World Penguin Day

Today is World Penguin Day, who doesn’t love these cute creatures. However where can you go and see them in their natural habitat?
The first answer most people give is the obvious one – Antarctica. You can’t stay there but can visit as part of an expedition or discovery type cruise. Often starting in Ushuaia in Argentina and presenting so many opportunities for some fantastic photography – these cruischinstrap-penguin-e834b5062a_1920es are a great way to explore the continent and interact with penguins in both the Falkland Islands and Antarctica.

The Galapagos Islands are another place that are home to penguins. Another destination rich in natural wonders and unique species. You can get to the islands by boat or plane, often combined with a trip to Peru to see Machu Picchu or to experience the wildlife in the Amazon.

If your idea of a good holiday doesn’t involve so many boats – then you should consider seeing penguins in Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia or South Africa. From October to March, large colonies of penguins can be seen in Patagonia, which is a region shared by Argentina and Chile.

New Zealand is home to 3 species of penguin, including the world’s smallest – the korora or little blue penguin. All located on South Island – probably the location in the world where you can have the most adventures, from bungee jumping to heli-ski-ing. Queenstown alone gets 2 million visitors a year seeking thrills (resident population 300,000!)

In Australia, penguins can be found on Phillip Island. www.visitmelbournking-penguin-ea37b7082c_1920e.com says “The daily parade of little penguins draws thousands of visitors from around the globe every year. Line the observation boardwalks at Phillip Island Nature Park at dusk to see them race up Summerland Beach to their burrows. Bring warm clothing year-round, as the nights on the beach can be cool.” Not far from the cosmopolitan and lively city of Melbourne, this is an ideal side trip if you’re visiting here.

Finally South Africa, again like Australia, locations are close to a big city. Here it’s Cape Town, a very popular city with UK travellers (I’ve done lots of long weekend city breaks to here!) Boulders Beach is the place to go and it’s protected under the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area, so safe and clean

For holidays to any of these locations, just call Olein on 01252 519669 or email olein@diamondtravel.gtmail.co.uk

Diamond Travel, agency ref S0466. We act as The Global Travel Group Ltd in connection with the sale of travel products. Unless specified as the operator, The Global Travel Group Ltd is the agent of ATOL Protected Tour Operators and other principals.  (NB the photos are random pictures of penguins and don’t represent the species you’d find in the adjacent text!)

 

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Dubai offer – including new parks

This is a great offer.  The new theme parks open soon in Dubai and promise to be fantastic.  There’s something for everyone.  So call me now to book

Diamond Travel, agency ref S0466.  We act as The Global Travel Group Ltd in connection with the sale of travel products.  Unless specified as the operator, The Global Travel Group Ltd is the agent of ATOL Protected Tour Operators and other principals.  All holidays quoted subject to availability at the time of booking

dubai-13-10-16

Bucket list travel!!

I’ve been thinking a lot about bucket lists recently.  Realising that a bucket list isn’t just for those people in their 60s (and later) means that this opens the world to everyone in a way!

We all know that if a business plan isn’t written down, then it doesn’t exist.  So it’s the same with a bucket list – if you don’t verbalise it and then write it down, then you’re less likely to do it.  But what to put on a list and where to leave it?

There are loads of websites you can visit to record your list, no point in repeating them here – have a look at http://larakrupicka.com/bucketlistwebsites/  You can also pin pictures of your dream destinations at Pinterest and get ideas.  The trouble is, once you start thinking and looking for destinations to add to your bucket list, you’ll get easily distracted and the list will group enormously!!  Not necessarily a bad thing though.

So what should be on the list?  You should always have a destination/experience in mind if your numbers come up on the lottery.  But equally, not everything has to be this big.  You’ll have to have some easily achievable items, it’s very satisfying ticking items off.  Think about experiences as well as destinations.  Films that have inspired you – do you want to ride off into the sunset like John Wayne, ride a scooter round Rome like Audrey Hepburn, visit South Africa to see Mandela’s history, and so on.  TV is a great source for inspiration – lots of people wanted to see the Northern Lights after Joanna Lumley showcased them, Sue Perkins started a trip along the Mekong river in Cambodia recently.  Entries on your list must make your heart skip a beat when you think about them!

What about your hobbies and interests – gardening – there are some beautiful gardens and plants to see all over the world, museums – the list of museums to visit is almost endless, music – follow your favourite band or artist to a new concert venue, cooking (or just enjoying food) – learn to cook from a local expert.

Research your destination – Tripadvisor and Lonely Planet guides are great sources of information, as are brochures from your travel agent (but please don’t just use us as a source of information)

If you’re stuck on where to start, just give me a call.  I’d love to help you build your list and then even better, I’d love to help you tick off items on it!!

Part of my own bucket list achieved last year!

Part of my own bucket list achieved last year!

Olein can be contacted at 01252 519669 or email olein@diamondtravel.ltd.uk

 

Diamond Travel, Agency ref S0466.  Registered office 18 Corfe Way, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 6TS.  Company registration number 4100025.  We act as The Global Travel Group Ltd in connection with the sale of travel products.  Unless specified as the operator, The Global Travel Group Ltd is the agent of ATOL Protected Operators and other principals.

