ with passengers departing from nine Chinese cities – including Guangzhou, Qingdao, Changsha, Haikou and Xiamen – able to reserve the service.


Singapore flights for less

image of Singapore skyline

Singapore today © Singapore Tourism

For Singapore flights on a shoestring, seek out Scoot (flyscoot.com) – the low cost carrier from Singapore Airlines. It flies from Berlin with one way flights between 20 June and 26 October 2018, costing as little as £168. Result! See you in Singapore…

Movie mania

ancient Kamiros

Kamiros on the Greek island of Rhodes

More than one in five Brits have booked a holiday just DAYS after watching a movie, according to new research. A nation-wide poll has revealed the film that has most inspired Brits to jet off to sunnier climes, is the 2008 remake of the hit musical Mamma Mia.
In fact, almost one in 20 of the 2,000 adults polled booked a beach holiday to the Greek island of Skopelos after falling in love with the blue skies and whitewashed Greek buildings.
A further 31 percent have ventured to the Big Apple after watching the original chick-flick Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the Sex and the City movie or 80s classic When Harry Met Sally.The survey also revealed 14 percent of sun seeking individuals were inspired to visit Thailand after watching Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach.
And a party loving 13 percent hot-footed it straight to Las Vegas after watching the outlandish antics of the 2009 film The Hangover.
The poll by Travel Republic revealed how influential films are to travel planning, as when watching a film half of Brits wish they were there and we spend nine hours a week dreaming of being somewhere else, with New York, Italy, Paris and Hawaii the destinations we dream about most.

Travelling to Turkey

Turkey is bouncing back. Total visitor numbers to the country are projected to soar in 2018. According to ABTA’s latest Travel Trends Report 2018, the number of holidaymakers coming to Turkey from the UK alone is expected to increase by 69% this year. Subsequently  a number of UK based tour operators are adding weekly flights to Turkish destinations such as Dalaman for the 2018 summer season, including new regional routes from Edinburgh and Manchester.

Vamos Ecuador

The view to Cotopaxi from Quito

Cloud-high in the Andes and hemmed in by the snow-capped peaks of two active volcanoes, Ecuador’s capital Quito is magical enough as it is. However in 2018, Latin America’s best-preserved colonial city gets even better. The central plaza’s Catedral Metropolitana recently opened its catacomb crammed crypt to visitors for the first time in centuries and now guests can follow a friar along narrow spiral staircases on the domed rooftop for superb views, all for £4.50. www.catedraldequito.org


Flying with Air Baltic

After analysing 57 million flight records, travel analyst OAG has named Air Baltic the world’s most punctual airline with around 90 per cent of its flights on time. The Latvian carrier started flying from Gatwick to Tallinn on 27 March 2018.

China by train

It’s now possible to travel from Xian – home of the Terracotta Warriors – to Chengdu where you can get up close and personal with giant pandas, in three hours (as opposed to 16 hours) thanks to a new high speed train.  There is already a fast Beijing to Xian rail link, all of which means that you can now tick off China’s top sights by train.

Lonely Planet calls on the travel industry to do more for solo travellers

Following new research, Lonely Planet, reveals that the growing numbers of solo travellers face higher costs and poorer service than those travelling with family or friends, with one in three claiming to have felt disadvantaged by choosing to travel alone. The travel bible is callig on the travel industry to look more positively on those travelling solo, rather than just as single occupants of rooms and dinner tables.


For the second year running, the Maryland port has topped a list of the ‘top 50 bed bug cities’ in the US by pest-control company Orkin. There was better news for Orlando which exited the chart altogether.

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