Make your life count with Contiki!

Massive Contiki Savings

IT’S ALL ABOUT MAKING EVERY MOMENT COUNT AND HAVING NO REGRETS!

They say that one day your life will flash before your eyes. So you’d better make sure it’s worth watching.

A Contiki tour will take you on the most amazing journey that will last with you for a lifetime. Come and experience some extraordinary moments as you delve into the  most diverse and incredible places on earth.  

These tours are about a journey of discovery – a time to discover your dreams and a time to discover yourself along the way.

 Imagine a travel buddy who knows the world inside out and upside down – where to eat, sleep, party, shop and find authentic local experiences. The people at Contiki are more than just walking, talking guidebooks, they’re lifelong travellers whose sole passion is to make sure you have the time of your life – so let the journey begin……….

Contiki offer global coach tours in over 46 countries and 6 continents, from quick breaks as short as 3 days to epic journeys as long as 6 weeks. You can choose short or longer journeys for your global tour, just remember – don’t count the days but certainly let the days count on any trip you do!  

 

With Contiki, there is even more choice now with some exciting new tours for 2016! Go beyond in Europe, China and Thailand and experience even better itineraries – if that’s possible!

New Asia tours

Tours are now available to see the likes of the Great Wall, impressive Terracotta Warriors and bustling cities of China ‘China Adventure’ . Also, take in Thailand’s amazing beaches made famous in the  film ‘The Beach’ Thai Island Hopper West and  Thai Island Hopper East.

 

New European tours

 There are now even more amazing sights than ever before to see in Europe, as well as more options to cruise around the stunning Med and Greek Islands  

 Get a discounted rate when you book through Global Coach Tours.

Travel in the lap of luxury with Cox & Kings!

Luxury Tours and Tailor-Made Holidays from Cox & Kings:

You may have heard of Cox & Kings as being the  longest established travel company in the world! You may also have heard that they  offer the  highest quality global tours which include group tours, private journeys and tailor-made holidays to many of the world’s most fascinating regions.  But do you actually know how they actually came about in the first place?

cnk-logo

The year 2008 marked the 250th anniversary of the foundation of Cox & Kings, confirming it as the  longest established travel company in the world. The company’s history stretches back to the summer of 1758 when Richard Cox was appointed as regimental agent to the Foot Guards by his mentor, Lord Ligonier, the Commanding Officer of His Majesty’s Armed Forces.
Richard Cox is appointed as regimental agent to the Foot Guards by Lord Ligonier

The role of agent included arranging  payment and providing clothing to officers and men. Regimental agents did not have a very good reputation before Cox, but such was his honesty, reliability and organisational ability that he made it a respectable business and Cox & Co soon became the agent for the majority of British regiments. The company’s business grew hand in hand with the British Empire, becoming involved in banking and shipping.

In the late 19th century, Henry S. King & Co was a rival bank and shipping agency, started by Henry Samuel King and subsequently run for over 45 years by his son, Henry Seymour King, an MP and renowned mountaineer. The company had particularly strong links with India. After the First World War the two companies merged as Cox’s & King’s and moved into grand premises on Pall Mall. In 1923 the business was sold to Lloyds Bank and whilst the banking arm stayed with Lloyds (becoming the Cox & Kings branch, as it is still known), the shipping agency became a separate company, running tours and organising the passage of people and their belongings around the world, notably to Egypt, India and South Asia.

In 1970, Cox & Kings Agency was bought by Grindlays Bank as part of a deal with the Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, to develop tourism into the country, and so the modern history of the company began.

The company is now privately owned and has extended its travel expertise to cover more global tours including the Indian Subcontinent, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, the Far East, Europe and Australasia.

 

Luxury Tours and Tailor-Made Holidays to Indian Subcontinent

 

 

Where and when to go for perfect weather!

