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Wednesday 30 January 2019

Backpacking, Part 1

Today, we are going to follow another Travel Trend:


You heard right.

And it’s not just for the young!

As we want to give you the best possible insight, we will not only talk about this Travel Trend over several articles, but in this case, we're also going to do something a bit different, and break cover!  This is a personal experience so your Global Great Hotels Blogger is going to reveal herself slightly and write it as it happened:

Your esteemed writer did indeed go backpacking…back in the day…when she was a bit younger and less picky.  So, in the following articles, she is going to share her very own experiences, warts and all (and worse) because really, there’s nothing like first-hand experience to make a good story.

But the question is, apart from reviewing the trend of backpacking itself, when are you too old?  If ever?  Or does it depend on the person?

So, in this part of our article, we’re going to review the important things around backpacking, remaining more analytical, and of course the importance of the “7 Ps”. For the uninitiated this means:  Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

You’ve decided, in your infinite wisdom, that you want to go backpacking, and as we’ve said, it’s not just for posh gap-year students, it is for everyone. So, in this blog we’re going to try and set the net as wide as possible and the first thing any potential backpacker needs to look at is flights. 

Flights:  Round the World or Country by Country?

These are perfect for the first-time backpacker, young or old.  A “round the world ticket” actually means a multi-stop long haul ticket.  Basically you need to decide 2 things:

  1. Your destinations
  1. How long you want to stop there

That’s it.  It’s just a series of pre-booked tickets over a period of time.

A bit of advice from your hapless (or that helpless) author is to make sure that you are not restricted to the AMOUNT of time you can spend in a certain destination, for example, as you will learn later in this blog, for reasons yet to be disclosed, I decided to cut short my time in Fiji in favour of the Cook Islands, where indeed I decided to stay longer.  So, bear this in mind when booking.

Do you want to go clockwise?  Or Anticlockwise?  USA first or last?

How much do you want to spend on your ticket and how long have you got?

When do you want to go?

Most people depart in January or February for either 6 months or 12 months.  Tickets tend to be cheaper January to March, with January 19th being the optimum time to book.

Interestingly, and perhaps obviously, one of the rules is:  no backtracking.  You can only go in one direction and you must book all your flights before departure.

Don’t forget you can travel into and out of different airports e.g. fly into Cairns and fly out of Sydney.  These are known as “open jaw” tickets.

Some of the most common and popular trips are:

UK – Argentina – Chile – NZ – OZ – Thailand – Vietnam – Dubai – UK

UK – Thailand – Singapore – OZ – NZ – Fiji – LA – NY – UK

If you want something different, here are some suggestions for destinations to stop you from getting travel weary (and believe me, “travel weary” becomes a thing after a while):

1- London – Brisbane, then Sydney – Bangkok to Tokyo then Tokyo to London (travel down the East Coast to Sydney, get to Bangkok then go through Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos or through the Islands).

2- London – Buenos Aires, Lima – San Jose, San Jose to LA, LA to Nadi (Fiji), then to Hong Kong, and then to London (Rio carnival then Amazon rainforests.  Get to Peru and Ecuador and so to Hollywood.  Pass to Fiji for a bit of paradise then head to Hong Kong before home).

3- London – Cape Town, Cape Town to Perth, Sydney to Singapore. Bangkok to London (Go on safari then get to Adelaide.  Take the Great Ocean Route to Sydney, then hit Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand).

4- London – Moscow, Shanghai – Melbourne, Melbourne – Christchurch, Christchurch to Buenos Aires, Lima to London (Take the Trans-Siberian Railway through Russia via Mongolia to Beijing.  Visit the Terracotta Warriors and the Great Wall before flying to Melbourne.  Enjoy NZ then go to one of the best cities in the World, Buenos Aires.  Do Chile then the Bolivian Salt Flats, then the Inca Trail of Peru).

