Attracting over half a million tourists each year, Antigua is a great destination for those looking to relax and unwind in luxury. There are literally hundreds of sandy beaches and coral reefs to explore throughout the island, providing a great opportunity to do a bit of snorkelling and scuba diving, but the big draw of Antigua is the sunshine.

An all year round destination, Antigua is the sunniest island of the Eastern Caribbean Islands with temperatures ranging between the mid-seventies and mid-eighties, and a cool north easterly wind to take the edge off.

The island is just 14 miles long and 11 miles wide, so wherever you stay you are within easy reach of all of the islands main attractions including Nelsons Dockyard National Park and the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda.

Due to Antigua’s calm, clear waters it hosts various sailing and yachting events throughout the year including the Antigua Sailing Week and the Charter Yacht Show. The Antigua Carnival is also a popular attraction and is well worth a visit if you like the sound of steel drums and calypso bands; the carnival lasts for 10 days and starts at the end of July.

Water activities are a must for those visiting Antigua and the crystal clear waters are perfect for snorkelling and diving, where there is an abundance of colourful marine life and coral reefs to see and explore; windsurfing, sailing and sea fishing are also popular activities on the island.

Antigua offers many attractions for the holiday maker and is a great destination to visit at least once in your life.

Hermitage Bay, Antigua

Picture: ITC Classics

The choice of catering options is integral to any holiday planning.  There are benefits to both self- catering and all inclusive options and holidaymakers need to weigh up the pros and cons to decide which is best for them.

Do it yourself

The main benefit of self-catering is the flexibility and freedom to eat what, when and where, according to preference.  For travellers planning to go out and about, self-catering provides the opportunity to eat out in local restaurants without feeling that they are missing out on meals which have been paid for in advance. Self-catering apartments are, on the whole, well provided with cooking equipment allowing guests to shop at local stores and cook what they choose; perfect for fussy eaters. Apartment guests are generally expected to be more independent than those in a fully inclusive complex and holidaymakers wanting to relax by the pool won’t be expected to take part in group activities; perfect for a quiet break.

Have it all done for you

All-inclusive holidays are perfect for those who want to spend their holiday having food and entertainment provided for them and sometimes, more importantly, for their families.  All inclusive resorts tend to have on tap entertainment for all the family which gives parents a chance to relax whilst their kids play water sports, games and generally enjoy themselves in the care of staff, with their food provided.  Staying in a big resort does not mean holidaymakers will not see the country they are visiting, as organised excursions are usually available to all the local sights meaning everyone can enjoy local culture if they so choose.   All-inclusive holidays suit those who like to really get away from the daily chores on their holiday and do as little or as much as they please.

Have you ever wished you could spend more time in a particular port of call? Or would you like to visit a distant place, but the thought of the hassle and tedium of air or train travel is discouraging? Today, many cruise lines offer cruise and stay options. A cruise and stay package allows guests to travel to their destination with all the comfort and style of a traditional cruise. Once there, guests disembark and begin the second half of their holiday.

With a cruise-and-stay holiday, it is possible to travel to your destination much more comfortably than travelling by other means. Families travelling with small children will find a cruise-and-stay holiday especially appealing. Children are entertained, and parents are spared stress and frustration.

Cruise and stay holidays are the perfect combination of experiences, allowing guests to enjoy the luxury of a cruise while looking forward to an extended stay in their chosen location. In some cases, it is even possible to travel over land and re-join the cruise at a later port of call for the return trip home.

Passengers enjoy travelling on luxurious cruise ships, exploring new destinations and taking excursions at the ports of call. Cruise and stay packages, for example, provide passengers with a holiday where they can experience different territories and new locations.

The history of cruises dates back to the early 20th century when the first cruise ships were built.  In fact, cruise holidays became popular because of the long voyages taken across the Atlantic during the 1900s. These expeditions took days or weeks.  Consequently, they were wearisome and the passengers had to take breaks ashore. Cruise liners in a bid to make the trips more pleasurable added on board facilities.