Have you ever wondered what the weather conditions are going to be like when booking your holiday of a lifetime?
Have you ever wished you could know which month would be the best time to travel?
Well wonder no more as below you will find examples of some of the best times to travel on some of the finest destinations you could ever encounter:

Antarctica

Antarctica is best to visit between November and March when the ice starts to break up due to the arrival of summer. It is also  breeding season for most animals during this time with January and February being the warmest months. Penguin chicks hatch during January and February while February and March provides the best chance to encounter  humpback and minke whales.

Belize

Although Belize is warm all year round the best time to visit Belize is from November to May when the temperatures are warm and  rainfall low.
October to June is the best time to visit Cuba which is during the dry season bringing warm temperatures and low rainfall.

Argentina

The best time to visit Argentina is between November and  March when the weather is warm and dry. If visiting Patagonia, the best times for wildlife viewing are between October and March, during this time the weather is also at its best.

Brazil

From September until March is the best time to visit Brazil when the weather is warm and sunny. If visiting Salvador and the north-east, November to February is the best time to visit as sea breezes cool down the warmer days and rainfall is low.

India

The monsoon hits different regions at different times, affecting north and central India from May to September and the south  until October.

Burma

The best time to visit Burma is from November to March, when it is not so hot and rains the least. April is very hot and dry and the rainy season is from May to September, during which time some resorts close.

Thailand

Thailand has a tropical monsoon climate, divided into a wet and dry season. For the central and northern areas, including Bangkok and Chiang Mai, the best times to visit are between November and March, since it is very hot in April and rainy between May and October. The south-west bordering the Andaman Sea, including Phuket and Krabi, is driest between November and March, while the south-eastern coast bordering the Gulf of Thailand is best between May and October.

Mexico

The best time to visit Mexico is between  November and  April when the weather is warm and dry. Mexico City and the central plateau experience a mild spring-like climate due to the altitude. During this time the Yucatan Peninsula is much warmer than the central plateau region but sea breezes cool the warmer days. This is also when this part of the country experiences low rainfall.

Laos

The weather in Laos is usually hot and humid all year whilst the rain season falls between late April and September. The best time of year to visit is during the winter months between November and March, when it is cooler and drier.

Australia

Australia can be visited all year round. Seasons in the southern half of Australia are usually the opposite of those in the northern hemisphere: spring comes in September, summer is from December to February, autumn from March to May, and winter starts in June. The north coast has a wet season from November to April and a dry season from May to September. Central Australia has little heavy rain and is best between March and May.

New Zealand

New Zealand’s weather can be very changeable  with cold fronts or tropical cyclones arriving quickly. Visitors should be prepared for sudden changes in weather and temperature, particularly if planning any outdoor activities. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20C and 30C and in winter between 10C and 15C. The warmest months are December to February. The north of New Zealand is subtropical, while the south has a more temperate climate.
So there you have it – you now have a good  idea of the perfect weather conditions for the places you wish to visit.

 

All-inclusive adventure with CIE Tours!

CIE Tours International - Like travelling with friends
Did know that most other tour companies sell optional extras to clients while on tour?
When you travel with CIE Tours, you get an all-inclusive adventure that doesn’t have any fine-print expenses for extra side trips.

With the CIE Tours 350 pound Advantage, your holiday money goes a lot further!

It  can cost most couples up to £350 per week for optional extras such as medieval banquets, dinner/shows, walking tours and more.

CIE Tours coach tours include airport transfers, daily sightseeing programs with prepaid admission fees, full breakfasts,  medieval banquets and cabarets to make your holiday perfect! They include these features so that you are free to enjoy your holiday without daily sales pitches or unexpected additional costs. Their tour directors do not sell optional tours so that they can focus 100% on your enjoyment and interests. So from the moment you get to your start location, you’ll be escorted by an experienced tour director who has intricate knowledge of the local history while keeping your tour exciting.

