Monthly Archives: July 2017

Top cruises for a short holiday

As the holiday season comes to an end, days filled with fun and relaxation will soon be a distant memory. As work picks up again and the kids head back-to-school, it might be time to break up your routine with a short cruise. Cruises are a great option if you only have a few days because of their all-inclusive nature which removes the stress of having to plan daily activities, packing and unpacking more than once, allowing you plenty of time to actually enjoy your holiday. To make the most of a few days off and the upcoming long weekends, talk to your personal travel manager about a short haul cruise. Here are a few of our favourites.

Rediscover Fiji

Captain Cook Cruises features options such as a three or four night Yasawa Island Cruise, that come complete with child minding services to give the grown ups that all essential me-time. These short cruises are great for families because they are chocked full of activities on the many islands they visit, ranging from volleyball to snorkelling. Captain Cook Cruises’ team is also made up of many friendly Fijians who are on hand to share local secrets about their country. Also available are various accommodation tiers to suit your comfort level and budget, along with tailored packages to help make the most of your getaway.

Get your tan on in Tahiti

If you have a few extra days, consider a Paul Gauguin cruise that will show you the best of Tahiti in only a week. The small ship is ideal for an intimate honeymoon or couples retreat as it takes you to ports that larger boats can’t access, whilst providing you with five-star luxury including an on-board spa. Whether you want to sit by the pool or roll the dice at the casino, this cruise takes you on a trip of a lifetime from the moment you step on your ship till you disembark. From Moorea to Bora Bora, every day is a new adventure on a different island where you can choose from excursions such as dolphin watching or kayaking on a gorgeous turquoise lagoon.

 Put the New in New Zealand

New Zealand is the ideal short break destination as it is only a three-hour flight from parts of Australia. Whether or not you have previously visited the Land of the Long White Cloud, an eight-day cruise with Coral Princess will offer you an entirely fresh way to see New Zealand. As many of the ships’ stops are only accessible by water, cruising is the perfect way to explore. If you’re looking to walk on the wild side, this cruise has your name on it, giving you time to see the local flora and fauna in the water and on land. Say “kia ora” to the locals as you learn more about the rich Maori culture experiencing first-hand the warm hospitality and traditions of New Zealand’s indigenous history.

Shopping in Thailand for Teens

Thailand ticks many other boxes for families too, with its beautiful beaches and resorts, stunning scenery, cultural experiences and adventure sports. Choosing a holiday that entertains teenagers can be a challenge. Teenagers are not so content with splashing in a pool all day, driving around looking at scenery or the kids club. They have different needs and wants to younger children and adults when it comes to holidays, so choosing a holiday that will keep the whole family happy is important.

Local Shops

Local shops are just a short stroll from most resorts and will immediately appeal to any teenager. Teens can pick from t-shirts, sunglasses, handbags, dresses, sportswear, sports shoes, jewellery, hats, caps, local handicrafts and much more. Vendors make sure that they offer the most up-to-date and popular products to draw in these young shoppers. If local shops are not enough, there are endless shopping opportunities in multiple large shopping complexes and factory outlets, like Bangkok’s CentralWorld.

Markets

Look out for the larger night or weekend markets where you and your teens will experience a fascinating mix of shopping, food and culture. They’ll find everything they have their heart set on, and generally at great prices, from clothes and electronic goods, to souvenirs and fashion accessories.

Customised shopping experiences

You can also take advantage of the many tailors that are available in Thailand. Venessa’s son got a stylish suit made to fit for his formal for a quarter of the price that he would pay in Australia. If your teen has a picture of their dream outfit or gown, a tailor can easily make these in a short amount of time to fit them perfectly. Before you head to Thailand, be sure you ask your personal travel manager to recommend a reputable tailor.

Shopping tours

Another great option is booking an organised shopping tour. On these tours you are accompanied by a local guide who will take you to both the most popular shopping spots throughout Thailand and to some of the lesser known areas. They will assist you with getting the best bargains and often help negotiate extra discounts with some businesses.

Be shopping-ready

When planning a shopping holiday, make sure your teenagers take empty suitcases and comfortable shoes. Practice bargaining skills with your children before you go – this will make sure that they are confident negotiating prices in the markets and enjoy the process. Familiarise them with the exchange rate, practicing how to convert money and budget so they don’t blow all their money at the first store.

