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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 in ‘Sightseeing & Culture’

Cape Town is designated a ”must see” city

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Cape Town has wowed visitors for centuries Cape Town has achieved a continental first by becoming the first city in Africa to feature in the National Geographic Traveler Magazine”s Places of a Lifetime website.

Showcasing 50 of the world’s top destinations, National Geographic”s Places of a Lifetime website lists the top destinations in the world that no self respecting traveller should miss.

National Geographic asks: "What”s not to love about Cape Town?"

It then adds: "From iconic Table Mountain, several hundred million years in the making, to the hip watering holes of Camps Bay, South Africa”s ”Mother City” is the brightest light in the reborn rainbow nation."

Cape Town”s attractions don”t seem to have missed Manchester United either.

The Premiership champions are sending a top team down to the city this weekend to take part in the 2008 Vodacom Challenge.

Rooney, Teves, Giggs et al will take on the local Kaiser Chiefs in the opening fixture of this year”s tournament at the Newlands Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday, July 19th.

Cape Town – From the wine route to the game parks there is so much to see and do in Cape Town.
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37% of Brits are ‘disorganised’ packers

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Many travellers say they just 'throw it all in and hope for the best'More than a third of British holidaymakers could be much more organised when it comes to packing, with 37 per cent of respondents in a Post Office survey admitting to being messy or disorganised packers.

The survey also found that nearly a quarter (22 per cent) of people said they regularly pack too much and take an outfit for every occasion, while 12 per cent confessed to "throwing it all in and hoping for the best’.

Meanwhile, a third said they are often unsure of luggage restrictions before they set off on their holiday and nearly half (45 per cent) admitted to being unfamiliar with rules relating to liquids and food.

Helen Warburton, head of travel services at the Post Office, said: "The way we travel has changed in recent years. Rising security concerns mixed with increased charges for checking hold luggage has created a sense of confusion. Packing is no small part of that."

Culture and Sightseeing – City Tours – Whichever city you are in these tours will help to ensure you do not miss a thing.
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Bangkok best city in the world

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The Thai capital has deposed Florence as the best city in the worldBangkok has been named as ‘the world’s best city’ in a new online poll.

The Thai capital has moved up two places since last year’s Travel and Leisure magazine’s annual ‘World’s Best’ survey, deposing 2007′s winner, Florence.

The rest of the top five were made up by Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Sydney and Florence.

The results were compiled from votes by the magazine’s subscribers in an internet poll which took place between January and March.

Commenting on the results, Nancy Novograd, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, said: “Nature and adventure were clearly a draw in the selections.”

Meanwhile, the editor of Luxury Travel magazine has said that Bangkok is throwing off its backpacker image and is becoming popular with all kinds of travellers, from honeymooners to baby boomers.

Alyson Cook said that visitors are attracted to Thailand because of “the combination of a wonderful beach holiday in places like Koh Samui [and] the opportunity to travel up into places like Chiang Mai”.

Culture and Sightseeing – City Tours – Whichever city you are in these tours will help to ensure you do not miss a thing.
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Cape Town Fashion Week

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Cape Town Fashion Week is Africa's largest couture eventFrom August 13th to 16th, Cape Town Fashion Week will take place at the International Convention Centre in the city.

Now in its fifth year, Africa’s largest gathering of fashion talent will showcase new collections and trends.

Paul Jackson, chief executive of African Fashion International (owners of the event) said that the Fashion Week “will present some of the nation’s most gifted fashion designers as they reveal their latest collections for the upcoming spring/summer season”.

Since its launch in 2003, the event has grown into one of the premier “new world” fashion weeks, attracting major fashion magazines and trade professionals, and providing an international platform for established and up-and-coming designers from across Africa.

In contrast to traditional fashion shows, which are strictly trade events, Cape Town Fashion Week is open to the public and offers special seminars and introductory courses for those interested in a career within the industry as well lovers of couture.

Cape Town – From the wine route to the game parks there is so much to see and do in Cape Town.
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UNESCO names three new heritage sites in Italy

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There are now 43 heritage sites in ItalyMantova, Sabbioneta and the Retica Railway have been named new World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, bringing the total number in Italy to a staggering 43 sites.

Mantova and Sabbioneta were given heritage site status because they are "extraordinary examples of Renaissance architecture and city planning".

Mantova was the former capital of the Gonzaga family who ruled the province for almost 400 years. During their reign, they kept some of the most important artists of the time at their court and were avid collectors of art.

Meanwhile, Sabbioneta, which is in the same province, is known for its historic Jewish ghetto and particularly for its Hebrew printing-press. Its period of prosperity and artistic patronage was under Duke Vespasiano Gonzaga who died in 1591.

The third site, the Retica Railway, crosses the Alps between Italy and Switzerland through the Bernina Pass and is one of the most scenic railways in Europe, running over railway viaducts of breathtaking height.

