Orlando Florida – the perfect family getaway!

A few years ago, Orlando was a place that many dreamed of, but it always seemed too out of reach, that may have been the case, but not anymore. Regular flights take place from a number of regional airports and with fast modern aircraft the flight time is just over eight hours, where you can relax watch the latest films and be transported to your hotel.

Orlando is world renowned and is the gateway to Florida with its many attractions, but a great holiday destination or a base to explore features such as Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld Orlando, plus many others. Florida is also a fabulous base for some of the best golf courses in America, which are naturally all season round. Shopping is not forgotten of course and you will catch a few bargains in the Florida Mall where you can call in at the famous Macy’s store.

Perhaps you would like to take in a cruise but have promised the kids that you will take them to Disney, well Orlando is the place where it can happen. You can stay in, or close to the Orlando resort or in the City itself and visit Disney, Universal studios, spend time in some of the Orlando attractions and then take a cruise around the Caribbean before flying back to the UK. Orlando is closer than ever and is a great base for an entire holiday or combined with a cruise.

Walt Disney World, Orlando, FloridaPicture: twg1942

Further Education and Student Visas for Australia

Hundreds of thousands of student travel to Australia to study each year and it is important to apply for the right visa before travelling to the country. There are two types of visa for further education studies in Australia, these are listed below:

Higher Education Visas – Subclass 573

This visa caters for students that want to study for a Bachelors’ degree or Graduate Diploma; it also covers those wishing to study a Graduate Certificate or Associate Degree.

Postgraduate Visa – Subclass 573

A Postgraduate Visa or Postgraduate Research Visa is designed for those who are studying a Masters’ degree or PhD.

Applying for the right visa is crucial, as any wrong paperwork can cause problems and might mean that you can’t enter Australia at all.

Benefits of an Australian Student Visa

Student visas also offer a range of benefits, including being able to work full-time during study holidays and in between semesters.

In most cases a student visa can be granted up to 12 weeks before the course starts, giving you an opportunity to visit the country and do some sightseeing or take a relaxing vacation before you start work.

Australian Student Visa Requirements

To be eligible for an Australian student visa a prospective student must be proficient in the English language, be in good health and have no outstanding debts. They must have the relevant qualifications to fulfil the requirements of the course.

Students must also be able to support themselves and any other dependents financially throughout the duration of their studies.

Thinking of applying for a student visa but don’t know where to get started? Thankfully there are a range of companies that specialise in helping people apply for visas such as IXPVisas.com. The Australian Immigration website also has some useful information for those who want to study in Australia.

Picture: Kahunapule Michael Johnson

End of Summer Holiday Deals

Just because the school term has started again doesn’t mean you can’t pick up some great holiday deals. Some Spanish resorts may be winding down, but other places such as Greece and Turkey are in full swing, whilst still benefitting from hot temperatures. You can get some great deals to the top resorts in these places and enjoy some summer sun.

The best of the weather

During September and October Turkey see’s temperatures around 25°c and 20°c and the same for many of the Greek holiday islands. Neither destination is prone to a lot of rain, especially at this time for year, so expect great sunny days.

Cheap Deals

September and October are out of peak travel times, so you see many price reductions. Summer high season for many resorts starts in May and Finishes mid-September so now is a great time to travel to get great deals. Flights are cheaper although less frequent and hotels have many deals available.

In Turkey you can find fantastic offers on accommodation in the best resorts such as the Sincerity Apartments in Marmaris, Turkey or Sovereign Beach Hotel in Kardamena, Kos, Greece. Both offering great deals whether you want to go self-catering or all-inclusive.

Beat the crowds

Holidays during the summer months mean one thing; many tourist hot spots are busy, busy, busy. Hotels are packed and full of children and it can be hard to find your own space. So travelling just out of peak times will allow you to not hit many crowds, queues for tourist sights and places of interest will be shorter. It will be quieter when eating out or going for a drink and you won’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to get a sun bed by the pool.

Picture: Haceme un 14

Welcome to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Although some holiday destinations may be out of reach for many people, more and more British tourists who have already explored most European holiday options are searching for more exotic places.  One of these is Puerto Vallarta, a Mexican resort-city located on the Pacific Coast.  You cannot talk about Puerto Vallarta without mentioning its beautiful beaches, sparkling waterfalls, lush jungles, elegant restaurants, bars and nightclubs that await tourists from all over the world.

Climate

Dominated by a tropical, wet and dry climate, Puerto Vallarta has significant humidity variations that can make summers almost intolerable.  The rainy season usually starts in June and ends in October, so the best months to visit are February, March and April, when the daily temperature hovers around 30 degrees Celsius and the humidity level is low.  

Tourist attractions in Puerto Vallarta 

Puerto Vallarta offers multiple tourist attractions including the beautiful Banderas Bay; golden sandy beaches; endless plantations of mango and papaya crossed by tumbling streams and rivers and small fishing villages where life moves at a blissfully slow pace.  You will also discover gentle hills cascading towards the sea and an incredible aquatic life that every tourist should definitely explore.

