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We’re funny (usually), controversial (sometimes) and insightful (always!). Our travel experts share their experiences below in hopes of hearing back from YOU. So read, comment and enjoy!

Posts from November, 2008

Christmas shopping in New York still on the cards

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Despite the slump in the value of the pound against the US dollar, British people might still consider jetting off to the Big Apple to do their Christmas shopping, it has been suggested.

According to a leading travel publisher, the sustained interest in this seasonal treat might even be because of the credit crunch, rather than in spite of it.

Tom Hall, travel editor at Lonely Planet, said: "The temptation of busting out of the gloom that surrounds them [UK holidaymakers] at the moment and going and living it up in New York for a few days, might override other concerns."

In addition, Mr Hall suggested that the environmental impact of long-haul travel might also be put on the back burner while the economy is in the doldrums.

"I think everybody is aware of the environmental impact of a huge number of things in their life, flying is obviously included in that. Whether it stops people going who want to go, I’m not sure."

Founded by Tony and Maureen Wheeler when they published their first guide, entitled Across Asia on the Cheap, Lonely Planet has become one of the best-selling travel book series worldwide over the last 30 years.

New York – From the dizzy heights of the Empire State Building to the serene Central Park New York has it all!ADNFCR-1652-ID-18902750-ADNFCR

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Motorcross thrills and spills in Berlin

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An essential event for fans of motorbikes and death-defying stunts heads to Berlin next Spring.

From March 21st to 22nd, the O2 World in the German capital will host the FIM FMX World Championships – Night of the Jumps.

The event will see some of the best freestyle motorcross riders compete in front of a baying crowd who, while not actually wanting to see anyone hurt themselves, wouldn’t mind the odd ‘spill’ thrown in with all the thrills on offer.

Competitors will try to outdo each other with their skill and courage to emerge as world champion – there really is no greater test for these daring young riders.

A highlight of the competition will be the Big Air that will see which plucky sort can make the largest jump of night. Fans will be well aware that at a competition of this calibre records could be broken, potentially bettering the 11 metre leap performed by Mathieu Rebeaud at an event in Oberhausen.

This key stop on the sport’s world tour is sure to thrill locals and visitors alike.

Berlin is home to some of Germany’s finest cultural attractions as well as top sport franchises like football team Hertha Berlin.

Active and Adventure – Air Activities – Enjoy an exhilarating helicopter ride over New York or a serene hot air balloon ride over the Australian outback.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18902716-ADNFCR

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British holidaymakers undeterred by credit crunch

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Brits travelling abroad during the credit crunch are overwhelmingly resistant to altering their plans, according to a new survey.

The research, conducted for the Telegraph Travel Awards, found that 92 per cent of respondents had not changed their choice of destination due to the current economic crisis.

What’s more, 96 per cent said they would not opt for cheaper accommodation.

In the awards, New Zealand was named the best non-European country and Cape Town was voted the top world city to visit.

Both results suggest that a taste for faraway destinations persists over any move to frugality in times of financial difficulty.

London’s five-star Claridge’s in Mayfair, which has suites costing several thousands of pounds per night, was named as the top hotel.

Over 25,000 people were polled as part of the Telegraph Travel Awards, which honours destinations and travel service providers across the industry each year.

Active and Adventure – Air Activities – Enjoy an exhilarating helicopter ride over New York or a serene hot air balloon ride over the Australian outback.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18902661-ADNFCR

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Brits defy credit crunch to maintain holiday priority

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British holidaymakers will not give up their annual trip abroad despite the current economic climate, it has been suggested.

According to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), people in UK are looking to "safeguard" their holidays in the face of financial difficulty.

ABTA research has found that 83 per cent of Britons who have taken a recent trip overseas are planning to do so again within a year.

This is contrasted with the statistic that 35 per cent of people feel the credit crunch will affect their plans.

A spokesperson for ABTA, Frances Tuke, said: "I think what it means is that in what we’re seeing and what we believe to be the case, people will probably safeguard one main holiday."

Ms Tuke also suggested that the UK could "clean up slightly" in 2009 from a rise in domestic holidays.

She also noted the increase in popularity of destinations like Egypt and Turkey, which are "good value options".

ABTA was formed in 1950 and represents over 5,500 travel agencies in the UK.

Family – Theme Parks – Treat the family to a day at one of the Disney resorts or to a splashing day out at a Spanish waterpark.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18899378-ADNFCR

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Beer is flavour of the day in Iceland

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On an occasion born perhaps as much as out of relief as of jubilation, March 1st will once again see Iceland celebrate its annual Beer Day.

For 75 years beer was prohibited in the country of Iceland until 1989. When the ban was repealed, the country inaugurated Beer Day in order to celebrate its newly-found freedom.

Those looking to partake of the occasional libation will find drinking establishments across the country celebrating the event. But perhaps the biggest party is to be had in the capital Reykjavik, where revellers in their thousands turn out and enjoy themselves until the wee small hours.

Beer is the world’s most popular alcoholic beverage. Top of the world’s consumption table is the Czech Republic, which played an important part in the history and development of the drink that the world knows and loves today.