Faking it (or not)…

Quote from Arthur Herzog – “To fake it is to stand guard over emptiness.”  I agree with this, in that it is harder to fake than to be honest – so why make things harder for ourselves!!

I don’t normally do daytime television, but while waiting for some work to be done on my car this morning – I caught Fake Britain on the garage’s TV.  Two holiday/travel stories in the programme which caught my eye (obviously).  There was a third story, but I was already on my way back to the office! http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b011qhhd

Now I don’t know how old the programme was or how many times it’s been repeated, but the issues are relevant still.

One item was about the perils of booking a holiday villa or apartment online on a private rental site.  These sites do their best to verify all information, but are unable to visit all properties and vet the owners.  In the instance shown, someone had made over £100,000 from renting out fake properties all over Europe (and is now in prison).  How can you insure against this?  The obvious answer is to book through a tour operator who knows the properties – ok, you may not get the personal touches or lower prices that you might get from booking direct.  However I remember a booking for a villa for a client this summer in Spain and the operator was able to tell me how far it was to the beach – easy walk there but steep steps on the way back.  So you can get very detailed information from a company, not just an individual.  And your money and holiday is safe and the properties are great.  I deal with various companies who rent out properties all over the world (but mainly Europe and the USA.)  With both ATOL or Flight-Plus protection for all holidays that include flights (some terms and conditions apply, which I inform you about at the time of booking).

 

The other story was about a holidaymaker who was arrested in Jamaica after luggage containing drugs was checked in under her name on a flight to the UK.  The message here was simple – keep an eye on your luggage at all times and in difficulty, ask for the British Consulate as quickly as possible.  Try and have something in your luggage to show it belongs to you (not addresses or personal details however).

According to the programme website, the final travel story was about a man who was sold a fake airline ticket.  To avoid this, book with a travel agent who is financially protected.  When I book flights, I send a receipt with an ATOL certificate straightaway to the client.  Make sure you get this certificate or query the booking with your credit card company.  Most credit card companies also protect purchases over a certain amount and many debit cards also offer the same level of protection.  If you don’t know the company you’re booking with, don’t pay by cash or bank transfer.

Lots of ways to avoid being conned!  Most involve checking out who you’re booking with, and if in doubt, don’t.  More details on protecting your package holiday can be found on the CAA website who administer ATOL http://www.caa.co.uk/homepage.aspx?catid=1759

Diamond Travel, agency S0466, acts as The Global Travel Group plc in connection with the sale of travel products.  Unless specified as the operator, The Global Travel Group plc is the agent of ATOL Protected Tour Operators and other principals.

www.diamondtravel.ltd.uk

Call Olein on 01252 519669

Email olein@diamondtravel.ltd.uk

Ranch holidays and others in the USA

Having loved our USA road trip this holiday, I’ve started thinking about other types of USA holidays I can offer to my clients.  The ‘road-trip’ is just one of many ideas I have.  As we loved Texas and the wide open spaces in Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona, I thought it good to start with holidays here.

The obvious one is a ranch holiday – we saw lots of cattle while we were driving and a few cowboys (although not enough!!).  Here at Diamond Travel, we deal with a couple of companies who offer ranch holidays.  For example, we offer ranch holidays to adult-only and family-friendly ranches, there are even ranches with no single supplements. Stay on a working ranch in a guest cabin with those welcome modern touches including Internet and phone access, hot showers and laundry facilities. But you’ll still have plenty of time to enjoy your life on the trail, sitting round campfires and swapping stories. For the real cowboy experience, try a cattle and horse drive ranch holiday. Add in extra thrills with a white water rafting trip and you can even combine a ranch holiday with a city break. We can make sure your real life Wild West adventure comes true.

It will take you back to your favourite western films, whether you prefer John Wayne or Clint Eastwood!  If you combine a ranch holiday with a city break, you can even wear your Stetson in the casinos at Las Vegas.  Nothing is ever out of place there.  The picture was taken at the Elk City Route 66 Museum in Oklahoma.  DIGITAL CAMERA

Our favourite memories from the trip in this area – the laid back atmosphere and the friendliness everywhere.  Everyone was very proud of their hometown and eager to tell us more wherever we went.  The Big Texan in Amarillo is a must – even to get picked up in the limo with the cattle horns on the front is part of the experience.  However, you have to be brave to try the 72oz steak!  The roads just went on and on – a straight road as far as the horizon in many areas – fantastic to drive on and beautiful countryside all around us.

As well as ranch holidays, you can relax with city breaks in some places that you might never have considered before – Oklahoma has museums, art galleries and nightlife.  Amarillo is much bigger than we thought – worth exploring the Palo Duro Canyon about 30 miles away.  Santa Fe – great music and art scene, loved sitting in the square listening to music on the band stand. Albuquerque, the Old Town area was lovely and it’s also the Hot Air Balloon capital of the world.  Plus the location for Breaking Bad.  Flagstaff – great for hiking and mountainous scenery, the Grand Canyon isn’t too far away.  Very much an outdoor city.

Just get in touch with Olein at Diamond Travel for more information about ranch holidays in the USA and Canada. All prices quoted subject to availability at the time of booking.  Diamond Travel, agency S0466, acts as The Global Travel Group plc in connection with the sale of travel products.  Unless specified as the operator, The Global Travel Group plc is the agent of ATOL Protected Tour Operators and other principals.