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    Travel trends by Global Great Hotels.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Britain's Beautiful Beaches - Starting with Scotland

Britain’s Beautiful Beaches – Starting with Scotland – don’t mention the Orange Elephant

Dear Readers,

There’s nothing like an unseasonable heatwave to get the creative juices going, is there?! Let’s face it, the weather has been plain odd since the start of the pandemic: sunbathing weather in March; the usual God-awful August when the schools were still off, and now, once our little darlings have gone back, a heatwave graces our hallowed shores once more.

Therefore, at Travel Trends HQ, this got us thinking about our favourite beaches in the UK. It is the ultimate time to visit them for three reasons: 1) no (or few) kids; 2) you won’t freeze; 3) better get in there before we all get locked down again. To get some semblance of order, we’re going to start from the top of the country to the bottom. Now, a little disclaimer here for you: as our seasoned readers are aware, and perhaps our new readers (welcome) are not, we like to take our Travel Trends from actual real-life experiences, as we find that they are not only much more authentic, but, as again, our seasoned (and intrepid) readers are aware, tend to be a lot funnier. Nothing like a bit of humour (or topless moped-riding) to fire up those travel inspired juices.

Ingleside (ref UK5799) in Ballantrae, near Girvan, Ayrshire | cottages.com

We’re going to do a little series on beaches, and in the interests of correct geography, we’re going to do this in country order, so today, we’re starting in Scotland. Not necessarily a place synonymous with sunbathing and beaches, I hear you cry? Well, dear Readers, you’d be wrong! Did you know that Ayrshire is actually in the path of the gulf stream, driving warm air up from the South (insert your choice of joke about a lot of hot air from the South here!)? So guess what! You get some glorious weather here! One of our favourite beaches is at a little place called Girvan, about 10 miles South of Ayr. Here you’ll find lots of sand, some lovely little boats and a traditional seafront.

The 5 best beaches in Ayrshire | HeraldScotland

Also, Ayr itself has a lovely, sandy beach and it’s not that cold! But do you want to hear the best bit? It’s very, very underpopulated, and very, very quiet. You’re kind of sheltered by Northern Ireland and Arran, in what is officially known as the “Firth of Clyde” and it’s just so peaceful and unspoilt. If you fancy a bit of a “walk in the car” take the old Ayr road down from Ayr towards Girvan. It is one of the most scenic coastal roads your Hapless Blogger has ever come across in the UK, and again, so quiet.

Walk 124 – Ayrshire Coastal Path: Girvan -Turnberry – Maidens (10 miles) –  Gillian's Walks 

Head towards Maidens (incidentally, if you’re hungry – and you’ll find a theme going on here, I can absolutely recommend you stop at Wildings http://www.wildingshotel.com/restaurant.html great for fish), and you’ll find Turnberry. Now, as an aside, you know that your Aspiring Blogger likes a nice cappuccino/wine spot and here is one for you: now again, a bit of a disclaimer, because it was a while since I visited, and although the location hasn’t changed the name most certainly has. Unfortunately, dear Readers, once the Turnberry Hotel, is now (cringe) the “Trump Turnberry, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scotland”. I’m so sorry. However, if you’re at all able to get round the orange elephant in the room, it is the most wonderful place to stop (Covid permitting) for a cappuccino in their stunning lounge with unencumbered views of a volcanic plug called “Ailsa Craig.” Honestly, go there (and they give you their out-of-this-world shortbread with your drink – it’s worth braving Trump for that alone!). This whole coastline is outstanding, and as we mentioned before, you won’t be swamped by tourists.

Ailsa Craig – The Glasgow Gallivanter

Keep your eyes peeled for our next foray onto UK beaches in Wales and England!