Iceland has a population of approximately 300,000 people and is a key world location for geothermal power due to its underlying volcanic geology.

Special Interest – Nightlife – From an extravagant meal to an eerie ghost walk – plenty of things to keep you entertained after the sun goes down.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18899363-ADNFCR

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Wales honours its sacred son on St David’s Day

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On March 1st each year the principality of Wales celebrates the life of its patron saint David.

St David’s Day sees thousands of proud people turn out for parades and festivities up and down the country.

Many will know of the customs observed on the special day, such as the wearing of leeks or daffodils, which are both emblems of Wales.

But the real focus is a celebration of national identity, through the reflection on the man after whom the day is named.

During his life in the 6th century, St David dedicated himself to spreading the Christian mission throughout Wales, giving rise to the widespread adoption of that religion all over the country.

As well as the customary adornments on one’s dress, the Welsh dragon flag is flown even more prominently than usual and traditional food and drink are consumed on this most important feast.

Wales is known for having some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere in the UK. Across the country many people are dedicated to maintaining the use of the Welsh language, which is one of the oldest in the world.

Culture and Sightseeing – City Tours – Whichever city you are in these tours will help to ensure you do not miss a thing.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18899347-ADNFCR

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China’s Harbin shows off its snow skills

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The Chinese destination of Harbin is to hold a very special winter festival early in the coming year.

From January 5th to February 5th the city’s Zhoalin Park will hold the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, which showcases the complexity and versatility of this beautiful natural medium.

The centrepieces of the festival are the incredible ice sculptures which are constructed on a huge scale, forming entire buildings and edifices which visitors can wander around and explore.

Coloured lights, ambient music and intricate decoration give the ice constructions an enchanting character which never fails to impress guests young and old.

There will also be a range of fun activities such as ice skating and ice slides, all of which are bound to add to the fun of the event.

Harbin is located in north eastern China and is a vibrant and up-and-coming city adept at using one of its most abundant natural resources to create a true spectacle for residents and visitors alike.

Culture and Sightseeing – City Tours – Whichever city you are in these tours will help to ensure you do not miss a thing.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18899333-ADNFCR

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Seaside spectacular as Cadiz goes carnival crazy

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One of Spain’s most exciting and historic cities will host its annual carnival from February 19th to March 1st next year.

The 2009 Cadiz Carnival promises to be the biggest and brightest yet as visitors from all around Spain and beyond gather at the seaside location.

With a rich history to draw on the event is an eclectic mix of music, dancing, cabaret, historical satire and dazzling celebrations.

Based on the carnival held each year in Venice, an old trading partner and friendly rival, the occasion sees residents young and old turn out to participate in the highlight of the city’s social calendar.

Cadiz, in the southern region of Andalusia, has long been an important port town, central to the historical flow of trade in an around the Mediterranean.

It is perhaps best known as the launching point for Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World and the home of the Spanish Armada.

Culture and Sightseeing – City Tours – Whichever city you are in these tours will help to ensure you do not miss a thing.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18897760-ADNFCR

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Legendary dog sled race commemorates through competition

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In March 2009 a legendary dog race will begin winding its way across the frozen expanses of Alaska.

The Iditarod Dog Sled Race commemorates the efforts of the a group of sledders who transported vital medicines to diphtheria victims in the Bering Sea town of Nome during the outbreak of 1925.

During the courageous journey 20 drivers risked their lives to travel for five days with their life-saving cargo.

The race began as a commemoration of this heroic effort and while this still a crucial part of proceedings, it has now evolved into a fiercely competitive event.

On the first Saturday of March a ceremonial start in Anchorage remembers the actions of the brave souls more than 80 years ago, before the restart the following day in Wasilla begins the main event, which will poignantly conclude in Nome itself.

The race covers 1150 miles of some of the most spectacular scenery and terrain anywhere on Earth and will take the competitors anywhere between 10 and 17 days to complete.

Alaska is the largest US state in terms of land mass but only has a population of just under 700,000 people.

Active and Adventure – Air Activities – Enjoy an exhilarating helicopter ride over New York or a serene hot air balloon ride over the Australian outback.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18897737-ADNFCR

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Swedish winter festival honours its natural surroundings

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The town of Kiruna in northern Sweden plays host to a fantastic annual event which gives visitors the chance to celebrate the abundance of its snowy natural surroundings.

From January 27th to February 1st next year the 24th Kiruna Snow Festival will see visitors from far and wide journey to this quiet little corner of Swedish Lapland, well into the imposing frozen expanses of the Arctic Circle.

As befits an event so attuned to the snow-covered wilderness there are a range of activities on offer such as ski-jumping and sled racing, among a host of other outdoor and indoor goings-on.

Lucky visitors might also be able to glimpse the spectacular natural phenomenon of the aurora borealis – or ‘northern lights’ – from this beautiful location, making this a truly unique attraction.

Aurora borealis is an natural phenomenon formed by a complex set of scientific conditions in the upper reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Special Interest – Nightlife – From an extravagant meal to an eerie ghost walk – plenty of things to keep you entertained after the sun goes down.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18894880-ADNFCR

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