Category: North America

A beginners guide to Ski holidays

February marks high season for skiing, with conditions perfect to enjoy a great holiday on the slopes. There are many myths attached to ski holiday and they can seem daunting if you’ve never taken one before. Here’s my guide to ski holidays for the beginner.

Ski-holiday myths

There are a number of myths surrounding the idea of a skiing holiday but there is honestly nothing to worry about. The traditional idea of a ski holiday is that it’s an expensive, luxury holiday that only the rich and famous can afford, but this is far from the truth. Whilst there are high-end ski trips available, there are ways of having a cheap ski holiday too. Book your trip well in advance to get a great rate or choose a small resort to save some money. Ski resorts with less runs often have cheaper ski passes. You can even hire ski clothes and helmets online. These days there’s lots of accommodation choices so with enough research and preparation you can bring the costs down dramatically.

As with any activity holiday, there is an element of risk involved but the resorts do everything they can to keep their visitors from harm. If you’re a novice skier, there are fantastic ski classes available across the resorts to give you confidence in the sport and to keep safe whilst on the slopes. The cheapest option is ski school where you learn as a group on shallow runs or “baby slopes” as they’re often nicknamed. For a more intense and rewarding learning programme its best to hire a personal instructor who can build your confidence quickly.

Where to stay

The idea of taking a ski holiday brings to mind staying in a log cabin or a chalet, but there are a number of varying accommodation to choose from in whichever resort you decide to visit. Hotels have sprung up in the resorts and towns and villages that surround them, but for me, a stay in a chalet provides the authentic ski holiday experience. Chalets can be small and intimate or large, which makes them perfect for a group holiday. Hire a self catering chalet to share both the expense and the cooking for a memorable trip with friends. Use a reputable site, such as PurpleSki.com to book your accommodation without worry. Chalets really are the ultimate ski holiday experience, gorgeous log cabins with warm and comfortable surroundings, the perfect place to return to after a fun day on the slopes.

What to pack

As a beginner, there really isn’t any point worrying about what ski equipment to buy and take on holiday with you. You can hire your skis and poles from the resort which will certainly lesser your luggage upon departure! Items such as helmets, boots and goggles are best bought to ensure a comfortable fit though they are also available for hire. If you plan on taking numerous ski holidays in the future then buying is always cheaper. Be sure to buy a helmet too and don’t worry about not looking cool! All the boarders are wearing them these days!

Other items to include in your suitcase include a warm jacket, trousers and thermal base layers so that you can stop the moisture settling in one place. Thick ski socks are also advisable as well as gloves to protect your hands from the elements. Sunglasses are vitally important as whilst it will be cold, the sun when it comes out on the slopes is particularly fierce. To this end, also ensure you pack suncream and lip balm. You’ll be surprised how much sun you’ll get while up on the slopes. Some people even sunbathe at the mountain top cafes and bars!

Top ski destinations for February

Europe and North America offer some fantastic opportunities to ski throughout the winter months. February sits right in the centre of high season so you’ll find many places primed for skiing and snowboarding.

Europe’s Alps offer some of the finest skiing in the continent. Stretching across France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Germany, Slovenia, and Liechtenstein. The range is home to some of the tallest skiable peaks in the world including the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. Top resorts within the Alps include Zermatt in Switzerland which is home to the Matterhorn and a traditional Swiss village which makes for a picturesque place to stay. Les Trois Vallees is an impressive place to visit, home to the famous Meribel resort and a ski pass which allows you to ski across the interlinked valleys, one of the largest ski areas in the world.

If you’re looking to save on your trip, try Bulgaria for your skiing break. An up and coming destination, the prices here are substantially lesser than their Alpine neighbours. Borovets, nestled within the Rila Mountains, is a great place to take a family break or for a beginner to try their hand at skiing.