Rome – Visit some of the ancient landmarks such as the Colosseum or tour the opulent Vatican.
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More parents taking children abroad

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Two-thirds of under-threes have been abroad at least onceOne in four babies under six months have been taken on a foreign holiday by their parents at least four times, according to new research.

A survey by insurance.co.uk found that 60 per cent of toddlers under the age of three have already been abroad on holiday at least once, while 30 per cent had been overseas three times.

Meanwhile, children under 11 had travelled just as far in their lifetimes as people over the age of 60.

Steve Grainger, head of insurance.co.uk, said: "Now that government rules about term-time holidays have become so much stricter, families with school age children are restricted to travelling during the more expensive, school holiday period.

"New parents are aware that they will not be able to benefit from cheap kids go free, term-time deals and are making the most of extended maternity leave."

Mr Grainger also recommended that families travelling with young children "might need to pay more attention to the value of [travel insurance] cover they take out".

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.
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Dubai may become world’s next fashion capital

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Isla Moda will stage fashion showsOne of the world’s leading fashion designers has said that Dubai could become the potential fashion capital of the world.

Karl Lagerfield has signed up with Dubai Infinity Holdings (DIH) to help design Isla Moda – Fashion Island – which is to include haute couture boutiques, villas and a 250-room luxury hotel with themed rooms.

The fashion icon said: “Dubai is a fashion bud on the verge of blossoming into the next fashion hub of the world … Isla Moda has tremendous potential to be the style icon of the future and I intend on driving the island to high style stardom.”

Isla Moda will also stage fashion shows and act as a meeting place for the fashion industry’s top names.

Samira Abdulrazzak, chief executive of DIH, said: “This is a very important phase in the development and begins a new chapter for fashion in Dubai.”

Dubai – A true modern metropolis Dubai boasts a fine range of tourist facilities including the refined Burj al Arab hotel.
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Thailand’s backpacker image ‘outdated’

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Thailand is attracting a lot of honeymoonersThailand’s reputation for being a backpacker destination is "outdated", according to the editor of Luxury Travel Magazine.

Alyson Cook said:"Thailand has become a popular destination – particularly with the honeymoon market."

She added: "The boutique hotel market is a growing aspect of what they have to offer in that part of Asia … They have also perfected the spa side of the market and that, increasingly, is very high on the luxury travellers’ list; a decent spa is almost a pre-requisite."

According to the Kuoni Long Haul Report 2008, Thailand was the second most popular long-haul destination for British holidaymakers in 2007, coming second to the Maldives.

The report also found that boutique luxury continues to boom, and that holidays offering a very personal experience of a distant destination are growing in popularity.

Ms Cook said people can enjoy "wonderful" beach holidays in places like Koh Samui, as well as have the opportunity to travel up into places like Chiang Mai.

Relaxation and Romance – Wining and Dining – Dine in some unforgettable settings including the Eiffel Tower and in the shadow of the New York skyline.
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Turkey knocks Spain off as top tourist destination

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Turkey's history goes back thousands of yearsTurkey has replaced Spain as the number one destination for travellers, according to The Co-operative Travel.

Director of retail distribution Trevor Davis said the strength of the euro against the pound was a key reason for the change.

A report by Turespana, the Spanish tourist board, also said there would be a "progressive fall in the classic package holiday and the 14-day holiday".

Mr Davis said: "Bookings from people looking for cheap summer sun have traditionally ensured that Spain was the leading holiday destination. However this year they are finding the high euro and a shortage of availability means the normal late deals aren’t available.

"Turkey has benefited most from this trend and we’re seeing 30 per cent growth in bookings for holidays across all parts of the country."

Turkey’s history goes back thousands of years and the country is one of the oldest continually inhabited regions in the world due to its location at the intersection of Asia and Europe.

Culture and Sightseeing – City Tours – Whichever city you are in these tours will help to ensure you do not miss a thing.
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STA Travel: Insurance is a must for activity holidays

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One in ten Britons wrongly believe that all travel insurance policies cover adventurous activities Travel insurance is "undoubtedly the wisest purchase" travellers can make when going on an activity holiday, STA Travel has said.

A spokeswoman for the company said that insurance may seem like an unnecessary extra cost, but it is a must "in case case you lose your belongings or need medical attention".

She advised: "You should ensure the travel insurance you take out covers all the countries you plan to travel to and any activities you plan to participate in."

Recent research by esure shows that one in ten Britons wrongly believe that all travel insurance policies cover adventurous activities as standard.

Worryingly, 15 per cent admitted that they would go ahead and make a booking even if they knew the activity wasn’t covered under their travel insurance.

Mike Pickard, head of travel insurance at esure, said: "With a surge in the popularity of, and access to, more adventurous sports and activities at holiday resorts across the globe, it’s crucial for holidaymakers to take out travel insurance and check they’re covered before they try out the likes of white water rafting in Australia or shark-feeding in the Bahamas. Get injured and the medical bills could turn a paradise trip into a nightmare."

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

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