With all the attractions to see in Ireland, it can be hard to plan a trip that is efficient while including as much sightseeing as possible. CIE’s 10- or 11-day trip packages are the perfect solution: step back in time in an ancient castle, discover old battlefields, and take in the breathtaking countryside views on the “Taste of Ireland and Scotland” tour, all for less than 100 dollars a day.
On the “Taste of Wales and Ireland” tour, you get to kiss the famed Blarney Stone, visit the luxurious House of Waterford Crystal, and travel to extraordinary castles dating back centuries.
If it’s a shorter trip you’re looking for, there’s something for even the getaway traveler. Going by coach allows you to cover a lot of ground in a little time, so that you can soak in as much of Ireland and its surrounding areas as possible, all in only a week. From traditional Irish music and pubbing with the locals on the “Irish Fling” tour, to castle and peninsula exploration on the “Southern Gems” tour, you can’t go wrong no matter which option you choose.
Map of
Map of
Unlike other tour companies that charge hidden fees, with CIE Tours you won’t have to stress about getting to your location only to realize that you have to pay more to go on additional side trips. Get a discounted rate when you buy through Global Coach Tours.

10 freshly pressed packing tips for your coach tour

Many people ask us what to take for their coach tour, so here are our packing tips.

1. Your cases: You are allowed to bring one suitcase per person on your coach tour with the dimensions of 76cm x 46cm x 25cm (30in. x 18in. x 10in.) and weight not exceeding 23kg (50 lbs) due to the limited space on the coach. This is similar to the maximum weight allowed by airlines. You can also bring one piece of hand luggage, but unlike airline lockers, space inside the coach is more limited, so you should take something small enough to take on the coach and it must not have have telescope handles.

Packing tips from a frog

2. What type of clothes – will you need anything formal like Trend Suspenders? This will depend on not only your personal preference, but the destinations you are visiting and the time of year you will be travelling. Check out your destination and climate at WordTravels. It is advisable to bring at least one ‘smart’ outfit for special evenings or highlight dinners, but this doesn’t mean a tuxedo or even a tie. If your itinerary visits  places of worship, you may be required to wear items that cover your shoulders and in some cases, knees. When travelling, we recommend bringing items that are casual and lightweight, and require little or no ironing

3. How about laundry? It depends how long your tour is and where you are going.  If you are going for less than 10 days you might be able to get away without doing any laundry.   The only chance you will have to do laundry is if you stay two nights in one place and get it done through the hotel.  If you don’t wish to use any laundry services, then you can always wash items in the bath in your hotel room! Hopefully they will dry by morning, but you may have to continue the drying plan next evening if you are moving to a another hotel.

4. Express packing tips! Pack all those t-shirts in double-quick time! A genuinely useful YouTube video that shows you how to fold t-shirts in less than 2 seconds.

5. Label your case with the first destination and put your home address inside your case.

6. Wheelchairs and walking aids. In most circumstances you are able to travel with a wheelchair on your trip as long as you are travelling with a person who is willing and able to provide personal assistance. Please advise us at the time of booking if you plan to bring a wheelchair to ensure we can meet your requirements. Remember that itineraries that visit old places frequently have uneven ground, steps or cobbled surfaces.

7. Travel sized products are lighter. Toothpaste, shaving gels, lotions and creams. They are all available in travel size from your local pharmacy. Not only will they save weight, but you can take them on an aircraft in your hand luggage if they less than 100ml.  Top tip! Hand sanitizer – visiting tourist places, you touch lots of things that lots of other people have just touched. Reduce the risk of catching a bug by regular use of hand sanitizer. And wear sunscreen!

Cosmetics packing tips

 

8. Umbrella – Many couples share their umbrella. It means they only keep half dry. Travel with your own fold up umbrella (it’s better than a raincoat) and you will never be half wet, you’ll be totally dry. You may be lucky and have zero rainfall during your trip, but it’s best to be prepared for the odd shower.

Take an umbrella

9. Don’t let pickpockets spoil your holiday! Keep valuables under cover. When you travel you must protect your passport and cash.  Pickpockets are more skilled than you might think and unfortunately are common in the popular tourist areas all over the world, so minimise your risk.  This is one of our most important packing tips: Use a neck or money belt that goes under your clothes.