North America can certainly match Europe’s skiing resorts, with a number of iconic destinations clustered around the Rocky Mountains. In Canada, visit the resorts in Jasper and Banff for a trip into the Rockies amongst some of the most stunning natural scenery in the world, including Mount Columbia, Lake Louise and  the Columbia Icefield. For somewhere less crowded, visit Red Deer to ski in the canyon which is every bit as thrilling but much cheaper than the well-known resorts. Within America, visit Colorado or Utah for your pick of top skiing destinations.

Romantic getaways for Valentine Surprise holidays

St Valentine poses a problem for all lovers, trying to think of that perfect gift to best show just how much that special person means to them. This year, why not forget the flowers or the chocolates and give your valentine a romantic break that will give them memories to last a lifetime. Here’s my pick of favourite retreats to whisk your lover away to.

Florence, Italy

Make your loved one feel special by hiring one of the many luxury villas in Tuscany, Italy to stay in. Florence is a breathtakingly beautiful city nestled within one of Italy’s most luscious provinces and is the perfect place to stay. Temperatures average around a brisk but comfortable 10C (50F) and you’ll be treated to some Mediterranean sun which just adds to the atmosphere of this special place. Visiting out of peak season means you’ll see the sights without worrying about the crowds.

Whisk your loved one on a tour of the city’s art museums and galleries to see one of the finest collections of art in the world. I would definitely recommend The Uffizi, one of the oldest art museums in the world and home to paintings from Boticelli, Leonardo, Michelangelo and Rembrandt. For more iconic artwork, visit Piazza della Signoria to see a copy of Michelangelo’s David. Take a scenic, romantic walk along the banks of the River Arno or climb to the top of the Bell Tower in the heart of Florence to admire the view of this magnificent ciy. It’s almost the perfect place to propose…

Aspen, Colorado

There’s some fantastic last-minute breaks available if a trip further afield would blow your valentine away. Aspen, Colorado is a magnificent venue especially if you enjoy keeping active on your holidays. This world-famous ski resort is a favourite break for Americans and offers a romantic winter break.

There isn’t much in life that is more romantic than a break away ti a wooden lodge or log cabin. From the decor to the roasting log fires, everything about staying here is utterly enchanting and you’ll be longing for the evenings to draw in so that you can relax in your wooden haven together. During the day, there’s much fun to be had with skiing, snowboarding and hiking available. Head to Glenwood Hot Springs to relax amongst the warm water of the pools. For something a little different, you can hire out horses to explore the area by horseback or book onto a camping trip and get back to basics sitting around the campfire and camping out underneath the stars.

Paris, France

We couldn’t ignore the most romantic city on the planet could we? This is truly a city for lovers and has arguably seen more proposals than any city in the whole world. In spite of this, any surprise trip to Paris is met with heart stopping excitement and will make your Valentine feel on top of the world. At just over an hour away from London by air or two hours by Eurostar, it’s the perfect place to spend a blissful weekend away from home.

There’s the obvious romantic spots in Paris. A trip up the Eiffel tower is a must, especially around sunset although this is the busiest time to visit. You can also ascend the Arc Du Triomphe which has arguably better views, mainly because you can see the Eiffel tower! You can have dinner at one of the beautiful Parisian cafes you’ll find all over the city and for lunch try Place de la Contrescarpe or my personal favourite Place des Abbesses.

Some cities just ooze romance and there is no better way to treat your loved one than an unforgettable romantic holiday.

Holiday ideas for the month of March

While the dark winter months are perfect for skiing and some winter sun, the summer months enjoy peak tourism numbers and an abundance of festivals and culture. March sits at the end of the winter period and is often overlooked as a prime time to travel. Well here’s a few ideas for you if you’re looking for something to fill those spring evenings with.

Bodrum, Turkey

Bodrum enjoys a mixture of cultures where the old world collides head on with the a new modern lifestyle. It’s not lost any of its character thankfully and the Aegean coast has no shortage of ancient history to keep you coming back. In recent decades Bodrum has become the place in Turkey for the rich and famous to hang out. With new marinas and promenades, night clubs and restaurants, it looks more at home along the French Riviera.