The best people to use are the Flight Centre or STA Travel, as they are well-established in the industry. I used the Flight Centre for my round-the-world trip, so I can recommend them 100%.  You will notice from their websites that you will need to actually speak to someone.  How old fashioned, you might think, but it is necessary, and they are so good at booking the right itinerary for you, that you’re best off speaking to them or popping into one of their high street outlets.  I had thought that I would go all boho chic in India and chill on the Inca Trail, but after a short conversation with the assistant at the Flight Centre, I was convinced otherwise…also a good thing to know is that they have branches all over the world, so for example, if you’re in New Zealand and you have a question about your ticket or you want to change your flights, you can actually go and speak to someone in a branch there.  Ok, so perhaps your esteemed Blogger is, erm, slightly older now, and perhaps I went before we had internet on our phones…or even cameras on them for that matter…or even digital cameras (shhhhh), and it is true, we had to use ACTUAL HARD COPIES of the Lonely Planet and the Rough Guide (more on them later) to book accommodation etc., so there would have been no way to change flights or ask questions online, however, speaking to someone with local knowledge goes a long way.

Let’s get back en piste:  PRICE.

A basic route such as UK – Kuala Lumpur – Melbourne (get to) Sydney – LA (get to) NY – UK you’re looking in the region of £1049.

If you’re under 26 or a student and you want to do every continent:  UK – Delhi – Kuala Lumpur – Hong Kong – Fiji – Sydney (get to) Melbourne – Christchurch (get to) Auckland – Vancouver (get to) LA – Miami – Bogota – Buenos Aries (get to) Sao Paulo – Jo’Burg (get to) Nairobi – UK all for £2,699!

To put it into perspective, when I did UK – Singapore - Melbourne (get to Sydney) – Christchurch (get to) Auckland – Fiji – Cook Islands – Tahiti – LA – UK it cost about £900 quite a few years ago, so the prices are fair.

Remember, all this “getting to” business usually means internal flights which are usually relatively cheap.  It could also mean hiring a campervan, RV or car (more on that later).

However, there are a few things to bear in mind:  COST.  One of the things the Flight Centre people told me, is bearing in mind how long you are going away for, how much money have you got to survive on?  Do you intend to find work whilst you are travelling?  If so, what sort of work?  Are you going to suitable countries to find work?  For example, Australia is easy if you don’t mind manual labour or bar work…but not so easy somewhere like India.

Don’t forget you’ll get travel-weary from time to time, so bear that in mind.  Plus, like one of the routes listed, if you have somewhere like New York as your last stop, you will most likely be pretty skint by then, so one could argue, you probably won’t get the best out of it…

You can also arrange an additional itinerary once you are in a country.  For example, when your hapless author landed in LA, I went to the Flight Centre in Melrose and booked an additional itinerary to San Francisco and Vegas.  Such things are entirely possible, and often cheaper once you are over there.  If you are going to take any advice from this blog at all regards travelling, it is this:  GO WITH THE FLOW.  You don’t know how you’re going to take to a place.  How much you’ll want to see of it.  You may get ill as happens to most, and not feel like doing too much for a few days, or you may fall in love with a place so much you never want to leave.  So, don’t be too rigid with your itineraries and stay as flexible as possible.


The biggest tip I can give you is:  roll, don’t fold.  If you roll everything up like sausages, you can fit way more clothes in.  Now, we are not doing a “Grand Tour” of Monte Carlo and Lake Garda here, we are backpacking.  Everyone who knows me, knows what a princess I am, but even princesses need to leave their crowns at the door when backpacking.

Think about where you’re going:  is it hot or cold?  What time of year will you get there?