Top Places to Celebrate Your Honeymoon and Anniversary

Oahu, Hawaii

Referred to as the “Heart of Hawaii”, it’s easy to see why this island is a popular getaway for so many. Not only does its picturesque beaches and legendary sunsets look like they came right off a canvas, it is also home to amazing nightlife, endless amounts of water activities such as surfing and snorkelling, and shopping outlets to suit any budget. To truly experience the glory of Oahu, hire a car for a day and explore the island at your leisure. Must see destinations include Turtle Beach, Diamond Head lookout and the legendary Giovanni’s shrimp truck. But what really makes this island special is its local people, whose friendly nature welcomes visitors from far and wide.

Phuket, Thailand

Whether it’s sipping a cocktail by the beach whilst admiring the crystal blue waters, enjoying a traditional Thai massage, or trekking through the forest on the back of an elephant, Phuket is a paradise fit for all. Aside from the fact that this tropical destination has warm weather all year round and a vibrant nightlife like no other, it is a city enriched with culture and deep rooted traditions. Visit one of the many amazing temples scattered across the city or travel by tuk-tuk to the mighty Big Buddha statue where you can receive a blessing from a monk. Be sure to check out Phuket Town’s weekend night markets, enjoy some much-needed R&R and become immersed in the culture of this beachside city’s beautiful people.

Lisbon, Portugal

Think ancient castle-like buildings, narrow cobblestone streets and vintage shops, set alongside palm trees and beautifully warm weather – Lisbon is an enchanting ancient city getaway. Its 19th century style riverside markets, lively art community and beautiful cathedrals make for great exploration. Looking for a relaxing beach day?

Further afield, travel to Portugal’s southern-most region, Algarve, a coastal haven all about leisure and relaxation. The beach at Praia de Dona Ana is a must. Take in its white sand and pristine blue waters, and then head into the town for a delicious lunch at one of its many cafes and bars. The many picturesque coastal cities found along Algarve are summer havens combining a touch of old world charm with the vibrancy of Portuguese culture.

Byron Bay, NSW

A little closer to home is the coastal town of Byron Bay known for its immaculate beaches, amazing scenery and laid back lifestyle. While visiting this coastal paradise, check out Cape Byron Lighthouse and watch the sun rise above the horizon. From kayaking to surfing, bike riding to scuba diving, the adventurous side of you will be begging you for more, and when you get tired from all these endeavours, take a break and lay back on the beach or call into one of many quirky shops and cafes. Whatever it is you’re looking for, Byron Bay will impress, creating a serene environment for you and your significant other to both rest and play.

Flying Tips

The mere thought of spending hours on a plane in-between a snorer and a fidgeter can be enough to keep you working away at your desk. But rest assured, with our well-travelled network of personal travel managers, our seven heavenly tips for flying will help get you from A-B with ease.

1. Long flight? Get the best seat.

If you’re looking at a long haul flight, forking out a few dollars to select the seat that you feel the most comfortable in will be well worth it. Window seats go fast – not only for the view but also for extra comfort the side of the plane provides when you’re trying to sleep. If you’re a passenger who struggles to keep still, you’ll prefer the aisle so you can escape your seat without having to disturb anybody. Families are often seated in the first few rows of the plane. Avoid this area if you’d like a little more peace and quiet as kids can understandably become restless.

2. Prepare your entertainment.

Load up on podcasts, e-readers, music and apps, and make sure you have all your chargers with you so that you can keep your gadgets powered up throughout your journey. Some planes are now fitted with USB ports so check ahead with your airline.

3. Carry on must haves.

The list of carry-on “must haves” is seemingly endless, but these are the imperatives for every traveller:

  • Noise-cancelling headphones
  • Travel neck pillow
  • Travel toiletry case (toothbrush, toothpaste, face wipes moisturiser, lip balm and deodorant)

4. Sleeping saviors.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine on long haul flights. Use your travel pillow to support your neck and use the plane pillow for lower back support. Invest in some quality noise-cancelling headphones as regular ones won’t drown loud speakers, snorers, laughers, criers, and jet engine noise./ (the latter is more common than you think). You can also use these headphones to play soft music, audiobooks or meditation music to help you sleep away the hours.

 5. Hydration is everything.

There’s no magic number, but two litres per day is standard – you wont regret it. Just make sure you’re aware of your closest toilet. If drinking water seems a bore, try electrolyte drinks, these flavoursome beverages will help maintain a healthy vitamin and mineral balance.

6. Stretch

Inflight exercises are important to keep the blood flowing and to prevent swelling and numbness. Simple stretches in your seat can do the trick, but ideally you should stand up and walk down the aisle of the plane to get the blood moving. When to move your body will be different for everyone, so use your bathroom breaks as a periodic opportunity to stretch your legs.