The most impressive landmark here is the Castle of St Peter which boasts some of the best views of the entire area. It also houses a museum of underwater archeology which is well worth checking out. Temperatures are around 17C with little rainfall, perfect weather for exploring.

  • Check out flights to Bodrum here

Honshu, Japan

Japan is well worth a visit in March and for one good reason. The cherry trees blossom with pink and white petals that are a sight to behold, attracting millions of visitors to the sub-tropical province of Okinawa. Think of it like trees covered in candy-floss. By the end of March the blossom is in full bloom as far north as Kyoto and Tokyo too. This beautiful occurrence lasts only a few weeks so be sure to make the most of the pretty parks and amazing Japanese culture too. Expect temperatures around 15C with occasional rain and overcast skies. This won’t detract from the beauty of the Cherry Blossom though so you’ll be sure to have a fantastic time in March.

Dublin, Ireland

A city that’s perfect for a short-break or long weekend and the spiritual home of St Patrick’s Day.  Be sure to check out the famous Guinness factory tour, worth doing even if you don’t like the taste of the black stuff. There’s some great city tours that cover all the major landmarks and teach you much of the history of this amazing city. During the celebrations there’s also street parades and you’ll see many of the city’s landmarks are light up green too.

Austin, USA

March is a great time of year to visit the city of Austin in Texas. Home to the ever-expanding arts festival known as South by Southwest, or SXSW as it’s often called. This ten-day festival is filled with everything from musical performances to film premieres, tech conferences and seminars, art installations and street parades too. While an official ticket to the entire festival will cost you around $600 there are a lot of fringe events happening that mimic much of the core of the festival. You’ll find every bar, venue and even cafes are getting in on the act with art events and music gigs. If you have the budget then the full event is well worth it but even if you don’t, Austin is the place to be in March.

Explore St Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean

For a long time the thought of a Caribbean holiday meant either flying to Jamaica or Barbados for a week and lounging in the sun at a beach side resort. While this does sound pretty awesome there’s a lot more to the Caribbean worth exploring, St Vincent & The Grenadines is a country high on our list. Here’s why…

Beautiful islands to explore

With 32 islands to explore in St. Vincent & The Grenadines there’s  so much more here than just a beach holiday. The lush green tropical landscapes are just aching to be explored and there’s many ways to get about in this island nation. On the main island of St. Vincent there’s a hive of activity all over the island, from the bustling airport to the capital city of Kingstown. There are some great resorts here including the semi-private Young Island Resort just 200 metres from the main island. A short boat ride away and you’ll be checking in to your own private cottage, swinging in a huge private hammock and even taking a dip in your very own plunge pool.

Aside from the main island of St Vincent the most popular island to visit is Bequia (pronounced Bekway). Just an hour by local ferry to the south of the main island, its easy and cheap to get to. You can also fly there in just 10 minutes from various scheduled and chartered planes. Bequia has a small population of just 4500 but is big on Caribbean culture and heritage. Dubbed “The real Caribbean” its much less developed than its main island neighbour and you’ll get a much more relaxed and quiet experience here. There’s some wonderful hotels and resorts here to suit all tastes too. From the resort style complex of the Bequia Beach Hotel, with its wide range of cottages, rooms and villas, to the Boutique styling of the Sugar Reef Hotel with its beach front rooms and its plantation house rooms with stunning unbroken views of the surroundings.

While you’re there it’s worth taking a day trip or two around the island to meet some of the locals and sample some of the local food too. There’s no shortage of sea food here and the Lobster dishes are especially good. The turtle sanctuary is an interesting excursion and situation near the Sugar Reef too.