For example, I went straight from the UK to Singapore in January.  Singapore in January was (to a pale Brit) incredibly hot and the humidity was unbelievable.  So, you need light t-shirts, shorts, light skirts, none of which are expensive as they will get pretty the worst for wear.  You need to be able to layer them up, and sausage them up without ruining them.  Combat trousers with the legs that you can zip off and make into shorts are pretty useful too.  Anything light.  Not silk, as I learnt to my cost.  Plus stuff you feel comfortable in.  I warn you now, no matter what age you are and with whom you are mixing, you will encounter what I call “serial travelers” who are the only people who look cool in harem pants.  And headscarves.  I resembled some sort of washer-woman from turn of the century rural America… The same goes for dungarees…

Again, it depends on the sort of experience you are wanting.  I DO NOT CAMP for example (more on that later).  So I had no need to take a plastic sheet which you put under your sleeping bag, or a sleeping bag itself for that matter.  But if you are, then you should take one, apparently, they are invaluable.

Of course, nowadays we have all these phones which need charging the whole time.  Not something I had to worry about, but now, I would suggest, you pack some sort of solar charging device in case of lack of plug sockets (big problem on the Inca Trail and remote islands off the main island of Fiji for instance).  Also nowadays we have such things as Kindles.  Take one of those.  They’re way lighter than books (more on that later).

A massive thing, which I believe still applies today, is a really good camera.  Knick-able? Yes, but that’s your problem.  Invaluable one would say.  You’ve gone to all this bother to book and go on this trip, you need to record it in the best way you can.

Something I personally overlooked until I needed it was a small bag:  you have this ENORMOUS rucksack but once it’s locked in your motel/hotel/hostel/campervan you need to carry the small things, so either a bum bag (quelle horreur!) or a small cross-body bag is advisable.

So you’ve sausaged up your clothes.  You have even packed your sleeping bag, you crazy cats.  Now it’s time to try your backpack on.  This is NO WORD OF A LIE:  I was helped on with mine, and then very, very slowly I retreated backwards (a backwards version of the famous Del Boy sketch from Only Fools and Horses when he falls through the bar), ending up pinned the floor a bit like an upside-down woodlouse…

Stay aware of the size of your backpack…and don’t forget, with the bits and bobs you pick up on the way, it’s only going to get heavier…

Back to the book situation at this juncture. They are very heavy, and alongside general fiction, which one did swap frequently with fellow travelers, you also need at least one of the following:  the Lonely Planet or the Rough Guide.  Now, this is only my experience, so take from it what you will.  As referenced, we didn’t have internet phones, so we had to rely on a hard copy of the Lonely Planet and the Rough Guide.  I was fortunate enough to swap these with other travelers along the way, because of course, the Rough Guide to Australia is no good to you in San Francisco…But now you have the choice.  You can either not use either of them at all, as you can just look everything up on your phone as you go, or you can download all countries and versions onto your phone or Kindle or whatever device you wish as you go. 

From my own experience, the Lonely Planet is VASTLY superior to the Rough Guide.  At the time, the Lonely Planet was aimed more at younger travelers, so that was probably why.  But I found the Rough Guide unreliable and didn’t have as much choice.  This was how it worked back then:  you decided which place you were headed to next, then you looked up the relevant pages of motels/hostels/hotels/campsites and gave them a ring.  No looking online, certainly no booking online.  Further credence was given to my theory some years later, I was in Corsica, speaking to a chap who worked for the Rough Guide.  He was extolling the virtues of Porto-Vecchio to my mother, who lived there at the time.  We were astonished as it’s not the best of places, especially in Corsica where there are a plethora of superior destinations.  My mother enquired, politely:  “have you ever actually been to Porto-Vecchio?” to which the chap replied:  “no”.  Hapless Blogger rests case.

Whichever you choose to use, or perhaps a combination of both, then you can’t really go wrong.

Returning to our question of young or old, I really do think it comes back to the 7 Ps.
  In either case.