10. Split belongings between two cases when travelling as a couple. If one case goes astray neither person is left without a change of clothes and necessities. Also, have a credit card or ATM card per person, so if one person loses their wallet or purse, you still have spending power.

Once you have put your packing tips into practice you are ready to book your trip with Global Coach Tours

Global Travel with Trafalgar Tours

Trafalgar
Offering first class independent vacations and escorted tours to almost every continent, Trafalgar tours offers custom constructed itineraries to destinations across the globe. With over 200 itineraries year-round, there is a Trafalgar tour for any globe hopper.
Skirt across the globe with week-long treks across Europe, African safaris and Asian cultural history tours. Explore the Great Barrier reef or indulge in the sights and sounds of the Mediterranean with a tour of Turkey. With guided tours, first-class accommodations and specialty journeys, Trafalgar offers everything you need for the perfect expedition.
Great for students, single travelers and families, these once-in-a-lifetime tours allow you to see the world from the inside. No longer do you have to worry about setting up airfare, hotel and sightseeing bookings on your own. With all-inclusive packages, you simply pay one price and go. If cruising is your pleasure, take a river cruise to one of hundreds of exotic ports across the world.
Traveling is an experience that will change your life. With knowledgeable tour guides that will help you navigate the globe, you will enjoy all the earth has to offer. Go diving in the crystal waters of the Caribbean, or explore ancient ruins in Mexico. See the sights of Paris in springtime or take a ride in the canals of Venice. Cruise around Alaska and see glaciers, whales and elk.
With a custom tour created just for your tastes, you will enjoy seeing the globe in grand fashion.
Book your next journey with Trafalgar tours today.

Celebrate National Bike Week with Explore!

Celebrate National Bike Week with Explore!

 In 1923, the very first Bike Week was held in the UK and a tradition was born. The annual event is nearly a century old and is religiously observed in Europe and now recently in North America.

To celebrate the 90th National Bike Week starting on Saturday 15  June, adventure travel experts Explore are offering up to £200 off select cycle tours. With routes to suit all abilities, from the competitive cyclist to the casual bike rider, be inspired by the biggest cycling event in Britain and grab one of the following deals before 30 June 2013.

Cycling Basque Country

With its coastline of towering cliffs, rugged rocks and sandy bays, the southern region of France is the ideal destination to explore by bike. For those short on time, Cycling Basque Country takes customers on an eight day adventure through pastoral green valleys dotted with white timber frame houses, and climbs the Pyrenean foothills to the Spanish border. Search for delicious French cuisine in the ham capital Bayonne and visit the chocolate museum in Biarritz. Departing on 31 August 2013, this cycle tour starts from £871 per person (was £971) including return train; seven nights hotel with breakfast; 21 gear hybrid bike hire; and the services of a tour leader. This tour includes cycling 255 km over six days and has been graded as moderate to challenging.

Vineyards and Steppes

For those interested in combining cycling with wine tasting, Vineyards and Steppes is a 10 day tour cycling along the acclaimed Mur River towpath, through Central Europe’s finest wine growing region. From Graz in Austria, ride through vineyard-laden valleys, grassy plains and the foothills of ancient volcanoes into Slovenia. Passing fine architecture, customers reach the vast Lake Balaton – ‘Hungary’s Inland Sea’ – and explore historic Budapest. Departing on 28 June 2013, this tour costs from £1,157 per person (was £1,257) including return flights; nine night’s hotel with breakfast; 21 gear hybrid bike hire; and the services of a tour leader and cycle guides. This tour involves cycling 330 km over eight days and has been graded as moderate.