Trekking and snorkelling

If sitting on a beach or lounging by the pool bores you then you’ll find lots of great activities to get stuck in to here. No visit to St. Vincent would be complete without a trek up La Soufrière Volcano. Situated in the north of the main island its not only a challenge to reach the top but offers great views of the island on your way up. Be warned this trek is not for the feint hearted and requires a fair amount of fitness. Having said that you can trek at whatever speed you like, I was able to reach the top in 2 hours 30 minutes but I’ve heard its possible in an hour if you’re really fit and a leisurely 4 hours if you’re not. Either way when you get to the top the views inside the volcanic crater are immense. Having laid dorment since the early 1900s there’s lush vegetation and a few steaming vents of sulphur too. You’re guaranteed to see hawks and lizards along the way as well as some beautiful flowers and trees including bamboo forests.

If trekking really isn’t your thing then snorkelling sure will be. While St. Vincent is a mostly volcanic island there are still some amazing coral reefs worth exploring. None more impressive than the Tobago Cays, situated a few miles from Union Island near the private island resort of Palm Island. Admist the tiny beach islands is a shallow patch of water just a couple of meters deep, home to some beautiful and very colourful coral. Day trips from Palm Island  are the perfect way to explore them and you’re sure to meet some of the local wildlife too. As you drift around the coral you’re sure to see turtles, trumpet fish, lobsters and all manner of colourful fish. The shallow waters make snorkelling very easy even for beginners, just be sure to apply the sun cream in generous quantities as the equatorial midday sun is a lot stronger than you think.

Great weather in April

Speaking of sunshine, St Vincent & The Grenadines is not only blessed with beautiful tropical weather it also escapes the wrath of hurricanes that barrel their way through the Caribbean each year. While the tropical rains are a common occurrence throughout most of the year April is actually the driest month. Your days will be filled with sunshine and the occasional fluffy clouds to  give you a break now and again. Temperatures hover around 29C (84F) with fairly low humidity so while the days are hot its never too uncomfortable. Pack your sunglasses, sun cream and flip flops!

More information on St Vincent & The Grenadines

For the latest information on “SVG” head on over to the official Facebook page of Discover SVG, you can also follow them on twitter @DiscoverSVG.

This post was created during the SVG Live Liming Week, a blog trip project to explore the very best of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Explore historic San Antonio in Texas

The state of Texas has certainly been witness to many events that have shaped American history including being home to the Houston Space Centre and the state where President Kennedy was assassinated. Arguably though, its most important claim to fame is being home of the Battle of The Alamo. Tour this and other historic sites by visiting beautiful San Antonio for your next spring break.

Visiting San Antonio

Located in South Central Texas, San Antonio is the 7th most populous city in the USA. April sees the cooler air move across the state, with temperatures averaging 27C (81F). The pleasant weather makes the south a much more comfortable to explore, as you enjoy the sunshine without the searing heat. There are many fantastic places to stay on offer in the city, from iconic hotels such as The Fairmont Hotel to timeshare resorts.

Historic San Antonio

San Antonio is home to the most visited site in Texas, The Alamo. It started life as a mission back in 1718, one of 5 along the San Antonio River. Initially it sought to convert the native population as well as be a focus point for the Catholics in the region. However, it became a famous icon during the Battle of the Alamo, with famous fighters such as Davy Crockett fighting to protect it from the siege being undertaken by the Mexican troops. Much of the site still remains for you to walk amongst a history that is almost palpable even today. The perfect accompaniment to The Alamo is a visit to the San Antonio Missions National Park.

To get a sense of life in the Wild West, there is no finer place to visit than the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum. Not only can you enjoy this historic saloon which dates back over 130 years, but you can also visit the Texas Ranger Museum which hosts a fine array of artefacts from life as a sheriff during this iconic period.

Antonio Attractions

After The Alamo, arguably the best attraction in San Antonio is the River Walk. It is a thriving, cultural area with bars, restaurants and shops lining the river bank. The nightlife here is spectacular, with The Majestic Theatre and Arneson River Theatre perfect accompaniment to an evening of dining and drinking. During the day, enjoy The San Antonio Museum of ArtRipley’s Believe It or Not! or Dinosaur Quest all within walking distance of one another.