We come now to the end of the first part.  We certainly hope you’re enjoying it.  ​I'll let you all into a teeny tiny secret here:  because some of the stories I'm going to tell you are so hilarious and so utterly true, I was going to write a book about my travels and call it "Traveling Without Your Straighteners".  Seriously, nobody could believe I was going to do this.  So my point is this, young or old, rich or poor, if this Princess could manage it and have the time of her life, then you can do it, too.  Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the following articles, where we discuss the perils of campervans for the uninitiated and the excitement of riding a moped…topless…


Thursday 24 January 2019

Space, Man

As we write we have Spaceman from Babylon Zoo  playing in our heads (not for the faint hearted but can’t get it out of your head once heard, sorry) and guess what, you can…go into space that is.  Even if you’re not an astronaut which let’s face it, most of us aren’t…

As a human race, we have long since been fascinated with the idea of going into space…we look up at the stars at night, into the velvety blackness (if you don’t live in a city) and wonder what it’s like up there, in the deep, dark, quiet space that seems to go on and on forever…If you’re a keen student of Quantum Physics, it blows your mind even more….

Indeed the first film about space was made as far back as 1902, when Georges Melies made “Le Voyage dans La Lune”…it was influenced by HG Wells and Jules Verne and is considered the first science fiction film ever made.

Since then, our fascination with space and film has been evidenced in such films as Flash Gordon in 1936 and very famously the War of the Worlds in 1953
;with films too many to mention, such as Star Wars IV:  A New Hope in 1977, to Alien in 1979 and Apollo 13 in 1995…we are just obsessed.

So what is the reality?

Thanks (if you can call it that) to the V2 ballistic missiles used by Germany towards the end of the Second World War, launch vehicles were invented, and so the notorious “Space Race” between the USA and the Soviet Union began. These rockets were able to reach orbital velocities through their sheer power to overcome the force of gravity, which in itself is pretty mind-blowing.

On the 4th October 1957 the Soviets became the first, and they launched Sputnik 1, an artificial satellite.  Then on 12th April 1961, Yuri Gagarin, the Russian astronaut was the first person to orbit Earth.  The Americans matched this on 20th February 1962 launching John Glenn to orbit the Earth.

They then took over, and on 20
th July 1969, Neil Armstrong took “one step for man, one giant leap for mankind” onto the Moon (although some dispute this).

By the 70s, Skylab (America’s first space station) and the Apollo Soyuz Test Project were both in existence as human-crewed space projects.

In the 80s, the Space Shuttle Columbia completed 24 successful missions until its very first mission carrying a civilian (Crista McAuliffe, a teacher from New Hampshire) into space when it exploded 73 seconds after lift-off…Shuttles were eventually retired in July 2011.

However the above shuttles allowed the completion of the International Space Station where all nationalities now work together.  It’s an enormous research laboratory in low Earth orbit and has now been visited by “Space Tourists” from 17 different nations”.

But we’re not talking about “Space Tourists”, we’re talking about “Space Tourism”.  There is now strong competitive market in developing the safest, most reliable launch systems to get people into Space…but can “Space Tourism” really be a thing in our lifetimes?

Decide for yourself…

“Space Tourism” really is as it seems, except, rather than jumping on a plane to say, Ibiza, we’ll be jumping on a spacecraft (albeit with a fully trained crew…a bit like chartering a luxury yacht really, by that we mean, you don’t need to know how to sail it necessarily, do you?  You have a crew to do that….).  There are, of course, various companies involved:  we know all about Virgin Galactic:  Richard Branson has been banging on about it for years…there is also Space X (Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla) who has vowed to take 2 tourists on a trip around the moon, and the last major player is Blue Origin (founded by Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame).

Let’s talk about Space X first, as they made the first big pledge.  Yusaku Maezawa, the Japanese billionaire and online fashion tycoon was the successful applicant.  However the mission is now held up until 2023, although Maezawa’s heart’s in the right place, because after paying £85.4million for a painting by the late Jean-Michel Basquiat, he’s such an art enthusiast that he is going to take 6-8 artists with him on said mission in order to create a masterpiece for him.  However, he won’t land on the Moon itself, rather travel on a free return trajectory and return to Earth.