Monday, 31 August 2020

Travel Advice for those with Cabin Fever

TRAVEL ADVICE FOR THOSE WITH CABIN FEVER Please, do, accept our apologies for our absence, but this was rather a tricky one to write as you may imagine. The trouble with travel advice, and travel in general in these challenging times, is that it keeps changing. So to bring you the very latest and best advice is somewhat difficult. Instead, what we decided to do was to get the experience from some of our esteemed clients, because, as those who are members of Global Great Hotels know, we’re a tight knit bunch, and we like to keep in contact regularly with our customers, to see how they are and what they’ve been up to. We have seen a steady increase in the amount of holidays being (re) booked for our members, so we decided to ask them their advice, those who have already been and gone, and what they discovered when they got there. Most people haven’t been too far flung as yet, although there are some big holidays still planned for later on in the year for many people and, interestingly enough, we have found that many clients, especially those who are retired, are not worried about changing quarantine rules. As one customer said, “we’re basically in quarantine anyway! Pottering about in the garden for 2 weeks when we get back and getting our shopping delivered rather than going out for it is absolutely no different to what we’d already be doing anyway!” So you do have that school of thought. We were about to say, it’s different for those who work, however, as one of our younger clients pointed out, most people are working from home now, anyway, so again, quarantine if you’re working from home is not difficult. However, we mustn’t be flippant about the situation, and we must, of course, be sensible. So, what happens when you get to the airport? What are the procedures and what have our clients found when they’ve got to the other side?
Let’s take Spain as our example, as it’s been the most popular and the most likely with the average person to visit. Before you go, you need to visit www.spth.gob.es. This is the Spain Travel Health website. This is essential and you must fill out the health control form and obtain your “QR Code” otherwise you cannot travel. The form must be filled out for everyone and anyone travelling to Spain. It’s one form per SINGLE trip, meaning that you need to fill out another one before you return as well. You can either print the form out, or download the app. Either way, by filling out the form, it generates a “QR Code” which is one of those squares of code used by the machines at the security check-points to scan (like the one you get on your boarding pass). We suggest downloading the app if you can, because although you might have access to a printer at home, you may not when you’re the other end and need to do another one before coming home. On the form, you’ll need information like your flight number and passport number, so have those details handy. It is suggested that you do this two days before leaving the UK, and then, two days before leaving Spain. Just make sure you do it in plenty of time, so not to rush at the last minute. As of writing, apart from in Wales or if you’re under six years old, it is now mandatory to wear a mask in public places, so it should come as no surprise that you must wear your mask at all times (apart from eating and drinking) in the airport and on the plane. If you have a minor under six who is unwilling to wear a mask, here are some examples of ones which may entice them (not that I’m talking from experience here or anything! www.luxpu.com).
Accounts so far have been that it’s actually been pretty normal. Not too busy but not like a ghost town either. And I suppose it makes sense, really, I mean, now when you’re going round Sainsbury’s it’s completely normal to keep your distance and wear a mask. It’s mandatory, and we’re all just getting on with it, really. So it’s exactly the same in the airport. Still the same if you’re the unlucky chap at security who has to completely unpack their bag for some random reason, and let’s face it, the security personnel always wore gloves anyway, so that hasn’t changed. As another aside for you, I don’t know about you, but Covid-19 or no Covid-19, we think it’s actually a good idea to wear a mask on the plane anyway. Reason being, how many colds have you managed to catch on a plane? It happens all the time, and yes they do recycle the air, but they can’t change the recycling filters for every flight, so we are massively of the school of thought that it’s far better for you anyway to wear a mask. Again, you are checked the other side for your “QR Code” as described above and off you go as normal. It’s the same in Spain, and remember, they locked down much quicker than we did, so it’s even more normal for them than it is for us. Wear a mask and keep your distance. One of our customers suggested, which is a good idea: if you want to go to one of your favourite restaurants, remember to book beforehand and check on opening times. Remember restaurants have had to rearrange themselves a bit to cope, so just double check what the procedure is. Other than that, enjoy it! It’s life, what can we say, and the show must go on!

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Space Travel - Back with a Big Bang



Here we are at last.  Back with a Big Bang, some might say.


As promised, dear Readers, we’re bringing you a quick catch up on our ultimate Travel Trend:  space travel, ahead of making our way, rather more sedately, around Europe in a bid to bring you ideas and thoughts for the coming months.


However, let’s have a quick catch-up as to where we are in the space race.  Firstly, setting the scene with https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nq5vZ1I0HAU to get us in the mood.  Although I don’t know about you, dear Readers, but considering the recent worldwide events, it does feel a little bit…how do we put it…apocalyptic…?

The War of the Worlds, by H. G. Wells


If I refer you back to our previous blog posts on the subject, our conclusions were that basically Branson was our most realistic chance of getting into space, but that Musk was the most authentic.  However we questioned the viability of Musk in terms of was he going to forget the commercial flight enterprise in favour of NASA?  Well, read on, dear Readers, read on.

Watch continuing coverage of SpaceX crewed launch to the ...


On 30th May 2020, despite being in the middle of a global pandemic of proportions no one could have dreamt of, SpaceX made history with the first successful human space launch.  This launch vehicle will now be certified for operational use for the regular transportation of people into space.  That’s pretty huge.  This was the first time it’s been done with humans on it (two brave guys called Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken who just happened to be NASA astronauts).

When to watch the May 30 SpaceX launch and see Crew Dragon ...


However, chaps, here’s the NASA bit coming up:  it turns out that NASA created the Commercial Crew space programme in order to encourage private development so that basically people such as Musk could spend their own money developing a commercial vehicle which NASA could use.


We have touched on this before and it becomes even more obvious now, but thanks to Musk and the successful launch, NASA no longer needs to rely upon buying tickets on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to get access to the International Space Station and let’s face it, that’s huge.  The more cynical amongst us, let’s face it, will consider that was the main aim for this whole circus.  However, everyone involved maintains that in reality this is the beginning of a new era for commercial space travel.