For lovers of the natural world, there are two must-see destinations to visit here.  The San Antonio Zoo and Aquarium is a popular attraction and is often seen as one of the best zoos in the USA, home to over 750 different species of animal. SeaWorld is the world’s largest marine life theme park, hosting a wide range of aquatic themed rides and exhibitions, as well as being home to thousands of species of marine wildlife.

San Antonio in April

There are many festivals and events to enjoy throughout April, giving the city even more of a draw to tourists. The main attraction is the Fiesta which runs from the 18th-24th April and is the biggest festival in San Antonio. Dating back to the late 19th Century, the Fiesta sees a wide range of events including many parades, the most popular being the Battle of the Flowers. Other events include concerts, parties and sampling some fine southern cuisine.

Another great festival to attend is the Poteet Strawberry Festival, which runs from 12th-14th April. This is one of the oldest and largest agricultural festivals in Texas and offers up the chance to sample some of the state’s fresh produce. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also parades, fireworks and even a Rodeo on offer to enjoy.

Cruise the Arctic Circle for an unforgettable holiday

There is more to travelling the globe than picking the hotspots. So once you begin to tire of lazy beach life, set your sights on one of the coldest regions on Earth, the Arctic Circle.

April in the Arctic promises highs of -12˚C during the day with a drop to around -19˚C at night, but with this chilly climate comes a wealth of wildlife that is too good to miss. Polar bears, humpback whales, walrus, seals and puffins will be waiting for you as well as the spectacular glaciers and icy blue waters.

The best way to explore this mystical region is by cruise, fitting in all the destinations you wish to visit in one trip. While in the Arctic Circle you can see such places as Spitsbergen, Greenland and the Canadian Arctic, getting a real taste of life at the top of the globe.

Greenland

With the impressive titles of largest island and northernmost point of land on Earth, the remote towns and ice fields of Greenland are a must-see stop-off on your cruise. This area consists of cliffs as high as 2000 metres as well as grand mountains and numerous glaciers. The coastline is heavily dented with numerous fjords and is home to the Inuit people. Dependant on your time in Greenland, you can enjoy a wealth of activities including a journey over the magnificent snow-covered landscape while dog sledding or enjoy the hot springs for some relaxation and rejuvenation. From here you can also visit the islands of Baffin Bay where you can whale watch and see the Beluga whale. There are also many plant and tree species there which thrive on the bay shores for those who want to see all that arctic nature has to offer.

Spitsbergen

As the most accessible region in the Arctic Circle, the Svalbard Archipelago is located 600 miles from the North Pole and is a magical world of spectacular glaciers, snow-capped peaks and endless ice. With deep fjords winding through beautiful meadows, you will not be disappointed by the panoramic views. Also known as Spitsbergen, this is a great destination to see arctic seabird colonies including the Puffin. You can also see the Arctic Fox, the Svalbard reindeer and the southern vole. As well as marvelling at the wonderful nature and wildlife of this area, you can also enjoy the breath-taking experience of an ice cave tour where you can walk along the passages formed by the melted water under the glacier.

Canadian Arctic

Some cruises also take you through the Northwest Passage on to the north of Canada, and into the realm of the Polar bear. You can also spot reindeer, snowy owls and even the endangered northern right whale known as the bowhead. If you fancy something a little sporty that will bring you up close and personal with the Arctic Ocean, then kayaking could be just what you’re looking for. Nanavut is a world-class destination for this and the venues are endless. Take this opportunity to touch an iceberg and watch as the marine life swims past you including the mighty walrus. You can also visit Hudson Bay which is a large body of saltwater in north-eastern Canada. It is the second largest bay in the world and is perfect for a spot of fishing in the clear water lakes and stocked ponds.