Did you know that in the early 2000s, the Russians actually took 7 paying civilians into Space?  But this programme was cancelled when the Americans needed the seats in order to take astronauts to the International Space Station...We cannot compare this because Virgin Galactic, Space X and Blue Origin are private companies set up with the sole purpose of taking paying clients into Space.  They are strictly for tourism purposes.

Who’s winning the race?

Until the 13th December 2018, Space X seemed to be winning the race when on 6th February 2018 Space X’s Falcon Heavy blasted off ironically carrying one of Elon Musk’s Tesla roadsters with it.  However on 13th December 2018 Virgin Galactic’s first successful (not so successful in 2014 but we won’t dwell on that) maiden flight took place.  Branson had hoped that this would have happened by 2009, but technical problems, as with the other companies, held it back.

The idea is that “SpaceShipTwo” will carry 6 passengers and 2 pilots 50 miles above Earth – the marker at which NASA has defined that you are no longer a traveller but an astronaut.  When separated from its mothership and rocket thrusters are engaged, SpaceShipTwo reached speeds of Mach 2.9 and an altitude of 51.4miles. 

But how much does it cost?

At £170,000 of course, only the wealthy can afford it, and there is currently a 700 strong waiting list of scientists and celebrities such as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie (awkward lol), Leonardo DiCaprio and Lady Gaga.

This is the really interesting bit though:  Branson says he hopes within 10 years to be able to drop the price to £30,700 so maybe us mere mortals could be in with a chance…Additionally thanks to the success in 2018, Branson expects to take paying passengers within the next few months!  That’s really something!

Branson is really winning the race thus far, and regards Blue Origin, you’re looking at roughly the same cost, with their USP being that their ship, or rocket as it is, the “New Shepard” claims to have the biggest windows of all in order to take in the view and certainly big enough for you to do those famous “Space Somersaults”!

Space X?  The sum is undisclosed (but suspected to be enormous) and really when you look at it, it’s a totally different animal:  we don’t know about you, and maybe it’s because it seems so near and yet so far, but when we think of “Space Tourism" we think of Space X’s sort of mission.  We want to fly in space, we want to fly around the moon.  Not go up a certain distance, get a bit weightless, and go back down again…or are we being unfair?

Wouldn’t you agree that you’d rather wait a bit and go the whole hog?  On the other hand, based on what Branson is saying, in conclusion, it’s safe to say in our lifetimes, “Space Tourism” will not only be possible, but potentially affordable…just don’t expect to go zooming round those stars you look up at every night anytime soon.


Friday 18 January 2019


It’s that time of year. We all think about making New Years’ Resolutions, to break them a day later…and we read articles like this that talk about New Years’ Resolutions and how we’re going to break them! But look at this blog like a New Years’ Resolution if you like: many people decide that this is the year they’re going to do more travelling, maybe visit a destination on their bucket list. However in the back of their minds they know that’s not really going to happen, as work, school, DIY get in the way. 

Here at Global Great Hotels, after some deliberation and brainstorming we have decided that it would be helpful for all our esteemed members, clients, friends and followers, to do a blog.

So each week, we’ll be giving you advice on the best travel trends in 2019, and through our articles, you can feel some sort of getaway from normal life, or at least, that’s what we’re hoping to bring you. The idea of which is to give you ideas and advice, perhaps even inspiration on the latest trends and the latest hotspots, whether you’re looking to see and be seen, some culture, some activity, something for the family, or something as far away from other peoples’ children as you can get!

Come travel with us, in 2019, even if you’re just sitting on the sofa, reading this on your iPad. What we want to do is take you on a journey with us, through travel trends old and new, and give you something to think about, something to giggle about and possibly even something to learn. We’re certainly learning something every time we research our next trend…but most of all, we hope you enjoy them.

We’re going to cover it all.

What we would love also, is for your input. Do you have a favourite place? Did you take us up on one of our “Flash Offers”? Where have you been with us, that you would love to recommend to others? We look forward to hearing from you.