Whilst always in demand, the popularity of cruise and stay holidays has increased significantly in the 21st century. The services and the standards of the ships have augmented, as well as the sizes of the ships.

While some cruises still maintain the transatlantic crossing, others have ventured into the Antarctic regions among other exotic locations.  Likewise, when you could only find few amenities in the past, now you can choose from an endless list of activities and accommodation.

An important aspect of choosing a type of cruise holiday to take is to know which types of cruises are available to you.  Did you know that you can choose from theme destination cruises, luxury cruises and river cruises?

A theme cruise could involve taking a cruise into an area where you can see the Northern Lights, for instance.  Other examples include trips that focus on whale watching, wildlife, or food and wine.

These types of cruises are both entertaining and educational at the same time.  For example, one cruise line offers a food and wine cruise that will take you to Italy, Greece, Turkey and Croatia.  This is a wonderful way to discover new foods and recipes that you can take home with you to try.  As well as sampling wine, you will also visit castles, mosques and palaces!

For a different and exciting type of holiday, you should book a mystery cruise.  Imagine not knowing exactly where you are going and what you are going to see?  This would be perfect for a honeymoon or  an anniversary cruise, as the experience is something totally out of the ordinary.

Another popular cruise option is one that is aimed at people who are single.  Travelling alone today can be a bit intimidating, so what better way to safely meet lots of other people than to go on an organized cruise?  This could be a wonderful to make new friendships that may last for many years.

So why not take a good look at all the various types of cruises available and book your 2012 cruises today?

These days everyone is looking for ways to save money, and if you are planning your holidays, you should consider staying in an all-inclusive resort.  The tropics are on everyone’s wish list, and it does not matter what time of year you plan your trip, the weather is perfect all year-round. 

One of the most beautiful destinations in the world is The United Mexican States, and if you want to escape the cold, you should think about heading to Mexico.  There are some wonderful discount packages that will leave you with plenty of spending money for gifts and souvenirs.  Airfare and accommodation is included as well as your meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus snacks and alcoholic drinks.  Most of the all-inclusive resorts include sporting activities and nightly entertainment. Think about taking a charter-fishing trip with the money you save, if catching that illusive marlin is something that you have been dreaming about; your dream just may come true. 

All-inclusive resorts include benefits such as entertainment and dining, while allowing you the freedom to spend your holidays the way you like with more spending money in your pocket.

The West Coast Trail is located in the Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island, in Canada. It was created in 1907 as a trail to rescue sailors shipwrecked off the treacherous coast. Today, it is a 75km long gruelling hiking trail that passes through pristine rainforest and offers some of the most compelling views of the Juan de Fuca Strait, often called the Graveyard of the Pacific Ocean for its numerous shipwrecks. 

West Coast Trail

West Coast Trail

Picture courtesy of Chris Breikss

Along the path, you will visit sandy beaches, rocky outcroppings, caves and ledges. The beaches offer tidal pools teeming with sea life, while the rainforest echoes to the sounds of wildlife. The spruce, hemlock and cedar trees are some of the oldest in the province and are so large you cannot see around them. You should be aware that the trail is isolated and physically challenging and is not designed for novice hikers. The trail itself is largely dirt, studded with roots and rocks, but also includes portions of stair climbing. It will take an average of five to seven days to complete the entire length of the trail. Hikers must receive a park permit before embarking on the trail, which is open from 1st May to 30th September only.

West Coast Trail

West Coast Trail

Picture courtesy of Chris Breikss

The climate in the area is considered marine temperate and is unpredictable and heavy rain may make certain parts of the trail impassable. Shuttles to the trailheads operate from Bamfield and Port Renfrew and both of these small villages offer holiday property rentals for hikers. Alternatively, the town of Port Alberni is 1½hours from Bamfield, while the city of Victoria is 2½hours from Port Renfrew.