With stunning scenery, unusual wildlife and a break from the ‘sun, sea and sand’ norm of the package holiday, a cruise around the Arctic Circle is definitely something to tick off the bucket list. All you need to do is pack your thermals, charge up the camera and say goodbye to a holiday tan.

5 Best holiday destinations in March

Timing is one of the most important aspects in ensuring that you truly get the most out of your overseas adventure, so it pays to do a bit of research before you leave. Picking the right season not only gives you the chance to see your destination at its best, but also allows you to pack accordingly. Here are 5 of the best travel destinations for a March holiday.

United States of America

Spring is starting up in March throughout the USA, making it the perfect time to travel. From the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas, there’s something for every style of traveller. Take a cycling tour through the scenic Oregon Coast, check out the relaxed living in Hawaii or take a famous American road trip to make sure you see the most from this unique and diverse destination.

Southern Europe

The warming effects of spring see Southern Europe awaken from its cold winter slumber. While still not too hot, the increasing warmth and length of days make March a great time to spend discovering the best that Southern Europe has to offer. The temperature is perfect to get outdoors and explore for the adventurous traveller, with everywhere from the Cote D’Azur to Sicily starting to feel the sure signs of spring.

Africa

Always wanted to experience the magic of Africa, but been deterred by the heat? March is the perfect time to discover this land of wild beauty and spectacular safaris. With the dry season keeping away most of the rain and the tail end of summer giving way to the cooler change of autumn, this is a great opportunity to see Africa without sweltering in the heat. North and East Africa are the best to visit during this time for perfect climate conditions. If you fancy climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. There’s also the stunning annual migration of wildebeest and zebra across Kenya from late March. Well worth checking out at least once in your life.

Australia

March is the perfect time to explore Australia. As autumn sets in, the scorching hot days and wild summer storms give way to clear skies and a cool breeze. With such perfect weather and ideal temperatures, you can start to explore everything that this stunning continent has to offer. The sun is still warm enough to encourage a swim on golden beaches or a stunning snorkelling session on the reef. Take a food and wine trail through Tasmania, explore the Snowy Mountains via horseback or discover the wealth of arts and shopping in any of the capital cities.

Caribbean

What could be better than relaxing on the sands of a pristine beach with the tropical breeze rustling the trees and a seemingly endless expanse of glittering water. The Caribbean is a top spot to travel to in March, however be careful to avoid the price spike and rush of tourists during the Easter holidays. For dive enthusiasts, the Cayman Islands are an absolute must-see, while Barbados offers the very finest in dining and boutique accommodation. Of course Jamaica is a popular stop, with many travellers including it on their travel bucket list.

These are some of the best travel destinations that you can visit for a memorable March holiday. Make your holiday one you’ll never forget by experiencing these spectacular travel locations at their very finest.

Family holiday ideas for a Canadian vacation

For your next holiday with the kids, Canada has to be the ideal location to visit. With its unique landscape and vast difference between each province, there is much here to keep the whole family entertained. April provides a great time of year to visit with the winter all but thawed away. Here’s my guide to some great ideas for your Canadian family holiday.

Western Canada

Of course whilst spring has definitely settled in by April, the deep chill of the winter is hard to shake especially in the northern and western provinces. Alberta’s Rocky Mountains and Whistler in British Columbia are still fantastic for skiing in April, with the added bonus of being able to explore the surrounding areas more freely now the thaw has set in. At these great ski resorts, the family will certainly be able to keep active with skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling widely available. You’ll also be able to hike, mountain bike or wander along nature trails through this true natural wilderness. Whistler seemingly feels as if it comes alive during April with a selection of events to attend during the month. These include the Whistler Cup, which runs from 5th – 7th April, and features the very best of young skiers and the World Ski and Snowboard Festival which runs from 12th – 21st April.

For a city experience, Edmonton is a fantastic place to take the family. A trip to West Edmonton Mall is sure to keep everyone entertained. Home to over 800 shops, the mall also houses Galaxyland theme park, miniature golf, ice rink, skate park and an indoor waterpark complete with slides and bungee tower. It’s also home to the wonderful Fantasyland Hotel which is certainly worth a night’s stay in as each room is themed, with my personal favourite being the Western themed room.