Besides these, you can enjoy many activities in Puerto Vallarta that can keep all visitors happy and entertained.  The adventurous can explore the jungle, discover hidden trails, go scuba diving or snorkelling, take a jeep safari or just relax with a cruise on a party boat.  If you love history and culture, the old colonial town can still be explored amidst an assortment of modern hotels, art galleries, shops, souks and street artists.

Travel and lodging information

To get to Puerto Vallarta, you can choose one of the direct flights that connect London to this holiday destination.  The total travelling time between London and Puerto Vallarta is about 14 hours.  Upon arrival, you will find a variety of holiday rentals, such as villas, condos, hotels and beach resorts.

Picture: Kat

ITC – the name for luxury travel

Way back in 1974, ITC, a tour operator specialising in packages to the Caribbean, pioneered the idea of luxury travel.  Now, almost 40 years after bringing the concept onto the British market, ITC, which has remained in private hands, is the only independent luxury tour operator in the UK.

ITC has expanded over the years and now includes ITC Classics, ITC Sports and Deva Travel, to name but a few of the brands under the ITC name.

The newest is ITC Giving, a luxury travel first.  This combines first-class travel experiences with the values of voluntourism.

Luxury holidays from ITC run the full gamut – from family holidays to honeymoon and wedding packages, from cruises and beach holidays to ski tours.  There are health and well-being packages and even luxury holidays that offer the opportunity to travel solo.

ITC’s destinations span the globe.  From the classic ‘Out of Africa’ safari in Kenya to a holiday in an exclusive beach resort, such as in Bali, Thailand or Bora Bora, a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  From the unspoilt beaches and majestically quiet red dunes of Namibia to the clamour of the busy designer stores of Abu Dhabi, luxury holidays from ITC are offered in every continent.

However, luxury holidays from ITC don’t have to mean either a long-haul flight or a long, exhausting journey and, with top-notch and exclusive hotels in, say, Madeira, Cyprus and the Algarve in Portugal, ITC provides luxury holidays to many first-class resorts located closer to the UK.

It all started in the Caribbean for ITC and, with a portfolio that runs the spectrum from the Caymans to Jamaica and four decades of experience to draw upon, the travel operator continues to manage many Caribbean resorts and considers the Caribbean to be the jewel in its crown.

Picture: thew…g

San Juan city guide

San Juan is not only a wonderful Caribbean destination; it is also a cultural capital.  The city is famous for its deserted beaches, elegant restaurants, exciting nightlife, picturesque sites, state-of-the-art galleries and last, but not least, incredible historic buildings with unusual architectural forms, ranging from Spanish-colonial style to modern Art Deco.

Things to do and see

Citadels and museums that you can visit include El Castillo del Morro, El Castillo de San Cristóbal, Cuartel de Ballaja, Casa del Libro, La Princesa and Museo El Niño.   For the more physically active tourists, this city offers water sports and city tours, including the Central Park, La Marquesa Forest Reserve, Munoz Rivera Park and Parque de las Palomas.

You can also enjoy an assortment of restaurants where people can order almost any dish, including appetisers, tapas, and traditional home-cooked Mexican and Spanish food.  Or you can sample the food and drink from the wide range of cafes, bars and pubs which complement the elegant restaurants that serve this beautiful city.

Climate

The tropical climate of San Juan provides an average temperature of 32 degrees Celsius during the summer and 22 degrees during the winter. The best time to visit this location is between May and October. 

Travel and lodging information

This city has a large airport that connects to major cities around the world, including London.  The average flight time from London to San Juan is 11 hours.  In San Juan, you will find a variety of lodging alternatives including hotels, beach resorts, inns, villas and apartments.

Picture: Jorge Rodriguez

Travel guide to Athens, Greece

Athens is the perfect holiday destination for the tourist who loves history and art.  As the capital city of Greece, it is a wonderful place notable for its architectural sites, museums, parks, zoos and wine tours.  It is also famous for its spotless streets and parks, ultramodern subway and new freeways that make it easy to get around the city.

Climate 

Athens has a subtropical Mediterranean climate whose dominant feature consists of clear alternations between mild, wet winters and prolonged hot, dry summers.  Since summers are characterised by high temperatures, and winters arrive with cold days and a lot of precipitation, the best time to visit Athens is unquestionably during spring and autumn.

Attractions

Athens offers some amazing architectural sites that mirror various styles from Greco-Roman to Neo-Classical and Art Deco. You can also enjoy many parks and zoos, such as the Parnitha National Park, National Garden of Athens and Attica Zoological Park.

Athens is also home to an assortment of impressive buildings, including the Temple of Hephaestus, Temple of Olympian Zeus, National Archaeological Museum, Benaki Museum, Byzantine and Christian Museum, New Acropolis Museum and Museum of Cycladic Art.  Additionally, you will find well over a hundred theatrical stages. In particular, in the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, one of the most famous theatrical stages, you can watch the Athens Festival, which takes place every year from May to October. 

