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Maybe avoid these places while looking for somewhere to vacation…

1 – Ilha de Queimada Grande, Brazil

Looks nice right? Wrong. Ilha de Queimada translates to “Snake Island” and that’s what inhabits this island. With up to 5 snakes per square meter this place is crawling with Golden Lancehead snakes, a type of Viper with a  deadly venom that melts the skin around the bite.

2 – Izu Islands, Japan

The Izu islands are a volcanic stretch of islands in Japan. The stench of sulphur is ever present and due to dangerous levels of gas all residents are required to carry gas masks with them at all times. The islands were evacuated in 1953 and 2000, the residents returned in 2005 gas masks in tow. Creepy.

3 – “The Door To Hell”, Turkmenistan.

I know what you’re thinking, this looks kinda cool right? But it’s actually poisonous gas burning. In 1971 archaeologists came across an underground cave filled with gas. They then set fire to the hole so the gas couldn’t escape and poison people, they expected it to go out within a couple of days. It still burns today and it’s known as “The door to hell”.

Here are some airports where you might not mind being delayed or having a long stop over.

Terminal 4, Barajas Airport, Madrid

 

Carrasco International Airport, Montevideo, Uruguay

Marrakech Menara Airport Terminal 1

Anakena Beach, Easter Island

Anakena Beach on the north side  of Easter Island in the south pacific is said to have some of the clearest waters in the world due to the lack of currents and lack of Plankton.

 

Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Fernando de Noronha is an archipelago of 21 islands off the east coast of Brazil. It is an UNESCO world heritage site and at some beaches the visibility of the water can reach 50m due to the South Equatorial current that pushes water from Africa. You can find nature in it’s element here with Dolphins and Turtles native to the islands.

 

Lovers Beach, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Lovers beach is a secluded spot that sits on the tip of baja california and is best accessed by water taxi but be careful, you don’t want to get stuck out here as the sea can get very rough late afternoon. With it’s turquoise waters and stunning rock formations you’ll be awestruck by the beauty of Lovers beach.

 

Sun Island Beach, Maldives

This postcard perfect paradise in the indian ocean is a favourite with the rich and famous and it’s not hard to see why. Bungalows over the water allow you to immerse yourself and the crystal clear waters and you can enjoy the nearby reef which offers snorkelling and diving.

 

 

“The city that never sleeps” is a nickname given to 8 global 24 hour cities. Some may seem obvious but others not so.

Here’s a breakdown of the “Cities that never sleep”

New York City

Perhaps the most obvious one, NYC attracts 47 million tourists a year and in 2010 tourists spent $31 Billion there. Not the cheapest place to visit but you’ll never get bored! Definitely somewhere everyone should visit in their lifetime.

Buenos Aires

The Argentine capital is the 2nd largest city in South America and boy do they know how to party into the night. In 2007 it was voted the 2nd best city in the world by Travel + leisure magazine. It has quite a European feel to it making it more cosmopolitan and attracting tourists from all over the world.

São Paulo

Sao Paulo is not only the largest city in Brazil but in the Americas and the Southern Hemisphere. It’s the 6th most populous city in the world. While people may assume Rio de Janeiro is the most visited city in Brazil it is in fact Sao Paulo that holds that title.

Tel Aviv

Often called the “Miami of the middle east” and it’s beach scene compared to that of Rio’s Tel Aviv is fast becoming the “in” non budget party vacation option. It has a thriving nightlife scene and a very european 24 hour culture. A common mis-conception of Tel Aviv is that is has a high crime rate, the reality is, every city has it’s bad parts but Tel Aviv is safer than most UK or US cities.

Mumbai 

With a population of over 20 million, Mumbai is the 4th most populous city in the world. It is India’s entertainment capital so naturally, something is always going on. If it’s culture you’re after, you’ll find it in bucket loads in Mumbai.

Belgrade

The Serbian capital might not be the first city that comes to mind when you think of “The City that never sleeps” but it has a bustling nightlife scene. Many people from neighbouring countries travel to Belgrade just for the nightlife on weekend breaks. Lonely Planet ranked Belgrade top in their 2009 top party cities in the world.

Madrid

The Spanish capital and largest city in the country tops many different travel lists but it’s nightlife earns it the nickname. The nightlife scene here is so diverse and has a very bohemian feel.

Barcelona

The second Spanish city with the nickname…but what would you expect from the country that consumes the largest amount of Cocaine in Europe! The spaniards know how to party and Barcelona is the 4th most visited city in Europe. There are many sights that attract millions of visitors to Barcelona every year and at night, they all take to Las Ramblas to party. If you like it rowdy, go when Spain or Barcelona are playing a big match…they go crazy!

The following statistics are from the 2011 ABTA report and the stats represent between spring 2009 & spring 2010.