Eastern Canada

April is a great month for harvesting Canada’s most famous export, maple syrup. Throughout the country, Maple Syrup festivals spring up and one of the most famous is the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival, held this year on Saturday 6th April. There is fun for the whole family here with steam train rides, pony rides and even live music to enjoy. I’ve always felt the highlight is the pancake tasting, drenched in maple syrup – perfect!

Toronto is an exciting city to spend your holiday in, perfectly mixing city life with Canada’s natural landscape. Toronto is home to some fantastic museums, including the Canadian Motorsport Heritage Museum , the Ontario Science Centre and the Royal Ontario Museum. Take a trip to the top of the CN Tower for views across the city from one of the tallest buildings in the world. April sees the ‘EdgeWalk‘ open for business at the tower so if anyone in your family is 13 or over and feels particularly brave, they can buckle themselves to the side of the tower and lean over the edge!  Of course, it goes without saying but you must make the trip out to Niagara Falls for an unforgetable family experience.

Wildlife tours

Canada’s wilderness is filled with many animals which are iconic to the country. There are many tours available to help your family see these beautiful creatures living in their natural environment and whether you’re 8 or 80, you’re sure to be kept entertained.

British Columbia is home to many great wildlife tours. April sees the bears come out of their winter hibernation so visit Clayoquat Sound to book onto a black bear watching tour or Glendale Cove to see the grizzly bears. Here you’ll also be able to see seals, eagles and even orca whales on whale watching tours.

For a feel of the arctic, head north to Nunavut where the Arctic Ocean will still be frozen over in April as is most of the landscape. Here you can set the imagination running with a stay in an igloo, explore the tundra by dog-sled or visit Hudson Bay to see the walrus and polar bears.

Best March cruise holidays around the world

There aren’t many holidays in life that feel more luxurious than stepping onto a cruise ship, ready to be whisked off for a few days at sea exploring the area. With a wide range of destinations and cruises available, here’s my guide to the best cruises you should book onto for your holiday in March.

Cruise Australia

Southern Australia is magnificent in March as you can enjoy the warm climate of Autumn. Temperatures remain around 22 degrees and the sun continues to shine, meaning you can enjoy the beautiful surroundings without the searing heat or blazing sunshine of the summer.

For your perfect cruise, choose Crystal Cruises Australia for your choice of liner. This award-winning company will take you on a trip of a lifetime on board their luxurious ships, complete with ballrooms, theatres, bars and opulent rooms. Their three-week cruise around Southern Australia starts in Auckland, New Zealand where you can explore this exciting city on the North Island. Aboard your ship, set sail along the western coast down to Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, Christchurch and finally Dunedin before making your way over to Australia. Cruise across the Tasman Sea before you see Sydney and its iconic skyline appear on the horizon. Believe me, it’s an emotional, unforgettable experience. Spend time exploring this fantastic city before making your way to Melbourne, where you must visit the set of Neighbours! From here it’s along the coast to Perth and Fremantle, your final destination. It’ll be three weeks you’ll never forget.

Cruise Singapore

Singapore is possibly the most suitable place to take a cruise from, with many of the cities buildings taking you back to a time when boarding a liner was the only way to explore far off destinations. March is ideal for a trip here as the monsoon season comes to an end and the temperature is cooler than the humid months that follow.

Board Crystal Cruises’ 2 week round trip to Singapore which will take you deep into the Indian Ocean. Explore the city before you depart, visiting iconic sites such as Raffles to sample a ‘Singapore Sling’, The Majestic and the Zoological Gardens. Once aboard your ship, set off south and start ticking off all the countries you’re visiting. Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and even India all in the space of two weeks of sheer unadulterated beauty and excitement before landing back where you started.