Cycle Nicaragua to the Panama Canal

Further afield, Cycle Nicaragua to the Panama Canal takes customers through some of the most beautiful scenery in Central America. Ride past smoking volcanoes, through cloud forest, around national parks, past lakes and along the Panama Canal. En route, visit the volcanic island of Ometepe and the tropical islands of Bocas del Toro for a little relaxation. Departing 2 November 2013, this 14 day cycle tour starts from £2,282 per person (was £2498) including return flights; 13 nights hotel bed and breakfast; 24 gear hybrid bike hire; and the services of a tour leader. This tour includes cycling 472km over eleven days and has been graded as moderate to challenging.

Tour of the Thunder Dragon

Or, for something truly unique, don’t miss the brand new Tour of the Thunder Dragon. Once a year Bhutan is host to one of the world’s toughest one day cycling races. Crossing four high passes and covering a distance of 268km the race ends in the capital Thimpu. This tour gives customers the chance to be there, welcoming the tired riders at the finish line. After visiting the Tigers Nest Monastery in Paro, customers will take their bikes and cycle across the country to the beautiful Bumthang Valley, along the way following sections of the race route and visiting some of Bhutan’s imposing Dzongs. Cycle up and over Dochu La (3110m), Pele La (3400m) and Yutong La passes (3400m), and enjoy a walking tour of the old city and excursion to Pashupatinath. There’s also an option to fly over the Himalaya. Departing on 24 August 2013, this NEW 17-day tour starts from £3,647 per person (was £3,847) including return flights; 16 nights hotel on a bed and breakfast basis; most meals; a 21 gear Trek 4300 mountain bike hire with front suspension, and a support vehicle; and the services of a tour leader, drivers and local guides. This tour includes cycling a total of 346km over five days, and has been graded as tough.

Please note: Offers ends 30 June 2013.

EXPLORE – Family Activity Holidays!

 

Contiki Tours

EXPLORE  family adventure holidays are designed for families looking for unforgettable  fun and adventure on a fantastic holiday. Their wide range of family adventures includes family activity holidays, cultural holidays and wildlife spotting holidays, as well as special holidays for families with toddlers or teenagers.

 

 

Searching for the perfect family summer holiday can be a mammoth task – especially when you have so many different tastes to cater for. If your family has a thirst for activity or adventure, or just wants to see the world as it really is, EXPLORE  family holidays are the ideal getaway. They are perfect for giving children a memorable holiday packed with exciting activities, unforgettable adventures and the chance to make new friends.

 

Family Destinations

 

With an Explore family holiday you will travel as part of a small, informal group made up of two or three other families just like you. With the children all keeping each other amused, and the Tour Leader taking care of everything, it allows parents to just relax and enjoy their surroundings. What’s more, to make it even easier to plan your holiday during the school holidays, Explore have created a calendar that lists all the tours that run during July and August.

Explore Adventure holidays for families allow you to explore more exotic and unique destinations, while all the planning, implementation, and coordination of the details is taken care for you. Travelling in a small group with other families allows children to make new friends and adults to relax . Many families even continue to enjoy Explore holidays again and again, often meeting up with other families they have made firm friends with on previous holidays.

 

EXPLORE! The travel Adventure Experts.

Contiki Tours

Explore are the specialists in small group adventure holidays. Their wide range of adventure travel options include  walking and trekking holidayscycling holidayspolar adventuresfamily adventure holidays and much more…

Explore offer the widest variety of small group adventures available, with tours in over 130 countries.

 

Walking and trekking holidays allow  passion for walking combined with love of adventure in the company of experienced guides and walking companions.
A small group format also offers an activity level to suit you.

There are  easy walks with sightseeing or wine tasting, through to iconic challenges such as trekking the Inca Trail or hiking to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

 

Small group cycling holidays allow you the flexibility to ride with others, or simply go your own pace. A back-up  support vehicle is also available if you need it.

Whether you’re a casual cyclist looking for a leisurely trip or a challenge seeker looking for something more demanding, you’re sure to find something to fit the bill.

 

Discovery and culture tours allow you to focus on the local culture, past and present, and discover the true essence of any country .

These  tours uncover different ways of life a and help you learn about the people and their culture.