West Coast Trail

West Coast Trail

Picture courtesy of Chris Breikss



The Algarve on Portugal’s southern shore offers its visitors wonderful weather and fantastic beaches.  It is also a favourite spot for golfers from all over Europe.  The Algarve boasts some top class golf courses, and, for anyone wanting to play their favourite sport in the delightful Algarvian surroundings, golfing holidays.  These usually last from three to 14 days, and are easy to arrange.
Golfing holiday packages on the Algarve can include hotel rooms.  Or alternatively, if you have already arranged accommodation, there are specialist golf holiday companies who will arrange tee times to ensure you get as much time as possible out on the course.

Depending on the type of package booked, car hire may be included.  This will ensure that you will be able to visit as many of the region’s courses as possible during your stay.  However, if you prefer not to have to drive during your golfing holiday, transfers can be arranged between the airport, hotel and golf courses.

The cost of taking a set of golf clubs on a flight can be very expensive, so you may instead find it more convenient, as well more economical, to hire clubs on the Algarve.  Some golf holiday specialist companies offer this facility.

Discount fees for courses throughout the region can also be arranged, as well entry to local golf competitions.  Additionally, for those wanting to improve their game, the golfing holiday packages can also include golf tuition.

Everyone likes to go on holiday, although the type of holidays people like to take vary, you’ve got; beach holidays, action holidays, cruise holidays, city holidays and historical holidays and probably quite a few more different types of holidays! One thing most holiday-makers have in common though is at the moment getting the best value for money from their holidays, in a time where it is beginning to be quite expensive to take a break away.

I quite like championing cruise holiday to travellers who may not have considered that as a holiday option before, a lot of people don’t. Although cruises have started to become quite popular over the last couple of year and not just with older travellers, the younger generations and families are now looking to cruises for their holidays. This is because there is so much scope when taking a cruise holiday and they cover pretty much all bases when it comes to the type of holiday that you’re looking for. 

You can enjoy beach holidays with plenty of stops at exotic locations that offer white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, like the Caribbean, Florida or Mexico. If city breaks are more your thing and you want to explore Europe, then there are plenty of coastal cities which Mediterranean cruises stop off at which are steeped in history and culture. You can also look at going further afield and explore the Far East as well as Australia and New Zealand for a once in a lifetime holiday.

Even exotic destinations don’t have to break the bank, there are a lot of options available online that can help you get a great cruise deal, so you’re not having to spend a fortune. Many liners have great standard room, which may not be as big as their suites but they can fit the bill, especially if you want to get out and enjoy your ports of call or whatever the liner offers on board.

UK travel giant, Thomas Cook have seen a slump in their profits and share prices after families have shunned their usual foreign holiday this year. The summer is normally boom time for holiday companies with many families looking to get away, however this year and even the past couple of years the number of people taking foreign holidays, or any holiday at all has dropped.

Whether it’s all inclusive holidays, self-catering holidays, cruise holidays or even camping holidays, they have all taken a hit. This is mainly due to the high fuel prices bumping up costs and family incomes been squeezed that people are no longer able to afford to go away.

Other reasons for slow take up of holidays is also that people are waiting to the last minute to see if they can get a good deal, last year most of the major travel companies famously dropped their prices for last minute summer holidays so I would expect many families are hoping the same will happen again this year.  If not many families will look to stay at home with the family rather than go away.

If you still want to take that foreign holiday with the family then there are a couple of things you can do to make sure you get the most for your money, it is quite hard at the moment to get anything for the pound however if you look at staying all inclusive then you won’t have to exchange as much money. Sometimes you can find last minute rooms for all inclusive, especially if it’s a cancelation, if you book as a package holiday then your flight is also included and it’s not normally too expensive.

Other good holidays for your money also include; cruise holidays, on board the pound is good for food and drink, you only need a bit of spending money like some euros for the port stops, everything else is catered for on board. Like package holidays, you can find great cruise deals online with numerous operators offering different breaks, plus you get the freedom to visit many different fairly cheaply.

The main thing to remember when booking a last minute holiday is that you do research first, package deals offered by tour operators are covered and if you’re not sure what you have booked make sure the company you use is ABTA registered.