Cruise China

Spring heralds the best time of year to visit China, with temperatures at a steady and comfortable level. With the weather great across the country, there’s no better time to take a cruise along the Chinese coast. Passing through the South China, East China and Yellow Sea, take a cruise from Hong Kong to Beijing. Here you’ll start and end in one of China’s most iconic destinations and will take in Shanghai on your way north. I found it simply remarkable just how many legendary sites this stretch of coastline holds. Being a culture lover, I was in awe of see Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall, Huangpu River and The Peninsula all in the space of a fortnight. Simply spectacular.

Cruise the Caribbean

The Caribbean almost feels as if it was made for cruising around. With a cluster of tropical islands in such a relatively small space, cruising is the ideal way to explore this lush region of the world. March is definitely the best time of year to do so as well, with weather at its sunniest, warmest and driest. It’s a popular time of year for tourists wanting to escape the winter.

Take a 14 day Caribbean cruise that will see you start and finish in Florida. Take time to explore Fort Lauderdale and Key West which are both beautiful coastal cities. Your first stop in the Caribbean is the Bahamas, where life really does feel like it’s begun to slow down. After a day exploring, you feel immediately relaxed and in Jamaica, the clock might as well just stop! Your cruise will take you onto the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, and the most remarkable thing is that you’ll only have scratched the surface as to what the Caribbean has to offer.

Activity holidays for groups in April

April is a fantastic month to get out into the world and explore. What better way than to get together with a group of people and partake in some fun activities amongst some of the world’s most picturesque and iconic locations. Here’s our guide to the best activity holidays available.

Family activity holidays

Obviously the key to getting this type of holiday right is making sure that the whole family is kept entertained. This means getting the right balance with culture, activity and adventure and of course throwing in the odd animal adventure will certainly fire the imagination.

If you don’t mind the cold, why not try dog sledding in Lapland. Not only will this be an utterly unique experience but it will certainly capture the young ones’ imagination. For something a little warmer, head to Vancouver Island, Canada to explore the rugged landscape on a kayaking tour. Here you can take to the waters and see bears, orca whales and elk in their natural environment before camping out at night and live the prairie lifestyle.

If your family wants to head for warmer climes, take a trip to the Galapagos islands for a truly unforgettable trip. Here you can snorkel and dive to explore this natural wonder and see the unique eco-system. Spot sharks, manta rays and sea tortoises as you take to the waters.

Activity holidays with close friends

I find that visiting an iconic location is often made all the more magical by sharing that experience with close friends. Perfect for this then is a walking holiday at the Great Wall of China which stretches over 2700 miles, though obviously you won’t be walking the whole distance!  Take a trip to Sinai in Egypt where you can explore some of Egypt’s iconic sites. Climb Mount Sinai where Moses received the ten commandments, snorkel in the Red Sea and camp out underneath the stars.

Visit Morocco for a desert adventure. Here you’ll be assigned your own camel to ride your way through the desert, exploring this stunning landscape as you go through the Draa Valley. When night draws in, camp out in bedouin style and end your trip with a journey to unforgettable Marrakesh.

Activity holidays for large groups

There are a number of fantastic trips that are perfect for large groups. Take an unforgettable journey to the east and to explore India. Start with sightseeing in Delhi and the Taj Mahal before heading to the wilderness of the Himalaya foothills. Here you can climb peaks, visit temples and have overnight stays in mountain lodges. You’ll also be able to visit one of the many national parks to take part in a safari to see some of the country’s iconic animals. I would also detour to Rishikesh to explore the spiritual side of India and indulge in some eastern mysticism.

Mexico is also a wonderful place to explore with a large group, again with many iconic historical sites to see. Visit the ancient Mayan cities at Chichen Itza to explore the ruins and at Uxmal, a truly spectacular archeological site. You’ll also be able to explore underground caves and climb into the mountains. Take to San Cristobel for a speedboat tour along the river and to see crocodiles in their natural world.

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