So in an open letter fashion, we’re going to start on our first blog. It made sense to us, to start from the beginning: as Mary Poppins said “a very good place to start” (sorry, but it’s always on over Christmas, perhaps the mince pies have got to us!).

Travel and travel trends as we know them today, are of course, very different from their origins. However, one could say that they do have one thing in common: memories (not photos and certainly not a cuddly toy, especially in the Dark Ages), but memories would certainly resonate with an ordinary bloke from Ancient Rome, just as much as an ordinary bloke from, I don’t know, Manchester, today.

It goes without saying that of course, the Romans took holidays. They did everything else. Including inventing a system of central heating which we heathens threw out in the Dark Ages, but enough of that. The Ancient Romans were the first civilisation which actually travelled for pleasure. When you think about it, it makes sense, as you are hardly likely to up sticks and go on holiday just as your village is about to be attacked and your house burnt to the ground, are you? However, as the Romans had the infrastructure and the relative prosperity to do so, and the average holiday was in all fairness up to 2 years long (imagine!), and they weren’t being attacked constantly, then they could go. This, of course, created all the associated business with holidays: inns, restaurants, tour guides, all of which are documented (Pausanias gives you a great description of the best bits of Greece).

Unfortunately for all of us, we then plunged ourselves into the Dark Ages with the Fall of Rome…this wasn’t a very good time for anyone, especially not the Tourism Industry which was no more. Everything had gone a bit Pete Tong, and people certainly weren’t travelling…with the exception, perhaps of the “pilgrimage”: this was a religious tour and inns etc continued to exist, especially on the Christian trail through Rome to Jerusalem (possible akin to the backpacker trail from Cairns to Sydney? Feels a bit like a pilgrimage…). There was even a 13th Century tour guide: Matthew Paris’ “Map of the Itinerary from London to Jerusalem.” Your other option at this time was to become part of a merchant’s convoy. Marco Polo, the name synonymous with children screaming it in the swimming pool when you’re quietly trying to read your Kindle, was really a famous traveller himself, famous for his 24 year trip, documented in The Travels of Marco Polo where he was astounded that the Chinese used paper to denominate money!

Travel stayed very much the reserve of the wealthy, as it took a very long time (don’t forget we still only had horses at this stage of the game) and you had to be able to take that long off work, leave your dominion, your duties, basically your life. In Tudor times, it was really only the Royals who travelled, and even for them, it wasn’t really a holiday, it was more a publicity stunt, so that people were able to see them. In those days, it was called “Progress” and it was just as stressful for the hosts. The Monarch usually travelled with 1,000 people in their party. Our favourite Monarch, Henry VIII, was once so audacious, he took 4,000 with him. Hosts had to have room for all these people, and famously added extra wings to their premises in order to cope. It was normal to ship in extra game to stock their reserves.

During the Renaissance Period, travel remained with the wealthy as infrastructure was still too poor to augment it, and back then, it was only realistic to travel with quite a few soldiers in tow, as bandits and robbers were waiting for you on the road, and pirates were waiting for you in the sea…Inns weren’t too traveler friendly either, as they were used more by merchants than holiday makers, where people often had to share a single bed (sounds like Hi-Di-Hi!). You were far better off to stay with friends and relatives as it was safer and more sanitary. However, during this period, thanks to advances in ship-building, men began to explore much further afield…potato, anyone?!

By the 18th Century, the wealthy reprised the Grand Tour started so many hundreds of years ago by the Romans. However, by this time, of course everything the Romans had built had gone to rack and ruin, all their beautiful roads had all but disappeared so the infrastructure was heavy going. Did you know that the writer Mary Shelley wrote the famous novel “Frankenstein” whilst on a Grand Tour?