For the tourists looking for a unique way to spend their afternoons, Athens provides a suite of wine tours and wine tastings. Having large areas renowned for the cultivation of different local grape varieties, you will find more and more wineries offering wines of excellent quality.

Travel and lodging  

The shortest duration of a regular direct flight from London to Athens is only three and a half hours. Upon arrival, you can find numerous lodging alternatives that range from camping and hostels to luxury hotels.

Picture courtesy of Arian Zwegers

Tenerife More than a Beach Break

Tenerife is a popular choice for beach holidays; it has a great selection of resorts, looking out onto golden sand beaches, full of excitement. The resorts also cater well for tourists, with plenty going on during the day and on an evening. Accommodation is also varied, from all-inclusive hotels to self-catering apartments and villas.

However

If you’re not looking for a beach holiday, Tenerife still has some great options, further inland. You will find a traditional feel, away from the bustling built up resorts, a gentler way of life in many of the small towns and villages, dotted around the hillside. Here you are ideally situated, to get out and about and explore the natural beauty of the island and Granadilla Holidays, have it all. It’s the perfect destination for hiking and walking as well as horse riding and cycling, with many tracks and paths surrounding the hill town.  During the day there are a number of cafes, where you can find a spot of lunch or arrange a packed lunch if you’re heading out for the day. On an evening you will find a relaxed vibe plenty of traditional Canaria restaurants and taverns where you can mingle with the friendly locals. You really do feel away from it all, despite the main resort of the island, Play De Las Americas only been a short distance away and the airport is also close by.

If Granadilla is a little bit isolated for what you want, why not take a look at La Laguna, Tenerife’s second largest city.  It was once the islands capital and has a wealth of history, it’s quite a bustling vibrant city, where there is always something going on. There are plenty of places to explore as well such as the Cathedral, the Santo Domingo Church and the Church of Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion. You should also look at enjoying some fantastic art exhibitions as well as the museums in the City which will give you a great insight into the island. Because La Laguna is a University, City you can be sure of a lively nightlife. There are plenty of places to eat and drink here and it can get quite busy when the students are around.

Looking at holidays in Tenerife, you can see that they really are varied; there is something for everyone, whether you like beach holidays or quiet retreats so why not book your summer 2013 holiday to this fabulous island.

Going on holiday to Seoul, Korea

Seoul in South Korea is full of culture and charm, and is home to some world class cuisine. As soon as you step into Seoul, you are surrounded by beautiful neon lights and friendly people. There are amazing dishes such as Korean BBQ, kimchi, bip im bop and tux galbi, but be forewarned Korean food is spicy! Myoung Dong has all of your shopping needs. If you want a pair of cheap, funky prescription glasses then Nam Dae Moon Market is where you go to find them. You can pick your favorite frames and your lenses will be ready in less than an hour. 

Seoul Tower is a great way to see the city from a bird’s eye view.  Hike up to the top or take a bus. Itaewon or “little America” is a great place to shop.  The Korean National Museum is also a lot of fun since people can dress up in traditional Han Bok and learn how to make kimchi.

Get busy with some karaoke time 

Koreans love karaoke and they love to sing it with friends.  Do not be afraid to jump on stage and let your voice ring through the halls. You can also go to Norebong and get your own private singing room.  Close the doors and let the tunes soar. Be sure to visit a jin jew bong before you leave and sit in the many aromatherapy baths and let your stress melt away.

24 hours in Tokyo

Tokyo is a city full of contradictions.  Modern lifestyle combined with traditional customs; crowded yet quiet with traces of old Japan scattered among the malls and skyscrapers.  It is spiritual, wacky, lively and definitely understated.

Tsukiji fish market

The world’s biggest fish market fills up with visitors in the dawn hours to witness the tuna auctions.  The auction is not always open to the public.  Try the fresh wasabi at the outer market and sushi at the restaurant near the wholesale fruit market.

Sumo

A visit to Tokyo is not complete without watching a sumo bout at the National Sumo Hall, Ryogoku Kokugikan.  A visitor to the city in January, May and September can watch one of the three Grand Tournaments.

Sensoji Temple

The oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo merits a visit.  The temple dating back to 645 AD was destroyed during the Second World War and rebuilt in 1958.  The temple pathway is lined with souvenir shops.  Visit the nearby Shinto shrine.

Ueno Park

This spacious park located in the middle of Tokyo has temples, pools, fountains and a zoo.  Spend an afternoon taking a stroll in the park and visit the Tokyo National Museum, National Museum of Western Art and National Science Museum located at the north east end of the park. 

Ropponji

Ropponji is the entertainment district of Tokyo.  It boasts the hippest clubs, bars, pubs, hostess clubs and restaurants in Tokyo.

Visit Disney world, the Dome City and Tokyo Tower or ride on the bullet train and shop at Ginza, the fourth expensive retail area in the world, if you have time to spare.