Interestingly enough, SpaceX has actually already signed an agreement with a private space tourism booking company called Space Adventures (https://spaceadventures.com) and really, dear Readers, Google it for yourselves, you really don’t want to know how much this costs.  I mean, a starting ball-park of $15 million should give you an idea…However, an most importantly for Travel Trends (we may have to enjoy this one vicariously) using the Crew Dragon, SpaceX is hoping to send the first paying tourists up on orbital flights by the end of next year.  Although, one could argue, like anything the first developmental phase will be the most expensive, and already there is talk of identifying a sustainable and reusable launch system which would dramatically bring the price down, it may be a bit of a wait for us mere mortals still.

SpaceX Crew Dragon Capsule Nails In-Flight Abort Test! Next Stop ... 

Of course, it won’t all be tourists, and we must realise that this will predominately, at least to make it viable, be used by private astronauts and scientists and that, I think you’ll agree, is extremely interesting.  Ergo space no longer remains the reserve of NASA and its friends, but is opened up to private and more diverse research.  Is this a good thing or a bad thing?


And guess what, if your mind isn’t already a little bit blown, it cannot escape Hollywood.  Yes, you guessed it, Tom Cruise is planning to film on the International Space Station.  Of course he is.  Although I’m not entirely sure what his Scientology friends would have to say about that one!

Tom Cruise Working With NASA on Film Shot in Outer Space [Updated ...


Watch this space, dear Readers…

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Renaissance - Guess Who's Back



Dear Readers,


Guess who’s back…back again!


Well, it’s been interesting, has it not?  And to be honest, your Hapless Blogger didn’t really know what to say to you in light of everyone being in lockdown and completely uncertain of what was going to happen to them.


However, in recent weeks, as lockdown eases, we begin to emerge like little moles into the sunlight (or perhaps sleepy dormice would be a better analogy, since I think moles are blind…) anyhow, you get the idea.  It seems that, as things are starting, just starting to get on the path to being back to normal, whatever the new normal may be, our thoughts are turning once more to travel.  It is therefore appropriate that we reprise our adventures!


So, buckle up, dear Readers, and let’s get going!


As restrictions ease, we’re going to have a look at the latest travel trends for this year, including some informative blog posts on the latest travel advice, including what to wear and what to expect as we begin to spread our wings.


However, let’s not forget what our MO is in the first place, and you’ll have read, hopefully, dear Readers, our blog posts on Space travel, and I think you’ll all agree, that we have a hell of a lot to talk about in terms of a certain Mr Musk!

Elon Musk: SpaceX makes investors believe Tesla will be a success ...

Coming back to earth, we’re going to look in more detail about Staycations, ideas of what you can do at home, and, dare I say it, camping holidays.  However, not camping as we know it, dear Readers, but luxury camping holidays to such exotic locations as France and Corsica:  the idea being, driving rather than flying.  Half of you have probably already been driven mad by children and grandchildren, so let’s look at the likes of Euro Disney and child-friendly holidays that you will all (questionable) enjoy.  Perhaps that’s stretching it a bit, but let’s face it, there’s nothing more educational than travel.  You might even be treated to a re-appearance by Jolly Hockey Sticks, the Hapless Blogger’s rather scathing mothership…

Camping in Corsica


Since you’ll need a holiday after all that parenting/babysitting we’re going to look at beach clubs – down with the kids cool or emperor’s new clothes?  Are beach clubs the reserve of TOWIE (a British reality show for our European readers) or are they somewhere super cool and chilled to hang out?  Here we’ll visit the hot spots of Spain, Mallorca and Corsica:  for those who are new to our blog, we try and keep our posts to personal experience, because we really believe that that is the best way to describe things, and also unearths some funny stories along the way.

Bookings & prices - Ocean Club


Then, being greedy little foodies, we’re going to eat our way round Europe…because why not?  We’re going to look at the best foodie holidays and even learn to make pasta in Italy…how cool is that?

Here's How to Make Pasta Like a Real Italian Nonna | Eatwith Blog ...


We’re also going to look at great rail travel:  from the Flying Scotsman to the Orient Express as we explore different travel trends through the ages to modern day.  Was it better back then?  Was there more glamour?  Or is it better now?

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express - Trailfinders the Travel Experts


Something else we haven’t yet covered in our blog posts is cruising.  Either love it or hate it, it’s an enormous industry with even bigger ships.  So we going to look at options big and small:  from the biggest ships the size of small cities, to sailing your own vessel in shark-infested waters!  Well, possibly not…

Sailing La Vagabonde: Meet sailing's most popular vloggers - CNN


As ever, we welcome all your comments, and we encourage you to check out our social media to get your feedback.  Please, please don’t hesitate to ask any questions and leave your comments, because we love to hear from you.


So for now, dear Readers, welcome back to the land of travel and travel trends.  Fasten your seatbelts and off we go!