Crime:

  • 2,012 Brits were arrested in Spain
  • 1,367 were arrested in the USA
  • 831 were Hospitalized in spain
  • 5,930 deaths of British Citizens abroad
  • 27,272 had their passports lost or stolen (6,618 in Spain, 3,268 in USA, 2,400 in France)

Top Destinations; (In 2009)

  1. Spain (11.6m)
  2. France (9.8m)
  3. Republic of Ireland (3.5m)
  4. USA (3.1m)
  5. Italy (2.6m)
  6. Germany (2.1m)
  7. Greece (1.9m)
  8. Netherlands (1.8m)
  9. Portugal (1.8m)
  10. Turkey (1.6m)
Flights;
  • As a general rule flights are usually cheaper on Tuesdays and wednesdays. Avoid flying on weekends if possible.
  • If you’re flying with a budget airline, make sure you know the proximity of the airport to the resort centre. For example, Ryanair fly to more than one airport for Barcelona, they don’t however mention that one of them in over 100km away from Barcelona.
  • Take into consideration how much luggage you will be travelling with when you choose your airline. Some offer more weight and less restrictions on hand luggage sizes and prices differ on hold baggage.
  • Use comparison sites such as skyscanner.net to compare flight prices but it’s always a good idea to check with your local travel agent to see if they can offer you a better deal, this goes for the whole package of your holiday too.
  • Prices change by the minute so don’t be surprised if you see a cheap flight one day and check back to find it has gone up by £50 the next day and don’t fall for the “only 2 seats remaining” text you might see, it’s just incentive to get you to book at that time.
  • Look at departing from different airports, if the difference in cost is more than it would take you to travel to another airport, you can save.
 Resort & Accommodation;
  • Obviously not going away in school holidays. Going to a resort in it’s “off-season” has it’s pros and cons…not all amenities may be available but things will be much cheaper and if you’re hiring a car parking will be much easier.
  • If hiring a car, booking with a rental company based in the resort rather than the airport will generally be much cheaper and many of these companies will let you pick and drop the car off at the airport anyway.
  • If you find a hotel you like, search the price on other sites before booking as they can vary widely and deals are given to travel agent’s and websites so it will almost always be cheaper than booking directly through the hotel.
  • The further out of a resort you get, the cheaper things will be, this is easy if you hire a car or have your own transport, think about where the locals eat and shop.

If you follow these guidelines it shouldn’t be a problem to get a weeks holiday in spain/portugal form Jan-April for under £100 pp for flights & Accommodation.

I actually just saw this on Tumblr and turns out it’s pretty fun.

So basically you go to MapCrunch (A random google street view generator) and click “Hide Location” in the sidebar on the right, click “Go” and bam you’re in a random place and have no idea where you are. The aim of the “game” is to find your way to the nearest airport but it’s pretty fun to just try and work out where you are and you might even get some travel ideas while at it.

I’m currently trying to find my way out of what appears to actually be the middle of nowhere but right now I’m going to take a wild guess and say Australia or South Africa?

At this point an unknown location!

If you give up then simply un tick the “hide location” box.

Edit – After 35 mins of wandering down this road, past a small town and back to the middle of nowhere I gave up, un ticked the box and turns out I was right…it was Australia!

About 8 hours Car ride out of Lima, Peru into the Jungle sits a strange small village named Oxapama. What’s so strange about this Peruvian Village? well it’s actually German. It was founded in the 19th century by German settlers, those that made it after a 2 year journey by boat from Europe. Peru’s road’s are notoriously dangerous which makes this even more remote and a wonderful find and something you’d not expect to find hiding in the middle of the amazon rainforest. The village has 3 hotels a few pubs & restaurants and  has traditional german architecture.

Oxapampa

When you think of Japan, you might think; Technology, sky scrapers, Sushi? What you probably don’t think of is white sandy beaches and idillic crystal clear waters. Perhaps it’s most well known beach is it’s indoor one but peace, tranquility and pristine beaches can be found on the Japanese Island of Ishigaki. The island is located between Japan and China and therefore takes cultural influences from both countries. It has an airport which is accessible only from Japan via Japan Transocean Air.

Ishigaki Island

The Shetland Islands are an archipelago comprising of over 100 islands off the north east coast of Scotland where you can find dramatic landscapes, an abundance of wildlife and some great traditions. Although the Islands belong to Scotland and the United Kingdom, the nearest major city is actually Bergen in Norway. The largest town on the Islands is Lerwick with a population of around 7,000. A range of wildlife can be spotted here including Puffins, Seals and Orcas. There’s a thriving culture and events like Europe’s most famous Fire festival, “Up Helly Aa” which is held on the last Tuesday in January. You can reach the Islands by Ferry from Aberdeen and by plane with LoganAir from Edinburgh and Glasgow. It is also worth noting that the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) can be seen from the Islands.

Foula Island

With Valentines Day just around the corner here are some alternatives to your Paris, Rome & Barcelona’s.

Virgin Gorda (British Virgin Islands) 

Tucked away in the Caribbean Virgin Gorda is still somewhat undiscovered and that makes it all the more beautiful. Only one airline (Air Sunshine) flies there from San Juan, Saint Thomas & Vieques. You can try asking someone for a lift on a boat from a neighbouring Island, worked for me! You must visit “The Baths”, an enchanting beach with hidden caves and pools that you can explore and snorkel. It’s also right next to Necker Island (Richard Branson’s private Island) so if you’re lucky you might even spot some celebs staying there.

Verona (Italy) 

Verona was the setting for the most epic love story of all time…Romeo & Juliet. Catullo is the nearest airport and you can fly direct from London, Madrid & Brussels among others. Steeped in Roman history you can find Amphitheatres, Cathedrals & Castles without the mass of tourists like Rome. It’s also close to Lake Garda and easily reached by bus from Verona.

Lake District (England)

The Lake District is England’s biggest national park and was carved by glacial erosion which provides dramatic landscapes and picturesque scenery. There are many cottages tucked away which makes this an ideal romantic getaway. It’s the perfect destination if you want relaxation in natural surroundings and unspoilt views. The nearest airport is Blackpool although Manchester is 2 hours away by car.