Whether Visiting the remote tribes of Ethiopia’s Rift Valley or living the nomad life in desert camps, there’s no better way to get to the true heart of a country than through its people.

 

Whatever your passion, there is a wide selection of wildlife tours available worldwide.

Travelling in small groups allows you to get you into the heart of the animal kingdom for a thrilling wildlife encounter.

These tours give you the opportunity to witness Norway’s killer whales, the Azores sperm whales and dolphins, Uganda’s rare mountain gorillas to Madagascar’s reclusive lemurs.

 

A voyage to the Arctic or Antarctic is the trip of a lifetime where you can be encircled by penguins or witness your first polar bear.

Travelling with Explore on one of their Polar Voyages,  you’ll see the regions on a small, informal expedition ship where you can view them responsibly in accordance with environmental guidelines.

 

The journey is as important as the destination with Explore’s new range of inspiring journeys by rail.

They’ve created a wide selection of tours worldwide where you can soak up the ever changing landscapes as they roll past your window.

 

  Boat Journeys – take to the water and the world can be seen from a brand new perspective.

Options combining cruising on some of the world’s most beautiful rivers and shorelines with vessels varying from the traditional to the unique.

 

Try activity holidays for something a bit different.

If you love sport or are purely seeking adventure, and want to try it in as many forms as possible, a multi-activity holiday would be your ideal choice.

 

These specialist History Tours include unique routes and itineraries accompanied by experts ready to provide additional information and more in-depth  background knowledge.

Experience major sites of antiquity and little known gems all across the globe.

 

 

An annular eclipse gives the look of a ring of sunlight around the solar disc whilst a total solar eclipse is a dramatic showpiece as the earth plunges into darkness.

To witness any type of eclipse is a magical moment in itself so you can be guaranteed that both types of this natural phenomenon will never disappoint!

 

Taking Our Dog Coco Aboard QM2 to New York and Beyond

In June 2009  Geoff, Sue & Coco the dog started planning some epic holidays to America – the USA and Canada.

We considered coach tours USA as we sell coach tours for a living, but Coco would not have been able to come with us, plus we wanted to stay a lot longer than a normal holiday to the USA and Canada.  After researching air travel and reading about the trauma that some animals can experience on a long haul flight, we tried to imagine Coco all alone in a cage for 10 hours in a scary cargo hold. We couldn’t bare to think of it, so we booked the Queen Mary (QM2) from Southampton to New York.  Not only did it work out less in total for the three of us, but we all had six days of luxury pampering.

Coco in the snow

Coco in the snow

Watch the Video on YouTube

Coco was very well treated on board and although dogs cannot stay overnight with the owners in their cabins, we get to visit them in their kennels for several hours a day. There is a Kennel Master on every cruise who tucks them in and gives them whatever food you specify. Cats are welcomed too! There’s even freshly baked dog biscuits made every day.

Holidays in America for us British usually mean a long wait in customs and immigration on arrival, but with Coco we sailed through with a smile on arrival at the Brooklyn cruise terminal.  We had more trouble getting a taxi that would accept Coco than we expected, but at last we found one that would take us to the nearest Avis car rental which we had pre-booked.

Soon we were driving through Times Square and down 5th Avenue just to see the lights and grab some New York spirit. It would have been amazing to stay a while, but we had planned to save New York for the way back and we had a lot of driving ahead of us. Syracuse, Toronto then 3000 miles across Canada to Canmore near Banff in the Rockies. But that’s another story.

Enjoy a few more pictures of Coco on board the QM2

Queen Mary dogs will do anything for a biscuit

Queen Mary dogs will do anything for a biscuit

Queen Mary dogs

Getting ready to disem-bark!

Queen Mary dogs

The outdoor area for dogs is quite small but biscuits keep them entertained

Dogs can travel on the Queen Mary

Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. It’s harder to get a taxi if you have a dog!

 

We went with Coco to the USA and Canada for five months from June to November 2009. If you have any questions about this trip or even if you want to book this cruise too, please get in touch or leave a comment below