Thanks to the Industrial Revolution and the invention of the steam train, the Victorians began travelling in earnest, and in 1871 the first “Bank Holiday” was introduced. They began to travel to the seaside for 3 day breaks, hence inventing the “short break”. As these increased in popularity, such things as piers, ice cream vendors and donkey rides popped up, coining the phrase “Great British Seaside Holiday”. This, in turn, opened opportunities up for the less wealthy, the working classes, to actually have a holiday, and such places as Blackpool and Brighton became popular, with theatres and dance halls making an entrance.

So what were the wealthy onto by this time? Steamboats allowed for foreign travel to places like Paris, Shanghai, Cairo and Niagara Falls. Tour operators were set up to cater for foreign payment, and a type of exchange system was created where travellers could pay the local bank in their own currency, obtaining a note from the bank promising the same value in the local currency. Hence the beginning of Travellers’ Cheques…

Smuggling and bribery was rife, as passport control didn’t really exist (passports as we know them today were first introduced in 1914 and the blue ones similar to the red ones we have now, were first issued in 1920), and when people wanted to cross the boarders of a country with luxury items, they would usually be taxed heavily. So bribery was the norm.

By the 1920s automobiles we getting cheaper and more accessible, and holiday camps became very popular, certainly in Britain. After the Second World War, the two week annual leave was introduced. This was revolutionary to the man on the street, as “paid holiday” had never been heard of. Suddenly, a holiday was a luxury he could afford!

Then came the “package holiday”. Did you know that Corsica, of all places, was the destination of the first ever package holiday? Vladimir Raitz, the inventor, has been indeed hailed as the man who shaped the UK travel industry. He organised charter flights and all-inclusive packages that, in 1950, had never even been heard of.

His inaugural “package holiday” was to the then wild island of Corsica.

He founded his company: “Horizon Holidays” (the name inspired by the view from an aircraft window) and set up his first “package”.

11 intrepid travellers gathered at King’s Cross in London, 68 years ago, to board a coach which took them to Gatwick, to board a war-surplus Dakota transport plane, which, after re-fuelling in Lyon, landed on an airstrip in Calvi built by the American military in 1943. It took them 6 hours. They stayed in military tents.

What lured them? “Meat-filled meals”, the Mediterranean sun and wine at 9p a bottle! And guess what, it cost them £32 10 Shillings all-inclusive of flights, accommodation and “meat-filled meals” which was a massive pull for them, after post-War British austerity. They could hardly believe their luck, as a return flight from Nice to Calvi at that time cost £70, which is equivalent today to £2,200. Indeed, many were reluctant to accept that a “package holiday” could be so cheap. And there it was, the birth of the “package holiday”.

Here, is an excellent juncture to mention Benidorm, as the name is now synonymous with the package holiday. With the eve of the possibility of a tourism boom, the then young mayor of Benidorm, a teeny tiny little fishing village on the Costa Blanca, had a bit of a vision. Spain was struggling economically and he encouraged the building of high rise hotels with swimming pools and tennis courts to attract the masses. He even allowed the wearing of bikinis on the beach! Quelle horreur! And some even say, this encouraged more marriages between local people, as the local women didn’t want their men to be lured by the bikini clad foreigners! Can you imagine?! The hilarious thing for the Brits is that many of these hotels has ensuite bathrooms. This was completely unheard of at this time in Britain, but certainly encouraged them to add them to their own homes. Even your esteemed writer remembers how “exotic sounding” an ensuite was, and how people used to show off about them…And don’t get us started with the bidets…in fact, we still don’t really understand what they’re for…

By 1972, Benidorm was THE place to go…

However, with the late 90s came the advent of low-cost air travel and also the level of technology, allowing us to “get online” in our own homes, and plan our own trips. Travel programmes on the television inspired us to do our own thing, and from then, the “package holiday” and the now nightmares of Benidorm went into decline.

So what do we do today? What are the latest “Travel Trends”? That’s exactly what we’re going to examine over the coming articles…the latest, the weirdest, the best advice on what NOT to do, from backpacking and staycations, to sabbaticals, babymoons, retreats, silver surfers and Space. Yup, Space.

We hope you enjoy it!